The first weekend of my summer holidays and the weather was looking good. I fancied a wild camp and had been eying up An Ruadh Stac from the Achnashellach side, however for some reason I decided on the brace of Corbetts directly opposite Liathach in Glen Torridon. I think the view over to Liathach and Beinn Eighe won the day, with the weather looking promising I was hoping for some spectacular vistas, at the end and start of the day.
I had planned on doing these hills previously only to change my mind at 0530am one cold December morning. The change of plan led me to one of the finest outings I have experienced – a winter traverse of Beinn Dearg, a day that will live long in the memory. Ever since that day I have planned on keeping these two for fine weather and that’s what I gotJ. (I have pasted a link to that fine winter day at the bottom of this post if interested.
Video report of this wild camp below - before text and photos - hope you like it :)
Leaving the car around 1600hrs, the winds were light (too light!) and the skies overcast. The cloud base was still well above the tops and the forecast was for blue sky to prevail as the evening wore on. The overcast calm conditions meant one thing, and boy did they come out in force – the dreaded midge attacked. I tried to not stop moving because every time I stopped I was feasted upon!! Eventually they forced me to stop, less than 1km from the car to get my smidge out. Stopping briefly to do this and getting the back pack off my back – they focused their efforts as I rushed to get the smidge out of the top pocket where I always keep it. It was in the top pocket alright – but in my smaller bag I had on the week before!! Arrgghhhhhhhhhhh. Buzz, itch, swipe, scratch – they were landing all over – the feeling of them crawly on my face and neck and buzzing in my ears. I was cursing myself for leaving the smidge – school boy error – how the heck was I going to manage a wild camp!!!! I delved further into my bag – rushing and fumbling for a solution – into the stove bag and mercy behold – a midge net- phew!! On it went with a few getting inside- cue smacking myself in the face to get rid of them !! Haha
Then an old spay can of boots insect repellent was discovered even further into the bag. I think I had put this in as a back up many moons ago – boy was I relieved to make this find. Spray it on all over – even got that poison on the lips – never a good taste!! Gladly –it did the trick- they were still buzzing around, but less were landing and the midge net obviously helped too!
I continued on my way. I had chosen to head up towards Sgurr Dubh first and leave the bag for the outward trip to Sgorr Lochain Uaine. This meant heading up the steep ground with the bag on. I soon reached the steep slopes, which were interspersed with terraces. The midge net had to go on the steep sections as it was impeding my vision, however the insect repellent seemed to being doing a decent job. I headed on a more southerly route to try and find the beallach between two Corbetts, which was over some very rough and steep ground. Some scrambling was also partaken and some treacherous scree slopes crossed, but eventually the ground started to level out and numerous lochans started appearing. Once I crossed the Allt nan Corrag I headed onto the ridge an found a spot to leave the bag. It was now nearly 1730. I headed up Sgorr nan Lochain Uaine summiting about 1800hrs. The going was rough but easier without the bag. Met some of the locals near the summit too:
I was getting a bit concerned about finding a decent pitch as so far the ground was relatively rough with loads of rocks – no flat grassy areas!! Looking across the Sgurr Dubh things only seemed to be more rocky!!! Anyway back to the bag at the Beallach and the cloud was now parting – by 1900 the skies were blue. The lack of wind also made the lochans turn to mirrors and the views were simply stunning.
On with the pack and I made my way towards Sgurr Dubh. The going was still rough and the heavy pack was slowing me down. However I was in no rush and slowly plodded my way past numerous beautiful lochans (including one that looked like an infinity pool). Had I found a pitch next to these I would have been tempted to have a dook, however I was more interested in getting anywhere to pitch the tent as I had yet to see a suitable site!!!
Around 2000hrs and I was stood on the top looking down into Glen Torridon. The sun was shining and the Torridonian mountains were smiling – awesome vistas!! However none of these vistas included a grassy patch!! So onwards and I must have dropped a good 200-300 metres before eventually getting a spot next to a miniature lochan. It was not exactly even ground but easily the best patch I had found. To say I was glad to have the exped ground mat would be an understatement!!
Supper cooked and tent up I enjoyed a lovely sunset and the clouds turning purple above the mighty Liathach- an amazing sight. The midges must have enjoyed it too!!!
Eventually I hit the hay after 1100hrs, waking around 0415. A quick look outside and the skies had cracking pink high clouds and cloud was flowing off the summit – maybe a good thing I dropped a few hundred metres or I’d have been in the fog!!
First thing, as always, was to get some coffee on. Always, always the best coffee is that on the morning of a wild camp – magical taste!! The breeze had picked up through the night which meant one thing – the midge were no longer feasting!! I took my time, enjoyed the coffee and eventually packed up. Decided on heading straight back to the car. I was a little uneasy about this as the ground had been broken and steep on the way up. However I made use of the GPS and the map and picked my way carefully down the hillside. Once on easier terrain the walking back to the car was simply stunning. Blue skies and mighty Torridonian peaks all around – a slice of heaven!!
I eventually reached the car a little after six in the morning – well and truly satisfied with my outing J
Film from Beinn Dearg winter traverse below:
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...