June was a quiet month in the great outdoors for Steaming Boots, a lot going on with work and other stuff we only managed a wee trip to the Cairngorms. Interspersed with this I did managed two or three ascents of my local hills in Fife but apart from that June was a bit low on the adventure scale!! So to July and we have been off to a flyer, Sutherland and Glencoe already and a few more trips planned (as well as planning for the Alps later in the year - cant wait. The Adventure diary is open again and full steam ahead. First trip was to the magnificent Sutherland
Mention Assynt and the first few things that spring into my mountain brain start with an S! Suilven, Stac Pollaidh and then the mind wanders to the C’s – Cul Beag, Cul Mor , Canisp….
Beyond Assynt lies Sutherland, mountains such as Foinavan and Quinag take centre stage… A fabulous part of the country for sure.. So when flicking through the SMC Corbetts book a few years back I was intrigued by the “other “ mountains in the area. Ben Hee, Beinn Leoid, Glas Bheinn….. My interest was sparked… sometimes the lesser known hills in areas of such mountainous beauty hold their own little secrets – they usually give the best views to the better known hills!! Chrulaiste being my favourite example, although it’s secret has long left the building!
So a short spell of settled weather, in the North West saw me spilling over maps and investigating some nice easy wild camp options. I decided on Glas Bheinn, nice and close the road and giving the potential for some splendid viewsJ
Arriving at a small layby around 4pm (the Quinag car park was full!) I set off along a rather damp stalkers path. Soon after cresting a small rise (where Suilven came into view ;)) I decided that it was time to head upwards! Pathless and rocky near the top, I had to watch my footing.
Even a drenching from a few showers didn’t quail my excitement…. I was soon making my way around a magnificent Corrie that held Loch a Choire Dheirg. The views here were amazing, and these didn’t even include any mountains – just lochs, lochans and sea – this was going to be a grand place to take photos later…. A short walk to the summit Cairn and the sun came back out, the rays drying away the dampness caused by the earlier rain. There was more good news – lots of flat grassy ground to pitch. Of course I went for a pitch with a view and soon had a porch with Assynt laid out before it!
I love wild camping and I love taking piccies – especially of the sunsets and sunrises. However this is where summer in Scotland ain’t that good – there is only about 4 hrs between the two on top of a mountain at this time of year!! So after watching the sunset around 10.30, I headed off to sleep- for a whole 3.5hrs.
I woke at 03.30 and fumbled about the tent! Sunrise was meant to be at 04.30 but by the time I emerged from the tent it was nearer 4 and the sky was already turning an amazing shade over the summit. Cue lots of half a sleep panicking and I ran (well trotted and stumbled) to get to the summit before the light show ended.. Think I just made it – it was amazing as ever….
Feeling pleased with myself I then lazed in the tent with the door open and watched as the rising sun lit up Assynt… What an experience….
By 0530 the sun was up and it was time to head off. I was back in the car for 07.30 so decided on a wee trip past Lochinver and round the coast. An amazing car journey on a twisty road…. I had been so lucky! So much so that I didn’t even mind the 4.5 hr drive home J
Side note – with phrases like “watched with the tent door open” I know some of you will be wondering if the local wildlife came to play- well I can say with hand on heart that not one midge visited me whilst on the mountain (it was breezy the night b4 but still in the morning !! – they must have been waiting on my return at the car ;))
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...