Beinn Airigh Charr and Beinn Lair
A week off – where to go and what to do…… Summit camps had crossed my mind but the weather wasn’t going to play ball, I wanted away, away from everyday life and so out came the Corbett books… I had promised myself I would make an effort to tick off my remaining 7 Munros but without companions who also like to tick these off I decided to make an indent into the Corbetts-no one would mind me ticking a few of these off… So many choices but I settled on those in The Letterewe Forest……
Heading off from the lowlands around mid-morning and I made my way north, again. Familiar hills and sights came into view and then out of view in the RVM, Drummochter Hills, The Cairngorms, Coulin Forest… Torridon…. Then Slioch and my objectives passed by… If it weren’t for Loch Maree, these would be pretty accessible locations! But the 20km stretch of water (4th largest fresh water Loch) meant I drove right past them until Poolewe was reached.
After much faffing about the bike was eventually fully loaded and ready to go… in the wilds….
A good track got me eating up the distance until the Kernsary Farm. Not long after this the forest track had me cursing as I pushed and hauled my heavy bike through bogs and puddles! However once this was done the fine single track out of the forest was cracking….
Where to camp – that was the next thought … already thoughts from the rat race were leaving my mind as survival and a place to rest my head for the night took over… I wanted to head up Beinn Airigh Charr this evening and when I found a grassy pitch at the lower reaches of Srathan Buidhe I quickly set camp. A nice northerly breeze was perfect as it kept the midge at bay (for the most part!)
Tent up and I was soon striding up the South East flank of Beinn Airigh Charr. No paths here but I was soon perched on the summit looking at the inside of a cloud. Map out and down I went for tea… As sunset approached, thoughts turned to catching a nice sunset. Around 250metres from the camp there was a slight peak. Sitting at around 250m, it wasn’t high but it did give some outstanding views over the surrounding wilderness. I spent a few hours snapping away up here, watching the sunset come and go and the gathering dusk eventually being taken by nightfall. I have done many summit camps and seen some special night skies, however this was the most stars I have ever seen, the sky was in overload… the mind wanders, rat race gone for good, what’s out there …. The glow of the Milky Way was amazing and a faint hint of green and red emerged on the northern horizon…
Eventually tiredness made me retreat to the tent. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. Sleep took me easily…
Waking to blue skies is immense, brekky was enjoyed and the bike was soon back in action, cycling to Poll Fraochain where it was left and my ascent to Beinn Lair started. This time a path made the going easier. The numerous stops were to take in the amazing scenery…. One side of Lair rolls away to the shores of Loch Maree, the side most of us see on our passage past… However, as with The Ben, the Northern slopes reveal the Hyde to the Jekyll.
Amazing cliffs line the northern flanks and if this wasn’t spectacular enough, the views open up as one gains height. Torridon fills the southern horizon, whilst we have near neighbours in Fisherfield and Slioch filling the sky. The northern horizon reveals the serrated peaks of AnTeallach – what a place to linger……
Linger I did, but I had plans to touch Fisherfield. Down I went and the bike took me across the causeway to Carnmore. I headed up and over to Fuar Loch Mor avoiding stalking on the other side of the glen….. Remote beasts A’ Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor said hello and goodbye as I decided to head back. The weather was on the slide… The blue skies were now gone and a deeper grey blue sky was rolling in from the SW….
1730 and I arrived back at the tent. Exhausted I was going to strike camp the next morning, but gale force winds (and a sleeping matt malfunction) saw me strike camp and cycle down to Poolewe in gusty winds and wet weather. A fine call by the wife saw me get the last room in the Loch Maree hotel where I arrived at 21.30….
Only come dawn did I recognise the view from my pillow…… My camp site wasn’t far away as the crow flies but in reality a long way round….. Mind was now free and fours days ahead were to be mountain filled days……
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...