This was truly a tour which we had been looking forward to doing for a very long time. The remoteness of the hills. The great setting of the Geal Charn Group, huge and central Ben Alder and Beinn Bhoill as the whaleback ridge towering above Loch Ericht. All easily accessible from Culra bothy.
But wait: Easily accessible? Did we mention that remoteness has drawbacks and, hey!, that there was the long three-hour hike in from Dalwhinnie? Or for us, the more technology minded, the long bicycle ride from Dalwhinnie to Culra? We didn’t mention it? Ouch.
So the morning of 31 May 2014 saw Frank and me unloading the car: rucksacks, boots and bicycles. After all equipment was stuffed into the rucksacks and the bicycles prepared for action we crossed the railway tracks at Dalwhinnie station and set out on the 15 km ride towards the remote bothy. The dirt road was level most of the way and the surface was hard and flat. On the ride towards Ben Alder Lodge a small number of rises, one of them significant, need to be climbed only to experience exhilarating speed afterwards when cruising down back towards the shore of loch Ericht. At Ben Alder Lodge the track starts to climb for a kilometre or so and I for one had to be content with pushing my bike for a few dozen minutes. Frank cycled on being in good shape and enthusiastic. I met him again on the right bank of the Allt a’ Chaoil reidhe sitting in the grass quite some time later. On the opposite side of the river there was Culra Bothy.
We left the bicycles there and continued up the perfectly well-maintained path leading to Loch Bealach Beithe. After maybe 25 minutes the path reached a white boulder (mentioned by Storer) from which an indistinct rough path headed across the moor and heather towards the foot of the north-east ridge leading up to Beinn Alder’s plateau: The Long Leachas. We crossed the burn coming down from Loch Bealach Beithe and … [Read More]