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 […]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+00:00June 3rd, 2017|2000, 2017, 2017 - 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 […]

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

Maol Chean-dearg

The last hill tour of the 2015 “campaign” was the bare red headed hill of the Ben Damph / Coulin Forrest. Frank and I parked the Volvo at the lochside layby in Annat. While getting our things together we were joined by a mountain biker who also wanted to head for Maol Chean-dearg. We chatted a bit and after some “see you later” we set off behind him.

I (Cord) had already climbed Maol Chean-dearg from Annat in 2000 so the good path on gravel and over slabby terrain was kind of familiar. It climbs to an altitude of about 300m and then levels off when it reaches the flat terrain characterized by slabs, sand and two or three small lochans lying between Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Meall Dearg. Having passed Lochan Domhain we soon came to the banks of Loch an Eion. From there the north face of Maol Chean-dearg was quite an impressive view both ahead and also as reflected in the loch.

Again as I had done in 2000 we took the right-hand fork and followed the path around the west and later south flank of the hill towards the beallach between Maol Chean-dearg and An Ruadh Stac. This path rises steadily and more or less gently towards Loch Coire an Ruadh Stac and further on to a small round lochan with whitish quartzite walls that nestles nicely between the two hills. Here we again met “our” mountain biker who had embarked on the trip back to the car.

At the 590m beallach we had our second break of the walk and ate sandwiches basking in the sunshine. We left our rucksacks at the beallach and started the stiff climb up the steep 150m of the ridge consisting of quartzite and quartzite scree. From my memory I knew that a more level section would […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00May 1st, 2015|2000, 2015, 2017 - 2010, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|

Beinn Liath Mhor

Due to bad motivation and even worth weather when i first tried to tackle it in 2000 Beinn Liath Mhor was still on my ticking list. Call it fate or just coincidence but the choosen location of the 2015 session made me use a very seldom choosen approach – in terms of locations and transportation – from Coulin. To save me some steps Cord offered to drive me from our cottage using the landrover track with our Fiat 500 upgrade called V70. After a little consideration where we should end our approach trip, he dropped me off a little bit too early, the V70 would have easily made the 1.5 miles to the hut, but never mind. 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 accompanied 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 […]

2018-09-01T15:17:16+00:00April 28th, 2015|2000, 2015, 2017 - 2010, Coulin and Torridon|

Sgurr nan Clach Geala

2009 I had always looked forward to climbing A’Chailleach and Sgurr Breac one day since they form a compact and attractive group of two Munros with steep-sided ridges jutting out to the north. So it was with anticipation in my heart that Frank and I started the hike at the parking on the A832 where the landrover track to Loch a’Bhraoin starts.

From our last walk in this area when we climbed Sgurr nan Each we still had the recollection of a very soggy path which leads from the ruin on the lochside to the bridge over the outflow of Loch a’Bhraoin. However, this had been replaced by a well engineered path through the pine plantation and in no time we had crossed the bridge over the Abhainn Cuileig and started the climb of the steep north end of Druim RÈidh. Higher up the grass was dotted with boulders, outcrops and even some small trees in protected spots. Progress was made very nicely and soon we reached the much flatter part of the ridge at 550m. This was all very pleasant since the sun was shining and no rain was falling.

We continued southwards and after a kilometre the ridge became more defined. Nice views of the crags of Sgurr Breac, the gentle, curving ridges from Tomain Coinich to both Munros and of Loch Toll an Lochain were the reward for our efforts. Snow covered the ground in many places once we crossed the 750m contour. Then the summit of Tomain Coinich was gained, we turned west and descended a few dozen metres to the beallach where the steepish ridge leading to A’Chailleach begins. From the beallach to the summit the whole ridge was covered in snow – frozen in some places, soft in others.

At the summit cairn the wind was strong and […]

2017-09-19T14:17:06+00:00May 3rd, 2009|2000, 2009, 2009 - 2000, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|

Moruisg

This last but one mountain of the hill-walking holiday in September and October 2000 was to be a special one. Not only was it special for its unusually grassy character but also for the lessons in route planning and practical Gaelic it taught us. Appoaching Moruisg from the A890 road in Glen Carron we crossed the railway line and headed more or less straight up the long grassy north-west face of the hill.

The days before had seen quite some rain and the foot of the grassy hillside was a soaked sponge. We soon left the path which heads for the Corrie Toll nam Bian and went across the open hillside along the bank of one of the small burns comming down Moruisg. We had not climbed further up than 300 m when – watching a rainbow in Glen Carron – we saw that we had to put on our raingear. From the west heavy clouds and curtains of rain were approaching slowly. A few minutes later we saw the last spot of blue sky on our tour up Moruisg. We trodded up the side of the hill, zig-zagging the slope. The rain and wind got worse the higher up we came.

Moruisg is a hill that is deceptive in that you think that soon you will be on the broad ridge but it takes its time to climb the concave hillside. Finally, after some further layers of fleece having to be put on due to the very strong wind we reached Moruisg’s ridge a hundred metres west of the eastern cairn. So to the east we went and the strong westerly wind almost blew us away. We tried to rest in the lee of the cairn but there was no respite from the wind. Looking west we saw the other cairn on the […]

2017-09-19T14:18:53+00:00October 1st, 2000|2000, 2009 - 2000, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|

Sgorr Ruadh

The Coire Lair Skyline. Route 57 in Ralph Storer’s book. Many times had I gone through this particular tour on the map. But since we had abysmal weather on or first try and only made it round the first half of the Skyline i.e. Beinn Liath Mhor we decided to take a different, non-standard approach to Sgorr Ruadh. We parked our car at the car park normally used as a starting point for Beinn Eighe in Glen Torridon. Then we crossed the river and followed the path which passes the SMC’s Ling Hut and continues due south along the right bank of the Allt Frianach. The path, which is very well maintained, leads through the corrie of the hundred hillocks. After 4 km the good path ends and gives way to a rather indistinct one which climbs up the hillside in the direction of the Bealach Ban between Sgorr Ruadh and Meall Dearg. The path disappears and reappears in places and even though route finding is no problem in good weather the terrain is rather featureless. Just south-west of Beinn Liath Mhor’s western slopes we passed through a mossy section and crossed a small burn where we saw one of the biggest frogs we ever had seen in Scotland. Soon afterwards we could see the rocky knoll which dominates the Bealach Coire Lair. The ascent to Sgorr Ruadh’s shoulder from the lochan at the bealach is steep but short. The shattered stone structures of Sgorr Ruadh facing Coire Lair are interesting and impressive. Once on the ridge we carried on in a south-easterly direction over quartzite blocks. Soon we got to the higher layers of red sandstone and after we had climbed the last few metres we suddenly stood at the summit stone shelter. There the character of the hill changes completely from shattered […]

2017-09-19T14:18:53+00:00October 1st, 2000|2000, 2009 - 2000, Coulin and Torridon|

Mullach an Rathain

2000 The hill of hills. Since we had tried to climb Liathach in 1995 and had failed due to bad weather close to the ridge of the hill it had been on our mind. Now on a very sunny Saturday in September we set out to climb this precious Torridonian hill. This being the first Munro we climbed in this particular party since we went up Beinn Sgritheall in September 1995 we were very much looking forward to it. Comming from Lower Diabaig we set out early in the morming from the car park in Glen Torridon close to where the well-maintained path up the Allt an Doire Ghairbh leads up into Toll a’ Meitheach. We were soon ovmullertaken by several hillwalkers among them being a very swift walking lady who – as we were to learn later – was from California. We paused high up in the Toll and could see the lochans on top of Seana Mheallan across the Glen. Branching to the right we soon reached the bealach west of Stuc A’ Choire Dhuibh Bhig. We paused for some photographs and some water and continued west along the main ridge over  the two subsidiary tops of Bidean Toll A’ Mhuic to the bealach below Spidean a’ Choire Leith where the alternative route from Toll a’ Meitheach joins the path on the ridge. It looked very steep indeed from up there. From this point it was a short and sharp ascent to the summit of the day’s first Munro Spidean a’ Choire Leith. There we were soon accompanied by half a dozen other climbers, among them the Californian climber, who were all happy that they had made it and that the weather was so fine. The view across the glens to Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Beinn Eighe were marvellous. Most exciting […]

2017-09-19T14:18:53+00:00September 1st, 2000|2000, 2009 - 2000, Coulin and Torridon|

Spidean a’Choire Leith

2000 The hill of hills. Since we had tried to climb Liathach in 1995 and had failed due to bad weather close to the ridge of the hill it had been on our mind. Now on a very sunny Saturday in September we set out to climb this precious Torridonian hill. This being the first Munro we climbed in this particular party since we went up Beinn Sgritheall in September 1995 we were very much looking forward to it.

Comming from Lower Diabaig we set out early in the morming from the car park in Glen Torridon close to where the well-maintained path up the Allt an Doire Ghairbh leads up into Toll a’ Meitheach. We were soon overtaken by several hillwalkers among them being a very swift walking lady who – as we were to learn later – was from California.

We paused high up in the Toll and could see the lochans on top of Seana Mheallan across the Glen. Branching to the right we soon reached the bealach west of Stuc A’ Choire Dhuibh Bhig. We paused for some photographs and some water and continued west along the main ridge over  the two subsidiary tops of Bidean Toll A’ Mhuic to the bealach below Spidean a’ Choire Leith where the alternative route from Toll a’ Meitheach joins the path on the ridge. It looked very steep indeed from up there.

From this point it was a short and sharp ascent to the summit of the day’s first Munro Spidean a’ Choire Leith. There we were soon accompanied by half a dozen other climbers, among them the Californian climber, who were all happy that they had made it and that the weather was so fine.

The view across the glens to Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Beinn Eighe were marvellous. Most exciting was the look ahead, though, […]

2017-09-19T14:18:53+00:00September 1st, 2000|2000, 2009 - 2000, Coulin and Torridon|

Ruadh-stac Mor

2000 Beinn Eighe. Quite a few times before – when passing through Glen Torridon – I had seen its scree flanks and had wondered what the northern corries of that giant hill might look like. Now in the late morning of a beautifully sunny late September day Stephanie dropped me off at the car park close to where the Allt Coire an Anmoich crosses the road from Torridon village to Kinlochewe. Vigourously I walked up the well-maintained path into Coire Dubh Mor from where – after an hour of walking – I caught my life’s first glimpse of the Pinnacle Ridge of Liathach’s Meall Dearg. Wow! Soon I reached the fork of the path and continued around the steep flank of Sail Mhor to the entrance of Coire Mhic Fhearchair. The Tripple Buttress is so beautiful from Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair – I paused and marvelled at it. What a corrie!! Soon I had made my way around the loch and started the ascent of the south eastern corner of Coire Mhic Fhearchair where a succession of pools makes for interesting walking. Once above the pools I started the slog up the scree gully during which I met a friendly group of hillwalkers on their way down from Beinn Eighe. When I had reached the bealach I continued to the summit of Ruadh-stac Mor. I took in the views over the plateau stretching out to the north with remote Baosbeinn and its neighbour Beinn an Eoin being just two of the interesting hills protruding from that flat area of high land bordering Loch Maree. Alas, I had to go on since time was scarce: Stephanie was to pick me up from the car park in Glen Torridon in three hours time and I wanted to see more of this grand hill. So back I […]

2017-09-19T14:18:53+00:00September 1st, 2000|2000, 2009 - 2000, Coulin and Torridon|