Been looking at getting this done for years! Finally did it nd a cracking day out. The scramble is made by the location and remote feel of this trip, nothing too technical and a grand day out in some big country!
I was 14 years old when I had my first taste of a day in the mountains. A group of older friends were doing a charity hike through the Lairig Ghru and asked if I wanted to join them. I remember being in awe of the massive mountains that reared up on the left hand side as we hiked in towards the Pools of Dee. They were dark and menacing with heavy clouds darkening their appearance. This may have been the initial hook that led to this addiction!
My next foray to this part of the world was back in July 2003 when I was a bit fitter than I am now!. I cycled in and up Glen Dee to continue on foot around six Munros on the Western side of the Lairig Ghru! A long day it was and enjoyable – the navigational skills were also tested that day!! I’ve been back to the Cairngorms lots but never really back into the Lairig Gru to any extent.
When I picked up “Classic Mountain Scrambles in Scotland” (Andrew Dempster) back in the late nineties, I noticed there weren’t too many easier scrambles in the Gorms. Fiacaill Ridge is a classic and has been done many times, but I always fancied Angels Ridge, but somehow had never found the time to try it out – until now….
My brother fancied Braeriach so I suggested a wee detour round to Angels Ridge as part of the route. The long summer days are a fine time to do this as the distances involved are large!
We set off from the Sugarbowl car park around 9am and it was blustery, the forecast suggesting arduous walking on higher areas in the morning – this may have included the 450m start point! It did however have the advantage of keeping any biting beasties at bay!
Soon we were at the Chalamain Gap, boulder hoping our way through as the cloud started to part. The skies were looking good! Dropping down we met the Lairig Ghru and continued up to the Pools of Dee, stopping for some lunch here. It was now after 11- and we hadn’t even started climbing properly yet! The best part of the walk (excluding the scramble) came next in my opinion. Skirting the hillside into the An Garbh Choire produced some stunning views down Glen Dee and also into the massive Corries that dominate the skyline – a superb place and well worth the effort. I had hoped the Corries may have provided some shelter but the opposite was true- the wind was whistling down off the plateau and seemed to intensify as it hit the corrie floor- I was starting to doubt if the ridge option may be a no goer due to the gusty wind!
Stopping at the tiny Garbh Coire Bothy (maybe better described as an emergency shelter!) we had a second lunch before starting to ascend in a steeper fashion! A short time later and we reached the shores of Lochan Uaine which turned out to be a little less windy, strange as this must be one of the highest bodies of water in Scotland perhaps? Third lunch (well sweeties) were had here as we lounged about taking in the views.
The ridge didn’t look too steep or narrow so we decided to give it a go and were soon scrambling up easy angled granite boulders with superb frictional propertiesJ As you get higher on the ridge there are few slightly steeper steps but nothing too difficult- it’s the location that makes this a special scramble!
Reaching Angels peak we decided to nip over to Carn Toul – it looked really close! About half an hour later and we were sheltering in the summit circle! The wind was at its worse here – literally blowing us about and we were glad to descend a little and leave the gales behind!
Back up to Sgor an Lochain Uaine and we had the last peak (or rise in the Plateau) in our sights. The cliffs and Corries that surround Braeriach must be some of the finest in Scotland and the hike round them was superb in these conditions. Although windy the skies were clear and the views amazing.
Knackered, we arrived on Braeriachs summit after four. Now it was the long walk back, finally reaching the car around 10 hours after starting. A long day but definitely worth the effort – a fine day in the CNP.
Our grand plans for a few days adventure in the North West Highland had been scuppered due to a series of deep Atlantic lows that were to provide some watering a high speed blasting in the mountains, so we decided to make a day trip in between the watering and see if the high speed drying would benefit us during this outing.
The overnight deluge had passed as we left the North Face car park but the remnants of the weather front had decided to stick around (seemed like they were waiting for the next front to see how much rain it would produce!!).
The atmosphere was damp as we trudged up the well-constructed path from the car park. This part of the walk is steep and I always breathe a sigh of relief when the first views of The Ben come into sight. Not only do the views improve but the gradient does too ;)! The lower ramparts of the major ridges were only just visible whilst the rest of the North Face was under a curtain of dark grey cloud.
Grey sheets filled the air as showers came and went and soon we were headed towards the cloud, following the right flank of the slanting gully that exists Castle Corrie.
After a little toing and froing on steep grass, we made it to the start of the route proper. The frictional properties of the easy angled rock was the same as the wet vertical grass and our progress was slowed as each foot placement wasn’t to be relied upon! The first difficulty was soon reached – a grimy, wet, slippery corner, although not the crux – it certainly felt like it today with water dripping down it and Teflon feeling surfaces! Over the top of this we continued up on what would have been relatively easy ground ;). A wet set of slabs led us into another dripping corner and we knew the crux corner was approaching.
Photo below of me taken by - SB-G
This turned out to be delightful. It was actually the only part of the route that was dry, and although exposed, the few moves here were fantastic, an absolute pleasure. The holds were all there and gear was in abundance. All too soon though it was over and a ledge provided numerous points for a belay. A short distance on and the route meanders up to a corner that is a little narrower – some thrutching and bridging may help, but it was also enjoyable. From here it is relatively straight forward and a teeter along a rooftop arête provides a little exposure and fun before the North Castle Gully meets you on the left to conclude the route.
From here the rain and cloud worsened and we navigated to the Pony Track before the long walk out. The second front had now arrived ;)
A trip to Glencoe and we decided to try out Broad Buttress.
Having been up Curved Ridge a zillion times (still one of my favourite hills days tho!) and North Buttress route a few weeks ago we decided to give Broad Buttress a try.
The guidebook rates this as 3 star , a whole star more than Curved Ridge or indeed North Buttress route – both amazing scrambles! Expectations were high J
Given its location the walk in is a bit shorter, however due to the reduced traffic this route receives , there was some heather bashing required before we reached the slabs that start the route!! Some padding up the slabby aprons was enjoyed as the rock was lovely and grippy (we experienced the opposite on our next outing on Castle Ridge!!).
As the name implies, the buttress is Broad and lots of variation and levels of difficulty can be had. As we approached a steep section we decided to rope up and climb a shorter slightly more difficult section which was great fun… The gradient then eased a little and we moved together enjoying some great scrambling. As always the views from this mountain were grand, with Rannoch Moor at our feet and Glencoe dropping away at our backs ;)
Soon we were at the top of the route with great views into the upper part of Great Gully- a great place to have some lunch J. After soaking in the views we traversed scree slopes until we reached the tourist path and descended into Coire na Tulaich.
A grand wee adventure… not too sure I’d rate it above Curved o North Buttress though it’s still a fantastic scramble J
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 ;))
Something for June
So the glorious weather of late Spring had departed and Scotland was back to the usual mix of rain and gales – superbly Scottish summer weather ;) The spring weather had been enjoyed but June was quiet and only one mountain outing was enjoyed by the steaming boots twosome. The Steaming Boots team had a busy time ahead, limiting Mountain Time, however we look forward to an active few months coming up!
Unusually our June outing was to the Cairngorms…a little further east than our usual haunts!
We were keen to get some climbing in, but a marginal forecast saw us head for The Fiacaill Ridge and for some fun scrambling. The ridge is superbly located and easily reached but truth be told the scrambling is short lived. You get a feel for the ridge and just as you are warmed up, the plateaux appears in front of you after the final pull up! However it’s a grand way to reach the Cairngorm plateaux and today with high winds we had the ridge to ourselves. The same couldn’t be said about the plateaux, with many parties enjoying the one place in Scotland where the cloud and rain weren’t dampening the views from the summits!
Once on the plateaux, there are numerous option and lots of places to visit. However we had time limits today so I suggested popping down to try and get a snap of Loch Avon. We eventually reached a spot where we could just about capture the loch and stopped for a bit to eat and a photo. The winds were fierce and a drop down the Goat track was taken and back to the car in the relative shelter of the Corrie.
Not much happening apart from this outing but keep watching as the next few months look like we will be getting back into the Great Outdoors with a vengeance!
So back in February I was contacted by a gentleman called Paul Murton regards a TV program he was making. After a little while I realised this was Paul Murton from the TV show “The Grand Tours of Scotland”, one of the few shows on TV that shows and does justice to the Scottish Countryside and Landscapes, I was rather excited!
After a few missed calls and voicemails we eventually caught up over the phone. In my excitement I was under the impression they were hoping to utilise some footage from the Steaming Boots vids and I went on a 10 minute babble about what may be used and what couldn’t etc etc, not allowing Paul a word in edgeways. Once I stopped for breath, Paul was able to speak and explained he didn’t actually require any footage (they had their own team to capture the views!), but in fact he wanted to include me in one of his shows! I agreed instantly and so the wait for a filming date began.
The new series is exploring Scottish Lochs with some episodes ending on a mountain in the vicinity. The months passed and winter turned to spring, and the communication started up again. A Sunday evening was proposed so I took the Monday off work and started to examine the forecasts. There had been a superb spell of weather in April /May, however as sods law would have it , on the weekend of the proposed shoot the High Pressure faded and Atlantic Lows started to tumble in.
The Sunday evening high camp was cancelled and due to a tight shooting schedule for the Grand Tours Team – they told me that the following weekend we were going to try again, only this time it would happen rain or shine!!
As it turns out the weather was fine, in fact it was superb, so good that I decided to make the most of the weekend and head up a day early and squeeze in a wild camp the night before – seemed like a good idea at the time ;)
So – after work I packed my bags and took the familiar journey NW towards Glencoe. It was stunning… and warm. By the time I reached the Jacksonville car park, the cars thermometer was showing 28 degrees. It was one of those rare moments in Scotland where you open the car door to a blast of warm air and almost want to stay inside the cool car!!! With this heat I knew I was going to be taking my time! My plan was to find the spot where I took some sunrise shots of the Buachaille when the first snows hit last winter, and set up camp and hope for a nice sunrise.
I headed up the southern slopes of Chrulaiste – looking for the path beside the burn I had taken a few years prior. However there were only remnants of this lower down, I was sure it was much more prominent on my last visit – maybe a trick of the memory;) and getting older (I had been in a prior decade of life last time;)). Anyway, without much ado, I found a nice spot and set about pitching the tent. It was warm, but it was also windy! The pitch was amazing, and as always, Chrulaiste didn’t disappoint with its views. Its such an amazing spot, probably one of my favourites and I made sure I pitched with a front door view to enjoy when I did eventually hit the hay!
The sun lowered and there were a few clouds about, just enough to make for some decent snapsJ Camera away I sat and enjoyed the sun dropping down over the north western horizon. It was time for bed… However sleep was not forth coming due to the strength of the winds. I was just glad I was in my Scarp- holding its own as always J
Last look at the clock and it was 0200am – urrgghhhhh. I had come to snap the sunrise hitting the Buachaille so was determined to get up early Only problem was sunrise was about 0430 and twilight starting about an hour before this….
0345 and I got up….. Super tired- don’t think I’ve experienced bed bag eyes like it! Coffee was first on the menu, then I waited……
And waited , and waited – nothing… The clouds were preventing a sunrise shot L never mind – no sunrise shot like last time – but who cares , I was standing with one of the best views in the world at my feet… superb….
I eventually headed back to the car and got back down about 7 ish. I had been feeling ok after my coffee but when I reached the car I opened the boot, took my pack off and laid it down in the boot. I then proceeded to crawl in beside it and before I knew it I was fast asleep! A few hours later I awoke and had my second coffee and breakfast for the day!
My Grand Plans for today were to strike up Curved Ridge before meeting the TV team. However, best laid plans etc and I decided to conserve some energy and explore some lower levels walks around the coe. It was a great day, I firstly had a stroll along the River Coupall then started making my way west through the Glen. I pulled up at one of the parking lay byes – with some difficulty – good weather and bank holiday = super busy A82!!!! I then headed for the skyline wanting a snoozing spot with the classic Glencoe view. After about 20 minutes hiking along the hillside I found the spot I was looking for. A grand spot to snooze.
Snooze had I then headed further down and found myself at the car park at Loch Achtriochtan. The waterfall under Aonach Dubh was my next target and as I climbed up the possibility of me requiring a cool down rose with the temperature. Off the path and a slippery scramble saw me at the falls.
A quick look around, and I decided I was on my own and I stripped down and headed for some open air bathing. I stood under the waterfalls first then braved the cool pool, it was superb and refreshing!
Time was marching on and my rendezvous with the Grand Tours TV team was nearing.
Must admit I was a little nervous. I had no idea what to expect, I knew I would recognise Paul but was really hoping I would find them. As it turned out it wasn’t too hard. As I pulled up to the car park I spotted a van with some serious camera equipment.
It was great, they were very welcoming and made me feel at home straight away. The team comprised of Richard the cameraman, Murray – camera assistant, (another) Richard – sound man, Ceara – producer and of course Paul.
They had already had a full on day filming in Loch Etive and so must have been tired so I thank them for making me feel welcome and putting up with my constant chat!!
Our objective was a summit camp on Creag Dubh at the head of Glen Etive. We met at 1900hrs so with sunset near 21.45, we were keen to get going.
I may have complained previously about the size and weight of my camping and camera gear, however that will now stop. These guys had some serious equipment to carry- really putting me to shame ;)
Prior Steaming Boots filming involves a camera being place and me walking past or piece to camera etc etc… A proper film involved the team getting a few angles of the same shot and sometimes a number of takes, so the same bit of hillside was walked by myself and Paul sometimes numerous times. Time was against us though and we were starting to think that we may miss sunset. This would have been a disastrous tonight as there were just enough clouds in the sky to promise something special at dusk. It was looking very promising for a fine sunset, however you can’t ever be sure as clouds move and can spoil or make sunsets!!!!
After a bit of time we reached a blowy summit and I set about setting up the tent with Pauls help. The team were going to be spending the night a little lower down on the mountain so as to not have too many tents in shot an also be a little more sheltered! However what this meant for them was that not only did they have to carry all their equipment up for sunset they also had to get up at 3am to carry it back up for sunrise – total respect!!
So with the camera rolling, I was under pressure to try and set the tent up and not look like a complete idiot!! The wind was strong and it did take a bit of persistence to get it up without it flying away – that may have been a YBF moment if that had happened!! Haha.
We had made good time and with the tent up we did an interview with the still warm rays of sun glowing to the west. Really hoping this comes out well, it felt like a good spot. Interviews done, the five of us watched and waited. There were decent amounts of cloud above us and the western horizon was clear – perfect for dusk skies… and we got them, the colours slowly crept into the clouds ad lit the skies beautifully, fantastic… My only regret was that I didn’t really get much of my own filming down for the Steaming Boos video – however I wasn’t here for SB . Can’t wait to see the outcome on the TV!
So off to bed and the team said they would return about 4am. I must admit that I slept well (probably as I was so knackered from only 2 hrs sleep the night before!!!).
I woke before my alarm and headed over to the summit Cairn to watch the TV crew emerge from their tents with head torches on. Unlike the sunset, I was 50 50 on whether the sunrise would happen. From the prior day I didn’t expect much, however if it did happen, then this was one fine place to witness it!!
A haze hung over the north eastern skies and it was hard to tell how thick this cloud was. Too thick and the sun would be blotted out and light would come to the world in unspectacular fashion!
A deep purple started to glow behind the haze as the crew arrived, it was now 3.45, about an hour to sunrise. It never really gets pitch black at this time of year, so we headed over to the tent and got some shots of me emerging from the tent.
We then waited for sunrise…. It kept us waiting too!!! It wasn’t until the sun showed its self, rising up from Ben Alder making an amazing intro for The Grand Tours team. The haze hadn’t been thick cloud and in fact it was the haze that made this a memorable sunrise. At first the top rim of the ball of fire peeked over the horizon, the haze enabling us to look straight at it and the ball of fire rose steadily – changing colour from a purple to eventually and orange then yellow beacon. It was spectacular in its own right, but the fact that it was rising above the lochs and Lochans of Rannoch Moor added to the drama with these reflecting and lighting up the watery landscape below us.
By 05.45 the sun had risen above the haze and sunrise was over. The team decided on a few extra hours of sleep and retreated to base camp. I however was wide awake and for the next few hours I dotted about Creag Dubh and even par took in some early morning sun bathing!!!!
By 0830 I decided to strike camp and headed down to meet the team emerging to their second wakening of the day. Richard (sound man) had been in the same position as me and hadn’t gone back to sleep so we spent half an hour chatting about some local shops (both come from same area) and the trials and tribulations of fatherhood! Soon all were packed away and ready to descend the mountain whilst most were starting their mountain day - All was well with the world…….
Grand Tours of Scotland – The Loch - Loch Etive – to go out later in 2017………
Munro with the Kids…
A weekend in with the kids was planned as the better half was out for a couple of days. My daughter has been up perhaps 10 Munros but it’s been a few years since she has been out, my son on the other hand has no interest in the outdoors, much more happy with the comforts of home. Previous trips with the weeman included a short walk to the summit of Cairngorm mountain from Ptarmigan on glorious April day in 2015 but he did well to summit Ben Ledi also the same year…. But that’s it, I often offer to take him away but not wanting to force him and perhaps drive him away from the hills for life (I remember what I thought of being forced to do thing when younger!!) I usually leave it at that….
So imagine my surprise (and delight) when at breakfast on Sunday morning, he announces he wants to head up a mountain! Within 10 minutes I had the car packed and ready to go before minds could change ;) I quickly decided on Meall nan Tarmachan, not too difficult or far away and pretty decent views from the top… The forecast was ok – a little windy and cold but only a few showers forecast…. The main car park was busy as we arrived around 12 o’clock.
Like a grey hound out of the trap, the wee man was off!!! “Pace yourself!!” was answered by –“ it’s easy - I am pacing myself”. Of course about 45 minutes later the pace had slowed and sweeties were required for an extra energy boost. He was doing well though and the final steep pull was not a problem. Even when a rogue hail storm battered us just before the summit he pushed on. It cleared and we were rewarded at the summit with great views….
Of course there were a few moans headed up the hill, so I tried to keep interest going by offering rewards and also getting him involved in map reading and route choice (well there is a path – but one can go up a hill in various ways ;)!!).
So a fine day was had in the Perthshire hills. Not sure if I’ll get another family day out in the hills soon but we will see if I get any more breakfast surprises as the summer continues ……. It’s a great feeling sharing TGO with loved ones and being a proud dad at the end of a mountain day J
Beinn a’Bha’ ach Ard
With the longer days and the recent decent weather, I set about my recent mood for bagging some more Corbetts. As I described in a recent Vlog when headed up Creag Rainich, I go through spells of bagging when most of the time I am not too bothered about lists and Munro and Corbett bagging.
However at the moment I have the bug to bag! The only problem is that the hills I need to bag are getting further and further away!! As time was short I did some research and realised there was Corbett at the proximal end of Glen Strathfarrar that (with the aid of a bike) I could bag in a shorter time slot. As I parked up just shy of locked gate, memories came flooding back of my last visit….
On a three day walking trip with my brother Ross a few years back, our last day were the four Munros in Strathfarrar. All was well with the world and after a couple of great days in Torridon we got the cars strategically placed in the Glen for a quick getaway. Although legs were tired we made good progress, having left my car at the start point and his at the end point to save a long walk back along the road. This was great and as we approached the end of the walk we complimented each other on our quick round and also the thought of extra brownie points for getting home ahead of schedule. As we de-kitted the sun shone, but our moods rapidly deteriorated in a short period of time! After packing everything into the car we got comfy and it was then that things started to go wrong. The car failed to start!! It wasn’t an old car – in fact it was a pretty new one – jus past its three year warranty. Checking radios and lights we couldn’t see what would have drained the battery?? I the set off on his bike to get to my car to try and source some jump leads and luckily a kid gent on a drive up the glen stopped and helped outJ However after an hour of faffing – still nothing L We then had to head back down the Glen to get a signal and phone the RAC! I sat in the car park and eventually the pickup appeared. I said my good byes and headed off – leaving my brother with anther drive up the Glen to the car – i got home about 11pm – he didn’t reach Glasgow until 3am!! The issue – a failed timing belt – disaster…
Anyway back to today and the sun was shining again. The hill was Beinn a’Bha’ ach Ard and much closer to the mouth of the Glen. I cycled up past the power station and to my delight found that the ATV track continued steeply up the hill after the dam. I got off the bike and decided to push it up as far as I could. This hindered progress but I knew it would help en route home!!!
I was really struggling though and realised I hadn’t eaten for about 5 hrs. A quick refuel and I was soon plodding my way up the heathery slopes. Good views opened up to the west and I was soon rewarded at the summit by expansive views to the flat lands with the Kessock Bridge drawing the eye as the sea loomed behind! Not a bad wee hill and a quick trot to the bike and then an exhilarating cycle back saw my completing the route in under 3 hrs. Another one bagged – not sure how many more I’ll fit in to this spell of bagging but tats 5 Corbett’s in the last three weeks – not too bad J
Bumps and Bags…
Lists….. and ticking things off…… becomes an addiction to many of us… If you are reading this blog then you may also have this affliction in context with mountains and hills!
Some are called Munro Baggers, some just baggers and some look down on this sub section with scorn and ridicule, why do you need to have not climbed a hill to head out etc etc
In some respects I think I fall into both categories (or is it a sliding scale!!?). It really just depends on what mood takes me…. I think the real addiction is just getting out and about and that certainly keeps me satisfied, but then adding in an unclimbed hill and adding to that “tick list” of climbed hills seems to add to the need to get out there!!
There are advantages to this though and perhaps some disadvantages too (there’s always a Yin to the Yang). My last adventure highlights one of the advantages… Creag Rainich in the NW highlands sits between the Fannich Range and the Fisherfield hills with An Teallach to the North. It’s a pretty dull looking hill with a relatively long approach. If I weren’t ticking off the Corbetts - would I have travelled three and a half hours in the car to get here then cycle for an hour to reach the bottom of the hill ?? Probably not… However, as is often the case with the Corbetts, the hill itself is a little rounded but my god the views from the top were well worth the effort! So this little bump of a mountain was put in the bag and another Corbett was ticked off the list…
Of course the fact that there were unbroken blue skies and crystal clear clarity helped, but doesn’t it always;)
The day started at the usual time (no need to get up super early as the days are long , plus the forecast suggested the winds to drop through the day!). A quick bowl of porridge washed down with some Kenco and I was ready for the drive. Past the numerous roadworks I was on the Kessock Bridge by the back of nine. The sun was shining down but Wyvis was cloudy on the northern horizon. It didn’t bother me though as I was headed west and the chances of this North Sea clag reaching the west coast were slight (well according to Judith at the weather centreJ). Up past Aultguish and then a left at the Braemore Junction. A few weeks earlier I had taken the same road, in the same glorious weather, the only difference was the peaks were white and I was headed for Teallach!
After three and a half hours I pulled up at a very busy parking bay. Looked like the Munro Baggers were hitting The Fannichs! Bike out, bag packed and I was off to bag my Corbett….. An hour later (and after a rather bumpy, gravelly cycle – not sure the bike helped too much on this one!) I as stashing my bike away at end of the loch relatively close to the Lochiveroan Bothy…
White horses skipped along The Loch and I was hoping Judith was going to be right in that the breeze was to diminish through the day! Otherwise it would be a hard fought cycle back!!
The hill looked like a gentle slope from here… According to my calculations I would only be ascending about 600m due to my starting height being near 200m. The going was good – very good in fact.. Although there were no paths, the recent dry spell meant that even the boggiest sections were bone dry!
I was soon on the minor top of Meall Dubh were the view opened up. The sky was blue and Sgurr Ban and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair looked amazing-a grand time to be having a crack at The Fisherfield Six (or should that be Five now that a demotion has occurred ;))….
With a big smile on my face I made the short descent and re ascent to reach the Corbett’s summit….
An hour later, after soaking in the views and playing with the cameras, I decided to head back, thoroughly pleased with my experience (and also bagging a new Corbett!;)).
For a remote location, the use of the bike meant it only took about 90 minutes to get back to the car. If only the ca journey were the same time!!
So a fine outing in fine weather and another Corbett bagged – not doing too badly that’s four in last two weeks ;) Maybe a finer achievement than bagging four Munros? ( I’ll leave that can of worms for another blog I think….)
The Holy Island – Kayaking and hiking to Mullach Mor - 1st May 2017
After a superb couple of days adventuring around Arran, we had come to our last day.
Finally the seas had calmed a little after some stiff easterly winds and we had a chance to cross to The Holy Island and explore Mullach Mor!
Another leisurely start and we were on the water not long after 10am… The effects of the easterly winds were soon felt as we journeyed further from shore but we soon reached the Holy Isle without too much drama. A welcoming party of goats came to see what the large orange pieces of plastic were before they went on with their day unfazed by our arrival… A quick change and we were soon on our way around to the main track up the hill. A helpful sign points the way “To The Top” and once again we found ourselves heading uphill!
A grand well kept track soon had us on the minor top of Mullach Beag where we stopped for some snacks whilst enjoying the views across Arran.
A short lived steep section soon followed before levelling off toward the summit. A trig point with some atmospheric prayer flags was reached. Time to relax and enjoy the setting. We were lucky to have the top to ourselves and as the ferry hadn’t reached the Island as of yet. Having had The Holy Island in our sights all weekend , it was grand to be here on the top with the land dropping off into the sea in all directions- a special place and probably my second favourite top in Arran (it’s hard to beat Cit Mhor!!!). The night before we had headed up a promontory above the coast to watch the sunset behind the Arran mountains but the views in the opposite direction to Holy Island were just as good !!!
After some time soaking in the views we descend steeply south dropping down to the light houses and then following the path around the western shore and back to the kayaks. Before long we had made the crossing back to Lamlash and then back to catch the Ferry at Brodick.
A fine adventure and what a place Arran is!! Superb!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...