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!!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...