Pictures and Reports from Recent Walks
This page contains reports and pictures for 2014 walks only. Older walks can be found here.
Sunday 28th December 2014 - Sron Gharbh
With the promise of a fine day, Glencoe was already busy as six of us left Altnafeadh. John, Ralph, Andrew and Gerry were joined by Jessie, trying out new winter gear and a surprise visit from Kevin. The sun appeared as we headed up the Devil’s Staircase and lit up the eastern faces of the higher hills. An overnight frost left the path a bit icy but the recent snow was powdery dry. Lovely, but hard going in places!
Apart from one very brief shower it was dry all day with clear views. Descending the corrie we found patches of scoured hard snow so it was on with crampons for a while. A great winter’s day and good to catch up with Kevin again.
Saturday 20th December 2014 -Sgorr Mhic Eacharna and Beinn Bheag
Four of us ( Gavin, Ken, Andrew and Gerry)turned out for this walk. Norman has been expected (it was after all a Graham) but in the end couldn’t make it. The forecast was for an improvement – wind down to 40mph! We decided to do the circuit clockwise as the Glen would offer more shelter until the wind eased.
The rain was persistent and the wind very gusty even in the glen. Andrew and Gerry decided that one peak would suffice and headed up to the ridge between the two peaks. It was still a struggle to get to the summit of Sgorr Mhic Eacharna without being blown over, though at least the rain had stopped. Gavin and Ken continued to the bealach below Beinn Bheag where the gusts were ferocious. They eventually made the ridge and caught up with Andrew and Gerry on the way down. An interesting day!
Sunday 30th November 2014 - Sgurr Eilde Mor
The route description stated that this Munro is situated in a spectacular position above Coire an Lochain. On this day, this was particularly true. The weather was perfect-clear skies with wispy clouds, no rain and hardly any wind. The route to the hill was straightforward on good paths. From the lochan, the climb up the south ridge was steep over crags and boulder fields, but on this day the effort was worthwhile. It was impossible not to linger at the summit on such a day. The views were wonderful-even the Ben was clear! We could see the buildings on the summit. We decided to descend down the NE ridge, although Andrew left the ridge early to go down the steep NW ridge. The remaining five, Ralph, John F, John B, Ian and Jenny (guest) carried on for about one kilometre, and then dropped down NW to reach an indistinct path running east to west. This took us to the lochan where we met up with Andrew. The descent was on a path passed the waterfall south of the lochan, and to Loch Eilde Mor, and thence to the paths back to the car park. John B
Saturday 22nd November 2014 - Beinn Chaorach & Cam Chreag
Auchtertyre Farm is a farm that experiments with different farming methods and ways to improve the environment and hill farming. We left the farming complex on the good track passing several information boards telling about the glen where there are numerous shielings. After leaving the track, we climbed the wide south ridge, soon coming across the remains of an old electric fence with low fence posts. We followed these to the flat summit.
Unfortunately, the cloud was down and it was raining so that we could not see any of the surrounding hills. We followed more electric fence posts down the NNE ridge, but after coming out of the cloud, the four from the Fort William area decided that they had done enough, and headed home. The Oban three carried on down the ridge passed the remains of a small wind generator which once provided power for the electric fence. The path again followed fence posts, but unfortunately, both fence posts and path stopped short of the summit. We headed into the cloud again, but the rain had stopped.
After liberal use of map, compass and GPS, we located the summit, but there was a cold wind, so we left. Dropping into the corrie, we crossed an electric fence (not an old one this time) and discovered that it was there to keep the animals out of an area of fairly recently planted native trees. Avoiding causing any damage, we regained the track back to the start. We left the planted area at another electric fence with a working generator as the rain started again. John B
Saturday 22nd November 2014 - Beinn Chaorach and Cam Chreag
A dreich day for our walk on Saturday. We all walked up Beinn Chaorach from Tyndrum but Andrew, Gerry, Ken and Liz quit at that whilst John B, Ralph and Ian continued on to Cam Chreag to complete the programmed walk.
Sunday 16th November 2014 - Gleouraich & Spidean Mialach
It was a disappointing turnout for a day with a good weather forecast (which was correct) and a fine traverse of two Munros. However, four of us, Ralph, John F, John B and Steve headed out to Loch Quoich, where Ralph decided to do Sgurr a'Mhaoraich via Sgurr Coire nan Eincheallach, as he had already done the two on the programme. So we dropped him on the far side of the bridge and then returned to our start point.
The climb up Gleouraich is on a good stalkers' path which zig-zags its way to the summit. From there, we had uninterupted views all around, and could see new tracks completely encircling the arm of Loch Quoich with other tracks going in various directions. We came to the conclusion that they were for mini hydro-electric schemes. Then followed the undulating and rocky, three km long, but wide ridge to Spidean Mialach. However, Steve and I decided to call it a day at the 977m top, while John F carried on to the summit. The descent was uneventful, except that we left the vague path which was the normal route down, to join another new track (one of two, for other hydro schemes?) that took us easily to the road.
Here, Ralph was waiting enjoying the beautiful setting sun. He had also had a great day with good views and enjoyed the easy scrambling to reach his summit.
We stopped for coffee at the Invergarry Hotel.
Sunday 2nd November 2014 -Ben Dubhchraig
We had been warned that the bridge over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch was down, so formulated an alternative route on to the hill (we had already decided to do only one hill because of the weather and short day). But just to be sure, we left the forestry track to take a look . What remained of the bridge was two precarious railway rails, too far apart to straddle, and the river was in spate (quite impressive!). So the alternative was adopted. This meant following the forestry track to a junction and turning right. Here, we, Andrew, Gerry, Robert (guest) and I were met by Ian Houston who we were not expecting, so making a group of five. Then followed a 2.5 km loop before we left the forest and got on to the NE ridge. The weather at this point was not too bad-showers with light winds, but cloud on the tops. On the way up, we saw some lovely rainbows, but also had some hail. Map, compass and GPS were needed for the last stretch, and the wind became much stronger, blowing me backwards a couple of times. However, we reached the summit and took shelter behind the cairn, where we were met by a couple who had just done Ben Lui, Ben Oss and then Ben Dubhchraig.
We did not hang around in the cold, set our compasses and headed down into the mist. Coming out of the mist, there was some debate as to the possibility of avoiding the 2.5km loop by cutting through the forest. There did not appear to be an obvious route, so four of us set off back the way we had come. But Andrew was determined to try. He must have found a route, as he arrived at the cars before us. Unfortunately, shortly before we reached the cars, the rain came on in earnest, so a soggy five took refreshments in the pub in Tyndrum.
Saturday 25th October 2014 - Peanmeanach bothy
With the last two walks cancelled, several of us were keen to get out – whatever the weather. We abandoned the programmed walk and headed for Peanmeanach bothy so that there would at least be somewhere dry for lunch. Seven of us on the walk - Suzanne, Gavin, Ian, Robert (guest), Ron, Ken and Liz. As it turned out the weather wasn’t too bad and we had a chance for some map reading practice/instruction along the way. At the bothy we got a fire going, but ironically it was dry outside during lunch – the next shower started as soon as we set off back. After an interesting crossing of the “home-made” bridge we explored a little round the coast before heading back to the path. We had refreshments at the surprisingly busy Loch Ailort Inn on the way back.
Saturday 11th October 2014 -Sgurr nan Conbhairean & Carn Ghlusaid
The drive up from Oban to Fort William did not look good, with low cloud obscuring lots of the hills. In fact, along Loch Linnhe, we could not see the other side of the loch. However, from Fort William, there were temperature inversions at several places (some photographers taking advantage), and as we neared Cluanie, things were looking good.
At Lundie, we opened the car doors to the sound of stags in the rut. This primaeval noise was to accompany us for most of the walk. Also at Lundie were three lads, two from Glasgow and one from Brora, who were doing the walk as well. But they were thinking of adding a third Munro, Sail Chaorainn (1002m).
We set off not far behind them and followed them up the good path to the flat plateau of Carn Ghlusaid. Here they produced a Scottish Saltire flag, and asked us to photograph them with it at the summit. This was to repeat itself at the other summits. Conditions were perfect-a light breeze, no rain and views all around. Again we followed them from Carn Ghlusaid to the distinctive shelter cairn on Sgurr nan Conbhairean, with photos repeated at the summit. We had made good time, so we were persuaded to also add on the third Munro. This meant dropping down to a col and then climbing to the summit. The views from the col were impressive, down to the River Doe over the crags and Lochan Uaine. Unfortunately, going back, we now had to reclimb most of the ascent to Sgurr nan Conbhairean before crossing to Drochaid an Tuill Easaich. On the way, we saw a group of ptarmigan in partial winter plumage. Then we headed south on the broad ridge past the inviting Gorm Lochan to the road. (We did not follow the old military road, as from experience, it is wet, muddy and uphill, but walked on the wide verge of the main road back to the car.)
Coffee was taken in the hotel at Invergarry.
Sunday 21st September 2014 -Meall na h-Eilde and Geal Charn
September's remarkably good weather continued for our walk to the two Corbetts above Loch Arkaig. Nine of us turned up, and a guest from Aberdeen (Lindsay Boyd who has numerous Munro and Corbett compleations to his credit). We parked a car at Achnasaul, the end point, then started up the gravel road about 500 metres east of the normal Gleann Cia-Aig path (now obliterated by construction work !). On the way up the road we met workers in a 4WD and thought that they might take exception to the fact that we had parked our cars next to the construction signs saying "No Parking" but they seemed unconcerned. The construction road eventually peters out and it was back to the usual hill-path. Then it was on to the real ascent on grassy slopes, and finally the first summit, Meall na h-Eilde.(838m). A slight haze restricted our distant views but it was dry and fresh although we were plagued by swarms of annoying black flies which someone called "keds". It was my final Corbett so I broke the seal of my specially labelled "Famous Corbetts" bottle of whisky and most of us partook of a wee dram to celebrate.
To get to the second Corbett means a descent to a bealach, up again to Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh (826m) , another bealach and finally another 150m pull to the summit of Geal Charn, a name shared with at least another six notable mountains - how confusing! This was our final lunch/coffee stop, before an easy descent to the Allt Dubh burn (easily crossed) and a reasonable path down to Achnasaul. In the last six weeks this glen has also been subject to the ravages of yet another mini-hydro scheme, but at least it meant we didn't have any route-finding problems (unlike when I was there in August and bracken obscured the path!)
For some reason Ron had indulged in a three-course lunch on his own and arrived at the end of the walk later than the others (could he possibly have fallen asleep in the warm sunshine ?). Anyway we all drove back to my caravan at Glen Nevis where my wife had organised a finger buffet. We were joined there by Suzanne, Ken, Kathryn, and later on by former member Jean O'Brien. That rounded off what was for me a very enjoyable day , and I am grateful to the members of the Club for supporting me on my special occasion.
12-14th September 2014 - Braemar week-end
Ten Ramblers and Nevis Hillwalkers had a lovely sunny weekend in the Cairngorm hills. Several people were out on Friday when the mist didn’t quite clear, but Saturday was a glorious day. Two groups tackled Lochnagar by different routes and crossed briefly at the top. In the evening we all met together for a meal in the Braemar Lodge Hotel and celebrated a “significant” birthday for Suzanne. On Sunday most did the circuit of memorial cairns in Blamoral Castle forest whilst others did a nearby hill. A great weekend.
Friday 12 September 2014
Ken, Liz, Suzanne and I had arranged to meet in the Glen Clova car park after the long drive from home, with the intention of climbing Mayar and Driesh. Ken had already dropped Gavin off to add some more summits to his list.
The weather was dry with little wind, but the tops were in cloud when we started off. After a walk through the forest gradually climbing on tracks, we emerged into Corrie Fee, which is a wonderfully-formed corrie with crags all around and a really good path. The path took us easily but steeply up the head of the corrie and over the lip on to the hillside. From there the going was less steep, but going into the mist meant map, compass and GPS were needed. At the summit of Mayar, we met a walker who commented on the number of hares he had seen (we had not seen any, and suggested that he must have scared them all away). Navigation over to Driesh proved tricky with little visibility, but there were no problems. Shortly after leaving the summit, we did spot a mountain hare, so he had not scared them all away. Heading towards the col, we saw a path that looked like a short cut round the hill, and decided to take it. Unfortunately, it was one of those paths that starts off well, then gradually disappears. So we ended up traversing across the steep hillside, crossing rough heather and boulder fields. More navigation needed! However, we joined up with the path down and ended a satisfying, but viewless day back in the car park, where Gavin was waiting. All that was required then was the almost two-hour drive to Braemar to meet up with our other colleagues.
Saturday 13 September 2014
After meeting up in the Fife Arms on Friday evening, we discussed what to do on the Saturday. And it was unanimous that we all wanted to do Lochnagar, except Cris who wanted to do a Corbett. However, we could not all agree on the route with the three ramblers intending to start from Auchallater south of Braemar, and the remainder starting from Spittal of Glenmuick.
So on Saturday morning, Seven of us, Gavin (who set off straightaway to do Lochnagar and more), Suzanne, Gerry, Ken, Liz, Cris (who started with us, then left us to do Caisteal na Caillich) and I left the very busy car park on a glorious, bright, sunny day. The climb starts on a good track, then a good path to the col between Lochnagar and Meikle Pap. After a look into the loch and corrie of Lochnagar, Ken and I decided to take a little detour and climb Meikle Pap, which has some easy scrambling and fantastic views at the summit. The “ladder” followed, which is a steep climb through boulders that have been engineered into steps, on to the rim of the corrie, where the others were waiting. Then it was an easy walk to the summit, taking the route round the rim so that we could get the best views of the loch and spectacular corrie. On looking down into one of the chimneys, I saw a couple that we had seen earlier with two dogs, scrambling up the rocks. There were an incredible variety of walkers on the hill that day, from a man with a 6 or 7 year old girl to old codgers (like me!), numerous people with different breeds of dogs, and even a partially-sighted woman being helped along. The summit was very busy.
Immediately after leaving the summit, we met the three ramblers, who had taken the alternative route. It turned out that it was also much longer (about 31km long in fact), but much quieter. Instead of returning by the same route, we descended via the excellent path along the Glas Allt, past a beautiful waterfall down to Loch Muick (with kayakers and a flock of geese), and the track back to the car park.
Sunday 14 September 2014
This was our last day, and most were doing a walk through the grounds of Balmoral to trace several of Queen Victoria's cairns. But Ken, Liz and I decided to take the chance to tick off a comparatively easy Munro, Carn Bhac, before the long drive home. We started from Inverey, a few kilometres west of Braemar, and headed south into typical estate country. This had the rounded hills patterned with patches of heather for the grouse, and exceedingly good tracks. The first track followed the Ey Burn to the ruins of Auchelie, where we turned right to climb the track on the south ridge of Carn Creagach. The weather was good, but the cloud was touching the tops, and as expected we saw numerous grouse and possibly some ptarmigan. Shortly before reaching the spot height at 731 metres, I spotted a pure white hare (in the middle of September!), but it ran off before Ken and Liz could see it. Just after the spot height, the track ended, so it was cross-country through some peat hags and heather. Here we saw some other wild-life in the form of deer. On the ridge to our left was a large herd, while in front we put up several stags. We contoured round below Carn Creagach and saw another large herd of deer (I estimated about one hundred) on the SW ridge of our hill. We then climbed from the col over scree and short vegetation to the summit cairn where we met the only walker we saw all day (what a difference to the previous day). We descended by the same route, except we avoided most of the peat hags by contouring a little higher below Carn Creagach. Going down the track just past the 731m point, I again saw the white hare, but this time was able to point it out to Ken and Liz. Their conclusion was that it must have been an albino. Immediately short of Inverey, we passed a large house where there were several Land or Range Rovers, but in the garden was more “wildlife”. They had about six birds of prey (I think there was at least one peregrine falcon) tethered to stakes. The hills here are not spectacular, but the area is beautiful in its own way with lots of wildlife.
Saturday 13 Sept Lochnagar
What a glorious day for our walk up Lochnagar. John, Gerry, Suzanne, Ken and Liz drove round to the car park at the Spittal of Glenmuick – the car park was already busy by the time we arrived. From here we headed through the woodland then out into open countryside along good paths towards Lochnagar. At the col overlooking the loch John and Ken made a diversion to Meikle Pap before joining the others to circumnavigate the rim of the corrie. The summit plateau was busy with walkers, many in shorts and T shirts. The summit trig point and marker post were easily attained up a short scramble. As we left the summit we met the other party (Nicola, Nigel and Sally) who had walked in from Invercauld. To return, we headed down to Loch Muick where Ken and Liz had a quick cooling dip before the walk out back to the car. We all met up in the evening for a meal at the Braemar Lodge Hotel.
Sunday 24th August 2014 - Braeriach
Six of us left Fort William in cloudless blue skies and headed for Aviemore. Our spirits were high with a forecast of “no rain expected” and the light cloud patches on the summits were lifting as we started towards the Chalamain Gap. Evidence of fresh rockfall reminded us of the fatal avalanche there last winter. The tricky section over, we descended to the Lairig Ghru, crossed the river ( most of us on the rocks and dry shod), then slowly up the long slopes to Sron na Lairige – the views improving all the time.
Once on the summit plateau we had our first view of the next peak of Cairn Toul, the lovely Loch Uaine and of course The Devil’s Point. All for another day. Views all round to the Moray Firth, Lochnagar and our own hills in the west. The wind, though light, was from the north and non too warm so we set off back down the knee crunching descent to the Lairig Ghru and the tiring ascent back to the Chalamain Gap.
We were all suitable tired when we reached the cars but what a fantastic day. Drinks and a bite to eat in Glenmore Lodge before the heading home.
Saturday 2nd August 2014 - Mam na Gualainn and Beinn Caillich
Four people turned out for this alternative walk – the forecast for Glen Lyon was rain all day. Ron, John, Andrew and Gerry met at St. Bride’s at the usual time, hoping to beat the rain which was forecast for later. It was certainly dry and with clear views as we went up the worn zig zags at the eastern end. The easterly wind kept the midges well at bay. A brief stop on the first summit but the wind was making itself felt – gloves on! There was already rain in the air and before long mist was forming and rising over the ridge. A short section in bad visibility called for some concentration on the navigation but the rolling mist moved again and we could see the way ahead. We managed to avoid most of the high bracken and picked up the path down from the col to arrive at the lochside at 1400.
We didn’t get too wet and it was an enjoyable walk. Lots of time for a coffee in Kinlochleven.
Saturday 19th July 2014 - Beinn Eunaich & Beinn a'Chochuill
With heavy rain forecast, we debated what to do, and the decision was taken that Andrew, Gerry and I would just attempt Beinn Eunaich, until the rain came, while Gavin would head for Beinn a'Chochuill. We made a direct attack on the hill from the SE ridge, which was craggy and steep in places. After the steep part, the going became easier over grassy and peaty ground. Here we saw a skylark being chased by some much smaller birds, but could not figure out why (we needed Wesley to tell us). The rain started, but was not too heavy so we decided just to carry on to the summit, which was in cloud. Just short of the summit, Gavin appeared out of the mist, having already done Beinn a'Chochuill. He then joined us to the summit. The route down was to the col between the two Munros and then down the corrie to the Hydro Board track and the cars. Being unable to find anywhere for coffee, we headed home.
Sunday 13th July 2014 - Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh & Druim a'Chuirn
We, that is Lynn, Cris, Margaret and I, decided to do the walk in the opposite direction to the one on the programme, clockwise. The climb up the "easy-angled" SE ridge was fairly hard going with a very steep part towards the summit of the Corbett. (Margaret came up with her definition of "steep"-when the grass tickles your nose!). After the steep bit, the hill became interesting with craggy lumps and bumps, on one of which we saw two ptarmigan. That led us to a'Chioch which is an unusual rock formation of a pinnacle with a large hollow below it. Then it was down the SE ridge, which was easy-angled, over Druim a'Chuirn and back to the track which took us to the car. The decision to climb the hill in a clockwise direction proved to be a good one, as the cloud, which had kept off the hills until we were nearly at Druim a'Chuirn, then came down on to the summit just when we would have been on it. We had coffee in the Bridge cafe in Spean Bridge.
Saturday 5th July 2014 - Beinn Loinn
Five of us set off to Beinn Loinn - Lynn, Andrew, Gerry, Ken and Suzanne. We had amazing bright sunshine in the morning which actually required sun hats. The plan was to walk across Cluanie Dam and then walk up Beinn Loinn. Unfortunately, we discovered that Cluanie Dam is firmly padlocked. This was a big disappointment as Andrew and others have campaigned for the past 9 months to get the dam opened.
So, we traveled 3KM back along the A87 to the junction for Invergarry; just along here is a very well laid forestry track at NH225095. We followed this for 3.5KM and then headed up in a north westerly direction to a 414 metre top. We then headed west to a 748 metre top and then along the ridge to Beinn Loinn which is at 748 metres. We decided not to go on to the 778 metre top which has the trig point on it. We enjoyed fine views of Loch Cluanie from the top of Beinn Loinn. We encountered showers on our descent route which was the reverse of the up hill adventures.
we were approaching the track, the sun came back out and we enjoyed a very pleasant late sunny afternoon/evening. Some unwelcome guests, namely midges, greeted us as were changing footwear at the end of our walk. It seemed that they had been waiting in ambush for us. So, it was a hasty retreat into the sanctuary of the car!!
27th - 29th June 2014 - Kinlochewe Weekend
Beinn Eighe Friday 27 JuneWith the Celtman Challenge Triathlon racers due on Beinn Eighe on Saturday and the weather set fair, Liz and Ken set off early to attempt Beinn Eighe on the Friday. We parked in the car park and walked back along the road to do the circuit in an anticlockwise direction. The pull up to Spidean Coire nan Clach was fairly straight forward and we soon reached this first summit and the start of the glorious views. The walk along the ridge was superb and we soon peeled off again for the second summit – Ruadh Stac Mor. The descent from the bealach was down a steep scree gully and across difficult ground to Lochan Coire Mhic Fhearchair. There were wonderful views of the impressive rock face of Triple Buttress. The walk out round Sail Mhor is a wonderful walk, but it seemed long and tedious after a strenuous day out.
We returned to Kinlochewe to meet up with everyone else in the Kinlochewe Hotel bar.
Slioch Saturday 28 JuneRon, Ken and Liz decided to head for Slioch on Saturday – others would do this hill on Sunday. We were joined by Kathryn and Kate on the walk in and they continued along Loch Maree to do a low level walk after we all crossed the bridge over Abhainn an Fhasaigh. We climbed into Coire na Sleaghaich – not very boggy after this long dry spell – and then backtracked on the clear path up to the beautiful lochans where the only brief shower of the day interrupted our lunch. We then completed the climb up to the summit. The views over An Tealach and the Fisherfield hills were superb. We completed the circuit of Sgurr an Tuill Bhain, back through the Coire and then it was the long walk out to Incheril again!
A great, but long, day.
Liathach Sat 28th JuneThis giant of a mountain rears up from the Glen Torridon road looking impregnable. Two of us had done it many years previously but it was new peak for the other four and a necessary tick for Ralph and Wesley. The steep path follows the east bank of a stream, picking its way through the layered sandstone. The angle was relentless but the ridge was reached in good time. The views were extensive and although the forecast was for mainly dry, there were already some spots of drizzle and lowering cloud. Three people turned right to take in the extra easterly summit, whilst the others had a short break. We then set off westwards along the main ridge. Several ups and downs later we reached the munro Spidean a’Choire Leith. The infamous pinnacles loomed ahead. Given that we still had quite a way to go and the showers of drizzly rain were continuing we opted for the easier path lower down. This was new to all of us – no recollection of this from our ascent many years ago. A path may be, but very exposed and eroded in places. Eventually we regained the ridge, the western munro Mullach an Rathain, and good views of the neighbouring peaks – some in sunshine and some in cloud. The descent south into the coire was horrendous. Steep scree for quite a way, then a more pleasant path by the burn dropping over sandstone ledges. Oh the poor knees!
We arrived back at the roadside just as the first Celtman triathletes were finishing – they had merely done a 38km swim, 202km cycle and then run over Beinn Eighe……( the winning time was about 12 hours)
Sunday 29th June SliochThis mountain had been on my wish list for many years. Previous attempts had been thwarted by bad weather but Sunday promised to be dry and clear so no excuses. Andrew, Gerry and Nic were joined by Alison and the long walk in, always a deterrent, passed quite quickly.It was very pleasant by the river but we didn’t have time to stop! There was also a path up to the lower coire which I’m sure was not there years ago. As we rounded the shoulder we saw a completely different aspect to this mountain – greenery not seen from the Loch Maree side. It was delightful. The air was very clear and the views from the top spectacular. Stoer Head lighthouse and the Butt of Lewis danced on the horizon whilst the Cuillin were crystal clear. The mountains of Fisherfield looked their best backed by the distinctive outline of An Teallach. So much to do!
We completed the round of the coire and the descent back to the lochside and were back at the car by 1800. Time for a snack before the drive home. A wonderful day.
Saturday 21st June 2014 - Tarmigan Ridge, Ben Lawers
Sunday 15th June 2014 - Sgurr na h-Aide, Glen Dessary
Gavin and I chose to do the mountain commonly known as Sgurr na h-Aide (859m). This is actually the name of the lower south summit of the mountain whose north and highest top is called Bidean a’ Chabair (867m). (Bidean gets about two-thirds of the number of Google hits that Sgurr na h-Aide gets - so take your pick over naming the mountain).
The day was warm, going on hot later on, but a cool wind in the morning assisted us in our fast pace up Glen Dessarry. We forded the river just west of the forest and made an easy climb, zigzagging through the rock outcrops, up to the first flattening of Meall na Sroine. From there it was more up and down, round and over rocky bits, to get to the minor top of Druim Coire nan Laogh. This gave us the first real view of the ridge to the highest top - and what an impressive view it was. Rock, rock and more rock, with the occasional lochan, and the ridge twisting slightly westwards before rising very steeply to the main summit. Magnificent! I had waited years to do this peak, and the wait was well worth it.
But more was to come, as we made our way down (with some up) to the bealach, and then more some grass and rock as we ascended the steepening ridge, with a nice little sting in its tail, to the small summit of Bidean a’Chabair. It is one of those magical summits that one finds from time to time - a view so much greater than the sum of its parts. Extensive - almost all encompassing views.
In the foreground, the descending ridge led to a steep rise and the summit of Sgurr na h-Aide. On either side of the ridge were Loch Morar and Loch Nevis, cutting into the land; out to sea we could see the usual close islands of Rhum, Sky, Eigg etc, and in the distance the peaks of South Uist were clearly seen. Streap, the Glenfinnan Horsehoe, the peaks surrounding Loch Beoraid, Roshven and An Stac, the Odhars, Garbh Beinn, Bein Resipol etc etc to the south; To the north the big peaks of Knoydart sat behind the foreground peaks of Sgurr na Ciche, Ben Aden and the other Glen Dessary summits. “Peaks, Peaks everywhere, and everyone to climb” to paraphrase the Ancient Mariner.
We called a halt at the first summit - to go on would have been a surfeit of riches (and even more exhausting in the heat). So we retraced our steps to the first flattening in the ridge, and then plunged south east down the very steep slopes into Gleann an Lochan Eanaiche. Expert navigation by Gavin got us round the awkward buttresses, and in 45 minutes we were at a modest 150m. in the valley bottom. ( For those who haven’t been in this valley it is well worth a visit - especially if you make a circuit of Strathan - Glen Pean - Oban Bothy, then back through Gleann an Lochan Eanaiche, past the Soltire Stones, and back to Strathan.). We crossed the narrow neck of the glen at the bealach, and descended towards the forest in Glen Dessarry. A very wet and winding path brought us at length to a proper forest road, and soon we emerged from the forest and cut a diagonal route to the cottage at Upper Glendessarry. It was then a straightforward slog back to the car, enlivened by the sight of two over-equipped backpackers struggling up the glen.
We took 7hrs 30 mins - a slow time for Gavin, but a fast time for me, especially in the heat. This is one of the great viewpoints and mountains in Scotland - if you haven’t done it, then get it on your list.
Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor
On a day of good weather, there were eight of us heading along Glen Dessary, but with differing aims. Stuart and Gavin had a Corbett in mind, Gerry did Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoid (835m) – quite a mouthful for a little hill! She went up the westerly ridge, round to Druim a Chuirn and down to Glendessary. While Andrew, Lucy, Ken, Ron and I decided to head for Sgurr na Ciche and then see what to do then. But after the ten kilometre trek along track and path to the clear but ugly path up to the slopes below Garbh Chioch Mhor (which were not ugly!), Ron decided he had had enough, and turned back. He later met up with Gerry at the cars. The remaining four negotiated the steep and boulder-filled gully leading to the col between Sgurr na Ciche and Garbh Chioch Mhor. It was then just a short scrambley climb to the summit of Sgurr na Ciche, where we spent some time admiring the extensive views. After returning to the col, I decided to head back to the cars, while the others, now just three, made for Garbh Chioch Mhor and the high-level ridge. They descended down a steep, but grassy slope to the path, where I met them. The walk to the cars was a tedious end to a great walk. The four of us ended the day in the Bridge Cafe in Spean Bridge.
Saturday 24th May 2014 - Skye
A long day but in the end well worth it. Seven drove up and met Ralph at Sligachan. The cloud was down and it was misty but as forecast it lifted during the day to give clear views by early afternoon. The light breeze also kept the midges at bay. Wesley ticked another munro by conquering Sgurr Alistair via the Great Stone Chute. Gavin had a stimulating day on Sgurr a Ghreadaidh while the remainder, John, Ian, Ralph, Suzanne, Gerry and new member Ian Houston all did Bruach na Frithe and Sgurr a Bhasteir . Being bank holiday weekend, there were people everywhere doing intrepid things. We ate at Sligachan and returned home very late. Yet again Skye did not disappoint. A wonderful day.
Saturday 10th May 2014 - Buidhe Bheinn
It was the sort of morning when you lie in bed , listen to the forecast then go back to sleep. However, six of us appeared at Fort William for this walk , which was to take us to Kinlochhourn. Gavin and Suzanne were there, also John and Ian from Oban, along with Cris on her way to Torridon, and Norman on his way to Poolewe.
As we started the walk over the bridge along Loch Beag it became obvious that ours was not the only event that day, and we started to meet walkers coming towards us, it turned out they were part of the TGO Challenge, coast to coast. We left the Arnisdale path and were pleased that there was a good stalker's path winding its way in the direction of our summit. The weather was improving by the minute, and our peak was cloud free. At the West Top (879m) the views were superb, although what was the "twin Corbett" of Sgurr a' Bhac-Chaolais had cloud drifting in and out. The descent from the West Top to the col is a rocky one, and the best part of the day. By the time we reached the summit of Buidhe Bheinn (885m) it was completely dry. Gavin had of course dashed off to climb a "Sim", and the other 5 decided that time was against us to visit the other (demoted )Corbett so we dropped down easy grass slopes into the glen in the South-East and made our way back to the tearoom in Kinlochhourn before the tortuous drive back along the minor road past the closed Tomdoun Hotel. (Gavin of course was on his second pot of tea by the time we got to the tearoom !).
All in all it was agreed that the day was much better than predicted, and the walk was very enjoyable.
Sunday 4th May 2014 - Gulvain
It's a long walk-in for this hill, about 6.5km, but on a good track in a pleasant glen along the Fionn Lighe river. This took us, Ralph, John F and me (all from Oban!), to the bridge over the Allt a'Choire Raidh. There was then a short patch of wet ground to cross and we left the right of way to Strathan to head up the south ridge. This was an unrelenting slog of about 760m ascent. About half way up, we entered the cloud (it had been raining intermittently until then). At that point, we were wet on the outside from the rain and wet on the inside from sweat (it was really clammy). Once in the cloud, it became cooler, and by the time we reached the crags at 855m, it was quite cold, so hats and gloves went on along with layers that had been removed earlier.
The ridge here is quite wide although we could not see anything because of the cloud. Shortly we reached the intact trig point at 961m, and then headed down to the col before the summit. That seemed to be a lot longer than half km, but then we started the final climb. There was only one patch of soft snow to negotiate, followed by a section of fairly narrow ridge, and we reached the summit cairn which was surrounded by snow. It was too windy and cold to stop, so we headed back the way we had come until we found a spot that was sheltered by a bank of snow. Here we had a break before going up to the trig point again and then down.
On the descent, we saw ptarmigan still with some of the winter plumage. It was a relief to come out of the cloud which had remained at about the same height. After another break at the bridge, we made our way back to the car. Our customary stop for refreshments was taken at the Ballachulish Hotel.
25-27th April 2014 - Arran Weekend
Ron, Andrew and Gerry arrived at Lochranza just before midday. It was freezing cold in the south easterly wind so the first stop was the hotel for a warming bowl of soup. Fortified, we went off to explore the glens behind Catacol Bay. There was some shelter and we had lunch by the river. The path led into Gleann Diomhan but unfortunately the waterfalls marked on the map were not visible from the path. We could hear them below us. We then struck off up the hill to Beinn Bhiorach, a craggy little peak. We should have had a view of the mountains north of Glen Sannox but the cloud was still well down and we were in the wind again. Heading north we at least had the cold wind behind us as we contoured around Creag na h-Iolaire and followed the edge of the plateau down to the Glen. A good afternoon’s walk.
Heavy overnight rain was still lingering in the hills and our enthusiasm for the high tops was waning. We agreed on Norman’s suggestion of exploring Holy Island - all except Gavin who had his own agenda. The ferry ride was pretty wet in the stiff breeze but we were warmly welcomed by a Finnish Buddhist who gave us some background to the island. We had just over 3 hours before the return ferry so it was on up the hill. Fortunately, the island is neither very high (314m) nor very long (3km) so we had plenty of time to admire the views, the wildlife and the rock paintings. A peaceful place and worth visiting. Coffee in Brodick and a wander around the castle gardens before collecting Gavin who had just arrived after completing the round of Glen Rosa. We got our first view of the summits on the drive back to Lochranza.
Five of us made an early start as we were determined to walk part of the ridge before rushing for the afternoon ferry. We ascended Cioch na h- Oighe – an unrelentingly steep scramble with some interesting route finding. The subsequent “switchback” ridge was just that – an enjoyable scramble and careful route finding all in thick cloud with no views. It took far longer than planned and we decided to descend after Meall Bhuidhe. As usual at this point the cloud lifted and looking back we could clearly see Goatfell and our ridge. The mountains stayed clear again for the drive back. An obligatory Arran ice cream and then we were on the ferry. The mountains had disappeared again in cloud.
After heavy overnight rain, Saturday was cloudy and the weather forecast none too promising. A few of us decided to take the ferry from Lamlash to Holy Island, and as it turned out everyone except Gavin came along. A Buddhist welcome ensued and after we "escaped" we enjoyed the walk to the summit of Mullach Mor (just 314m high, but excellent views). After lunch we descended the South ridge which was quite steep, and viewed the square Stevenson lighthouse at Pillar Rock Point. A leisurely stroll back along the west coast of the island allowed us to explore the caves and Buddhist rock paintings, before having tea at the Boathouse in bright sunshine before catching the return ferry. After more refreshments in Brodick we dispersed to enjoy the rest of the day, in our case a stroll around Lochranza. Some of us ate at Catacol Bay Hotel in the evening.
On Sunday we had to catch an early afternoon ferry so didn't join the main group, instead taking the Laggan path from Lochranza, then heading up on to the Creag Ghlas Laggan ridge to the peak of Fionn Bhealach. The day's weather was improving dramatically and as we sailed out of Brodick, Goatfell was in sunshine. I'm sure those up there were enjoying their day, as we had.
Friday – North Glenn Sannox Horseshoe
As we drove closer to Claonaig, we realised that we might get the earlier ferry, so we pressed on without a stop and rolled on to the 10.30 ferry, just as they hauled up the ramp. Now keen to get a cuppa we saw the sign for morning coffee at the Lochranza village hall. This proved ideal and, fortified with tea, coffee and bacon rolls we set off for Sannox to walk the North Glen Sannox Horseshoe. Gavin, Suzanne, Liz and Ken set off on the lovely path through the woods beside the river and with a dog leg to avoid the crags made it to the summit of Sail an Im.
Unfortunately we were now in the mist as we followed the path over Creag Dhubh and Carn Mor. The path became more rocky as we headed round for Caisteal Abhail. This is a confusing summit, especially in the mist, but Gavin had been here before and knew which rocky outcrop was the real summit. We headed East over a boulder ridge and Gavin made a brave ascent of a rocky top on the way. We then started the steep scrambly descent into the Witch’s Step. Suddenly the huge wall on the other side loomed into view through the mist. No way we could climb this, but fortunately a path leads down to the left and then round the back of the wall. Gavin attempted another top just this side of the “step” but didn’t make it – so he will have to come back to Arran again! We continued along the ridge, with odd bits of scrambling between lovely sections of flat path on to Suidhe Fhearghas. More scrambling on the descent before the path became somewhat vague as we crossed the heather on more boggy ground back to the car and back to meet up with the others at the Lochranza hostel.
The photo shows the ridge on the following clear evening – not in the mist on our walk! The Witch’s step is the large cleft on the left hand end of the ridge.
Sunday 20th April 2014 - Circuit of Moy Corrie, Creag Meagaidh
Five of us, Andrew, Lucy, Wesley, Ian (guest) and I enjoyed what for me at least, was one of the best walks of the last six months. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, sun, but not too hot, and a little breeze on the tops (no strong winds!).
We decided to vary the route by making the walk linear, starting at the programmed start, but ending at Aberarder, where we left a car, taking in the summit of Creag Meagaidh on the way. After taking the path through the forest, we crossed a bridge over the Allt Coire Choile-rais, and headed across the rough ground and up steeply through the crags, where a mountain hare was spotted, on to Meall Coire Choille-rais and the edge of the plateau. There, we found a little crag overlooking the lochan. And what a view! An almost perfect, classic, glacial, lochan-filled corrie, and the lochan had icebergs in it! Not big enough to sink the Titanic certainly, but bergs just the same.
We then made our way up the gradual slopes of snow to the summit. The snow was great for walking on, firm with no ice. Leaving the top, we visited Mad Meg's cairn (unfortunately no-one knew who Mad Meg was), headed to Puist Coire Ardair and on to the eastern ridge where a ptarmigan was seen (we had already seen a pair on the way up). Here the snow-filled slopes were just steep enough to enable us to glissade down. This was the only time we used our ice axes (we had not even carried crampons). Leading down to Aberarder, we could see the paths and buildings, but also the river which we had to cross. Andrew assured us that he had been told that there was a bridge, so with fingers crossed, we headed over the rough ground. There we discovered an indistinct path which led to an atv track, which led to a bridge!
After sorting ourselves and cars out, we went to the Stronlossit Hotel, where we proceeded to put the world to rights.
Saturday 12th April 2014 - Stob Ghabhar, Blackmount
The morning started with high winds and lashing rain and though we did have all sorts of weather during the day, wind, rain, snow, hail and some sunshine, overall it was better than forecast and we had a good day out.
The wind was too high to attempt the summit of Stob Ghabhar so we walked up Coire Toaig in reasonable sunshine with good view across to Ghabhar and "the other" Aonach Eagach ridge. This would have been difficult to access anyway with the corrie stream in spate. We continued on to the col between Ghabhar and Choire Odhair and contoured round into the spectacular Coirein Lochain - still lots of snow around. We then exited along the corrie and round the base of Odhair and across to join the West Highland Way to return to the cars at Forest Lodge.
We were treated to a horizontal rainbow on the way - well the rain was horizontal at this point so I guess it should not be a surprise. The four of us on the walk - John B, Ralph, Andrew and Ken had refreshments at the busy Inveroran Hotel to round off the day.
Sunday 6th April 2014 - Sgiath Chuil
On a not very promising day, Ken, Liz, Ralph and I set out on the path along the east side of the Allt Essan. This is a lovely mountain burn with lots of waterfalls (and lots of sheep!). After crossing a deer fence by a style, we came on to the open and undulating moorland. It was extremely wet underfoot, and soon became wet from above as well. Ralph spotted a dipper in one of the burns that we had to cross. The cloud was well down, so we had to use map, compass and GPS just to find the base of our hill for the day, Sgiath Chuil.
Soon after crossing a Hydro Board road, we started the climb up grassy slopes. On these slopes were numerous small holes—vole holes, and in one place where the snow had receded, there were the remains of under-snow tunnels made by the voles. And I was lucky enough to see a vole run into one of the burrows. Near the summit, it became craggier, and I was surprised how quickly we reached the top, which boasted a tiny cairn. The wind was very strong at this point so we did not hang around. There were only patches of snow which was melting, even at the summit, so ice axe and crampons were not needed. This partially explained the very wet conditions under foot.
To vary the route, we decided to descend via the north ridge, and on the way to Meall a'Churain, we separately, saw two ptarmigan, one almost completely white, and the other speckled. Then we headed west down steep and grassy slopes, and on the way down, Ken and I both did involuntary bum-slides. After that, it was an uneventful descent, although we managed to become separated in the lumps and bumps of the moor, but met up at the cars.
Refreshments were taken in the Crianlarich Hotel.
Sunday 23rd March 2014 - Stob Coire nan Lochan
Seven of us set off on this walk - Andrew, Gerry, Liz and Ken plus 3 guests Tony, Elizabeth and Steve. Gerry and Steve separated off to do a shorter walk. The forecast was for improving conditions through the day and this proved to be correct. The soft new snow underfoot gradually got deeper as we ascended through Coire nan Lochan and on the route up to the North ridge. We followed the trail of some climbers initially, but when they peeled off to the base of their climb we had to break trail ourselves. The soft snow suddenly turned to ice and crampons were definitely needed, especially on the final steep summit dome.
What a glorious panorama from the top. Amazingly we were sheltered from the wind and the sun was shining bright. With Andrew's encouragement we decided to return via the East Ridge. This descent was tricky in places but we all managed OK and it made a great round trip of Stob Coire nan Lochan. A superb day out.
Saturday 15th March 2014 - Carn Dearg
Sunday 9th March 2014 - Fraoch Bheinn and Sgurr Mhurlagain
A good turnout for these Glen Dessary Corbetts. Eleven of us set out from the newly constructed car park near Strathan and we decided to take the path up the North West side of Dearg Allt. This meant that it was logical to climb Fraoch Bheinn first.
On the way Gavin left the group to go and climb the Graham, Meall Blair. Holga forged ahead and must have had a long wait at the Corbett summit for the rest of us to catch up. Gerry and Suzanne took a meandering route.
The wind was really fierce at the summit so we didn't wait long, but there was very little snow due to a recent thaw. On the way back down the ridge to seek a safe way to the bealach we met Gerry and Suzanne sheltering from the wind, and they made up their minds to retreat. The rest of us slithered down to the bealach, where six decided to go for the second summit Sgurr Mhurlagain.
More snow further up but it was deep and soft so crampons remained in the rucksacks. It wasn't quite so windy here, but we were aware of a huge cornice on the North side of the summit cairn. We all traversed down the ridge, right back to the cars where we were surrounded by a herd of hopeful stags, no doubt attracted by the prospect of leftover sandwiches.
Back to the Moorings at Banavie, where those who had climbed just the one hill had a lengthy wait for the rest of us to appear. It had been a strenuous day, although only 14k the programme quoted 1240m of ascent. It was good to see Alan and Mary again, they were having a week in Scotland catching up with friends and mountains.
Saturday 1st March 2014 - Beinn Odhar Mhor and Beinn Odhar Bheag
With a forecast of relatively fine weather, 7 of us set off on this walk - 3 guests Ian, Liz and Amanda along with members John B, Ralph, Holga and Ken. Gerry and Suzanne went off separately to do some navigation practice.
A wet track from the lay by lead us up to the North ridge of Beinn Odhar Mhor. We soon reached the soft snow which was at least fairy dry and powdery. Unfortunately the clear weather didn't materialise and we were in mist and intermittent snow showers most of the day. Near to the summit we donned crampons to cross some ice patches. However, a lesson for the future - make sure borrowed crampons are adjusted to fit at home rather than when required on the hill! We soon reached the first summit Beinn Odhar Mhor and everyone was happy to continue on to Beinn Odhar Bheag.
Given the conditions we opted to return by the same route to Odhar Mhor and then back down to the cars by a more direct, but fairly steep route. Though the weather and visibility could have been better, we all enjoyed this walk in good snow and winter conditions. We retired to the Moorings for refreshments to round off the day.
25th February 2014 - Presentation by Stuart Moralee - Treking in the Limi Valley, Nepal
Stuart provided a very interesting and entertaining presentation of their trip last year to this remote and isolated part of Northern Nepal. Originally cut off by snow and ice for much of the year, this region is now adapting to increasing transport links with Tibet/China and the old ways of life are changing rapidly. The talk was well attended and we thank Stuart and Lydia for a very entertaining evening.
20-23 Feb 2014 - Nevis Hillwalking Club at the Fort William Mountain Festival
Nevis Hillwalking Club (together with the local Ramblers group) had a display stand at this major event in Fort William. Our aim was to promote the club locally and attract interest and hopefully new members. The stand was manned by club members who answered questions and handed out information about the club together the current walks programme. Many thanks to all who helped with the preparation and manning of the stand.
Sunday 23rd February 2014 - not Beinn Sgulaird
It was a big water day--swollen rivers and burns, and waterfalls, everywhere! Caused by the rain falling on us (and it seemed for the previous two months!) and the warm weather melting the abundance of snow on the higher reaches of the hills. But that was not what stopped us from climbing the programmed hill, Beinn Sgulaird. That was the forecast of winds of 50-70mph with gusts of 90mph!
So the three of us, John F, Lucy and I, who were all desperate to get out into the hills, if not on to them, did a low-level walk instead. This was an anti-clock-wise walk around An Grianan. Going passed Glen Ure House, home of the victim of the Appin Murder, and over the River Ure, which was spectacular, we headed up the good track. The water was flowing across the track in several places, but did not cause any problems, and surprisingly the winds were light. On reaching the first of the lochans (Airigh nan Lochan), we left the track for the cross-country section, going NE towards Lochan na Fola. All was fine until we reached the burn flowing into the lochan. It was severely in spate, so we followed it upstream and managed to avoid crossing it. But then after climbing a small ridge, we came to the Allt Bealach na h-Innsig. This also was in spate, and impossible to cross at that point. So again we headed upstream passed a small gorge until we found a spot, after about one and a half km, where we could just jump over. Then we could start our descent, which was fairly straightforward, going passed the "pocket loch" and the "hidden valley" with the shielings. It was around this point that the rain stopped, and the path started. Climbing out of the hidden valley, the wind started and we definitely would not have liked to be on the hills in it.
As we descended, we saw a small herd of deer, although we had already seen several groups. The wind had an advantage as we were partially dried out by the time we reached the car.
Refreshments were taken in the Gluepot in Connel.
Sunday 9th February 2014 - Creag Mac Rannaich
We started the walk in sunshine. Yes, you read it correctly! Not only that, but there was no rain or wind. However, it was not to remain that way. There were patches of snow on the ground right from the start, and as we climbed on to the north ridge, it became deeper and more widespread. Many of us (Ken, Ralph, Kevin [all the way from Northumberland!], Lucy, Holga, Marta and me) had discarded at least one layer by this time, but the wind got up and rain/hail/snow also came at us, so the layers went back on.
The ridge is wide and undulating and easy to follow, but the underfoot snow was slowing us down. Nearing the summit ridge, there was an obvious cornice that we had to negotiate around. Shortly before we reached the summit cairn, the snow stopped and the sun came out again! There were lovely views of the surrounding hills and over to Killin, Loch Tay and the Ben Lawers range. We moved a few hundred metres to a small top, but the wind was causing us some problems, so we decided not to attempt the second hill of the day, Meall an t-Seallaidh.
So instead of going NE down a steep slope, we initially retraced our steps and then, to try to get out of the wind, headed to the east of the ridge (the wind was from the west/NW). This was partially successful, but it took us into areas of deep snow. The going was very slow, as the snow was of the type that supports you for two steps, then collapses. We were all going in up to our knees, or even thighs, which must have been amusing to watch.
Various animal tracks were seen en route, but unfortunately we were unable to identify them.
The return to the cars was uneventful, and refreshments were taken at the Suie Lodge Hotel in front of a blazing log fire!
Saturday 18th January 2014 - Ben Vane
The Hydro Board road from Inveruglas is tarmac and hard on the feet, but at least it climbs about 200 metres. Having crossed a very old stone bridge over the Allt Coiregrogain, we started the real climb up the craggy and interesting hill that is Ben Vane.
Gavin and Ralph were ahead as usual, so the rest of us, Suzanne, Ken, Ian, John F and I followed on. It was raining off and on and the cloud was low on the hills. There is a clear and, in places, eroded path which some of us followed. After gaining some height, we encountered the snow, which was soft, wet and slippy. There were several other walkers on the hill, which, considering the weather I found surprising. The snow became deeper as we climbed, but was still soft. The rain had by now turned to snow and the cloud would have made navigation difficult were it not for the distinct path. Fortunately, the wind was behind us, but as we had decided to return by the same route, it was to be against us going down.
Most of the craggy bits were easily dealt with, until shortly before the summit, we came to a very steep, very narrow, snow-filled gully. Here we met Ralph who had been to the summit and had found the gully very awkward without an ice axe. Unfortunately, Suzanne and I had also not taken an ice axe. I tried the gully without an axe but decided that discretion was the better part of foolishness.
Meanwhile, Gavin had also reached the summit and as he wanted to claim Beinn Dubh (773m), had set off along the north ridge as per the programme. (because of the poor visibility, he is not sure that the cairn that he found was the right hill, so has decided that he must do it again in better weather!).
Suzanne and I headed off back down, behind Ralph, while the other four made for the summit. Going down was windy, snowy and wet, but five of us met up on the hydro road to Inveruglas, where Gavin and Ralph were waiting. Refreshments were had in the very busy Drovers Inn.
Sunday 12th January 2014 - Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse
At the high point on the path up to Larig Leacach Bothy, the party split with Ron and Andrew heading for the bothy and John B, John F, Ralph, Liz and Ken heading up to the col between Sgurr Innse and Cruach Insse. We decided on this route, rather than the planned route up the SW ridge to gain some shelter from the strong southerly wind. The col was soon reached, but we encountered large ice fields on the assent of Sgurr Innse and crampons were required. The weather was clear and we had lovely views over Stob Ban and the Grey Corries to the West and Stob Corrie Easain and Mheadhoin to the East. The wind was strong and cold at the top so we did not linger but headed back to the col and on to the straightforward ascent of Cruach Innse. As for wildlife, we saw lots of deer (and sheep) - and possibly a ptarmigan - but not a lot else. We were back at the cars just before 3pm, so a short but lovely day out. We met up with Andrew and Ron at the Spean Bridge Hotel for coffee.
Saturday 4th January 2014 - Carn na Nathrach
As readers of these reports will know, it has been a wild month of weather, with severe gales, and excessive rain causing floods. Indeed it is reported that December in Scotland was the wettest since records began in 1920 !
It was with something of a sense of relief when we met to tackle this remote Ardgour Corbett to learn that the forecast for the day was good. A contingent of 3 from Oban (John B, John F and Ralph) met up with Gavin (bus from the Fort) and Norman (car from Crieff) and finally our sixth member, Sally who joined us at the start, this being a local walk for her.
The route took us up the forestry track in Glen Hurich for 6.5k, by which time we were still only at an altitude of 160m ! We clambered over a tall deer fence and made our way up the craggy slope called Creag Bheag on the map. Sally found it tough going and decided to turn back at 500m whilst the rest of us reached the 602 spot height where we encountered a more chilly breeze. From there it was a short ascent (involving one wee scrambly bit) to the summit cairn. The view to Ben Nevis and beyond was superb, whilst in Ardgour the neighbouring Corbett of Sgurr Dhomhnuill was snow capped and both Resipol and Garbh Bheinn had some cloud. The sun even put in a brief appearance whilst we were there. Regrettably no adders were spotted (Gaelic translation of our hillname is "Cairn of the Adders")
The return route took us down the West ridge which is very scenic, although once again we were forced to climb a deer fence, (but I'm led to believe that a stile will be installed this Spring.) A short steep path through 100 metres of dense forest saw us on the forest track again and back at the car (19k in total) just as a light drizzle arrived. It had been a remarkably mild and dry day, which is not always the case for the first Nevis walk each new year, and I hope this weather omen bodes well for the forthcoming programme !