Pictures and Reports from Recent Walks
This page contains reports and pictures for 2013 walks only. Older walks can be found here.
Sunday 29th December 2013 - Garbh Bheinn
In Scotland, when walking, we are greatly affected by the weather. The forecast on Sunday was the best for some time, so it was slightly disappointing, though not surprising considering the time of year, that only three turned out. Being Scotland, we, Gerry, Andrew and me, had some of everything-rain, hail, snow and...sunshine!
The walk starts climbing immediately from the road, and was extremely wet underfoot. At about 650m, we encountered the snow which got deeper as we ascended. The breeze was cold, but we managed to find a crag to shelter behind for a break, and then it was upwards through the soft snow. A little scrambling was required on the way, and just short of the summit, we put on crampons and took out our ice-axes as there was ice below the snow. However, we really didn't need to, as the summit is fairly flat and the ice did not last for long. As per the programme, we headed east to meet the West Highland Way at a weir on the Allt Coire Mhorair, with the usual tricky bits on the way down. Also on the way down, we saw some tracks which we think belonged to otters, but not just tracks. It looked as if they had been playing in the snow and had been sliding down the slope. Deer were also seen inside a deer fence erected to keep them out! The West Highland Way took us into Kinlochleven, where we had coffee at the Ice Factor.
Saturday 21st December 2013 - Gleann Mama
Again the forecast was for gale or storm force winds on the hills and heavy showers. Five members who claimed to need some fresh air and exercise turned out for a low level wet walk. We decided to head west and explore Gleann Mama on the Road to the Isles. The rain in Fort William receded and as we headed west the skies lightened and we saw the hills.
The path up Gleann Mama crosses the burn twice on the map. The first crossing was a bridge but Gavin knew that the second one was a ford. In view of the size of this “burn” we prudently stayed on the west side! The glen was delightful and opened out to give good views of the lochans and Creag Bhan beyond. (future Ramblers walk). Being relatively sheltered we decided to gain some height and headed up to Bealach a Mhama. Wild life find of the day was an active large hairy caterpillar. Obviously it hadn’t heard that it was late December. It was still dry and we could just make out the misty outline of Eigg.
The descent into glen Beasdale and crossing the river was no problem. The water levels were already dropping and we had some sunshine. The couple of miles back along the road were also interesting. Walking instead of driving we explored the beach and Prince Charlie’s cairn and brushed up our Scottish history.
The Lochailort hotel was also open to round off a short but bracing day. It was still raining in Fort William when we returned…..
Saturday 14th December 2013 - Steall Gorge
5 brave souls, Andrew and Gerry, Suzanne and Gavin and Lynn set off for an adventures in Glen Nevis. We had just heard the met forecast's yellow BE AWARE WARNING!!!
We drove up the Glen and parked at the lower falls car park as the upper part of the road can lay victim to falling trees.We walked a short way along the road and had a look at the lower falls which were a cascade of white boiling water. We then walked back and joined the footpath which is to the east of River Nevis. As we were walking along the path, we looked over to Ben Nevis and caught distant views of the Scimitar Stone and the Water Slide. We then crossed over on the middle foot bridge and rejoined the road. As we walked along the road the view of the water slide got better and better, it was truely a water slide.
We had now got to Steall Gorge, the rain was coming down quite heavily but we were fairly sheltered in the gorge from any wind. We encountered a burn nestled in red rock; it was fast flowing but was neatly channeled and just needed a step across. It was then onward through the gorge and out to the meadows. Part of our meadow route took us across some stepping stones whose heads were just above the water. Steall Waterfall was resplendent and was a sight to behold.
We then paddled our way down the Glen to Steall ruins and looked up at Meall Cumhann which had its own splendid water fall.
The waters were rising as we crossed back over the meadows. The stepping stones were now under water.The gorge was relatively dry until we reached the burn nestled in the red rock. This was now a raging torrent of white water. Gavin herocially stood in the middle of the burn and helped two stricken damsels across
We walked back down the road to the lower falls car park and had a late lunch at the Cafe Beag.
Saturday 7th December 2013 - Beinn Duirinnis
There were an amazing 10 people out for this walk. After a small mix up with two party members waiting at the wrong pick up point; we all finally met up at the start point near Inveresragan.
We all strode along the B845 and then walked up an old track. En route, I observed quite a few patches of 'corn'. This I discovered later was actually dried out Bog Asphodel.
We continued up the track in a north westerly direction. The weather was mainly wet and the cloud was down most of the time. It did clear for a short time to reveal views of Loch Etive. The cloud was down for our first summit Ceann Creige. We then continued up the ridge to Beinn Duirinnis. A windy top but we did find a sheltered spot for lunch with momentary clear views.
Due to the prevailing weather conditions, Beinn Mheadhonch was abandoned. We all began going down in a south westerly direction but split into two parties. Party one descended in a south south westerly direction, besides Ceann Creige. Party two, continued in a south westerly direction having to negotiate steep sections towards the end of their walk.
Party two contacted a member of party one and were taxied back along the road to the start of the walk.
Sunday 1st December 2013 - Binnein Beag & Binnein Mor
Having picked up a guest, Rachel, on the way, everyone met up at the Grey Mare's Waterfall car park. The path up towards Coire an Lochain is easy to follow and once at the zig-zags below Sgor Eilde Beag, we split into two. Ken and Liz had decided to do Binnein Beag and headed off on to do the lower hill but with more distance. The remainder, Ian, Ralph, Andrew, Gerry, Lynn (guest), Rachel (guest) and me, started the steep ascent. There were some awkward patches of snow to negotiate, but once passed Sgor Eilde Beag, the ground became much less steep with little snow. The weather was good so the views were extensive. Passed the 1062m point, the ridge becomes narrower and there were again patches of snow. Immediately before the summit, the ridge is narrow with some exposure, and difficult with large boulders to overcome. We returned to point 1062, and then made our way along the ridge towards Na Gruagaichean. At the low point, we headed south into the coire avoiding the boulder fields, but having to cross some large patches of snow. Andrew was the only one with an ice axe,so was able to glissade (bum slide!) down the largest patch.
On the path on the way down, we met up again with Ken and Liz and reached the cars just as darkness fell. As the Ice Factor cafe was closed, we took refreshments in the pub across the road.
Saturday 23rd November 2013 - Geal Charn
Sunday 17th November 2013 - Braigh nan Uamhachan
What a difference a week makes ! On our last club walk we were knee-deep in snow, today after a few days of wind and rain it had all disappeared. And we were so fortunate that today the wind had died down allowing us a pleasant trip to one of the smallest, but remote Corbetts situated between Glenfinnan and Loch Arkaig.
Just a small group met at the start, including Norman who had made the serious error of arriving without any hiking boots - Oops ! Fortunately for him Ken and Liz zoomed off home and arrived with Ken's old pair which were gratefully received. By this time Ron had arrived and off we set up Gleann Dubh Lighe, stopping to inspect the newly reroofed bothy - a roaring fire was on, and although tempting to gather round it ,off we went up on to the ridge. It's a long way out to the Corbett with many undulations and although dry to this point, a few snowflakes fell while we lunched there, just to remind us it was late November.
In view of the lack of daylight we all decided to return the same way, Cris setting a searing pace along by the massive stone dyke which is followed for about 2k. Back at the cars in just over 7 hours the GPS said we had walked 19.7k, and Norman's route on Munro Magic claims that we had climbed 1230m. Quite a big day ! Refreshments were enjoyed at the Moorings at Banavie.
Saturday 9th November 2013 - Fuar Bheinn
12 people turned out for the walk; quite a turn out for Nevis Hillwalking Club. En route to Kingairloch the weather had been somewhat wet but on arrival it was quite dry. The group set off at quite a rapid pace up the quite steep forestry track north of the B8043. We then came to a right fork and headed up the open hillside and were met with quite soft snow patches. These were easily trodden down under foot; it also began snowing.
Higher up we were met with unexpected soft snow and headed for the coll between Beinn an Cille and Fuar Bheinn. Here the snow was some six inches deep and all around was like a winter wonderland.The 'advance scouts' broke trail and so it was easier for those behind but it was hard work for the leg muscles. Any falls were easily absorbed by a mattress of soft snow.
After following the south ridge to the top we had a short rest but a biting wind was blowing mixed with snow. At this point the group divided up. One group descended back down the same route and lunched at the Coll. We did not go back over Beinn Na Cille but descended westwards firstly over snowy ground and then met the tussocks. We met the forest below Coire Gharsail and picked up a track back to the cars.
The remainder of the group went on to do Glas Bheinn.
Welcome refreshments at Strontian.
A good turn out for this walk - 13 in all - Gavin, Suzanne, Liz, Ken, Lynn (Guest), Gerry, Cris, Ralph, John, Lucy, Holger (Guest), Campbell and Norman. We all made it to the top of Fuar Bheinn, with Gavin, Holga and Norman going to the summit of Beinn na Cille on the way. However, at the top of Fuar Bheinn, no-one was keen to continue on to Creach Bheinn in the cold, overcast and snowy conditions. Hence, we split into two parties, one heading back down into Coire Ghardail and one going via Glas Bheinn. The walk across the head of Coire Ghardail was through the snow, but otherwise quite fairly straightforward. Approaching the summit of Glas Bheinn we entered a lovely patch of warming sunshine. From the summit, we came down to join the path along Abhainn Ghardail, passed a new small hydro scheme and back into the forest. Amazingly we met with the other group where the paths joined and all headed back to the cars together. We went round to the café in Strontian before heading back to the ferry and home.
Sunday 3rd November 2013 - Sgurr Dhomhnuill
Just three of us on this walk - Norman, Liz and Ken - not surprising really as the forecast looked pretty bleak with gales, snow and hail. However as it turned out, we didn't have the gales, we had some snow and hail showers but we also had some bright sunshine. It was a lovely walk up through the oak woods from Ariundle to the lead mines. We managed to cross the stream OK then headed up to Druim Leac a Sgiathain but avoided the summit of Sgurr na h-Ighinn (don't tell Gavin!) by skirting round to the bealach. We had great views over to the snow capped Sgurr Dhomhnuill. From the bealach it was up through the snow, in a hailstorm, to the summit. We negotiated the steep slope back to the stream and on down to the lead mines and again, the lovely walk back through the woods to the car.
Clearly it is time to check out those crampons for the approaching winter season!
Saturday 26th October 2013 - Buchaille Etive Mhor
Four of us set off on a reasonable morning – Kevin ( a surprise visit), Andrew, Gerry and Campbell (a visitor). We were hoping to do Curved Ridge but there was cloud on the tops and a forecast for bad weather arriving during the day with strong southerly winds. We opted to go up Coire na Tulaich instead and see what conditions were like higher up. It was a quick ascent but hard on the knees. It was windy once we were out of the coire but apart from a brief shower it stayed dry all day. The cloud came and went over the summits and we even had spells of sunshine. We all went up Stob Dearg then Gerry descended the ridge to the west of the Coire na Tulaich, whilst the other three continued along the main ridge over Stob na Doire and descended into Lairig Gartain. The sky looked threatening as we made our way to the Kingshouse and the rain and wind duly arrived as we were leaving. We could have done Curved Ridge but it was still a worthwhile day and good to see Kevin again.
Sunday 20th October 2013 - Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg, Fersit
John B, Lucy, Ken, Liz, Jacob (guest) and Campbell (guest) turned out for this walk. The weather was generally warm and dry but unfortunately the tops were in cloud most of the day.
From the parking spot at Fersit we walked through the few houses then turned south to head across boggy ground to Sron na Garbh-bheinne and on to the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain. Sight of a couple of ptarmigan added interest to this ascent. The summit was in cloud so map and compass navigation was required to follow the ridge round to Chno Dearg. From here we cut straight across the boggy ground once again and back to the start point.
On the descent there were some glimmers of sunshine and views over Glen Spean, Loch Laggan and Lochan na Earba. We heard the steam train and saw the smoke in the distance but unfortunately, it didn't pass our way as we waited in anticipation on the bridge and hence, we made our way to the Stronlossit to round off the day.
Wednesday 16th October 2013 - The Mountain Heritage Collection
Eight club members visited Mick Tighe's Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection at Bohuntin, Roy Bridge. Mick gave a very interesting talk on the origins of the collection, presented some interesting items and answered questions from members. We also visited Mick's ski collection (Mick claims this is unique in the UK) which has been recently mounted in a purpose built hut. The evening proved enjoyable and entertaining. The collection can be viewed on-line at www.smhc.co.uk.
Saturday 12th October 2013 - The Ring of Steall, Glen Nevis
The weather forecast was for cloud-free tops, sun and little wind—and it was correct! So at long last, we managed to do the Ring of Steall!
There were eight of us—Andrew, Gerry, Ian, Lucy and Marta (new members), Jacob (guest), me and Martine, whose suggestion it was and who co-ordinated. The wire bridge was negotiated by all except Gerry who succeeded in crossing the river with dry feet. The wet and muddy area below An Gearanach was the next obstacle, and, unfortunately, Jacob's lack of experience led him into one of the worst bits. The climb on to the first Munro was uneventful, but with all the newcomers (and old-timers too) impressed by the views back down to the meadow and wire bridge. A bit of scrambling and exposure followed on An Garbhanach and then it was the second Munro, Stob Choire a'Chairn. There was a cool breeze, so after losing some layers on the way up, they were put back on over Am Bodach and to Sgurr an Iubhair. And all the while, we were treated to extensive views all around.
On Sgurr an Iubhair, Gerry and Jacob decided to go west to the lochan and head back to Achriabhach, where we had left a car, while the rest took on the “Devil's Ridge” (some exposure, but easy in the weather conditions) and the final Munro, Sgurr a'Mhaim. The descent off this hill is not particularly pleasant, being largely on loose scree, but we all met up in the Lower Falls car park.
Refreshments were taken in the Ben Nevis Inn.
There was some wildlife encountered—a dipper in the river below the Steall waterfall, and we were accompanied most of the way round by the sound of stags roaring, and in the corrie to the east of Stob Choire a'Chairn, we were fortunate enough to see two stags with antlers interlocked over quite a sizeable harem of hinds. Then on our approach to Sgurr a'Mhaim, we were buzzed by the yellow-breasted, yellow-backed (well all yellow) flying bird (a rescue helicopter doing some training).
Sunday 6th October 2013 - Beinn na h-Uamha, Ardgour
Four of us met at Corran Ferry - John B, Ralph, Gerry and Ken. Gerry made the good suggestion to take 2 cars and make it a through walk to Strontian, whether or not the two planed peaks were included. The weather was mild and bright with some wind on the tops, but nothing serious. However, we did have difficulty crossing the River Gour and we could only find a crossing point well up-stream of our planned route. This meant we were already passed Beinn na h-Uamha and so headed for the col between this peak and Sgurr a Chorainn. Ralph and Ken backtracked to Uamha, which turned out to be entirely pathless and quite a struggle. However, the summit was clear with good views back along the River Gour. We headed back down to the col and followed Gerry and John over Sgurr a Chaorainn before joining them for the pleasant walk out to Strontian in the early evening sunshine.
We were accompanied by the roar of rutting stags throughout the day and also had a brief encounter with a slow worm in Glen Gour. The day was rounded off with refreshments at the Ardgour Inn before catching the ferry back.
Saturday 28th September 2013 - The Fara
Five people (Gavin, Andrew, Gerry, Lydia, Stuart) set off on a day of fine weather to do this walk. After some delay we managed to find a parking place for the car at the start of the walk - surprising how hard that can be on a Highland road! Four of us walked up the Alt an t-Sluic whilst Gavin ran on ahead to take in Meall nan Eagan.
We regrouped at the foot of Dirc Mhor - which is a dramatic fault between the cliffs of Creag nan Adhaircean and a 589m top to the north west. Some sources claim that the Dirc Mhor was created when the end of the northern western ridge of the Fara slipped away from the main mountain, others say that it is a meltwater channel, and one source claims that it was a deep slash in the hillside caused by an angry dragon's tail who was annoyed to find no decent pub in Dalwhinnie (understandable, but didn’t it like the distillery ?).
Whatever the origin, this is a place well worth seeing - 200ft cliffs on either side (some with extreme grade rock climbs on them), and the bottom of the gorge is a jumble of huge rock blocks, like giant micro-granite Lego blocks tossed into the air and allowed to fall how they may. It is very atmospheric, but the silence is punctuated by the curses of unfortunate walkers struggling to make progress. We emerged at 12.30, having spent about one an a half hours fighting out way up. (Gavin meanwhile had escaped up the west side and took in the 589m top, then returned to join the rest of us!)
Once out of the Dirc we climbed up the intially steep slopes of Meall Liath , and gained the easier slopes leading to the summit of the main peak of the day - The Fara. By standing on top of the enormous cairn, Andrew was able to collect a Munro unknown to the Munro Society. On a good day the views from this summit would be very extensive in all directions, but by now it was a bit hazy and not a little cold in the chilly breeze.
Andrew and Gerry made their way back to their car down the easterly side of the mountain The remaining three of us departed to traverse the complete Fara ridge. It took us 1 hour of easy walking to reach the 897m summit of Meall Cruaidh, getting some good views down onto Loch Ericht on the way. From there we headed north over Meall Leac na Sguabaich and Meall na Sguabaich to join the track alongside the River Pattack, which we followed to the A86 near Gallovie farm - and the car which we had preplaced that morning, arriving there at 1745.
An excellent day out, especially with the addition of Dirc Mhor (and Gavin says that the adjoining Dirc Beag is also well worth a visit). (25km 1006m ascent 8 1/4 hrs)
13th - 15th September 2013 - Assynt Weekend
Friday 13th September
Four north-west trekkers: namely Ken, Liz, Suzanne and Gavin set off for the far north- west of Scotland.
The day's objective was to conquer Cul Mor. Gavin was dropped off to do Cul Beag. The weather was dry but overcast. Ken, Liz and Suzanne began by going up the deluxe rated stalkers path from small car park at Knockan Crag (grid reference NC188091 just south of Elphin); for a whole 2KM. The path then detoriated to the usual boggy conditions.
We went up via Meallan Didmhain whose distant edges had a very jagged and untamed appearance. There was a good path up to the summit of Cul Mor and we enjoyed a good rest inside the walled cairn. It was quite breezy outside.
ken and Liz crossed to Creag nan Calman and met up with Gavin. Suzanne descended straight down from the summit and met the others further down.
The weather greeted us with a mix of sunshine and showers. We set off to do the three corbetts of Quinaig. We began from the car park at NC232273. Suzanne decided to walk up the footpath to Lochan Bealach Cornaidh at NC208282. She met a fisherman en route who had been coming to the area for 54 years. His aim was to go trout fishing in the loch but she discovered later that he had only caught two fish.
Suzanne enjoyed seeing a couple of rainbows on her walk. She met up with the others later on in the day.
Sunday morning dawned and so did the storm of gales and heavy rain. After a very relaxed morning the intrepid explorers set for the bone caves near Inchnadamph. The walk began at grid reference NC253179 on the A837. The walk along the footpath to the caves is 4kM in length.
The river - Allt Nam Uamh , which the footpath runs besides was a boiling white mass of water. There was concern about having to cross the river higher up. At one point, they passed a branch of the river that appeared to come from nowhere having begun its journey underground and was just seeping through the rock. Crossing the river higher up was no problem as the river here goes underground and we had a dry river bed to cross on. Just before coming to the caves we passed a hazard sign for falling rocks. No falling rocks on that day, thankfully!
The caves are well worth a visit; full of interesting shapes, nooks and crannies. We found a dry to cave to have a snack and watched Gavin run up Beinn nan Cnaimhseag at grid reference NC274177, 570 metres high.
We descended down the path and drove to the Inchnadamphm hotel. Here ken departed to catch up with Gavin.
Liz and I went to downtown Lochinver and then met up with the others later on.
Just four of us made it to this weekend - Gavin and Suzanne, Liz and Ken. Our accommodation was the Altnacealagah (the "Alt") at Ledmore Junction. The rooms were provided with cooking facilities and though we could have been entirely self catering, we elected to have evening meals in the bar.
Cul Mor - Friday 13 Sept 2013
We arrived in the area at about midday on Friday and dropped Gavin off to tackle Cul Beag and meet the rest of us on the summit of Cul Mor. Ken, Liz and Suzanne set off from Knockan Crags on the path up to Meallan Diomhan and on to Cul Mor. We had fine views over Suilven on the way up and over to Stac Pollaidh from the top. We disturbed quite a large flock of ptarmigan not quite yet in their full white winter plumage. We crossed to Creag nan Calman and met up with Gavin who continued on to the summit. We all met again at the car park.
Quinag - Saturday 14 Sept 2013
We made an early start given the forecast for approaching storms! Suzanne elected to walk up to the lochan whilst Gavin, Liz and Ken set of for the ridge, heading initially for Spidean Coinich. This summit was easily attained, though unfortunately still in mist. However the mist steadily cleared and we had some periods of glorious sunshine and fine views over to the blue sea beyond Lochinver and the Summer Isles. We continued along to complete the whole ridge with Gavin meticulously completing all of the tops and humps along the way. On the stroke of 1pm, just as we were completing lunch, dark heavy clouds rolled in and the rain started. We thought this was the start of the storm and set off in haste to finish the last summit and head down. However, the clouds rolled passed and we walked down to the lochan and back to the car in glorious afternoon sunshine.
Inchnadamph Caves - Sunday 15 Sept 2013
The anticipated storm finally arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning. Hence, we had a relaxed start to the day and the weather began to improve. The walk up to the Bone caves was really interesting with raging rivers suddenly appearing then later disappearing into the limestone rock. At the caves, Gavin's enthusiastic exploring got him covered in mud. To clean up, he set off in the rain to walk over to the Traligill caves whilst the rest of us returned to the car and drove round to Inchnadamph. Ken set off to meet Gavin and explore the Traligill caves. These are more like pot holes than the Bone caves and the "cave of the roaring" lived up to its name with the gushing water in spate. Gavin found an extra cave that we could explore which had a delightful waterfall cascading through a hole in the roof.
Cave exploration on Sundays seems to be becoming a feature of Nevis club weekends!
With the heavy rain now set in, we headed back home with a tea stop in Ullapool to round off a great weekend.
Saturday 14th September 2013 - Garbh Bheinn
This is a classic hill, done in non-classic weather.
Nine attended, Andrew, Gerry, Ralph, Sally, Ian, me and three guests-Lucy, Marta and Tom. The route taken was up the SE ridge of Sron a'Gharbh Choire Bhig, with some intermittent and easy scrambling higher up. The views were also intermittent, with the cloud coming and going. However, we were able to see the impressive cliffs below the summit.
The descent was NW for a short distance, when the clouds burst and waterproofs were put on, and then SW along the knobbly ridge to the small hill at 773m. Here the rain had stopped, the clouds cleared and we had fine views to Strontian and Loch Sunart (Sally could nearly see her house). We then headed south to the first of the two Lochans, where we had a break. Then it was east and south steeply into the coire, and through the bracken back to the road, and the three km slog to the cars.
We had to wait for the Ardgour Inn to open at 4pm for our refreshments.
Sunday 8th September 2013 - Beinn Each and Stuc a’Choin
Turned out to be a lovely day down south. Just a few spots of rain but mainly dry sunny and clear. Strange to be in an area with lots of other people, footpaths and signposts! Nine of us, including two visitors, set off for Beinn Each, which fortunately had a good steep path to the summit, avoiding the bracken and heather. After this delightful craggy hill, the path continued over a few more bumps to give good views down Glen Ample and up to Stuc a’ Choin, where the cloud had now dispersed. Liz and Gerry called it a day at this point and made a leisurely descent to the glen. The remaining seven headed for the munro summit. Various decent routes converged at Glenample farm and the track down to Edinample by Loch Earn. An excellent through route.
We parked our two cars in the busy lay-by on the road beside Loch Lubnaig and set off on the right of way to Glen Ample. The narrow path through the forest led to a track which followed the burn. At a convenient but unexpected sign-post, we, Andrew, Gerry, Ken, Liz, Ralph, Sam Black, me and two guests, Lucy from Norfolk and Mata from Turin in Italy (they and Sam are students At SAMS near Oban) left the track on a clear path on to the hill. After various zig-zags and some steep climbs, we summitted on a cairnless Beinn Each. We had clear views all around, even to Kincardine Bridge (we think!).
Our next objective, Stuc a'Chroin, was still in cloud, but it was lifting. The ground between Beinn Each and Stuc a'Chroin was a wonderful maze of lumps, bumps, crags and bogs, with the path winding in and out and up and down (in bad visibility this would have been tricky). It was here that Gerry and Liz left the other seven to descend to the track. This was a linear walk, and Gerry had offered to return to the cars to drive to the finish point at Edinample.
The final climb on to the flat summit of Stuc a'Chroin was steep but straightforward. By this time, the cloud had cleared, so again we had great all-round views (including a red kite, we think!). The descent was completely different from the ascent, as after leaving the north ridge, it was an easy walk down a wide ridge to Creag Dubh. Here we split into two groups, with Andrew, Sam, Mata and Lucy opting to bushwhack their way through the forest to the track, while Ken, Ralph and I crossed the Allt a'Choire Fhuadaraich to the track on the other side. We all met up again at the bridge over the River Ample and followed the track the final two kilometres to Edinample and Gerry and Liz with the waiting car. Refreshments were taken in the restaurant at Balquhidder Station.
No Photos !
Sunday 25th August 2013 - Sgurr nan Gillean
Five drove up to the Sligachan Hotel, where we met Mike. Gerry set a cracking pace on the good but narrow path, with Mike, Wesley, Andrew, Ralph and me following in single file. Once the climbing started, the path was more on scree, and then into the corrie below the ridge was a mixture of scree and boulders. Here we all found our own ways up on to the ridge where the drop into Lota Corrie was sudden, surprising and very big (about 300m). We took a break at that point, and each time I looked up at the climb towards the summit, I was sure that it was impossible—but it wasn't! The ridge was steep with good rock, and required some scrambling, with Mike and Wesley taking the airy route along the crest. The others took the easy(?) way with some awkward bits.
Just short of the summit, it is necessary to climb on to the crest with a short, but airy walk to the cairn. There was enough room for Mike to set his camera for a group photo,and make a dash to be included. I was a little concerned about the descent, as I remembered the awkward bits on the way up, and thought that they would be even more awkward going down. But they weren't! It turned out to be an enjoyable and comparatively easy scramble down to the spot where we had taken the break earlier. Then it was down through the boulders and scree to the path, passing a wonderful small gorge with waterfalls, and back to the Sligachan Hotel for refreshments and meals.
The weather had been perfect, and the hill had been spectacular. What better way to do my 200th Munro! John Burton
We met a party of young climbers studying maps and looking for Pinnacle Ridge – they had missed the turning. Such is Skye! We contoured under Pinnacle Ridge and gained height quickly. The views were impressive in all directions and we played the usual game of naming as many peaks as we could. Five of us made a detour near the top to avoid an awkward step but Mike took it direct. We all met on the tiny summit but did not linger and started down while the adrenalin was still running! An uneventful but tiring descent and down to refreshments at Sligachan.
John, Ralph and Mike got their ticks. It was great to see Mike after a long absence.
Saturday 20th July 2013 - Sgurr nan Eugalt
It was a really hot day so naturally many members resorted to spending the day in their gardens, but not Gavin, Cris and Norman. With two cars at their disposal it was decided to carry out the programmed walk, leaving one car at Coireshubh, whilst starting the walk at the mast a few kilometres back towards Loch Quoich. We found a nice rocky ridge (which became increasingly craggy as we ascended) leading directly to the summit of Sgurr Chlaidheimh (841m). From there, it’s a delightful rollercoaster of a ridge towards the Corbett of Sgurr nan Eugalt. On the way we surprised two deer, each of which had found their own private lochan to cool down in ! Unfortunately, the camera was not quick enough to catch the bathers. Gavin had already pointed out to us that the trig point at Sgurr nan Eugalt is not the actual summit so we continued our ridge traverse westwards. Not content with summitting the Corbett (894m) we carried on to Sgurr Sgiath Airigh (881m) where the views down Loch Hourn and towards Knoydart were truly amazing.
Cris and Norman retraced their steps to the trig point on Eugalt which led to an enjoyable descent down the North-East ridge and eventually a stalkers path back to the car. By the time we arrived at the tea-room at Kinloch Hourn (which incidentally doesn’t have electricity) for a well earned cuppa, Gavin arrived, having added an extra Graham ( Meall nan Eun )to his tally for the day.
All in all, an excellent day in the hills – and those of us bagging Corbetts were well pleased, if a little hot and bothered !
Wednesday 10th Jul 2013 - Beinn a'Mhonicaig
Gavin, Suzanne and Margaret plus three guests set off from the viewpoint car park in Glen Roy. Our route rose steeply westwards up a very verdant grassy track. The track then became a well defined path. En route wild thyme, yellow saxifrage and cloudberry were all spotted.
The pen-ultimate cairn contained a wasp's nest. From our final cairn at 567 metres we had amazing views of the Grey Corries and surrounding hills. A butterfly flew past us very quickly and so was not identified.
We retraced our steps back down to the viewpoint car park. The weather was hot but not unpleasant and the midges came out just as we left the final cairn. They were not a problem on the way down.
A brown hare was spotted just as the end of the Glen Roy road just before coming into Roy Bridge.
Saturday 22nd June 2013 - Pap of Glencoe
Six ‘Pap Dwellers’ began their ascent from the far eastern end of Glencoe village by the edge of the forest. Very light showers were experienced and then the weather was dry all the way to the top. The views were interesting as we could see a fair amount but at times were looking down on to mist. At the col, Gavin disappeared to do Sgorr nam Fiannaid, Stob Coire Leith and Stob Dubh.
Thankfully, it was dry for our summit snack but towards the end of our repast it began to rain and as we made ready to set off the rain came down quite heavily; it also went quite cold. Andrew, Gerry and Ken decided to be adventurous and took a route westwards to join the ‘coffin route’. Suzanne and Liz returned back down the same way everyone had come up. They had a slight diversion to the end of their route coming out towards Tom Breac where they spotted foxgloves and wild orchids.
A good midsummer’s meal was enjoyed at the Claigaig Inn in Glencoe.
Sunday 16th June 2013 - Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh
Just three of us for this walk - John B, Ralph and Ken, but we had a great day. The weather was fairly overcast, but clear to the tops and good visibility. At the Ski Centre car park, they were just clearing up from the Caledonia Challenge as we set off on the boggy path round Creag Dhubh, across Allt Cam Ghlinne and on to the base of Sron na Creise. The scrambling here was fairly straightforward and could also mostly be avoided on grassy or scree slopes. At the top there were superb panoramic views of Buachaille Etive Mor and Rannoch Moor. It was an easy walk up to Stob a Ghlaise Choire and on to Creise. We had a fine view of the side ridge to Meall a Bhuiridh but with its steep initial descent it is easy to see how this could be missed in poor visibility. From this ridge we could see animals in a small lochan - other walkers said these were deer. We could not see well enough to confirm this but they did look like deer and were definitely moving about but making no attempt to get out of the water. Has anyone observed this before - is this how deer rid themselves of ticks etc?
We walked down through the ski debris and had tea at the Ski centre cafe - which amazingly is open till 8.30pm. A very enjoyable walk.
Saturday 8th June 2013 - Derry Cairngorm and Ben Macdui
The weather had been settled for several days and we were expecting a fine sunny day. Early cloud lifted as we approached the top car park and from here we headed off to do the programmed walk and ascend the Fiacaill ridge. Of course we changed our minds and instead decided to go up the western arm of Coire an Sneachda which ends near Cairn Lochan. The rocky section proved more interesting than we remembered, although Andrew did do it direct. Given the lingering patches of snow and Gavin and Suzannes’ heavy packs the rest of us made several detours but eventually all arrived at the plateau.
It was warm and sunny with extensive views – a lovely day. Several snow buntings and a dotterel were spotted. To avoid the big drop to Loch Avon we headed for Carn Etchachan and dropped down to the lochan by an easy gulley just south of the summit. Gavin and Suzanne pitched their tent on the grass there – an idyllic, almost alpine setting. Wesley and Piotr set off for Derry Cairngorm, followed by Gavin and Suzanne. Andrew and Gerry headed off to Ben Macdui, taking time to admire the wild remote scenery.
It was easy walking but the distances in the Cairngorm are impressive. The long walk out was hastened by the threatening dark clouds building behind us but even so it was nearly 1900 when we returned to the car park.
Wesley and Piotr arrived at “La Taverna”restaurant just as we were leaving. All agreed it had been a fantastic day.
31 May - 2 June 2013 - Torridon weekend
The club enjoyed a great weekend in Torridon. The weather was mixed, but at least it was good enough to allow us out onto the hills with some great walks completed. The group consisted of Gavin, Suzanne, Andrew, Gerry, Ron, Cris, Piotr, Alan, Mary, Ken and Liz. It was good to meet up with Alan and Mary again as they joined up with us as part of their 2-week holiday in the Scottish hills. Many thanks to everyone who helped to organise the weekend and to those who organised and contributed to the excellent communal meal at the Hostel.
Liathach 31 May 2013
Ken and Liz drove up to the Torridon Hostel on Thursday evening so we could make an early start on Friday. However, we need not have bothered as we awoke to cloud down to sea level and heavy drizzle. However, the forecast was for this to clear by late afternoon and so we delayed our start and set of on the path up to East end of the ridge at 11.30. It took about 2hrs to reach the first peak (Spidean a Choire Leith) and then on to the Am Fassarinen pinnacles. These were exposed and scrambly, but some of the worst bits could easily be avoided and we enjoyed the exhilarating scrambling. Even more so when the mist cleared on cue at about 4pm. We made the long descent down in early evening sunshine and met with the others for a lovely communal meal at the Hostel.
Beinn Alligin 01 June 2013
Two groups set off together from the car park along the Coire Mhic Nobuil path on route to Bealach a Chomhla where the parties split, with one group heading for Beinn Dearg and one for Beinn Alligin. Suzanne, Ron, Peter (Guest), Ken and Liz headed up Beinn Alligin. Unfortunately, the weather closed in as we ascended and we crossed the Horns in cloud and cold, heavy rain. Gavin met up with us on the Horns - after and early start, he had already completed Beinn Dearg and soon rushed off to undertake more of his "Torridon tour". The low cloud remained as we summited the two Munro's - Sgurr Mor and Tom na Gruagaich but cleared as we descended back to the cars and to meet up with the Beinn Dearg group again.
(No pictures as the camera battery was flat!)
Glen Shiel was in sunshine as we drove through but the cloud descended and at Kishorn it was down to almost sea level. It was cold and raining too. There was no enthusiasm for the planned walk to Coire na Poite so we continued up the road for a shorter day. Andrew and Gavin went off into Coire nan Arr. Piotr, Suzanne and Gerry drove up to Bealach na Ba and took the track up to the mast. We were in thick cloud but decided to continue around the coire to the Corbett. Navigation was by compass and GPS – we couldn’t even see the edge of the coire. In the lee of a craggy top we stopped for lunch and at last the cloud lifted. The road appeared below us and then the summit ahead. Two figures also appeared – Andrew and Gavin. We could now see the spectacular cliffs and coires all around. Very impressive.
Sgurr a Chaorachain
Gavin and I decided to climb straight up the nose, direct to the summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain. It looked spectacularly steep in the swirling mists. There was some mild scrambling at times and some interesting route finding. We took our time and the misty cloud base lifted as we gained height, affording views to seaward. Eventually the splendid ridge of Na Ciochan appeared as the mist lifted in Coire a’Chaorachain. We had a short break at the summit then set off westwards, meeting Piotr, Suzanne and Gerry heading up. Gavin, Piotr and I descended into Coire a’Chaorachain and the other two went back to Bealach na Ba to retrieve the car. The coire is deep and long, with terraces of vertical sandstone around ¾ of its perimeter. It drops into the main Coire nan Arr, the Lochan now somewhat bigger than mapped, its level raised by a dam, part of a hydro-electric scheme.
Beinn Dearg Torridon
This was a hill which we had wanted to do for some time and reputed to be very steep and tricky in parts. The forecast was for a damp morning with low cloud but brightening later. At the car park the sun was shining and the tops were clear. Everyone followed the well worn path by the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil and just before the Bealach a’Chomhla we split . Alan went off to do a scramble up the south west face of Beinn Dearg, those doing Beinn Alligin followed the path off left and four of us headed off for the north west ridge of Beinn Dearg . It was indeed very steep with a few rocky bits to avoid but we soon crested the ridge where we were met by Alan. By now the cloud had lowered and the summits had disappeared. We saw Gavin in the distance, well on his way up Beinn Alligin, having already done Beinn Dearg east to west! The cloud came and went and it was damp at times with a cold wind but the ridge was a delight. As we neared the eastern end, the cloud lifted again and we had good views of Liathach and Beinn Eighe. As expected, the descent from Carn na Feola was steep and the long walk out was tiring but it was a great day.
This was another Corbett we had never done and seemed a suitably short day before heading home. The crags on the north west side facing the road looked most inviting so we headed up picking our way between the rocks and using animal tracks where we could. It was very steep in places but made a quick way up to the south west ridge of Sgurr Dubh. This broad ridge is rocky and full of lochans. The summit lies back some way and is formed of shattered quartzite making walking more difficult than the sandstone lower down. Chris hurried off to bag her second Corbett of the day. Showers threatened, so we didn’t linger and the wind was still very cold for June. Andrew and Piotr returned the way they had come, but Suzanne and I opted to take a longer route down, following the south west ridge and hoping to avoid any steep rocky bits. We still had to negotiate a couple of tricky sections but made it to the path and past the Ling hut back to the road. Another great walk.
We were back in the Highlands again after our move to Birkenhead. We'd already had had 10 days and what better way to end our trip than to meet up with the Nevis Hillwalkers in Torridon. We got in at the Youth Hostel for 4 nights and arrived on the Wednesday evening. The next day was perfect, just wahat is promised in calendars, postcards and advertising literature, so what better than to do the traverse of Liathach.
We went round the back to Coire na Caime. The frontal face of Meall Dearg looked toos steep so we went up a slanting grass rake visible in the first picture. This led to the airey crest of the Northern Pinnacles and the Munro summit. The main ridge was then followed to its end. All the way along we had fantastic views of the neighbouring hills.
In the evening, Ken and Liz turned up and we had a delightful time chatting with them.
The cloud was right down. Ken and Liz were keen to do Liathach which we'd done yesterday. Mary was keen to have a easy day after Liathach and went to see what there was to do at Lochcarron (not much). I still had some energy left and thought that the attractive neighbour of Ben Damh would be a good choice. It only rises to 534m and would probably come out of the cloud before the higher peaks.
I started it at the south end and did a traverse to its north end, which overlooks Loch Torridon and Shieldaig. The cloud did lift off the hill and I did the traverse under the layer of cloud. I would recommend this hill as it has the feel of much bigger hills and is a worthy neighbour of Ben Damh. However, I would not recommend the way I took off the top down to Shieldaig. This was very steep, overgrown with heather and trees which made seeing the several lines of cliffs difficult and forced me to retrace my steps to get round nasty-looking drops.
In the evening there was a communal meal at the Youth Hostel. Mary and I hadn't contributed so we ate our own food alongside but were able to join in the conversation.
People were undecided as which hills to do. Most people wanted to do either Alligin or Ben Dearg, with Gavin wanting to do both. I was in the group which went to do Ben Dearg. This was Andrew, Gerry, Mary, Piotr and myself. We traversed the mountain from northwest to southeast. I decided to do a scramble in Noel Williams's scrambles book. This got no stars, which I put down to the long slog up the southwest flank to get to the start but once on it, the scrambling was lovely. Light rain came in just as I got to the top of the scramble. I then rejoined the others. Though damp we still did get the views. A short step was a challenge on the second half of the ridge. In the evening we stayed with the people in the hostel for yet more chatting about the day and the future.
Mary and I were exhausted. We had to be home in the near future, so we decided to drive home. Goodbyes were said in the hostel carpark and we set off. We eventually got home about 7:30pm. We took home happy memories of the weekend away and hope to repeat the experience another time.
Alan & Mary
Sunday 2nd June 2013 - South Shiel Ridge
They say that seven munros can be ticked in one outing on the South Shiel Ridge. I was first there in March of 2008 and did Creag a’Mhaim and Druim Shionnach. The summer of that same year we returned and I did these two again, and this time carried on over Aonach Air Chirth and Maol Chinn-dearg. In September we returned once again, but it was very, very wet and having reached the summit of Creag nan Damh we decided to call it a day. So I had suggested another outing for the programme to finish the ridge.
With the majority of the club in Torridon for the weekend there were only two of us on the hill on Sunday. I met Allison at the Glen Shiel battle site car park and we took a car back along the road to the bottom of the Druim Thollaidh ridge. It was a warm day, forecast to be sunny. We stopped to admire the views on the way up the ridge and made good time, arriving on Sgurr Coire na Feinne in about 1 ½ hours. From there we enjoyed a lovely ridge walk, stopping to (try to) identify all the other summits in the distance. Over Sgurr an Doire Leathan, and Sgurr an Lochain, we missed the bypass and climbed Sgurr Beag too, and carried on to Creag nan Damh, which is a much rounder hill than the previous two. After another bite to eat we followed a compass course and a vague path off the summit through the rocky outcrops, down towards the river. The path becomes more obvious here and leads into the forestry where it becomes a peaty track between the trees. Luckily it had been dry so the path was good enough to follow, despite some overgrowth and fallen trees just before breaking out through a gap in the fence onto the road. We were soon back at the car having had a lovely day out and my ambition to complete the South Shiel Ridge successful.
Sunday 25th May 2013 - Five Sisters of Kintail
With the day set fair, Ron, Gavin, Suzanne, Piotr, Ken and Liz met at Spean and headed to Glen Shiel. A bit of car shuffling was required in order to leave a car at Kintail Lodge for the return trip.
A stiff climb up to Bealach an Lapain and then along the ridge to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr nan Saighead, Beinn Bhuidhe and Sgurr na Mòraich - but surely that is 6 sisters! There was much debate as to which tops were the actual "five sisters" and Gavin assured us that Sgurr na Mòraich was one of the sisters and not just an extra hill he wanted to include - and it appears he was correct. Highland Council History and Culture website confirms the Five Sisters as Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe (1027m), Sgurr na Carnach (1002m), Sgurr Fhuaran (1068m), Sgurr nan Saighead (929m) and Sgurr na Mòraich (876m). So, just as well Gavin insisted we climb Sgurr na Mòraich.
The website also explains the Legend of the Fife Sisters - which I copy here for interest - "Legend relates that 2 Irish Princes washed ashore during a storm, fell in love with 2 of the 7 daughters of the King of Kintail. Having promised to send their 5 brothers for the remaining sisters, the Princes married the 2 youngest Princesses and returned to Ireland. The five sisters waited, in vain, and eventually asked the Grey Magician of Coire Dhunnaid to extend their vigil, beyond life itself, where upon he turned them into mountains."
We had a great, but long day as it was gone 8pm by the time we arrived at the Cluanie Inn for very welcome refreshments.
Sunday 19th May 2013 - The Grey Corries
Martine and I met Alison (guest) at Spean Bridge and drove up to Choirechoille in Martine’s pickup. We soon left the track and ascended the steep rough ground of Ruigh na Gualainn to Stob Coire Gaibhre, listening to the young lambs calling for their mothers. By the time we were on the ridge the cloud had closed in and we were not lucky enough to get any views until we started our descent. It was still a very enjoyable walk on a meandering ridge.
Many small cairns were confusing, and gave us false hope that we were further along the ridge than we actually were. Patches of late snow on the ridge were soft and not difficult to cross, but there was still a lot of snow holding in cornices in the corries.
On Stob Coire an Laoigh we met a couple who had walked from Glen Nevis but we soon had to find our own steeper descent on the north ridge of Stob Coire Easain. This caused no problems following a compass bearing and soon we dropped below the cloud where the ridge of Beinn na Socaich came into view.
Looking back to the Grey Corries we began to get a feeling of how far we had travelled. The sun came out on our descent to the dam and we were reminded that it was in fact mid May. A wet crossing just before the dam took us to a very pleasant return through the woods and back to the car. A long but very satisfying day out.
Saturday 27th April 2013 - Streap
As most of the "regulars" were on the week-end to Skye, only Norman and I turned out for this walk. We had both had previous attempts to climb this hill, but had been beaten by the weather. But this time, the weather was perfect! As there were only the two of us, we decided to be economical and only use one car. This meant that we had to do a circular walk, and decided to keep to the scheduled ascent, but descend by the "curious diagonal shelf" from the SW ridge, as descibed by the SMC's Corbett guide.
So we walked under the viaduct and entered the forest on to a track that took us along the Allt an Tuim. Before we climbed steeply out of the gully to reach Beinn an Tuim, where there was a little snow, we saw a small herd of deer. We had taken ice-axe and crampons, but as it turned out, we did not need them. Then it was down and up to Meall an Uillt Chaol at 844m. Then there is another drop to about 740m and up to 887m at Stob Coire nan Cearc, all on patchy snow and rock. On the way, we saw and heard ptamigan. After the drop to the next col, we were on the last lap (phew!) which was a narrow arete leading to the summit. This was airy with, again a mixture of rock and snow. The views from the summit were fantastic--the Ben and neighbouring hills looking particularly impressive. There had been a little, easy scrambling on the way up, but none on the way down. We had decided to return towards Corryhully via the arete and then down into the glen. In the glen, there are quite extensive works for a mini-hydro scheme with a new track. The bridge that was down has been replaced temporarily by four girders, but looks as if it will be rebuilt permanently.
Refreshments were taken in Norman's caravan which he had at Bunree. Streap done by this route is a hill with everything--lots of ups and downs, easy scrambling, an airy ridge and great views, if you can get the right weather!
26-28th April 2013 - Skye Weekend
Coast path to Loch Coruisk
Liz and Ken decided on a low level walk for friday. We set off from Kilmarie on the road to Elgol and walked over the good track to Camasunary Beach. First lunch at the bothy and managed to avoid one heavy shower. Then it was boots off to wade across the river to pick up the coast path. Showers now increased and some turned to heavy hail. We found the "bad step" somewhat daunting in these very wet conditions and preferred the path over the top which we found quite straightforward. With time getting on we returned from here - second lunch back at the bothy and then back to the car and on to meet everyone else at Carbost.
Sgurr nan Eag
The forecast for Saturday was great so Andrew, Martine, Piotr, Liz and Ken set off from Glen Brittle. Reports suggested less old snow on the south end of the ridge, but about 2inches of new snow had fallen on the high ground overnight - however this turned out not to be a problem. From the path, we clambered over boulders up under the Cioch and passed Ladies Pinnacle. The snow made the going somewhat slippy - but not too bad. As we approached Bealach Coir a Ghrunnda the weather closed in but we continued down to Loch Coir a Ghrunnda then up the other side, again over boulders, to Bealach Garbh choire. As we made it to this Bealach and onto the ridge proper, the weather cleared and we had fantastic views back along the whole ridge. The snow here was dry and actually made walking easier. It was straightforward to the summit cairn of Sgurr nan Eag with glorious views all around. We returned via the steep and bouldery descent down the SW flank. Andrew and Martine crossed into Coir a Ghrunnda to pick up the higher level path to Glen Brittle. Liz, Ken and Piotr descended to the lower path and we all met at the junction of these paths for the final leg back to Glen Brittle. A great day out.
Three people, not wanting to tackle the main Cuillin ridge decided instead to do Marsco. This isolated peak in Glen Sligachan is not even a Corbett but must be the finest viewpoint in the area.
Suzanne, Gerry and Monica(visitor) set off down Glen Sligachan. The path is much improved and misses a lot of the notorious bog – at least for the first mile or so. The weather also improved as the cloud started to lift from the summits. Three kilometres on the Allt na Measarroch crosses the path. It looked a bit tricky but at this point our route turned left and followed the path up the side of this burn to the bealach at 300m. The views of Clach Glas and Bla Bheinn were stunning. The route then went up the grassy eastern flank of Marsco, across Coire nan Laogh and steeply up to join the SE ridge. The north end of the main Cuillin ridge was clear and we spent some time admiring the view. We turned right and headed for our summit. Our easy hill had a sting in the tail. The ridge suddenly narrowed, rocky with a steep drop each side and the summit cairn was at the far end. A bit airy but we all made it. Our reward was a lifting of the remaining cloud. The views all round were incredible over the Outer Isles, Torridon, Kintail, the Small Isles and of course the whole of the main ridge, still capped in snow. A most enjoyable day.
Wesley and I met our guide Paddy MacGuire at the GlenBrittle Hut to discuss the conditions high above. Given the new snowfall on existing harder snow we decided our chances of getting to the Sgurr Mhic Choinnich summit might be slim. Paddy was agreeable to us rearranging for another day in the summer when the conditions would be more favourable for scrambling.
This left us at a loss for something to do, since the remained of the club had already left the bunkhouse. We remembered Cris talking about Glamaig so we parked at Sligachan and headed across the boggy glen to the base. It took us 3 hours to get to the summit of this Corbett, up an unrelentingly steep slope of alternating wet grass and loose scree. We met Cris at the summit and chose to descend by her route of ascent from Sconsor. A bite to eat at Sligachan Hotel before Wesley and I headed home.
Gerry and I left early and headed for the Sligachan Inn, arriving at about 1000. There, we found Gavin, Suzanne and Martine only. This was a surprise as we were expecting more. There had been some late changes to some members’ plans. Gavin wanted to do 3 peaks at the north end of the main ridge. The 5 of us set off towards Coire a’ Bhasteir, and Martine, Gavin and I decided to approach the main ridge over the spur of Sgurr a’ Bhasteir. We climbed its east ridge, which I had not done before, from a point abreast of the head of the Bhasteir Gorge, just visible below us in the lowering cloud. The wind was gusting at times bringing a threat of snow showers. There was a good covering of snow lying from about 400m. The Bhasteir Tooth soon loomed out of the mist. This route seemed to be a very quick and easy way to the main ridge from Sligachan. Gavin’s plan was to do Sgurr a’Fionn Choire and Bruach na Frithe, then return to Bealach nan Lice, descend into Coire a’ Bhasteir then climb Am Bhasteir.
This sounded too ambitious for me, and the weather was deteriorating so I decided to return to Sligacahn via Coire a’ Bhasteir. Martine and Gavin disappeared into the mist, heading west. I put on crampons for the descent into the coire, but couldn’t make up my mind about the stability of the snow slope. Fionn Coire looked safer. However, I had lent my Harvey’s map to Gavin and could not remember much about the route so I ended up retracing our steps back over Sgurr a’ Bhasteir. I met the other two at the foot of the ridge and we made our way back to Sligachan.
A much better day in prospect, I joined Martine, Ken, Liz and Piotr to do Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn and Sgurr nan Eag at the south end of the main ridge. Starting from the Glen Brittle campsite, we followed the path into lower Coire Lagan, crossed its floor and climbed up the Sgumain stone chute. There was still plenty of snow lying, which made clambering over boulders onerous at times. At the Bealach Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda we had intended to traverse the headwall of the coire to reach the main ridge south of the TD Gap at Bealach Coir’ an Lochan. However, the mist was thick and showing little sign of improvement and the snow underfoot was making progress difficult. We decided to descend to the lochan, skirt its north and east shore to a point opposite the island, to be sure that the Bealach a’ Garbh-choire was directly above. It was a good plan and we quickly reached the main ridge, just as the cloud lifted to reveal the Black Cuillin in glorious sunshine. Skipping Sgurr Dubh an a Bheinn, we climbed southwards to reach the summit of Sgurr nan Eag.
After some discussion we decided to descend the SW slope of the hill rather than retrace our route to Coir’ a’Ghrunnda. This was a new route for all of us. It was very steep with lots of unstable scree, making it hard work, but we enjoyed the wide-open seascape and bright sunshine. Finding the path between Glen Brittle and Coruisk, and its branch to Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda much improved, we made swift progress back to the campsite. The great rolling slabs of lower Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda, seen to advantage as we passed below, bore little if any snow and could have offered an untroubled passage either up or down. We probably had a harder day than necessary, but a very good one.
Sunday’s forecast was not good and we decided to have a short day going to the Spar Cave at Glasnakille. On the way, we dropped Monica off at Sligachan, to catch the bus south to start her long journey home to Gdansk. Reaching the shore after a steep descent, we found the tide still too high to gain access to the cave. It was a pleasant wait for an hour or so in the sunshine and sheltered from the brisk west wind. Jumping over wet rocks and pools, we eventually reached the cave entrance. The roof was high above our heads at first, then the floor rose up steeply upwards, disappearing into the darkness beyond the beams of torches. The walls were lined with white calcite columns, the roof with small stalactites and the floor a smooth, slightly undulating coating of calcite, down which ran a flow of water with a distinctly alkaline feel to it. The steep gradient and smoothness underfoot made one very cautious ascending at first until it became obvious that the surface was very grippy. Eventually the slope levelled out before plunging downwards, straight into a deep pool.
Emerging back into sunshine it was tempting to go for another walk. However some members had to be home early. As we set off, the promised rain set in and we dispersed homeward, except for Piotr who shouldered his backpack and resumed his long walk to Cape Wrath.
Saturday 13th April 2013 - Ben Dubhchraig
Seven-- Piotr, Andrew, Gerry, Liz, Ian, Gavin and I, met at Dalrigh with forecasts of very strong winds to arrive in the afternoon. Gavin had decided to add an extra hill, Fiarach, and so he left us early on. The remaining six set off through the wonderful pine forest following the erratic path. But once out on the hill and into the snow, we lost the path. Liz and Gerry opted to do their own thing, while Andrew, Piotr, Ian and I set off through the snow.
Visibility was good where we were, but the cloud was down on the hills. So, using map, compass and GPS, we headed for the north ridge of Ben Dubhchraig. About half way up, ice-axe and crampons were deployed as there was ice under the snow. Once into the cloud, there were no views and visibility was right down. At the summit, we could only see about 10 metres and the wind was increasing. Here we were met by Gavin, having been up Fiarach.
With conditions not very good and probably going to get worse, we made the decision to head back down the way we had come up. At the track, we met up with Gerry and Liz who had gone up to the ridge and then entered the forest to descend by the track.
Paddy's Bar in Tyndrum provided the refreshments.
Sunday 7th April 2013 - Sgurr Choinnich Beag/Mor, Glen Nevis
Andrew, Gerry, Piotr, Martine, Liz (guest), Ken and Liz set off from the Glen Nevis car park for the lovely walk through Nevis Gorge on the new improved footpath. After Steall ruin we headed north to the bealach between Sgurr a Bhuic and Sgurr Choinnich Beag with the visibility rapidly decreasing as we gained altitude. From here we continued to Choinnich Beag and onwards to Choinnich Mor, donning crampons for this ascent. The summit cairn was almost buried in snow. The route back down to the Glen was straightforward and the poly survival bags came out for some fun glasading down the snow slopes.
Refreshments at the Cafe Beag in Glen Nevis rounded off the day.
Wednesday 3rd April 2013 (evening)- Beinn Churalain
Eight met up for a short evening's walk on Beinn Churalain. We had kindly been given some information and directions from Iain McNicol of the Appin Historical Society. They told us of a graveyard, a settlement and a long stone slab which men carrying coffins up to the cemetary used to stretch their backs-and possibly imbibe a wee half to help revive themselves! Also, a stone with a galley carved on it, and a Baptismal font close by. Unfortunately, we were not to find the stone slab, the carved galley or the font, in the quite thickly wooded hill!
Gavin was the only person who wanted to reach the summit, so he set off alone. Almost from the start, the remaining seven were confronted by some new barbed wire fences that steeered us away from our desired route. As a result, we became split into two groups of four and three. The four climbed on to the ridge, while Toril, Liz (both guests) and I stayed low.
We battled through scrub trees and could hear the others, Ken, Liz, Suzanne and Gerry, high above us. They said they were going to watch the sunset and then go down. And almost immediately, we discovered the graveyard! We examined the grave stones, some of which were obviously very old, although the inscriptions were difficult to decypher. We had spotted the settlement earlier, and so headed down to it. Some of the ruins were quite sizeable, and it was interesting to speculate who had lived there.
Then it was down to the road, where we met the others. Refreshments were taken in the Creagan Inn.
Saturday 30th March 2013 - Aonach Meadhoin, Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg, Saileag
Still high pressure over the UK and the forecast was for blue skies and frozen ground. We anticipated a great day and were not disappointed.
Seven of us, including one visitor, met in Glen Shiel and head up to the start of the ridge. The ground was frozen hard and the easterly wind, though light, was bitterly cold. We met patchy snow as we gained height and from the first summit crampons made the going easier. It’s a lovely ridge walk with several interesting sections which proved even more “interesting” with snow and ice. The views were extensive in all directions.
It was far too good a day to rush but it is a long route and we only reached the Cluanie Inn after 6pm. Another fantastic day.
Sunday 25th March 2013 - Meall na Teanga
Andrew and Gerry decided to do a low level walk round Loch Oich with the arrangement that they would pick up from Laggan if the others did a through walk.
Ralph, John B, Piotr and Ken set of from Clunes on the easy forest walk through to Allt na Faing. Here some "bushwacking" through the forest on vague paths lead to open country and upwards to the frozen Coire Lochain. The weather was bitterly cold with high winds forecast, especially at altitude. With the wind, snow and large visible cornices we decided to head straight up to the summit from the lochan rather than the suggested route round the ridge via Sron Bhreac and Meall Coire Lochain. This would be a good route in the summer, but not with the winds and cold of today.
It was a long pull up and as we got closer to the summit the wind increased and was truly ferocious at the top. We quickly decided to retreat and headed to the col before Meall Coire Lochain and then had an enjoyable and quick descent down the snow back to the lochan. This was very pleasant as the sun came out , the visibility was good and we were sheltered from the worst of the wind. The route back through the trees and on to Clunes was straightforward.
We all met up again in the Spean Bridge Hotel to review a pleasant and interesting day.
Saturday 16th March 2013 - Carn Laith and Stob Poite Coire Ardair
The weather forecast was good, but the avalanche forecast was somewhat alarming. However, seven of us set off for Creag Meagaidh to "have a look" at the conditions. There was surprisingly little snow on Carn Liath so we set off for this top - the snow remained firm and solid.
At this time the sun was shining, but as we had a cuppa on the top the clouds rolled in. With the ridge being broad and fairly flat we were happy to carry on, following the heavily frozen fence posts. Crampons were donned for a short steep section just before Stron Coire a Chriochairean.
We had seen that there was a lot of snow in The Window, our planned route down, but we also had the option to return via the route we had come, if necessary. We almost walked passed the summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardaire as the whole area was very flat. Around about here we met some other walkers who had just come up The Window and reported that the snow was sound. Hence, we continued, with care at first, but finding the snow to be firm and safe we had an enjoyable and fairy quick descent down to the lochan.
We could hear several climbing parties on the Creag Meagaidh crags but with the poor visibility and now heavy snow we could not see any of them. However, a raven could clearly be seen swooping across the corrie and up to the crags.
So, Andrew and Gerry, Ron, Roy, John B, Ralph and Ken had a great day out - in spite of the pessimistic avalanche report and the over optimistic weather forecast!
Sunday 10th March 2013 - Stob Coire a’ Chairn
High winds, bitter cold and snow flurries forecast for the afternoon, but it was still surprising that only two turned out for a walk. The morning was glorious with blue skies, clear air and sunshine.
We opted not to do the programmed walk, partly to find more shelter from the wind and partly because we had been on the track towards Binnein Mor on Thursday with the Ramblers. We walked up to Coire na Ba and followed the path towards the ridge west of Na Gruagaichean. The ground was dry and frozen. We had seen the spindrift flying off the ridge earlier and thought we would be making a hasty retreat from the col. By the time we arrived the wind had eased, so we turned left with the wind behind us and headed for Stob Coire a’ Chairn. Crampons were essential to cross the large patches of hard snow on the ridge. The views were extensive, except to the south, where the clouds were building and snow showers developing. We continued along the ridge in the sunshine. Am Bodach looked very inviting and it was only 1330, but a glance behind us showed menacing low cloud and we noted that the Buchaille had now disappeared. A steep descent down the coire on hard snow then icy grass and on to the path just as the snow “flurry” arrived.
We were well coated by the time we reached the track and then the sun reappeared! A wonderland of fresh sparkling snow on the trees and footpath. A great day.
Saturday 2nd March 2013 - Stob an Cul Choire and Aonach Mor
Fort William was misty and damp, but as we, (Allan Campbell, Andrew, Gerry, Ian, Gavin, Suzanne, Ron, Piotr, me, and a surprise visit from Allan and Mary), left the Nevis Range car park, it looked as if the weather might clear. After climbing up to the forest track, it was about a three km walk-in before the intake. Then we started the climb on to the ridge, the first part being beside the wonderful waterfalls of the Allt Coire Choille-ras. Before too long, we came across the first of the snow and ice patches. The ice was avoidable and the snow was soft, so there was no need for crampons. Unfortunately, we also climbed into the cloud, and so lost any views, except down into a snow-filled An Cul Choire.
At the col between Stob an Cul Choire and Aonach Mor, we separated into two groups of six and five. Suzanne, Piotr, Ron, Andrew and Gerry decided to exit via the coire, bum-sliding some of the way, while Allan C., Ian, Gavin, Allan, Mary and I ventured up the very steep snow slope to gain the summit of Aonach Mor. Ice axe and crampons were much in evidence on this 200m plus ascent, with several stops being made.
On reaching the summit plateau, the cloud was right down, there were no skiers and the ground cover was a mixture of rutted snow and ice. Using map and compas, we negotiated our way past the tops of ski tows, where there were quite a few skiers, on to the Aonach an Nid ridge and down to the top of the gondola station and bottom of the ski tows. Here we were surprised to meet Martine who was there skiing with her daughter, Tammy, in preparation for some future ski mountaineering. Then it was down or along the mountain bike track to the cafe at the car park, where we were joined by the other group for refreshments.
11 of us set off in quite dullish weather from the Nevis range gondola car park and took the forest track east going under the quietly, smooth gliding gondola cars. The cloud lifted as we went under Sgurr Finnisg-aig and got to the intake at 205766, where a of the water was frozen. Quite a bit of the flowing water was giving a lovely fountain display of localised rain fringed with ice crystals.
The route by the river into Coire Choille-rais was fairly snow free but we did encounter a rocky outcrop some of which was decorated with ice. The ridge up to Stob an Cul Choire was fairly snowy but the final rise was very snowy and quite narrow with low cloud.
The group parted at the summit into two groups. Five continued to Aonach Mor and the remainder descended down the coire in a westerly direction entertained by skiers on the ski paths. The weather cleared to give both parties good views; meeting up again at the gondola station's Pinemartin cafe.
Sunday 24th February 2013 - Maol Odhar and Creach Bheinn (Kingairloch)
A very good forecast for west of Loch Linnhe so we were in the right place! Nine people turned out, including one visitor. It was a day of superlatives - glorious, fantastic, wonderful….. We had almost unbroken sunshine and high pressure gave us incredibly clear air. It was a familiar hill but we went up the northern slopes for a change, which was a lovely ridge walk and provided views into the craggy northern corries of Meall Odhar. The final slopes up to Creag Bheinn had many patches of hard snow so we all had a chance to don crampons again. The views were incredible. We could clearly see the Outer Isles, from Barra Head to the hills of North Uist (90miles). We were all suitably tired by the end of the day, but what a day!
Saturday 16th February 2013 - Stob a Choire Odhair
Saturday saw Piotr, Kevin, Gavin and Suzanne, Andrew and Gerry, Ken and Liz set off for Stob a Choire Odhair. The original destination of Stob Ghabhar was abandoned due to the cloud being low and so no views. A fine future walk for a bright day.
Our journey, began at Victoria Bridge near bridge of Orchy. We went west on the track besides river Abhainn Shira and then turned off north up a fairly snow free path besides river Allt Toaig to Coire Toaig. This area was covered in a lot of soft snow as we approached Beinn Toaig and then coupled with the occasional deep patch as we approached our summit. There was a biting cold wind at the top but we were very cheered by the sighting of two ptarmigans. No view at the top but a new munro for five of the party.
We descended in an easterly direction to the West Highland way and were delighted to see a distant glimpse of hazy sunshine on Beinn Achaladair. We finished at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and enjoyed very welcome refreshments.
Not the best of weather for the planned trip over Aonach Mor and into Glen Etive. Instead 7 of us headed up Stob a Chorie Odhair, a Munro I had not done as apposed to Stob Ghabhar which I had. The eroded path was full of snow so we all took to Gavin's route straight up the grassy slope and made good time to the top. Up top no views were to be had and that combined with the bracing weather and early sundown to convince all that the traverse to Glen Etive was best saved for another time. Andrew's idea of an easy way off via Beinn Toaig trumped my suggestion of circling back over Stob Ghabhar and we descended to the West Highland Way and a route-march along the cobbles back to the car-park.
Sunday 10th February 2013 - Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh
John B, Ralph, Piotr, Andrew, Gerry, Ken and Liz headed to Glencoe. The weather was murky and snowing when we set off in the hope of it brightening up later as the forecast indicated. We parked at the Glencoe Ski Centre Car Park (almost full with skiers!) and headed on the faint path west round the base of Creag Dhubh. Sron na Creise was out of the question and we headed up the corrie to look at the "easier" North East ridge . This did not look at all inviting in the conditions and neither did continuing up the corrie to the bealach between Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh. With conditions not improving at all we decided to retreat and returned over Creag Dhubh, to at least get to the top of something on the day. Kingshouse for coffee and an early trip home.
There are no photographs for this walk so that tells its own story about the weather
Saturday 2nd February 2013 - An Caisteal and Beinn a Chroin
With a good forecast and a bright start, Andrew and Gerry, John B, John F, Gavin, Liz and Ken headed south to Crianlarich. All the lay-bys in Glencoe were full with walkers setting out in great conditions.
From our start just after Crianlarich, the route took us south to Sron Ghabh and then along the ridge to An Caisteal. With hard snow and ice in places crampons were absolutely necessary to make it to the summit. The visibility was superb with a fine panorama of snow capped peaks. The group split with Andrew, Gerry, John B and Liz returning via the Northwest ridge towards Derrydaroch Farm and Gavin, John F and Ken continuing on to Beinn a Chroin. This ascent was distinctly "interesting" in places with the ice axe and crampons being put to full use. We returned via Coire Earb and all met up together again at the cars.
Refreshments in the Crianlarich Hotel rounded off a very fine winters day on the hill.
Sunday 27th January 2013 - Beinn Iaruuinn, Glen Roy
Driving rain and strong winds at the start but at least the road into Glen Roy was free of snow. The rain eased as the four of us headed off but Andrew and Gerry opted to investigate Coire nan Eun, while Gavin and our visitor started up the ridge to the west of the coire.
The snow was pretty wet until quite high up but the coire was certainly worth a visit with a rocky snow covered head wall. There was an inviting ramp off to the left which we followed and lead easily to the ridge. No sign of the others’ footprints so we went a short distance down to find them having a short break. The ridge had been quite interesting!
The sky brightened and we had good views for a while. The wind was pretty strong so Gavin went off alone to complete the programmed walk and we three descended to the coire for a sheltered coffee break. We then headed back to the car and drove down to Brae Roy Lodge intending to go and look at Turret Bridge. Gavin, as usual, was already there waiting for us.
The dark clouds were gathering again so we abandoned our second walk and went to The Stronlossit instead .
Saturday 19th January 2013 - Garbh Bheinn, Ardgour
Just one car took the ferry across the Corran narrows and to Ardgour for this splendid hill.
Gavin, as usual, was keen to do some extra hills after the Corbett, including a Graham. So he took off straight away at the run. That left Liz and Ken Stevenson, John Burton and Liz Parkes, a guest. We started up the path that goes along the east side of the Sron a Gharbh Choire Bhig, with patches of ice and snow. The wind was from the east, but at the lower levels was ok. As we climbed higher, the snow became deeper and every now and then we would cross Gavin's footprints. The going was slow, but as we got higher on the ridge, the views opened out and they were fantastic. We could see right down Loch Linnhe, Loch Sunart and over to the Ballachulish and Glencoe hills (little did we know of the tragedy that was taking place there).
After many ups and downs and twists and turns, we reached the top at 823m. The summit was ahead of us and in intermittant cloud. We then descended to the col, and after some debate, decided that time was probably too short to make the summit. We also concluded that the easiest way down was to go south then SE, keeping in the lee of the ridge and out of the worst of the wind. We came to the road about one km west of the car, and then walked along the old road.
Shortly after starting the drive, we came across Gavin thumbing a lift, which of course, we gave him. The Ardgour Inn provided the refreshments, and then it was home.
Sunday 13th January 2013 - Fraoch Bheinn and Sgurr an Utha
Having left a car at the end point of the walk, six of us, Andrew, Gerry, Ken, Gavin, John Forbes and John Burton, headed up the track by the Allt Feith a Chatha. After only a few metres, we encountered snow on the ground, and as we climbed, it slowly became deeper. On leaving the track, Gerry decided she did not want to carry on, and went back. The remaining five continued on the scheduled route over Druim na Brein-choille and into the cloud. Snow also began to fall, but fortunately, there was little wind. Map, compass and GPS were well used as visibility was greatly reduced. The col between the two summits was reached uneventfully with Gavin leading the way, and finding the boggy bits for those following behind. The snow was fairly deep, but very soft, giving absolutely no support. This meant there was a lot of slipping and sliding, especially going downhill. The summit cairn of Sgurr an Utha was reached and then footsteps retraced back to the col. The craggy and bumpy ridge was then followed to the nearly hidden cairn on Fraoch Bheinn. The descent was then made over Tom na h'Aire, and out of the snow and cloud to Glenfinnan station, where we were glad to see Gerry. Refreshments were taken in the Moorings.
Saturday 5th January 2013 - Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh
Blow away the cobwebs and get the year off to a flying start.....those were the early thoughts leading up the 1st walk of the New Year. Standing in car park at Bridge of Orchy in the drizzle early on that Saturday morning did raise doubts as to the sensibility of the day. No matter, once under way the rain stopped, I struggled out of my over trousers, and we were able to make good progress to the coll. Gavin did his usual and took an alternative route leaving the rest of the group to ascend via the straightforward (albeit boggy) path. Once onto the coll we turned right and headed off into the clouds and patchy snow. Visibility fell away but spirits remained buoyant and we soon met up with Gavin after a quick brew. On reaching the large cairn we all felt rather chuffed at the rather good time made, someone (no names!) did however recollect that this was a false summit and we had a bit further to go. This proved no hindrance as the real summit was only minutes away. Here we split into two groups, one lot, keen for more punishment headed for the second summit, the remainder choosing to take a leisurely pace back.
During the descent back to the coll the Eager Beavers soon came across another 3 groups on the way up and learnt that the 1st cairn is commonly known as the “Englishman’s Folly”, well no “Englishmen” were caught out in our group. On reaching the coll again, the clouds parted a bit giving us an idea of what was left to do. We knuckled down and were soon at the blowy second summit of Bein an Dothaidh. Dodging the patchy snow we took flight and made a fairly swift withdrawal down to lower and clearer ground. Stopping for a rest we caught sight of the “B” team ambling back so thought it only proper to get the flasks out and wait till they joined us. From here the welcome lights of the hotel could be seen clearly and we made haste to the comfort of the bar for what I thought was a well deserved refreshment. On reflection, a great way to start the New Year.