Beinn a’Chleibh

Many years ago when Frank and I had climbed Ben Lui the weather and the views had not been really great (in fact it had been a rather dreich day). So we had skipped the extension to Beinn a’Chleibh, then. This meant that we still had this half-day walk to do that we could slip in when it suited us. The right time came on 18 November 2014 when we needed to catch an afternoon flight out of Edinburgh and had the morning at our disposal.

From Loch Fyne where we had stayed for a long weekend we drove to Loch Awe and then onwards to Glen Lochy where we left our car in the big hikers’ parking where the tramp up Beinn a’Chleibh starts. At 0810h a.m. Frank and I crossed the River Lochy (dry-shod) using stepping stones – the weather had been rather dry the past few days! Then we walked along the left bank of the river, crept under the railway bridge over the Eas Daimh and picked up the obvious path on the right bank of the burn. For the next few hundred metres the path was fine and easy to follow. Then a tributary stream coming from the left needed to be crossed. This was a little tricky but some friendly hiker had installed a rope spanning that stream which gave us something to hold on to during the slippery crossing.

Then the real fun started. The path deteriorated into one of the worst quagmires I have ever experienced in all my years of hiking in Scotland. Bog, water holes and slushy moss. Legs sinking in almost to the knees when you hit a bad spot. All of this while ascending steeply through the forest beside the Eas Daimh. Then finally after many curses and a very tiring 45 minutes we […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00November 18th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Ben Vorlich

Of the two Beinn Vorlich Munros this was the second one I had the privilege of climbing. No. 1, the Loch Earn Munro, had been my two hundredth Munro. And yes: After topping out on that one Frank and I had become increasingly single-minded and very intent on finishing off the tick list at last. That single-mindedness was also the reason why we had decided to come to Scotland in the middle of November to bag the Arrochar Alps.

On a misty Monday morning on 17 November we thus parked at the hikers’ layby opposite Ardlui Station. The rain gear came on immediately since it was cold and very damp. We followed the road to the second railway underpass and turned right to cross under the West Highland Railway Line. The path then continued uphill through grass for a few hundred metres until it reached the burn draining Coire Creagach which had a rough mountain track for ATVs high on its left bank.

This ATV track climbed very steeply into the open upper reaches of Coire Creagach. The terrain underfoot changed from grit to grass and bog but the ATV track remained easily recognizable all the way to the bealach between Stob nan Choinnch Bhacain and Beinn Vorlich.

From the bealach we followed a faint path that climbed around the first steep rise in the north-east ridge. Then we decided to gain the crest of the ridge which had some steep sections and became rockier the further up you get. There were one or two rock bands which sported some easy scrambling but which also required great care because of the wet weather and the slippery surface of the rocks underneath.

Then the North Top of Beinn Vorlich appeared before us in the fog. From there it was an easy stroll over the broad ridge to the true […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00November 17th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Bhuidhe

Quite unexpectedly Frank and I had had the chance to steal away from work and other obligations in Germany to go on a long weekend of hill-walking in Scotland. The only drawback was the time of the year: Mid November. Weather-wise we expected the worst and hoped for the best. Ultimately it turned out that the weather gods were kind on us all of the four days we spent in the hills. No major downpours, not too many low clouds, not too much fog. 16 November was the best day and we had chosen to do the longest and most challenging walk that Sunday.

Beinn Bhuidhe is described as retiring, isolated and as being an “awkward customer” (Ralph Storer, The Ultimate Guide to the Munros, Volume 1: Southern Highlands). That may all be true. But it is also a hill that is approached by a long walk in on a good road and a Land Rover track in beautiful Glen Fyne.

At nine o’clock we left the parking at the head of Loch Fyne and walked past the brewery at Achdunan. The tarmac road and the nice views of the surrounding slopes made progress easy and interesting. Soon we passed through a herd of 30 highland cattle. Animals with quite impressive horns and a fair amount of curiosity. But very benign. Then after about five kilometres the bridge over the River Fyne was reached as were Glenfyne Lodge and the small assembly of houses nearby. Where the tarmac road turned right to re-cross the River Fyne we continued straight ahead on a good Land Rover track, went through a gate and soon reached Inverchorachan Bothy. Just past the bothy and outside the deer fence we stopped to drink some water, eat a Mars bar and get our bearings right. We exchanged a few words with a […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00November 16th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Narnain

The Arrochar Alps: What a grand name and what a nice alliteration. Not a very British choice of name, though, because calling these hills “Alps” does not exhibit the typical attitude of understatement that goes with being British. But perhaps there is a certain amount of eye-blinking irony in the name? We’ll probably never know.

It was Saturday morning, 15 November 2015. Frank and I had eaten a healthy Scottish breakfast at the Cairndow Inn, driven to Succoth, parked the car there, packed our backpacks, laced our boots, set our altimeters and crossed the A83. Then off we went towards Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain. We had opted for the New Cobbler Path that gradually climbs into the Glen of the Allt a’ Bhalachain. The zigzags and the firm surface of the path made progress easy. Soon we crossed the Land Rover track and then reached the point where the path reaches the Allt a’ Bhalachain’s bed and turns right to climb more steeply towards a little dam or weir. There we got the first views of The Cobbler appearing from the mist and the clouds before us. A very nice hill. My thoughts went back to the time when I had climbed to its summit many years ago. That had been real fun.

The continuation towards the Bealach a’Mhaim was easy on a perfectly engineered mountain highway. I remembered that the last time I had been there together with Mike the upper section of the path had been in a very bad condition. But not now. Past the Narnain Boulders we climbed in a steady fashion. And very soon the path levelled out at about 650m. We had reached the Bealach a’Mhaim and continued across it towards Beinn Ime. The bealach and the first Munro were hidden in clouds but after a minute or so […]

2018-08-31T08:40:23+00:00November 15th, 2014|2002, 2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Ime

The Arrochar Alps: What a grand name and what a nice alliteration. Not a very British choice of name, though, because calling these hills “Alps” does not exhibit the typical attitude of understatement that goes with being British. But perhaps there is a certain amount of eye-blinking irony in the name? We’ll probably never know.

It was Saturday morning, 15 November 2015. Frank and I had eaten a healthy Scottish breakfast at the Cairndow Inn, driven to Succoth, parked the car there, packed our backpacks, laced our boots, set our altimeters and crossed the A83. Then off we went towards Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain. We had opted for the New Cobbler Path that gradually climbs into the Glen of the Allt a’ Bhalachain. The zigzags and the firm surface of the path made progress easy. Soon we crossed the Land Rover track and then reached the point where the path reaches the Allt a’ Bhalachain’s bed and turns right to climb more steeply towards a little dam or weir. There we got the first views of The Cobbler appearing from the mist and the clouds before us. A very nice hill. My thoughts went back to the time when I had climbed to its summit many years ago. That had been real fun.

The continuation towards the Bealach a’Mhaim was easy on a perfectly engineered mountain highway. I remembered that the last time I had been there together with Mike the upper section of the path had been in a very bad condition. But not now. Past the Narnain Boulders we climbed in a steady fashion. And very soon the path levelled out at about 650m. We had reached the Bealach a’Mhaim and continued across it towards Beinn Ime. The bealach and the first Munro were hidden in clouds but after a minute or so […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00November 15th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Lomond to Loch Tay|

Beinn Dearg

A tramp along long land rover tracks on a warm day in early June was on the agenda. Beinn Dearg from Blair Atholl was the goal of the hike. We had left our cosy and comfortable cottage in Laggan for good and had headed south on the A9 to Blair Atholl where we parked our car in the hikers’ parking at Old Bridge of Tilt – not without having recceed the road to Old Blair beforehand and having found no place to leave the car. So up the private road to Old Blair we walked and soon entered the forest following the track high above the left bank of the Banvie Burn. We were overtaken by a couple of people giving their horses some exercise shortly before the track left behind the trees for good. It was quite warm and there was no protection from the sunshine anymore for hours on end. Frank and I sweated profusely and made good progress on the land rover track leading to the Lady March Cairn. From there the tramp on the track continued gaining metre after metre in altitude. Then the terrain levelled out before we lost 50-70 metres before reaching the bothy at the Allt Sheicheanchan.

A rougher track led along the right bank of this burn to an altitude of about 600-650 metres. Where the track crossed the burn and took a sharp turn right we picked up the path climbing the south slopes of Beinn Dearg’s outlier Meall Dubh nan Dearcag and leading to more level terrain on the whale back of the mountain. We struck a more or less direct line from there to the gravel-strewn and stony summit of Beinn Dearg which was nicely visible a mile ahead. On the way to the summit we walked over another intermediate grassy/heathery bump and […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00June 6th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Glen Garry to Braemar|

Beinn a’Chlachair

Gorillas in the mist? Well not exactly since there were no gorillas and we were not in Rwanda. But then: There was mist, there was the Moy Forest on the other side of the A 86, there were mountains all around. And there is a civilization encroaching on wild land in the form of forestry roads, hydro works and even the odd jogger on our route. But no Sigourney Weaver and no Diane Fossey.

Anyway. Years ago we had climbed Creag Pitridh and Geal Carn in quite appalling conditions. Strong winds, driving rain, no views. This time round we set Beinn a’Chlachair as our objective. We parked in the layby at the west end of Loch Laggan. Once outside the car we were attacked by midges, which meant a rather hurried start to the day.

We crossed the River Spean and took a left turn at the first fork of the forest road just before Luiblea. After a few metres a gate blocks the access to the Land Rover track on the right bank of the Abhainn Ghuilbinn. Once through the gate and on open land the Land Rover track climbs easily towards Lochan na Earba which is reached after maybe 45 to 50 minutes. On this track we were overtaken by a friendly jogger with whom we chatted a bit when we bumped into him again close to the Lochan. On the sandy shore of Lochan na Earba we took a break to drink and eat a muesli bar.

Refreshed we set our inner compass towards the bealach between Geal Carn and Beinn a’Chlachair. The climb beside the Allt Choire Pitridh is very comfortable since the path is well-maintained and easy to follow even in its upper section. Once at the Bealach Leamhain we decided not to climb towards the east ridge through boulders and over […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00June 5th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Carn a’Chlamain

A “good afternoon walk” from Forest Lodge on a stalkers path is what Mr McNeish proposes in “The Munros – Scotland’s Highest Mountains” for this remote hill. Not without adding that alternatively one could walk in from Old Blair and “make a day of it”. Just how one is supposed to make it to Forest Lodge before one can enjoy the afternoon walk is left open but one can assume that Mr McNeish might opt for staying at the lodge, flying in by helicopter, hitch-hiking a ride on somebody’s Land Rover or using some other means of transport to get to the Lodge.

Frank and I rode on our bicycles and chose the less scenic ascent of the hill by means of the Land Rover track from Clachglas. The bicycle ride up beautiful Glen Tilt was fun and the perfect condition of the dirt road up the glen made things quite easy. We were not alone in Glen Tilt either: people on horses, the odd car and one or two further groups of hikers kept us company.

Before we reached Clachglas we left our bicycles beside a field in which three horses spent a seemingly relaxing day doing things that horses do. The Land Rover track up the south-west shoulder of Carn aíChlamain is green at first but becomes very rough and rocky once the first bend of the track is reached and the summit of Carn aíChlamain comes into view. Route finding was no problem since the vehicle track climbs all the way almost to the summit. We made good progress and then paused in the heather beside the track to drink some water and eat an apple.

Apart from a fresh wind that got stronger the higher up we climbed the day was of a benign character. The sun took turns with some clouds and […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00June 4th, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Glen Garry to Braemar|

Beinn na Lap

3 June 2014 started out as a rainy day with drizzle and showers taking turns in raising the enthusiasm for hillwalking in remote hill country. But the Metoffice predicted a shift in the pattern and forecast nice weather with sunshine for the second half of the day. Accordingly the late morning saw Frank and me standing on the platform for the southbound trains at Tulloch Station.

The station is a nice building and it features a large roof which very conveniently protected us from the rain. In due course the train arrived; we boarded it, took our seats and bought our return tickets. The short trip from Tulloch to Corrour takes about twenty minutes. Loch Treig and the Eassins on the right-hand side, the very steep slopes of Stob Coire Sgriodain on the left of the track. Very scenic indeed. Then the train had finally climbed to the more open and level terrain of Rannoch Moor where Corrour Station came into view. There we disembarked, took a look around and then followed the Land Rover track towards Loch Ossian. We were accompanied by a dog, two horse riders and a cyclist who came from the Hotel at/in Corrour Station. There was even some car traffic on the track: Two Toyotas and a delivery van. Ahead we could see vehicles moving since some hydro works were under way.

Just before came to the shore of Loch Ossian we turned right and picked up the path skirting the northern slopes of Meall na Lice and leading towards Peter’s Rock. The boulder carries a memorial plaque for one of the wardens of the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel who died there one lonely winter. From the Rock we climbed uniform slopes of grass and heather until we reached the broad north-east ridge of Carn Dearg. As height is gained the […]

2017-09-19T14:15:01+00:00June 3rd, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|

Sgor Gaibhre

3 June 2014 started out as a rainy day with drizzle and showers taking turns in raising the enthusiasm for hillwalking in remote hill country. But the Metoffice predicted a shift in the pattern and forecast nice weather with sunshine for the second half of the day. Accordingly the late morning saw Frank and me standing on the platform for the southbound trains at Tulloch Station.

The station is a nice building and it features a large roof which very conveniently protected us from the rain. In due course the train arrived; we boarded it, took our seats and bought our return tickets. The short trip from Tulloch to Corrour takes about twenty minutes. Loch Treig and the Eassins on the right-hand side, the very steep slopes of Stob Coire Sgriodain on the left of the track. Very scenic indeed. Then the train had finally climbed to the more open and level terrain of Rannoch Moor where Corrour Station came into view. There we disembarked, took a look around and then followed the Land Rover track towards Loch Ossian. We were accompanied by a dog, two horse riders and a cyclist who came from the Hotel at/in Corrour Station. There was even some car traffic on the track: Two Toyotas and a delivery van. Ahead we could see vehicles moving since some hydro works were under way.

Just before came to the shore of Loch Ossian we turned right and picked up the path skirting the northern slopes of Meall na Lice and leading towards Peter’s Rock. The boulder carries a memorial plaque for one of the wardens of the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel who died there one lonely winter. From the Rock we climbed uniform slopes of grass and heather until we reached the broad north-east ridge of Carn Dearg. As height is gained the […]

2018-10-21T09:36:34+00:00June 3rd, 2014|2014, 2017 - 2010, Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht|