Here are some comments and images from some of our recent walks. 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.)
This page contains reports and pictures for 2010 and 2011 walks only. Older walks can be found here.
A dark December morning saw 8 people (Andrew, Andrew and Gerry, Alan and Mary, John, Milena and Ron) in the Glenachulish car park. This was completely covered in thick ice and was seriously dangerous ! We all got our boots on and gingerly made our way across to the snow-covered track. Probably the most scary bit of the day !
We took a new path (well, new to me.) which led us up through the forest and on to the col. The conditions were excellent - deep powder snow until we got close to the col where the snow became icy due to the wind. Crampons and ice axes were donned. Everyone, except Andrew and Ron, made it to the summit of Sgorr Dhearg. Alan also did Sgorr Dhonuill.
Refreshments were taken in the Ballachulish Hotel.
Things were a bit difficult this weekend - the A82 was closed near the Corran Ferry so splitting the club in two and, following the storm on Thursday, many members were without power so had no access to the Internet or phones. Nonetheless, some people did succeed in getting out -
I was the coordinator for the day, and had arranged to meet members going direct to the start at 0915. There was nobody at Glencoe for 0830, and nobody was expected from the north because the A82 was closed. Gerry and I set off for Glen Orchy, noting that there was no mobile phone coverage anywhere on the way. The weather was dry and cold with mist patches coming and going. The rising sun lit the summits of Clach Leathad and Meall Meall a'Bhuridh as we crossed Rannoch moor, portending a fine winter's day in the hills. Descending to Bridge of Orchy we ran into fog, and the Glen Orchy road was covered in virgin snow, some inches deep. Unwilling to press on to the scheduled start, we waited in a lay-by a short distance away hoping that a member would arrive in a more suitable vehicle.
Nobody came. Obviously no one would be able to contact me by phone, so we went back up to the clear weather on Rannoch Moor and set off up Meall Mor and Meall Beag. This was easy going on frozen ground and the temperature remained below zero all day. These two humble hills afford fantastic views over the Moor and of the bigger hills in a 360 degree panorama.
We eventually carried on, descending southwest to meet the WHW, which we followed northwards to Ba Cottage ruins. Here a path consisting mainly of frozen bog led us eastwards to an almost deserted A82 and a 30 minute stroll back to the car. About 15 Km all round. What did other members do on such a good winter day? Lets have a look at your photos!
As the A82 was closed, those in the Fort William area couldn't join the planned hike at Bridge of Orchy. So 3 of us (Alan, Mary and Gavin) with a guest decided on a alternative hike. We went up Streap from the A830. This was a lovely day out. The ridge from the mast was constantly interesting, the views excellent and the snow firm. The full circuit was done. We returned past the burnt bothy in Glen Dubh Lighe and it looked as though it might be repaired.
The first winter walk of the season! Although only three, Les, Ralph and I, turned out as road conditions were not good. When Ralph and I left Oban, it was fine, but with a couple of lightning flashes. As we came to the higher ground after Dalmally, it snowed, and it was lying on the road, but not thickly, so we carried on. Tyndrum and Crianlarich were OK, and on to Loch Lomond side, the snow vanished--well nearly. After a clear bit of road, we came to an area of slush, that another car had discoved too late, and had bounced off the rock face at the side of the road. At Succoth, we met Les, who informed us that he would not manage to do all of the walk, as he had a social engagement at 2pm.
On crossing the road, we started steeply up the path, that was more like a burn. Having got past the concrete slabs, we reached the first of the snow. The weather was perfect, with sunshine and great views down Loch Long. We continued upwards, dodging the crags and sometimes losing the path in the snow. The wind was becoming stronger and spindrift became a problem. Then we lost the views and it started to snow. At about 12 noon, Les decided it was time to withdraw, so Ralph and I continued ourselves. We could see an RAF airsea rescue helicopter flying about the area, and wondered if they were on an exercise.
With about 100 metres of height to go, we stopped for a break and to assess the position. We could see the last rocky and exposed climb, and with the snow, ice and strong, gusting wind, we decided that Beinn Narnain would have to wait for another day. Descending, we used our ice-axes, but did not need crampons (and I got to use my snow goggles for the first time!). Strangely, going down, the snow was probably twice as deep as going up. About half way down, we met four guys who were, in fact on an exercise with the helicopter, searching for a "John Smith"! They had walked in, but two other teams had been dropped on the hill by the chopper, and they did not expect to be off the hill before dark.
After an uneventful final descent, we retired to the Inverarnan (Drovers') Inn, where we phoned Les to confirm that we were off the hill.
The forecast was awful and turned out to be accurate - 80mph winds on the summits and driving rain all day, cloud base 300m. Only Roy, Andrew and Gerry turned out. Beinn Iaruin was an unattractive prospect under these conditions but the River Roy in spate looked interesting.
We walked along the track from Brae Roy Lodge, over the Turrret Bridge and on along the north side of the river. I managed to take some pictures with a waterproof camera. The track was flooded in places and we had to jump across many swollen tributaries. The water everywhere was moving at an impressive speed, the waterfalls a splendid sight. Returned for an early finish at the Stronlossit Inn.
As the eleven of us, nine members and two guests, walked up the Hydro board road towards Loch Sloy dam, we almost inevitably split into two groups. Andrew, Gerry, Iain, Michelle (guest) and Les left the road before Sarah, Milena (guest), Ralph, Ian, Sue and me, to take to the steep and craggy hillside. The tops were in cloud, and the route was awkward in places, having to negotiate around and through the many crags.
On reaching the trig point near the summit, we were met by several other groups, all apparently having taken different routes up, and none of us knowing the best way down. We met our other group at the summit a few metres from the trig point, and after a break, headed back down on a clear path. This path remained clear all the way down, and although we didn't get any views at the summit, there were many on the way down. We ended up about one km from the dam on the Hydro board road, which we then followed back to Inveruglas, and coffee at the tea room.
The forecast was not good - low cloud and drizzle. Just 4 met at Glencoe car park, Andrew G., Gerry, Sarah and Michelle (visitor). No one from the Fort again. It was a pleasant surprise to find 6 - from Oban, John Burton, Ian, Ian, Sue and Milena (visitor), and Les from Milngavie, waiting at the start at Inveruglass.
We set off up the well surfaced track at a brisk pace. Some of us headed straight up a steep couloir between crags. I recognised the terrain from a previous visit. It seemed no time at all before we were at the long undulating summit ridge where a substantial path materialised. The cloud came and went, giving some good views at times, especially of the fine architecture of this hill. The industrialisation of waterworks and power lines was almost invisible, far below and nearly hidden by the steepness of the west flank. We were first at the summit even though we had stopped for a bite earlier. The steep direct route is nearly always the most efficient when one is fresh in the morning. The remainder of our party arrived along with several others. The sun made a brief appearance and some looked in vain for Brocken spectres in the cloud-filled eastern corrie. We decided to follow the good path all the way down, just to find out which way the Munro baggers come up. It takes a meandering diagonal route down the west flank, rather eroded and boggy in places, but the aspect is quite striking. However, I think it would be tedious at times as a route of ascent.
Dry all day until the last few hundred yard. (It's always worth turning out).
The forecast was for dry weather, some cloud on the hills, windy but improving throughout the day. I was surprised to find nobody at St. Brides. Gerry and I drove to the start, opposite the Cruachan Power Station Visitor Centre, where John Burton and Ian were waiting.
The path climbs abruptly from the roadside and it seemed no time at all before the dam was in view ahead. We met a lady called Milena who asked if she could walk with us. The five of us continued on the lochside track then climbed up the steep path to a col. The cloud base was down on the col but seemed to be rising steadily, so we turned north optimistically and continued the steep ascent to the main summit.
We never reached clear out of the cloud but there was warm sunshine breaking through, and Brocken Spectres dancing in the mists swirling on the leeward aspects. For a short November day, the round of the main corrie eastwards risked us finishing in the dark. Instead we followed the ridge westwards to the Taynuilt Peak, then traversed across Coire a'Bhachaill below its headwall slabs, and returned to the col, thence retracing our steps back to the cars. Another great dry day on a big hill.
Nine members, plus one guest, turned out on this fine sunny but cold morning - John, Alan, Andrew, Gerry, Ron, Roy, Margaret, Martine, Ken and Eleanor (guest). We set off along the Lairig from the Corriechoille track and paid our respects to the "wee minister" as we passed. At the far side of the forest, Andrew, Gerry, John, Alan, Roy and Margaret headed up Stob Coire na Ceannain via the series of ledges whilst Ron, Martine, Ken and Eleanor continued along the track to the bothy at the foot of Stob Ban. We sat outside the bothy and enjoyed the sunshine before heading across the very boggy path to the bridge over the Allt a Chuil Choirean to join the path up the ridge to Stob Ban. Though cold at the top, we enjoyed spectacular views. Martine continued over Stob Choire Claurigh and met up with the others. Ron, Ken and Eleanor descended down the scree to join the path on the North side of Allt a Chuil Choirean to return to the bothy and walk out. Everyone met up again on the Lairig path and we had a convivial "pint" in the Commando bar in Spean Bridge to round off a fine day out.
A good day. First for about a month. Some fog in the glens (always a good omen) with blue sky and sun above. 10 of us piled into two cars for the short trip up the rough track, to park at the puggy line. Stob Ban was on the programme but some folk wanted to do another outlier, Stob Coire Ceannain, by a direct route. We walked together to the high point of the track. By this time, everyone had decided what route they would do. Ken (coordinator), Martine, Ron and Eleanor (visitor) carried on to the bothy and Stob Ban. Andrew G., Margaret, John Burton, Gerry, Alan McG. and Roy headed up the steep ground to the west.
Gaining height quickly on waterlogged ground between rocky outcrops and slabs, we were soon on the rim of a small corrie, deep in shadow but with a clear view of the adjacent sunlit Cruach Innse and Sgurr Innse. The Easains had a cap of cloud but much of the surrounding countryside was bathed in sunshine. Loch Laggan was covered in fog. The way upward was even steeper but stony and drier underfoot. This was exposed and would be quite interesting if iced or snow covered. The route eventually narrowed to a well defined ridge leading to the shapely summit of Stob Coire Ceannain.
Roy and I decided to go on up to Stob Coire Claurigh and met Martine coming over from Stob B an. We all descended northwards over Stob Coire Gaibhre and Ruigh na Gualainn. A splendid day in good weather, covering new ground in otherwise well known territory.
Streap was on the programme for this walk, but with low cloud and wet, windy conditions (again!) we decided on a low level walk to Loch Beoraid instead. Alan, Mary, Andrew and Ken set off from Arienskill, along the boggy path towards the Loch. The best part of the walk was the lovely decent through the woods towards the western end of the Loch. Alan found the likely Prince Charlie's Cave set into the crags around here. We then descended to the bridge and hydro station and had a break before continuing along the north side of the Loch for a while. However, the path marked on the OS map is very faint and with the rain and wind increasing we decided to return via the same route rather than continue to the Eastern end and face a possible difficult river crossing. The day was rounded off with tea in the Lochailort Hotel before returning home. Let's hope the weather improves soon!
The forecast was not good - southerly gales, low cloud and rain later. Never the less eight members (Sarah, Alan, Mary, Ken, Gerry, Sue, Ralph, John) and a guest (Akal) met at Glencoe, keen to attempt the programmed walk. It was dry, and as we drove through Glencoe and Glen Etive we were surprised to see the cloud above the summits. We set off in good spirits up a steep path through the birch forest. It was hard going and we stopped for elevenses where the ground was less steep. Then on over easier ground to the summit where we even caught a fleeting glance of the sun through the cloud. It was much better than any of us had expected, and the wind was not a problem, so we headed on down the east ridge. Soon a small cairn marks the top of the path heading north to the col, turning east again over Meall Tarsuinn and on to Meall nan Eun. The two munros are remarkably different in character, and by this time the cloud was down over the wide flat summit so we had no view. A steep descent north west took us to Glen Ceitlein where we followed a very wet path back to the cars. A long day, but a very enjoyabe one.
We were surprised to start the walk in decent weather--dry, but dull, with little wind. On Alan's suggestion, we went straight up from the track to Beinn Chaorach. It was hard work, firstly through the wood and then up the steep hill. But it did cut the corner off and save time, which, with the days becoming shorter, was always going to be a factor. And bad weather was supposed to be coming in later. There were nine on the walk, including one potential(?) member, Iakel (sorry if I have got the spelling wrong). He is from Valencia in Spain. The others were Sarah, Gerry, Sue, Alan, Mary, Ken, Ralph and lastly (most of the time) me.
Moving on from Beinn Chaorach, which is just a blip on the ridge, we headed into the mist to the summit of Stob Coir' an Albannaich, where we met a group of four who had left the car park just after us. Light rain had started, (as forecast) but it was OK.
Descending east down the ridge, we came out of the mist to see wide-ranging views of the surrounding hills and Glen Kinglass (Ben Starav was in the cloud all day). After a break part way down the steep descent to the col, we made our way up the rounded, but slabby Meall Tarsuinn, and then up the equally rounded Meall nan Eun, our second Munro of the day.
After another break, we descended through the mist and rain using all the navigational aids of compass, map and GPS. The route was steep in places, but always wet and slippy, with some slabby sections to negotiate round. Coming out of the mist, we could see our way down to the River Etive. Unfortunately, the rain was constant, but the few burns that we had to cross proved easy. We arrived back at the cars with about half an hour of daylight left.
Andrew G., Gerry, John Burton and Les assembled at the Woollen Mill. The steady rain and southerly wind were not expected to abate before dusk and nobody fancied doing the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. A good day for doing something new (for the four of us at least), and lower. We left a car at Torlundy before going to the Upper Falls car park to do the through route linking Coire Giubhsachan and Coire Daim. This would be about 8 miles and no higher than 830m. Not much above the cloud base.
The Nevis Gorge was resplendent in autumn colours, and a cacophony of running water. With a good lift form the southerly breeze we ascended into Coire Giubhsachan, grand hanging valleys in tandem. It was wadingly wet underfoot, especially in the more level sections. The scalloped ridge of Meall Cumhann seemed isolated and stark against the grey background of the rain marching up Glen Nevis. Over the col and descending into the long valley of Coire Daim, the river snaked northwards, boiling white into the distance. We took the left bank,expecting it to be impossible to ford further downstream. The glacier-polished slabs on the right glistened in the driving rain, every groove bearing a waterfall. The three high corries on the left each disgorged a swollen river that had to be carefully crossed. Further down we came to an intake for the Alcan waterworks which we could have used to cross the river easily. (The dams are clearly marked on the 1:25K map). Negotiating the forest to reach Torlundy was a puzzle at times due to the proliferation of cycle tracks not shown on the O.S. map.
A splendid day's walking, reminiscent of earlier times when a good number of members would always turnout, simply to enjoy the hills and the company, whatever the weather.
The waterfall at the start of the walk was extremely impressive, as there had been a fair amount of rain before, and would be throughout the day. The rather boring walk up through the forest was brightened up by the sight of a red squirrel performing in the trees. On leaving the forest, it could be seen that the hill tops were all in cloud ( it was still raining!). Having crossed the bridge, there were more waterfalls to enjoy, and then the fairly steep climb up to the summit of Meall na h-Eilde. The southerly wind helped the ascent, but on the rounded summit was not very pleasant, and the small cairn provided no respite. So it was decided to shorten the walk and just to return the same way. On the way down, two ptarmigan in semi-winter plumage were disturbed, but the rain stopped, and then started again just after reaching the car.
This was my first hill walk after an enforced break of three months, and I was disappointed at the poor turn-out (I was the only one!).
A "walk" with a difference !
Jean, Ann, Liz and Ken attended the club weekend in Dumfries and Galloway. This is prime mountain biking country and, with one of the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Trails on the doorstop of our accommodation at Urr Lodge we decided on a cycling day on Saturday.
Despite the poor forecast the rain kept off and we enjoyed an excellent cycle through Dalbeattie forest. A classic moment occurred when we all jumped off our bikes and into the ditch so as not to impede a host of junior cyclists on a cycle race event - only then, to see the racers veer off onto a different track as they approached!
The half way stage of our journey took us to the coast (Rockcliffe) - for an ice cream and a paddle (Jean) in the warm hazy sunshine. An excellent day out.
On Sunday, Liz and Ken headed off for a more conventional hill walk on Merrick - the highest hill in southern Scotland. However, with heavy rain and mist down to car park level a substitute walk round Loch Trool seemed more appropriate. The mist didn't lift but the rain reduced and we enjoyed a pleasant walk - which included a history lesson on a famous Robert the Bruce victory in the battle at Glen Trool, 1307.
Six members met at Achallader farm. It was dry but the forecast was for worsening weather and increasing wind. We decided to do the route clockwise and tackle the river crossing before the rain arrived. The "path" through Crannoch wood was extremely boggy, as was the path following the river up to Lochan a'Chreachain. An impressive corrie and a first visit for most of us. We could see the cloud being whipped along the summit ridge above us, but carried on anyway having already come so far. Gerry and Liz had second thoughts when we crested the ridge and met the wind. They returned to the corrie. Andrew, Ken, Iain and Ralph continued to the summit and then beat a retreat. Beinn Achaladair would have to wait for another day. The rain arrived as promised, the bogs became even worse and of course, we had to wade the river to get back to the cars.
Gerry apologised for there not being any photos - nobody wanted to drown their camera ! She suggested that we have a standard club picture of a boggy path or driving rain for such occasions. Perhaps we should have a competition for the "wettest-looking" picture ?
Andrew, Gerry and Gavin travelled over to Glen Shiel with not much enthusiasm as the forecast was not great. For once the "Cluanie curtain" worked in our favour. We left behind the grey skies and entered the land of sunshine! Ralph had travelled up the previous day and met us at the start.
A short time later Gavin and Ralph headed off to the Munro Creag nan Damh and then followed the ridge to the north summit of Sgurr a Bhac Chaolais. Andrew and Gerry followed the normal shorter route to the bealach. It was pretty wet underfoot but the river crossing was no problem. From the summit we had great views except to the east where it still looked wet. Andrew went off to follow the undulating ridge to its highest point just short of Buidhe Bheinn and returned by the same route. Gavin and Ralph appeared at this point and since it was such a lovely day, hurried off to do Sgurr na Sgine and Faochag as well. Gerry followed the programme route of descent into Coire Toiteil. A boggy rough coire but the waterfalls were worth seeing.
A really good day.
Three members stayed at Glenshee for the weekend.
The forecast was pretty bad for Saturday but it promised to be better further east so we headed off full of hope. The carpark at Spittal of Glen Muick was busy - there were obviously lots of people about despite the forecast. The drizzle started as we headed up the track following the Allt-na-giubhsaich. Heavy overnight rain had swollen the river and at the crossing, the stepping stones were well under water. A party of three ahead had just turned back as we arrived. It was a challenge but we managed to cross dry shod. The drizzle became horizontal rain for a time as we climbed up to the summit plateau. Low cloud meant no views and we had to concentrate on our navigation to find the summit cairn. The rain stopped but the cloud showed no sign of lifting so we headed down following the Glas Allt and the impressive waterfalls. Not long afterwards blue sky appeared. Latecomers, who were still going up, would have had wonderful views! Typical Scotland.
This was a day in unfamiliar hills.
Five members met at the dam, and were joined later by Andrew G and Gerry. The forecast was for high winds so we followed the track up by the lochside instead of the high route proposed in the programme. A steep climb at the head of the glen led us to the very windy and very exposed summit. The views were pretty good except to the west where the weather looked decidedly wet. We'd chosen the right area for once! Sarah and Cris reached the summit by a shorter route on the other side and were well on their way down by then. We descended over Carn Chois, which had some interesting crags, and hence back to the dam. Norman and Kate meanwhile had the barbeque all prepared. It was dry but pretty cold so we all ate inside and finished a great day with a quiz prepared by Norman.
Many thanks to Kate and Norman for their hospitality.
The walk started at Ardeonaig, on the South shore of Loch Tay, beside the (sadly) now closed hotel. The two Andrews were accompanied by Alan and Mary , and met up with Norman already waiting there. We walked past the old graveyard, which we explored, then up the ridge to Creag Liath (coffee break) before reaching Meall nan Oighreag (833m). The route then turned South to the Corbett, Creag Uchdag (879m) where, in bright sunshine, we wandered over all the bumps to be sure of bagging the summit. (We concluded that the trig point was the highest, despite rumours to the contrary). There were excellent views in all directions, especially down to Loch Lednock, the other approach to this hill. On the descent a few crags were negotiated , then over some very rough ground, and a deep heathery ascent to Ruadh Mheall where we decided to split up. With rain threatening, three headed towards the pipeline and the track back to Ardeonaig past the Abernethy Outdoor Centre. Needless to say, Alan and Mary concluded the advertised route by visiting Meall Daimh, arriving back at the cars soon after the others, who were sheltering from what was now heavy rain. (Total walk 18k).
Expensive refreshments were consumed at the Falls of Dochart pub in Killin, with Andrew G still marvelling at the inflated price of a cup of coffee !
I met Cris, Andrew B, Martine, Ralph and Roy at Achnasheen on Saturday night. The weather was a lot better than forecast for Sunday and we headed to Torridon to the car park below Beinn Alligin. A clear path winds its way up the coire. We took our time and were surprised when the ground leveled off and we could see the summit (Tom na Gruagaich) not far ahead. There was a fair bit of checking (it's not normally that easy!). The views from here were spectacular, Martine was lost for words. We could see the ridge and the horns of Alligin stretching out in front of us, and after a quick bite we headed off. Cris found the step the book refers too, but the rest of us had found various different rocky routes down to the coll. Another steady ascent took us to the second summit (Sgurr Mor). From here we had a better view of the horns that we had to scramble over before our descent. The wind held off and the rock was dry which made the scrambling good fun. Then the path leads down to the river and back through some woodland to the car park. Just over 10 km in 6hours 20 minutes. A wonderful day out, in wonderful company. Thanks everyone.
A quick note about the bunkhouse at Ledagowan Lodge. It is very basic- one bathroom with shower, and a tiny kitchen. The dining room does not accommodate ten. It would be adequate (at best) for bunkhouse guests, but has the addition of campers and motorhomes using all the facilities. There is simply not enough provision for this number of people. With no daily cleaning the shower became filthy and we had to ask for toilet roll and the bins to be emptied. The rest of the decor was in poor condition. Good value for money if you are camping or in a motorhome as you can use all bunkhouse facilities for 5 pounds per night. Not value for money for bunkhouse guests paying 14 pounds per night, with an endless stream of campers taking over the kitchen and shower room.
On the first day of this fabulous week-end, Andrew B, Ralph and I decided to do BeinnEighe. Once again we started the walk in a very optimistic mood as the clouds were below any tops or summits. As we approached Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair, all was clear, great place for a snack with spectacular views of the corries and the Triple Buttress.
On our way to the bealach, comments were made on the remains of a world war plane. The walk to Ruadh-stac Mor had to be done pretty fast as it was very midgy, it was Ralph's 100th Munro ( no hip flask to celebrate). Spidean Coire nan Clach was not far away and of course by the time we reached the car-park the clouds were covering these amazing mountains.
On our second day we relaxed with a very short walk from Achnasheen to Fionn Bheinn.
We all enjoyed eating chanterelles before heading to the hotel and discussing our next adventure on Beinn Alligin for the next day.
Six club members turned out for this walk up two fine Corbets at the end of Loch Arkaig - Jean, Ann, Andrew, Gerry, Ken and Liz. The weather was fine and sunny and the views were glorious. This is a wonderfully remote area with hills spreading into the distance in all directions. Much time was spend trying to name all the hills, lochs and islands in view. An excellent day.
Ralph and I both stayed at Glenmore camp site on Saturday night and on Sunday we drove up together to the Sugar Bowl car park below the cairngorms. We had not heard that anyone else would be joining us; this did not surprise us, as the weather forecast was for thundery showers all day. After heavy showers all night, by 10am we began to see breaks in the clouds so we set off in good spirits. The path was excellent and we made good progress, passing reindeer in an enclosure, and then up to the Chalamain gap. From here it was boggy down to the Lairig Ghru crossing, where we stopped for a quick bite, but soon moved on when the midges found us. We followed a good path up the nose of Sron na Lairige, skirted past the tops, and on to the Braeriach summit. While we did get caught by a couple of showers we were largely lucky with the weather and were rewarded with superb views of the cairngorm hills and coiries.
The steep climb to Am Bodach was done in clear weather. As predicted, the summit was in the clouds. After a well deserved break, everybody (Bill, Ron, Andrew, Ralph, Mike, Fabrizio and I) were all in very good moods and ready to climb THE RIDGE. But so far no view... When suddenly, the weather cleared up and it was just fantastic. Everybody was so excited, so seven smiley faces started the ups and downs of the famous Aonach Eagagh ridge. It was an exceptional day for all of us.
A warm breeze welcomed us to the long and cobbly descent to the road. We couldn't have wished for better weather. And of course refreshments were taken at the famous Clachaig Inn.
With three Munros on the programme in an area with far more, not too far from home and really good weather, it was not a great surprise that 15 members turned out. With there being such a choice of hills and routes, we split into several groups aiming to "bag" new Munros or just climb in a wonderful area.
John Hutchison, Les, Martine and Fabrizio (guest) decided to attempt Beinn Eibhinn and Aonach Beag via Sron an Fhuarain. (for this Aonach Beag, there does not seem to be an Aonach Mor? and it's not very beag either!). Aonach Beag was Les's 200th Munro, and he had brought his hip flask with him, so they had a small celebration at the summit. Martine and Fabrio then thought that Geal-charn did not look too far away, so added that as well.
Bill, Margaret, Anne C-W, Stuart and Lydia also headed off in the same direction. Having already bagged Beinn Eibhinn and Aonach Beag on a previous club walk, Ralph and Mike opted for Beinn a'Chlachair and were joined by Iain, me, Ken and Liz. We followed the Allt Coire Pitridh before bearing south to climb the north flank of the hill. On the way, Ken and Liz became separated from us, so after a little easy scrambling up the ridge, we four found ourselves on the summit. Ralph had not done Geal Charn (the other one) or Creag Pitridh, so he and Mike made for the path going through the bealach between them, with Iain and me following on. With Mike and Ralph well up the hill, Iain and I stopped at the col for a chat to one of two guys from a Dundee group we had met earlier. They had a deadline of 5.15pm to catch their minibus at Moy, so this guy had decided to give Geal Charn a miss. We did not have a deadline, but also decided to just add Creag Pitridh to the day's walk.
At the summit, we all met up--the two guys, Mike, Ralph, Iain, me and also three other walkers who were just doing that hill. Following a faint path down the south-west ridge, we came off too soon and had a steep and awkward descent to the track along Lochan na h'Earba. At the junction of the track with the one from the Allt Cam, we met up with Martine and Fabrio and were soon joined by Les and John (good timing!).
From Moy, we drove to the Stronlossit Hotel in Roy Bridge where Liz and Ken were already enjoying their coffeee.
On a good day for weather--dry though windy, only five turned out. However, a variety of walks were undertaken.
From Corrie na Ciste, Ralph, Gerry and Andrew crossed the River Nethy to climb Bynack Beg (top), Bynack More (Munro) and A'Choinneach (top). I think that some scrambling was performed on the Barns of Bynack (huge granite tors that also occur on some of the other Cairngorm hills) . Their route of return was via The Saddle. Climbing from there, Ralph decided to add Cairngorm, for another tick, while Andrew (though not ticking!) did the top, Cnap Coire na Spreidhe.
Gavin and I started from the Coire Cas carpark, climbing up the Windy Ridge and down to The Saddle. From there we walked along the River Avon to the Fords of Avon(?). If there is a ford there, it must only be in dry weather, and the "stepping stones" just happen to be occasional boulders. We had an audience while we crossed, as we had met two gentlemen taking a break in the refuge. That is not a misnomer--it is a very cosy little shelter. They were also planning to cross, and probably had a laugh at my expense, as I slipped off one of the rocks--one wet foot! Then it was a fairly easy ascent to the summit cairn of Beinn a'Chaorainn (Munro), and a tick for me (the first this year, though I hasten to add, not my first Munro of the year).
Here we separated, with me returning along the south side of the river (not wanting another wet foot!), on a better path to Loch Avon. The path may have been better, but unfortunately the crossing was not. There were not even any handy boulders, so I had to wade across (two wet feet!). Then to The Saddle, where a whistle alerted me to Ralph, Andrew and Gerry just a few metres away. From there, Ralph claimed his second Munro (Cairgorm), Andrew his top, while Gerry and I were happy just to make our way over the col and down to the carpark.
Meanwhile, Gavin had claimed another top, Beinn a'Chaorainn Bheag. On his return, he crossed at the Fords of Avon, but had even less luck than me, as he also slipped off a rock, but managed to sit in the water (wet bum!). He then proceeded to add another couple of tops, finishing at the Visitor Centre.
After the initial mist, the views were extensive. We were able to see over the Moray Firth to the hills beyond (Ben Wyvis?)
A Grand Day in the Cairngorms
It was a good dry forecast for the Cairngorms with an improving picture as the day progressed. We were surprised therefore that only five members turned out. Good days have been in short supply this year. Ralph was already in the area so we phoned him, arranging to meet at Coire na Ciste car park. John Burton and Gavin wanted to do Beinn a' Chaorainn, so we gave them a lift up to the ski centre to give them a higher start.
Andrew G., Gerry and Ralph were doing Bynack More, and set off along the rough path towards the plantation (now completely felled). The path, intermittent in places, led down to the river Nethy, which we forded easily. Ascending the northwest ridge of Bynack Beg, the cloud blanket over the plateau was lifting faster than we could climb and blue sky was appearing. We soon had some sunshine and good views by the time we reached the summits. A bit of bouldering on the Barns of Bynack helped pass some time before heading for A' Choinneach, then down to the Saddle, where we met John on his return leg. Gavin was nowhere to be seen, having peeled off to do some Humps and other Tops.
Ralph decided to head straight for the summit of Cairn Gorm while the other three headed up the rough path to the high col between Cairn Gorm and its neighbouring Top. This ascent was less daunting than it looked even near the end of a long day. On a whim I decided to take in the Top, Cnap Coire na Spreidhe, an easy two contours of ascent, and found it a pleasant viewpoint.
There was some confusion about where we should pick up Gavin, exacerbated by the tenuous mobile phone coverage at the floor of Glen More. The lesson seems to be “text earlier whilst still on the hill and we all get home earlier”.
It was agreed by everyone at the start point that we would all attempt the Five Sisters of Kintail. So, having arranged two cars to be at the finish, we started up the steep climb to the Bealach an Lapain. The weather was fine, with light winds, no rain and cloud on the tops. Turning left at the col, we headed for the first top, Sgurr nan Spainteach, which is not one of the five sisters. The views were obscured at the summit, but we hoped for better, and we got it. Leading off, we could see the next three hills curving round to our right, and very impressive they looked. These three are all Munros, so the "baggers" were raring to go. It is a fantastic ridge with views alternating from Glen Shiel to Gleann Lichd, and spectacular cliffs and crags. We were, as usual, all strung out with the usual suspects at the front--Martine, Ralph and Andrew. The remaining five were Gerry, Mike, Ian, me and guest, Diane. Having summited the three Munros, it still left the top of Sgurr nan Saighead, Beinn Bhuidhe(869m) and Sgurr na Moraich(876m) to do!
At the top of Beinn Bhuidhe, we discovered that Martine and Ralph had gone on ahead to claim the final "sister", Sgurr na Moraich. After a little debate, Mike, Andrew and I decided to follow them, while the other three dropped down to the col, and then descended to the path beside the Allt a'Chruinn. We left the final hill by its northwest ridge, then joined the Allt a'Chruinn path lower down.
When we all met up at the cars, there were a few sore knees from the amount of steep descent we had done, but that was forgotten (at least temporarily!) at the Kintail Lodge Hotel.
Following is from our guest, Diane. Nice to be appreciated.
I loved it, I had a great day,
I found it all very well organised, met everyone at the start point, arranged for cars to be dropped off at finish and then got started on the walk just after 10am. The tops were in mist at this point and everyone hoping that it would lift, which it did. Had a fantastic day with stunning views. It was so nice to meet everyone and hear of all the different backgrounds and interests. Obviously I was a bit apprehensive of meeting everyone and whether or not I would be able to keep up but, it all went great, even although there was a variety of fitness levels it all worked perfectly. Everyone was so nice and friendly and welcomed me, I felt at ease immediately.
Then at the end of the day to have a well earned refreshment and discuss the day was so nice and relaxing.
I would certainly like to come along on walks again but due to usual time issues this may not be too frequent but I would love to join the club if this sort of membership would be considered.
Sincere thanks for a wonderful day. Kind regards
After several weeks of poor weather and poor turnout, I thought that the more settled forecast might entice more people out. I was wrong; there were just four of us - Alan, Gavin, Martene and Mary. We all decided on Sgurr na Ciche by way of Sgurr nan Coireachan and Garbh Cioch Mor (though Gavin, being Gavin, found a Graham Top to do). The weather was fine with clear views all around. There were showers all around but we missed them all, though the approach path must have been hit by a heavy one, as the damp path from the morning had turned into a squelching quagmire for the way back. It was a long day but I think we all enjoyed it.
This was a rather unusual walk for the Club, with the hill for the day, Ben Lomond, being approached by ferry from Tarbet to Rowardennan where the walkers were met by Norman, and Kevin who happened to be in the area. Everyone decided to take the traditional path to the summit, and to return by descending to Ptarmigan and round Tom Fithich. With a rain front to the West, many anticipated that we would get wet at some time during the day, but it remained dry throughout.
John Burton, Mike and Kevin were first at the summit, followed by Martine and her daughter Tammy, a guest for the day, who made good progress. John Boustead, Anne B, and another guest, Angie, arrived a few minutes later and we all enjoyed the panoramic views. It was a bit overcast and a cool wind was evident, but this is Scotland in June !
There is a little rocky descent from Lomond's summit to the Ptarmigan ridge which was no problem to anyone, and then an excellent path all the way down to Ardess. Everyone arrived in ample time to meet the return ferry, which rather took us by surprise by arriving from the Southern end of the loch. An excellent day on the most southerly Munro !
Only five, Ralph, Martine, Ian, John Beattie and I turned up for this walk, probably because of the weather forecast. We decided to take the plunge and aim for Braeriach, which, from Glen Feshie, is a long, hard walk. We did have a long, hard walk, but because of bad weather and worse navigation, our aim was off, and we missed Braeriach (how could we miss the third highest hill in Britain?).
When we arrived at Achlean, it was very windy, and before we had reached the edge of the forest, the rain started. We debated whether it would be OK to do a big walk in those conditions, but decided to see how it was on the plateau. The mist was also down on the plateau, but the wind was not too bad, and the rain only intermittent, so we continued. Getting to Loch nan Cnapan was straightforward, and by this time, the cloud had lifted, but it was still covering the tops of the hills.
We took a break in one of the strange gullies (probably made as a result of glacial action), and shortly after, made the decision on the direction to follow. Unfortunately, we headed for the hill we thought was Braeriach without taking a bearing from the map. This meant that we went ENE instead of NE. When we summitted, Ralph, who was already there, had checked his GPS, and informed us that we were on Sgor an Lochain Uaine. It was too late to achieve Braeriach as well, so we headed back the same way in a severe hail shower, passing the spectacular cliffs of An Garbh Choire which we could just see.
The return was uneventful, and the weather improved, so that by the time we reached the cars, we had dried out. Coffee was taken in a hotel in Kingussie.
For most of us, this walk was, unusually, a linear one, starting in Glen Etive and finishing in Glen Coe. However, Gerry, Martine and Mike walked with the rest of the group as far as the Bealach Fhionnghaill, and then returned to Glen Etive via the Allt Charnan, to collect the cars. The walk started at Invercharnan in Glen Etive, in fine weather, following the forest track, then path on the north side of the Allt nan Gaoirean as per the programme. Heading north-east, we climbed the easy slopes of Meall a'Bhuiridh, where we had a break. We then dropped to the col over varied terrain before ascending the steeper approach to Sgor na h-Ulaidh. Fine views all around were had, then we dropped down steeply to the col before Stob an Fhuarain. The wind was fairly strong, and while descending towards Bealach Fhionnghaill, I lost my hat, but fortunately was able to find it.
Here we separated, with Andrew, Ralph, Ken, Liz, Iain and me taking the Fionn Ghleann to Glen Coe. I am not sure what "Fionn" in this sense means--it could be connected to Fingal (Finn MacCool) of legend, or it could just mean fine or fair. In any case, this really is a fine glen, especially the upper reaches, with many short gorges and waterfalls, surrounded by magnificent cliffs. The logistics worked out very well, and we all met up in the Glen Coe Hotel for coffee.
Of the eleven who attended, surprisingly, ten opted to do the programmed walk, with just Les wanting to do Sgurr Mhaoraich instead (he hadn't ticked it!).
While waiting for members to assemble, I was surprised and delighted to be able to watch, for about five minutes, a vole in the grass at the side of the road. Other wild-life seen on the walk was occasional deer.
After the track passed Alltbeithe, we climbed an old, hardly used, but very well-made stalkers' path, zig-zagging on to Sron na Breun Leitir. From there to the summit of Gleouraich was an interesting, but easy ridge. At the summit, it was surprisingly cold, with large patches of snow lying in Garbh Choire Mor. By this time, we were, as usual, well spread out, but regrouped at the summit, although Ralph and Bruce had set off in the mist. Gavin, being Gavin, had decided to extend his walk from Spidean Mialach eastwards along the ridge all the way to the path to Tomdoun, and the hotel, where we would meet him at the end of the walk. He beat us to it by an hour and a half!
The walk along the edges of the northern corries was easygoing, although up and down, with occasionally spectacular views down into the snow-scattered corries and wild and remote Glen Loyne.
The summit of Spidean Mialach turned out to be confusing in the mist, as most of us thought that we had reached it, when, in fact, we had only reached the top at 977m, the second of three cairns. There was a lot of questioning at the end of the walk, with people asking others to descibe the summit cairn. (The summit cairn, and third of three, is a shelter cairn, and we all found it!).
Once out of the mist, the descent was straightforward down to the road to where we had left a car. Other members on the walk were Ron, Andrew, Gerry, Ken, Liz, Suzanne and John Burton---
Hill-walking does not get much better than this--great hills, good weather, all around views and, of course, good company.
Nine met at the woollen mill carpark where we split into two groups, with Mike, Ralph and Martine deciding not to do the programmed walk, but to climb two Munros--Sgurr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan from Glenfinnan. The remainder, Alan Moore, Mary, Alan McGaw, Ian, Sue, and John Burton drove to the start point, where they were met by Ron, Stuart and Lydia.
Conditions were pretty good, with no rain, light winds and high hazy cloud. The climbing started almost immediately going up Beinn Odhar Mhor. The hills of this area are magnificent with crags, ups and downs and lochans all around. After a break at the summit, we made the slightly scrambly descent to the col and then the short ascent to the marginally higher Beinn Odhar Bheag. All this on a mixture of dry grass and wonderfully grippy rock.
We had decided at the start that some of us would also attempt a second Corbett, Beinn Mhic Cedidh. So we all dropped down the easy slope to the Bealach a'Choire Bhuidhe. There we split up again, with Ron, Stuart and Lydia going down Coire Buidhe and back to the cars.
The rest then made the slog up the steep slopes of Beinn Odhar Bheag and a well-earned break. Conditions were still good with great, but hazy views all around. The highlight, for me, was still to come. The north ridge of Beinn Mhic Cedidh was wonderful--rocks and crags, ups and downs, lochans and pools. I was sorry to reach the bottom. The last part of the walk was not so good as it involved a walk on a boggy-in-places path, finishing with a climb up a fairly steep hill (unwelcome at that stage) to sprackle through a wood on to the roadside.
Drinks were had in the Glenfinnan House Hotel, where Ron was waiting, although Stuart and Lydia had just left. Mike, Ralph and Martine joined us a little later after their much more strenuous walk.
12 people turned up for the club hike. Three decided to do a completely different hike and of the remaining nine, none did what was described in the program. This is pretty typical of the Nevis Hillwalkers. A steep ascent led to the top of Beinn Odhar Mhor. I was expecting to be in the forecast low cloud but it never happened. The view, though a bit hazy, was good and people enjoyed it and the sunshine. Then we went over to Beinn Odhar Bheag. Three dropped down into the valley to the northwest and followed the Allt a'Choire Bhuidhe before climbing back up to a notch and back to the cars. The rest carried on to Beinn Mhic Cedidh. This was a steep monotonous pull-up but it was followed by a delightful ridge to the north. This would surely be famous if it was on a Munro.
The forecast was unimpressive and it was raining steadily at Glencoe car park. Must have been torrential in Fort William. No members arrived from anywhere north of Onich. Just three locals, Andrew G., Gerry and Martine (guest) turned up. The rain stopped as we reached Rannoch Moor, the sky began to clear and we arrived at the start of the walk in warm sunshine. Kevin, John Burton and Ralph were there already.
We set off up the path at a good pace and were soon on the final slopes to the summit of Ben Vorlich. This always seems a quick and easy hill. There were some patches of hard spring snow lying here which did not yield easily to step-kicking with my summer boots. Descending to the col there was a fine view of the triangular buttress of Stuc a' Chroin. We took a direct line, scrambling up straight to its apex. This seemed harder than I remember and rather longer, with some less easy sections inconveniently holding the icy spring snow.
We descended the northwest ridge a short distance and by a steep couloir, on still frozen ground, into Coire Fhuadaraich. This avoided reversing the scrambling route. From here, a reasonable path led around its headwall, and around that of Coire Buidhe, to re-join the outward path back to the cars.
Apart from a light shower it was dry all day, sunny at times, with cloud above the summits, and a fresh breeze. The rain that batters the bedroom window in the morning obscures the view of the sunlit uplands beyond.
This was a most enjoyable walk, despite the weather forecast, with two Munros being climbed. Various wildlife included a ptarmigan on the summit of Ben Vorlich, a pair of red grouse and two voles/shrews(?). The scramble to the top of Stuc a' Chroin provided us with extensive views as far as the Wallace Monument near Stirling. And it was very good to see Kev joining us all the way from Whitley Bay.
Five people turned up at Glencoe, including a visitor from Duror. We wondered if any of the missing folk had forgotten about Summer time starting! Four more from the Oban area, including a second visitor, met us at the start of the walk and we all ascended by the Allt nam Meirleach to the bealach between Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn. Some folk took crampons and iceaxe but the few patches of snow were very soft and mostly avoidable. Three people then opted for the shorter route following the ridge to Bheinn Mhor. A delightful walk in sunshine, followed by a descent of Glas Bheinn Chaol .The other six headed off to Beinn nan Aighenan and returned by the same descent route as above.
The views were good most of the day and it was quite warm at times. It felt like Spring.
Having climbed to the col at the head of the Allt nam Meirleach, six of us, Ralph, Bruce, Ian Fullerton (guest), John Burton, Martine (guest) and Wesley opted to go for Beinn nan Aighenan. From the col, there was a boulder field to negotiate, then the ascent of the north ridge with some easy scrambling. At the summit, the views were for 360 degrees--a superbly remote hill.
On the descent, we became separated, with Bruce going ahead as he wanted to see the Robbers' Waterfall on the Allt Mheuran. Ralph headed back to the col and descended by the approach route, as did Wesley. Ian, Martine and John joined the ridge between Stob Coire Dheirg and Meall nanTri Tighearnan. After crossing a small patch of soft snow, they descended steeply to gain Glas Bheinn Chaol, where a path lead them easily down to rejoin the approach path.
We all met up at the Glencoe Hotel for coffee and drinks. --
One of the best turn-outs for a while, with 14 (I think) meeting at the Grey Mare's waterfall carpark. All set off up the steep path until it joined the track from Mamore Lodge, where we stopped and various options were discussed. Stuart, Lydia, John Brittain and Gerry decided to go up the minor path to Coire an Lochain, Andrew Baxter carried on along the track beside Loch Eilde Mor, while everyone else, Alan, Mary, Gavin, Andrew Gilbert, John Burton, Ralph, Bruce, and Ken climbed the main path to the coire.
As usual, the ascent to the coire caused us to become spread out, but the main group made their way up to the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor, mostly by the south ridge in the mist, apart from Bruce who made the ascent by the west ridge. There was hardly any ice or snow, and the ice-axe and crampons remained as dead weight in our packs. At the top, we met Ron, who had left shortly before. More discussion followed as to which route to take going down. Ron went the same down as up, Alan, Mary and Gavin took the north-east ridge to join the path towards Meall Doire na h-Achlais and then down to meet the track on Loch Eilde Mor. Andrew, Bruce, Ken, John Burton and Ralph also took the north-east ridge, but left it to head south-west on the path leading back to Coire an Lochain. This path turned out to be indistinct in places, and also covered by some large snow patches. This resulted in Andrew and Bruce disappearing into the mist, while Ken, Ralph and John made their own way along the east side of the lochan to join the minor path down to Loch Eilde Mor.
Amazingly, practically everyone met up on this track, and it was decided to leave it to head south and join the pipeline from Loch Eilde Mor to The Blackwater Reservoir. We left the pipeline where it turns east, and dropped down to the path along the River Leven. Again, we became separated, but rejoined for drinks in Kinlochleven.
It snowed all day yesterday and throughout the night. Norman (coordinator) had rung to say he had received only one call, from Les, who said he would be out if the weather was good. It clearly was not good and Norman wasn't travelling. Gerry and I were the only members who turned up at Glencoe for 0830 today. Not relishing the long drive to Glen Falloch, we weren't travelling either. Besides there was ample snow plastering our own hills all around, so we set off from the car park to enjoy it.
At Glencoe Visitor Centre we followed the forestry track up to the col between Meall Mor and Am Meall. The snow was knee deep here. Swirling clouds were obscuring some of the good views available from this route, but we could see south-west as far as Fraochaidh. Up the last steep section to the mast, the snow became seriously deep and across the summit of Am Meall it was up to the thighs. Pity we neglected to bring snow shoes. Out of the shelter of the trees a brisk wind was picking up spindrift . A fine view of the NE ridge of Sgorr Bhan across Gleann Fhiodh. The descent to Ballachulish was tricky at first - deep snow over peat hags. Nice to think we could be having a second winter this season.
A good turnout for this superb hillwalking area - Andrew G., Gerry, Mike, Ralph, Ian, Sue (new member) Alan, Mary, Ken (coordinator), John Burton, Bruce.
Good stalkers' paths give quick and easy access to these hills from several points. We parked in a lay-by on the A87 near the watershed, three kilometres W of Cluanie Inn. An unfriendly permanent notice instructed walkers to keep out of the corries and confine themselves to the ridges. There can be no justification for such a restriction unless stalking is going on. All of us followed the stalkers path up Druim Thollaidh, except Bruce who went direct to the Munro of Maol Chinn-dearg. The rest of us caught up with him after traversing Sgurr Coire na Feinne. We turned east along the main ridge and claimed two more Munros, Aonach air Chrith and Druim Shionnach. Having made good time, Mike, Alan, Mary and Ken continued to the end of the main ridge and took in the fourth Munro, Creag a' Mhaim
A superb day in good winter conditions, in spite of the recent heavy thaws. For some in the party it was a first visit to these hills and I am sure they will have been impressed.
We all met up again in the Cluanie Inn.
Twelve of us met at the A87 in Glen Shiel. This included a new member - Sue - and I hope she comes out often. We set off up the good stalkers path to point 902 on the South Glen Shiel ridge. The last bit was icy and most of us put crampons on. The ridge caught the wind and we were often blasted by spindrift. At Druim Shionnach the group split, with the majority going down to Cluanie Inn. Four carried on to the end of the ridge at Creag a'Mhaim before also going down to Claunie Inn.
As no-one was particularly keen to do the programmed walk (Buachaille Etive Mor), it was decided to attempt Sgor na h-Ulaidh instead. Gerry and Andrew had done this hill several times before, in better conditions, so opted to just walk up the glen. Conditions were not very good, with rain and low cloud. Ken, Ian, Ralph, Sue (guest) and John left Andrew and Gerry at the end of the forest to climb to the ridge.
As we went higher, the rain turned to sleet, then snow, then blizzard, and the snow under foot (initially soft, wet and slippery) became deeper. Once on the ridge, we lost the views as we entered the cloud, and made our way towards the col before the top of Stob an Fhuarain. Fortunately, the snow eased, but the wind became stronger, and as by this time we were pretty wet, it was very cold. The going was hard in the deep snow, with the wind causing the spindrift to blow into our faces. We were also conscious of the risk of avalanche, and could see cornices built up in places. Navigation was tricky, trying to avoid the waist-deep patches of snow, and after some discussion, we decided to leave the hill for another, better day, and left the ridge at the col.
Going down was, predictably, easier than going up, as the slope was not too severe. However, we all used our ice-axes to stop ourselves sliding in the soft snow. Once in the glen, it was back to the rain, but that did not last long.
The Glen Coe Hotel provided us with the usual after-walk refrehments, where it was the consensus that the walk, although unsuccessful, was nevertheless, worthwhile.
After some debate about the possible weather, we all (Andrew, Gerry, Ron, John Burton, Ralph, Ian-prospective member, and Sue-guest and prospective member), decided to climb up the path beside the Allt Coire a'Mhusgain to the col between Stob Ban and Sgurr an Iubhair. Then, depending on the weather conditions, we would go up one or other of the hills, or just do something else. On the way up, we met a party of walkers, who we learned later were some of the Ochil Mountain Rescue Team on a training course. They told us that they intended to cross the river, which ran through a gorge at that point, and then climb the eastern flank of the north ridge of Stob Ban. It looked to me quite a challenge, but then they were an MRT.
At the col, there was some snow, but not a lot, the wind was light and the cloud was high. Ron said that he would just potter about the lochan and make his way down the same way, while the remaining six went up the ridge towards Stob Ban. Conditions were really good, with great views in all directions, although the cloud did come down occasionally on some of the neighbouring hills. About half way up, we were caught up by a couple going the same way. Just then, we encountered some ice, and so the crampons and ice axes came out. Climbing to the summit was awkward as there was a mixture of icy and rocky patches. The summit cairn was just visible in the deep snow, and there we took a brief break. More discussion followed about whether to just go back, or go on to Mullach nan Coirean. In the end, all chose the latter (it looked so inviting!).
The ridge between the two hills is very varied, with easy, fairly flat parts, and tricky boulders and rocks, made more tricky while wearing crampons. We were now becoming spread out, with Ralph leading the way. At the huge summit cairn, the wind was cold enough to discourage Ralph from stopping, and he headed down the NE ridge. The remaining five had another break, and then set off without crampons. After a hundred metres of slipping and sliding on the patches of ice, John, Ian and Sue decided to put the crampons back on, although Andrew and Gerry managed without. There was a diversion by the Forestry Commission which took us very steeply off the ridge down to the Allt a'Choire Dheirg, which was in spate with some spectacular waterfalls, and into the forest.
Coffee (or Guiness) were taken in the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William, where we were joined by Ron and Jean.
Seven assembled at the Woollen Mill for 0800 and proceeded to the Lower Falls. The forecast was for strong winds and low cloud and we did not expect a brilliant day. Everyone, John Burton, Ralph Ian, Gerry, Andrew G, Ron (coordinator), Sue (guest), decided to approach Stob Ban by Coire Mhusgain rather than tackle the north ridge. This made for a quick and sheltered ascent, but there was some damage to the path from landslips in the upper corrie, demanding some care above a steep drop into the gorge.
From the Col at 760m we had good views all round and the sky started to clear, with some sunny patches here and there. The wind was stronger here but never a problem. Ron headed off left towards Sgurr an Iubhair, and met up later with Jean and Anne CW. The rest of us headed for the east ridge of Stob Ban, a splendid approach to this shapely hill. The loose snow had been scalped exposing the older icy layer and we soon put crampons on.
At the summit before midday, and with the weather improving, we decided to carry on to Mullach nan Coirean and descended by its north-east ridge. At the fence, a diversion was indicated due to tree-felling in the forest ahead. A poorly-constructed path led directly down the fall-line to the Allt 'a Choire Dheirg, then along its left bank through the forest. Hard going, and well worth avoiding in future. Otherwise an unexpectedly good day in spectacular surroundings.
Only four people turned out for todays hike - Alan, Gerry, Mary and Mike; a disappointing turn-out. The weather was cold to start and as we ascended towards Sgairneach Mhor the wind got feircer and we disappeared into the cloud. We went past one man who had turned back and I felt like doing the same. However, we persevered to the top. We were joined by a lone hiker before the top and he enlivened our group for the rest of the day. The weather improved and at the saddle before Beinn Udlamain, everyone was cheerful enough to continue. Conditions continued to improve, so we carried on to A'Mharconaich, where we had views (admittedly rather limited). Then it was down to the track and on to the A9.
Nine people turned out for the day. Three decided on a lower hill and the rest went for the programmed aim of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne (aka Ben Kiel). The low cloud at Corran Ferry soon gave way to glorious sunshine above a cloud inversion; at times it was almost spring-like. The cloud stretched all the way along Loch Linnhe. Steady progress was made up the steep hillside before a meander across the summit plateau led to Druim na Sgriodain. An early lunch was taken here where we enjoyed views south to Jura and north to Sgurr Mor. A steep descent led to the waterfall of Macleans Towel and another steep descent led to a mast. Good paths led through the estate and past the kettle holes back to the ferry. Unfortunately we were too early for the pub and so we went our separate ways without meeting up with the other three. The good weather was a perfect opportunity to use my new camera - the old one never recovered from the drenching the previous Sunday.
The forecast promised light rain and a cloud base between 400m and 800m. It was indeed a gloomy morning as nine members gathered at Corran slip and boarded the ferry. Almost drizzling and a cold north-east breeze, but low cloud? Not this low, brushing the surface of the sea. It had to be radiation fog and I felt a surge of optimism. Stuart, Lydia and John Brittain decided to go to Glen Gour. They walked all the way to Strontian. John Burton, Gerry, Alan, Mary Gavin and I set off along the road to the graveyard and stepped onto the hill. This most shapely and imposing Graham, in view on the A82 all the way from Laggan to Ballachulish, rises steeply from the shore of Loch Aber. The ascent is like going up in a lift. At 100 metres we broke out of the fog into brilliant sunshine under a clear blue sky.
Some made a detour to Beinn na Cille. From Sgurr na h-Eanchainne and around the rim of the large Coire Dubh there were fine views in every direction. The descent down Druim na Sgriodain added interest as it steepened, leading us to the lip of the coire and Maclean's Towel. We plunged back into the fog and walked out to the ferry through the grounds of Ardgour House .
Six people turned up for a very wet and windy day. We soon decided to stick to the valley; so after a stroll up Gleann Dubh Lighe we carried on along the stream instead of heading up onto the hills. The ground was very wet underfoot and the minor streams were full. After we turned back we found that the streams had risen even higher and we were forced into minor detours to cross them. We had a break in the bothy where we chatted to a man spending three nights there. Then it was down to the cars and on to the pub.
Twelve members turned out on a fine winter's day, with very different ideas for their walks. I was in a group of five, Ralph, Gavin, Ian (guest), Mike and myself, who wanted to do Aonach Beag by the SW ridge, although Gavin had more adventurous ideas. After a slippy, slidy, icy walk through the Nevis gorge, and after hearing what we thought was the sound of an avalanche, we emerged on to the meadow. The hills were looking great with a good covering of snow. Before reaching the Steall ruin, we left the path and started the ascent north along the Allt Coire Giubhsachan. Gavin and Ralph forged ahead looking for somewhere to cross the burn. Mike, Ian and I managed to cross without incident and plodded through the snow towards the base of the ridge. Looking back to the slopes of Meall Cumhann, we could see a large herd of deer (Ralph was to inform us later that there were 74 in the herd, as told to him by a stalker with the John Muir Trust that they met). And below the crags of Aonach Beag, there were numerous ravens, and also a golden eagle. At first, the climb was through soft snow, but part way up the ridge we came across ice under the snow, so decided to put on the crampons. This was a first for Ian as he has done very little winter walking, but with some instruction, he managed fine.
Then it was a steep slog up the ridge, where part way up, we met Gavin and Ralph having a break in the lee of a crag. After the break, it was more of the same, slogging up through the mixture of soft snow and ice. It seemed as if the summit was never going to appear, but then we arrived. And who should we meet there? Mary and Allan, who had come round via Sgurr a'Bhuic and Stob Coire Bhealaich, passed some large cornices that we had seen on the way up. There was no cairn visible, it presumably being buried in the snow, but Allan assured us that we were at the summit, having checked his GPS.
Mike, Ralph, Ian and I decided to descend by the same route, and Mary and Allan came with us. But Gavin, as is his wont, carried on over Stob Coire Bhealaich and Sgurr a'Bhuic. On the descent, we could see three people going down the slopes of Sgurr a'Bhuic, (that turned out to be Andrew, Gerry and Ron) with someone going fast towards them (Gavin). We all met up in the car park, and thence to the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William for coffee. The Oban crew (Ralph, Ian and I) left early for what turned out to be an eventful journey home (see the blog).
A cold, dark morning but the forecast promised better things so a good turnout at the Woollen Mill. The Glen Nevis road looked a bit dodgy after the Lower Falls so we left most of the cars there. Those members who have 4x4s were very popular ! Allan and Mary decided to go for both peaks (Gasp !). Ralph, Mike, John, Gavin and Ian decided to do Aonach Beag only and set off through the gorge at high speed. Andrew, Gerry, Ron, Anne and Jean followed rather more sedately, admiring the spectacular ice all around. Care was definitely needed here as the path was covered in thick ice in places but we all reached Steall meadow without serious incident. The falls were covered in ice but there was still a torrent of water rushing down the middle - no ice-climbing there today.
The route up Sgurr a'Bhuic was increasingly icy as we got higher - definitely crampons and ice-axes required!. Jean and Anne decided to call it a day and practised with their crampons in the sun above Steall Cottage. By the time we reached the ridge of the Sgurr, we were walking on ice rather than snow - not nice - but the crampons bit in a satisfying way. A quick bite at the summit (watch out for the cornice !) and a glimpse of the other two parties well up on Aonach Beag. Spectacular winter views all round and the expected snow did not happen.
We returned by the same route and met the others on the way back.
No sunshine, but the cloud base was well above the tops and we had good visibility all day. We started out all together from Elleric with AndrewG, Ralph, Liz, Ken, Mike, John Burton (Coordinator), Sarah, John Brittain, Gerry, Ian Vest (Guest). From Glenure Farm we took the track N for about 200m then a path (new to me) that led E to enter the narrow glen between An Grianan and Beinn Fhionnlaidh after about 2Km.
Gerry and John Brittain went off to climb An Grianan. Ralph had disappeared skywards. The rest of us continued eastwards past what could have been remains of shielings, after which the path petered out. After a while I found myself somewhat ahead of the group and impatient at the lack of upward progress. The steep craggy ground above, on the S flank of Beinn Fhionnlaidh, looked more interesting. It was quite easy to link together the ramps and terraces and avoid the rocky bits that were ice-encrusted. The snow cover was patchy but in excellent condition for crampons. I popped out right at the summit and sat at the trig point to eat and await the main group. After 30 minutes they hadn't arrived. A few flakes of snow fell and I was getting cold, so I set off. The main group reached the summit about 45 minutes later.
The views were great on the descent westwards. Being alone in a white wilderness never loses its appeal. Eventually I spied Ralph well ahead below but was not able to catch up with him. Everyone was back at the start by dusk.
Ten people, including one guest, Ian, met at the car park at Elleric. Eight decided to do the Munro, Beinn Fhionnlaidh, while Gerry and John Brittain would climb An Grianan. At Glenure House, there was a fairly large herd of stags ( the estate staff, I think, had been feeding them).We all set off together on the sometimes rather indistinct path that parallells the Allt Bealach na h Innsig, passing over some stone platforms (we could only see one), that may have been for charcoal burning or have been the bases of ancient houses. The path led down to a hidden valley containing several sheilings, but there it stopped. Gerry and John crossed the river while Liz, Ken, Mike, Sarah, Andrew, Ian and John Burton carried on up the glen to its head (Ralph had already left the path to climb via the SW ridge). On the way, we heard a most unusual cry that could have been a bird, but turned out to be two feral goats. From there, it was a steep climb to the col to the east of the summit of the hill.
To this point, we had seen very little snow or ice, but once on the ridge, there were numerous patches of frozen snow or ice. Ralph and Andrew had already gone ahead, so the main group was now down to six. After negotiating two tricky icy scrambles, we made it to the trig point at the summit.
The way down was straightforward, following the twisty SW ridge, seeing more deer, this time hinds, on the way. We were met at the farm by Ralph and Andrew who had kindly driven down to meet us and save us the final one km, and boring slog on the tarmac road. The Creagan Inn had recently closed, so there was nowhere to meet for our usual drink, so we all made our respective ways home.
The day wasn't as good as we've been having recently as there was no sun to bring the landscape alive; everything was gray. However, the forecast high winds never materialised and the rain only came right at the end and it was so light to be almost invisible.
After weeks of glorious sunny weather (it seemed) and sub zero temperatures, the forecast was not promising – strong winds and RAIN! Mary, Jean, AndrewB, AndrewG, Alan and Gerry turned out. The Glen Loy road was impassable due to snow and ice so we walked in from the B8004 along the snow covered forestry track. Hard work and 90 minutes each way. In view of this delay and the impending inclement weather, we decided to do Stob Ghrianain only, by its east ridge. We descended by the south flank and continued eastwards, descending to Coire an Lightuinn just before Sron Liath. This last section was an awful plod in deep heather covered with snow.
Not a fabulous day, and gloomy cloud filled the sky, but the views were clear. The rain held off until we were back at the cars.
The ferry was due to be off between 14h00 and 17h00 due to pier works. The thought of being stranded at Ardgour with no vehicle if some problem delayed the operation led us to do Ben na Gucaig from Inchree, rather than the walk on the programme. We had brought along 4 pairs of snowshoes. Sarah, Gerry and I used these, leaving our ices axes and crampons in the car. Alan decided to do without. The snow was soft but not particularly deep. We snacked at the Glencoe Rescue relay equipment pod and cleared its solar panel of snow. Its windmill was turning briskly in the light but bitingly cold easterly breeze. We descended to the head of Glen Righ for the long walk out. A short outing but well worth the effort.
Five of us (Alan, John, Les, Mary, Ralph) met by Kirkton Farm for the planned hike up Ben Challum. The thaw had set in and there was markedly less snow than previously and what was left was firming up; so much so that most of us put on crampons and got out our ice-axes.
We took the standard way up from the A82 by way of the south flank and over the south top. The wind strengthened and a speed of 64mph was measured at the munro. John suggested that, in order to get quickly out of the wind, we should go down the east ridge, into Coire Challum and round the mountain on its south-east flank. This was agreed. The descent into Coire Challum enabled us to enjoy some bum-slides in the snow. What cloud there was stayed off the tops and good views were enjoyed, especially to Stob Binnein and the other Crianlarich Hills.
Before we went our separate ways, we went to Paddys at Tyndrum where Gavin joined us.
Eight members met at the Fort for this walk, and set off for Lochailort. Stewart, Lydia and Ron decided to do a shorter, low-level walk, while Ken, Liz, Wesley, Ralph and John Burton set off to attempt some of the programmed walk. The path was extremely icy, but easy to follow to the landrover track going along the Allt a' Bhuiridh. All agreed that the day was too short to complete the whole circuit, so, heading into Coire a'Bhuiridh, it was decided to make for the col between An Stac and Rois Bheinn, and then climb Rois Bheinn. After leaving the track, the snow was soft and deep, and the climb up the north ridge to Bealach an Fhiona was slow and awkward. However, we were rewarded with some fine views over to Skye, from the col.
A well deseved break was taken, but we then saw clouds coming towards us. Starting up the slope, there was a flurry of snow, but that was all, but there was still some cloud. But the sun shone through, and part way up we saw a not-too-clear Brocken Spectre (my first). At the summit, after some debate we dropped down to the col between Rois Bheinn's main summit and its westerly top. From there, we went down steeply through the still soft snow into Coire na Cnamha, and followed the Alisary Burn to the main A861 road, arriving there at about 4.10 pm, just as it was beginning to get dark. Form there, it was a three km walk along the fortunately quiet road back to the cars.
All agreed that it had been a good, but hard day's walking.
Twelve members out (Jean, AnneCW, AlanM, Gerry, Lydia, Ron, Gavin, AndrewG, Suzanne, Mary, Stuart and Mike). A glorious day of good views, swirling mists, late autumn colours, snow-plastered hills, frosted glens and sunshine, with just one short snow shower. No one was under any pressure today and we all kept together up the south west ridge of Creag Pitridh. Gavin found a cave which gave an easy passage though the middle of a rock buttress guarding the crest of the ridge. On a small subsidiary summit, we all stopped for a bite and to admire the views. The snow was powdery with the old frozen base exposed only occasionally. Elsewhere there were deep pockets to avoid when possible. Crampons were not required. At the Summit of Creag Pitridh four went on to do Geal Charn. Ron, Gerry, Suzanne and I went across its flank to Loch a' Bhealaich Lemhain.
After the long walk out we all eventually met up at the Stronlossit Inn in Roybridge.
An excellent forecast. Eight members and one visitor met at the Woollen Mill and headed for Glen Nevis. All seemed determined to do these peaks and nobody was interested in the East Ridge of Sgurr a' Mhaim. I was "coordinator" for the day so I would be accompanying the visitor, Trevor, and anyone else who wanted to walk in my group. At the Wire Bridge, Gerry and Ron continued along the North bank to ford the Nevis river above the confluence. This was a good move. Roy, Mary, Ralph, John Bu., Alan, Trevor and I crossed the bridge, two at a time, but we took even longer than normal because another party joined in. Crossing the burn below the Steall Falls proved rather more difficult than expected and delayed us some more. We could clearly see our two companions stomping away up the hill as we floundered about.
The ascent on the stalkers' path was easy going and the steep upper section following the direct line was a pleasure, with our crampons biting into the crisp snow cover. The drop below our feet gave a splendid perspective into Glen Nevis and across to the Ben. Light cloud wafting around the crests lent some atmosphere to the scene but obscured the surrounding peaks of the majestic Ring of Steall.
Trevor and I were last at the Munro summit, An Gearanach. Some of our party were gathered here, preparing to descend the way we had come. Sadly, no one wanted to carry on over the Top, An Garbhanach. Ron kindly took over my duties and I continued alone.
The spectacular ridge of An Garbhanach appeared, black rock and white snow, stark against the swirling mist. I held to its crest, delighted with the scrambling and the plunging prospect on either side. Fully absorbed with the interest of the route I nearly collided with a lone walker coming the other way.
Descending steeply to the col I noticed Alan and Mary sitting there on the snow. We continued together over Stob Coire a'Cairn and, descending eastwards to the next col, we walked out through the hanging valley of Coire na Gabhalach. We crossed the Nevis river about 500 metres upstream from Steall ruins. Our little extension had nicely filled in the rest of the day and we caught up with the others in the car park at dusk.
Ten minutes earlier, I had fallen base over apex on the Nevis Gorge path. The sound of breaking bones turned out to be one of my Leki carbon fibre poles breaking into three pieces. It will not be replaced.
An improving day saw 9 people meet in Fort William to do either An Gearanach or Sgurr a'Mhaim. We all chose to do the former. Gerry and Ron decided against the wire bridge and forded the River Nevis, so getting way ahead of the main group. We all made it to the top. The early part of the day was misty but this cleared out from the west and gave lovely views of the snow-covered hills. Andrew, Mary and myself carried on along the narrow snowy ridge to An Garbhanach and then on to Stob Coire a'Chairn. This was followed by dropping into the corrie to the east (wet under foot from the melting snow) and after a wet crossing of the River Nevis, the good path was taken to get back to the cars.
It was rain at low level, improving to snow higher up. This was a poor day for Norman to be completing his round of Munro Tops. However, 4 people joined him for the summit celebration on Stob Coire Dubh (the east top of Carn Liath). The original idea of starting near Garvamore and carrying on over Carn Liath to Aberarder was abandoned.
We returned to the cars with Gavin and myself collecting a Corbett Top by a detour to the WNW. On the way to the Stronlossit Hotel we stopped to look at the Laggan Dam overflow which was very impressive. This indicating it was a good day to be walking the Monessie Gorge because, with the water extraction, it doesn't normally get a good flow of water through it.
The forecast was for a fine day with bad weather coming in later. Eight of us set off to do the planned hike up Stob Diamh. However, this being the Nevis Hillwalkers, we soon split up to do the round at our own speeds. A beautiful morning helped us do the ascent of Stob Diamh's east ridge. By the time I reached the top, it was in the mist and being buffetted by the wind, and I was with just Andrew and Mary. Andrew chose to go down the east ridge of Stob Garbh while Mary and I went up Beinn a'Bhuiridh and down its east ridge. We were rewarded by coming out of the mist and having fine views from the trig point on Monadh Driseig.
We all met up again in the pub in Lochawe Village.
Sunday dawned with a clear blue sky but the forecast was for cloud, rain and even snow later. Alan M, Mary, Gerry, Andrew G, Jean, Anne CW assembled at Glencoe and set off for Dalmally. I took the shorter but no faster route through Gen Orchy, just to see the glorious autumn colours. We found John Burton and Mike at the start. They set of at a cracking pace and we didn't see them again until we arrived at the pub. Ralph had already gone off to do Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a' Chochuill.
We elected to do the horseshoe anti-clockwise. Crossing the Allt Coire Chreachainn by a bridge well downstream from its confluence with the Allt Coire Ghlais, we ambled up the long broad ridge leading to Sron an Isean. The views were extensive in the cool clear air. Some three-quarters of the way up as we paused for refreshment, a rapid increase in windspeed presaged a dramatic change in the weather. Alan, Mary and I pushed on ahead determined to complete the route. Very soon cloud swept over the ridges and filled the corrie to leeward. We briefly saw Brocken Spectres before the cloud engulfed us completely. With the temperature dropping sharply and the humidity rising it seemed we would soon see snowfall. However it remained dry for our traverse of Stob Diamh and Stob Garbh
Alan and Mary decided to take in the Corbett Beinn a' Bhuiridh and I took off down Stob Garbh's southeast ridge. Almost immediately I was hailed by two guys bounding down behind me. They asked if I was going down to the reservoir. I pointed out that the reservoir was to the west. "Which way is west?" was the astounding reply. They confessed they had no compass because it was sunny when they set out that morning. I gave them directions to reach the reservoir and they disappeared upwards. I descended to Dalmally wondering if, in these conditions, it were possible to follow verbal directions without a compass.
Perhaps due to a dodgy forecast only 3 members turned up, Ken, Mike and myself. It was a bit windy, but the wind kept the clouds at bay and we only had a few showers on the way to our first hill, Stob Coire Gaibhre ( a Munro Top). It was quite remarkable, as looking North there were heavy rain clouds over Glen Spean with brilliant rainbows, whilst behind us the main peaks of the Grey Corries were cloud-free and looked very inviting.
Due to time constraints I had to return to the car at Corriechoille at this point, leaving Ken & Mike to walk on, with the intention of at least reaching the first Munro, Stob Choire Claurigh. As I drove home to Crieff I encountered some very heavy rain, and the waterfall in the pass of Glencoe was carrying more water than I've ever seen before. I just hope those clouds by-passed the Grey Corries !
P.S. I'm sending this report early as I'm off to Braemar tomorrow for a very long day !
The forecast was for showers, after a couple of days of heavy rain, so early start to get to the Fort. At just before 8am I was getting that sinking feeling that I was "going it alone" when Norman arrived to complete one his few remaining tops. He left for Spean Bridge and I waited until around 8.15am in case anyone had put the clocks back a day early! At Spean Bridge Ken was waiting with Norman so off we went to Corriechoille. Norman was bagging Coire na Gaibhre so Ken and I joined him. We cut off the track just after the forest and slogged our way up the north slope of Beinn Bhan. It seemed to go on forever and with quite a strong wind to boot. Still I managed to see a mountain hare glide effortlessly up the hillside, several Ptarmigan and what looked like a Black Grouse to make life a little more interesting. At the top we took some welcome refreshment and after a photo shoot Norman returned to base and Ken and I decided to go for Stob Choire Claurigh. This proved to be a good test with a strong wind and all four seasons of weather thrown at us.
Near the summit Ken disturbed a vole that snowballed down the slope for about a metre before arresting itself and scrambling back to safety, a great sight and quite a wildlife day was developing! On route we had some good views of the ridge but soon lost it when the frequent showers arrived. At the summit we sheltered for a bite to eat out of the driving wind and contemplated calling it a day when Stob Ban appeared invitingly from the cloud. We decided to descend to the bealach at Coire Rath and make a decision on Stob Ban from there. The descent from the summit over the boulder field was tricky with fresh snow on already wet rock making grip difficult and our progress was careful and slow. At the bealach after more food and drink and we decided to go for it. It took us half an hour to summit Stob Ban and with a strong wind and horizontal rain and sleet we descended quickly to the bealach and down the steep and slippery north east slope to Alt a'Chuil Choirean hitting the track at the Bothy. From there a long walk along the track with tired legs reaching the car after 5pm. A most enjoyable day and thanks to Ken and Norman for helping make it so.
On Sunday we started as 9 (Sarah, Andrew, Mike, John B Oban, Kevin, Ralph, Gavin, Roy and Norman) and then came across Bill who had made an early start. The approach was damp underfoot, but the cold weather had helped. We crossed the river and made for the face of Sron na Garbh-bheinne. We took different routes up , but crossed paths again on the ridge. It was the first covering of snow this season. Andrew and I walked with Bill to the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain, stopping to photograph the views across Loch Treig on the way. On the summit we found Mike and Roy, and I headed off with them to do the second munro, Chno Dearg, hoping the cloud would clear from the summit. On the way we met the other group who had taken a longer route to include the munro top of Meal Garbh. We stopped for refreshments on Chno Dearg, where the cloud had indeed lifted. Then we headed back down to our start point for early drinks at Stronlossit before heading home.
Nine of us left the car park at Fersit at different speeds, so that we were soon spread out on the hill. On the way up, Ralph met Bill, who had started earlier, so that made 10.( However, we did not see him again until well down) As we went higher, there was a good cover of snow which made the walk a bit more interesting. At the summit of Stob Choire Sgriodain, Gavin went off to do his own thing, while Norman, who was aiming to add another "Top" to his list, was joined by Kev (who had travelled up from Whitley Bay), Ralph and John Burton, and the four of us headed for Meall Garbh. Walking in the snow all the time, we found the cairn, where we saw written in the snow "GAT woz ere", showing that Gavin had beaten us to it (no surprise there then).
Following the rim of the coire, we made for the second Munro, Chno Dearg (though it was not "dearg", red, that day, being covered in snow). At the col, we saw Sarah, Mike and Roy ahead of us, and far away in the coire, could also see Andrew and Bill who were heading for Fersit. After a meal break, the seven of us left the summit by the northern ridge into the wet and boggy ground before the track to Fersit.
Coffee and drinks were taken at the Stronlossit Hotel in Roy Bridge, although there were only nine as Gavin must have been still on the hill.
Ron, Suzanne, AnneB and I didn't fancy the sprint to Derry Cairngorm. In any case some of us had unfinished business on the plateau above, having only got as far as Coire an t-Sneachda a few weeks ago due to foul weather. The cloud was again shrouding the car park when we arrived, but this time the wind was much lighter, with rain rather than hail and sleet.
As we entered the corrie, the mist began to lift and we caught a glimpse of the other Fiacaill ridge to our right and we climbed up its steep flank into the clearing sky. We were joined by an Irishman called Nick. I followed the crest of the ridge, scrambling on increasingly steep rock, still running wet with icy cold water from the earlier rain. Eventually I backed off a more difficult section with fingers frozen, and found myself on a steep path that followed the base of the crags, on the right flank, all the way to the plateau. The others had been seduced by a more prominent path that deviated away from the rocky ridge altogether. However, they found themselves struggling on the loose rock of the much steeper headwall of Coire an Lochain and had a rather tougher time reaching the plateau than I had.
The sun came out and we lingered at the edges of the corries, admiring the huge drops and the fascinating rock formations. Cairn Gorm itself was busy. Climbers and hillwalkers with some intrepid tourist dressed in city clothes made an amusing and incongruous scene. We descended to the cars. Nick had to run for his bus. We made for the bar in Glenmore Lodge and were joined a little later by the sprinters.
On Saturday the group split into two. Andrew, Anne, Suzanne and Ron wanted to do Cairngorm. I eventually decided to join John Burton and Gavin doing Derry Cairngorm. Gavin set a good pace up the Fiacaill a Choire Chas ridge and John and I puffed along behind. In the drizzle half way up I voiced to the others that perhaps I had gone with the wrong group, but John encouraged me to go on a little further and see how I felt. On the descent to Loch Avon the cloud began to break and my spirits improved. After a stop at the lochside we all felt quite optimistic once again that we were making good progress and would have no trouble getting back in daylight. It was there that Gavin mentioned continuing on after Derry Cairngorm to Ben MacDui! Although this initially sounded like a crazy idea we agreed that while this would be a longer route it would avoid the descent and reascent if we returned by Loch Avon. So with regular stops to catch our breath and refuel, this is what we ended up doing.
And I'm glad we saw Ben MacDui from this angle as it is a much more interesting hill than I had thought from Cairngorm. It turned out to be a great day, 22km, 1300m ascent, in just over 7 hours and we met the others for drinks at Glenmore Lodge before the drive home.
Norman and Les accompanied me up Dinnertime Buttress as the approach to these two hills. Norman needed the Top and Les the Munro. I was delighted that these tireless old baggers really appreciated this start, a real mountaineers route even if you avoid the serious scrambles and stick to the path. It leads from the bottom to the top of Aonach Dubh. It starts with an easy river crossing in two stages and holds to the crest of a crumbling ridge of moraine. The angle steepens at some mixed rock and heather, through which the path zig-zags. The ascent is so full of interest with views from splendid vantage points that you don't notice the effort involved. It's like going up in a lift. At the base of the solid rock band above, the path slants rightwards and enters a spectacular gulley, keeping well up on its left (north) side. At the top of the gulley is a tiny corrie just under the broad summit ridge of Aonach Dubh.
From here it was an easy walk up to the summit Top of Stob Coire nan Lochan, over bare rocky slabs with vertical views down the famous winter gullies on our left. These appeared bottomless in the mist now enveloping us, borne on a stiff wind of forty odd knots, but we could still see the curious square pinnacles that stand guard over some of them. At the summit our heads broke through the cloud top, blue sky and sunshine above but no views. On to Bidean and our feet broke through the cloud base on the col. Tantalising. However, as we headed for Stob Coire nam Beith, the mist finally dissipated sufficiently to reveal the sunlit peaks that surrounded us.
We descended by Coire nam Beith, and passed below Dinnertime Buttress. Still impressive, even though you've just been up it. From any angle it looks much harder than it really is.
As Both Ralph and Mike had done Bidean nam Bian, and wanted to get a couple of new "ticks", they decided to do something different from the programme. Ralph wanted to do Buachaille Etive Mor (Stob Dearg and Stob na Broige), while Mike, who had already done Stob Dearg, wanted to do Stob na Broige, plus Stob Coire Raineach on Buachaille Etive Beag. I decided to join them.
Leaving from Altnafeadh, we headed up Coire na Tulaich, Mike and I taking the well-made, but rocky, path up the eastern side, while Ralph went up the even rockier west side. At the col, where there were several other walkers, we separated, Ralph and I going up Stob Dearg in the wind and mist, and Mike going along the ridge towards Stob na Doire. After leaving the summit of Stob Dearg, we made our way along the ridge, still in the mist and with the wind increasing in severity. Fortunately, after coming off the summit of Stob na Doire, the mist cleared away, but the wind was as fierce as ever. At the col below Stob Coire Altruim, we caught up with Mike (who must have been taking it easy!). Then together, we ascended Stob Coire Altruim and Ston na Broige, where we had wonderful views. After a short break, we came back down the ridge to the col below Stob Coire Altruim again, and then descended the steep and, in places, awkward, path down Coire Altruim (a little reverse scrambling was required).
Mike went on ahead, and by the time Ralph and I had crossed the burn in the Lairig Gartain, Mike was on his way up the very steep flank of Stob Coire Raineach. Our return along the Lairig was easy because of the much improved path.
On meeting up with the members who had done the Dinner-time buttress below Stob Coire nan Lochan, in the Glencoe Hotel, we learned that Mike had let them know that he had reached the summit of Stob Coire Raineach.
Weather forecast was good with a predicted 90% chance of cloud free munro's. The club programme was to tackle Stob Coire nan Lochan and on to Bidean nam Bian. Having already done both, albeit from an alternative route, I decided to take on Stob na Broige and Stob Coire Raineach, a couple of munro’s in the vicinity. Ralph was keen to summit Stob Dearg as the forecast was so good. So John, Ralph and me headed up to Coire na Tulach and on to the coll between Stob Dearg and Feadan Ban.
Unfortunately the cloud still lingered at about 900 metres but Ralph and John still went for the summit of Stob Dearg and I headed for unfamiliar territory to Stob na Doire agreeing to meet up somewhere on route to Stob na Broige. This we did and had a super walk to the summit with good views as the cloud base increased beyond the tops. A strong wind challenged us for much of the route, strong enough at times to halt progress. Returning from the summit we headed back to Stob Coire Altruim and the steep and slippery descent of Coire Altruim. Here I left Ralph and John as I had my eye on Stob Coire Raineach. After a welcome rest by the River Coupall I headed northwest directly to the summit of Raineach. It was hard going, steep with unavoidable patches of scree to contend with and the odd bit of scrambling for a bit of excitement. At least the wind had abated. Looking back I saw John and Ralph taking the track back through Lairig Gartain. The wind picked up again at the summit and the cloud descended, so after a text to Andrew to let him know I was OK I made my descent to Mam Buidhe and then a south-easterly traverse to pick up the track and the walk in. Tired legs but a great sense of achievement when I arrived back at the car.
Three o'clock on Friday afternoon saw us on the slip at Claonaig, watching the ferry coming in from Arran and still not knowing if we would get on ! The problem, Andrew explained, was the very exposed slipway (Claonaig is just a concrete slipway and a small car park - not even a pub !) and the swell coming up from the south which might mean the ferry ramp was moving about too much for us to get on it safely. In the event we got on and arrived at Lochranza 30 minutes later. The hostel turns out to be very pleasant - it has been recently re-furbished at a cost of over a million pounds so it ought to be.
Next day, we drove round to Corrie and took the path up to Goat Fell. This was without incident apart, possibly, from a river crossing ! There was, however, a good old hoolie blowing at the summit so it was decided to abort the original plan of traversing the ridge out to Cioch na h-Oighe. Instead, we descended from North Goatfell to the Saddle and returned down Glen Sannox. The descent from the Saddle turns out to be "interesting".
The next day started rather grey and several opted for the early ferry. The rest of us did a short coast walk to investigate the Fairy Dell and Huttons Unconformity. Lots of wildlife were encountered - seals, herons, oyster-catchers, sandpipers, geology students,...
Arran is clearly a fantastic place for a walking holiday. However, due to the complications of getting there (ie the ferry trip) it really needs more than a 2 or 3 day weekend.
This weekend meet nearly didn't happen. The forecast was awful and the ferry was off on the Friday morning but Calmac was reviewing the situation every couple of hours. By 11h 00, it was clear to us that if we waited any longer, by the time we arrived at Claonaig, we could miss the last ferry anyway. Saturday was forecast to be the best day so we had to be at Lochranza by Friday evening or not go at all.
However, the sea-state had moderated sufficiently by 15h00 for the ferry to resume service and 10 members duly arrived at Lochranza Youth Hostel by Friday evening (AndrewG, Gerry, Ron, Ken, Liz, Wesley, Margaret, AnneCW, Jean, John Bousted).
Saturday dawned windy, with cloud on the tops but mainly dry. Serious scrambling would not have suited everybody under these conditions so we decided on Goat Fell from Corrie, the Stacach Ridge to North Goat Fell, then over Mullach Buidhe and descend to Sannox over Cioch na h-Oighe. Gerry was not Hillwalking, and offered to give the drivers a lift from here.
The scrambling on this route can be as easy or as difficult as one wants to make it. Everyone had a go and it was always possible to avoid anything that appeared too difficult. At the summit of North Goat Fell, it seemed that the wind was rising and we decided to take the Northwest ridge down to the Saddle, rather than tackle the somewhat more delicate traverse and descent of Cioch na h-Oighe.
The route from the Saddle down the steep headwall of Glen Sannox provided plenty of interest, especially the descent down a long basalt dyke. A four-kilometre walk out rounded off the day.
Sunday was not forecast to be as good and it was raining steadily at breakfast time. Three members decided to take the morning ferry out. The rest of us did a coastal walk, full of geological and wildlife interest. The rain stopped and the sun came out. Quite the best day of the weekend.
On a day of fantastic weather, eight members turned out. Andrew, Ralph, Mike, Sarah, Allan, Wesley and John Burton, opted to do both hills, while Ron climbed An Caisteal.
After leaving the good track beside the River Falloch, we managed to find the rather wet and indistinct path leading to Sron Gharbh. Then it was on to the varied Twistin Hill, with lots of ups and downs. A bit of easy scrambling took us to within striking distance of the summit. It was so clear that during the break at the top, we calculated that we could see as far as the Ben to the north and Grangemouth to the soth-east. Then it was down the craggy south face of An Caisteal and up the steep and slightly awkward approach to Beinn a Chroin's west top.
There was a bit of debate as to which was the true summit, as, depending on which map we looked at (old or new), the heights were 938m or 940m for the west top, and 940m, 942m or 946m for the east top. Needless to say, the only way to be sure that we had reached the summit was to do both, which we did.
After another break, we headed down the north-east ridge to the glen floor, where we met Ron, and a wet, boggy walk back to rejoin the track.
Refreshments were taken in the interesting Crianlarich Hotel with its walls adorned with fishing rods, and stuffed animals all around.
Nine rather damp members (Andrew,Ann,Gavin,John,Mary,Ralph,Ron,Sarah,Wesley) set out for Shiel Bridge. Someone said it would clear up in the afternoon (There is always someone who says this ?) Anyway, it rained all the way up Glen Garry and when we passed the famous "Cluanie Curtain", it just got heavier.
The cars were abandoned at the NTS car park at Morvich and we all set off along the path up Gleann Choinneachan. Webbed feet would have been useful but everyone had their wet weather gear on so it was not too bad. Then we got to the Allt Coire an Sgairne.
Gavin, Ralph and Wesley got across and carried on to the Bealach na Sgairne and indeed reached the summit of Ghlas-Bheinn. The rest of us had a selection of excuses (basically just did not want to get our feet wet) and headed back to the Kintail Lodge Hotel by a rather roundabout route.
It did not clear up in the afternoon.
Only three members turned up at the car park in Fort William, Les, Ralph and John Burton. Both Les and Ralph were keen to do the arete to Carn Mor Dearg, and John had not done that route before, so that was the route decided.
Walking through the Nevis gorge, the river was boiling, but we did not have any burns to cross, so the excessive water did not cause any problems. We left the Steall meadow, and climbed steeply towards Meall Cumhann, but decided not to summit it to save some climbing. Half way up, the rain started, so on went the waterproof trowsers. Contouring round, we found that our decision not to summit had been taken too late, as we ended up only 30 m from the summit. The drop down to the col, and the ascent to the southeast ridge of Ben Nevis was again steep, and ended in a boulder field.
At the start of the arete, it was cloudy with no visibility even into Coire Leis. However, it did clear, and we then met two walkers going the other way towards the Ben. The clamber (it could not be called a walk) up the arete was very slow, as the rocks were wet and greasy and, at times, the wind was quite strong. Through the cloud, which was coming and going, we could see more walkers (we were the only ones going in that direction). That meant that we had to stop every so often to let people pass (thank goodness for the rest!). On the summit, we met even more people--there must have been about 40 on the hill that day, and they were all heading for the Ben (which was totally in cloud).
As suggested on the programme, we descended by the east ridge, where, surprisingly, there was a path, although it was very rocky, and bouldery at the col. Then we followed a path down Coire Guibhsachan past the many waterfalls to the Steall ruin. John
Just Ken and I turned up at the Fort, joined by Anne CW at Spean. This did not bode well for the Autumn Barbeque that was to follow the walk. We decided to do this Corbett by a through route from Greenfield, so we took two cars, leaving one at White Bridge.
Ben Tee is a shapely hill. Set apart from its Munro neighbours to the south, it is prominent in the views from west to northeast. From some angles it resembles a giant limpet.
One can take a car as far as Greenfield along a pot-holed track. It's three kilometres from there to the right turn at the Allt Ladaidh. It would be worth biking this section. Another two kilometres or so brought us below the steep western flank of Ben Tee, which is surmounted by some enticing rocky bits. Ken and I headed up by this route, but Anne thought she had insufficient time to complete the traverse and decided to return by the outward route to ensure that we all arrived at the barbeque on time. We made rapid progress once out of the deep heather and onto rocky ground. There were fine views and a pleasant fresh breeze. The descent from eastwards from the summit was less steep with a hint of a path. We arrived at White Bridge at 15h00 and waited awhile for Anne.
Thirteen people turned up for the barbeque. Thanks to Bill and Pauline for an excellent spread. The breeze continued and kept the midges at bay.
Some bits and pieces from a bits and pieces sort of day ! The ironic thing was that the weather was quite pleasant in Lochaber.
One group (Anne, Andrew and Ron) headed into Coire an t'Sneachda with the intention of the Fiacaill ridge up to the pleateau and then back via Cairngorm summit. However, the weather in the corrie was such that we turned tail and headed back to the Funicular station cafe and hence homewards. No pictures.
Following are the other bits from Stuart and Alan -
Margaret, Lydia and Stuart headed for the low peaks to the north of the Chalamain Gap path, where we hoped for views and a look at the 'other gap'. We were rewarded with some fine views, a very close encounter with a lone reindeer, and a view of an albino reindeer walking in line astern with 6 other 'normal' reindeer.
On the final hill (Craig a Chalamain) we had torrential rain and decided enough was enough, and headed for the car and tea plus apple strudel at the Squirrel Cafe.
On arrival at the car we were greeted by a message from Andrew to say that his party had abandoned their attempt to go up Cairngorm in view of the extreme weather and had headed for home. The third group (Mary, Alan and Sarah) planned to park at the Squirrel car park and make their way towards the Lairing Ghru and thence up Braeraich.
The forecast was for strong winds but I didn't expect the rain as well. Four of us set off to do Braeriach. However, the rain and wind made it unpleasant but we kept going in the hope it would improve. After a break amongst some boulders by a stream we set off up the long ridge leading to Braeriach. When we got to 925m we decided it wouldn't improve, so we went back. As these things happen, the sun came out just as we got back to the carpark.
Five members had informed the coordinator they would not be coming out because of the awful forecast!! Just four stalwarts, Alan M, Mary, Bill and Andrew G assembled at the Fort William Woollen Mill on a bright and sunny morning with a fresh breeze. Full of anticipation we quickly decided which walk on the programme we would do - the longest one - and set off for Callop. On Locheilside our summits for the day came into view, clear and sharp in the cool morning air.
The route described makes a fine expedition, even if you avoid all contact with the ubiquitous rocky outcrops, and takes in two worthy Corbetts. However, we were all up for some scrambling in the ideal dry conditions. Up to Meall a'Choire Chruinn we were well sheltered from the wind, but felt its true force from then on, 35 to 40 knots with some gusts up to 55. This did not deter us from scrambling but it demanded more thought and concentration. We had some magnificent views of this somewhat remote corner of Lochaber, with even some of the highest summits clear of cloud.
Descending steeply from Sgurr Ghuibhsachain we crossed the broad flat col between Leac an Fhurain and Clac Gharbh. Bill decided to return on the path by the Allt na Cruaiche while we headed for the summit of Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn. This fine rocky peak presents a massive craggy face to our line of approach, steep and some 60 metres in height. Deep in conversation, we had failed to pick out a line whilst at a distance. However, a shallow groove, slanting slightly leftwards up the middle of the crag became evident after a couple of false starts, and we were soon at the top of our second Corbett of the day. Mary's anemometer was now recording a steady 40 knots. We descended over the intriguingly shaped Meall na Cuartaige, reminiscent of a camel's humps, and joined the path back to Callop, much of it now a vehicle track to a small dam. Bill was 20 minutes ahead of us. Not a drop of rain all day.
Wind, rain and low cloud was forecast on Friday but had been updated to something rather more optimistic by dawn on Saturday morning.
At last a day of light winds and mainly sunny weather. The midges were up for a bite but failed to score decisively. Les, Norman and John Beattie set off apace towards the Forcan Ridge, intent on bagging some Munros and Tops. Margaret, Stuart and Lydia drove on the Shiel Bridge and headed southwards up the long ridge from Loch Coire nan Crogachan towards the Saddle. Anne C-W, Anne B, Ron and I set off for the Forcan Ridge at a more leisurely pace to enjoy some scrambling. Bill's car had been spotted so we knew he was ahead of everyone somewhere.
Norman, Les and John duly met Bill at the summit of the Saddle. Les went on the bag Sgurrr na Sgine and descend over Faochag and John and Norman went on to bag the two tops of Spidean Dhomhuill Bhric and Sgurr Leac nan Each, and descended to Shiel Bridge. They encountered Margaret, Stuart and Lydia on the way.
Bill waited for my group at the Saddle but not for long enough it seems because we didn't meet him. We returned by Bealach Coire Mhalagain. We met the others at the Cluanie Inn later, and called on Bill on the way home.
A long drive towards worsening weather but the forecast was for clearing up later. This it duly did and we had a good day doing some readily achievable hills. Gavin, Ron, John Beattie, Sarah, Andrew G, Anne C-W and Anne B turned out. Gavin did both Sgurr Gaoith and Mullach Clach a' Bhlair, plus an assortment of lesser prominences. The rest of us were content with Sgurr Gaoith, and were rewarded with clearing skies and the view down the plunging slopes to Loch Einich. Further east was still cloudy and Braeriach was enshrouded, but we had distant views of our sunlit homeland in the west.
Four met up at Dalrigh, Wesley, Ralph, Bruce and John Burton and walked up the very good track to and beyond Cononish Farm. The weather was fine, but the cloud was down, so we could not get the full impact of the view of Ben Lui.
Having crossed the Allt an Rund, we followed the path which led steeply up into Coire Gaothach, with the cloud receding before us. Coire Gaothach is very impressive, and we could see how it would hold snow for a long time and also how it would be liable to avalanches in the winter. There was then another steep climb south out of the coire on to the ridge, with a fairly short rocky ascent to the summit. There we met two guys having a smoke (!?), having come up from Glen Lochy. After a break for lunch, we decided not to include Beinn a' Chleibh in the walk, but to take the north ridge down, so making a circumnavigation of Coire Gaothach. After a while, the path disappeared so we made our way down the sometimes awkward slopes into the glen of the Allt an Rund, and back on to the track to Cononish. There were some fairly heavy showers, but looking back, as the cloud had risen, we were able to see more of this impressive hill.
The diary was completed in Paddy's Bar in Tyndrum.
The drive all the way from Oban, via Fort William, to Skye was in good weather, with the clouds high, light winds and NO rain. However, once over the bridge, we could see the hills of the "Red Cuiilins", in mist and rain. The misty isle was going to live up to its reputation. Lydia and Stewart stopped in a lay-by to do an alternative walk, while we drove a little further to the car park at the Allt na Dunaiche.
A good path with a fine gorge and some waterfalls on our left, lead us into Coire Uaigneich. Once over the burn, it was up the loose, stoney path to the col (which we could not see for the mist). Ralph, as usual, was leading, ahead of John Beattie, John Burton and Andrew, and he found the rather indistinct turn off the main path. From here, the climb was steep and rocky, with several scrambly bits, including one where exposure was not the problem, but enclosure was. It was up a narrowing gully whose top we could not see, but when we got there, it was shoulder-wide with an awkward climb out. The path was appearing and disappearing, but the summit cairn and trig point duly arrived.
But there were absolutely no views, except we could see the steep drop on the other side of the cairn. After a hurried break for lunch, we set off back down. From the summit, we found a much clearer path, and after some debate, decided to follow it instead of returning the way we had come with its very loose rocks. We were not the only ones on the hill, as we had seen three going up ahead of us, and on the way down were overtaken by a very fast couple and then three more.
Back at the car, we had another break, out of the wind but not the rain, and then for coffee at a restaurant, having been unable to find the cafe that Lydia and Stewart had gone to. This was one of the shortest hill walks that I have done recently, but one of the longest drives (mostly by Andrew). It was just a pity that we missed the great views that, apparently, this hill has to offer.
The MWIS forecast was for rain and wind at first turning to showers and less wind later. This more or less happened, but the showers were rather frequent and the reduction in wind speed barely perceptible. I arrived at St. Brides School to find Ralph and John Burton waiting. Stuart, Lydia and Tom turned up just then. AnneB texted to say she had parked at Mamore Lodge and started walking earlier. We drove to Kinlochleven to start at the Grey Mares Carpark and took the footpath traversing the NW flank of Meall an Doire Dharaich. Stuart and Lydia took the track to Loch Eilde Mor, intending to explore the burn emanating from the lochan in Coire an Lochan above. Tom, Ralph, John and I headed up the stalkers' path to this Lochan, traversed the coire and caught up with Anne where the path descends about 130 metres in a series of zig-zags into Coire a'Bhinnein. We had been walking in thick mist for a while, but at this point the cloud base lifted somewhat and we got the first glimpse of the day's objective, Binnein Beag. I love the sense of remoteness one gets in this corner our backyard.
Arriving at the col between the Binneins, we felt the full force of the wind and struggled up the steep bouldery shoulder to the summit of Binnein Beag. All the while, the cloud base was rising and we had some good views in some directions. Returning to the col, Ralph and John were overcome by the urge to do Binnein Mor as well. Tom, Anne and I retraced our route and returned by Mamore Lodge to retrieve Anne's Car. From there to the Ice factor for refreshment, where we were soon rejoined by Ralph and John. As I have no doubt opined before, it's worth going out in less than ideal conditions.
Calling Nevis Hillwalkers! Anyone out there?
Ralph and I were short of company on Saturday as we completed the four Munros within the Glen Lyon Horseshoe. Forecast was to be better further east but it was far from that, rain and cloud throughout the day. Setting off from the small car park at the telephone kiosk in Invervar we reached the summit of Carn Gorm in good time and sheltered for a brew pondering whether to call it a day as we could not see a thing. Just at that moment a couple of girls from a club in Inverness arrived and said we should carry on. Our spirits were lifted and not to be outdone by a couple of Highlanders we pressed on to Meall Garbh. Taking the wrong (higher) track, in the cloud, around An Sgorr we found ourselves too far south and took a little time to get back on bearing. Another quick stop for a bite and off we went again determined not to be beaten by the mental anguish of not being able to see our surroundings. The weather deteriorated further at this stage as we pressed on over Meall a' Bharr and on to Carn Mairg where we met the girls again. A quick photo shoot and we all set off for our final destination, Meall na Aighean. The Highlanders seemed to know what they were doing and so we tagged on avoiding the need to do any further navigation, or so we thought! At the bealach the girls turned west. Having mentally got a picture of the route, at the last stop, I sensed that we should have been heading south east. So off we went to the summit and the girls followed. From here wet and weary we headed steeply south west and picked up the road just west of Carnbane Castle. Despite the weather a good walk and both of us were pleased we had overcome our initial thoughts of the single bag!
Seven met for this walk from various parts of the globe (well, Scotland anyway)--Norman, from Crieff, Les from Milngavie, John Burton from Oban, Sarah from North Ballachulish, Ron from Banavie, Alan McGaw from Fort William and Roy from Roy Bridge. As seems to be the case these days, there were several options on offer--Beinn Mheadhoin, Derry Cairgorm (or both), the tops of Stacan Dubha and Stob Coire Etchachan, with the possibility of claiming Cairgorm on the way back. Whichever one chose, there was to be a lot of "up and down".
We all started off together up the Fiacaill ridge in fine weather, then down, and down again in Coire Raibeirt. From high up the coire, we could not see Loch Avon, but knew it was there hidden in the deep glen ahead, with Beinn Mheadhoin behind. Having successfully crossed the Feith Buidhe without realising there were stepping stones, we climbed up to Loch Etchachan, where we divided up--Norman to his two tops, Ron to Derry Cairgorm, Roy, who decided at the last minute to do both Beinn Mheadhoin and Derry Cairgorm ( Roy, tell us what you had for breakfast that day, as we all could do with some!), and the rest of us to Beinn Mheadhoin.
The "barn" at the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin is impressive, and we had a short scramble into a stong wind. We retreated to Loch Avon, again missing the stepping stones, to await the others on the lovely sandy beach in the sun. Norman joined us shortly after, and, as they both had long journeys, he and Les then headed for home. A while later, we could see Ron coming down the path with two others. It transpired that Ron had gone to Ben MacDui instead of Derry Cairgorm, and there he had met a father and son who had apparently taken a wrong turning. Their intended route was the Lairig Ghru, but they had found themselves on one of Scotland's highest hills! I think that their guardian angel was looking after them well that day! Ron advised them to join us for the return journey. Roy met up with us not long after. Having gone from seven to five in number (Norman and Les having left), we were now seven again with the addition of the two lost walkers.
The return was uneventful, but no-one seemed too keen to add Cairngorm to that day's list. Coffee was had in the Coylumbridge Hilton.
I had travelled to Glencoe the evening before and had a super walk to the summit of Stob Dearg and camped in Glen Etive eagerly awaiting Sunday's club walk to Creise. The weather forecast was for low cloud arriving and maybe some patchy rain (How wrong it can be occasionally).
The morning air was cool as I waited at the Glen Etive junction for arrival of the troops but no-one came so off I set for Creise at 9.30. Crossing the River Etive about 1km from the road junction with the splendid view of Sron na Creise ahead I was optimistic that the weather would hold good. It did, all day, it was wonderful. It took me a little longer than suggested to reach the top of Sron na Creise as I enjoyed picking a route that offered some reasonable scrambling. Once up excellent views abounded and I lingered for some time soaking up the atmosphere, not a soul to be seen and a beautiful summer day with blue sky. Onward I pressed over Stob a Ghlais Choire and on to Creise where I met two, of only five, people I saw all day. The 360 degree panorama from the summit was incredible. Feeling "on top of the world", I decided to take in the Munro top, Clach Leathad. This was quite an easy ascent although the temperature was very warm. A quick photo shoot and I pressed on to Meall a Bhuiridh descending to the connecting ridge between Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh. On reaching the summit I was rewarded with superb views across Rannoch Moor. After some sunbathing and cooling off I reluctantly started my descent North across boulders to the saddle below point 748 on the map.
From here I traversed Northwest to the Allt Cam Ghlinne. The flora and fauna on this hillside was abundant as were voles and frogs. On hitting the burn I took a welcome dip in a lovely pool. Looking back and reflecting on a most wonderful day in the hills I was treated to the sight of an eagle quartering over the hillside I had just traversed. Could the day get any better? I pondered. Following the course of the burn I returned to the river crossing and a short walk to the car and the journey home to Inveraray. Two days in Glencoe I shall remember for a long time.
After waiting until after 9.30 and unable to contact anyone on the phone I set of from the Ben Lawers visitor centre (now closed and not re-opening) and headed for Beinn Ghlas. Half way up I got a call that the troops had arrived. I waited at the summit of Beinn Ghlas and was soon met by Ralph who had obviously taken a dose of vitamin pills or was in training for the fell run this year! Bruce arrived shortly after and suggested we start to handicap Ralph with the inclusion of some additional weight to his rucksack. Alan and Tom joined us and the five of us set off to complete the five Munros : Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, An Stuc, Meall Garbh and Meall Greigh. This we did with the exception of Tom who called it a day after only four! We did get split descending An Stuc as Ralph and Bruce had gone ahead and Tom had a bit of a challenge on the steep descent. This put us some way behind Ralph and Bruce who we next saw waiting patiently with Wesley, Sarah, Cris and Tom at the Lawers Hotel. Wesley and Sarah had completed one of the Tarmachan Ridge and Cris had summited Meall Greigh from the Lawers Hotel and joined up with Ralph. Cris kindly gave us a welcome lift back to the visitor centre.
A super days walking with good weather and visibility giving some fine views.
Some weather forecasts did not look promising, but reading the detail on the MWIS forecast and scrutinising the small synoptic chart that goes with it showed that there was a good chance of a dry and even cloud-free day in the Cuillins. So it turned out, and the first glimpse of the sun was had as we drove down Glen Shiel. The Cluanie Curtain working in our favour for a change. Five turned out, Andrew G, Gerry, Cris, Ron and Alan McG. We all set off up the "tourist" route, the second route on the programme, Good progress through Coire Riabhach on an excellent path, the cloud base lifting above our heads as we gained height into the middle corrie. In the upper corrie, the cloud was thick at first but cleared by the time we gained the SE ridge. Scrambling up towards the summit was easy on the dry grippy gabbro. We held to the crest of the ridge, spectacular if a little exposed at times. The tiny summit was crowded as a party of six Glenrothes Hillwalkers joined us, having come up the West Ridge with a guide, all helmeted and roped. A lingering cloud robbed us all of the fine view from here. Each returned by their ascent routes. We took a somewhat less exposed variation down, bypassing the crest of the upper part of the ridge on its southwest flank, high above the huge Lota Corrie. Back to the Sligahan Inn for some grub before the long drive home.
A cracking good day in excellent conditions.
Note The above report of my ascent is somewhat exagerated. I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun in Coire Riabhach.
On a day where the forecast included the possibility of snow, and even whiteout(!), only three members and one visitor turned out, all in one car form Oban, John Nicol, John Burton, Ralph and the visitor was Ian Fullerton. The Munros of Na Gruagaichean and Stob Coire a'Chairn were achieved with only rain and sleet being encountered (thank goodness!)
Refreshments were taken in a disappointing Mamore Lodge, and we were home, unusually, in time for tea with the family.
Finally, a club weekend when it did not pour. Not that the weather was all that marvelous but it did not pour.
We (Andrew, Jimmy, John, Les, Liz and Ken, Norman, Ron and Sarah) gathered on the pier at Mallaig at 5.30 and got on the boat. On arrival in Inverie, we met with Andrew and Gerry (own boat) and went straight to the pub - a first example of Sarah's excellent planning.
After dinner, we headed out to the bothy, distance of about 5km (which we all got to know rather well before the weekend was over.)
Next day was to be the serious walking. Norman, Liz and Ken, Jimmy and Ron headed up to the Loch an Dubh-Lochain and the Mam Suidbeg. Norman kept telling us this would be the hardest part of the day (Not true !). We then climbed up to and through the Aonach Sgoilte (Split Ridge). We lost Norman round about here. The climb up to the summit was "challenging" - several serious scrambles (well, I thought they were.) - and hard.
At the summit, we found Norman's bag and, shortly after, Norman himself appeared out of the mist. He had been off doing a Munro top somewhere. We returned the easy but long way (via Folach) as none of us fancied reversing the route up. This route also had the advantage of passing the pub.
Apart from Andrew and Gerry (who had gone sailing !), everyone else did the Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn circuit.
Back at the bothy, we had a meal of Chille con Carne (Thanks to Jack.) after some worry involving wood-burning stoves.
Next day (Sunday), it was unanimously decided to have an "easy day". I went for a dawdle up Glen Meadall which turns out to be very spectacular and most of the rest climbed the Corbett above Inverie (Sgurr Coire Choinnichean). Dinner was in the pub, you will not be surprised to read.
Next morning, we just had to walk in to Inverie and step on the ferry over to Mallaig.
Thanks are due to Sarah for organising an excellent weekend.
As the weather forecast was better for Saturday than Sunday, everyone decided to try and achieve their main aim on Saturday. This meant that Liz, Ken, Jimmy and Ron headed for Ladhar Bheinn to claim the Munro, along with Norman (who has already ticked Ladhar Beinn) who wanted to do the top of Stob a' Choire Odhair. Sarah, Andrew Baxter, Les and John Burton decided to do the two Munros of Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn. We left the bothy and headed along Gleann Meadall and straight on to the hill. Soon in cloud, we made the summit of Meall Buidhe with no views. The ridge between the two Munros is real "Rough Bounds" country, with lots of ups and downs with crags. We were going along cheerfully until Andrew told us that we had to drop down to 683 m before the climb up to the summit of Luinne Bheinn at 939 m. You can have too much info! Coming down out of the cloud, we could make out Mam Barrisdale, and the long track home to the bothy. We were the first group back, which surprised us, until we realised the other party would have to pass the Old Forge on their way back. Of course, they did not pass it!
On Sunday, John Burton, and with a little persuasion, Sarah, Les, Ken and Norman climbed the Corbett of Sgurr Coire Choinnichean via the spectacular gorge. We went along the ridge and dropped down into Coire Choinnichean where we at last saw some deer, having seen much sign previously. Later we met up with everyone else for another good meal in the Old Forge.
Corrour Station was a busy rendezvous for the Club on Saturday, and the venue provided a fine choice of alternatives. By the time the train from the South arrived Wesley (via the train from the Fort) had gone to bag Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. Jean & Anne C-W opted for Beinn na Lap, confident that this would be attainable in the time available before the return train. Suzanne chose a leisurely walk round Loch Ossian, knowing that Gavin was away from Rannoch on a day long marathon walk taking in quite a few hills.
The rest of the party (John B, Mike, Ralph, Les & Norman) opted for the slightly longer alternative of Beinn Eibhinn and Aonach Beag, which are normally climbed from Culra bothy. The route lay over the Munro Top of Meall Glas Choire where it was difficult to determine the actual summit, but no such problems arose on Eibhinn, with it's cairn perched dramatically on the edge of the corrie, with magnificent views over to Aonach Beag, Ben Alder and numerous other peaks - a dramatic sight. Ralph & Mike pressed on to Aonach Beag, whilst John & Norman chose to return via the other Munro top of Mullach Coire nan Nead. Les had returned earlier and we all met up in the newly reopened Corrour Station Restaurant for refreshments before the train South.
Weather was very mixed, with a stiff South-Westerly breeze bringing in showers of rain sleet, and on the summits, snow. However, in between there was some pleasant sunshine, so it was a day for outer garments going on and coming off frequently !
Nine people turned out for this walk - five travelled south on the train from Fort William and four north from Crianlarich/Bridge of Orchy, meeting up at the station at Corrour, except one, Wesley, who dashed off early to bag Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. Further fragmentation of the group took place, with two, Jean and Anne Claydon-Wallace deciding to do Beinn na Lap, one, Suzanne doing a circuit of Loch Ossian and five, Mike, Ralph, Norman, Les and John Burton heading for Beinn Eibhinn and Aonach Beag. Norman was aiming to claim two more tops, Meall Glas Choire and Mullach Coire nan Nead, so we made for Meall Glas Choire first. As usual, Mike and Ralph were ahead, and having got past Glas Choire, Les decided he had had enough, and turned back. I was last of the remaining four, and reached the summit of Beinn Eibhinn to find breath-taking 360 degree views and Norman taking a well-earned break. Mike and Ralph were well on their way down the ridge towards Aonach Beag. Norman and I, having already decided not to do Aonach Beag, then set off for the second top, Mullach Coire nan Nead which we achieved, and came down via Creagan an t-Sealgit and a very useful ATV track to the path near the Lodge.
This was a day that saw the weather give us a sample of just about everything it could - rain, hail, sleet, snow, strong winds and, yes, believe or not, lovely warm sunshine. Also, to illustrate the difference between hill and loch, Ralph told me he had a short bum slide in the snow down the ridge from Beinn Eibhinn, while Norman and I spent a relaxing few minutes on the shore of Loch Ossian in the warm sun in shirt sleeves. Les, Norman, Myself, Mike and Ralph all met up later at the restaurant at the station before our journey home, the others having already left on the earlier train for Fort William.
Only six turned out (and that included my grandson, Chris aged 12 years ! ) on what ended as a lovely day with great views. Where was everyone else ?
Mike was, as usual, keen to add to his tally of Munros, and opted to do both hills, Meall na Teanga and Sron a'Choire Ghairbh, but the rest of us were quite happy to do one. We all left Laggan Locks on the good, but boring forestry track in fine weather, then ascended Cam Bhealach to the col. There Mike left us to climb Meall na Teanga, while Andrew, Gerry, John Nicol, myself and Chris took the zig-zag stalkers' path to Sron a'Choire Ghairbh. On the way up, we encountered a shower of rain, then hail and finally snow ! However, it did not last long, and keeping a fine snow cornice to our right, we made it to the summit. Here the views were extensive, with snow-clad Creag Meagaidh and the Monadhliath impressive. At the col below the summit, we met Mike, having caught us up ! We then headed down the nice ridge to Sean Mheall, but Chris had a small tumble, receiving a bruise to his knee. He gamely carried on, borrowing one of Mike's poles for part of the way. Then over rocky Meall nan Dearcag, and the floating pub at Laggan Locks !
A great day out, with everyone happy, including Chris having bagged his third Munro.
The forecast was that it would clear up in the afternoon so a reasonable turn-out at Spean Bridge. At Cluanie, everything looked nice and green so the ice-axes and crampons were left in the car. (You know where this is leading !) The ascent of A'Chralaig is brutal - straight up for 550 metres. Ralph, Mike, John B, Norman and Ron all managed this (some faster than others !) and then set off along the ridge towards the summit. The visibility became steadily worse and, underfoot, it got more and more icey. At the summit, it was full-on winter - not at all pleasant. We also found Bill waiting for us behind the large cairn ! After a brief stop Bill led us off along the ridge towards the bealach. However, at the first corrie on the left (Coire a Ghlas-thuill) we all agreed this was a day for discretion and made a rapid descent to the track in An Caorann Mor. A superb bum-slide on the way.
Norman had planned to do a Munro top (A Chioch) but we could not even find the ridge leading across to it. It was presumably under the large cornice which we all kept well back from.
We had a quick lunch by the side of the track and headed back to the Cluanie Inn. Mike, however, had not had enough and set off up Am Bathach, looked even steeper than A'Chralaig.
Sarah and Wesley turned up at the pub a bit later - they had been for a wander in Coire Odhar and had had a glimpse of the second Munro (Mullach Fraoch-choire) but no more.
Jean, Anne and John N probably had the best day - they went for a low-level exploration of Glen Elgaig and reponded to our tales with "Snow ? What snow ?"
Stuart and Lydia went elsewhere - nobody saw them after we left the car park in the morning
Another eagerly anticipated club week end, this time in Braemar. The weather on Friday was well up to club weekend standards - continuous, torrential rain. Undaunted, Sarah got the two Cairnwell Munros in 1 hour 40 minutes. The rest of us assembled in the Fife Arms which turned out to be the only place in Braemar with electricity. (Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it.)
Saturday was much better - Sarah, Jimmy and Ron walked 21.7 km and climbed Carn a Mhaim (an outlier of Ben Macdui). Surprisingly, there was six inches or so of fresh snow on the top !
Margaret and Cris had an interesting walk in the Invercauld Estate which included a visit to the Balmoral Races (hill races not horse races !) as far as I could gather.
Sunday saw Sarah, Jimmy, Cris and Ron do An Socach from Glen Shee. Another long walk-in and a long ridge walk in a blizzard.
Margaret explored the Burn o Vat, east of Ballater which really sounds like something I must check out some day.
Thanks are due to Sarah and Margaret for preparing the meal on Friday evening and to Wesley for organising the weekend.
Saturday 24th April 2010
Myself, Ken, Ralph decided to complete four Munros in Glenshee. The hills we did were Carn na Tuirc (1019 m), Carn of Claise (1064 m), Tolmont (958 m), and Tom Buidhe (957 m). The day started out with rain & sleat showers as we were ascending Carn na Tuirc, however by the time we reached the summit the weather had started to clear and remained so for the remainder of the day. On the way up we saw a number of Ptarmigan. In fact these birds were seen throughout the day and were regularly heard making their distinctive burping calls. On Carn of Claise I realised that I lost my camera! I had a good idea that I left it close to the summit cairn of Carn na Tuirc. We re-traced our steps and sure enough, Ralph found it. Then we proceeded onto Tolmont and Tom Buidhe in glorious weather with views to the snow clad Cairngorms. I good day with good weather and thanks are due to Ken and Ralph for helping in my such for my camera.
Sunday 25th April 2010
Ralph, Ken and I decided to bag another 3 Munros. The weather forecast was looking rather rosy, 80% chance of cloud free munros etc, etc. The Munros we did were those that hug Glenshee Ski Resort. Carn Aosda (917 m), Carn a Gheoidh (975) and The Carnwell (933 m), the latter being Britain's most exciting mountain. We started from an altitude of 650 metres, so reaching the summit of Carm Aosda was done within the hour. Our next hill was Carn a Gheoidh and looked an interesting ridge walk. It was, but the 80% chance of cloud free munros etc, etc. turned out to be cold wind, rain and visibility of about 50 feet. So we ended up walking to the summit on a compass bearing. We re-traced our steps back and onto the Cairnwell. A truly magnificent mountain with all the paraphernalia of ski Tows, chairlifts and radio masts. The weather cleared when we arrived back at the car ... so a good Scottish day in the mountains.
Rather fewer people than the previous week apparently; it didn't have anything to do with the weather of course, as hill walkers are impervious to such minor issues - aren't they?
Wesley headed up to do his Munros whilst Gerry, Andrew and Anne C-W opted for the stalker's path up to the trig point and Sgurr nan Eugallt. It was a good path with a bit of scrambling towards the top. The weather was lovely, with the bracing wind whipping the hail against any exposed skin and fantastic view of Loch Hourn and Skye - for at least 5 seconds before the clouds closed in again.
Descent by very rough ground avoiding the precipices, for which the peak was named, finally reaching the sea loch for a lovely walk along it and the road beside the river back to the car - which was, miraculously, closer to the final two walkers than when they had got out of it seven and a half hours before.
Stopped at the Tomdoun Hotel for coffee; all-in-all a very good day and thoroughly enjoyable.
The weather forecast was not looking to good. Perhaps this was the reason for a low turnout. Only four turned up; Gerry, Andrew, Ann & Wesley. Gerry, Andrew & Ann decided to walk to the Summit of Sgurr nan Eugalt and I decided to climb Sgurr a'Mhaoraich alone.
Starting out from Glen Quoich I head north along the track parallel to the shore of the Loch Quoich. I then veered towards Allt Coire a' Chaorainn. Because of the heavy wind and rain I avoid Am Bathaich and head straight up the Bealach Coire a, Chaorainn. From here the real adventure began. From here took a bearing and headed up to the summit about 200 metres further up. The ground was rocky and steep. At one stage I had to don on my crampons to cross a snowfield. Upon reaching the summit I retraced my steps back to the car. On the way down I lost my map. The wind got the better of me! I then used my GPS to navigate back down to the col.
All in all a satisfactory day....
The MWIS NW Highlands forecast was a rather apocalyptic description for the southward passage of a cold front across Scotland. If the couple of short sharp showers we had marked its passage over our heads, then it was little more than a damp squib. Terms such as gales, rain, snow, blizzards, and phrases like "severe wind chill", "sudden drop in temperature" must have put a lot of people off because only four turned out.
Andrew, Gerry and Anne CW did the first walk and Wesley the second. Except for the aforementioned showers, it was a largely dry day with a nice fresh breeze. The only disappointment was the cloud that almost but not quite lifted off the summits. We set off from Coireshubh and made fast progress up the excellent stalker's path. Like going up in a lift, with great views of the rough bounds hereabouts. A path of sorts (probably a Corbett bagger's), continues to the col and along the ridge to the summit.
I noticed a difference between my OS 1:50K blow-up and Anne's 1:40K Harvey's based BMC map. The latter showed the summit to be 500 metres NW of the trig point, and 4m higher, so we went off in the mist to find it. Once there we had some tantalising glimpses of Loch Hourn far below, and decided to carry on to Sgurr Sgiath-Airigh for a better look. We descended northwards to Skiary, a steep, rough, knee-crushing , craggy, 800m drop to the shore of this spectacular fjord, followed by a longish walk out and up hill (!) to the car.
Twelve turned up on what must have been the warmest and sunniest day so far this year. Ten between them did both the walks on the programme.
We all set off from the ski station carpark on the 4Km sprint along the forest tracks to the intake at the Allt Choille-rais. The area around here had been clear-felled and seemed unfamiliar to me so we took a GPS fix to confirm the last turn-off. Just before the intake at NN204766 the felling had uncovered a faint path, on the west side of the burn, which led to a gate in the deer fence at the plantation boundary, giving easy access to the hill. No bushwhacking this time. Even better, an old stalker's path was evident from here on, making easy work of the steep climb up, zig-zagging through the crags. Such good progress did we make that we soon found ourselves high above the engorged river that we needed to cross to reach the first of our intended Munro Tops. However, pushing further into the corrie brought us to a level section where we forded comfortably, losing very little height, and mounted the steep flank of Tom na Sroine. At its summit 918m, the views opened up dramatically. We stopped for a break to eat and cool off.
Beyond the col, the snow cover was complete, but fairly firm with only the top couple of inches softened by the blazing sun. This offered no impediment for a swift ascent to the second Top of Stob an Cul Choire.
Ralph, John Burton, Mike and Bruce put on their crampons here, with Aonach Mor in their sights. At the next col, they started up the steep ridge direct to the summit at 1234m. Not wishing to do this section without crampons, I turned north down into the corrie below the long east face of Aonach Mor, accompanied by Roy, Norman, Gerry and Ken. Ron returned over Tom na Sroine. We followed the burn back to the intake, on the east bank this time, and eventually reached the forest track for the long walk out.
Back at the carpark for 17h00, but the cafe was closed. Had to go into the Fort, the Alexandra Hotel for refreshment.
Beinn Loinne was on the programme again. The forecast hinted at overnight rain clearing westward in the morning, but it was just starting to rain on dry ground at breakfast time. It seemed likely the weather was late, as usual.
Five only at the Fort and one more at Spean, and nobody especially anxious to drive to Cluanie and walk all day in hill fog. We could do that right here in Spean. So once again Ben Loinne was dumped in favour of something in the east, and we set off for Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse. Half the party hadn't been on these Corbetts before.
A couple of miles up the track it seemed that the front would pass and weather would clear up a bit. I thought we would do the whole traverse southward, starting up the ridge from near the bothy. However the falling snow resumed, more heavily this time, and the cloud base descended again. Enthusiasm waned and we turned off the track near its summit and headed for the col between the two peaks. In the end we just did Cruach Innse. Up deep wet snow on the steep rocky south aspect, and down rather harder snow on the steep, still frozen grassy slope of the north side. Managed a bit of bum sliding here.
Early finish in the Commando Bar.
Friday was pretty foul so most people elected to arrive in time for dinner but Norman did a Munro Top and Jean did a bicycle ride somewhere in Glen Urquart
Saturday Forecast was not good, strong W wind, showers merging into rain, snow higher up, cloud base 6-700m. This turned out to be pretty accurate. There is no SAIS report for this area. The 10 of us decided on the four Munros to the N of Glen Strathfarrar. We set off up the Toll a'Mhuic footpath intending to do the walk W to E and have the wind at our backs. This stalker's path would have taken us almost to the Top of Sgurr na Fearstaig, but the upper corrie was deep in snow and the E and S aspects were heavily corniced at the rim. Some cornices had collapsed already and there was avalanche debris in the corrie. The visibility was bad, but a likely route to gain the S ridge of Fearstaig presented itself and some of us clambered up the flank. From a closer vantage point we could see there was really no gap between cornices and the steep snow slope under them was riven with horizontal cracks. The whole party backed off. Some headed across the corrie for the S ridge of Creag Ghorm a'Bhealaich. I kept high up and mounted the steep flank on stable firn. There was no cornice on this W facing aspect. The others traversed lower down on a largely snow-free route. Now somewhat ahead of everybody, I pressed on to the summit of Creag Ghorm a'Bhealaich. The whiteout was thick but I found the summit cairn easily by walking up the fall-line. The weather did not encourage hanging about so I headed W in driving snow to bag the summit of Sgurr Fuar-thuill. On the return I went too far E and stopped abruptly when I came upon the cornice at the rim of Coire Ghlais. Turning S to return down the ridge I came upon Liz, Ken, Wesley and Kevin, returning from the summit of Creag Ghorm a'Bhealaich. We descended together.
Sunday The forecast was little better, but it turned out a relatively good day with the wind and showers moderating slowly. Everyone went to Glen Affric. Ken, Liz and Jean did a short walk and set off home early. Gerry, Sarah and Ron did Creag nan Calman, Kevin and Wesley went for the Munro summit of Toll Creagach.
Norman and I did the Munro Top of Sgurr na Lapaich, seen from Affric Lodge, rising imposingly out of the moorland plateau above. We took the good track from the Lodge up the steep rise to its sharp bend at the plateau's edge. A faint path here, indicated by a small cairn, led towards the snow encrusted SE ridge of the hill. We mounted the ridge, steep and rocky in places. Some rays of sunshine illuminated the peak for a while. A pair of ptarmigan ambled out of our way, showing dark new patches of plumage on their winter white. An all-white hare dashed away then stopped at a vantage point higher up to watch us briefly. We found ourselves at the summit in 2 hours 50 minutes, in horizontal snow, so didn't linger for long.
Back at the cars for 15h00 just as the Creag Calman team arrived. Kevin and Wesley were off the hill an hour behind us.
A good forecast, and avalanche warnings green on all aspects, due no doubt to the lack of snow. Maybe the last time I will carry the winter hardware this season. As we set off from Morvich, I noticed that some members had come to this conclusion already.
Crossing the bridge at Innis a'Chrotha, we took the west flank of Beinn Bhuidhe full on. This was hard work on steep, trackless, tussocky terrain that was thankfully still largely frozen and firm. There was no relief from the tedium until we got to some interesting rocky ground and folk could scramble around at will.
Traversing the rocky ridge of Sgurr a'Choire Ghairbh was a delight. Some of the faster or more nimble walkers had pulled ahead, but the twelve of us found ourselves regrouped at the steep descent down the S ridge to the Hunter's Pass. This awkward scramble lacks good holds, and was rather greasy. With plenty of advice on offer and rucksacs passed down, we all negotiated the pitch without incident, a good club moment.
The castellated ridge continued to the Munro Top of Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir, splendid wild corries to the left and steep plunging slopes to the right with the river Croe far below. Beyond here, the character changed completely at the Plaide Mhor, a wide featureless plateau rising gently to the summit of Beinn Fhada. A two-kilometre plod in wet snow.
Alan, Gavin, Kevin and Ralph had spurted on ahead to bag the Top of Sgurr a' Duibh Doire. Ron, AndrewG, John Burton, Roy, Mike, Wesley, Gerry and Leila descended to the rim of the impressive Coire an Sgairne.
A good path led us down into the remote Gleann Choinneachain. The four sprinters caught us up and we paused for a late afternoon bite at the river crossing. From there a long but fast walk out to Morvich.
John Nicol was waiting patiently, having been to the Falls of Glomach.
Thirteen turned out for what was to be a long day. John Nicol took off to the Falls of Glomach while the main party did the programmed walk up Beinn Bhuidhe and along the fine ridge to Beinn Fhada. Wet rock slowed things down a tad at what would otherwise have been not too tricky reverse scramble. This successfully negotiated by all 4 members, Gavin, Alan, Ralph and myself pressed on to do an extra top some 2k beyond the munro before returning to rejoin the others in Gleann Choinneachain.
Don't know what time Mike got back to Inverary but it was after eleven when I arrived back at Kilchrenan.
The forecast was intermittent rain or drizzle and a strong west wind, but easing a bit during the day. The avalanche forecast was green, with yellow from NE-S-SW above 900m. No problem there, but with the freezing level at 1000m, we expected some soggy plodding. The cloud base forecast at 500m turned out to be rather pessimistic and we had some good views from time to time.
Ten folk assembled at St. Brides: Mike, Norman, Sarah, Gerry, Andrew G, John Burton, Ralph, and Leila and David (2 visitors). We elected to do the route by Am Bodach first, to have the wind at our backs on the ridge. We drove up to Mamore Lodge, and set off up the Coire na h-Eirghe path. Seven of us paused for some food at the lip of the upper coire, which was full of deep snow and thick cloud. I set off breaking trail in the whiteout without bothering to take a compass bearing, and ended up some way up the SE ridge of Sgurr an Iuhair. The others dutifully followed in my tracks. John, Mike and Ralph must have paid more attention to navigation, and we next saw them in the Ice Factor. We joined their tracks in due course, just as the cloud lifted sufficiently to reveal their unerring course up to the col.
Even on Am Bodach summit, it was hardly freezing. We decided the one peak was enough for the day, and made a leisurely descent by the southeast ridge. The edge above Coire Ba was heavily corniced. From the small summit of Sgurr an Fhuarain, we turned SW to rejoin the WHW.
The weather forecast was promising, but the avalanche report was threatening orange from W through S to E, but not until 800m. Gerry and I were the only ones at Glencoe carpark. Maybe the weather was awful up north. It was good here and got better as we drove south. The coordinator had arranged for anyone from the Lowlands to meet at Bridge of Orchy.
Norman, Mike, John Burton, Kevin, Ralph and Bruce (visitor) were there when we arrived. We agreed to go for it from the south, but were prepared to do the Graham Top of Meall an Araich if the main hill looked inadvisable after a closer look. It was a long walk in by Clashgour, with slushy snow on the track. The sun was out, burning the thick mist off the snow fields around the summits. Below this level there was no continuous snow and the craggy SW aspect of Sron a'Ghearain looked feasible. However we got a better view from further up at the col of Mam nan Sac, and found a largely snow-free route up the steep ground to 800m. It was hot work in the sunshine, with hardly any wind and the snow thawing everywhere.
At the summit, the Munro baggers turned right for Stob Ghabhar, while Norman, John, Gerry and I turned left for Stob a'Bruaich Leith. I had not set foot on these two tops before. Stob Ghabhar itself lies at the centre of a fascinating complex of high level ridges, all of them worth exploring.
After a long walk out, we caught up with the others in the bar at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.
After socialising and sunbathing on Sron Gherrain the group of eight split. Mike, Kevin, Ralph and Bruce (Visitor) decided to take on the snow covered Munro, Stob Ghabhar. A relatively easy walk up the northwest face on firm snow saw us soon at the top. Spectacular views in all directions. The ridge across to Aonach Eagach looked particularly spectacular and inviting. However, at the top we met a couple who had ascended by that route but advised against a descent as there were some very icy stretches and a very narrow ridge to contend with.
After Kevin and Ralph took a shine to the new style Black Diamond poles one of them was sporting, the pair soon descended down the southeast ridge. We heeded their advice and soon followed via the same route. Fairly easy descent with the occasional short steep section in soft snow followed by hard frozen ground with the odd small gully of deep snow. Bruce set off at pace and caught up the two we had met at the top (probably to put in a bid for those poles!) We continued in a south easterly direction and crossed Allt Toaig at the start of the forest and took the path to the Clashgour hut and the track back to the car park at Victoria Bridge.
Another super day's walk in brilliant conditions.
Below this is a picture (Taken today from my front window !) of the summit of the Ben. If you look closely you can see the debris from a huge avalanche which has completely buried the Tourist Path. The bottom of it is hidden behind Meall an t-Suidhe but it must be close to the Halfway Lochan.
I have never heard of an avalanche on this slope. Things are very dangerous just now. Take care!
The weather forecast for W. Highlands was good, not too windy, and dry. However, the SAIS report for Glencoe showed red above, and orange below 500m for NW through W to S aspects. Only NE and E showed yellow all the way to the top. We had concerns about the direct route up the nose of Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne. It held some ice, and although not much snow was obvious, even a small slide could push someone over a drop on this exposed place. We discussed the possibility of a route to Sgor na h-Ulaidh via Fionn Ghleann and Bealach Fhionnghaill, gaining the summit following east and northeast facing ridges. Remarkably, large areas of the hillsides around were almost devoid of snow, including the broad northern ridge of Creag Bhan. John Burton, Roy, Gerry and Jean decided to do Meall Lighiche by this route and return to Gleann-leac-na-muidhe by the watershed NW of Sgor na h-Ulaidh. Anne CW went with them as far as the river crossing.
I suspected they had picked the more achievable objective, but set off for the Munro with Mike, Ralph and Kevin. We had barely entered the confines of Fionn Ghleann when we ran into seriously deep snow, with a crust of slab not quite able to support a walkers weight. We soon got fed up with the slow and and arduous progress. Much of the snow that had been scoured from the flanks of the hills by the recent strong winds had been dumped into the bottom of the Glen below our feet; the best conditions I had seen in a while for using snowshoes. As nobody had brought them, we crossed the river, and mounted the slope below the nose of Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne. From what we had seen, its NW flank appeared to be scoured and we hoped to be able to gain the upper part of the ridge by a snow free line. We climbed the frozen ground easily and quickly on a steep rising traverse, but eventually ran into snow slopes we couldn't avoid. Now at 600m and feeling somewhat exposed on a "red" graded aspect, we backed off and descended into Gleann-leac-na-muidhe. We thought we would head up the Glen and meet the others coming off the hill.
This glen was in a similar state to the last. There was a single line of footprints and one ski track, but neither offered much assistance. We ploughed on for a while then changed our minds yet again. The river was completely buried in snow, so we crossed gingerly, sounding with poles, and mounted the flank of Creag Bhan to gain its north ridge. We made good upward progress but it was late in the day for a push on to Meall Lighiche. We turned back in time to meet the others at the river crossing after their long plod down the glen. It was a good day, just being out among the hills looking their best in winter garb.
The last walking day of the busy half-term holiday week and the road to the Upper Falls carpark had not been treated! Everybody had an extra hour added to the day, short enough anyway at this time of year. Outdoor Capital of the UK! Really?
Freezing cold in Glen Nevis. The gorge path was encumbered with ice and some of us found it easier going with crampons on. However, once we emerged into the sunshine on the lower slopes of the ascent, the snow was deep and softened. Those without anti-balling plates found crampons a nuisance, and took them off until we reached the col east of Stob Coire Bhealaich. There were some minor slides of windslab on the flanks of this peak, but nothing visible on our route ahead. Gavin sprinted on ahead to do Stob Choire Claurigh as well. Ron, Gerry, Andrew G, Sarah, John Burton, Kevin, Ralph, Ken, Liz, Mike and Roy plodded on. Everyone found it hot work under the blazing sun, and hard going with the snow quite soft generally all the way to the summits. My crampons were still balling-up, their magic black coating almost worn away now, after many years of trouble-free use. Time to try retro-fitting those fancy yellow plates.
Our efforts were rewarded at every step with splendid views all round, with snow cover down to the glens everywhere.
Descending from Choinnich Mor, we skirted the flank of Choinnich Beag and returned to the cold depths of the Glen. Tried bum-sliding to no avail. Made it to the Ben Nevis Inn at nightfall after an extended walk out.
The West Highlands forecast was not very good, but with careful reading, one could be led to believe it would be fine where we were going. And so it turned out. We drove out of the rain in Glencoe and up into the showery sunlit (almost) uplands of Rannoch Moor, and it was dry by Bridge of Orchy. A light layer of fog was lying in the glens, with some tantalising patches of blue above.
Nine turned out. Alan McG, Gerry, Andrew and Sarah met Mike and the Oban Four at the start of the walk. It's a long walk in with several river-crossings, but these gave no problems today.
At the watershed we started up the steep convex slope. Due to the temperature inversion the ground was frozen in the glen but higher up the snow was soft at first. Ralph was ahead the whole way, breaking trail. The summit dome was a sheet of ice with just a thin snow covering. Some sunshine here and views of the surrounding hills between the passing clouds.
Crossed over to Bein a'Chuirn. Investigated the possibility of descending north-westwards to the watershed east of Beinn Achaladair. However this aspect was plastered in a heavy covering of second-hand snow, so we set off instead down the southern slopes, bum-sliding most of the way. Below the main snowline we were able to keep on sliding down a snow filled gully until someone broke through to the stream underneath. A quick descent, but still a long walk out to Auch. Finished up at Paddy's Bar in Tyndrum.
Sixteen folk turned out, including one visitor. We headed up the wide track from Ariundle through some natural woodland. It was a fine dry day, with light winds driving layers of cloud above 750m, which allowed glimpses of the sun. Some decided to do a shorter route, but twelve of us were keen to do all the peaks surrounding the broad corrie ahead.
We crossed the river easily at the Lead Mines and walked up Druim Leac a'Sgiathain. At this point, Gavin, Alan and Henry (our unsuspecting visitor) decided that the planned route was insufficiently taxing, so they peeled off to do Sgurr a'Chaorainn as well, an additional 260m up and down.
The snow-line was at about 600m, and the cover was substantial further up. The going was moderate in dense but soft snow, over still-frozen ground. Approaching the main summit, the terrain steepened considerably, with interesting route-finding among numerous small outcrops of rock. The snow pack was covered in crystals, growing into the wind, forming fascinating patterns. The even steeper descent north-westwards from the summit was a delight. Some rock outcrops were covered in icicles with snow crystals growing on them.
The three sprinters caught us up as we ascended Druim Garbh from the final col. Out west the sky was glowing pink, behind the silhouette of Eigg. It felt like evening, although it was still 90 minutes to sunset. We opted to descend to the Mines just before the first lochan, and everyone was back at Ariundle before nightfall.
No snow at home, none at the Fort, but halfway along Locheilside we ran into to loads of it. The hills around us were plastered right down to the roadside, in contrast to the Ben, still visible in the rearview mirror. It looked like heavy going and we realised that traversing the all the tops and descending into Glen Dubhlighe at the end of the day was a bit ambitious, so there was no point in leaving a car at Drochaid Sgainnir.
Following the River Finnan, we crossed it at the first bridge and headed up the deep defile enclosing the Allt an Tuim. Surprised to find a good track progressing well up into this confined space, we followed it for a while. However, to avoid the risk of avalanche on the south-facing flank further up, we soon traversed leftwards onto the southwest ridge of Beinn an Tuim. Finding a stalkers' path under the deep snow cover was a stroke of luck. It facilitated access to the ridge, which we followed to the summit. By the time we had descended to the col to the north, the notion of continuing on to Streap had been expunged from everyone's mind and we continued on down westwards to the Corryhully bothy. This route is rough at the best of times but, cloaked in snow, it demanded some care and concentration. We easily crossed the river at the boulders opposite the bothy, but noted the lightweight footbridge a hundred metres further downstream, not marked on the map.
A good day with many glimpses of the sun and swirling clouds about the peaks, majestic in winter garb. Seven turned out: Kevin, Ron, Gerry, Andrew G, John Nicol, John Burton, and John Beattie (visitor). John N avoided the slogging on the hill and walked to the watershed at the head of the Glen instead. He was first in the pub but, as he pointed out, had walked rather farther than us.
Eight members undertook the training and rounded off the day with a summit
of Stob Dubh.
An excellent and worthwhile day. Thanks to Kevin for organising the day and to Andy Ravenhill, our
We parked at the road junction before Kingairloch and walked to South Corry. Here we picked up an excellent stalkers' path that zigzagged up the nose of Meall an Doire Dhuibh. We followed the long ridge southwards to its summit. There were grand views all round, with the distant Paps of Jura protruding above the sea fog to the south. The huge Glensanda quarry close below did not seem to make much of an impact in the far larger landscape around us, and the light northerly breeze kept the noise at bay.
Turning our back on it and climbing up to Beul Choire nan Each, the scene became wintry. It was further still to the main summit, with the distance from more familiar hills giving a feeling of remoteness and isolation. There were still two more peaks to traverse before the steep descent and return to Kingairloch.
This was an excellent day on hills that were neither Munros nor Corbetts, but had much to commend them in distance, 18.6Km, total ascent/descent of 1133m (Thanks Stuart.) and fine scenery and views. The good weather was a major plus. Well worth repeating in due course. We should also seek other similar routes to add some spice to our programme. AndrewG
11 turned out of whom 9 (including one visitor) went to the summit. We did this hill in about four and half hours, and were surprised to find ourselves in the pub before 2.00pm. This was because nobody had read the programme, which described a rather longer route, descending over Monadh Beag after the main summit. Or perhaps everyone was keeping quiet, to have a shorter day or to avoid the gale force winds forecast to arrive at 16h00. (I wonder why they are so precise. The gale didn't arrive on time, if at all). Dry mostly, with a heavy snow shower on the plateau, with poor visibility denying us the good views otherwise seen from here. Good views from lower down though
The forecast did not live up to its promise of "bright sun and extremely clear air". There were several thin layers of cloud at different levels, and only occasional glimpses of the sun. However it was dry all day.
Ten turned out, including one visitor (a former member). Stuart and Lydia did an alternative walk, the rest of us, Andrew G, Mike, Lyn, Jean, Kevin, Ken, Liz, and John Beattie set off to do Garbh Bheinn as programmed.
Most people put on crampons immediately. The temperature was minus 4, with widespread solid ice. The long ascent of the SW ridge was hard work where it was not possible to avoid pockets of deep unconsolidated snow, but bare rock and thinly covered frozen ground was much easier going. Nonetheless the summits took rather longer to reach than on a dry summer's day. The complicated area between the first two was enshrouded in thick mist, necessitating close attention to navigation. We descended westwards to the col before the 773m outlier, then by a circuitous route down into Coire Chrothruim. We kept to the east-facing aspect at first, then skirted round above the ice-choked gorge to its left side when the angle of the slope eased. Rough going, but a most impressive corrie that belies its rather bland representation on the map. My first visit here.
Well dark by the time we reached the road for the 3Km sprint back to the cars.
Fourteen turned up at the start, although only nine did the full walk. The temperature in the glen was minus 8 degrees C. Expecting heavy going in the full snow cover, as experienced the previous two weekends, we decided to take the track up the hill from the bridge over the Allt an Utha. This made for easy walking to its end at 425m. Stuart, Lydia, Margaret, Anne CW and Stephen turned back from there.
Ralph, Mike, Anne B, John Burton, Gerry, Andrew B, Andrew G, Ron and Sarah headed up Druim na Brein-choille, then northwards on a gently rising traverse, high up on the corrie headwall to the summit of Sgurr' an Utha. Snow conditions were much better than expected, and the weather was glorious. A passing band of cloud gave way to brilliant blue sky and blazing sunshine, with distant views as far as the Outer Hebrides.
We turned eastwards to bag the Corbett top of Fraoch-bheinn, then SSW down its irregular lumpy ridge to Tom na h-Aire. It was easy to lose sight of everyone at times in this rugged terrain. Yet more steep ground down to the railway station to finish.
Wonderful start to the New Year.