Sunday, 23 November 2014

Glen Etive Weekend. Big Buachaillie. Bidean Nam Bian.

A view of Beinn Dorain. 1076 metres.
A weekend away with our club and a return to Glen Etive saw us heading up on the Friday evening to stay in a mountaineering hut halfway down this atmospheric glen. For once on a winter club outing the weather was superb with changing light conditions and rivers full to bursting after a full day of heavy rainfall.  Rainbows and pots of gold were everywhere in the landscape, just waiting to be mined if you knew the places and contacts to find their precise location... just like in the corridors of Westminster and large international business corporations if you believe the latest headline scandal to emerge. A new one every month now. Yet another indication of the routine abuse of power at the highest levels but I could have picked from a dozen different stories this week on different subjects.
.And these are the people that make the rules that tell the rest of us how we should behave.

 Loch Tulla and the Orchy Hills resplendent in late evening sunshine. read more than a few articles now stating that large wind farms are just a convenient license to print money for those with  cash to invest and are of little long term gain to solve our green energy problems. Even covering the UK from one end to the other in wind farms will not provide enough reliable energy... and wave power is awash with problems as well. No pun intended. Once there is no milk left in the turbine cash cow we will probably go back to building a new generation of nuclear power stations anyway and the tax payer will doubtless pick up the bill to remove most of these tax dodge eyesores from the landscape. If I was a conspiracy theorist type I'd begin to wonder if the global recession was not orchestrated deliberately and a culture of amoral greed and feral recklessness purposely fostered in banks and large corporations.
Very conveniently, the gap between the elite world wide and the rest of society has increased dramatically during this so called "recession." Few things get me really annoyed these days but the sheer hypocrisy involved in this blatant  rip off  proves that we are most definitely not "all in this together." I'm not particularly bothered to find out who killed JFK or Marilyn but if it's a genuine recession I would like to know why the USA, Canada, and Europe are all showing the same traits of the rich getting richer, climbing the ladder at a great rate of knots while the poorest find themselves sliding down the snakes yet again into food banks, zero hours contacts, and the loss of hard won earnings, work place benefits and future pensions for the majority. In the words of a well known song.
 "If you tolerate this then your children will be next."
Thankfully, I don't have any and two periods of a right wing, Robin Hood in reverse, government is more than enough during this lifetime with no sign of a Richard the Lionheart to save us from the bad Sheriff of Nottingham in sight... although the crusades still rumble on in an updated form. History does repeat itself... over and over and over. Poverty, desperation, and years of hopeless struggle are a proven recipe that can mould some childhoods into adult monsters and we've enough of them already to go around.
 The part of this short article I'm interested in is not the praise for Gordon Brown, though he probably deserves it for keeping the union intact, but the section halfway down where the Lib Con government deliberately stalled a recovering economy in 2010 by needlessly introducing severe cuts and an crippling austerity drive that plunged us straight backwards into the pit again. As I noticed during the 1980,s where they flogged everything off for a rock bottom price, recessions are actually great news where people who have piles of spare money can really make a killing and build private incomes that wouldn't be possible under normal stable financial conditions.

Another thing that irritates me... is although the relevant headlines are there to read in all the newspapers there is a complete lack of serious opposition to this goal in any meaningful form. I have seen it all before of course during the Thatcher years in power when all our nationwide assets were sold off for buttons or shut down and a London-centric based economy took its place but I read recently that this present Lib CON government has managed to exceed even the Iron Lady's accomplishments in creating an even wider gulf between the have and have not's and completely divided society on two separate levels.  It is just as well Downton Abbey is so popular on television as the days of great stately homes and a servant class to provide for them is returning in all its glory once more, only in a new form. It's good to see as my mum started her life as a servant in a big house and I'd like to carry on the family tradition.

 Rant over. I was going to forget about the headlines of the past week and just do a subdued normal post...  but then I thought....well... someone's got to speak up if the so called opposition stays silent for so long. It's a sad day when the church, local community groups and ordinary people have to become the social conscience of a nation and we are constantly bombarded with TV series showing what a depraved, alcoholic, junkie underclass anyone without a job in Britain undoubtedly is. Surely there must be some normal decent people out there in the UK without work but eager to have some? But no, we just get a steady diet of scroungers or MP's appearing on reality TV shows highlighting what great fun personalities they have. Something isn't right somewhere and it all seems carefully orchestrated. It used to be called "spin". The demonization of the poorest in society, the disabled and the plain unlucky are old familiar tricks which they always trot out whenever they are in power, and which, I admit, I despise them for.

Back to mountains. The Buachaillie Etive Mor sits at the Devil's Crossroads between Glen Etive and Glencoe and has many fine scrambles up its south facing ramparts. I'm well acquainted with the Great Herdsman of Etive and have scaled his craggy jaws onto his weather-beaten head over a dozen times by many different routes. January Jigsaw (Severe) and Agag's Groove (V. diff) are fantastic airy climbing routes up an almost vertical cliff at an easy grade and I've also enjoyed soloing without a rope both winter and summer up North Buttress and Curved Ridge. North Buttress is a serious climb however under snow or ice but Curved Ridge makes a great day out with an alpine exposure in full winter conditions. The middle route, Crowberry Ridge, is much harder, even in summer, and should only be attempted by experienced scramblers well used to extreme exposure and small committing holds as it weaves through vertical cliff territory normally reserved for roped climbers. Some experience of climbing is useful. Sadly or thankfully, I'm beyond all that now but if anyone fancies it you should obviously consult the relevant current scrambling guide as it's not an area to wander off route and the dotted lines are just to show a rough position only.
Last of the sunset from the hut with Ben Starav topped by slow moving cloud cushions.
A nice night followed with food, chat and drink.
Next morning saw myself and Alan motor round to Bidean Nam Bian, 1150 metres, as I fancied jaggy stuff for photographs and Alan hadn't been to the summit of the highest peak in Argyll yet, having attempted it from the Lost Valley only to be repulsed by adverse weather conditions. Although the Lost valley is nice my favorite route is up Coire Nan Lochan via the excellent peak of Stob Coire Nan Lochan, seen below.
Always an atmospheric path.      Alex and the rest of the baggers at the hut were off doing either Corbetts or Munros in Glen Etive, Glencoe, or further north.

Like pied pipers we soon picked up two other hill walkers near the start of the route and they continued with us the rest of the way so our conversation couldn't have been that bad.

A few Ptarmigan were spotted in the boulders fields with their half winter- half summer colors blending in well with the similarly mottled landscape.  
A view near the summit of Bidean Nam Bian, in swirling cloud, scene of a book chapter in my comedic novel (plug, plug, and plug again )     Autohighography,Available on kindle reader 0:98 pence for 500 plus fun filled pages, where I got stuck in a deep hole (Crypt Route) trying to exit through the mountain by the infamous bucket sized opening which then leads onto a vertical cliff face.
All of us returned safety by the path leading over Stob Coire Nam Beith then down to meet the Clachaig Hotel road, seen here. A very nice man in a van spared our weary legs by picking us up here and dropping us off at our vehicles, saving us much glen walking effort in the process. Thank you kind Samaritan.
 On the Sunday I should have captured Rannoch Moor under near perfect conditions but a dodgy on off switch on my new camera meant that the battery was completely drained as it had switched on at some point during the night unnoticed and I didn't have a spare. A design feature which is a big improvement from the last model which never switched on unless you meant it. So much of modern life these days seems to be a backward step instead of true progression and I for one am totally sick of it. My cooker is over 40 years old and still functions perfectly which is why I hang on to many gadgets made in the past without an inbuilt deliberately short life span attached as they are the only ******* things in my house at the moment that work consistently without any problems. These days the cardboard box it comes in lasts longer than the contents inside. ( You can tell I,m having a bad week with computer problems and several things going AWOL on me at once after a disgustingly short lifespan :o) The life cycle of a flea lasts longer!
Anyway, I was gutted as it's not many weekends you get perfect conditions and mirror reflections over Rannoch Moor on club weekends. No photos therefore from Sunday which I,m actually glad about now with the amount of sheer hassle and set backs I've had just trying to post this one entry online. If I did become rich by winning the lottery you wouldn't see me for ******* dust as I,d be off to a better life than the totally frustrating, ********* god awful one I have at the moment. (deep breath.)

Anyway, musically I always prefer to look forward to find new groups rather than old and these two girls are really cooking now, song wise. An electric number in a different style by an Indy pair that really deserve to hit the big time. Unfortunately, there is so much out there it's harder than ever to get noticed and an original new David Bowie, Kate Bush or traditional singer song writer tends to get lost in an unrelenting  tidal wave of regurgitated mediocrity. I wanna play Scrooge at Christmas and take ordinary folks money and happiness away.... I think I'd be good at it if the position wasn't already filled by the current government and the EU. Nuff said.... over and out.


Colin said...

Love this blog - especially your rant about the state of the nation - couldnt agree more. Robbing the poor to pay the rich so they can avoiding pay their dues to society.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Colin,
I've had one of those weeks where everything seemed to either go wrong or break down and the final straw was my computer refusing to post where I ended up shouting at it... "Work you B******D! Work!" when the internet connection kept cutting out every few lines and not saving any text or photos. I've calmed down now.

Kay G. said...

Tsk, tsk, how can someone go on a rant when you have all that lovely nature? Just concentrate on that, that's the ticket!
Better for your mental and physical health, I should think.
I'm one to talk, I get riled up about the least little thing! HA!

The Glebe Blog said...

Rant away Bob. I think I once mentioned I used the local rag in the past.
The latest from David Mellor is typical of this Con/Dem crowd.
Great pictures. When the dreich isn't around we're getting some great colourful skies.
I've never encountered a ptarmigan, lovely looking bird.
Interesting piece of music but I'd prefer Pale Moon Rising by CCR.

blueskyscotland said...

Sorry Kay,
Just talking about nature every week for six years though would be pretty boring,even for me, and I've got to fill the posts if I put them up with something.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
No surprise about the David Mellor story. I've not got much time for politicians of any party but maybe I have got a genuine reason to distrust the Conservative agenda every time it comes around as I knew two people during the 1980s that committed suicide, largely due to the politics of persecution they implemented that we are seeing again now and the same attitude of couldn't care less fostered in certain institutions and one was very close to me. " Persephone" was a real person I knew who is no longer here.
Although the public school system can turn out well adjusted high achievers it also seems to churn out obnoxious,compassion empty, individuals who are completely motivated by power, greed and status and unfortunately a lot of them end up in government.
I admit my experiences have coloured my views on the subject and it occasionally spills over when I read a particularly smug, arrogant, or breathtakingly false statement... like..."We're all in this together" which must rate as the most untrue statement of the decade... depending on who "we" is of course.

Russell said...

Regarding David Mellor. Bernard Manning, the racist, fat, deid comedian, made a great comment about him in the early 1990s. Mellor had been forced to resign from the Conservative cabinet, largely due to having an extra-marital affair. Manning's comment. - "Its all very well Mellor enjoying himself but what will he do when he loses his looks?"
In the interest of balance, David Mellor had a campaign against handguns after the Dunblane massacre in 1996.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Russell,
If all politicians had to resign after an extra-marital affair there would be nobody left to run the country but it has given me an idea for my next music video :o)

Carol said...

That's why I've still got loads of 70s stuff - it lasts!

We'll have to agree to disagree on windfarms/green energy - I can't think of anything worse than nuclear and the everlasting (and ever-increasing) waste - now that's really not something to leave 'our children'!

As to the government corruption, I don't believe any country has a government without corruption unfortunately...

You've got absolutely superb photos on this post - they're all blinders. Looks some pretty scary walking in places though - I have done more or less the route you did onto Bidean (well, actually, off it) but don't remember looking down anything nasty like a couple of your shots do :-o

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I'm not too keen on nuclear either but I've read several reports over the last year that wind and wave power will never provide our full energy needs unless very expensive investment is on-going, UK coal reserves and other reliable fossil fuels which we depend on at the moment for (reasonably) cheap electricity will eventually run out so what's the alternative?
I was thinking this post was maybe a bit harsh until I watched "Who owns Britain?" last night and thanks to 1980s privatization the answer is every other country apart from us, the latest being ScotRail, now run by the Dutch. Add in well known brands like Cadbury's, Walkers Crisps, and a host of other major companies we assume are "British" but are really partly or entirely foreign owned with most of the profits travelling out of the country and you wonder exactly what "Britain" means anymore as most of our vital infrastructure and large corporations are up for grabs due to our lax laws about who owns what. Is there actually a "Britain" anymore, except as a outdated concept? The way things are heading the actual residents of the good old UK will only own the clothes they stand up in... and they will be made in China.
That's certainly one way to reduce our carbon footprint as we currently import more than we export as we've given most of it away already :o)
I've decided I,m giving up political issues from now on... it's far too depressing.

Paul Power said...

Great report again with super pics. Your query about andamento's pic of the waterfall is within Finlaystone estate, Langbank, great woodland walks.
Cheers Paul.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Paul,
Must be a senior moment as I've been all round Finlaystone several times and even did a post on it a couple of years ago.