Having enjoyed 21 degrees in Coylumbridge on Easter weekend , could I be safe in saying goodbye to Winter? Perhaps a cold snap may see some gullies climbd but the days are growing longer and the trees are starting to fill out :) With a good weekends weather I headed west for a nice adventure in Morven but before this I stuck a little montage of Winter memories together in the below video (PS not taken from this year as you will probably guess from the sunny conditions!!!)
So with good weather I headed to the Corran Ferry and over into Morven for a memorable wild camp high on Creach Bheinn. Video report below and report underneath.....
Galmadale Horseshoe: Beinn na Cille; Fuar Bheinn; Creach Bheinn
Galmadale Horseshoe: Beinn na Cille; Fuar Bheinn; Creach Bheinn
The forecast was finally looking good. For once the bad weather stayed away until the (Easter) weekend was over!!
I had last wild camped on the top of Creach Bheinn on the mainland (next to Beinn Sguliard) and decided that I would try and wild camp on the Creach Bheinn in Morven which was literally just over the water.
I left home around 11am and gave the ferry line a quick call to make sure the Corran Ferry was running to time and that I didn’t need to pre book tickets. I hadn’t thought of using the ferry until now and had been put of heading to these hill by a long drive via Fort Bill, however the ease and practicality of the Ferry proved very usefulJ
Driving up through Glencoe, the hills looked amazing with snow still hanging onto the tops and filling the gullies. However with it being Easter weekend, nearly every car park was full and the Munros looked like they would have a busy weekend. I was hoping for some tranquillity on the Galmadale round. Visibility was superb and I was hoping this would be the same over in Morven. I was lucky when I reached the Ferry, literally driving straight on and being the last car on! Once off the Ferry the road down to Galmadale was amazing, albeit a little narrow when facing oncoming traffic (or sheep!). Sandy beaches, blue skies, sea and mountains, I was more than impressed and I hadn’t even started the walk!
I left the car park (plenty of space) around 15.30 and headed steeply up the east flank of Beinn na Cille to reach the southern shoulder. I must admit that after 2.5 hrs driving and a heavy pack on that I was feeling a little tied – however I took my time and plodded upwards – not needing much of an excuse to stop and take in the amazing views. Looking behind me I could see a family playing on the beach far below. I eventually reached the summit of the Graham and filled the tank up with a sandwich and some fluids. The weather was smashing and not much of a breeze. I could now see the two Corbetts ahead of me and decided that where ever I was, I would pitch up no later than 19.00 to give me time to get the camp set up and tea cooked! I had initially thought of a high camp near the Druim na Maodalaich to get views over Loch Linnhe, however as it turned out i didn’t make it that far!!
Anyway on I plodded and headed up the first Corbett of the round – Fuar Bheinn. The views up here from Beinn na Cille were fantastic – looking inland to Morven and Ben Resipol dominating the view… It was about 17.45 now and so I quickened the pace to try and at least get to Creach Bheinn for 19.00! The walk up Creach Bheinn was stunning. I kept as far east on the ascent to get views back into Glen Galmadale and the higher I got the better perspective of the corries I enjoyed. The ground dropped steeply back into the Glen, wouldn’t want a slip here!
I reached the summit for 19.00hrs and after a quick video, I decided to camp down at “The Camp”. An appropriately named spot (apparently an old Normandic look out post!). It is in a slight dip about 20 metres east of the summit. I thought it would provide a little shelter if the winds picked up in the night, and I also found a small spring around 50m north of “The Camp” which was useful for Tea and morning coffee!
Camp set and tea had- I then headed up to the summit for some sunset shots. Unfortunately a weather front was hanging just off the west coast so no spectacular sunsets were experienced – however sunrise was a different matter!
I headed back to the tent and experimented with a few night time shots with the new camera – still need a little practise but everything is a learning curve!
I had a good night’s sleep and woke about 0520, made some coffee and headed back to the summit where the sunrise was amazing! Soaking it in I eventually pulled myself away from the top and set about striking camp.
I soon found myself on top of Meall nan Each and then walking down the Druim a Maodalaich
The walk up until this point had been fantastic with great views, however this eastern side of the horseshoe was amazing. The best was aved for last! The sea views and views back across to the mainland Munros were simply stunning… I would strongly recommend this route and not cutting it off because there are no Corbetts to be had- definitely one for a good day- an amazing walk back to the car… Bumped into some local deer and the feral goats on the descent and finally made it to the car about 0930am.
Met another walker who was just setting off at this point. A great walk and definitely one of the best horseshoe hikes I have done – simply awesome – keep it for a good weather day J
An Teallach, Liathach, Suilven, Slioch, Stac Pollaidh, Fionaven, Beinn Alligin etc etc etc -The list of iconic mountains that stand proud in the North West Highlands is a long and impressive one with some amazing hills in this part of the country. So when I was flicking through my Corbett book to find a quick half day hill and found Sail Mhor, I was looking forward to the views of all the iconic mountains that lay around it perhaps more than Sail Mhor itself!!!
However, as soon as I drew up at the parking spot near the Ardressie falls, my eyes were drawn to the free standing mountain immediately to my south!! I immediately questioned why I hadn't heard of this mountain before and why it was only given a short write up in the book (no hint of its grandeur was given in the walk description either!).
The weather was ok but a little hazy, but the tops remained clear throughout the day. The walk in was worth the 3hr car trip alone! The Ardressie falls continuing to give interest for the first couple of kilometres. It was also my first mountain trip with the new camera so there were lots of stops and experimenting with shots etc etc.....
The path soon levelled out and the Allt Airdeasaidh quietened down. At this point the shapely peak of Sgurr Ruadh dominated the southern skyline and as I headed west across the pathless moorland, height was gained and the rest of An Teallach came into view. Perhaps not as dramatic as the view from the south, but with the hills of Fisherfield (in particular the corbetts of Beinn Dearg Mhor and Beag) as a back drop, I was left thinking this was one of the best mountain views to be had!!
I didn't head to the bealach but struck west gaining Sail Mhors southern ridge. The going was steep but not too prolonged, despite the amount of times I stopped to look at the views over my shoulder!!
There are two tops one slightly lower with a little tor near its summit and from here a short hike NW gains the summit. There are two summit cairns and I believe the smaller of the two ( the southern one ) is the highest. However the views from the northern cairn probably edge those from the southern one. Spread out immediately to the north and west is the lower lying moorland glistening with lochans all the way till is confluence with the Atlantic.
Standing here the mountain drops steeply away and you get the feeling your stood at the bow of a huge boat! All the way up this mountain feels like it should be moved north across Loch Broom to be stood with the likes of Stac Pollaidh, Suilven and Canisp!! And standing at the summit of this mountain island confirmed this for me. On a better day with less haze the iconic mountains of Assynt would enhance the views further, however it was not to be for me today. Additionally the views to the Summer Isles and across the sea up and down the west coast would have been spectacular onaclear day- just another reason for another visit! :)
A great day in the hills and I am still wondering why this hill is not as well know as others!! Perhaps not exactly a secret given it commanding position but certainly not as well know as it should be!!!.... ;)
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...