Sgurr Choinnich Mor

Roughly four years after Frank had bagged Sgurr Choinnich Mor in one go with Sgurr Ban and the Grey Corries, June 2016 saw us return to Glen Nevis so that I could bag the Big Mossy Peak as well. It was a damp and overcast day with massive clouds clinging to the Munros all the time, so when we set off from the parking at the Nevis Gorge we did not expect to enjoy panoramic views from the summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor.

The approach path to the hill of the day was of course well-known to Frank and me since we had been there at least four or five times before. Nonetheless it is always worth the while to come back to this beautiful spot after a few years and to see the gorge and the hills again. As usual we made good progress and soon reached the flats where the Water of Nevis meanders. The Falls of Steall boasted quite some water since there had been no real shortage of rainfall the days before. Very white and very beautiful. We pressed onwards and soon reached Steall ruin where the path towards Carn More Dearg and Aonach Beag branches of to the left.

Now we made the first steps on new terrain but the path continued onwards in a steady fashion: Well-engineered, mostly dry and very easily angled. After another two kilometres on the path we headed for the hill walking on a faint grassy path that clung to a stream coming down the hill from the environs of the col between Stob Coire Beallaich and Sgurr Choinnich Beag. We gained height very steadily. Soon we had to make a decision as to whether we wanted to include Sgurr Choinnich Beag in the hike or head for the col between that hill and Sgurr Choinnich […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 16th, 2016|2012, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Saileag

A weekend in October 2012 served as Frank’s and my getaway from work in Germany. But unfortunately the three days in the area north of Glen Shiel were both somewhat rainy and stricken by the mishap of a broken-down car. The malfunctioning of the Ford Focus necessitated a trip to Inverness to pick up a replacement car and meant one day less of hillwalking. What can you do?

So our second and last day in the hills was to be the tour of the eastern three Munros of the North Glen Shiel ridge: Saileag, Sgurr a´’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin. As seven years before when we had done the Five Sisters of Kintail we left our car at the parking where the steep path up to the Bealach an Lapain starts. The path had not changed much since 2005: Well-defined, zigzaggy and steep through grass on the lower slopes. More rocky and eroded further up. But nonetheless a good and straight-forward way to cover the 500m or so to the ridge. We got there after about one hour and turned due east, climbed the grassy ridge to Saileag and touched the cairn.

Clouds clung to the craggy ridges and flanks of Sgurr nan Spainteach and the closest three of the Five Sisters. Rain kept coming and going all the time. A somewhat wild feeling of being alone on this remarkable mountain range. I was satisfied with having completed the North Glen Shiel ridge by bagging Saileag. I was also sick that weekend and decided to return to the glen and the car right away by way of the ascent taken. Not very romantic but probably the best solution for me.

Frank, however, still had Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin to bag. So we split up our little party of two at Saileag’s summit. I was back […]

2017-09-19T14:15:04+00:00October 2nd, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Aonach Meadhoin

A weekend in October 2012 served as Frank’s and my getaway from work in Germany. But unfortunately the three days in the area north of Glen Shiel were both somewhat rainy and stricken by the mishap of a broken-down car. The malfunctioning of the Ford Focus necessitated a trip to Inverness to pick up a replacement car and meant one day less of hillwalking. What can you do?

So our second and last day in the hills was to be the tour of the eastern three Munros of the North Glen Shiel ridge: Saileag, Sgurr a´’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin. As seven years before when we had done the Five Sisters of Kintail we left our car at the parking where the steep path up to the Bealach an Lapain starts. The path had not changed much since 2005: Well-defined, zigzaggy and steep through grass on the lower slopes. More rocky and eroded further up. But nonetheless a good and straight-forward way to cover the 500m or so to the ridge. We got there after about one hour and turned due east, climbed the grassy ridge to Saileag and touched the cairn.

Clouds clung to the craggy ridges and flanks of Sgurr nan Spainteach and the closest three of the Five Sisters. Rain kept coming and going all the time. A somewhat wild feeling of being alone on this remarkable mountain range. I was satisfied with having completed the North Glen Shiel ridge by bagging Saileag. I was also sick that weekend and decided to return to the glen and the car right away by way of the ascent taken. Not very romantic but probably the best solution for me.

Frank, however, still had Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin to bag. So we split up our little party of two at Saileag’s summit. I was back […]

2017-09-19T14:15:04+00:00October 2nd, 2012|1997, 2012, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg

A weekend in October 2012 served as Frank’s and my getaway from work in Germany. But unfortunately the three days in the area north of Glen Shiel were both somewhat rainy and stricken by the mishap of a broken-down car. The malfunctioning of the Ford Focus necessitated a trip to Inverness to pick up a replacement car and meant one day less of hillwalking. What can you do?

So our second and last day in the hills was to be the tour of the eastern three Munros of the North Glen Shiel ridge: Saileag, Sgurr a´’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin. As seven years before when we had done the Five Sisters of Kintail we left our car at the parking where the steep path up to the Bealach an Lapain starts. The path had not changed much since 2005: Well-defined, zigzaggy and steep through grass on the lower slopes. More rocky and eroded further up. But nonetheless a good and straight-forward way to cover the 500m or so to the ridge. We got there after about one hour and turned due east, climbed the grassy ridge to Saileag and touched the cairn.

Clouds clung to the craggy ridges and flanks of Sgurr nan Spainteach and the closest three of the Five Sisters. Rain kept coming and going all the time. A somewhat wild feeling of being alone on this remarkable mountain range. I was satisfied with having completed the North Glen Shiel ridge by bagging Saileag. I was also sick that weekend and decided to return to the glen and the car right away by way of the ascent taken. Not very romantic but probably the best solution for me.

Frank, however, still had Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin to bag. So we split up our little party of two at Saileag’s summit. I was back […]

2017-09-19T14:15:04+00:00October 2nd, 2012|1997, 2012, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Mullach na Dheiragain

An old scar that had kept itching for more than six years: That is what Mullach na Dheiragain meant for Frank and me. When we climbed An Socach and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan in 2006 we had skipped this remote outlier since at least one of us had been too exhausted to add another 8-10 km from the summit of M22 just to bag this minor Munro. This had left us the task of reaching this remote Munro from somewhere else.

So in October 2012 we had rented a cottage in Camas-liunie at the end of the single track road which runs all the way from Ardelve along the shore of Loch Long. Camas-liunie is a really remote spot only a few kilometres from the A87. Great setting but only little sunshine in the northern fangs of Carn Loch nan Eun. From the cottage we cycled and pushed our old and worn-out bicycles along a rough track to the cottage in Glen Elchaig. There we joined the tarmac single-track going moderately uphill into Glen Elchaig. Soon Loch Elchaig was reached. Frank and me continued on the road along the bank of the loch, passed Carnach House and then finally arrived at Iron Lodge.

We left our bikes near Iron Lodge and climbed steeply on the rough track that heads in an easterly direction towards Loch Mullardoch. When this path/track had levelled off beside Loch an Droma we left it at a cairn and set out to cross the open, hillocky terrain that stretches towards the north ridge of Mullach na Dheiragain. There were traces of several tracks and/or paths to be followed. We headed towards the very steep crags of Creag a’ Choir Aird. We weaved our path through the broken bands of rocks and finally reached the ridge above. The ridge climbs moderately steeply over one […]

2017-09-19T14:16:13+00:00October 1st, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Ben More

The last day in Alba in May 2012 saw us climbing the only Island Munro outside Skye: Ben More on Mull.

We definitely did not want to save this hill as the last one in our first round of Munros. First, it simply did not feel right to us to do it like so many others. Second, we have neither unfit members of family nor unfit friends to accompany us to the summit of the last one so we need not pick an easy mountain for the final tour. Third, we wanted to see Mull this beautiful island in 2012 and not in 2016.

With these principal deliberations accomplished well before we left for Scotland in 2012 we had sailed to from Oban to Craignure the evening before, had spent a nice Friday evening and a relaxing night at the Craignure Inn and then had set out on the road trip to Loch na Keal. At Dhiseag we parked our car on the grass facing the sea. This being a Saturday morning we were in the company of MANY other hillwalkers: Children, men, women, grandads, grandmas, families.

We chose the easiest approach, the north-west ridge. Beside the Abhainn Dhiseig we climbed first on its right bank than beside the left bank. The going was easy on grass of only moderate steepness. Higher up the slope got steeper and considerably more rocky. It got colder, too. The wind was strong. The last 150-200 metres below the summit take the form of a skyline highway: A very broad and gritty path up the ridge. Very comfortable and good to keep up a steady walking rhythm. The summit ridge is flat and a few hundred metres long. There is a wide round stone wall on the summit which offers some protection from the wind. The views from the summit are […]

2017-09-19T14:16:13+00:00May 5th, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, The Islands|

Beinn Sgulaird

I had driven past this Munro many times in the almost 20 years I’ve been visiting Scotland for hillwalking. Most of the books don’t consider this hill as something special: A long bumpy ridge and some rocks in the summit region. Ralph Storer, however, gives the hill due respect in his book “The Ultimate Guide to the Munros”.

Druimavuic House at the end of Loch Creran is situated in a very nice garden and can be visited. We parked our car in a layby to the north of the house. From the parking we followed the forrest track past the perimeter drystane wall of Druimavouc house into the woods. The path climbs steeply and after about 100m it reaches the open hillside. It continues steeply. When it levels off a cairn marks the start of the path up the long west ridge of Beinn Sgulaird. The climb to point 488m is pleasant and height is gained quickly. Looking back on Loch Creran we took a short break to catch some breath.

Then we skirted the summit of point 488m and walked down the steep path into the cut before the next rise. From this beallach the track climbs steeply onto a broad grassy ridge which after another about 400m leads to point 863. This stretch of the climb takes its time but is an easy hike on a gradually rising ridge. At the top of point 863 the first rocks appear. The next three kilometres to the summit of Beinn Sgulaird lead over increasingly rocky or broken terrain. Level sections take turns with several steep descents and re-ascents – a very interesting and totally different terrain when compared to the first 90 minutes of the climb. Easy to moderate scrambling options were available in abundance. Very nice! At the summit we took a break and enjoyed […]

2017-09-19T14:16:13+00:00May 4th, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|

Stob Ban

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 […]

2018-11-20T05:36:59+00:00May 3rd, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Beinn Fhionnlaidh

These are two hills which receive not too much attention and are sort of off the beaten track. The weather being good we stuck to our plan of climbing Sgurr na-h Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh together in one outing. The day before we had climbed the Glen Etive Five (Ben Starav to Meall nan Eun) and we still felt quite exhausted after that 35km, 2400m and 12 hours trip. As seems most economical when climbing both hills in one go we started the hike from Invercharnan in Glen Etive.

The walk through the forest was nice in so far as the trees provided for some shade against the morning sun. But it was no exactly scenic since a lot of road construction and tree felling had been and still was going on. After about 45 minutes we reached the upper perimeter of the forest and walked into the wide open corrie between the slopes of Meall nan Gobhar and Meall a’Bhuiridh, both foothills of their respective Munros. We headed up the corrie in a northerly direction following an indistinct track and traces of footpaths. After a kilometre and a half we headed up to the col between Meall a’Bhuiridh and the foot of the south-east ridge of Sgurr na-h Ulaidh. This part of the walk was quite interesting since grass gave way to slabs and vice versa. At the foot of Sgurr na-h Ulaidh’s south-east ridge we took a short break before we tackled this rather steep way of ascent – but there is no easy-angled up this hill anyway. There were outcrops and sections of grass which together form several steps in the ridge. This made for an interesting and entertaining climb. There are remnants of an old fence which can be a guide in bad weather but we did not need any artificial […]

2017-09-19T14:16:14+00:00May 2nd, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|

Sgor na h-Ulaidh

These are two hills which receive not too much attention and are sort of off the beaten track. The weather being good we stuck to our plan of climbing Sgurr na-h Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh together in one outing. The day before we had climbed the Glen Etive Five (Ben Starav to Meall nan Eun) and we still felt quite exhausted after that 35km, 2400m and 12 hours trip. As seems most economical when climbing both hills in one go we started the hike from Invercharnan in Glen Etive.

The walk through the forest was nice in so far as the trees provided for some shade against the morning sun. But it was no exactly scenic since a lot of road construction and tree felling had been and still was going on. After about 45 minutes we reached the upper perimeter of the forest and walked into the wide open corrie between the slopes of Meall nan Gobhar and Meall a’Bhuiridh, both foothills of their respective Munros. We headed up the corrie in a northerly direction following an indistinct track and traces of footpaths. After a kilometre and a half we headed up to the col between Meall a’Bhuiridh and the foot of the south-east ridge of Sgurr na-h Ulaidh. This part of the walk was quite interesting since grass gave way to slabs and vice versa. At the foot of Sgurr na-h Ulaidh’s south-east ridge we took a short break before we tackled this rather steep way of ascent – but there is no easy-angled up this hill anyway. There were outcrops and sections of grass which together form several steps in the ridge. This made for an interesting and entertaining climb. There are remnants of an old fence which can be a guide in bad weather but we did not need any artificial […]

2017-09-19T14:16:14+00:00May 2nd, 2012|2012, 2017 - 2010, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|