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Munro Count 2

It is as it is. We missed our compleating goal. 280 in the sack, 2 Munros left: A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor in Fisherfield Forest. We blame organizational faults and of course the weather. So another last trip is what we need to compleate. Nothing planned yet but we will for sure come again.

2017-09-19T14:14:55+02:00June 16th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Uncategorized|

Sgurr Dearg – The InPin

In 2007 Frank and I had been acting under the delusion of being able to summit the Inaccessible Pinnacle on our own when we had first visited the Sgurr Dearg summit area. But we soon had realized that climbing the Pinnacle without professional help would be foolhardy to say the least. So on 7 June 2017 we met our friendly guide Ian at the Glen Brittle Memorial Hut (why is it called ‘Memorial’ Hut?). Ian handed us our climbing gear (harness and helmet) and soon we were on our way on the path that leads up towards the Eas Mor and the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg.

After a short test of our stamina and fitness on behalf of Ian, who stormed up the path like a torpedo, we settled into a more leisurely speed suited to our limited energies and lower lung capacities. Anyhow, we made good progress on the excellent path and soon left the grass behind. The lower part of the ridge between Coire na Banachdich and Coire Laggan is quite steep and in the middle of the ascent a chimney of sorts catered for some very mild scrambling in order to avoid an alternative path in the unpleasantly steep scree slope. Soon we topped out on a slightly flatter section of the ridge and continued on the obvious path towards Sgurr Dearg. Ian pointed out the highest source of fresh water in the Cuillins, a little spring where cold water was merrily dripping from one of the rocks. Delicious. The views into the corries below and out towards the sea were stupendous! Only the summits hid in the clouds on this otherwise sunny day.

Then we were getting close to the rocky upper section of Sgurr Dearg’s ante summit(s). Due to the traffic on the ridge and the possibility of someone above us dislodging stones we put on our helmets before we entered into the more scrambly section of the climb towards Sgurr Dearg. Over boulders, along the ridge and along ledges Ian led us through the clouds … [Read More]

2019-01-02T22:06:31+02:00June 9th, 2017|2007, 2017, 2019 - 2010, The Islands|

Sgurr Dubh Mor

June 2017 was a rather wet month in the Northwest Highlands. Frank and I had experienced what it means to be scrambling in the Skye Cuillins in bad weather in 2007 when we climbed five Skye Munros in clag, got drenched to the bones on more than one occasion and turned back a few dozen metres below the summit of Sgurr Dubh Mor because the rocks were wet and slippery on the more exposed parts of the scramble. So this time we patiently waited for a weather forecast predicting acceptable conditions in the Cuillins.

Thursday 8 June 2017 was such a day. At about nine o’clock we parked our car at the end of the public road in Glen Brittle and set off towards Coire a’Ghrunnda. The going on the broad path was easy until we rounded Sron na Ciche and the steep rocky climb into Coire a’Ghrunnda proper started. Once the first steep section was completed at about 400m the lip of the upper corrie girt by large rocks, boulder fields and the outflow of the loch cascading down over a succession of slabs came into view about 250m above our present position. We continued the climb up the steep path on the very left-hand side of the corrie through scree and over boulders in the passing company of three or four other groups of hikers. Some minor scrambling was called for before we reached the Loch Coire a’Ghrunnda at about 700m. This is a real gem of a corrie! We sat close by the shoreline of the loch and marvelled at the scenery trying to name the hills which encircle the loch.

Our aim was Sgurr Dubh Mor which is not visible from the corrie since its slightly lower sibling Sgurr Dubh an da Bheinn and Caisteal a’ Garbh-choire line the main Cuillin ridge and block the view towards the Munro located on a side ridge leading towards the east. From the loch we climbed up towards the Bealach a’ Garbh-choire but aimed too far south so that some … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 8th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, The Islands|

Sgurr Ban

A repeat. At least most of the tour was a repeat of what we did two years ago when we climbed Beinn Tarsuinn. You see, the approach to these three Munros is definitely the longest bit of the tour and the really hilly part of the tour is not that long. Then, on the last day in April 2015, conditions had been quite wintry with slushy, powdery, compacted or icy snow underfoot depending on the aspect of the hill and the altitude you were at. That day we had not been able to add Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban to our tick list.

On 7 June 2017 the conditions were different since there was no snow left anymore this late in spring. But again like 25 months ago we left our bicycles at the Heights of Kinlochewe. Again we climbed the Landover track beside the Abhainn Gleann na Muice and gained the open moor. Just as in 2015 the hike to Lochan Fhada offered great views of Slioch’s north-west aspects, of Beinn Tarsuinn, Meall Garbh and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. At least when the hills peeped out from the rain clouds.

But the ground was reasonably dry, even though there had been rain and some showers very recently, when we picked up the faint track leading through grass and over some slabby sections all the way from the shore of beautiful Lochan Fhada to the Bealach Odhar. We reached the bealach and sat down in the lee of some rocks to enjoy the views of A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mòr in the sunshine. Then without further ado we continued along the bypass path below Meall Garbh and reached the foot of the steep south ridge of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

This is quite some climb, the first 120m of which led over and around huge slabs and rocks made of red sandstone displaying some beautiful examples of woolsack weathering. Then the sandstone abruptly gave way to big white quartzite boulders through which and over which a faint track climbed all the … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 7th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|

Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

A repeat. At least most of the tour was a repeat of what we did two years ago when we climbed Beinn Tarsuinn. You see, the approach to these three Munros is definitely the longest bit of the tour and the really hilly part of the tour is not that long. Then, on the last day in April 2015, conditions had been quite wintry with slushy, powdery, compacted or icy snow underfoot depending on the aspect of the hill and the altitude you were at. That day we had not been able to add Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban to our tick list.

On 7 June 2017 the conditions were different since there was no snow left anymore this late in spring. But again like 25 months ago we left our bicycles at the Heights of Kinlochewe. Again we climbed the Landover track beside the Abhainn Gleann na Muice and gained the open moor. Just as in 2015 the hike to Lochan Fhada offered great views of Slioch’s north-west aspects, of Beinn Tarsuinn, Meall Garbh and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. At least when the hills peeped out from the rain clouds.

But the ground was reasonably dry, even though there had been rain and some showers very recently, when we picked up the faint track leading through grass and over some slabby sections all the way from the shore of beautiful Lochan Fhada to the Bealach Odhar. We reached the bealach and sat down in the lee of some rocks to enjoy the views of A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mòr in the sunshine. Then without further ado we continued along the bypass path below Meall Garbh and reached the foot of the steep south ridge of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

This is quite some climb, the first 120m of which led over and around huge slabs and rocks made of red sandstone displaying some beautiful examples of woolsack weathering. Then the sandstone abruptly gave way to big white quartzite boulders through which and over which a faint track climbed all the … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 7th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Loch Marree to Loch Broom, looking forward to|

Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich

6 June 2017 was a rather wet and windy day. It wasn’t too bad when we parked our Audi outside Attadale Gardens in the lot provided for hikers’ cars. Only later, on the hills, did the downpour really thrash us.

This early in the day, however, spirits were high. But we were also a little apprehensive of the task ahead since the cycle tour to the bothy at Bendronaig Lodge is no piece of cake. And after one kilometre on flat ground the 300m climb to the high point of the hydro road above Loch na Caillich and below Meall Ruadh (454m) started. This was steep in many sections but also had one or two stretches which provided some respite. Do I need to mention that we were overtaken by quite a few lorries making their way towards the hydro constructions further up the Glen?

From the highpoint of the road at about 330m it was a long swoosh down to the bridge over the Black Water where the hydro construction village was situated. Another kilometre on the new hydro road got us to the bothy. There we paused, changed into hiking gear and set off in the rain towards Loch Calavie. On a better day we would have enjoyed the remoteness of the surrounding hills and the setting of the loch but on 6 June 2017 the place looked dreary to desolate. Sorry to say.

At the loch we pause for a snack and then climbed the steepish hillside beside the Allt Coire Calavie. In fact there are several small streams but the Allt Coire Calavie is the biggest and most easterly burn. For me the going was tough as the ground was soaked and the wind hit us front-on. I made it to the col between the two Munros: Cheesecake to the left (i.e. northwest), Lurg to the right (i.e. southeast). There I chatted to a group of three cheerful Scots who lifted my spirits with their kind words. I followed Frank towards Lurg Mhor first over a steeper and rockier … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 6th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|

Lurg Mhor

6 June 2017 was a rather wet and windy day. It wasn’t too bad when we parked our Audi outside Attadale Gardens in the lot provided for hikers’ cars. Only later, on the hills, did the downpour really thrash us.

This early in the day, however, spirits were high. But we were also a little apprehensive of the task ahead since the cycle tour to the bothy at Bendronaig Lodge is no piece of cake. And after one kilometre on flat ground the 300m climb to the high point of the hydro road above Loch na Caillich and below Meall Ruadh (454m) started. This was steep in many sections but also had one or two stretches which provided some respite. Do I need to mention that we were overtaken by quite a few lorries making their way towards the hydro constructions further up the Glen?

From the highpoint of the road at about 330m it was a long swoosh down to the bridge over the Black Water where the hydro construction village was situated. Another kilometre on the new hydro road got us to the bothy. There we paused, changed into hiking gear and set off in the rain towards Loch Calavie. On a better day we would have enjoyed the remoteness of the surrounding hills and the setting of the loch but on 6 June 2017 the place looked dreary to desolate. Sorry to say.

At the loch we pause for a snack and then climbed the steepish hillside beside the Allt Coire Calavie. In fact there are several small streams but the Allt Coire Calavie is the biggest and most easterly burn. For me the going was tough as the ground was soaked and the wind hit us front-on. I made it to the col between the two Munros: Cheesecake to the left (i.e. northwest), Lurg to the right (i.e. southeast). There I chatted to a group of three cheerful Scots who lifted my spirits with their kind words. I followed Frank towards Lurg Mhor first over a steeper and rockier … [Read More]

2019-01-02T22:05:49+02:00June 6th, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron, looking forward to|

Bruach na Frithe

After our delightful excursion to Knoydart, Inverie and Meall Buidhe we took the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale and arrived at the Sligachan Hotel around midday. We were definitely not the only people there :-). But soon we left the hustle and bustle of the hotel’s surroundings and the road intersection behind us and climbed the path beside the Allt Dearg Beag.

The going was easy, the path was obvious and the weather was okay with only one stiff shower accompanying our progress. After three kilometres we reached the steep and rocky hillside that blocks easy entrance into Corrie a’Basteir and forms the left side of the Basteir Gorge (orographically, that is). Frank and I followed the more or less obvious path first through scree and then over some ledges in the rocks. Soon the path passed above the Basteir Gorge and took us into beautiful Corrie a’Basteir. We paused for ten minutes in the corrie and took in the views of Pinnacle Ridge, Am Basteir and the Basteir Tooth. A great place to be in the sunshine which we were lucky enough to have on this Saturday afternoon.

You can never get enough of such views but we finally tore ourselves away from them and embarked on the steep climb towards Bealach a’Basteir which we reached just as heavy rain set in. Rats! I was a little slower than Frank so that when I reached the Bad Step in the ridge of Am Basteir Frank was already coming back and I decided that I would not continue to the summit in view of the very slippery surface of the basalt rocks.

Instead we returned to Bealach a’Basteir, contoured around the foot of Am Basteir, gained Bealach na Lice and continued to Bruach na Frithe which Frank climbed in thick clouds while I waited for him on the ridge. With the second Munro of this walk bagged by Frank we returned to Bealach na Lice and followed the well-cairned and easy path leading down into Fionn Choire and towards the Allt Dearg Mor. … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 3rd, 2017|2000, 2017, 2019 - 2010, The Islands|

Am Basteir

After our delightful excursion to Knoydart, Inverie and Meall Buidhe we took the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale and arrived at the Sligachan Hotel around midday. We were definitely not the only people there :-). But soon we left the hustle and bustle of the hotel’s surroundings and the road intersection behind us and climbed the path beside the Allt Dearg Beag.

The going was easy, the path was obvious and the weather was okay with only one stiff shower accompanying our progress. After three kilometres we reached the steep and rocky hillside that blocks easy entrance into Corrie a’Basteir and forms the left side of the Basteir Gorge (orographically, that is). Frank and I followed the more or less obvious path first through scree and then over some ledges in the rocks. Soon the path passed above the Basteir Gorge and took us into beautiful Corrie a’Basteir. We paused for ten minutes in the corrie and took in the views of Pinnacle Ridge, Am Basteir and the Basteir Tooth. A great place to be in the sunshine which we were lucky enough to have on this Saturday afternoon.

You can never get enough of such views but we finally tore ourselves away from them and embarked on the steep climb towards Bealach a’Basteir which we reached just as heavy rain set in. Rats! I was a little slower than Frank so that when I reached the Bad Step in the ridge of Am Basteir Frank was already coming back and I decided that I would not continue to the summit in view of the very slippery surface of the basalt rocks.

Instead we returned to Bealach a’Basteir, contoured around the foot of Am Basteir, gained Bealach na Lice and continued to Bruach na Frithe which Frank climbed in thick clouds while I waited for him on the ridge. With the second Munro of this walk bagged by Frank we returned to Bealach na Lice and followed the well-cairned and easy path leading down into Fionn Choire and towards the Allt Dearg Mor. … [Read More]

2019-01-03T17:12:15+02:00June 3rd, 2017|2000, 2017, 2019 - 2010, The Islands|

Meall Buidhe

The Knoydart peninsula proper has three Munros: Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe. Frank and I had climbed the first two of them in 1993 (Ladhar B.) and 2010 (Luinne B.). On both occasions we had walked into Knoydart from Barrisdale and had walked out again the same day. Both hikes were memorable leaving us with lasting memories and burning soles.

For the third Munro on the peninsula we opted for the approach from Inverie. The evening before the hike we took the boat from Mallaig to Inverie, enjoyed the marvellous panorama this maritime approach holds in store, checked into our accommodation (Knoydart Lodge, very nice!) and spent the evening in the Old Forge in the company of a Scots/American group of friendly hikers who also stayed at the Lodge.

The next morning saw us peeling out of bed bleary-eyed, eating a hearty breakfast in the communal kitchen of the lodge and then setting off towards Meall Buidhe. The Landrover track from Inverie and the ensuing good path made for an easy first hour of hiking at the end of which we reached the Druim bothy. From there it was another ten minutes to the footbridge over the Allt Gleann Meadail at the entrance to the eponymous glen.

From the entrance to Gleann Meadail we hit the steep slope to the left overgrown with bracken which – after about 250m of very arduous climbing – deposited us on the grassy back of the Druim Righeanaich ridge. From there it was a straightforward if steepish and longish climb to the pre-summit of An t-Uiriollach (826m) and down to the 770m-or-so bealach at the foot of the final climb to Meall Buidhe’s summit and cairn at 946m.

There we rested for a while and tried to take some photographs when there were short breaks in the clouds that shrowded the summit on and off. There was no use in continuing towards the east summit of Meall Buidhe since there were no views. But we had seen all of Knoydart including the Matterhorn (ha-ha!) shape of … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+02:00June 2nd, 2017|2017, 2019 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel, looking forward to|