We’d been waiting for an opportunity to climb Ben A’an, a ‘small hill’ in the Trossachs overlooking Loch Katrine, but we were cursed with low cloud and damp, uninspiring weather. It takes weather that is unsafe – rather than merely unpleasant – to put me off climbing a hill, but it seems silly to make the children toil up a hill when there’s no prospect of a view from the top.
Articles in Category: Mountain High
It was a glorious day in the mountains and we wanted the little dude to experience them properly and fortunately I knew the perfect walk for it. It was -6 but the sun was beating down so with factor 50, sunglasses, down jackets and snowboots on Jasper and I headed out for a day on the mountain.
We could have easily stayed inside on this particular Sunday afternoon - the older boys especially had no motivation to get outside....and I had the usual piles of laundry to sort.......But just as we were about to light the fire and turn on Netflix the clouds started to clear, and after 24 hours of heavy rain the mountain peaks were just becoming visible through the murk.
James has always been a good walker. Since he took his first steps at 10 and a half months, he’s not stopped and he’s been on the go ever since. Even when he was little he rarely asked for carries and would happily plod along on our daily dog walks. Ever since we moved to Scotland he’s been desperate to get out into the mountains, “proper ones, with their tops in the clouds”. So far, all our walks in the hill have failed to convince him and he was still left longing to head up a mountain. The boy was ready for his first Munro.
We’re frequent visitors to the mountain areas of North Wales, and also to Pembrokeshire, but there are many areas of Wales we want to spend more time exploring, one of which is the Brecon Beacons. We took a quick pit stop here in the camper van for one night so that we could take Dora up Pen Y Fan. The night was uneventful and we awoke to lovely views of the surrounding hills.
I took up running last year so that I have the energy and speed to keep up with my growing minxes! I reluctantly need to incorporate some hills in my training, so wanted to recce some short-ish hills with a bit of a track on them that weren’t paved super-highways. A quick check of the OS map brought up a place I’ve wanted to explore with the girls for a while, now: the Caterthuns.
I love small hills. Before we had children, I could never have imagined writing anything like that and genuinely meaning it.
The view of Stanage Edge is surely one of the iconic images of British climbing. Not for nothing is she known as the Queen of Grit. James tells me that he vividly remembers his first glimpse of Stanage. I vividly recall his reaction: as we approached from Hathersage and the Edge reared up out of the landscape, like the ramparts of a great castle, James’s jaw dropped. He spoke in soft, reverent tones: “Wow. Just wow. Are we going to climb there, Mummy?”
We have had a very full on winter here in Fort William ever since New Year there has been skiing on the hill which is pretty unusual and most weeks snow at valley level making getting to work and school very tricky. Putting chains on the car has become fairly routine until there was a dump of snow that even the car chains couldn’t cope with!
Ever since the season turned and the snow started falling I had been excited to get Jasper out into the mountains. As part of my maternity leave I took Jasper on a month long mini ski season to the alps. As he is a little too young to get on some skis I couldn’t wait to take the dude on a mini slope side adventure sledging.
Chloe came home from playgroup with this piece of art many moons ago and it’s become a kind of mantra we try (and often fail) to stick to in the busyness of life. It was particularly hard to stick to last Thursday when it ended up being nearly one o’clock before we embarked on our much anticipated “Christmas holiday mountain adventure day”.
When, a few years ago, we discovered Brean Down, we noticed another ‘interesting-looking’ promontory called Sand Point. Brean lies to the south of Weston-Super-Mare, while Sand Point lies to the north of it, near Kewstoke. The forecast for the New Year’s Day Bank Holiday was good, and Sand Point had the attraction of being a slightly shorter drive than Brean Down, so it was the perfect moment for a visit.