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7

Beinn a’Chleibh

November 18th, 2014|2014, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Ben Vorlich

November 17th, 2014|2014, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Bhuidhe

November 16th, 2014|2014, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Narnain

November 15th, 2014|2002, 2014, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Ime

November 15th, 2014|2014, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Dearg

A tramp along long land rover tracks on a warm day in early June was on the agenda. Beinn Dearg from Blair Atholl was the goal of the hike. We had left our cosy and comfortable cottage in Laggan for good and had headed south on the A9 to Blair Atholl where we parked our car in the hikers’ parking at Old Bridge of Tilt – not without having recceed the road to Old Blair beforehand and having found no place to leave the car. So up the private road to Old Blair we walked and soon entered the forest following the track high above the left bank of the Banvie Burn. We were overtaken by a couple of people giving their horses some exercise shortly before the track left behind the trees for good. It was quite warm and there was no protection from the sunshine anymore for hours on end. Frank and I sweated profusely and made good progress on the land rover track leading to the Lady March Cairn. From there the tramp on the track continued gaining metre after metre in altitude. Then the terrain levelled out before we lost 50-70 metres before reaching the bothy at the Allt Sheicheanchan.

A rougher track led along the right bank of this burn to an altitude of about 600-650 metres. Where the track crossed the burn and took a sharp turn right we picked up the path climbing the south slopes of Beinn Dearg’s outlier Meall Dubh nan Dearcag and leading to more level terrain on the whale back of the mountain. We struck a more or less direct line from there to the gravel-strewn and stony summit of Beinn Dearg which was nicely visible a mile ahead. On the way to the summit we walked over another intermediate grassy/heathery bump and met a few other walkers with whom some words on the perfect conditions of this marvellous day were exchanged. Soon we rested at the summit cairn and enjoyed the views. A cool wind was blowing at the cairn so we did not rest longer than a quarter of an hour. Then, with some reluctance – partly because the day was so good, partly because the way back would be long and partly because this was the last tour in spring 2014 – we retraced our steps over the broad ridge, down the path to the land rover track. Once we had reached the track we took a break for eating our sandwiches and drank big gulps of water from our bottles.

Then Frank and I headed up the steep land rover track and followed it to the broad col between Beinn a’Chait and the minor bump of Carn Dearg Mor. On and on went this very easy track which follows the Allt Slanaidh on its way towards Glen Tilt. After roughly ninety minutes since the break we reached the edge of the forest above Glen Tilt. Through a gate in the tree fence we continued our walk in the lovely shade provided by the pine tree plantation. Soon sounds of shooting could be heard and we inferred from the map that we were nearing the shooting range in Glen Tilt. It was the 6th of June 2014 – exactly 70 years after D-Day – and the local rifle club was having a celebrative competition to mark the anniversary. Thank god that today they weren’t looking for Germans to hunt down :-). We passed the rifle range and then picked up the shady path leading down to Glen Tilt where it joined the road down the glen to the parking in Old Bridge of Tilt. There we un-booted our steaming feet and enjoyed resting our legs.

After a chat with another hiker whom we had met on the mountain we then threw our stuff into the car, rolled down the windows and drove off to Pitlochry and the shower waiting for us at the B&B. 30 kilometres, most of it on land rover track, for one Munro is quite a tall order. But it was fun and a great effort for a final day. Very good!

June 6th, 2014|2014, Glen Garry to Braemar|

Beinn a’Chlachair

Gorillas in the mist? Well not exactly since there were no gorillas and we were not in Rwanda. But then: There was mist, there was the Moy Forest on the other side of the A 86, there were mountains all around. And there is a civilization encroaching on wild land in the form of forestry roads, hydro works and even the odd jogger on our route. But no Sigourney Weaver and no Diane Fossey.

Anyway. Years ago we had climbed Creag Pitridh and Geal Carn in quite appalling conditions. Strong winds, driving rain, no views. This time round we set Beinn a’Chlachair as our objective. We parked in the layby at the west end of Loch Laggan. Once outside the car we were attacked by midges, which meant a rather hurried start to the day.

We crossed the River Spean and took a left turn at the first fork of the forest road just before Luiblea. After a few metres a gate blocks the access to the Land Rover track on the right bank of the Abhainn Ghuilbinn. Once through the gate and on open land the Land Rover track climbs easily towards Lochan na Earba which is reached after maybe 45 to 50 minutes. On this track we were overtaken by a friendly jogger with whom we chatted a bit when we bumped into him again close to the Lochan. On the sandy shore of Lochan na Earba we took a break to drink and eat a muesli bar.

Refreshed we set our inner compass towards the bealach between Geal Carn and Beinn a’Chlachair. The climb beside the Allt Choire Pitridh is very comfortable since the path is well-maintained and easy to follow even in its upper section. Once at the Bealach Leamhain we decided not to climb towards the east ridge through boulders and over steep grass since the visibility was very restricted and route-finding might have been a real problem.

Much rather we followed the path over the bealach in the direction of the Allt Cam and Culra. Over the next kilometre the rocky path loses about seventy or eighty metres in height but the surroundings are interesting indeed. To the left is Loch a’ Bealaich Leamhain, to the right are the crags of Beinn a’Chlachair’s north east ridge complete with lingering large snowfields and fresh mudslides caused by rain and the melting of the snow. When the terrain opened up we took a 160 degree turn to the right and walked up the steep heather and grass slopes of the south side of Beinn a’Chlachair north-east ridge using an indistinct path. This path deposited us on top of the Beinn’s ridge. In mist and clouds we continued towards point 977.

From there onwards the ridge became extremely stony. There were intermittent very short traces of paths, some cairns; there was also a decent amount of boulder hopping to be done. Using the map and the compass we followed the plateau-ish ridge towards its final steepening before the summit and its cairn. No views from the summit as could be expected, rats! But no gorillas either: just us in the mist. A longish break of 15 minutes ensued but then the cold got us on our feet again.

We did not fancy going back the way of ascent in the mist so we decided that ambling down the much gentler and grassier south-west ridge of Beinn a’Chlachair would be the better option. This proved to be a good choice because not only was the ridge more defined and less stony, there also were occasional glimpses of the landscape around and below us. The ridge became steeper as height was lost and we descended semi-vertiginous grass slopes towards the Allt Cam (the one that flows towards Laggan-side, mind you). Once at the path beside the Allt Cam, we took off much of our protective layers because here in the glen it was quite warm.

Then it was another four kilometres towards the Lochan na Earba/Loch Laggan Land Rover track. During the hour or so it took us to get there, the clouds lifted somewhat from the summit of Beinn a’Chlachair which gave us the first views of the upper reaches of the hill we had climbed. Nice hill indeed. Then the easy Land Rover track towards Loch Laggan took us back to our faithful car waiting in the layby.

A good day on a very stony hill. Great approach tracks and paths, a good traverse on varied terrain, not too much rain. But no views worth mentioning or photographing whatsoever. Ach, the Ardverikie Trio don’t seem to be our friends.


June 5th, 2014|2014, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Carn a’Chlamain

June 4th, 2014|2014, Glen Garry to Braemar|

Beinn na Lap

3 June 2014 started out as a rainy day with drizzle and showers taking turns in raising the enthusiasm for hillwalking in remote hill country. But the Metoffice predicted a shift in the pattern and forecast nice weather with sunshine for the second half of the day. Accordingly the late morning saw Frank and me standing on the platform for the southbound trains at Tulloch Station.

The station is a nice building and it features a large roof which very conveniently protected us from the rain. In due course the train arrived; we boarded it, took our seats and bought our return tickets. The short trip from Tulloch to Corrour takes about twenty minutes. Loch Treig and the Eassins on the right-hand side, the very steep slopes of Stob Coire Sgriodain on the left of the track. Very scenic indeed. Then the train had finally climbed to the more open and level terrain of Rannoch Moor where Corrour Station came into view. There we disembarked, took a look around and then followed the Land Rover track towards Loch Ossian. We were accompanied by a dog, two horse riders and a cyclist who came from the Hotel at/in Corrour Station. There was even some car traffic on the track: Two Toyotas and a delivery van. Ahead we could see vehicles moving since some hydro works were under way.

Just before came to the shore of Loch Ossian we turned right and picked up the path skirting the northern slopes of Meall na Lice and leading towards Peter’s Rock. The boulder carries a memorial plaque for one of the wardens of the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel who died there one lonely winter. From the Rock we climbed uniform slopes of grass and heather until we reached the broad north-east ridge of Carn Dearg. As height is gained the view opened up thanks partly to the Metoffice having been right. There was a delightful mix of sunshine and clouds. after maybe another thirty minutes we reached the summit cairn of Carn Dearg, covered in clouds, however. A short summit break, some refreshments, no views and on we went.

The path to the shallow col between Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre sometimes becomes indistinct but since the terrain is very easy that does not matter at all. The col itself was not half as squishy as the books had made us fear it would be. Soon we were on the climb up to the more conically shaped Munro of Sgorr Gaibhre. During the climb we met one rather uncommunicative walker who passed us by without a word. Strange. At the summit of Munro No.2 only a very short break was held since we were potentially competing against the clock: Trains don’t wait and we had to be back at Corrour for the last train.

From Sgorr Gaibhre’s summit we descended the rocky and sandy north east ridge towards Beallach nan Sgorr and then contoured around Meall Nathrach Mor the nose of which we bypassed on the left. Then we walked down nice grass slopes towards the forest edge visible in front of us. We picked up the land rover track beside the Allt a’Choire Chreagaich and entered the forest. The track took us towards the west end of Loch Ossian which we reached after a few minutes.

Again we were greeted by traffic from the hydro construction sites and the odd John Deere tractor. Oh well, these people make their living there so it’s ok of sorts. We crossed the outflow of Loch Ossian, walked by Corrour Shooting Lodge, with its remarkably different architectural style and finally made it on the Land Rover track on the northern shore of Loch Ossian. Then it was another two kilometres until we reached the path which branches off the track and leads up into the forest beside the left bank of the enchanting Allt Loch na Lap.

Once we left the trees behind the western slopes of Beinn na Lap came into view. We struck a direct line across the grass and moor towards the west ridge. There were some rock bands which could be navigated through on heather and grass. On and on we climbed until the steep final section before the summit of Beinn Na Lap was reached which we sort of scrambled up “a la diretissima”. Then at the summit we took a well-deserved break realising full well that we had more than enough time to enjoy the views and the sunshine since there were more than 100 minutes left before the train would leave Corrour Station. After some bites from our sandwiches, some handfuls of dried fruits and some water had been eaten/drunk we set out to complete the last leg of the hike.

The return to Corrour via Beinn na Lap’s east ridge was easy. The path follows the ridge at first and then drops due south down the side of the ridge towards the flatter terrain to the west of Loch Ossian. We arrived at the station with 40 minutes to spare. Unfortunately, the Hotel Bar is not open to the public on Tuesdays so no cold Coca Cola for us. A pity, but the views of the surrounding hills changing colours in the fading sunlight and the stars slowly appearing more than compensated for missing out on a cold drink in a warm bar. Then the train arrived and took us back to Tulloch and our car waiting for us in the dark.

An absolutely perfect day with very good tour planning done beforehand, great weather, lovely scenery and a marvellous approach by train into a really remote part of the country. The most enchanting tour of the May 2014 holiday in Scotland. Loch Ossian (and its Munros) is a place we definitely want to come back to!


June 3rd, 2014|2014, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Sgor Gaibhre

3 June 2014 started out as a rainy day with drizzle and showers taking turns in raising the enthusiasm for hillwalking in remote hill country. But the Metoffice predicted a shift in the pattern and forecast nice weather with sunshine for the second half of the day. Accordingly the late morning saw Frank and me standing on the platform for the southbound trains at Tulloch Station.

The station is a nice building and it features a large roof which very conveniently protected us from the rain. In due course the train arrived; we boarded it, took our seats and bought our return tickets. The short trip from Tulloch to Corrour takes about twenty minutes. Loch Treig and the Eassins on the right-hand side, the very steep slopes of Stob Coire Sgriodain on the left of the track. Very scenic indeed. Then the train had finally climbed to the more open and level terrain of Rannoch Moor where Corrour Station came into view. There we disembarked, took a look around and then followed the Land Rover track towards Loch Ossian. We were accompanied by a dog, two horse riders and a cyclist who came from the Hotel at/in Corrour Station. There was even some car traffic on the track: Two Toyotas and a delivery van. Ahead we could see vehicles moving since some hydro works were under way.

Just before came to the shore of Loch Ossian we turned right and picked up the path skirting the northern slopes of Meall na Lice and leading towards Peter’s Rock. The boulder carries a memorial plaque for one of the wardens of the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel who died there one lonely winter. From the Rock we climbed uniform slopes of grass and heather until we reached the broad north-east ridge of Carn Dearg. As height is gained the view opened up thanks partly to the Metoffice having been right. There was a delightful mix of sunshine and clouds. after maybe another thirty minutes we reached the summit cairn of Carn Dearg, covered in clouds, however. A short summit break, some refreshments, no views and on we went.

The path to the shallow col between Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre sometimes becomes indistinct but since the terrain is very easy that does not matter at all. The col itself was not half as squishy as the books had made us fear it would be. Soon we were on the climb up to the more conically shaped Munro of Sgorr Gaibhre. During the climb we met one rather uncommunicative walker who passed us by without a word. Strange. At the summit of Munro No.2 only a very short break was held since we were potentially competing against the clock: Trains don’t wait and we had to be back at Corrour for the last train.

From Sgorr Gaibhre’s summit we descended the rocky and sandy north east ridge towards Beallach nan Sgorr and then contoured around Meall Nathrach Mor the nose of which we bypassed on the left. Then we walked down nice grass slopes towards the forest edge visible in front of us. We picked up the land rover track beside the Allt a’Choire Chreagaich and entered the forest. The track took us towards the west end of Loch Ossian which we reached after a few minutes.

Again we were greeted by traffic from the hydro construction sites and the odd John Deere tractor. Oh well, these people make their living there so it’s ok of sorts. We crossed the outflow of Loch Ossian, walked by Corrour Shooting Lodge, with its remarkably different architectural style and finally made it on the Land Rover track on the northern shore of Loch Ossian. Then it was another two kilometres until we reached the path which branches off the track and leads up into the forest beside the left bank of the enchanting Allt Loch na Lap.

Once we left the trees behind the western slopes of Beinn na Lap came into view. We struck a direct line across the grass and moor towards the west ridge. There were some rock bands which could be navigated through on heather and grass. On and on we climbed until the steep final section before the summit of Beinn Na Lap was reached which we sort of scrambled up “a la diretissima”. Then at the summit we took a well-deserved break realising full well that we had more than enough time to enjoy the views and the sunshine since there were more than 100 minutes left before the train would leave Corrour Station. After some bites from our sandwiches, some handfuls of dried fruits and some water had been eaten/drunk we set out to complete the last leg of the hike.

The return to Corrour via Beinn na Lap’s east ridge was easy. The path follows the ridge at first and then drops due south down the side of the ridge towards the flatter terrain to the west of Loch Ossian. We arrived at the station with 40 minutes to spare. Unfortunately, the Hotel Bar is not open to the public on Tuesdays so no cold Coca Cola for us. A pity, but the views of the surrounding hills changing colours in the fading sunlight and the stars slowly appearing more than compensated for missing out on a cold drink in a warm bar. Then the train arrived and took us back to Tulloch and our car waiting for us in the dark.

An absolutely perfect day with very good tour planning done beforehand, great weather, lovely scenery and a marvellous approach by train into a really remote part of the country. The most enchanting tour of the May 2014 holiday in Scotland. Loch Ossian (and its Munros) is a place we definitely want to come back to!


June 3rd, 2014|2014, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|