The forecast was looking fine for the weekend, after a week of rain so I wanted to take advantage and head into the great outdoors :) Investigating further it seemed west was best with the east coast still being affected by the weather front that brought the flooding earlier in the week. Where to go???? To play it safe (forecasts differed as to how far east the cloud and rain would extend) I decided to head to Ardgour. There are still a number of unclimbed Corbetts for me here so this was decided upon, and the peak of Carn na Nathrach chosen. As the days are short and the drive long (over 3hrs) I decided on this hill and also to utilise the mountain bike to minimise time! After some research I found some info on a mountain bike approach along Glen Hurich as opposed to heading straight on to the ridge. Although this meant biking in on the north side of the hill, it would save time. If I had more time I'd probably recommend the ridge (more popular ascent) as it gets you up onto the ridge early an out of the gloomy valleys and into the sun and viewing area!!! ;) (well at this time of the year anyway).
Anyway, I left the house at 4.58am (ouch) and drove west through the empty roads (an advantage of leaving at this time!!). I was at the Corran ferry just before 7.00 for the short trip to Ardgour.
The weather was looking good and the drive down the A861 was fine. Does this stretch of road give the best panoramas in Scotland? A view across Loch Linnhe....
I quickly reached Strontian and climbed steeply up the pass and down to Kinlochan. I left the car in the lay bye near the head of Loch Doilet, and headed along the good track and into Glen Hurich. I eventually reached the high point and section where I would leave the bike around 50 minutes later. The forestry track is close to the open hillside here and it was easy to pick a way through the trees to the base of Creag Bheag. After being startled by an Owl! (Barn I think - very white) as it nearly flew into me as it rounded the corner!, I then negotiated some climbing..... of a deer fence...
The climb up the west side of the gully was steep and wet and care was required. I was feeling mentally tired after the early start but the views were starting to open up. Morning sun streaming in further up Glen Hurich......
Onwards and upwards and the gradient soon eased. A few ups and downs (there was a point I thought I was going to have to scramble , however a path heads round the crag to the right). The views were magnificent. Sgurr Dhomhnuill looks fantastic from here over the Glen. Soon I was on the summit and the clarity was great, especially to the north. he Rough Bounds were spread before me and the Cuillin looked closer than usual. It was now about 10.30am. A few snaps....
After a bite to eat and some photos I headed off picking my way along the ridge to point 602m! I (carefully) descended Carn Beag - headed further west on descent nearer to deer fence an eventually descend a slanting grassy gully which avoided me picking my way through the crags. It was still wet and slimy ;)! Bike reached by midday and a half hour (mainly) free wheel back to car.... An enjoyable outing... albeit wit lots of driving!!!
Beinn Bhreac 912m and Beinn Dearg 1008m - A mountain bike trip up Glen Bruar from Calvine ..... Bike n Hike :)
Beinn Bhreac and Beinn Dearg
A Bike n’ Hike
After a successful wild camp in Lochaber, the hangover from Friday evening was finally gone J I descended from the camp spot and said my farewells to the Wee Minister and headed East to meet my brother near Calvine for another adventure – A bike n hike into some pretty remote Perthshire hills.
Almost exactly 12 years previously I had headed off from Old Blair and into Beinn Dearg. The outcome from that trip (and a walk into Ben Alder) was that I needed to invest in a Bike! 12years on and the bike was at the ready, and we headed off in toward the Tarf area.
The weather was fantastic as we headed up the initial steep hill. Following this we descended quickly before a gentle uphill pull towards Bruar Lodge. The track is good and well used at the moment as a new hydro scheme is being constructed at the moment. Not sure how big it’s going to be but there are some major works going on.
After about an hour and a half we left the bikes and headed up the stalkers path beside the Allt Beinn Losgarnaich. This is where it started to feel remote! However the weather was perfect and no navigational issues were had – I can imagine a lot of map readings and bearings being required when the mist is down! The path soon petered out and we headed directly (well if you don’t count the hundreds of small diversions around peat hags!!) for Beinn Bhreac. The Tarf was crossed and the ascent of what looked like a small hill seemed to go on and on and on. However we eventually reached the summit and the mountains of the Cairngorms could be picked out. Nice seeing them from this angle.
Not too sure how this ranks in terms of being one of the most remote Scottish Hills? However it certainly had a very remote feeling and air about it. Looking at the time, we realised we didn’t want to hang around too long. With Beinn Dearg next on the list and having a cycle out we headed on not wanting to be cycling out in the dark!
The pull up Dearg was not too bad (Benn Bhreac felt more tiring for some reason) and we were soon on the summit soaking in the sweeping views. It was now 16.15 – time to head home. A steep descent through a boulder field to the west saw us back and descending the stalkers path. The bikes were soon reached and by 17.25 we were back at the car – a swift retreat!! Legs were sore after lugging a heavy pack over some Corbetts the day before and a long cycle and walk today- however the mind was clear and the synapses refreshed – oh and the mountain fix was now resolved J
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...