Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Science, July 26 2011.

At the Ciste Mhearad snowpatch on Cairn Gorm

At the Ciste Mhearad snowpatch on Cairn Gorm

Last weekend I attended an Environmental Awareness course at Glenmore Lodge, as part of my preparation for the ML award.

Our group was lucky enough to get Keith Miller as an instructor for the weekend, who is a real expert on the environment of the Scottish mountains (he wrote the Invertebrate Life chapter in the SMC-published Hostile Habitats book), and who has also worked on long-lying snowpatch monitoring and research.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, July 18 2011.

Anson wreckage with Ben Avon and Beinn aBhuird in the background

Anson wreckage with Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird in the background

Last week I cycled into Glen Avon in the eastern Cairngorms with my new bike (a Giant Revel 1) from the east, starting at Corgarff Castle. The first part of the route was rougher than I expected, but the bike made it in one piece to Inchrory Lodge in Glen Avon, which is a large Victorian hunting lodge which looks rather incongrous in the remote Glen Avon, 10km from the nearest public road.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, June 2 2011.

Part of the undercarriage structure from the crashed B-17, below Beinn Edra on Skye

Part of the undercarriage structure from the crashed B-17, below Beinn Edra on Skye. The Quiraing behind.

During my recent trip to Skye (see my previous blog posting, ‘Skye (2)‘), I looked for the site of a USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that crashed on Beinn Edra on the Trotternish Ridge during the Second World War.

This wreck is well-known amongst locals on Skye and I have heard many discussions about it in the past, so it was good to finally visit it.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Travel, May 11 2011.

On the summit of Beinn Edra with the south Trotternish ridge and the Cuillin ridge behi

On the summit of Beinn Edra with the south Trotternish ridge and the Cuillin ridge behind

Last week Lesley and I travelled to Skye to spend a week in a holiday cottage in Fiskavaig. The weather for the first 5 days of the trip was absolutely perfect, allowing us to have a couple of barbecues in the evening with the added bonus of there being no midgies this early in the year. We saw a couple of impressive sunsets over Fiskavaig Bay with the sun disappearing behind Macleod’s Tables.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, April 28 2011.

Cairn Toul and Sgòr an Lochain Uaine from the Cairn Gorm - Ben Macdui plateau

Cairn Toul and Sgòr an Lochain Uaine from the Cairn Gorm - Ben Macdui plateau

Three weeks ago I spent a couple of days in Aviemore, and went for a couple of long walks. The first was a walk through the Scots Pines of Abernethy Forest, somewhere I’ve not been to before. I had hoped to see some wildlife (including Capercaillies, which I’ve never seen before), as this is the right location and time of year to see them lekking, but I only caught a glimpse of a couple of black birds flying low though the trees and I couldn’t tell if they were Capercaillies or more probably, Black Grouse.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Science, April 26 2011.

The Allt a Mharcaidh catchment

The Allt a' Mharcaidh catchment

A month ago I travelled to the Cairngorms for a high-level walk around the Allt a’ Mharcaidh catchment. The Allt a’ Mharcaidh is a relatively small river in the north-western Cairngorm mountains and is a tributary of the Spey, joining it at Kincraig via the river Feshie.

The catchment (or drainage basin, or watershed) of the Allt a’ Mharcaidh is relatively small (compared to other rivers in the Cairngorms like the Spey or the Dee) but is notable as it was chosen a couple of decades ago by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen as a sample upland mountain catchment for scientific study, and much hydrological research has been done into the soil and water chemistry of the catchment, and also the effects of precipitation and snowmelt on the hydrology of the catchment – see this page here for much detail about this.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Personal, April 22 2011.

At the controls of the aircraft

At the controls of the aircraft

Last month I went for a short one-hour flight over Ayrshire. Lesley had bought me a voucher for my birthday last year for a one hour flight experience offered by Sportflight Scotland, who operate from Strathaven airfield in Ayrshire, which has a small grass runway.

I was very lucky with the weather, as the scheduled day for the flight had clear skies although there was some wind. The plane was an Ikarus C42, a German-made aircraft which is very small and requires hardly any length of runway for take-off and landing.

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Posted by & filed under Books, Mountains & hills, Science, February 24 2011.

Cool Britannia

Cool Britannia

Iain Cameron (with whom I visited a long-lasting snowpatch on Aonach Mòr last October, see the blog posting ‘Autumn snowfields in Lochaber‘) and Adam Watson have just written a book together, called ‘Cool Britannia‘.

This book is a welcome guide for anyone interested in the little-known area (although now coming to more public prominence after the last two cold and snowy winters in the UK and the current hot topic of climate change) of meteorological and environmental research concerning extreme snow events in Britain and in particular the topic of long-lasting snow in upland areas in Britain.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Science, February 16 2011.

Something I’ve always been interested in are the environmental conditions that are required for glaciers to form. Glaciers are often associated with high mountains and polar areas, and the major environmental factors that influence their existence are long-term climate trends (e.g. precipitation, average air temperatures and prevailing wind direction and strength), latitude and altitude, and local topography (e.g. slope angle and aspect).

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