Glen Tilt and The Falls of Tarf
An ancient Glen with a considerable amount of history and also a nice gradient for cycling back down, was the pick of the afternoon as I became child free for five hoursJ
Having just an afternoon, and the fact that it was blowing a hoolie on the high tops I decided that I wanted to visit and photograph the Falls of Tarf.
I had been up the Glen on a number of occasions to Carn a’ Chlamain but had never ventured to the Falls… Having recently read Alex Roddies excellent work – The Atholl Expedition, I decided I wanted to have a look further up the Glen…
So, having dropped the kids off in rural Perthshire for an afternoon with their grand parents, I set on heading for Blair Atholl. However for the second time in a week, progress was brought to a halt south of Pitlochry as the traffic works added about 30minutes to my journey and reduced my time in TGO!!
I eventually reached the Glen Tilt car park, unloaded my gear and set off… The wind was blowing a few light showers through but nothing too bad… Familiar sights came and went (Marble Lodge and the two bridges) and I was soon passing by Forrest Lodge. The only time I had been this far up the Glen was to bag An Sgarsoch and its neighbour many moons ago. I remember the journey back being super-fast and very enjoyable and was confident I could return down the Glen much quicker than I ascended it!!!
Soon the Glen narrowed and the River Tilt was forced into a straight course, a curving to the north and I knew I wasn’t too far from the falls J
I left the bike about 200metres shy of the falls and continued on foot waiting for the bridge and falls to come into sight. I was now well behind schedule and realised I was in the middle of nowhere, however I was confident I could make my time up on the descent?
The Falls were cracking but I didn’t have much time so I set about getting some footage which almost proved expensive!! As I took the drone up the Falls I noticed a black shape circling above it – an eagle was eying up the drone. I quickly brought it back down an decided to try and get some photos. The light wasn’t great but I did what I could before time eventually caught up with me…..
Running back to the bike I still had confidence in a speedy run down the Glen – WRONG!!
The head wind was ferocious and I am sure I was cycling harder downhill than I was on the way up!! Haha
Anyhoos got back to the car – rather tired then another sit in traffic on the A9 before collecting the kid sJ
I will return and make sure I have more time – looks like a cracking spot to wild camp too….
Short Video from previous wild camp up the Glen....
Knoydart Kayak to Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarain
This trip had been discussed for nearly four years (well since the last time we crossed Loch Quoich in a kayak!) and we had finally scheduled it and marked it in the diaries. The last time it was Gairich (see link below) and the weather was fine and calm. The waters of the loch were like a mirror and we sat on top of Gairich at 8am looking down over Knoydart!
This time we looked to be heading up Sgurr Mor and Sgur an Fhuarain, which required a slightly longer paddle and a camp on the far side of the loch. The problem was that this time the forecast wasn’t looking as pretty as the last venture!! Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a bad forecast, we just wanted nice calm waters for the crossing to enjoy the paddle. A westerly 15-20mph would make the crossing a little more interesting and much concentration would be required!
We decided to head up and have a look at the paddle with a hill climb on the northern shores as a plan B should we deem the weather too poor for a crossing (it’s the return journey we were thinking off!!).
However as the weekend approached, the forecast took a turn for the better ;) A glorious Saturday afternoon drive through the Highlands under blue skies saw us arrive at our put in point around 17.00. After the usually faffing and checks we eventually started paddling around 18.00. The conditions were perfect, blue skies, calm waters and no midges!!!
!!! A leisurely paddle and we made it too the southern shore of Loch Quoich where the Allt a’ Choire Bhuide meets the loch. A short scout about and we decided on camping on a sandy bay (hoping the waters of the Loch would rise to quickly ;). Camp set, tea had and we enjoyed a rather good sunset. The near full moon rose and the brightness was amazing, we even contemplated a night ascent of the hills given the conditions! No wind and lit by moon light in the middle of nowhere it was a grand evening.
We decided not to go for a night ascent and eventually headed to bed after some star gazing and photos.
05.45, and It was time to get up. Knowing the weather was deteriorating (a halo round the moon the night before was nice to look at but also suggested some weather was approaching from the west!). we got going early. The cloud was down on the tops but the wind was still light lower down and the loch flat clam.
Up Sgurr Mor first, and after a bit of a slog we eventually disappeared into the cloud but made the summit at 10 am. No views and a strong wind, we soon got going and in under an hour we were stood on a breezy Sgurr an Fhuarain. The cloud was starting to lift off the summits now and the views east over to Gairich were grand.
Keen to get back across the loch we headed north and then west at the col to reach the path we had ascended in the Corrie.
By 11.45 we were striking camp. The flat calm loch had now relinquished its mirror like appearance and replaced the mirror with some white horses!! Care was required on the crossing as the now stiff westerly wind had caused a choppy crossing with the waves side on. We made a direct bee line for the northern shore to minimise the time in the middle of the loch where it was most choppy and soon we were hand railing to northern shore finally reaching the calm bays were we had set off from.
By 13.00 the rain was on but we were now headed south and back home.
A grand 24hr adventure J
The weekend had been good but no outdoor mountain fun was planned.. – that was until I saw a forecast for Sunday afternoon and evening! With the longer days and sun setting a little later I took a chance and packed my bags to head for Inverlochlarig – deep in Rob Roy territory!
My last (and only) previous trip to Inverlochlarig was a on dull , murky Hogmanay many moons ago which turned into one of my most memorable hill days as I climbed through the cloud to the most spectacular inversion I have witnessed. That was on the Corbett Stob a’ Choin.
Today was glorious but I had my sights on the giant that is Stob Binnein. I left home about 14.00 and arrived at the car park around 15.30. It’s straight up until about 700m contour but this gains height quickly and the views open up with spectacular results! I took a breather at Creag Artair and from here it really is a cracking sweeping shoulder that leads to the summit. The wind was picking up and by the time I reached the summit it was Baltic. I spent about 30minutes taking in the views but as the sun lowered – so did the cloud! A cue to leave and I made haste getting back to the car about 20.00 without the need for the head torch- love the longer nights ;)
5 days of glorious spring sunshine and Scotland’s Mountains were looking superb. A dump of snow before the high pressure set in had led to some very tempting conditions.
I had managed to head up one of An Teallachs Munros the week before but wanted another outing before the normality of the westerly gales and rain returned. So with the forecast breaking, I decided to squeeze in a late walk to one of the closer Munros – Ben Vorlich. The plan was initially a wild camp, however a squeeze on time meant that this became unrealistic- and I settled for a hike to catch the sunset.
Leaving the car at Advorlich, the skies were blue and the sun warm! The familiar track headed south and the views improved with height with the Lawers group emerging to the North and eventually the Trossachs and Central Highlands to the west. What an evening! The clarity was superb! I was beginning to wish I’d brought the tent, however after a few hours I was stood on the summit enjoying a cracking sunset.
There was a breeze on the summit but this dropped quickly as I descended in the growing gloom. The night was starting to come in but before it won out the Western skies put up one final defensive battle with the sky turning pink as the sun drifted away to brighten up another part of the world!! I was taking my time on descent making lots of photo stops. The wind was completely gone now and ambling down the path in still mild conditions , watching the stars appear one by one was the best part of the walk!
I made it back to car before 9 and was knackered. I had been up since 5am and when a red aurora alert appeared when back in the car, I didn’t have the energy t walk back up the hill. I decided I would find a nice spot with northern skies on the way home ad park up… However as I drove east the cloud moved in and my grand plans were scuppered!
The next day I saw lots of great shots on social media of the aurora from out west and also great inversions shots! If only I had summit camped – aurora over an inversion would’ve been nice – never mind – next time perhaps J
A View to An Teallach
What a day! What a Mountain and What a View!!
However I still have conflicting feelings on this trip…. On one hand it was an amazing day out in solitude with one of the best views in the world (IMO), however on the other hand I didn’t finish what I set out to do, perhaps I’d been a bit ambitious this time…
Planning a high wild camp, I didn’t start out until 11.30 and the weather was glorious. An Teallach had been showing off her finest white coat with a blue back drop for the last 15 miles! I couldn’t wait to get going….
The main reason for this trip were the views. Having traversed the ridge a number of time previously, I set out to get “The View” and camp on a spot with the view! I also planned on heading along the ridge a little to have some fun after setting up camp. The best laid plans of mice and men!
This was the first time I had saddled my camping gear in some time and with the camera equipment the weight of the pack was slowing progress! I ambled along in the warm sunshine and the views opened up as height was gained, white Fannichs and a white Dearg group looked grand. An Teallach was in front of me but un recognisable! I have always done a clockwise circuit and descended to Dundonnell so it was interesting to be ascending this way (the clockwise circuit maybe gives better views , however it would mean traversing the ridge to get to where I wanted to be – Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill).
After a few lengthy stops, I decided that the wild camp wasn’t going to happen. The main reason being that the winds were picking up (never enjoy a sleepless night in a rattling tent!) and the weather front was starting to move inland. However I still had time to get to the top and enjoy the views and take some footage!
The final pull to the highest point required crampons and axe as the snow firmed up and ice became a smear on all hand holds (24hrs late I was sitting in shorts and T shirt in back garden!) ! Care was required, a slip here would have been un thinkable!
A Halo around the sun greeted me as I approached the summit as did “The View”. Now on a time schedule to get back before dark I was a little rushed on the summit and didn’t get the chance to explore the different options I was wanting to for photos. In the end it didn’t matter as nearly all my batteries died! I warmed them as best I could but I didn’t really get the video or photos I wanted to.
It was still a great day out and I made it back to the car with about another 45 minutes of dusk left. Good exercise though and a must return with the tent!!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...