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 […]

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

Gulvain

June 2016 saw us climb some very nice hills. Our cottage was located more or less centrally in Roy Bridge and we bagged what was left to be done for us in the Grey Corries, in Kintail, by Lochs Arkaig and Eil. 15 June was the day for Gulvain, a solitary hill well hidden from roadside views: Even on fortunate days which boast clear skies and sunshine. A privilege we definitely did not enjoy since the weather was rather – how am I going to put it – adverse. We parked our car in the vicinity of the A830/A 861 junction. The A 861 had been one of our connections to civilization in 1998 when we had spent three (!) marvellous (!) weeks in Glenborrodale in Ardnamurchan. There our plan to climb all the Munros had first taken shape during a sunny and warm September holiday, by the way.

No such gentle conditions today: All raingear went on at street level. There was a stiff wind and the occasional blustery shower that had to be braved. Our hike to Gulvainís foot took us for about 6 km along the Landrover track up Gleann Fionnlinghe. The lower reaches of the glen are wooded and quite nice. You pass Wauchan cottage, then leave the forest two kilometres onwards and continue on the rough track for maybe another two kilometres to Gulvain. The path up the uniformly steep and grassy southwest ridge (see photo) is obvious and well-trodden, if a bit squishy at the start. The more height is gained the more the grass disappears and gives way to stones, gravel, sand and rocks. But the way ahead is always obvious and route-finding is no problem even in the thickest of clouds which, incidentally, we had the expected pleasure of encountering on the higher slopes of the hill.

Even […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 15th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr na Sgine

On 14 June 2016 we had something very special on the agenda. Special because the tour included the first Munro I had ever climbed: The Saddle, in 1993. And special, too, as the day would see us climb Sgurr na Sgine the only Munro that had seen me turn back from it twice, both times in driving snow in winter 1997/1998. So I was utterly determined to finally bag the Hill of the Knife 18 years on.

We started the hike at the layby on the A87 in Glen Shiel and followed the path leading to the foot of the steep north-east ridge of Faochag. Once we had crossed the Allt Mhàlagain we turned right and headed towards the path leading up to Meallan Odhar. I admit that was a somewhat spontaneous approach but we had been too bloody stupid to pick the old military road earlier on. Ok, no harm done. Once we had reached the Meallan Odhar path it was a steady plod up this hikers’ highway until finally the shoulder between Biod an Fhitich and Meallan Odhar invited us to have a break and to drink some water. The view towards the Forcan Ridge and the Saddle was to die for. But dying was not high on our list of things to do. So instead we continued on the path bypassing Meallan Odhar’s summit which leads to the foot of the Forcan Ridge.

What can you say? The first time I had been there was in 1993 also with Frank. The climb up the ridge had been a dance up the crest. The Forcan Ridge still was real fun to climb in 2016. Its steepness, sharpness and exposure making it a great scrambling experience and I was glad that we had included The Saddle as a non-essential extra repeat Munro in this […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 14th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

The Saddle

On 14 June 2016 we had something very special on the agenda. Special because the tour included the first Munro I had ever climbed: The Saddle, in 1993. And special, too, as the day would see us climb Sgurr na Sgine the only Munro that had seen me turn back from it twice, both times in driving snow in winter 1997/1998. So I was utterly determined to finally bag the Hill of the Knife 18 years on.

We started the hike at the layby on the A87 in Glen Shiel and followed the path leading to the foot of the steep north-east ridge of Faochag. Once we had crossed the Allt Mhàlagain we turned right and headed towards the path leading up to Meallan Odhar. I admit that was a somewhat spontaneous approach but we had been too bloody stupid to pick the old military road earlier on. Ok, no harm done. Once we had reached the Meallan Odhar path it was a steady plod up this hikers’ highway until finally the shoulder between Biod an Fhitich and Meallan Odhar invited us to have a break and to drink some water. The view towards the Forcan Ridge and the Saddle was to die for. But dying was not high on our list of things to do. So instead we continued on the path bypassing Meallan Odhar’s summit which leads to the foot of the Forcan Ridge.

What can you say? The first time I had been there was in 1993 also with Frank. The climb up the ridge had been a dance up the crest. The Forcan Ridge still was real fun to climb in 2016. Its steepness, sharpness and exposure making it a great scrambling experience and I was glad that we had included The Saddle as a non-essential extra repeat Munro in this […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 14th, 2016|1993, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr Mor

2016 Sgurr Mor is a rather isolated hill usually climbed by itself. Unless of course you are an ultra-fit hillwalker as my friend Frank is who had bagged the hill as a moderately exhausting minor extension to our memorable Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan hike a few years ago. This feat of his had left me with a sore spot in my record that called for me making amends.

Fortunately, Frank had agreed to accompany me on my attempt to climb Sgurr Mor in a one-hill-expedition from Strathan in 2016. So a nice day in June 2016 saw us drive down the uuunnnndulating road on the north side of Glen Arkaig towards the parking at the end of the loch. From Strathan we continued on the track towards Glen Dessary Lodge. A few minutes before reaching the lodge we climbed the easy path up to the long and wide beallach (at about 360m) between Druim a’ Chuirn and Fraoch Bheinn. From there we moved towards Glen Kingie skirting the north east ridge of Druim aí Chuirn and heading towards the path alongside the developing River Kingie. On the way we paused sitting in the long grass.

When the path beside the River Kingie was reached we turned due west and followed it all the way to the Sgurr Mor ridge above. On the ascent the well-engineered path zigzags up the southern flank of An Eag and Sgurr Beag very nicely. We gained altitude in a steady fashion. Once on the ridge and west of Sgurr Beag we rested and ate some of our sandwiches. Another hiker — the only other one that day — was visible climbing Sgurr Mor. We lost sight of him in the mist later. From the beallach between Sgurr Beag and Sgurr Mor we climbed the path that […]

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 13th, 2016|2010, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr nan Coireachan

The Corryhully Horseshoe had long been on our list of very desirable hill walks in Alba. Maybe not as grandiose as the Ring of Steall or Sgurr na Ciche but nonetheless some tour to look forward to very much. 12 June 2016 saw us go about fulfilling that plan. It was a warm day and the midges were already showing us some attention when we prepared our kick-off for the day at the parking beside the River Finnan in Glenfinnan Village. Off we went and quickly reached the viaduct which I had last seen, when Birgit, Stephanie and I had visited the eastern Munro of the Horseshoe in 1998. Harry Potter films had then not been known and the viaduct had not acquired its present notoriety.

Of course progress was swift and easy. The glen is beautiful and so is the meandering River Finnan. After 45 minutes we crossed the Allt a Caol Ghleann and passed Corryhully Bothy. There the Landover track becomes a little steeper and we gained some height as we progressed another kilometre. Then, however, the cairn indicating the start of the ascent of Sgurr nan Coireachan’s steep and rocky southeast ridge appeared to the left. We deposited a bottle of water for the return leg of the hike and commenced the long climb towards the Sgurr.

The path is rather well-engineered and there was some material left beside it which indicated that maintenance work had been done. Somebody had even left a wheel barrow there. Rising first gently and then after a major bend more pronouncedly the path climbed over several rocky steps in the ridge which took turns with slightly more level grassy sections. Soon the terrain got more and more rocky. At a spot where the path leaves the crest of the ridge to climb a few dozen metres to […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 12th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr Thuilm

The Corryhully Horseshoe had long been on our list of very desirable hill walks in Alba. Maybe not as grandiose as the Ring of Steall or Sgurr na Ciche but nonetheless some tour to look forward to very much. 12 June 2016 saw us go about fulfilling that plan. It was a warm day and the midges were already showing us some attention when we prepared our kick-off for the day at the parking beside the River Finnan in Glenfinnan Village. Off we went and quickly reached the viaduct which I had last seen, when Birgit, Stephanie and I had visited the eastern Munro of the Horseshoe in 1998. Harry Potter films had then not been known and the viaduct had not acquired its present notoriety.

Of course progress was swift and easy. The glen is beautiful and so is the meandering River Finnan. After 45 minutes we crossed the Allt a Caol Ghleann and passed Corryhully Bothy. There the Landover track becomes a little steeper and we gained some height as we progressed another kilometre. Then, however, the cairn indicating the start of the ascent of Sgurr nan Coireachan’s steep and rocky southeast ridge appeared to the left. We deposited a bottle of water for the return leg of the hike and commenced the long climb towards the Sgurr.

The path is rather well-engineered and there was some material left beside it which indicated that maintenance work had been done. Somebody had even left a wheel barrow there. Rising first gently and then after a major bend more pronouncedly the path climbed over several rocky steps in the ridge which took turns with slightly more level grassy sections. Soon the terrain got more and more rocky. At a spot where the path leaves the crest of the ridge to climb a few dozen metres to […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 12th, 2016|1998, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sron a’Choire Ghairbh

The second hike of 2016 was scheduled for a set of two Munros which I had visited twice before on each occasion bagging one of them. I had climbed one with Alex (Sron) and the other one with Mike (Meall). Today Frank and I were to combine them in one hike from the Cam Bealach (or at least Frank had to combine them since he still needed the ticks in his list).

From the parking just before the farm in Kilfinnan we followed the usual approach on the forest road, passing a few holiday homes or huts and then took the upper branch of the road through the dense fir plantation. It was an overcast day and occasionally a few drops of rain fell from the clouds. When three or three and a half kilometres were behind us we left the road took the good path branching off to the right and started the climb beside the Allt Glas-Dhoire. This path is steep at first but soon after you leave the forest the gradient eases. The continuation up the Cam Bhealach is quite scenic since both Sean Mheall to the north and Beall Dubh to the south of the glen hold interest for the wandering eye with their rocky faces and gullies. We made good progress and after maybe six kilometres were covered we reached the bealach between the two hills.

Here I decided that one Munro would be enough for today (no summit views) and Frank set of towards Sron aíChoire Ghairbh climbing the very well-engineered stalkers (?) path which leads almost all the way to the summit ridge and level summit of the Munro. I lay down in a comfortable spot close to the bealach and dozed for maybe 40 minutes. Then another walker reached the bealach also from the Loch Lochy side and […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 11th, 2016|2005, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Meall na Teanga

The second hike of 2016 was scheduled for a set of two Munros which I had visited twice before on each occasion bagging one of them. I had climbed one with Alex (Sron) and the other one with Mike (Meall). Today Frank and I were to combine them in one hike from the Cam Bealach (or at least Frank had to combine them since he still needed the ticks in his list).

From the parking just before the farm in Kilfinnan we followed the usual approach on the forest road, passing a few holiday homes or huts and then took the upper branch of the road through the dense fir plantation. It was an overcast day and occasionally a few drops of rain fell from the clouds. When three or three and a half kilometres were behind us we left the road took the good path branching off to the right and started the climb beside the Allt Glas-Dhoire. This path is steep at first but soon after you leave the forest the gradient eases. The continuation up the Cam Bhealach is quite scenic since both Sean Mheall to the north and Beall Dubh to the south of the glen hold interest for the wandering eye with their rocky faces and gullies. We made good progress and after maybe six kilometres were covered we reached the bealach between the two hills.

Here I decided that one Munro would be enough for today (no summit views) and Frank set of towards Sron aíChoire Ghairbh climbing the very well-engineered stalkers (?) path which leads almost all the way to the summit ridge and level summit of the Munro. I lay down in a comfortable spot close to the bealach and dozed for maybe 40 minutes. Then another walker reached the bealach also from the Loch Lochy side and […]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+00:00June 11th, 2016|2002, 2016, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Gairich

When viewed from upper Glen Garry the Loch Quoich dam is quite an impressive, albeit ugly, concrete barrier plonked down onto the valley floor. But on the other hand it also provides easy access to the south shore of Loch Quoich, the creation of which it was instrumental in. So, we parked the car by the dam and walked over to the other side of the loch. As described in all the books we followed the boggy-ish path which in about 30 or 40 minutes delivered us at the foot of Gairich’s east ridge, Druim na Gaid Salaich. This we climbed, steeply at first, then on ground rising more gradually over Bac nam Foid to the spot where the path begins the final 300m climb to the summit ridge of Gairich. Before climbing up we took a short break, chatted with hikers coming down the hill and had a good look around.

Since the weather had been acceptable bordering on good we expected to have some views of Knoydart from the summit but this is Scotland and you never know. Soon we shouldered our rucksacks and embarked on the final leg of the climb which was quite steep and surprisingly rocky in places. Very much different from the previous 6 or 7 km spent treading up the hill on easy ground. After some minor scrambling we finally reached the summit ridge and then the cairn. And would you believe it? The weather was good. Frank shot photographs and I spent the time at the summit enjoying the open 360 degree views of the landscape. Fine! But even though the weather was good there still was quite some wind on the bare summit. So we initiated the orderly retreat from the high parts of the hill and more or less retraced the exact steps to […]

2017-09-19T14:16:18+00:00May 14th, 2010|2010, 2017 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|