Fuar Tholl and An Ruadh Stac
After a ten day holiday with the kids , it was back to school for them on Tuesday and as always after six weeks of changeable weather, the weather gods decided that summer was to return as they headed back into their new classes for the first termJ
I had child cover on the Monday and a chance to use my last day of annual leave in the hills, but where to go? The forecasted Summer conditions were coming, but no one was sure whether it would arrive Sunday, Monday or first day back Tuesday!!
I left my decision late to give me the best chance on getting a location with nice weather and decided on heading to Glen Carron. I had been up Sgurr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mor a few years ago and left out Fuar Tholl, hoping to return and climb it. However I hadn’t planned on the route that I eventually took. My finally look at the weather was suggesting the cloud would clear but not until the Monday so I wanted to stay out and enjoy this and head up a hill through Monday. The decision was made- a wild camp on Fual Tholls Summit then An Ruadh Stac for the Monday. This involved taking the well-travelled path to Tholls summit and I knew it would be on pathless terrain, but would enable me to drop down to the Fion-abhainn the next day and head up An Ruadh Stac…..
I said my good byes and left my route card with the wife and headed onto the A9. It was around 1pm on Sunday and the road was busy as usual. I eventually got to Coulags around the back of 4 and was on my way. Lots of work being carried out in the lower section of the Glen but I was soon past this and feel optimistic. An Ruadh Stac was clear of cloud and as Fuar Tholl is roughly the same height, I felt confident I would be getting some views once I reached the top. With camera equipment weighing just about the same as the camping gear (I finally weighed my kit!!!) progress was slow, but that was ok – no rush – until the midge came that was……
My hopes for a summit camp with expansive panoramas were dashed as I finally made the summit. The clag was in and as much as I willed it away– it just didn’t budge!! No sunsets and a rather cold evening on the summit!!!
I set the alarm for just before sunset but when I popped my head out it seemed the clag was still in. Problem was my porch was facing west! 20 minutes later when nature called, I realised the views to the east were clear and soon the clag was quickly dissipating! The views were worth the gamble, absolutely superb, it was going to be a good day!
After lots of videoing I packed up and headed for An Ruadh Stac. The descent needed care, especially with a third of my body weight on my back! The views were getting better and better and the blue skies to the east were slowly eating away the remaining western clouds….
Made my way for the fork in the path and was soon standing on the nice even ground of the path! I dumped most of my kit and took essentials in a small rucksack as I started the ascent to An Ruadh Stac. I must admit his felt awesome after the weight of the camping/camera gear on the pathless terrain. The sun was now in control and blue skies reined above! Almost felt like I was hiking on the content as I strode along the white quartzite path, the sun reflecting up off the rock. On reaching the Bealach the view to this Corbett and its surroundings was amazing, one of the best views in my opinion. The blue lochan shimmered whilst An Ruadg Stac shone white high above. The hike up didn’t disappoint either with minor scrambling and lot (and lots) of rock! It got even better at the top as the views opened up. Taking top spot was Beinn Damh which looked spectacular as did Maol Chean Dearg which took up more of the horizon slightly to the SE. The wind was up but it was a warm wind (not often said here!!). After lots of photo taking I was soon descending and a long walk back was followed by an even longed drive. However all worth it and I may even go as far as saying that An Ruadh Stac may be one of the finest mountains I’ve visited J
Another section I have added to the short film is regarding what kit I take into the hill. Given the manky weather on the Friday I decided to do a piece to camera about it. I have added additional items below on what’s in my bag and is linked to the wild camping section on the page……
Wild Camping Gear for an overnight summit stop in Scotland
Spring 2013 and myself and my brother decided we would try wild camping on the top of one of the Munros in the Glenuig Forest. Being a circular route we thought it would be fun to try camping on the summits as opposed to the Glen so we set off in high spirits. 24hrs later and after zero hours sleep I deposited the faithful (at Glen level) tent in the bin after returning to the car…..
This is what spurred the next purchase and the love of summit top camping. During this time my love for making short films of our adventures has also increased and I get asked a lot about what kit I take up on the hill with me on my summit camps. So I made the below movie and thought I’d write a short piece of text to list what items I have. If you are looking for information on light weight wild camping then I suggest you don’t read any further. I weighed my bag for the first time for this film and it turned out that when I added all my filming gear the pack weight was roughly a third of my body weight (I’m not a small chap either!)!! However looking at my gear I wouldn’t change any of it as some of the items I have provide me with a better night’s sleep and I wouldn’t change that for anything J. I would also say that my camera equipment (tripods extra batteries etc etc) weighs roughly the same as all the camping gear combined! Maybe I could invest in a lighter tripod, however my funds don’t currently extend to doing that ;)
I have listed some of the gear that I take below (I’ve excluded camera equipment presently but can do this in the future if anyone is interested). Please note I am in no way an expert and this is only an indication of what I take on the hill. It is not intended as a recommendation but only as my preference J
TarpTent SCARP1 Tent
RAB Ascent 900 sleeping bag
Exped DownMat 9 ground mat
SMIDGE ;) insect repellent
Sawyer Mini (or Sawyer Squeeze depending on trip) water filter
Jet Boil Zip Stove
Wayfayrer Chicken Tikka Food
All in one coffee sachet Coffee
First Aid kit First Aid kit
Extra Painkillers Painkiller
Compeed Blister Plasters
Duc Tape Tape
Everest Poles Fizan Walking Poles
Platypus Water holder
Deuter 65 + 15 Pack Ruck Sack
1:25000 OS Map
Silva compass Compass
Viewranger App Digital software and GPS
Powerpack Extra I phone battery
Hat/ 2 Pairs Gloves/ Buff Clothing
Sigmond walking trouser with braces Trousers
SCARPA Charmoz Boots
Baselayer T shirt
Mountain Equipment Gillet Midlayer 1
Rab Vapour Rise Lite Alpine Jacket
North Face Jacket Duvet Jacket
Rab Latok Waterproof outer
Lighter / back up flint Lighter
Jelly Babies ;)
This is as much of the kit that I can remember from the trip on the attached film. Obviously the weight and equipment gets even more in the winter months so this is what I take generally in the summer. Additionally I use dry bags to compartmentalise the equipment and also to use as a pillow at night!!
As we all do, I spend the evening before any major trip scouring the internet and books for routes and tips. Walking websites are an excellent resource to find out what people have experienced previously and to look at their photos to see ideas for pitches et etc The weather is still fickle though an I tend o use three or four references to try and second guess it sometimes!! Its Scotland after all!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...