We’re running our Classic Mountain Horseshoes trip in June this year (again). This is the first trip we ran after Gregor returned from Raigmore hospital as a newborn baby. It is a pretty strenuous trip with full mountain days of at least 8 hours walking. It’s an awesome collection of routes that Andy’s put together. Full information about the guided  trip is on our website but we thought we’d add a few links, bonus information and photo links here.

All routes are ascents of Munros and cover a total of 10 Munros on the trip.

Ben Nevis via the Carn Mor Dearg arete:
There’s a web cam on Ben Nevis which you can access for details about what to expect underfoot – whether there’s still snow; how wet etc
Professional quality photos of The Ben
This site provides great route statistics you can use to supplement Andy’s trip information dossier

Cona Meall
This is a similar route but not exactly the one Andy has picked. Great photos with it.
Another route of Beinn Dearg and Cona Meall
Full route statistics and pronounciation

A guided walking holiday in Scotland

Ridge walking during the Classic Mountain Horseshoes holiday

Creag Meagaidh
Even has a Wikipedia entry
Creag Meagaidh is also a national nature reserve and listed on the Scottish Natural Heritage website.

Beinn a’Ghlo
Lots of supplementary information can be found on Wikipedia for this hill too.

There’s loads of route and pronunciation information on the Munro Magic and Munro Madness websites.

Group departure with Mountain Innovations is 10th June 2012. Departure is guaranteed already.

Group size limited to 8 clients.

Guide: Andy Bateman
Andy has a background in geology and an interest in natural history which goes back to his childhood. His knowledge of the flora and fauna in the Highlands in very good and he has a great eye for spotting bird life – even pointing out the visiting Scottish Crossbills in our garden when guests are visiting at the same time.

Fraoch Lodge, Boat of Garten – Fraoch Lodge is also home to Mountain Innovations and our family. We all help out to provide your holiday. Even Gregor (age 3) likes to welcome guests, bring them their plates for cake o’clock, and generally provide entertainment.

All menus are carefully tailored to the requirements of the guests and very rarely if ever repeated in their entirety. For some examples see the recipe and menu blog.

Skye walking with Mountain Innovations

The unique landscape of the Trotternish Ridge on Skye as seen on a walking holiday with Andy Bateman of Mountain Innovations

We’re returning to Skye at the end of September for a visit to the Trotternish peninsula again. We had some spectacular days out on the last trip a couple of years ago when we were based on Uig; and also on the trip we made to check out routes there, when we were based in Staffin.

We’ll be covering a lot of the classic hills along the Trotternish ridge including the Quirang and the Old Man of Storr, but not necessarily by the most popular short routes. A full itinerary is available from our website. If you have any other queries about the routes or if would like any other details please feel free to give Andy a ring on 01479 831 331.

If you’d like to take a look at our comprehensive photo gallery please go to our flickr account

Some more websites with descriptions of the Trotternish area we’ll be visiting on this trip:

Walking in Trotternish

Some highlights around the Trotternish peninsula

Another blogger’s description of walking on the Trotternish peninsula

Around the peninsula

We’re heading back to Torridon this September to run our Classic Torridon walking holiday, but this time we’ve incorporated a day off in the middle as has recently become our formula for the trips away from Fraoch Lodge. On the day off we’re thinking about heading to Applecross to experience the Scotland pub of the year (Good Pub Guide).

Photos from previous trips with us are available to view on our flickr account You could also try searching Flickr for more images related to Torridon.
You could also take a look at this blog for some information about the walks.
There’s also quite a lot of good information illustrated by some great photos on this website.
It really is a spectacular area of Scotland to visit. Not all the mountains are particularly large on a Scottish scale, let alone a world scale, but they are all individual and have their own character.
If you’re interested in joining us for this trip, check out the full trip itinerary on our website
Guided walking holiday in Torridon with Mountain Innovations

Liathach, Torridon – a classic ridge and part of the Torridon walking holiday running in September

Cairngorm Plateau 1st May 2012

Trip review – Argyll, Scotland March 2012

This trip was our first west coast trip away during the winter season. There was no way we could predict that this would be the mildest/least snow covered winter across Scotland since 1981, which fortunately did not detract too much from the trip. It would have been the icing on the cake to have had complete snow cover as well.

The weather for the most part was glorious as you can see from the images on flickr at www.flickr.com/mountaininnovations

Guided walking holiday in Scotland with Mountain Innovations

We stayed at Sithean just outside Taynuilt for the duration of the trip which is on an organic farm. We had homemade scones and fresh hen and duck eggs on arrival. The farm is a ways out of the village, downhill most of the way there but uphill back for at least a mile. Even Gregor managed the trip down to the village and part way back. Ben Cruachan was voted best walk of the week. The weather was exceptional and the walk full of great views all around. All the guests who joined us on this trip had been on trips with Mountain Innovations before, but then it wasn’t widely advertised outside of our website. Routes done included: Beinn a’Bhuiridh, Ben Lui, Ben Cruachan Horseshoe, and Stob Ghabhar We included a day off in the itinerary as with all our other west coast trips and went to dinner at the Seafood Temple in Oban. The restaurant is tiny and appears to be in what could have been a toilet block but it is very cleverly situated with a fabulous view over the sea and to the west. Everyone can view the sunset because even if you’re facing away from the sea there is a mirror running the length of the restaurant to see the view of the islands and the sun setting behind you. The restaurant also made a special effort to include a vegetarian choice for anyone who didn’t eat fish. The fish options were fantastic – most of us had halibut. This trip no longer appears on our current website as a bookable option for next year as we’ve yet to set the winter dates for next season, but if you’re interested please do give us a shout and we’ll put you down for first refusal.

Guided walking holiday in Argyll with Mountain Innovations

Surviving in style.

If you haven’t seen it, Mountain Innovations Snow Hole Expedition on youtube:

Report 1, 7/12/2011

A Violent Change

Welcome back to another season of condition reports from Mountain Innovations.

The story so far: The first bout of wintry weather arrived in mid October on the hills. It resulted in some waste and knee deep drifts high up but it was then followed by an especially mild period which stripped things completely.

As we moved to a new month there was a significant weather change and since that point the conditions have been on the whole consistently cold with snow down to low levels. Ridges have been blown clear with deep accumulations forming in sheltered lees etc. The direction has been generally between south and NW with the majority in the West which would be good build up in N & East facing gulleys. This has meant the Cairngorms have received relatively little snow as we’ve been in the precipitation shadow of W and NW Highlands. That having been said, the huge snow catchment area that is the Cairngorm Plateau combined with the strong winds does mean the snow generally gets concentrated in the right areas.

Today: Presently we have approx 5 cm of wet thawing snow here in Boat of Garten (230m).  The temperature has risen this morning to near 2 deg C in Boat of Garten and is still at -6 on the summit of Cairngorm so unless there’s a sudden increase in temp it looks unlikely that predicted rise in freezing level to 1100m has actually happened: somewhere between  the Met office & MWIS forecasts. Again it has been windy today with + 70 mph. Fridays forecast is for a sharp drop in temperature (-9 deg C @ 900m) accompanied by hurricane winds from the NW as a deep intense low crosses the Highlands. As its centre passes into the N sea you would start to expect heavier snowfall in the E highlands as the Cairngorms are the first really high ground the weather meets on landfall whether the wind is coming from the N, E or SE. This is what’s predicted for Fri & Sat.

Certain areas are getting filled in with it being evident from a considerable distance away. Lower down Corrie Gorm on the Sron na  Lairige looked ski-able from the A9. Of course there has already been action on some of the winter climbs especially the mixed routes with the turf being well frozen. There isn’t enough snow for downhill skiing quite yet but it wont be long by the sounds of it.

 It’s all looking good.

Enjoy the winter hills.


Mountain Innovations

01479 831 331