Here are some comments and images from some of our walks in 2007. Not surprisingly, those outings favoured by sunshine and spectacular scenery are better represented here. (Of course, the sun always shines on Club outings - it is just that some people don't notice it.)
Gaelic place-name spellings here are generally as they are printed on OS maps. This is for the convenience of hillwalkers. I know many of these spellings are wrong and, indeed, not even consistent with one another.
A rather dull Saturday morning saw Andrew, Gerry, John B, John B and Ron at the lay-by near Callert House. We set off up the steep track and after 30 minutes or so, John B (the tall one) announced that he was going to go by the bealach (ie the gentle route) rather than the direct route up over Callert lump like the rest of us. As it turned out, the "rest of us" were having a quick coffee at the top of the climb and trying to get our breath back when we spotted John appearing up a gully several hundred yards in front of us. There has to be a lesson here, I think ?
Another 30 minutes or so, saw us all having a quick lunch at the summit of Mam na Gualainn. This is the only
photo which anyone took - not a day for views which we know are magnificent from here.
We carried on along the ridge which was covered with wet snow (no need for crampons or axes) to Beinn na
Caillich where we joined the good stalker's path down to the West Highland Way. Part way down this, we met
Lydia and Margaret who had come out for a short day and had started from Kinlochleven. We all returned
together to the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven for a coffee.
Just John Brittain, Andrew, Gerry and Jean. We didn't actually do the ridge. There was very little snow but it was very icy and someone had neglected to bring her crampons. In fact the forest track was covered in ice all the way, right from the car. We walked up into the small but impressive coire to the left of the ridge (390850), with the wind rising fiercely as forecast. There were cornices at the rim of the coire, but we imagined there would have been little snow elsewhere on the plateau - just sheets of ice going by the conditions we had seen lower down. So we traversed south along the flank of the hill, over Meall Bhadeanach and down below Meall Claghaig, then the last section of forest track back to Roughburn. This route would be a more interesting approach to the East Ridge, somewhat less in distance, but over rougher ground. There is a faint path discernable in places, and at around 550 metres there are ruins of some shielings. Lydia was coming up the track to meet us, and we all went to the Roybridge Hotel where Margaret and Archie met us too.
Eight of us assembled at the Coire an Iubhair car park, in Glen Tarbert, on a dull but dry morning. The plan was to ascend Garbh Bheinn via its west ridge so we started up a private road several miles further up the Glen. The road was in a surprisingly good state (someone said it serves a hydro dam, though it is not on the map) so we made good time up to the ridge and then turned east.
Our hope was to view a curious gorge which cuts through the hillside for several miles. We
came on this quite suddenly and found further progress completely blocked by what turns out to be Ardgour's own version
of the Grand Canyon ! Presumably the gorge is the site of a fault or some other kind of weakness in the rock but it is
most curious and definitely out of place on the Ardgour hillside. Allan and Gavin managed to descend into the gorge and
made their way up it until the way was blocked by a stuck boulder and a waterfall. The rest of us climbed up the hill
beside the gorge.
Here is a shot looking west down Loch Sunart. This was taken just before we reached the cloud-base around 600m after which there were no more views. Progress was steady (tricky navigation however ) to the Corbett top and then to the main summit of Garbh Bheinn itself. Here we had lunch ! Allan and Gavin then headed north to complete the horseshoe over Beinn Bheag and Sgorr Mhic Eacharna. The rest of us took the direct route back to the car park - south down the rocky ridge of Sron a Gharbh Choire Bhig. (The spelling variations on the OS map are quite horrendous in this area !). More tricky navigation and, in fact, when we finally came out of the cloud we were much too far south and had to traverse back to the main ridge. We got back to the car park just as the light was going and found Allan and Gavin already there.
A clear morning with a forecast of "rain, possibly snow" in the afternoon saw 11 Nevis
Hillwalkers in the car park by the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. One or two of us had brought crampons and
ice-axes but the mountain, which towers over the A82 road and must be one of the most-seen in all
of Scotland, looked relatively snow-free so the ice-gear was left in the car and we all set off
under the railway and up the muddy track.
As we gained height the ground became harder and there was a
covering of ice on the pools by the side of the path. Omenously, by the time we reached the headwall
of the Coire an Dothaidh, everything was frozen solid and there was dusting of snow. However, the sun
was out so most of us set off up through the crags.
Pretty soon, we were advancing crab-like across a steep slope covered in a mixture of crusted snow and solid ice. Lot of serious step-kicking and don't look down here bits - our first minor epic of the winter. Thankfully we all made it without incident, and continued on to the North Top where there is a huge cairn.
Just as we arrived at this, the cloud lifted and we could see the sun shining on the South Top and another huge cairn at the end of a narrow, ice-covered ridge. Of course, the South Top is the higher so we traversed the ridge to the South Top where we had lunch. The scenery, by now, was quite glorious. The sky especially being very spectacular - lots of "mackerel" clouds (very high ice crystals).
There were around 20 people on top of the hill and I only noted three wearing crampons so the majority made the same mistake as us and were fooled by the view of the hill from the car park. The descent turned out to be easier that we expected (feared ?) since the icy crust had been broken on a narrow track and we were now walking on the underlying soft snow. Nonetheless, we took a detour into the NE corrie to avoid the icy slope which had alarmed us on the ascent. This turned out to give a view of a spectacular rocky corrie, on our right, which none of us even knew existed. Also, probably since we were off the trodden track, we came across several mountain hares, all in their winter gear (white coats and black ears).
The weather stayed fine all day. Obviously, a real winter day out !!
All November days should be like this ! Sun and blue sky with a dusting of snow on the hills to make it look like winter. We set off up the stalkers path from the car park at Lundie on Loch Cluanie. This rises quickly to the plateau where we had a break for a coffee. From here we split into a "fast" group who were aiming to do all three Munros and a "slow" group who wanted to have a look at the scenery even if they ran out of time for the third Munro. Carn Ghlussaid was soon ticked off by both groups. Then across the plateau to the Glas Bhealach (The "grey col" and it is indeed covered in grey stones.) Then a steep slog up to the high point of the day and our second Munro - Sgurr nan Conbhairean.
The third Munro (Sail Chaorainn) is a mile or so due north from here and seems ridiculously easy ! Perhaps because of this we decided to continue along the ridge for yet another mile to Carn na Coire Meadhoin. This is only 1 metre lower so the argument was that the next survey may result in a change of mind by the OS about which is the higher (and the Munro). Anyway it was a beautiful ridge walk with spectacular views of snowy tops to the north.
Then it was back by the same route though Allan and Mary took a detour to visit one of Prince Charlie's many caves on the way. We crossed the Drochaid an Tuill Easaich, with the Gorm Lochan far below us, and descended the Meall Breac ridge to the main road. This turned out to be very muddy. We got back to the car park just as the sun was going down.
A favourite local hill and a dry day produced a good turnout including four visitors (very welcome !).
We set out along the forest track from Clunes, which turned out not to be so easy, and then
turned off through the forest on our left. Lot of felled trees which was pretty hard going but it was
only for a few hundred yards.
One group went to the right of the lochan in Coire Lochan and then up the steep headwall to the beallach and on to the summit. The other group passed to the left of the lochan and up the ridge to Meall Coire Lochan.
The two groups met up at Meall Coire Lochan but the second group then descended to the bealach and up to the summit, while the first group were setting off back to Clunes.
Both groups took the
direct route to Clunes (Leac Chorrach) which turned out to be pathless and steep but with glorious views
to the west, down Loch Linnhe.
Here are some pictures from an excursion along the Aonach Eagach, by a group of club members.
The forecast was good (at least until late afternoon !) but there were only five people (Andrew, Gerry, Jean, Ron and John) at the parking pace in the Pass of Brander. We set off up the steep path, under the railway and up to the dam - no gentle walk-in here. A quick cup of coffee and along the track by the side of the reservoir. Then it is up the hill-side to Meall Cuanail. Initially, this was muddy and wet, but as we got higher, it became drier and more rocky.
Wonderful views to the west, along Loch Awe and out over Loch Linnhe to Mull.
Then a steep, rocky descent to the bealach at the top of Coire Dearg and an eroded path through the granite boulders to the summit of Ben Cruachan itself.
From here the view over Loch Etive appeared for the first time. All in all, a spectacular lunch spot.
Then it was down a narrow ridge and over a smooth granite slab. From here it is easy going along a broad, grassy ridge to the second Munro (Stob Diamh). Andrew and Gerry's son, Ian, who had set out from Glasgow after we left the road-side caught up with here !
By now the cloud had lowered and the views were gone. The path continues round the corrie and down to the reservoir. Then it was down the steep path to the cars and home.
Not a weekend "programme" walk this, but a fine morning saw Lyn, Theresa, Andrew and Ron meeting at the North Face Car Park above Torlundy, just after 8.00am. The day was misty but the forecast was good and we were hopeful that the mist would soon clear. The plan was to do the Ledge Route up to Carn Dearg - a Grade 1 scramble. Our chairman has been pushing for some time for us to do a big scrambling route (something to do with "standards" !) and this was the day.
We set off up the excellent new path and in an hour and a half or so we were sitting, in the sunshine, outside the CIC hut. In the Alps there would have been tables and coloured parasols and someone would be selling coffees and drinks. However, this was Scotland, the hut was locked up and nobody was selling anything. However, it was not deserted ! There were two red deer hinds and their calves sheltering in the hut's porch and two stags were roaring away at each other only 50 yards from us. Presumably, there are enough people here that the deer have become used to them ? For sure, I have rarely seen them so tame ! After a quick coffee, we crossed the river and set off up the hill across some greasy-looking slabs. In fact the rock was reasonably grippy even though it was wet after the overnight rain. Up some loose ground and then right along the base of a cliff on a surprisingly well-trodden path. The surroundings now were becoming highly impressive and not at all what one usually sees on a "walk". The path crossed No 5 gully on steep grassy slopes and up more scree to the skyline ridge which we were to scramble up all the way to the plateau. In fact, the ridge is nothing like as narrow or frightening as it appears from the valley and it is an easy, though long, scramble. The rock is very good - grippy and solid.
The only tricky bit is near the start where the ridge narrows to a "wall" two or three feet wide which one balances along to where it ends in a gap. One side of this is a vertical rockface about 50m high so nothing doing there. The other side is about ten feet high with a few "invisible" footholds on it so that was clearly the way ahead when the wall ended. Perhaps surprisingly, we all negotiated the descent off this wall without even getting the rope out ! We then continued on up the skyline ridge - continuous rocky scrambling for about an hour and the summit plateau opening out in front of us was a welcome sight when we got to the top of the ridge.
We were now just about out of the cloud and the views were looking like they might be something special today. The white clouds stretched away from us in all directions in the bright sunshine.
We then had lunch and I asked if anyone wanted to go up to the summit of Ben Nevis. If not, the tourist path was just a few hundred metres across the plateau and we could be back at the cars in no time. Andrew then announces that we would have to go over the summit to get to the CMD Arrete which we were going to descend by ! There was the usual summit crowd but by now we were definitely above the cloud so the views were even more spectacular. So it was down to the Arrete (unfortuneately in the cloud) and across to Carn Mhor Dearg which we reached around 4.00 pm. At this stage, we saw Brocken Spectres on the cloud in the valley to the east of us, between the CMD ridge and the Aonachs ridge.
I tried to persuade everyone there was daylight until 8.00pm but no takers so we had to carry on, almost without a break until we got to the path in the valley. For the record, we did have two torches between the four of us.
This shows the mist clearing off the Ben as we came down - the magnificent Northeast Buttress rising straight to the summit, and Tower Ridge in the foreground.
We got back to the car park just after 6.00pm so around 10 hours for the route - not bad but we did have
the advantage of the excellent new path.
In this view from the summit plateau, you can see much of Ledge Route, from near the start of the ramp (in shadow, lower right of centre), to the top of Moonlight Gulley Buttress (in sunshine). No.5 Gulley is in deep shadow, but the rising traverse above it is in sunshine with Carn Dearg Buttress casting a deep shadow into the Glen below. The upper part of the route makes a fine skyline in the sunshine.
Typical Glen Etive weather - a fine but steady drizzle, not even real rain, though everything, be it on the ground or on a hillwalker, soon becomes soaked through ! The cloud base was around 1000m so the tops were in the mist. A poor turnout - Andrew, Jean, Lyn, Norman and Ron - but we set off over the River Etive by the bridge at Coileitir. We then turned left and climbed the slope more or less straight up to Beinn Chaorach. With hindsight, this was probably a mistake - we were fighting our way through head-high bracken for the first 300 - 400m and then it was searching for and following a sucession of deer tracks through the steep granite slabs over tussocky grass and soaking wet moss. Underfoot got slightly drier higher up but it was still a thoroughly unpleasant climb.
Andrew and Jean decided it was not for them
and took themselves off for a low level walk along the river - surely a wise decision.
However the remaining three kept going up the slope to Beinn Chaorach and then we could stride out over the granite pavements to the summit of Stob Coir'an Albannaich. Visibility by now was less than 100m as we were in the cloud. I suspect a better ascent route would be to go SW from the bridge almost to the Allt Mheuran and then climb the slope to Beinn Chaorach. That is still very steep but there are much fewer granite slabs to navigate through.
From Stob Coir'an Albannaich, the route is E along the cliff-top for 500m or so, then down a rocky ramp (gap in the cliffs) to the beallach. There is quite a well-trodden path for this bit. Also, a small cairn at the top of the ramp, which is reassuring. Lots of stags roaring here ! Then over Meall Tarsinn, down again and up to the huge flat-top dome of Meall nan Eun. The cairn, of course, is at the far side of the plateau. There was then more tricky navigation to find a way down to the head of Glen Ceitlein and the long walk out down the glen - long muddy walks at the end of the day are certainly a feature of Glen Etive Munros.
No photos from the high party which sort of sums up the day. Two Munros ticked for those who are into that sort of thing, practice in tricky navigation in poor visibility conditions (The GPS and waypoints from the MunroMagic web site proved very useful, regardless of what the purists say !) and a long, long walk.
A disappointing turn-out - just Andrew, Norman and Ron - for a grand walk in reasonable, if not good conditions. Certainly better than the forecast. The top of Binnein Mor was in cloud but otherwise we were below the cloud-base all day.
took the track from Mamore Lodge and then the well-worn stalker's path up to the lochan between Sgurr Eilde Beag and
Sgurr Eilde Mhor. (Someone has been working on this path recently - it is much drier than it was last time I was
up this way !)
Then Norman headed east to climb Sgurr Eilde Mhor.
Binnein Beg from summit of Sgurr Eilde Mhor.
Andrew and Ron took the marvelous path up to the summit of Sgurr Eilde Beag. This really is a quite exceptional little path, even if it is not shown on the OS map. One gains height in a quite effortless fashion. We then headed east and north along the narrow ridge to the summit of Binnein Mor. Stags were roaring in a spectacular fashion from below us in the corrie between the Binnein's and An Garbanach. We then set off down the NE ridge as it looked to be a more direct route over to Binnein Beag. However, it soon became very loose and steep and , as we could not see the way ahead due to the mist, we decided to climb back up and take the NW ridge down. This is a longer route but soon turns into a gentle grassy slope down to the beallach with the lochans in it.
There was then the steep, rocky climb up to the summit of Binnein Beg, where Norman was patiently waiting on us.
We then came down a steep gully on the NW side of Binnein Beg, directly
towards the Steall meadow in Glen Nevis. No problem crossing the river which was very low and down by the Nevis Gorge
to the car park.
Thanks are due to Gerry for collecting us all at the Glen Nevis road-end and ferrying us round to Ballachulish.
A not very pleasant Saturday morning saw four of us (Andrew, Jean, Rolf and Ron) in the Glencoe car park, debating what to do. It was raining and the wind was obviously pretty strong on the tops. The forecast was for it to get even worse !
We decided to go up from Glencoe, using the Pap of Glencoe path, to the western end of the Aonach Eagach ridge and continue along the ridge as far as Stob Coire Leith. Then descend via a ridge to Caolasnacon, where there is a large camp site, on Loch Leven.
The walk up was, more or less, dry but the ground was absolutely running with water.
When we got on to the ridge, we were in the cloud but the mists came and went and we had some brief and very atmospheric views of Glen Coe with the A82 far below and the Aonach Eagach ahead. We also had a very clear but brief Brocken spectre (no photo !) which was a first for most of us.
By the time we got to Stob Coire Leith the weather had, perhaps surprisingly, improved somewhat and there was a discussion about continuing along the Aonach Eagach. Some of us were keen. Some others, perhaps a bit overawed by their first "up close and personal" view of the famous ridge, were for sticking to the original plan and going down to Loch Leven. In the circumstances, it was decided to stick together and go down to Loch Leven.
The route we took was due north from Stob Coire Leith and started well enough. However, lower down
it became very steep and can not really be recomended. Stuart was kind enough to pick us up in his car when we reached
the "german road" on Loch Leven.
One of the Nevis Hillwalking Club's famous away weekends - the main objective was An Teallach and, in particular, a traverse of its famous ridge. In fact, nobody did the traverse mainly due to the weather which was a mixture of bad and terrible ! Typical "away weekend" weather in fact. Despite this a variety of routes were done:-
Friday. After exploring the Corrieshalloch Gorge, one group did the well-known coastal walk from
Badrallach to Scoraig. The rain stayed off so we did not get wet but the cloud base stayed around
200m all afternoon and we never had the expected view of An Teallach.
In the evening, all gathered for a meal in
the Sail Mhor Croft hostel, in Camusnagel, where some of us were staying. This was very enjoyable and is certainly the
best way to spend a wet night in Dundonnell.
Saturday No improvement in the weather - the cloud base was still down about 200m. However, 6 brave/foolish souls set off up the path opposite the Mountain Rescue base with the intention of climbing the two An Teallach Munros (Bidein a Ghlas Thuill and Sgurr Fiona). Four of us actually reached the two summits - Sgurr Fiona, in particular, turns out to be a very pretty pointed rocky summit. Reputedly, there are precipitous drops down to Loch Toll an Lochan but the mist was such that we could not see a thing ! The unanimous decision was to return by the way we had ascended - finding a way, round the horseshoe, over the Corrag Bhuidhe ridge in the mist would have been just too dangerous.
The other two crossed over into the
big corrie containing Loch Toll an Lochan and explored that. Then descended to the road somewhere near Coire Haille.
The other main party decided it was a day to stay low and, starting from the Gruinard river, walked up to Lochan Gaineamhaich and over to Ardessie, on Little Loch Broom. The waterfalls on the descent to Ardessie are very spectacular, even for Scotland. Mind you, it was the weather for waterfalls. Two people, from this group, made a diversion to take in the Corbett of Sail Mhor.
Sunday Still no improvement in the weather - cloud base even lower than on Saturday. Two did the loch-side walk to Scoraig. Another group decided the weather would be better in the East and set off to do Ben Wyvis. In fact the East Coast weather was pretty similar to the West Coast weather - cloud base around 300m. However, we set off up the new path and up by An Caber where the wind turned out to be ferocious - the usual discussion about how strong it was - 50 mph or what. The 3 km ridge along to the Ben Wyvis summit took about 30 minutes and was really very unpleasant. It then had to be reversed so we got our other side soaked through as well. As expected by now, we never saw a trace of the views over the Moray Firth all day.
A day in the Wild West - over the Corran Ferry and west to Ardnamurchan. No big hills but wide horizons, glorious views and no paths.
We met up at the
Dun Ghallain Forestry Car Park (GR 648606) and set off up the steep slope to Ben Laga, a surprisingly
rocky peak, though the crags were easily avoidable. The heather has turned spectacularly purple in the last week or so
and was most striking throughout the day.
By 11.30, most of us had reached the top and, after a quick bite to eat, descended to Loch Laga (interesting river crossing here !) and up again to Meall nan Each. This is not as high as Ben Laga but is the better viewpoint.
After a leisurely lunch, we then headed south over Leac an Tuairneir and down to the setttlement at Laga.
Everyone then adjourned to Dave and Jenny's place at Glenborrodale for a barbecue. This was very successful - lots to eat and drink. Thanks are due to Dave and Jenny for the trouble they had obviously taken to prepare for this.
Todays hike was done in low cloud and drizzle with the sunshine arriving too late to be of much use. Nine folk turned out. The new path (somewhat quicker and drier) from the North Face car park was used.
At the CIC hut the party split. The more sensible ones opting to put off Ledge Route for a drier day and went for a lower option - the Ben Nevis Inn at Achintee via the Half-Way Lochan.
Alan, Gavin and Ken put sense to one side and did Ledge Route by the upper of the two alternative starts. The scrambling was enjoyable despite the rain. A quick descent from the top was decided on. As they had left their sense behind, they decided on Number 5 Gully. None of the party had done this before and none knew whether it went. It was very loose. Near the bottom the gully became impassable at a jammed boulder. Luckily an escape was possible on the left wall. A very relieved but happy threesome made it to the CIC hut and back to the carpark.
Alan and Andrew
Another trip along Loch Quoich on an excellent day. Ten of
us (Allan and Mary, Andrew and Gerry, Bill, Chris, John and
Rita, John B. and Ron) set off up the old stalkers's path to
Bac nan Canaichean and then up to Sgurr Coire nan
Eiricheallach. We then followed the ridge west to the peak of
Sgurr a'Mhaoraich where we had lunch.
It was busy here as there
were two other groups as well as ours. Bill, John and Rita then
took the descent down the ridge of Leac nan Galdhseich to Loch
Quoich and a short walk along the road.
The rest of us were going to go round the horseshoe and along the Am Bathaich ridge. This involved a steep descent off Sgurr a'Mhaoraich and then scrambling up the other side of the bealach. There were glorious views from here north to Glen Shiel and west to Skye. We finished with a steep descent down the end of Am Bathaich on another stalker's path - this one, however, was long neglected and almost lost among the mud in places. Crossing the Allt Coire an Chaorainn turned out to be a minor excitement.
Then a short walk back to the cars and refreshments at the Tomdoun Hotel.
There are no less than four hills of this name in the list of
Munros. This one was located in the west of the Monadhliath,
above Laggan. Ten people (Andrew and Gerry, Jean, Stuart and
Lydia, Ron, John and Rita, Davina and John) turned out on a day
which, while it was nothing like as bad as some of the weather
forecasts, well fitted the Scots word dreich. There was no
heavy rain but the drizzle was off and on all day.
We left the cars at the Spey dam and took the good track up Glen Markie. The majority then headed straight up the hill to Beinn Sgiath where we met and crossed the featureless plateau to the large cairn marking the summit of Gael Charn. We then descended via the broad ridge above the Piper's Burn. Rita, John and Davina ascended and descended by this route.
The hidden lochan in the corrie is quite impressive.
Otherwise there was little to see though we were informed that
there are good views north over the Monadhliath plateau on a
Garbh Bheinn is probably the best of the very
fine Ardgour Corbetts. It has ample opportunities for climbing
as well as scrambling and hillwalking. Our plan was to complete
the high circuit of the Coire an Iubhair. The weather was "all
over the place" - everyone was repeatedly taking their jacket
off and then putting it back on again.
Eight people (Archie, two Johns, Ron, Stuart and Lydia, Dave and Jenny) set off up the Druim an Iubhair leading to Sgurr Mhic Eacharna, where we had a break for an early lunch.
We then continued to Bheinn Bheag and descended to the bealach at the head of the corrie with the little lochan.
At this point, we were faced with ascending a steep grassy gully to continue the circuit.
The unanimous decision was to leave this for another day and descend down the corrie to the cars. On the face of it, this was partly due to several members struggling with injuries. Also, the wind was getting up to 50 mph in the beallach and was certainly even more on the peak. However, it later emerged that the Tour de France was on the television. Ah well.
I don't know who suggested this walk but he/she must be a bit of a Munro-bagger - Ben Aighenen is a huge lump of granite hidden behind a high beallach. It is quite invisible from any road.
Seven of us - Adri (visitor), Jean,
Norman, Ron, Roy, Stuart and Tom - set off up the path by the
Allt nam Meirteach. There are numerous spectacular water slides
here as the river tumbles down over a succession of granite
slabs. The atmosphere was rather damp from the start and
despite a forecast which promised better things later in the
day, it stayed that way all day. Grey skies, occasional showers
of rain or hail and even more occasional brief spells of
When we reached the beallach, we had our first sight of the day's target - Beinn nan Aighenan. Another hour or so, brought us to the top. A brief lunch stop on the way down and four of us (Norman, Roy, Ron and Tom) decided to take in Glas Bheinn Mhor on the way back. For future reference, the safe way off this summit is due East - score one here for Donald King's navigation course last month !!
The "path" down by the Allt Mheuren proved to be even more boggy than the Allt nam Meirteach path. Got back to the cars around 6.00pm so decided to skip the pub visit.
Obviously not one of our best days (eg last Saturday on Blaven) but it was good to be out on the hills and we got two Munros in the bag !!
Pictures from Jean and Stuart.
Only four people - Steven, Stuart, Rolf and Ron - turned up for the walk today. Archie made an appearance at Spean Bridge but was not walking. The forecast was for a reasonable start to the day but rain later in the afternoon. The programme simply said "Red Cuillin" so we decided on a relatively short walk up one of the most spectacular mountains in Scotland - Blaven.
We left the car in the JMT car park by Loch Slapin and took the path up by the Allt na Dunaiche (pretty gorge with spectacular waterfalls) to the Coire Uaigneich. From there, the path continues all the way up to the North Top of Blaven, becoming increasing stoney with odd bits of easy scrambling.
The views just get better and better as you gain height :-
The Small Isles
Loch Slapin and the Sleat peninsula
The Great Prow
Finally, from the summit itself, you can look across the Strath na Creitheich to the main Cuillin ridge - the most spectacular mountains in Scotland. Stuart claimed to be able to see the entire West Coast from Glasgow, in the south, to Cape Wrath, in the north. Not sure about that but, for sure, the Outer Hebrides were very clear to the North-West. This has to be one of the best viewpoints anywhere in Scotland.
We then scrambled over to the South Top across a gully (a succesion of narrow ledges, just don't look down !) and descended back to the Coire Uaigneich via the SE ridge which is very rocky and loose.
Back in the corrie, as it was his last day with the club for some time, Rolf treated us to a venison goulash which was delicious and has to be a first for Nevis Hillwalkers. For sure, he will be greatly missed. We wish him well wherever the future takes him.
How many restaurants do you know with a view like this ?
Mind you, the seats were a bit hard.
We hurried back down the path and got to the car just as the promised rain was finally starting. A wonderful day on a fantastic mountain.
It was back to the usual summer weather with heavy rain and flooding forecast. However there were grounds for optimism with better conditions expected further West. In addition to the six hardy souls who turned out for these hills, Stuart was driving for Archie and Margaret who had intended to join us for the walk-in, thereafter going on to Alltbeithe YH to explore Glen Affric. Their plans changed with the bad weather and they decided to spend the first day walking in from Morvich, thus reversing their route, so we said farewell to them at Loch Cluanie. Our ascent to A'Chralaig was as usual straight up the steep slope to the ridge at 770m, and once there the cold blast of the North-Easterly wind was felt. Undaunted the six pressed on although doubts were expressed by some about the narrowness of the ridge to Mullach Fraoch-choire with 40 mph gusts. Nevertheless all made both summits before returning via An Caorann Mor to a drying-out session (!) at the Cluanie Inn. For the record, those brave souls were, Alan, Mary, Rolf, Norman, Jean and John Boustead
Photo shows Rolf, Alan and Mary at the summit cairn of Mullach Fraoch - choire
The midsummer picnic was held on Thursday 21 June; a cloudy but dry evening. It was organised by Margaret and went very smoothly. The destination was not revealed until the last minute and was at a bothy she had stayed at but not many others had heard of. 12 people turned up.
As is usually the case, Archie ran the BBQ.
Plenty of food and drink was brought.
Margaret organised activities which some people took part in but most seemed to prefer to chat ,eat and drink.
On leaving Rolf impressed everyone by fording the river back to the road. (a feat Archie had done unseen when arriving). Nobody decided to copy him and everyone else went back over the bridge, a 25 minute walk away.
You get two reports for your money this week ! Don't say Nevis Hillwalkers does not give good value.
We set off rather sharpish due to the fear of being bitten by midges. It stops the long discussions on what we are going to do!! 7 of us started off, Ian, John, Norman, Alan,Susan, John B and myself. Susan and I took up the rear initially as the greyhounds set of. At the start of the climb to Ben Starav, John B and i took the route up the valley not certain what we were going to do. It was a steep ascent t o the beallach but looking back down the valley the water fall was quite breathtaking. We stopped for elevensies half way up the valley, I chose what I thought was a lovely spot but a slip here would have proved fatal I think but the water falls were amazing. Once at the Beallach we decided Glas Bheinn Mhor did not seem very far away at all and we made our way up. It was a pleasant ascent and once on the summit we spotted the others on the ridge on Ben Starav. We stopped for lunch and watched the cloud descend and then lift again and a few times the visibilty was great you could even see the Cuillins in Skye (one of the pics, look closely)We started down and before very long Ian literrally came running towards us and after exchanging pleasantries he set of running down the hill at an amazing pace. The last part of the walk was very boggy and not very pleasant after such a clean day!!! The others soon caught us up and we all arrived back at the cars at more or less the same time. The weather stayed dry as we all made our way back to Marion and Ian's for a superb BBQ. The food was great although the midges were enjoying us just as much. A great day and what a lovely way to finish it. It was also nice to catch up with some people I have not seen for a while.
A total of 10 walkers appeared for this outing, with Stuart and Lydia opting for a low level walk along Loch Etive, and Archie doing his own thing, walking from Glen Etive to Glencoe, via Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean nam Bian. The others opted for the conventional approach to Starav, despite the programme suggesting that an alternative and more scenic approach would be from the Allt Coire na Ladach. Before too long Jean & John Brittain decided that a walk up the Allt nam Meirleach would be adequate exercise, but subsequently they pressed on and reached the summit of Glas Bheinn Mhor, where they were able to check the progress of the others on Starav silhouetted against the skyline. The remaining 5 ( Ian, Norman, Susan, Alan and new member John from Oban) soon reached the summit of Starav, but it was cloud covered so walked on for lunch at a lesser altitude, just before the col leading to Glas Bheinn Mhor. It was a pity there had been some cloud, as the ridge between the two hills was really interesting, but it still made for an enjoyable walk, with a wee bit of minor scrambling for short stretches, if desired. On the descent from Glas Bheinn Mhor, it all worked out beautifully, as it so often does on Nevis walks, with the 7 being re-united and reaching the cars at the same time. Just time for a quick tidy up before tackling the delights of Ian and Marion's barbecue feast at Cala Sona.
Aonach Mor is a "local" hill, situated between Fort William and Spean Bridge, and one of the 4000 footers. Despite this, it does not seem to be very popular with hill-walkers. This is probably because the northern slopes are littered with the chair-lifts and other equipment of the Nevis Range ski resort - all pretty unsightly, at this time of year, when the snow has gone. The plan, therefore, was to ascend via Stob an Cul Choire on the remote and rarely-visited east side.
We assembled in the Nevis Range gondola car park and set off along the forestry road in the direction of Leanachan. But at "Intake 8" (a small dam to trap the water and divert it to the aluminium plant generators), we left the road and climbed up through the forest. Then over a rather awkward deer fence (barbed wire !) and out on to the open hill. The route was straight up to Tom na Sroine. From there, we followed the ridge over Stob an Cul Choire and up onto Aonach Mor itself. The only difficulty was an enormous and very steep snow-field which covered the path and disappeared down into the mist below us, where it seemed to end at the top of a cliff. Definitely not a good place to slip ! However, there was a narrow gap between the top of the snow and the rock-face above so we scrambled up this and up onto the ridge where we rejoined the path.
Unfortuneately, the cloud was quite low so we only got glimpses of the Cul Choire through the mist. However, that was enough to convince us all of its spectacular nature. Definitely, worth another visit on a clear day. There was a large herd of deer (maybe around 100) in the heart of the corrie, far below us. We disturbed several ptarmigan on the ridge, in the neighbourhood of Stob an Cul Choire.
Six people (Allan, Jean, John, Margaret, Ron, Sharyn) completed the route. Two more (Archie and Stuart) turned up at Nevis Range to say hello but, due to various injuries, did not go up the mountain. Mary met us on the descent.
The walk listed in the club programme was the "Forcan Ridge" but the wind was much too strong for exposed tops and was forecast to get stronger as the afternoon wore on. However, it was decided to drive up to Glen Shiel and "give it a go". It turned out to be a day of three ridge walks -
The A'Mhuing ridge running west towards Shiel Bridge.
The Forcan Ridge and the Saddle by the back door.
The Faochag Ridge.
People - 14 in all - were spread all over the mountains, possibly blown there by the very strong winds. Everyone (well, most) went up to the bealach south of Biod an Fhithich.
there, one party decided to explore the A'Mhuing ridge which
led west to Shiel Bridge. For three of them (Dave, Lydia and
Stuart) this had been on the 'to do' lists for a long time, and
Jean was just ready for an easier day after the rigours of last
week's walk. This proved to be every bit as good as Archie and
Margaret had reported from their traverse some months before -
wonderful views on a tough little ridge.
A party of three (Alan, Alan and Ron) decided to sneak round the back of The Saddle, and try to take the wind by surprise. They climbed up the usual descent path. Then decided the wind was not that bad and followed a "short cut" of Alan's up a steep, grassy gully to arrive on the Forcan Ridge just below the infamous drop-off on the Forcan Ridge. From there, they followed the upper part of the ridge to the summit of the Saddle where they were surprised to find Bill sitting just below the OS pillar and finishing his lunch! Having arrived at the start early, and thinking we had decided not to come because of the weather, he had set off on his own.
Meanwhile Archie, Margaret, John Boustead and a visitor (Brad) from Canada were ascending the north-east ridge of Faochag - there must have been some reason for this !! They found it very windy and Margaret was blown off her feet as they made their way down via Bealach Coire Mhalagain and the usual Forcan Ridge descent path.
John and Rita settled for a day out of the worst of the wind, and followed the usual path to the foot of the Forcan Ridge, and then made their way down to the Alt Coire Mhalagain.
A good day all round - with surprisingly good views. Another case of us not letting a bad forecast get in the way of having a good day on the hills.
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain is the shapely mountain on the left-hand side of Loch Shiel as seen from the Glenfinnan monument. This is one of the "standard" views of the Highlands, often appearing on shortbread packets and the like. It is not a Munro, being only 849m high. This may be why some of the better-known Munro-baggers, in the club, did not turn out? Or possibly they just did not fancy the weather forecast which included snow and a warning of blizzards on the tops ? Anyway, 11 people (including one visitor) gathered at the Callop car-park and set off along the private road beside Loch Shiel.
At Guesachan cottage, we left the road and headed off up beside the Allt Coire Ghiubhsachain for a mile or so and then traversed left on to the fine NE ridge of Sgurr Ghiubhsachain, avoiding the precipitous lower part. This ridge has a lot of exposed rock (Moine schist, giving excellent friction for climbing and lots of big, chunky footholds) so there were ample scrambling opportunities for those who are that way inclined.
Or indeed not !
The route then continued over several ups and down (all very rocky and lots more scrambling) to the summit and lunch. Because of the recent wet weather, the air was extraordinarily clear and the views were fantastic. We could easily pick out the Paps of Jura to the south and the Outer Hebrides further north.
The Skye Cuillin looked close enough to touch !
Note the snow glistening on the Ben Nevis summit plateau at the far end of Cona Glen.
We then continued our walk round the rim of the Coire Ghiubhsachain to the day's second Corbett summit - Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn and the long walk (Well, it seemed to go on for ever !) over Meall na Cuartaige and down the ridge to the Allt na Cruaiche glen (very attractive pine wood here) and the muddy path back to Callop.
All in all, one of the best days we have had this year and two lessons (which we all ought to know already) -
the Munro-bagging game is a nonsense - you miss some of the best hills, specifically the Ardgour Corbetts.
in Scotland, don't stay in bed just because the weather forecast is bad - you have to go out and see what the weather is really like.
Terrible weather forecast - only four people turned up for the walk. Perhaps the club members are getting soft after the long spell of lovely weather!! The Nevis Hillwalkers are not put off by a bit of bad weather, however - so what if it is lashing rain and gales - we can do something lower. So the intrepid four set off along Loch Arkaig to check out rumours of a hidden waterfall on the River Mallie.
We started at the Chia Aig Falls, which were in fine form - tumbling and roaring after the heavy rain.
Then we walked along the loch to the Inver
Mallie bothy - where we were offered a dram to drink and a fire
to dry ourselves at by the large party in residence.
Spurning this kind offer we headed upstream, with a bit of
wading, and went across the new bridge built from old wood, and
up past the little suspension bridge, and on to about 0.5 km
before the ruin.
Then back by the river to look at the trees and (when we managed to find them) the wonderful falls of water, which were really spectacular and in spate.
Bluebells everywhere, looking magical in the sun (when it shone).
Finally, we managed to get a single view of Gulvain - what a long walk that was when we traversed it from Glen Mallie. It was a good alternative to being blown off the hills - and some fine waterfalls found to brighten the day.
In the topsy-turvy world of people living in the Highlands, these hills which are among the most accessible for people living in the Central Belt, are relatively remote and involve a long car journey. Despite that, and a not particularly promising weather forecast, 8 people turned out. As might be expected, this is the land of motorway-type paths and lots of people on the hill. Maybe just as well, in hind sight, as 6 of the 8 people present had signed up for the club navigation course next month so, presumably, felt their navigation skills are lacking !
The clouds came and went all day. We got a brief view from the top of Ben Vorlich but saw nothing from the top of Stuc a'Chroin. However, we only really got caught in one brief rain shower so can't complain.
View of the path up Ben Vorlich from Loch Earn
pictures of the group at the trig point on Ben Vorlich - for
Munro baggers, the summit is at a large cairn 100m further
A misty halt on the summit of Stuc a'Chroin.
Looking back at the descent route from Stuc a'Chroin.
So, how is life without the "A Team" (Andrew, Archie,...) ? Well nobody got lost and several of us clearly enjoyed the more leisurely pace. On the other hand, it was a very long day - after 8.00pm before we got back to Fort William which is probably too late. Mind you, it was the best part of a two hour car journey each way. Maybe just a bit too far, even for the long days of May ?
One of the classic Lochaber walks. Start from the top car park in Glen Nevis, ascend the Nevis gorge, then the circuit of Coire a Mhail - the large, rarely-visited corrie which drains into the Steal meadow via the famous Steal Bhan waterfall, finishing at Achriabhach.
First however, there
is the infamous wire bridge to cross. Though some of us (less
brave or perhaps we just had fewer points to make) simply
walked across the river!
Then, the long climb up the zig-zag path to the
summit of An Gearanach (the first Munro of the day) where we
had the first of several lunch stops. The views over to Ben
Nevis and An Binnein Mor from here are spectacular.
A narrow, and decidedly scrambley, ridge follows over the second top of the day- An Garbhanach. The descent from this looks, and is, very steep and rocky. Next comes another zig-zag path up to Stob Coire a Chairn (another lunch stop !).
A pleasant stroll along a section of the main
Mamores ridge is followed by a steep and loose climb
(scrambling practice !) up to Am Bodach and the final lunch
stop. The main ridge continues on to Sgor an Iubhair.
From here, the splendidly-named Devil's Ridge (more scrambling practice and definitely not a good place to trip !) crosses to the final, and highest, top of the day - Sgurr a Mhaim. Most of us then descended the long zig-zag path down to the Lower Falls (and our knees are still hurting). However Andrew and Rolf found some obscure route down by the Steall waterfall.
In all, nine people did the complete "Ring" with a total ascent of around 1800m and another three did shorter routes.
Back to the glorious weather of a few weeks ago - the sun hats were well in evidence today. Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne is the big ridge prominent from the A82 in Glencoe, north of the Three Sisters. The plan was to go straight up the nose, along the ridge to Stob an Fhuarain and ascend the Munro, Sgor na h-Ulaidh (peak of the treasure). One group however elected to climb Meall Lighiche (the doctor's hill) instead. They had a good day but no-one has sent me any pictures. The larger group, however, stuck to the plan and found a way up the nose. They then had a pleasant walk along to Stob an Fhuarain and Sgor na h-Ulaidh. The usual descent from there, is via the north-west ridge, which is wide and grassy. As to be expected with this lot, that was soon ruled out and we split into two groups for the descent - one descended the east ridge of Stob an Fhuarain which has several rocky steps which have to be scrambled over, and the other descended north to the Bealach Easan. There is a good path at the start of this but, in typical Glencoe fashion, the path stops at the top of a cliff ! Undaunted (well, maybe just a little bit), we threaded our way down through the crags and reached the bealach without incident.
John proudly displays the first tick of the season.
Approaching the summit of Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne after the big climb.
West face of Stob Coire nam Beith from Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne
Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Meall na Lighiche from Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne
Heading down the east ridge of Stob an Fhuarain
Ian descending from Stob an Fhuarain
As has been the case with several recent club weekends, the forecast was not good so two groups set off on the Friday in an attempt to get something done before the weather broke. One group climbed Ben Damph, a very fine Corbett on the south of Upper Loch Torridon, and the other had a hair-raising time on Beinn Dearg which is the joint highest Corbett and may even be a Munro (See the recent BBC report .) The descent on the side facing Liathach, in particular, is not for the faint-hearted.
Next day, as forecast, the cloud was down to 200 or 300m so we decided to do the well-known coastal walk from Wester Alligin to Diabeg. Even with the low cloud-base the views across Loch Torridon were exellent. The walk started out on what appeared to be an old track but that petered out (or we lost it) and we found ourselves threading our way through sheer cliffs and steep gullies. Definitely not the lazy walk along the sea-shore which we had been promised ! The final descent down to Diabeg, in particular, will be long-remembered.
On Sunday, the clouds were still down and nobody was very keen to try for the tops so we drove round to the Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve and we all trooped round the Mountain Trail with recitations from the booklet.
(Thanks, Margaret !).
This is a palmate newt - well it is a nature reserve !
Probably not the usual Club outing but an amusing time was had by all and we avoided the rain which we discovered later was tipping down on the other side of the mountain in Glen Torridon.
Finally, I must mention the food which was consumed. On Friday evening, in the SYHA hostel, Rolf prepared one of his banquets which was very memorable and, on Sunday afternoon, in Diabeg, we had afternoon tea.
The weather was not so good today as a cold front was moving through Scotland. It was dull and clouds covered the tops for some of the day. However, we did not actually get rained on, so no great complaints on that score. This was a more strenuous outing than some of those we have had recently. Stob Ghabar, in particular, is probably the finest mountain in the Black Mount group, its pointed summit being at the hub of multiple ridges which provide excellent walking routes above deep corries.
As usual we split into several groups - one did the complete round of the Coire Toaig, climbing up the zig-zag stalkers' path to the top of Stob a'Choire Odhair, then down to the bealach and a first view down into the Coirein Lochain - without doubt a very atmospheric place with the little lochan at the bottom of the deep corrie.
There was then a steep haul up a loose scree slope to get onto the Aonach Eagach ridge which we followed to the summit of Stob Ghabhar. We then descended by the Man nan Sac and picked up the track, via Clashgour, back to Victoria Bridge. With hindsight, it might have been better to shorten the day by coming down the Coire na Muic?
Another group followed the above route to the bealach, then descended the excellent path down the Coire Toaig. Yet another climbed the whole length of the Aonach Eagach and joined the circuit at the summit of Stob Ghabhar. I believe everyone reached the summit of at least one of the two Munros, so a successful day was had by all, on that score at that least.
The weather is still fine and some people are beginning to say this might be the start of a great summer. Certainly, it has been a remarkably dry spell for the time of year. These two hills are a notoriously boggy outing but there were no complaints on that score today - the peat was dry and springy. Beautiful walking. There was a good turn out of 18 people (including two visitors) and a range of routes were done, all starting and finishing at the car park in Fersit. Some walked up to the lochan hidden in the heart of the corrie but the majority did the high round of the corrie taking in both Munros. Stob Coire Sgriodan is steep and has some craggy bits, especially on the Loch Treig side. Chno Dearg is a huge round grassy hump. Both hills have glorious views, especially to the south and east. We could see the Mamores (lots of snow on Binnein Mor), Glencoe, Schiehallion and, closer to hand, the Beinn Eibhinn and Ben Alder group - now they look like an interesting few days - big, craggy hills, miles from anywhere. We encountered a few large patches of spring snow on the descent from Chno Dearg and some amusement was had here. Some then finished by descending over Meall Chaorach and Creag Dhubh but majority of us just strolled down the middle of the corrie.
We then all met up at the Stronlossit Inn and sat outside in the late afternoon sun. (Yup, this really is Scotland in April!)
This is the view down Loch Treig from the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain.
Lunch-time on Stob Coire Sgriodain
And a view, across the corrie, of Chno Dearg.
Yet another glorious day - already the gales and driving rain of the winter seem a distant memory. We parked the cars next to the historic tower at Achaladair farm.(Click here for some of the dark and bloody story.) and set off up Coire Achaladair. (For future reference, the track on the east side of the burn is much the better !) There are several excellent waterfalls here. At the top of the corrie, we split into two groups - one intending to traverse both Munros and the other intending to return by Coire Achaladair after reaching Beinn Achaladair only. The views were wonderful in all directions - Ben Nevis and Ben Lomond were easily identified and there were several discussions regarding the identity of the many other tops which could be picked out. The summit of Beinn Achaladair is a marvellous situation right on the edge of a precipice. We had lunch here with our feet resting on the cornice out over the drop. ( Well, some of us did !) The traverse over to Beinn a'Chreachain turned out to be rather more "interesting" than expected, with a steep descent involving several scrambley sections, and then a steep slog up a stoney slope. We then descended the narrow ridge to the east of Lochan a'Chreachain (several stretches of frozen snow to negotiate) and down by the Crannach Wood and finished with a gentle riverside walk along the Water of Tulla. Remarkably, both parties arrived back at the cars within 5 minutes of each other !
A wonderful day of the kind you remember years later. A great hill and a beautiful spring day. The forecast had mentioned a temperature inversion and we did not quite manage to get above the boundary so there was a hazey look to the hills though we could see for miles. On Streap (909 m altitude), we were in the haze but the higher tops were above it. Ben Nevis, in particular, looked unreal.
We split up into (at least) three groups which tacked routes of varying length and difficulty, though we almost all met up for lunch at the summit.
Here is a view of the famous "knife edge" ridge which leads up to the summit. Actually, there is a well-trodden path all the way, so it nothing like as frightening as it looks from below.
This is looking back down the ridge.
Lunch stop at the summit cairn.
That one is Ben ????? Looking back on a great hill.
Various views from high up on Streap
Notice the ghostly Ben Nevis with the snow- and ice-covered plateau glistening in the sun, in the next image.
Once again a dreadful forecast, with blizzards, gale force winds and zero visibility. We prudently decided that the through route from Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis via the Stob Ban summit was not on. Even just hopping over the bealach would not have been sensible if the promised northerly wind shift chose that moment to pick up. Eleven folk turned out and we decided to push a route through the deep glen cut by the Allt na h'Eilde, with its impressive waterfalls and gorges. All the burns were in fine form. The rain soon turned to lying snow. This made picking out a route more difficult. Negotiating some steep rocky ground eventually forced us up to the pipeline. Returning to the river bank, we followed it to the little dam at Loch Eilde Mor. There's bound to be a way through following the gorge all the way. Must try it again sometime. Headed down the NW flank of Meall an Doire Dharaic to the Ice Factor for hot drinks/beers etc. and a blether. (Archie, Andrew, Alan, Ron, Mary, Gerry, Margaret, Jennifer, Big John, Stuart, Tom)
We left the cars at the Dorusduain car park and crossed over to Glen Elchaig via an old path to the west of Carn an Cruitneachd. We then returned, via the path through the gorge of the Allt a Ghlomaich and past the Falls of Glomach. Then back to the car park over the Bealach na Sroine. The gorge (and the path!) are very spectacular - several people remarked that they were reminded of treks in the Himalayas, give or take four thousand feet. Here are some images. However, they really don't do justice to the gorge.
A wonderful day of winter sunshine. Excellent visibility - we could see as far as the Skye Cuillin (around 40 miles) quite clearly. There was a little frozen snow near the top of Gleouriach but almost none on Spidean Mialach.
Here are some pictures -