The day before, and the NW highlands were looking like the place to go according to the various online forecasts, so Torridon was chosen with a possible bash up An Ruadh Stac………. However……
The next morning and the alarm went early – too early!! First thing I did was to check MWIS – updated at 22.23pm the night before (after I went to bed for the early start)! Forecast had changed, now suggesting that the west coast mountains further south would be the place to be!! ;)
So a change of plan – Beinn Bheula. This hill has been on the tick list for a while and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bag it. A quick printing of maps at 05.30 and I was away at 06.15 headed for Lochgoilhead – or so I thought!!
A quick de-ice of the car and off I headed. The sat nav wanted to take me via Tyndrum which I thought a little odd but then remembered about the landslides closing the road at the Rest and be Thankful! Glad the sat nav was intelligent and regularly upodated ;)
After about three hours I was closing in on Lochgoilhead – seemed to take ages. I was looking around and was surprised at the lack of big hills – a bit odd I thought!! Onwards in the sunshine and finally I arrived at the town – no big hills here – alarm bells !! Back to the sat nav – and a seriously DOH! moment - -…. And I had arrived at Lochgilphead –NOT Lochgoilhead!! Another 50miles later and I arrived at Lettermay!!! What should have been a 1.5hr journey had taken nearly four hours!!!
Anyway I set of from Lettermay (after finally finding a parking spot!!) at the back of ten. The sun was out and I moved quickly through the forest and up past the impressive waterfalls. The going was very boggy and soon I turned south and uphill towards Beinn Bhreac. The blue skies vanished and I was hit by a fast approaching squall. I could see it coming as the thick grey curtain blanked out the landscape as it drew closer!! Soon the snow started and visibility dropped. Out with map and compass!! As I reached Beinn Bhreacs top, the shower passed and I got a good view of Beinn Bheula. The part of the route which was to take me to the ridge looked very unstable with lots of wet soggy snow on steep ground. I decided against heading up this as it was not worth the risk. Looking round I could see a route through and up along a few ledges which looked safer so I headed up that way through the crags and directly onto the top of Creag Bhuic. It was only a short trip to the summit along some nice snow and I was soon stood on the top.
I decided to make a circuit of it and headed down the ridge past Creag Sgoilte and eventually made my way round (through more very boggy ground) to the outflow of Lochan nan Cnaimh. Here I followed the stream down – an interesting path to descent – care required!!). The route then headed through newly felled plantations and soon I was back at the car – it was now just after 15.00. So five hours well spent as it always is in the hills J nearly spent more time in the car getting there though! Lesson learnt – double check the sat nav no matter how early it is!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...