Fisherfield 6 - Wild Camping adventures in Fisherfield and Dundeonnell ( The Fisherfield Six - aka The Great Wilderness )
These have been on the tick list for a long time-too long in fact.
Always waiting for perfect weather to head off in to “The Great Wilderness” and other commitments meant they are some of the last on my round to do. However a few days away with my brother and we decided the day before to go for the Fisherfield round even though the forecast wasn’t looking like “perfect weather”.
Video report below:
A wedding the evening before saw us leave relatively late arriving at Corrie Hallie around 11.30am. Bags on and we were off in overcast damp conditions. As we reached the high point in the walk in the heavens opened and I started to get worried about river levels and safe crossings given the heavy rain the day before. My worries were not too cause problems though as the levels were pretty low – think the dry weather the week before helped!! Two hours in and we were across the Albhainn Strath na Seagla and starting to climb the first peak – Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh.
We wanted a high wild camp to hopefully have a breeze to keep the midge away and also hopefully enjoy some views high up. This meant carrying the gear all the way round, so the going was relatively slow, in fact the midge were keeping a pace with us which was rather annoying!!! Anyways – we eventually reached the ridge line and a breeze picked up which was fantastic and kept the little blood suckers away!! The weather was also improving with the rain now off and the cloud starting to break up. The summit was reached about 16.00. Now onto the very rocky Sgurr Ban, a quick water refill and we trudged up the boulder field to reach the top. We felt ok but had been on the go for about six hours. We wanted to get to the summit of A’ Mhaighdean to camp but given a cut off time of eight to find a wild camp spot, we thought it would be a little too much to get round given the time we left the car at……
A fine view whilst restocking water supplies before climbing Sgurr Ban and heading off rocky summit of Sgurr Ban:
Next up was the highest peak on the round, Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair. There was a steep pull up this but the distance between this and Sgurr Ban was not too much. We were stood on the summit watching the cloud break around 19.00 hours. The weather was now fantastic, clouds were lowering and floating around the summits. The walk round to Beinn Tarsuinn was fantastic and the pull up its grassy slopes was not too bad. On arriving at the summit we were rewarded with some great Brocken Spectres cast below us – a brilliant way to finish the day. It was now 30 minutes past our cut off to find a camping spot but we soon found a nice spot not far from the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn, just before descending onto the ridge which takes you across the tennis court. The sun was shining and the views were amazing. Slioch in one direction, An Teallach in the other and all the glory of the Dundonnell and Fisherfield spread before us!! Not a bad place to spend the evening:J
However about 21.30 the cloud rolled in and the views disappeared. We hung around till about 22.30 hoping the fog would drop to give us an inversion, but it didn’t so we headed to bed.
I don’t usually sleep that well when camping and today was no exception. Lying staring at the top of the tent I noticed the light outside changing. I opening the door to see the cloud had now dropped and the views were fantastic. I dually got up, didn’t wake my brother as he was snoring away, and headed to the summit in my underwear!!!! Sat taking pictures until about midnight then retreated back to the tent………
3 hours ad 45minute later and I was again standing on the summit ( managed to get changed this time)!! The hills were clear and I was stood above the clouds. The views were once again amazing. A lone star was sitting just above Mullachs summit, I was later to find out this was likely to be Venus and not a star. It was the only shiny object in the sky though. The fog rolled about under my feet as I stood on the high perch of Tarsuinns Summit. Times like these live long in the memory- enjoying nature at its best when the rest of the world sleeps……
Sunrise was at 05.05 and it was looking like it was going to be a belter. However at 05.03 a band of fog rose up over the summit and obscured the views!! Oh well – cant have it all your own way I suppose!! I went back to the tent and brewed up coffee and had my breakfast flap jacks. My brother rose and we were ready to go at about 06.15. Crossing the ridge to descend and the cloud cleared again lighting up the landscape to our south. Slioch looked immense – a great mountain from all angles!!
Onwards to A’ Mhaighdean- one of the finest views in Scotland. Well all we saw was the inside of a cloud L Same on Ruadh Stac Mor. The grand plan was to include the Beinn Deargs but the weather wasn’t looking great, and to be honest even if it had been good, we were both knackered!! We left the summit of Stac Mor about 10.30 and eventually got back to Corrie Hallie about 15.45. Two river crossings, a treacherous bog and a 300 meter ascent is an adventure in itself!! Knackered, we decided to head home from Corrie Hallie. A fantastic adventure and my first unclimbed Munros this year – down to ten to go……….
The first weekend of my summer holidays and the weather was looking good. I fancied a wild camp and had been eying up An Ruadh Stac from the Achnashellach side, however for some reason I decided on the brace of Corbetts directly opposite Liathach in Glen Torridon. I think the view over to Liathach and Beinn Eighe won the day, with the weather looking promising I was hoping for some spectacular vistas, at the end and start of the day.
I had planned on doing these hills previously only to change my mind at 0530am one cold December morning. The change of plan led me to one of the finest outings I have experienced – a winter traverse of Beinn Dearg, a day that will live long in the memory. Ever since that day I have planned on keeping these two for fine weather and that’s what I gotJ. (I have pasted a link to that fine winter day at the bottom of this post if interested.
Video report of this wild camp below - before text and photos - hope you like it :)
Leaving the car around 1600hrs, the winds were light (too light!) and the skies overcast. The cloud base was still well above the tops and the forecast was for blue sky to prevail as the evening wore on. The overcast calm conditions meant one thing, and boy did they come out in force – the dreaded midge attacked. I tried to not stop moving because every time I stopped I was feasted upon!! Eventually they forced me to stop, less than 1km from the car to get my smidge out. Stopping briefly to do this and getting the back pack off my back – they focused their efforts as I rushed to get the smidge out of the top pocket where I always keep it. It was in the top pocket alright – but in my smaller bag I had on the week before!! Arrgghhhhhhhhhhh. Buzz, itch, swipe, scratch – they were landing all over – the feeling of them crawly on my face and neck and buzzing in my ears. I was cursing myself for leaving the smidge – school boy error – how the heck was I going to manage a wild camp!!!! I delved further into my bag – rushing and fumbling for a solution – into the stove bag and mercy behold – a midge net- phew!! On it went with a few getting inside- cue smacking myself in the face to get rid of them !! Haha
Then an old spay can of boots insect repellent was discovered even further into the bag. I think I had put this in as a back up many moons ago – boy was I relieved to make this find. Spray it on all over – even got that poison on the lips – never a good taste!! Gladly –it did the trick- they were still buzzing around, but less were landing and the midge net obviously helped too!
I continued on my way. I had chosen to head up towards Sgurr Dubh first and leave the bag for the outward trip to Sgorr Lochain Uaine. This meant heading up the steep ground with the bag on. I soon reached the steep slopes, which were interspersed with terraces. The midge net had to go on the steep sections as it was impeding my vision, however the insect repellent seemed to being doing a decent job. I headed on a more southerly route to try and find the beallach between two Corbetts, which was over some very rough and steep ground. Some scrambling was also partaken and some treacherous scree slopes crossed, but eventually the ground started to level out and numerous lochans started appearing. Once I crossed the Allt nan Corrag I headed onto the ridge an found a spot to leave the bag. It was now nearly 1730. I headed up Sgorr nan Lochain Uaine summiting about 1800hrs. The going was rough but easier without the bag. Met some of the locals near the summit too:
I was getting a bit concerned about finding a decent pitch as so far the ground was relatively rough with loads of rocks – no flat grassy areas!! Looking across the Sgurr Dubh things only seemed to be more rocky!!! Anyway back to the bag at the Beallach and the cloud was now parting – by 1900 the skies were blue. The lack of wind also made the lochans turn to mirrors and the views were simply stunning.
On with the pack and I made my way towards Sgurr Dubh. The going was still rough and the heavy pack was slowing me down. However I was in no rush and slowly plodded my way past numerous beautiful lochans (including one that looked like an infinity pool). Had I found a pitch next to these I would have been tempted to have a dook, however I was more interested in getting anywhere to pitch the tent as I had yet to see a suitable site!!!
Around 2000hrs and I was stood on the top looking down into Glen Torridon. The sun was shining and the Torridonian mountains were smiling – awesome vistas!! However none of these vistas included a grassy patch!! So onwards and I must have dropped a good 200-300 metres before eventually getting a spot next to a miniature lochan. It was not exactly even ground but easily the best patch I had found. To say I was glad to have the exped ground mat would be an understatement!!
Supper cooked and tent up I enjoyed a lovely sunset and the clouds turning purple above the mighty Liathach- an amazing sight. The midges must have enjoyed it too!!!
Eventually I hit the hay after 1100hrs, waking around 0415. A quick look outside and the skies had cracking pink high clouds and cloud was flowing off the summit – maybe a good thing I dropped a few hundred metres or I’d have been in the fog!!
First thing, as always, was to get some coffee on. Always, always the best coffee is that on the morning of a wild camp – magical taste!! The breeze had picked up through the night which meant one thing – the midge were no longer feasting!! I took my time, enjoyed the coffee and eventually packed up. Decided on heading straight back to the car. I was a little uneasy about this as the ground had been broken and steep on the way up. However I made use of the GPS and the map and picked my way carefully down the hillside. Once on easier terrain the walking back to the car was simply stunning. Blue skies and mighty Torridonian peaks all around – a slice of heaven!!
I eventually reached the car a little after six in the morning – well and truly satisfied with my outing J
Film from Beinn Dearg winter traverse below:
The forecast looked a little wet, so our long round in the Cairngorms was substituted for a hike in Glenshee. Initially An Sochach was chosen but the kids decided they wanted to bag some more Munros and we changed the plan to Glas Maol. One drop out and one survivor and we met Ross and the Dug at 11.30 at the ski centre. The weather turned out to be stunning and a rather enjoyable romp around Maol then Creag Leacach was had :)
Next day and the weather was looking even worse. Heavy rain and blustery winds were forecast for the entire country. I chose Beinn Enaiglair for a short leg stretch. Turned out most of Scotland was soaking wet- all apart from the far North. I nearly got away with a completely dry outing bu the rain caught me briefly at the summit before drying off again The long drive home was in the rain though. Sometimes the weather forecast is wrong but it turns out for the better!! not often mind you!!
Glencoe : Wild camping on a Mountain top above Glencoe….
Almost a year ago I decided on a summer solstice wild camp in Glencoe. This was one of my first wild camps with my new SCARP tent and the location was stunning. I picked the Corbett high above the Kinghouse Hotel and had stunning views over to the Buachaille for the sunset and sunrise. (see video at bottom of post) A year later and a few more wild camps under my belt I returned to Glencoe for a midsummer adventure.
This time I was at the other end of Glencoe and heading for a Corbett I hadn’t been up before. Meall Lighiche sits a little back from the road at the west end of the Glen and is often combined with an ascent of the Munro Sgurr na-h Ulaidh. I was only planning on the Corbett though and eventually reached the car park around 17.30pm. Only one car remained from the day trippers and I soon met the owner not far from the road. The forecast was good with cloud forecast to break up as the evening progressed. My only concern was the dreaded midge!!! One reason I often prefer the mountain tops is the presence of a breeze- the added effort to carry the gear up out weighs the fangs of the midge !!
I followed the track up past the farm (with a small detour to honour the locals request to not pass through their gardens- reasonable me thinks J) and to the foot of the ridge which leads to Creag Bhan. The crossing of the burn was easy in the dry conditions but may be a little tricky if in spate. The path seemed to peater out so I took a line and aimed for the col between two crags. The air was still here in the lee of the shoulder so I didn’t give the beasties a chance to land and kept going at a steady pace J After a steep pathless ascent I reached the col and the views opened up with views to the Ballachuillish Munros. I took a little rest here before heading up some more steep ground. A little further and the gradient eased and the views expanded. The bulk of Sgurr na-h Ulaidh dominated the foreground as I reached the summit of Creag Bhan and looked grand. The final ridge to the summit swung westwards, and was now providing some very enjoyable and easy walking and I was standing on the summit before 20.00. The sun was shining with blue skies to the west and some dark clouds remaining further east.
The breeze was doing a grand job of keeping the midge at bay and I soon found a cracking pitch about 20m east from the summit. Tent up, I turned my attention to dinner and soon had my chilli on my fork J The thing I like best about wild camping is the time I get to amble about on the summit. I rarely spend 3 or 4 hours on a summit when walking during the day – always thinking about getting home etc etc brownie points to be kept! However there is something special about lingering and watching the sun set J. Hours can be spent just taking it all in, doing nothing – a few photo snaps here and there, the time just wallows away J This again happened and I eventually retired to my tent. My excellent ground mat had punctured as I was blowing it up which was rather disappointing – I even tried some plasters to stem the leak but eventually it lost all air L Time for a puncture kit me thinks…… Anyway I managed some sleep and the breeze that had been present the evening before had petered out by the wee small hours. The light never disappeared so it never really got dark, something that perhaps caused me to wake at 03.30 AM!! I felt I could get up so I did and quickly got the water boiling for some coffee. I had to drop a good distance off the summit to find water the night before so that extra effort and the early hour made the coffee taste that much better!!
There was not a breath of wind as I took the coffee to the summit and waited on Sunrise… I thought the silence and lack of wind would bring the little blighters out to feast on me, but it seemed it was even too early for them!! I sat watching the pink glow over Mull and the Atlantic and a pink hue from the sun rising in the east. Sunrise done, I then packed away the tent and was on my way for about 0500. A steep descent back to the car and then a couple of hours driving saw me back in the rat race for 0800AM L
Another great wild camp though….
Video of last years midsummer Glencoe adventure below....
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...