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Maol Chean-dearg

2000 Staying at Lower Diabaig I decided not to climb this hill from the south as recommended in the SMC book The Munros but to approach it from the north from Annat, one mile south/west of Torridon village junction on the A 896 road. Climbing up steadily from the starting point the path soon reached the plateau beneath Beinn na h-Eaglaise and continued to the north eastern end of Loch an Eion. There I took the right-hand fork where the path around the western and southern face of Meall Chean-Dearg branches off. After some easy walking and a steady ascent I came to the 590 m-bealach between the hill of the day and An Ruadh-Stac. Having walked 10 km in two hours I took a break, had a rest and looked at the western face of Sgorr Ruadh on the opposite side of the Fionn-abhainn. From this bealach I climbed the ridge up to Meall Chean-Dearg’s shoulder over quartzite scree and quartzite slabs standing upright. The final 100 m in height were a steep slog up the red sandsone boulders to the summit plateau of the hill. There I rested and marvelled for a short time at the sight of Liathach and Beinn Eighe who appeared to be one ridge from there. Alas, rain approaching from a west-south-westerly direction forced me off the summit all too soon. I walked back along the south/east ridge of the hill to the beallach at 590 m in rain and headed my way back to Annat, the ran having set in more persistently. It subsided, however, and I was easily walking back to Loch an Eion when a tall and strong stag crossed my way. He was certainly more shocked at my sight than I was at his and he sped away in enviable hill climbing style. What modest creatures we are when it comes to moving in boggy and bouldery highland terrain. Eventually I got back to the start of my hike after a little more than five and a half hours and I met Stephanie and Fiona for a very enjoyable meal and some drinks at the bar of the Torridon Hotel just a few hundred meters along the A 896. 20 km are a longish day out for one munro of perhaps not all that much Torridonian character. And although the appoach from the north is through beautiful landscape scenery I presume that the shorter tour from the south is preferable.

May 1st, 2015|2000, 2015, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|
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Beinn Tarsuinn

April 30th, 2015|2015, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|
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Maoile Lunndaidh

April 29th, 2015|2015, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|
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Beinn Liath Mhor

Due to bad motivations and even worth weather in 2000 Beinn Liath Mhor was still on my ticking list. Call it fate, call it accidently but the choosen location of the 2015 session made me use a very seldom choosen approach – in terms of locations and choosen transportation – from Coulin. To save me some steps Cord offered to drive me from our “Cottage” using the landrover track with our Fiat500 upgrade called V70. After a little consideration where we should end our approach trip, he dropped me off – quite too early, the V70 would have easily made the 1,5 miles to the hut. The hut is in a very good state except the paint choosen if you take the notes in the hut seriously.

The walk along Easan Dorcha is exceptional beautiful and does in my opinion not lack comparison to the walk up Glen Derry. After reaching Drochaird Coire Lair – pittily in worsening weather – i started the very, very steep and narrow ascent to the ridge. I have not seen that many steep and narrow ascents, here you can trust me. The bad weather and the steepness accompinied me to Point 876. There only the steepness left me. It had snowed very heavy end of this April 2015 and i walked in newly snow up to my knees ignoring happily all the covered stone pits which i hit constantly more often than needed.

And up on the ridge two old friends accommpanied me: “Gustly Winds” and “Hardly No Views”. Luckily the ridge is this defined that my eldest friend “Navigational Problems” should join me only later that day. After Point 876 i enyjoyed the downhill session which ended too soon with the reascent to Point 887. I was lucky that the elements enabled me to take some very dramatic pictures – where i met a long time forgotten fourth friend named “Loose My Glove”. There it went. Black Shadow. But since that remarkable day back in 1998 in the Fannaichs i am always prepared to such situations because i carry 3-4 pairs of spare pair of gloves in my rucksack.

Things got now even more interesting. Iced rock formations, waist high snow, strengthening gusts, in one word: lovely conditions. But i really loved it. And since i was not totally engulfed in clouds i used every chance to take pictures of the breathtaking landscape that surrounded me: the approaching summit of Beinn Liath Mhor with the Torridian giants in the background. Marvellous. I felt lucky. Lucky even more later to survive the choosen descent.

But first i had to concquer this Munro, well earned, well done i must say. No time for sandwiches, no conditions one might say. I descended and then the troubles began. Cord had already warned me about the rocks and my chosen descent was definitely not the best in winterly conditions. The rock formations combined with snow and ice coverings led me to a zig-zag route down to the bealach. My heart was heavily pounding and i had put my grivels on due to the lack of crampons to more or less securely climb down. There was more than one occasion where i cursed my self on that afternoon.

But then i finally reached safe terrain and made my way the usual stumbling and looking and navigating. I reached the path far beyond the point i ought to reach it. But i did not mind. This path was my friend for the next 3 miles before reaching my approach path. Nevertheless i enjoyed the strolling back to the hut where the path developed into a track. Cord was already waiting at Point Alpha to pick me up and spare me the last mile to Coulin Farmhouse, thanks my friend!

That was a hell of a day. And i would no like to miss one single second of it. A real adventure. A real Munro. And a marvelous landscape.

2000 We set out from Achnashellach on a day which looked quite promising in terms of water comming down from the skies. Some sunny spells on our drive from Lower Diabaig to our starting point had given us glimpse of the sun, however. But those were the only rays of sunlight until the hike was over. We soon reached the mouth of Coire Lair but couldn’t see anything because the hills were shrouded in clouds and rain was comming down on us.We followed the path to the foot of the south east face of Beinn Liath Mhor. From there Alex and I (Frank’s went back to the car – the knee) climbed up the very steep heathery slopes of the hill. That was a real slog. After some scrambling on wet, wet stone higher up on the hill we reached the ridge just 50 meters west of the most easterly summit of Beinn Liath Mhor. The wind was strong and unrelenting. Rain was comming down. Alex and I stamped along the ridge which narrowed and then broadened to the second summit of the day and further on to the main summit of the hill which is all white quartzite boulders. We rested in the lee of the big summit cairn and ate our sandwiches holding them in our cold hands. We aborted the descent to the head of corrie due south down the summit slopes and retraced our steps back to the summit cairn. From there we went due west and turned to a south-westerly direction at a lochan 1 km west of the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor. With some additional scambling over wet and slippery stone ledges overgrown with grass and moss we finally reached the path comming from Bealach Corrie Lair: Wet boots, wet legs – me at least. We had gone too far west and had to walk back east to the rocky knoll at the head of the bealach. Here the rain subsided and for the first time in three hours we could see a little further than 1 km. We […]

April 28th, 2015|2000, 2015, Coulin and Torridon|
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Slioch

April 27th, 2015|2015, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|
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Am Faochagach

April 26th, 2015|2015, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|
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Seana Bhraigh

April 25th, 2015|2015, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|
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Mam Sodhail

1999 The fair weather which had helped in making Alex’ and my two-day tour in the Cairngorms an enjoyable one had given way to more showery skies. We had had a day’s rest on our way from Blair Atholl and had finally made it to the Tomich Hotel in Tomich village. Alex had taken off another day due to the pain his feet caused him. However, he had offered to drive me up Glen Affric to the parking at the end of the public road. I set out from there at about 11 a.m. and walked down the private road to Affric Lodge which lies hidden by trees on a peninsula in the Loch. The footpath continues on the north side of Loch Affric through a sparse population of protected Scots Pine and leads on for about 3,5 km to where a side path branches off into Coire Leachavie. The path soon joins the Allt Corrie Leachavie and follows the burn into the upper reaches of the corrie. Up on the ridges deer were moving on this first day of the stalking season. And of course I heard a shot and later on my way back I found the path to be sprinkled with blood. The headwall of Corrie Leachavie is gained by zigzags on the left-hand side. The headwall was shrouded in clouds from time to time. Once on the ridge I felt the strong westerly wind that brought in the clouds from the west. In less than ten minutes the summit of Mam Sodhail was gained and even though it was cold and visibility was only average I could not but admire the beauty of the clouds and the hills around. All of a sudden the clouds towards Carn Eighe cleared and I could see the way ahead to this second hill of the day. A sharpish descent and an an easier reascent from the beallach between the two mountains lead me to the summit of Carn Eighe where I rested inside the stone shelter and had a snack. It was quite cold for the time of the year. I had to wear gloves. After having decided not to bag Beinn Fhionnlaidh I returned to mam Sodhail and rested at the ruins to the south/west of the summit. From there the Kintail hills, Ciste Dhubh, the Five Sisters, Beinn Fhada, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, A’Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire and others were well visible. A fantastic panaroma enhanced in its effect by the clouds which hugged some of the tops from time to time. Contemplation of beauty. Finally I started my way back down Coire Leachavie to Glen Affric and the Scots pines. At six o’clock I reached the public road where Alex had been waiting for a short time. More than 22 kilometres, two magnificent hills and I did not talk to anybody. That was peace of mind for half a day.

April 24th, 2015|1999, 2015, Glen Affric and Kintail|
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Beinn Fhionnlaidh

April 24th, 2015|2015, Glen Affric and Kintail|
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Carn Eige

1999 The fair weather which had helped in making Alex’ and my two-day tour in the Cairngorms an enjoyable one had given way to more showery skies. We had had a day’s rest on our way from Blair Atholl and had finally made it to the Tomich Hotel in Tomich village. Alex had taken off another day due to the pain his feet caused him. However, he had offered to drive me up Glen Affric to the parking at the end of the public road. I set out from there at about 11 a.m. and walked down the private road to Affric Lodge which lies hidden by trees on a peninsula in the Loch. The footpath continues on the north side of Loch Affric through a sparse population of protected Scots Pine and leads on for about 3,5 km to where a side path branches off into Coire Leachavie. The path soon joins the Allt Corrie Leachavie and follows the burn into the upper reaches of the corrie. Up on the ridges deer were moving on this first day of the stalking season. And of course I heard a shot and later on my way back I found the path to be sprinkled with blood. The headwall of Corrie Leachavie is gained by zigzags on the left-hand side. The headwall was shrouded in clouds from time to time. Once on the ridge I felt the strong westerly wind that brought in the clouds from the west. In less than ten minutes the summit of Mam Sodhail was gained and even though it was cold and visibility was only average I could not but admire the beauty of the clouds and the hills around. All of a sudden the clouds towards Carn Eighe cleared and I could see the way ahead to this second hill of the day. A sharpish descent and an an easier reascent from the beallach between the two mountains lead me to the summit of Carn Eighe where I rested inside the stone shelter and had a snack. It was quite cold for the time of the year. I had to wear gloves. After having decided not to bag Beinn Fhionnlaidh I returned to mam Sodhail and rested at the ruins to the south/west of the summit. From there the Kintail hills, Ciste Dhubh, the Five Sisters, Beinn Fhada, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, A’Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire and others were well visible. A fantastic panaroma enhanced in its effect by the clouds which hugged some of the tops from time to time. Contemplation of beauty. Finally I started my way back down Coire Leachavie to Glen Affric and the Scots pines. At six o’clock I reached the public road where Alex had been waiting for a short time. More than 22 kilometres, two magnificent hills and I did not talk to anybody. That was peace of mind for half a day.

April 24th, 2015|1999, 2015, Glen Affric and Kintail|