Winter walking: Sgùrr Breac.

December 30, 2016
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Approaching the summit of Sgùrr Breac in cloud and with a 40 mph SW wind.

To counter the excesses of Christmas, I made an attempt to bag the last two Munros in the Fannaichs. A small weather window opened up on Tuesday (27th December) after the second of two very intense low pressure weather systems had blown through leaving a fresh breezy day to attempt the walk. I had no idea how much snow was left on the Fannaichs at this time, so went equipped with winter gear including ice axe for traversing snow fields which may (or may not) be frozen and extensive on the lee slopes of the hills. My targets were Sgùrr Breac and A’ Chailleach, the two most westerly of the Fannaichs.

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Loch a’ Bhracin near the starting point on the A832. A morning shot.

As it turned out, the wind was too severe to allow a climb of both Munros in the short time available in mid winter with dusk at around 15.45 hrs. depending on cloud cover. I was not keen on clambering back down through Allt Breabaig in near darkness, not even with a head torch and other light.

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I climbed up onto the ridge at Leitir Fhearna at the start of the walk to reach the start of a ridge walk along Druim Reidh that would take be to the top which lies between the two mountains. The wind chill and speed made walking challenging and with the turn back time approaching, I decided to leave A’ Chailleach for another day and concentrate on climbing Sgùrr Breac. Once completing the top, I walked down the south east side towards Allt the pass or bealach (Allt Leac a’ Bhealaich to the south of the pass and Allt Breabaig to the north of the pass) which separates Sgùrr nan Each and Sgùrr nan Clach Geala from Sgùrr Breac. The bealach was the route for the return walk which turned out to be relatively sheltered. I have used the Allt Breabaig bealach route from the north before and in much better weather conditions too!

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The view west from Druim Reidh on the approach to Toman Coinnich, a top which sits between the two Munros. The picture was taken just before entering the cloud sitting over the hills.

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A panorama from just below the summit of Sgùrr Breac. The shot was taken just below the cloud base. Loch Fannich can be seen in the distance and the Munros Sgùrr nan Each and Sgùrr nan Clach Geala also make it into the shot.

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Approaching the top of the bealach or pass from the south for the return leg of the walk.

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Shelter at the top of the pass. Beyond, to the north is the walk-out through Allt Breabaig which was very wet with snow melt. Even the path had assumed the role of a small burn!

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A sight for tired feet – Loch a’ Bhracin at the end of the walk at dusk. Only half a mile to go to reach the car!

 

 

 

 

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Julenissens reiserute

December 23, 2016

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In the north of Scotland, we rely more on weather information published by the Norwegians on yr.no than we do by the Met Office. The weather map for Julaften (Christmas eve) featuring Julenissens reiserute has been published by yr.no and it seems that Julenissen (Santa) is due to take a swing around Svalbard first before heading down the coast of Norway. Julenissen plans to loop inland before sledging towards the Oslo area, finally leaving Norway somewhere near Kristiansand. It appears that the final leg across the North Sea to Scotland is still provisional…

Have a great Christmas (god jul) everyone!


Network SouthEast 30th anniversary train pack.

December 2, 2016

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To mark the thirtieth anniversary of Network Southeast (NSE), Bachmann has released ‘Capital Commuter’ train packs, one of which features a 2-car Class 416 2EPB unit, a resin and etched metal station building together with platform units and some NSE related paperwork to represent the role of the third rail network. The whole package is presented in a stout box with nicely illustrated inserts depicting some of Edward Pond’s work. Edward Pond (or Eddie Pond as he was known in standard class) was the artist responsible for the interior murals applied to the inner bulkheads and partitions of NSE trains. They depicted scenes from the route on which the trains were allocated and that was extended to route branding applied to the exterior of some stock.

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The outer lid of the NSE train pack (30-430).

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The interior inserts feature artwork from Edward Pond, the artist who that created the route related interior murals for NSE rolling stock.

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A station building and platform unit finishes off the presentation box set.

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2EPB No. 6414 is represented, finished in the last version of NSE livery.

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Note the Kent Link route branding which was applied to 2EPB and 4EPB units together with displaced 4-Cap sets allocated to the North Kent lines.

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The 2EPB model is Bachmann’s highly acclaimed standard OO gauge model with interior lighting, 5-pole motor, DCC socket and associated electronics. Close coupling cams are used to couple the cars together. A 2-Hap model is soon to join the Bachmann third rail stable which also includes 4-Cep and MLV models.