Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

The best day, at least weather-wise, was also the last day of the 2016 holiday in Scotland. After five days of fog, two days of wind and rain and one further beautiful day this hike was the saving grace of an otherwise rather viewless bagging season.

Knowing the weather would be very good we had decided to climb Blaven via its south ridge since this would afford us marvellous views of the Black Cuillins on the way up. Like quite a few other walkers we started the hike from the parking south of Kilmarie where a Landrover track crosses the Strathaird peninsula. The track undulates a bit but then rises to its highest point (Am Mam) and drops again on its way towards Camasunary. Shortly before the next sharp bend in the track a path leads off towards the foot of the south ridge of Blaven. In due time this path crosses a small burn. A few metres past the burn the path leading up the steep grass slopes of the mountain’s south ridge branches off at an altitude of approximately 100m.

We climbed this very steep slope on the good path which further up outflanks the first bands of rock to the right before it leads up a steep gully filled with scree. Then at about 380m the path suddenly reaches the crest of the ridge and the complete Black Cuillin ridge springs into view. I took a break there and enjoyed the views which really were to die for.

From this spot onwards there is not much grass left underfoot as slabs of rock, small boulders and scree form the ground your boots tread on. The way forward was marked by cairns though and route-finding was not a problem. Over several steps in the ridge – which gave opportunity for some mild scrambling – the path follows the crest of the ridge or uses easier terrain on the east side of the hill. Further up the mountain it was not so easy to discern a path or rather the right path anymore since there were several options available: Thousands of walkers before us had created faint tracks in the scree, grassy spots or on the rocks (scratch marks of crampons). When it all got too confusing I just climbed up to the crest of the ridge and – voila – there a distinct path appeared which soon delivered me to the south summit of Blaven where Frank was waiting for me while taking photos of the hill and the Black Cuillins. Breath-taking views!

We continued towards the real (i.e. north) summit of Blaven descending an uneasy earth gully and re-ascending maybe 20 metres on the other side of the dip between the summits. Once at the north summit we took a longer break and enjoyed the 360∞ views form this great hill in the company of maybe a dozen fellow climbers: Black Cuillins, Red Cuillins, the sea, the islands. Ach, it was a pity we had to leave the summit again. We […]

June 18th, 2016|2016, The Islands|

Beinn Fhada

 

1998 Perfectly easy winter walk over frozen snow and ice. Impressing summit plateau of Beinn Fhada. Access from Morvich through Gleann Choineachain, Coire na Sgairne onto Plaide Mhor. Rescue helicopter circling overhead. Return by way of ascent.

June 17th, 2016|1998, 2016, Glen Affric and Kintail|

A’Ghlas-bheinn

 

June 17th, 2016|2016, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sgurr Choinnich Mor

 

On 3 May 2012 Frank and I wanted to walk on tracks we had done nine years before together with Alex. To complete the Grey Corries we still needed to visit Stob Ban and Sgurr Choinnich Mhor, the two outliers of the Grey Corries ridge.

As before we approached the mountains by way of the single-track road on the south bank of the River Spean. At Corriechoille we passed the farm and continued on the dirt road for another mile or so. Then we parked our car at a signpost and continued on foot beside the Allt Leachglach first trough some fir plantations and then through the open glen. On the right side of the glen the steep flanks of Stob Choire Gaibhre and Stob Coir nan Ceannain looked inviting indeed. Cruach Innse and Ston Innse on the left side were also very interesting Corbetts. But we had set our compass on climbing Stob Ban. After maybe 90 minutes we reached the bothy which lies at the foot of the north-east ridge of Stob Ban. There we rested for a short while and then contiuned up Stob Ban’s north-east ridge. First there is a steep section of the path that surmounts a rocky hump and then continues through a grassy depression. At the top of this section of the climb a nice and airy path runs a couple of dozens of metres below the skyline above and provides for an airy continuation with great views of Stob Choire Claurigh, the Grey Corries and the Giant’s Staircase below. Then the path reaches the ridge at a grassy saddle before, after another rise in the ridge, the final steep section of the climb starts. This is the summit pyramid of Stob Ban which consists of quartzite. White stones everywhere, loads of loose quartzite scree but the path is always clear albeit sometimes very steep and scree-strewn.

At the summit we paused and drank some water. The weather was very good and sun was shining brightly. I decided that after two days of major expeditions (Etive Five and Ulaidh/Fionnlaidh) this was enough for 3 May 2012. Frank, however, being in much better shape and mental condition decided to go on and do the whole Grey Corries ridge plus Sgurr Choinnich Mhor. He would then return by the Back Basin and the long walk back through the north-east parts of the Leanachan Forest. I returned to the car by way of the north-east ridge, the bothy and the track down the Lairig Leacach. Back at the car I switched into dry clothes and drove to Fort William to do some shopping. I got back to Corriechoille thirty minutes before Frank reappeared from the forest. He had had a grat day and I half a day off. (Un)fortunately I now have Sgurr Choinnich Mhor left to bag. But the mountain will still be there tomorrow and I’ll be back. That day will be another walk up the Nevis Gorge into the upper reaches of Glen […]

June 16th, 2016|2012, 2016, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Gulvain

 

June 15th, 2016|2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr na Sgine

 

June 14th, 2016|2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

The Saddle

1993 Good day for walking. From Glen Shiel up to Meallan Odhar. Up the Forcan ridge with some nice scrambling on it. Then the summit of The Saddle. Descent down to the Bealach Coire Mhalagain. Back to Glen Shiel from there. Pleasant hill-walk with nice scrambles. Next time we’ll first contact the estate if there is stalking in progress.

 

June 14th, 2016|1993, 2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr Mor

 

2010 Frank’s story: Sgurr na Ciche and his neighbours were Munros which we wanted to climbed for years now but there was never the right time. This year it was. We woke up at 6 am enjoyed an extensive breakfast and packed our stuff. Then we drove one of the most torterous single tracks roads in Scotland i have ever driven. The track along Loch Arkaig is a hell of a road. Finally we reached Strahan and prepared ourselves for a really long day.

The walk through Glen Dessarry is a really nice one, although the forestation to the west is not especially eyecandy. We had decided that we won’t follow the recommandations from SMC and McNeish and everyone else. Instead we aimed to climb Sgurr na Ciche first and then his easterly neighbours with the remote Sgurr Mor as the final and 4th Munro. On the way through the Glen we passed Dessarry House – a very remote and a very huge sporting lodge. The paths continued and we left it after aprox 9 km’s and headed up the bealach. The gorge we saw was a surprise, didn’t read anything about that. But there it was and we had to climb that steep and wet rock thing. Soon after that the bealach was reached and we traced our steps towards the summit of this very recognisable Munro. This ascent is in fact much steeper than that through the gorge and we had to descent it after taking a well earned lunch break on Sgurr na Ciche.

Almost at the same height the next summit Garbh Cioch Mhor waited for us after a steep and very direct pull. In no time we were there. What was going to follow was a not so funny up and down of tops and Munros which Cord ended on the 3rd Munro of the day – Sgurr nan Coireachan – he returned then the normal way down to Glen Dessarry. I felt good enough to gave the 6 km remote Sgurr Mor a try. Another solo. Always exciting.

So i descended and ascended and descended and ascended and descended and ascended and there i was. Sgurr Mor, the 4th and last Munro of the day. A short break, a last snack and then i followed the not so steep descent to Braigh a`Chorie Bhuide and then the very steep descent down the grass slopes of Doire nan Cluaniean. Down there was a huge herd of red deer which i successfully ousted. A short reascend and redescend – you get the story – along boggy and soggy moorland and i regained the Glen Dessarry path. Soon after that i reached our car where Cord cheerfully disturbed the silence with a car horn greeting 🙂

12,5 hrs
35 kms
4 Munros
2500 metres of ascend
Exhausted but happy
But then there came the hell of a road again

 

Cord’s story: This is the tour Frank and I had been planning to do for a longer time than any other hillwalk in Scotland […]

June 13th, 2016|2010, 2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr nan Coireachan

 

June 12th, 2016|2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr Thuilm

Clouds at 850 – 900 m all day. Good hiking conditions. From parking at the beginning of private road to Glen Finnan Lodge on A830 past the lodge to the foot (7km from starting point) of Druim Choire a’ Bheithe. Up that ridge, steep at first but easing out further up. (Stephanie went up to the beallach between Streap and Sgurr Thuilm and did not go up to the summit). Last kilometer ridge turned west-north-west. Summit in clouds. Nil visibility. Return by route of ascent. Easy hill but longish approach walk on tarmac. Good weather and the hole horseshoe would be fine.

 

June 12th, 2016|1998, 2016, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|