An absolute belter of a short adventure arriving late and leaving early. Experiencing sunset an sunrise in fine weather in one of Scotland top mountain areas :)
The Aonach Eagach
Easter 1999 and my hillwalking friends suggested I head off and do a ridge walk with them, suggesting something in Glencoe. Not long into my addiction for the hills, I thought this would be a grand day out – and it was! A borrowed pair of crampon compatible boots and ice axe in tow we headed off up The Aonach Eagach in soft spring snow J It was fun and exhilarating…..
It wasn’t until 2008 on a balmy September day that I returned. We started on a scramble on the nearby A’ Chailleach and continued round to the Pap - another fine if tiring day was had.
So eight years again passed without a return and with limited time I decided on an overnighter on the ridge and an early start to tackle it.
The weather has been fantastic for a number of weeks and today was no different. The car thermometer registered 28 degrees as I parked up – it was going to be hot! I headed off gingerly and slowly around 17.30, mainly due to the large amount of gear but also knowing there was no rush! I met a few scramblers who were sun beaten and on the final leg of their day and the smiles on their faces said it all reallyJ
A little later and I popped out on the summit of Am Bodach and was greeted by the inhabitants, hungry for their tea! A little scouting about and I was lucky to find a cracking spot with the Chancellor below me that was offering a fine light breeze, enough to make the local blood suckers look elsewhere for their tea ;)
A quick pitch and then some tea. The views were amazing as always in Glencoe. The Bidean Massif looked very grand and had me thinking that the Massif is perhaps the most impressive mountain in the UK? May be I have been guilty of taking it for granted due to its accessibility but from this viewpoint it was looking immense!
I had tea and took some photos and watched the sunset- then bed……
It had been eight years since I’d last done the ridge, I spent some time thinking how I would find it in the morning with a tired mind and body! Not to worry the adrenaline was pumping when I woke at 03.30 and it really had not gotten dark at all. I notice maybe two stars above Bidean as I peered out during my doze! By 04.10 I was off and immediately descending Am Bodach – concentration required but no real difficulties… Then the fabulous walk to Meall Dearg with the sun rising behind me… The camp and early start meant I had the Ridge to myself and I lingered on the Munro watching the sun get higher and lighting up the Ridge that was rolling out before me…
Onwards I went – the scrambling becoming a little more sustained until I reached the Pinnacles. What a cracking location and scramble. Care required but again no real difficulties in this fabulous weather…. A little further until the scrambling ended on Stob Coire Beath then I about turned and reversed the route, again no one to be seen and I reached my tent around 0700. A quick strike and I set off back down – taking the Corrie route down which was a little less demanding with my big bag on. The sun was beating down and the streams made a grand refreshment stop.
Back at the car well before 0900 and early home. An amazing adventure. It’s amazing what you can pack into a short period of time J P.S. Not leaving it another 8 years!
Beinn Tharsuinn, Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor, Beinn Dronaig, Conival and Ben Assynt Mor
11 Munro’s left to go… A good few years ago I wrote that, and since then I haven’t made a dent or even attempted to finish them off… Knackering my knee (again) and going under the knife at the end of last year was when I decided it was about time I started ticking the remaining Munros off….
So a long weekend away, and we final decided on heading back into The West Monar Forest near Glenuig forest where we had our misadventure a few years ago! As is often the case we thought we would manage all five Munros and three Corbetts back then, but under the circumstances only managed the three Munros and one Corbett. The time had now come to head back and finish what we started three years ago….
Initial plans were to camp on the summit of Tharsuinn then head to the two Munros and then the Corbett Dronaig before heading back to camp. As it turned out we made it as far as the Bealach Bhearnais before daylight faded, so we set camp here. The weather was ok and after a sleepless night for one of us (see video) we set off. The weather wasn’t great for photography as it was slighty overcast but it made ideal walking conditions with a very slight breeze keeping the midge away and cooling us off. We took our time and made our way across the summits. The hardest part of the day was actually the final pathless pull back to the camp. The nice stalkers path that we followed from Bendronaig Lodge ended abruptly in Coire Beithe a few Km from the camp. The ground beyond was petty uneven and rough and after four summits was rather tiresome!!
We arrived back around 10 hours after starting and soon we were enjoying tea and coffee in the shelter of the tents as the heaven opened. A good hour later ad the storm clouds had cleared leaving a wonderful rainbow and contrasting scenes….. A good night sleep was enjoyed by both that night….
Conival and Ben Assynt Mor
The next day we had a dilemma. Would we walk out and have a rest day then try Conival and More the following day or would we just go for it and try and crack on with the ascents on the same day. We opted for the latter. After getting accommodation sorted in Ullapool we headed or Inchnadamph and set off up the hills just before midday. Being off the web for a few days, we only had older forecasts to go by and it had suggested heavy showers. Surprisingly though it stayed dry until about ten metres from the summit of Ben More Assynt when a large thunder cloud eventually caught us and deposited much hail and heavy rain. Not time to hang about and we dropped off the ridge before heading back. Soon the sun was out and we were making our way back to enjoy some nice ice cold beers in Ullapool. 7 Left to go ! (no idea how many Corbetts though ;)
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...