Beinn Fhada

17 June 2016 was the last but one day in the 2016 hiking season. We had packed all our stuff into the car and had quit our quiet cottage in Glen Roy not too early in the morning. The drive up to Glen Shiel and then to Loch Duich had been swift, pleasant and uneventful. There wasn’t too much activity at the Morvich outdoor centre and camping spot that Friday morning. We set out towards Strath Croe first walking on the road and then, after crossing the Abhainn Chohaig, along the signposted and well-maintained footpath. It was a warm day. Soon a thin film of sweat appeared on our faces and forearms. We passed the grassy area below the steep face of Beinn Bhuide and entered Gleann Choinneachain.

I had been there several times before and remembered that the very convenient and well-maintained path climbs steadily and very gradually into the beautiful glen. Some pools and small waterfalls seemed quite inviting — if difficult to reach — from the high path. When maybe six or seven kilometres had been covered we reached the spot where the path towards Beinn Fhada branches off. Thereabouts we dropped our rucksacks and continued towards Bealach an Sgairne since we wanted to climb A’Ghlas-bheinn first. On the next kilometre the path leading to the bealach winds its way through and over boulders in the ever-narrowing glen. Quite interesting.

From the bealach we could not see much in the direction of the Affric hills since some clouds blocked the view. A pity. But the close-up details of the craggy and steep north face of Meall a’Bhealaich compensated a bit for the lack of grand vistas towards the east.

The continuation of the remaining 350m climb to the summit of A’Ghlas-bheinn was entertaining. First the path climbs steeply through rocky terrain broken by grassy […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 17th, 2016|1998, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

A’Ghlas-bheinn

17 June 2016 was the last but one day in the 2016 hiking season. We had packed all our stuff into the car and had quit our quiet cottage in Glen Roy not too early in the morning. The drive up to Glen Shiel and then to Loch Duich had been swift, pleasant and uneventful. There wasn’t too much activity at the Morvich outdoor centre and camping spot that Friday morning. We set out towards Strath Croe first walking on the road and then, after crossing the Abhainn Chohaig, along the signposted and well-maintained footpath. It was a warm day. Soon a thin film of sweat appeared on our faces and forearms. We passed the grassy area below the steep face of Beinn Bhuide and entered Gleann Choinneachain.

I had been there several times before and remembered that the very convenient and well-maintained path climbs steadily and very gradually into the beautiful glen. Some pools and small waterfalls seemed quite inviting — if difficult to reach — from the high path. When maybe six or seven kilometres had been covered we reached the spot where the path towards Beinn Fhada branches off. Thereabouts we dropped our rucksacks and continued towards Bealach an Sgairne since we wanted to climb A’Ghlas-bheinn first. On the next kilometre the path leading to the bealach winds its way through and over boulders in the ever-narrowing glen. Quite interesting.

From the bealach we could not see much in the direction of the Affric hills since some clouds blocked the view. A pity. But the close-up details of the craggy and steep north face of Meall a’Bhealaich compensated a bit for the lack of grand vistas towards the east.

The continuation of the remaining 350m climb to the summit of A’Ghlas-bheinn was entertaining. First the path climbs steeply through rocky terrain broken by grassy […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 17th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Ciste Dhubh

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 10th, 2016|2002, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Mullach Fraoch-choire

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 10th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

A’Chralaig

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 10th, 2016|1998, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Mam Sodhail

2015 was to be the year, when we wanted clear the far north of red flags (unbagged Munros on the maps of www.bgmb.de). With a few left to tick in Torridon, Fisherfield and the Ullapool hills we had a long drive north ahead of us in order to get where we wanted to: Our hunting lodge by Loch Coulin and the B&B in Ullapool to start with. But before the far north could be tackled we had unfinished business a little further south in Glen Affric which needed our attention. For me that meant Beinn Fhionnlaidh and for Frank it meant the whole group of Carn Eighe, Mam Sodhail and Beinn Fhionnlaidh. So our trip up from EDI took us to the Tomich Hotel, ideally suited as a starting point for this grand tour in Affric. We arrived early enough to sit outside, to bask in some of the warm sunshine and to have nice pint of lager. After a good meal, an early night and a full breakfast, we were at the start of the hike before ten o’clock the next morning: The parking where the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh flows into Loch Bheinn a’Mheadhoin.

Since we had already climbed Toll Creagach and Tom a’Choinich from there years earlier the Landrover track was well known to us. We quickly made progress on this good track and reached the spot where the path by the Allt Toll Easa branches off. We continued straight ahead on the path beside the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh further up into the wide open corrie/moor. After two more kilometres we headed up steepish terrain on grass and snow fields leading towards the Garbh Beallach. From there we continued up narrow sections of the ridge (the stalkers’ stairway) towards Sron Garbh and Stob aí Choire Dhomhain. The ridge between these two […]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+00:00April 24th, 2015|1999, 2015, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Beinn Fhionnlaidh

2015 was to be the year, when we wanted clear the far north of red flags (unbagged Munros on the maps of www.bgmb.de). With a few left to tick in Torridon, Fisherfield and the Ullapool hills we had a long drive north ahead of us in order to get where we wanted to: Our hunting lodge by Loch Coulin and the B&B in Ullapool to start with. But before the far north could be tackled we had unfinished business a little further south in Glen Affric which needed our attention. For me that meant Beinn Fhionnlaidh and for Frank it meant the whole group of Carn Eighe, Mam Sodhail and Beinn Fhionnlaidh. So our trip up from EDI took us to the Tomich Hotel, ideally suited as a starting point for this grand tour in Affric. We arrived early enough to sit outside, to bask in some of the warm sunshine and to have nice pint of lager. After a good meal, an early night and a full breakfast, we were at the start of the hike before ten o’clock the next morning: The parking where the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh flows into Loch Bheinn a’Mheadhoin.

Since we had already climbed Toll Creagach and Tom a’Choinich from there years earlier the Landrover track was well known to us. We quickly made progress on this good track and reached the spot where the path by the Allt Toll Easa branches off. We continued straight ahead on the path beside the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh further up into the wide open corrie/moor. After two more kilometres we headed up steepish terrain on grass and snow fields leading towards the Garbh Beallach. From there we continued up narrow sections of the ridge (the stalkers’ stairway) towards Sron Garbh and Stob aí Choire Dhomhain. The ridge between these two […]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+00:00April 24th, 2015|2015, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Carn Eighe

2015 was to be the year, when we wanted clear the far north of red flags (unbagged Munros on the maps of www.bgmb.de). With a few left to tick in Torridon, Fisherfield and the Ullapool hills we had a long drive north ahead of us in order to get where we wanted to: Our hunting lodge by Loch Coulin and the B&B in Ullapool to start with. But before the far north could be tackled we had unfinished business a little further south in Glen Affric which needed our attention. For me that meant Beinn Fhionnlaidh and for Frank it meant the whole group of Carn Eighe, Mam Sodhail and Beinn Fhionnlaidh. So our trip up from EDI took us to the Tomich Hotel, ideally suited as a starting point for this grand tour in Affric. We arrived early enough to sit outside, to bask in some of the warm sunshine and to have nice pint of lager. After a good meal, an early night and a full breakfast, we were at the start of the hike before ten o’clock the next morning: The parking where the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh flows into Loch Bheinn a’Mheadhoin.

Since we had already climbed Toll Creagach and Tom a’Choinich from there years earlier the Landrover track was well known to us. We quickly made progress on this good track and reached the spot where the path by the Allt Toll Easa branches off. We continued straight ahead on the path beside the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh further up into the wide open corrie/moor. After two more kilometres we headed up steepish terrain on grass and snow fields leading towards the Garbh Beallach. From there we continued up narrow sections of the ridge (the stalkers’ stairway) towards Sron Garbh and Stob aí Choire Dhomhain. The ridge between these two […]

2017-09-19T14:15:00+00:00April 24th, 2015|1999, 2015, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

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|