This page contains reports and pictures for 2015 walks only. Older walks can be found here.
Sunday 27th December 2015 - Glas Charn, Glenfinnan
A good forecast and five out today – Roy, Toril, Gavin, John and Ken. From the misty valley we soon climbed into the sunshine. It was a stiff pull up but rewarded with fine views. First stop at the 562 spot height then on to the summit of Glas Charn. A scattering of snow here but we found a comfortable spot in warm sunshine for lunch. Good views over to Eigg, Knoydart and Loch Beoraid down in the valley.
A pleasant descent to Allt Feith a Chatha. We followed this river on a boggy little path until it turned into a “motorway” track from the new hydro dam for the final descent down to the road.
A fairy short but excellent day on the hill rounded off with coffee at The Moorings. Good to see Roy out with the club again.
Friday 11 th December 2015 The Nevis Hillwalking Club Annual DinnerThis was it - the event which all of Lochaber has been anticipating - the Nevis Hillwalking Club Dinner at the Ben Nevis Inn at Achintee.
Sunday 13th December 2015 - Creag Dhubh, Newtonmore
A lovely dry bright day with lots of snow. Just four of us (Andrew, Gerry, Clare and Ken) set off from Auchmore farm. We made a diversion to see the monument to Sarah MacPherson before continuing along the ridge to Creag Dhubh. Lovely views over the snow covered Creag Meagaidh and the Cairngorms. We continued on towards An Torr but diverted down through the trees just before the summit.
Lots of deer at the start of the walk and lots of grouse towards the end. We picked up the second car at the end of the walk and drove into Newtonmore for coffee before heading home.
Sunday 1st November 2015 - Beinn nan Aighenan and Glas Bheinn Mhor
Wow, wall to wall sunshine on 1st Nov!
Ten of us out on this lovely warm autumn day (Ivan, Lucy, Toril, Robert, Liz, Ken, Nigel, Sally, John and Martin).
Starting from Coileitir Farm in Glen Etive we climbed steadily up the path beside Allt Nam Meirleach to the bealach between Starav and Bheinn Mhor. We continued on to Beinn nan Aighenan passing some very nonchalant deer grazing close to the path. At the summit there was glorious sunshine, glorious views all round and we spotted Fieldfare birds (identified by Martin) hopping between the rocks. Back at the bealach, John and Martin returned to Glen Etive via Glas Bheinn Chaol ridge. The remainder of us quickly headed on to Glas Bheinn Mhor and, with the fading light decided to return via the outward path rather than the ridge. We made it most of the way down in twilight but head torches were required for the last kilometre or so back to the cars.
Here we met up with John and Martin again and all retired to the Kingshouse for refreshments before heading home.
Saturday 24th October 2015 - Carn Mor Dearg (not), Glen Nevis
The noise was almost deafening, and the colours magical. And that was only going through the Nevis gorge. The autumn colours on the trees were beautiful and the water in the river was awe-inspiring. The noise made conversation difficult, and we could see how the round hollows in the rocks had been, and were still being, made. Coming out of the gorge into the meadow, the stepping stones were six inches under water, but there were some tents at the wire bridge (hardy souls!), and, of course, the Steall waterfall was very impressive.
We carried on to the Steall ruin, and started the climb up beside the Allt Coire Guibhsachan. Here the waterfalls were nearly as impressive as we followed them up into the coire. We could see the hills in front, there was snow on all the tops and the wind had got up. So, after some discussion, we decided it would not be prudent to do the planned walk. And after more discussion, it was decided to climb the small, but nearby hill of Meall Cumhaan (698m). The climb up from the coire was straightforward, but once on the top, it became clear that this was a little hill with a lot of character. We could see the car park and down the glen, with the water chute looking fantastic. In the opposite direction, we could see for miles up the glen, and could see most of the hills, although there was a lot of low cloud.
To return to the cars entailed a traverse of the very craggy top of the hill, and then a steep descent on grassy slopes down the the wire bridge. Here we were surprised to find a few walkers and a lot of tourists, many of whom were negotiating the wire bridge, in both directions. Three of our number, Ivan, Jacob and Chris (a guest) also decided to join in the fun. The sensible ones, Andrew, Toril and me kept our feet on firm ground. Going back through the gorge, we noticed that the water level had dropped and we were able to negotiate the stepping stones. The day was rounded off with refreshments at the Ben Nevis Inn, and the drive home after a short day.
Sunday 18th October 2015 - Creag Mhor, Tyndrum
We started out on this walk to climb a Munro by an unconventional route, but ended up climbing a Corbett, a Munro top and a Munro.
Seven of us started out on the good track that climbs over 200 metres and then levels out, and heads into Coireheynan. After crossing the electric fence at the style, it deteriorates, and becomes a wet quad bike track. But it led us to another style to exit the plantation of native trees. The ridge of Cam Chreag is over one kilometre long, does not drop below 800 metres and is undulating. This made it difficult to decide where to cross it. So we ended up on the path between Bein Chaorach and Cam Chreag, which inevitably took us close to the summit. Being so close to the summit, we decided we might as well go to the summit. The views all around were good, although there was very little sunshine, the cloud was high. But the view down on to the col was a little daunting. At this point, Andrew and Gerry decided that was enough for them, and they would traverse the ridge and head home.
For the remaining five, Toril, Kevin, Sally, Nigel and me, it was a steep climb down a grassy slope with crags and rocks, but once down it was fairly straightforward up the ridge. We saw, and heard a few deer. However, once on the ridge, we lost sight of the summit of Creag Mhor, and ended up on Stob nan Clach, the Munro top. After a short break, we then made our way on a path leading to the summit, spotting some ptarmigan in the rocks.
The return was uneventful, although we did not reclimb Stob nan Clach or the summit of Cam Chreag, and refreshments were had a the Tyndrum Inn.
Incidentally, the route description has the distance at 19.6 km, but according to Nigel's GPS, we had actually walked 24 km (phew!)
Sunday 4th October 2015 - Bidean nam Bian
Eight people out for this classic walk in Glencoe and despite a few “second thoughts” everyone completed the whole route.
The blue skies at dawn slowly clouded over but the summits were clear all day giving great views all round. There was however a very chilly NE wind – it really felt like October. Andrew, Gerry and Robert knew the first part of the ascent but surprisingly some of the group, John, Toril, Clare, Ivan and Lucy had never before tackled the “zig-zags” up the nose of Gearr Aonach. This delightful scramble set the tone for the day – dry rock and hands on! As we gained height we noticed others on the ridges and peaks around – clearly a day to be out.
Stags were roaring in Coire Gabhail all day but we never saw any close up. The final ups and downs of Beinn Fhada weren’t as arduous as expected but the long descent into Lairig Eilde provided the finishing touches to several knees….. Well worth it though.
Saturday 26th September 2015 - Bynack More & Creag Mhor, Cairngorms
Thirteen of us (including three guests/prospective members) set off, but only twelve returned.....
After struggling to find car parking spaces, we took the track through the Pass of Ryvoan, with its lovely Caledonian pine forest and Lochan Uaine on to the path on the north ridge of Bynack More. We had all decided to tackle the Corbett of Creag Mhor and then see how we felt (it's a long walk just to there!) So at the fork in the path, we went left, towards the Lairig an Laoigh, crossing a burn and peat hags before the path improved. Dropping down to the col between Bynack More and Creag Mhor, we left the path and climbed the slopes to the summit of Creag Mhor, which is as its name suggests, a big crag, requiring an easy scramble on to the flat rock at the top.
After a break, we then split into several groups-three going back the way we had come, missing out Bynack More, four going straight up the steep slopes of Bynack More and five going part way up the path, then up the steep slopes of Bynack More. (if you're counting, you will have noticed that only makes twelve. At the summit of Creag Mhor, Gavin announced that he was going to leave us to go wild camping in the hills for the next two nights.)
The remaining nine met just below the summit, then walked over the summit and down the craggy path to join the path of our ascent, and back to Glenmore Lodge for refreshments.
Sunday 20th September 2015 - Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean, Crianlarich
The River Falloch has a new mini hydro-electric scheme being constructed, which scarred the glen a little, but also meant that the track had been improved. We found the bridge over the river and ascended to the ridge fairly steeply and through thick vegetation. Once on the ridge, we found a path that took us over Meall Dhamh, and noticed two guys ahead of us. The climb up on to Cruach Ardrain was steep and awkward, and took us into the mist. But somehow, we had overtaken the two guys. However, they caught us up on the ridge to the summit. With no views, we did not hang around at the summit, but headed along the ridge towards Beinn Tulaichean. While on the ridge, a young girl of about 12-13 years appeared out of the mist. She was fully kitted out, but appeared to be on her own, which worried me a little. So we stopped to chat, and then she said to us “my dad can't keep up with me!” and off she went. Just then, Dad appeared along with a younger boy.
We met up with the two guys on the way to Beinn Tulaichean, and it was decided to walk together. They were two Dutch guys from Newtonmore. Coming off the summit, we decided that we did not like the idea of reclimbing Cruach Ardrain, so opted to leave the ridge at the low point. This took us out of the mist and down into a wonderful, rarely-visited corrie, girth with crags between Stob Glas and the ridge. We then dropped down into Coire Earb to join the path from An Caisteal and then the new track back to the cars.
The hotel in Crianlarich provided coffee and soft drinks before the journey home.
11-13th September 2015 - Glen Affric Weekend
After much detailed organisation by Suzanne and Liz, 10 club members and guests made it to Glen Affric by a variety of travel arrangements – Gavin and Suzanne, Steve and Claire McCabe, Margaret, Wesley, Piotr, Robert, Ken and Liz. Many thanks to Steve and Claire for bringing in all the food in their camper van.
We stayed at Strawberry Cottage, which was much better appointed than we had anticipated – clearly a bunkhouse designed and fitted out by people who use bunkhouses! We had good walking on Friday and Saturday - though the weather was pretty rough on Saturday – and a quiet day with a short bumble in the Glen on Sunday. It was great to see regulars along with some new faces and some old friends.
Friday 11 Sept
Ken and Liz dropped Gavin off along the Glen Affric road for his first epic walk and then met up with Piotr at the Chisholme Bridge car park. We did the circuit of Tom a Choinich and Toll Creagach in bright, dry but windy conditions. Wesley walked to the Cottage taking time to spot birds and dragonflies. Margaret, Suzanne and Robert walked in along the track on the North side of Loch Affric. Claire and Steve drove in with all the food and we all met up at Strawberry Cottage in the evening. A wonderful meal was provided by Suzanne.
Saturday 12 Sept
The forecast was poor so Gavin set of early for his second, even more epic walk. Ken, Piotr and Wesley set out for Carn Eighe by following the track West through the glen then North through Coire Ghaidheil. However the rain started soon after we left the hut and the wind was similar or worse than the previous day. From the bealach we headed Northeast up to the ridge. Here the conditions were ferocious so we didn’t make any of the summits but retreated down Corrie Coulavie. At the bottom, Wesley headed east along the loch as he had to return home. Ken and Piotr turned west for the cottage. Steve and Claire also had to leave early due to other commitments.Margaret, Liz and Suzanne had a pleasant day exploring the local area. The remaining seven of us had another wonderful meal (this time provide by Liz) and dried out beside the roaring log fire in the cottage.
Sunday 13 Sept
A quiet start to the day. The weather was great and the hills clear, but there was no enthusiasm for a big walk so, at Margaret’s suggestion, we walked out to a lovely viewpoint along the glen and had superb views along the length of Loch Affric one way and out to the Youth Hostel and surrounding hills in the other direction. After a clean-up of the hut and a sunny walk back to the car park we all headed home. A very pleasant and sociable weekend – just a shame about the weather on Saturday.
Sunday 6th September 2015 - Sgor Gaoith & Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Glen Feshie
What a fantastic day! Just before Robert completed his 41st Munro, he said that it was the best scenery he had ever seen.
Climbing up the much improved path above the Allt Fhearnagan, the cloud was still covering the hill tops, but as we went higher, so did the cloud. Shortly before we reached the level area, we saw what we at first thought was some horses, then decided that they were red deer, but then realised that it was a herd of ten reindeer, including a calf. They came over to the path (probably looking for food) so that we had to walk right through the middle of them. A young couple who had caught us up said that it had made their day and it could not get much better. We then joined one of the many paths, heading NE over Carn Ban Mor and on towards Sgor Gaoith. Approaching the pointy summit, we moved to our right on to a path looking down on to Loch Einich, with the wonderful corries at its head and the backdrop of Braeriach. This was the scenery that impressed Robert, and all of us. The views were beautiful, with all the hills being seen clearly.
But it was time to carry on, which meant retracing our steps around Carn Ban Mor towards the track that would take us to our second Munro, Mullac Clach a'Bhlair. We decided to head straight for the track, which we could see, instead of taking the path around the rim of Coire Garbhlach. Unfortunately, this took us on to the Moine Mhor, which is a mass of awkward peat hags. The track took us to within a few metres of the summit which is round and flat, and on this day, very windy. Coming down the steep track into Glen Feshie, the sun was shining and the views across the glen were spectacular. It was a relief to arrive in the wonderful old Caledonian pine forest which is a feature of the glen, and have a break under one of the trees. The bridge at Carnachuin is a non-bridge, and has been for some time. It does not look as if it will ever be replaced.
So we headed north along the much improved path to the east of the River Feshie. It seems that the estate has spent their money on improving the path rather than replacing the bridge. They have even bridged one of the burns that have to be crossed, although not both.
On the way back, we stopped in Roy Bridge at the Stronlossit Hotel for a much deserved coffee (having walked 25km and climbed two Munros!)
Sunday 12th july 2015 - Sgurr na h-Aide, Glen Dessary
The weather forecast for the west was blanket low cloud with strong winds, so the walk in Glen Dessary was put on hold for a better day, and we decided to try the east. Andrew wanted to try a different route on to Ben More, Crianlarich, which was east, but not very far east. In fact, it was not far enough east.
Andrew, Gerry, Karen (guest) and I met at the Green Welly Stop Tyndrum, and headed for the lay-by just beyond Auchessan on the A85 in Glen Dochart. We walked on a boggy path and over a gate to reach a forestry track. The weather was ok, but overcast. After about a km, a sign directed us to access the hill on another little-used track which was obstructed by several fallen trees. We exited the forest and went cross-country to a style . Here we discovered that if we had remained on the original track, it would have taken us to this point on a new track. However, we were now below Sron nam Forsairean, and needed to gain the ridge. There was blanket low cloud (!), and it was getting windy, but we followed the deer fence that surrounded the forest to the ridge. The going was very wet and rough and the wind was getting stronger, so we took a break to decide what to do next. What we could see of the ridge looked good, but conditions were not. So it was decided to cross another style back into the forest area and go down the ridge. To start off, this was ok, and would make a good approach to the hill. But near the bottom, we had to cross a felled area of forest, which was very tricky. Having reached our return track, we came to the conclusion that this was not a good approach because of the felled area of forest.
At the Tyndrum Inn, the consensus was that, although the day was a bit disappointing, we still had a reasonable day on the hills.
Sunday 15th August 2015 - Schiehallion
A great forecast but, two minutes after leaving Spean Bridge the heavens opened and we had continuous rain almost all the way to Tummel Bridge! It was a bit brighter when we (Robert, Gavin, Andrew, Gerry, Ken and Liz) set off from the car park. A straightforward walk to the summit – lots of people around on this pleasant and popular hill. A bit of sunshine at the top gave some good views over the surrounding countryside. Coffee at Dalwhinnie rounded off the day.
Sunday 9th August 2015 - Carn Dearg, Laggan
Yet another cloudy windy day was forecast – but it cleared in the afternoon! Four of us set out for Laggan on Sunday – Andrew, Gerry, Emily (guest) and Ken.
It was a very pleasant walk up from Cluny Castle to the estate bothy at Dalnashallag. Crossing the river turned out to be fairly straightforward on this occasion so we continued on to Loch Dubh. We chose this route rather than the ridge because of the high wind forecast. At the loch, Emily and Ken continued on to the summit of Carn Dearg. We had to search round for the summit cairn in the mist but while we had a short break the clouds rolled away. The wind was not as bad as expected so we had a lovely walk back along the ridge with good views over to the Cairngorms.
We joined up with Andrew and Gerry on the path back down to Cluny. Coffee at the pottery café near Laggan rounded off a better than expected day.
Sunday 26th July 2015 - Stob Ghabhar
With a slightly uncertain weather forecast and with no other club members wishing to go out, Ken and Liz set off early from Victoria bridge (7.30 am!). Followed intended route up Stob Ghabhar via the "other" Aonach Eagach ridge. High cloud and clarity gave panoramic mountain views in every direction. As the weather was still fine we decided to continue the through route down the Aonach Mor ridge with great views over towards Rannoch Moor and the bulk of Criese. Following a steep, rough drop off the nose of the Aonach Mor ridge, we met the only other person we'd seen on the hill that day. Much to our delight he was heading to Glasgow and gave us a lift back to Victoria Bridge (just as the first few drops of rain started to fall).
Note to walkers: the access gate over the River Etive (to the Allt a ‘Chaorainn) is currently locked by Bidwells. They say that the fire at Alltchaorunn has left an unsafe structure. We managed to climb over the gate. A great day out.
Summer, what summer ?
Here's a brief update on recent weekends.
Despite the recent heat and sunshine on the occasional day, the last two weekends have not been good.
Sunday 28th June - Aonach Eagach. Some rain forecast and lots of wind so this walk was put back for a better day. Four people did manage a walk into the Lost Valley.
Saturday 4th July – Beinn Sgritheall. Again a forecast of morning gales, heavy rain and improving weather for the afternoon except around Skye……… An alternative of something more local was suggested but no takers in the end and it was indeed very wet and windy Saturday morning. Ralph was at Glen Shiel anyway so maybe he was more successful. Here’s hoping for something better the coming weeks.
Saturday 20th June 2015 - The Great Mamores Chanllenge
The Mamores are a mountain range south of Ben Nevis which contain no less than 10 Munros. It is possible to climb all 10 in one very long day if you are supremely fit. How many can Nevis Hillwalkers manage ?
25km, 11hrs and 6 Munros – Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Ban, Am Bodach, Stob Coire a Chairn, Na Gruagaichean and Binnein Mor !! After climbing the first two, Gavin, Toril and Ken decided that the weather was good enough to continue along to the end. It was a long haul but the ridges were great and the evening sun came out as we descended into Glen Nevis. Many thanks to Gavin and Toril for waiting for Ken to catch up! It was a long day and certainly a challenge – for me anyway.
Andrew, Gerry, Robert, Suzanne, Gavin, Dave, Jenny, Ken and Toril (guest walker) set off up a path close to Achriaphach near the Lower Falls car park in Glen Nevis. Our forthcoming Mamores loomed in and out the mist and remained a far off mystery.
Andrew, Gerry, Robert, Suzanne and Robert did Mullach nan Coriean and then came over Meall a' Chaorainn. Some views from the top but mostly we were seeing mist. An interesting descent full of crags and boulders - good for navigation practice. We came out at the West Highland Way and found our way back to the cars. On our way down, all the views opened up.
Dave and Jenny also did Meall a' Chaorainn but then went on to do Stob Ban.
Gavin, Toril and Ken managed to do Mullach nan Coriean, Stob Ban, Am Bodach, Stob Coire a' Chairn, Na Crugaichean and Binnean Mor and managed to get views.
A most enjoyable and challenging day. Suzanne
Saturday 23rd May 2015 - Sgurr nan Each (Skye)
A glorious morning and Glen Shiel was bathed in clear sunshine as 6 of us headed for Skye. Andrew and Gerry had done some of the route many years before, but it was new territory for Ken, Liz, John and Robert.
Sadly the “misty isle” was still misty and we had no view of the Blaven hills as we drove towards Torrin. Heading up the SE ridge visibility improved and we had a fleeting glimpse of Clach Glas (impressive) but the top of Blaven stayed in cloud. A few steep rocky sections and we made the summit of Sgurr nan Each. Easy bit over, the ridge continued, route finding challenging in places because of the mist. As usual it was more convoluted and difficult than we remembered from 40+ years ago!
We eventually made the col but the wind was by now horrendous. Garbh Bheinn loomed ahead, not far, but a no go in that wind. We headed down the corrie for a longer walk out but relatively sheltered from the wind. These outliers from the main Cuillin ridge are little gems and well worth doing again.
15th to 18th May 2015 - Weekend at Rum
A bumper turnout on this trip, with 13 members in attendance. Most of us stayed at the new Rum Bunkhouse – and very comfortable accommodation it was. We arrived on the ferry on Friday and did a short and very wet walk part way up Coire Dubh before a communal meal in the bunkhouse. On Saturday we walked to Kilmory beach and in the evening had a lovely meal cooked for us by a local Rum chef. On Sunday we ventured into the Rum Cullins, but this was limited by the poor weather. On Monday morning before catching the ferry home, some walked round the coast East and South of Kinloch and some joined a Ranger guided walk to view the many wild flowers of Rum. Considering the weather, we had a very active and a very pleasant weekend.
Saturday 16 May Kilmory Beach
With a forecast of gales and heavy showers we decided on a low level walk to Kilmory beach on the North coast of Rum. Most of the group set out on this walk, with Dave and Jenny splitting off to visit a nearby lochan for some bird watching. The route out was on good Land Rover tracks and we soon reached the beach and explored round the ruined village and graveyard. Kilmory is also headquarters for the SNH Red Deer project and the rangers there were watching the deer closely for signs of calving, which was due imminently. There was also a group of Rum ponies grazing by the beach, so quite a lot of activity. We continued round the coast to Sambnan Insir beach for lunch, but already the wind was increasing and “sand in the sandwiches” was a major problem! We decided to return over Mulloch Mor and the increasing wind, even at this low elevation, made us relieved that we had not ventured on to the hills. We found the area round Mulloch Mor interesting, with many lochans. Continuing down to Kinloch Glen we were soon back at our accommodation, the lovely new Rum Bunkhouse, where Rhona Forbes had made superb scones to round off a very pleasant day.
A successful time in terms of enjoyable walks, good food and good company, despite what the weather threw at us – mainly hailstones!
Friday: The rain started as we arrived at the hostel. A bit disappointing as the previous day had been glorious. Gavin had big plans to reach the ridge and had already shot off. The majority of us headed out for a half day up into Coire Dubh and hopefully Bealach Bairc-Mheall. The path was already pretty wet but in the shelter of the trees by the river it wasn’t too unpleasant. A different story once we gained height and left the trees. The rain was getting heavier, the path even boggier and the wind was rising. The cloud of course was well down but we pushed on to the next visible high point. When we eventually consulted the map we realised we weren’t anywhere near the Bealach. At that point we gave up the struggle and headed back to the hostel and dinner. Gavin had also given up(!) and ended at the Otter Hide with Rhona and John.
Sunday: Easing winds and a few passing showers – this was our only chance to do something reasonable in the hills. Suzanne, Robert and Rhona decided on a low level day but the remainder were determined to tackle at least Askival or Hallival. Our strategy was to sneak up on the hills from the east to avoid the strong W wind. Margaret joined us for a short while but turned back to catch the midday ferry home. The Dibidil “path” is notoriously boggy and we found it a mini river after the rain. The passing showers were frequent and lashed us with serious hail stones. Ron retreated at this point to go and read a book. The remaining eight waded on. The scenery certainly became more spectacular. Views over to Eigg (between the showers) and the crags looming above us came and went. We left the path and headed up to Loch Coire nan Grunnd. The sun came out, we were sheltered from the wind, time for a break. Our route continued west, up the steep ridge to a flat terrace below Askival. Gavin now sped off to the S ridge of Askival intending to do as many summits as he could. The clouds were still whirling around above us with serious down draughts so we traversed cautiously to the bealach between Askival and Hallival – both hills looking temptingly close. We were soon disillusioned as the wind hit us. Retreating to some sheltered rocks we had another break and a re-think. We took the sensible route round the west side of Hallival to Bealach an Oir. By now the summits had cleared so Andrew, Liz and Ken headed up Barkeval. Jenny, Dave and John descended to Coire Dubh. Yours truly had a rest then went down over Cnapan Breacha. Out of the wind and in the sun it was a lovely May day. It didn’t last of course. The first three got back dry. I caught the rain as I hit the track near the castle. The remainder coming later got soaked. Gavin just made it to dinner having been over all summits to Sgurr nan Gillean and back. He looked tired!!
Monday: Dave and Jenny took the boat to Canna. Others opted for a leisurely “flower” walk but Robert, Andrew and I went to explore the waterfalls and old settlement at Bagh na h-Uamha. Unfortunately this meant the Dibidil “path” again. The waterfalls were certainly impressive as they fell over a series of steps in the underlying sandstone. The river ended in a gorge just before the sea. Thankfully there were animal tracks to follow in the tussocky rough ground. It certainly was a lovely bay with large cave, standing stone and old ruins. Our plan had been to follow the coast back and pick up the path at Port na Caranean but we had a boat to catch so played safe and returned the way we had come. It was still pretty cold for May.
Just out of interest, here is an extract from the club Newsletter from 2003 (This was before we had discovered the internet!) describing another trip to Rum !
A Rum do (or 5 days in the lives of 12 Nevis Hill Walkers)
A dry and sunny morning, cloud expected later. A good beginning. Met on time for the ferry and stayed within 50 metres of each other for a record two hours as we travelled to Rum. We even agreed the afternoon itenary – a short walk up Barkeval for some views. Within five minutes of leaving the Castle, we had split into two teams. Team 1 took the direct route but reached the summit in thick mist and hence no views, while team 2 warmed up by going round the castle grounds before deciding on the correct path. They did a lower hill and had views. We all arrived back for an excellent dinner and went to bed worried about weight gain.
Log quotes: “excellent crossing”, “ most enjoyable cruise”
Jean went to Harris and Marilyn went to Kilmory, but for everyone else another fine morning meant the main ridge. Margaret and Archie left early, eager to get on with the day. Unfortunately Helen had to retire after the first peak and went down with Brian. They certainly missed an exciting day. A scramble was expected on the upper ridge and a scramble we certainly had! Thick mist descended increasing the navigation problems but with some pushing, pulling and persuasion we reached the top. “looming rock pinnacles”, “interesting navigation”, “white knuckle bits”, “awesome” were some of the comments. Then we had to get off…. Return by the same route was vetoed by some of the team. An erratic compass, poor visibility, and crags everywhere meant the only feasible route was down the slopes to Glen Dibidil. Margaret and Archie were on the same route an hour ahead – quote “ endless screes, mud, slabs, crags and pea soup cloud”. They descended to the Glen and then a long walk back along the coastal path. We six (Clodaigh, Sallie, Davina, Gentleman John, Andrew and Gerry) took a higher line, and using several GPS fixes found the col between Askival and Beinn nan Stac, to drop down the coire to the northeast and a shorter route home. All the same it was “splutter, squelch, squidge” for two hours or more. A “character building day”. Clodaigh’s comment later was “I think I enjoyed it”. Despite a gripping day we logged shearwater burrows, mossy cyphel, stone bramble, roseroot, and ravens. Jean and Marilyn meanwhile found geese, goats, cattle, red grouse, snipe, deer, an eagle and lots of bog.
A dry start but extremely windy, showers expected later. The teams were changed around. Archie and John had a day off and took the boat to Canna. Margaret and Marilyn went solo by different routes to Glen Shellesder. The main team headed to Bloodstone hill with a helpful land rover lift to Malcolm’s bridge. Coffee followed by a change of plan (what’s new!) Brian and Andrew went to look at Wreck bay and back over Orval. Gerry went to the bealach and then retreated in the strong winds. Five ladies went down to Guirdil and returned by Glen Shellesder. Various parties met again during the day. The early returners escaped with light showers – the late arrivals were soaked. The day’s sightings – more deer and snipe, great views and tremendous seas.
Showers forecast again and the tops all in cloud. Another rearrangement of teams.
Jean went along the south nature trail to look for some wildlife in peace and quiet. Archie and Margaret headed for Bloodstone hill and the coastal walk to Harris. A record nine people set off for an easy day walking on sandstone on the north side of Rum. The walk to Harris proved unforgettable – “stupendous views”, “crags, pinnacles, buttresses, fissures, ravines”. By contrast the gentle day on sandstone proved quite hard going in lush vegetation with the occasional rocky rib. However we found a sheltered beach for lunch with our own seal. John and Clodaigh went on to Kilmory instead to find lots of deer. All returned fairly wet again in good time for dinner.
We all played tourist and had a guided tour of the castle in the morning. “incredible”. We had another “all together” session on the ferry back and again we had sunshine and clear views. It was a wonderful five days in great company, lots of exercise, lots of fun and lots of food. Well done to the organisers.
High point – Tuesday’s challenging walk
Low point – The smell of the drying room first thing in the morning!
Further reading – see log book.
We are all 12 years older - I leave it for the reader to decide if we are wiser, braver, .... Also, the weather has clearly not improved !
Sunday 3rd May 2015 - Beinn Sheasgarnich
After driving to the end of the road in Glen Lochay, I checked to see if the gate to the private road over to Glen Lyon was open. It was. However, the road was very steep and had pot-holes you could lose a small car in. And as my car is not 4-wheel drive and is not very big, I decided that I would just park it there.
So that meant that Ralph and I would have to work out a new route. Ralph, me and Ruben (a guest), decided to ascend the road for about one km and then take the higher track west that contours across the hills. At the start of this track, there was a pipe-line that crossed from up the other side of the hill over to our side and stopped at the track. It looked like a Hydro pipe-line, but we could not see a hydro scheme anywhere. Along the track were several well-constructed pedestrian gates and (hydro?) outlets for burns that came down the hills. It was only later that I worked out that the pipeline and outlets were probably feeding into a tunnel through the hill to Loch Lyon in the glen to our north, where there is a hydro-electric scheme.
The track took us for about three km to the Allt Badour which we crossed and then left the track to head NW up towards Stob an Fir-Bhogha. The wind was at our backs but it was starting to rain. As we got higher, the wind strengthened and the rain became sleet. We reached higher and steeper ground, and the under-foot conditions became difficult. It was steep and grassy with a layer of very wet snow on top, making it very slippery. After we had all made a couple of involuntary slides, we decided that conditions were just too bad, and before we made a more serious slide, we would turn back. The return was uneventful, and three wet walkers were glad to reach the car and set off for coffee in the Bridge of Lochay Hotel.
Sunday 19th April 2015 - Faochag and Sgurr na Sgine
The spell of good weather continued. Even the forecast said no rain and a promise of superb visibility. We were not disappointed.
Faochag reared its head as we drove down Glen Shiel – the NE ridge looking impossibly steep. A slight disagreement as to how to avoid the fenced area at its foot but we found the path and gate and started up the remorseless ridge. It is steep but the path is good and we gained height very quickly. A couple of wet snow patches were no problem but there were still large areas of deep snow on the east side. The summit ridge, contouring around to Sgurr na Sgine is always a delight and as promised the views were superb.
The Outer Isles were visible and Ben Nevis looked close enough to touch. Tiny figures over on The Saddle were obviously enjoying the same views. We were feeling quite pleased with ourselves when a fell runner appeared coming up the SE side. Conversation ensued – yes he had just come along the South Glen Shiel ridge (all of it) and was heading for The Saddle then down. No, he wasn’t running down the Forcan Ridge. He also added that the previous day he’d run along the North Glen Shiel ridge (all of it) .
We slowly descended to the bealach before Sgurr a’ Bhac Chaolais muttering about dodgy knees, had a rest, then headed down into Coire Toiteil. We’d had a brilliant day.
Sunday 5th April 2015 - Aonach Beag, Glen Nevis
And then there were five-no make that seven.
The drive up to Fort William was misty with low cloud, but with some hills just showing through. But by the time the nine of us, Andrew, Gerry, Ian, Robert, Martin (guest), John (new member), Jenny, Davy and I set off from the upper car park in Glen Nevis, the sun was breaking through. As always, the gorge was spectacular with a lot of water tumbling down, and the waterfalls on the Allt Coire Guibhsachan were impressive. Approaching Sgurr a'Bhuic, there were patches of snow that we managed to avoid to reach the top, now in glorious sunshine. The views were getting better the higher we went, and on the way up, we could see a bird of prey in the glen below, that was confirmed as a golden eagle by Martin with his telephoto lens. However, John, who was on his first walk with us, realised that he was not fit enough to complete the walk, so Andrew accompanied him back down. So now we were seven. Descending to the col, it was rocky with cornices to avoid, and we saw two ptarmigan in their winter coats. But before we reached Stob Coire Bhealaich, Ian informed us that he was not feeing well. So he with Jenny accompanying him went back down. And now we were five.
The sun was blazing down and was reflecting off the snow, and like me, no-one had brought any sun block (this was to cause some red faces [from the sun!] later). The last part of the climb was up a steep bank of deep snow, but on arriving at the summit of Aonach Beag, the views (as far as Rum and Eigg) made up for the hard work. There were two couples there already, and we were joined by some lads on skis, who then dropped down towards Aonach Mor. As we were behind schedule, it was decided not to carry on to Aonach Mor, but descend the SW ridge of Aonach Beag. We had been using our ice axes on the ascent, but crampons were not required as the snow was soft. It was the same going down, and the ice axes were put to good use on the steep slopes. The strong sun was melting the snow, so when we were not walking on snow, we were walking on very wet grass. And we knew that we would have to cross the burn coming down from Stob a'Coire Bhealaich. This was accomplished successfully fairly high up and we then joined a path leading to Steall, following the even more impressive waterfalls. At the bridge at Steall, we were surprised to find Andrew and John waiting for us. Back to seven again, we took the path through a busy Steall meadow to the car park.
We reflected on a good day's walk and on life in general in the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William.
Sunday 22nd March 2015 - Sgorr Dhearg, Ballachulish
A reasonable forecast turned into a fine day. Gerry had checked the route up from the Church and found this impassable due to fallen trees. Hence, we set off from Ballachulish (as per the alternative route in the programme) and had one car at the carpark in Glean a Chaolais in South Ballachulish for the return.
Five of us were out and we set off through Ballachulish and onto the steady climb up Sgorr Bhan. This turned into an interesting scramble closer to the summit. It was cold but clearing at the top as we pressed on along the ridge to Sgorr Dhearg. However a large ice field necessitated the use of crampons before we finally summited and had some fine views over the Ballachulish Bridge, Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe. Crampons were in use again on the descent towards Gleann a Chaolais before we reached the lovely path through the woods back to the car.
We rounded off the day in Crafts and Things in Glencoe.
Saturday 14th March 2015 - Ben Starav
A good day at last – it was dry and we weren’t blown over in the wind, though it was cold.
Seven set out up the NE ridge (Gerry, Andrew, Robert, Trevor, Ron, Willie and Gavin). As usual we splintered into small groups doing variations on the programmed walk. These ranged from a stroll along the east side of Loch Etive, part way up the north east ridge and down again, over the summit and down the corrie and an extension to further peaks and an overnight bivouac. No guesses as to who did what!
The north side still held plenty of snow with a few cornices still in place. Even the NE ridge was in winter conditions above about 700m with fresh snow over hard icy patches. Crampons proved very useful. The descent into the corrie looked intimidating but proved stable and provided some snow sliding.
Everyone had a great day but all too busy to take photos! We ended in the Climber’s bar at the Clachaig – the posher bar is having a face lift. Still gloomy in there but much improved from our memories of 30 years ago!
Sunday 8th March 2015 - Na Gruagaichean
Just because the weather is good at the start of your walk does not mean it will be good at the summit.
These days, the weather seems to be not only dictating if we will walk, but also determining where we will walk. Such was the case last Sunday. The programmed hills were Binnean Mor and Na Gruagaichean, taking a route that entails crossing a small burn. Small that is, unless the previous days have had torrential rain with warm temperatures meaning considerable snow melt.
So the three of us, Ken, Liz and I decided on a different route. In lovely weather, we parked at the start of the road to Mamore Lodge, walked past the lodge on to the track that took us to Coire na Ba, where we joined the path into the coire. Although there were numerous burns to cross, they were all manageable. Higher up, the path became harder to follow with large patches of snow. We left the path and headed east directly for the summit of Na Gruagaichean, with the intention of going from there along the ridge to the point at 1062m, and then on to Binnein Mor. The tops were by now hidden in cloud, and we found ourselves on a steep boulder field. This led to the ridge just short of the summit. Unfortunately, as soon as we crested the ridge, the wind hit us. And I do mean hit us. It was ferocious. We had to literally crawl the last few metres to the summit.
We only stayed long enough to decide that there was no way that we could negotiate the ridges to Binnein Mor, and that we should get out of the wind as soon as possible. So we headed south, avoiding the ice and cornices on our left, which meant clambouring over icy and snowy rocks. But the wind did not abate. We continued to head south down the ridge, with the wind painfully blowing spindrift in our faces. At one point, it blew Liz over, so she'll have a nice bruise to show for her walk. We then turned west towards the track of our approach. Although we came out of the underfoot snow (and therefore the spindrift), the snow came down from above. However, that was short-lived, and we reached the track (and the sunshine) down a steep and very slippery grassy slope.
We took refreshments at the Tailrace Inn in Kinlochleven.
Saturday 28th February 2015 - Meall Ghiubhas, Glen Etive
A walk with 3 bridges. It’s a good job these bridges were in place as the wet conditions meant that the rivers were all full. There was still snow on the higher ground and we had a great bum slide down from the summit. It was not the walk planned, but an enjoyable day out for 9 club members, including Alan and Mary who now reside in the Liverpool area. Our route took us up from Glen Etive on good stalkers paths up Allt Coire a Chaolain and round the back (south) of Meall Ghiubhas before we ascended to the summit. We slid down the snow on the Northern side to regain the path for our return to Glen Etive.
The planned hike of An Caisteal was changed to Meall Ghiubhas in Glen Etive due to the poor forecast. It was me and Mary's first time out with the club since last summer. It was good to see that nine people came on what was a wet day. As with all wet days, it is the streams that are worth seeing. Today was no exception with Allt a'Chaorainn and its feeders (Allt Coire Ghiubhasan and Allt Coire a'Chaolain) being roaring torrents. Luckily the two bridges over the latter streams were still there. The party split and two went off to do the higher Meall Garbh before regrouping on Meall Ghiubhas. Drinks were taken in the Clachaig Inn where the hot chocolate proved to be very popular.
Saturday 14th February 2015 - Ben Vane, Loch Lomond
Safety tip-when putting on crampons, make doubly sure that they are on properly.
John F and I left Oban on a beautiful morning, but as we approached Tyndrum, cloud was on the hills. We met up with Trevor, Gavin and Wesley at Inveruglas and headed up the Hydro road. It was an uneventful ascent, although ice-axe and crampons were deployed higher up, and were definitely required at the snow-filled “chute” that had a few of us stymied last time out. Navigation was easy as we followed the path. But for our descent, we were going path-less and the cloud made life a little more difficult. Gavin was leading the way as he wanted to claim a SIM that he thought he may have missed last time. It is a lumpy hill with lots of crags, and the land kept throwing us in the wrong direction. Then Gavin left us to get his SIM, while the remaining four headed directly for Loch Sloy dam.
It was on this section that one of the members lost a crampon without noticing. However, on back-tracking, it was found. Shortly after that, a different member also lost a crampon, and again found it after a search. There were no problems but it could have been different. Navigation was now tricky, but we came out of the mist right above the dam, where Gavin was waiting.
Sunday 8th February 2015 - Buachaille Etive Beag, Glen Coe
The “obvious” ridge was not so obvious to us, and did not show up on the map either. However, we headed up a steep ridge that headed towards the summit. It was a bit of a slog with a mixture of rock, grass, moss and patchy snow. It eased off nearer the top, but the snow became hard-packed and steep, so we employed ice-axe and crampons. The summit was deserted and cold with a brisk breeze, so we started the descent. At the col, there was lots of snow, and low cloud. With the cold wind, we then decided to cut the walk short as there were not going to be any views. On the way down, we met several groups of walkers, including some doing winter skills courses (we had already met a group from the Ramblers in the car park), and one skier. Part of the way down, Ralph and John decided to remove their crampons, but I kept mine on all the way to the car park, as the path had a lot of ice. A short day, but a good one.
Saturday 31st January 2015 - Coire Ardair, (Creag Meagaidh)
Snow fun when the guy breaking trail is wearing snow-shoes. While Gavin and Willie (guest) set off to do the programmed walk of Beinn a'Chlachair (22km with 850m ascent) in the strong winds and snow showers, The remaining six chickened out and decided to head for Lochan a'Choire in Coire Ardair, below Creag Meagaidh. After shovelling snow just to get the cars parked, we started up the path with about 15 cm of snow on the ground. As we climbed higher, the snow got deeper and the going got harder. Breaking trail was becoming increasingly difficult, but Andrew and Gerry, who were wearing snow-shoes found it much easier, and so went ahead, seeming to glide across the snow, leaving little impression. This meant that those following the tracks of the snow-shoes found that they still had to break trail, and going into the snow up to our thighs really slowed us up.
After going about three km and taking two hours, we stopped for a break and to discuss what to do, as it was obvious that we were not going to make it to the coire and back in the time available. Just then, discussion was brought to an abrupt end when we were hit by a vicious squall. The decision was then easy-head back! Although most of the tracks we had made going up had disappeared, it was still easier as it was mostly downhill, and we made it back to the cars in about an hour and a half.
We met up at the Stronlossit Inn for coffee, although Gavin and Willie had still not appeared. However, an extremely tired pair apparently did do the programmed walk (well done!)
Saturday 3rd January 2015 - Carn Dearg, Glen Roy
With the programmed walk of Mullach Sron na h-Uamhaidh, Laggan, being considered too far for this time of year, it was decided to do a walk that had been cancelled earlier because of the weather-Carn Dearg in Glen Roy.
The road up Glen Roy had patches of ice, but nothing to worry about, and the hills looked inviting. After leaving the cars near Glen Roy Lodge, we crossed the bridge over the River Roy and then divided into two groups. Andrew, Ralph, John F, Gavin and Robert headed up to the un-named hill at 675m and then south to Carn Dearg. Gerry, Ken, Liz and I took the more direct route via Carn Bhrunachain. On the way up, we encountered a herd of over 40 deer crossing in front of us. Snow was soon encountered and as we got higher it became deeper and more icy. But although we were all carrying ice axes and crampons, they were never needed. The views were extensive as the weather was very kind, sun and little wind. We all met again at the summit, and again split into two. Gerry and Robert went down the north ridge, while the rest went east over craggy Creag Tharsuinn, enjoying a glissade down the steep part of Carn Dearg, and seeing a small flock of snow buntings. Going down the Burn of Agie, the waterfalls were impressive, there being a lot of snow-melt. Five of us then deviated from the path to take a look at the Natural Bridge, while Liz and Andrew stayed on the path. The Natural Bridge is formed by a huge boulder that has fallen into the spectacular gorge that the river has created at this point. After crossing the bridge, and back again, we rejoined the path, taking a break at the Canal Burn, when it started to snow heavily. Fortunately, it did not last long, and the last three km was on a good track. We put the world to rights in the Stronlossit Hotel and then headed home.
This was one of the best winter walks I have had because of the wonderful conditions, the great area and the added bonus of waterfalls and a natural bridge.
Another great walk in lovely winter conditions – superb views with sun and snow. Nine of us out in Glen Roy. We split into 2 groups to climb Carn Dearg, either directly or via Carn Bhrunachain. We met again at the top and continued round by Creag Tharsuinn to the path by the Burn of Agie and, with a deviation to the Natural Bridge, we followed this track back to Brae Roy Lodge and the cars. A stop off at the Stronlossit rounded off a good day out.