Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ben More (Mull)

6 miles, 950m ascent, 4 hours

It felt like the end of an era to be finishing Ben's round.  13 of us made the ascent in drizzle and a strong wind.  The ascent certainly qualified as our slowest and our most sociable.  Ben took a pebble from the ocean and placed it on the summit, then took a stone from the summit which he cast into the ocean, a symbolic end to our journey together. Its been a great adventure.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Meall Dearg, Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (Aonach Eagach)

6.5 miles, 1200m ascent, 5 hours 30 mins

We'd been looking forward to this and I don't think it disappointed Ben.  He was breezing the ridge, then suddenly became unsettled on the pinnacles after which he needed a bit of encouragement, although it didn't take long to recover from his bout of nerves.  In any event, we were down by 2pm and had plenty of time to drive to Oban for fish and chips before catching the 6pm boat to Mull.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Stob Coire Sgreamhach

7 miles, 1430m ascent, 6 hours

Our first good day of weather on the hill this trip.  It felt good to be back in the Coe with its acres of rock.  We took the first gully up to the Beinn Fhada ridge.  This has its moments as does the scramble up to Sgremhach if you don't take the easiest line.  I recounted past climbs to Ben as we passed over Bidean and Stob Coire nan Lochan.  At the car park, Ben also learned that Japanese tourists take pictures of anything that moves and if it doesn't move they take a photo anyway.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tom a Choinneach, Toll Creagach

10 miles, 1080m ascent, 5 hours

An easy day which left us lots of time for catching up at the bunkhouse.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Carn nan Gobhar, Sgurr na Lapaich, An Riabhachan, An Socach

19.6 miles, 1800m ascent, 9 hours 50 mins

I struggled to enjoy the day for some reason, although Ben seemed to do so.  On the top the wind was just too strong to sit around for any period of time and down in the valley it too midgy. Ben and Simon chatted the day away, but I was too weary to engage.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Ben Wyvis

9 miles, 910m ascent, 4 hours 45 mins

We seemed to do more driving than walking on this day.  Firstly we had to drive from Tongue to Dingwall to drop off Alison and pick up Simon.  After shopping at Tesco, we drove to the car park at the foot of the mountain, did the walk, then drove to Cannich.  Simon entertained Ben admirably which made for a swift ascent.  We passed maybe 100 people including many children.  They had clearly been celebrating on the top, but the exact occasion we never did ascertain.  The midges kept us moving.  Its a fairly dull mountain from this direction and the mist obscured any views until we descended.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ben Hope

4.5 miles, 930m ascent, 2 hours 45 mins

Ben Hope is a nice hill.  In the interests of a sort of rest day, we went up and down the easiest way which really didn't take long.  In fact we were back at the hostel in time for lunch and an afternoon at the beautiful beaches near Tongue. 


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Ben Klibreck

8.6 miles, 730m ascent, 4 hours

A truly testing day of weather, which happened to coincide with my last Munro.  The rain didn't relent on the ascent and the wind funnelled up the valley, trying to knock us over ont he summit cone.  I had to hold on to Ben in the 60mph wind and we didn't hang around to celebrate with Alison.  I can see why I left this until last.  The short route is a slosh through the bog followed by a nice bit of ridge but the ridge doesn't make up for the bog.  Wanting to complete a second round on Ben Wyvis in two days time, I left Alison and Ben on the descent and ran down then back up again whilst they had a drink in the pub.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Seana Bhraigh, Eilidh nan Clach Geala

18.9 miles, 1360m ascent, 8 hours 30 mins

Seana Bhraigh is well-known as one of the more remote Munros, but its actually quite an easy walk.  We made good time, seeing just two people camping near the summit. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ben More Assynt, Conival

13.5 miles, 1430m ascent, 7 hours 45 mins

Alison dropped us off by the Bone Caves and we didn't hang around as it was midgy.  The Bone Caves were fantastic and provided shelter from the rain.  Both Ben and I had fun crawling through the passage from one cave to another, then it was into the rain for the ascent of Breabag, a bonus Corbett for me.  The ground between here and Ben More Assynt is very rough with boulder strewn slabs and no clear path - its wonderfully wild.  It was no surpise that we saw no-one until descending Conival.  Due to arriving early for the bus back to Lochinver we got eaten alive by the midges and in the end managed to hitch back.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Beinn Dearg, Meall Ceapraichean, Cona Mheall, Am Faocagach

17 miles, 1630m ascent, 9 hours 30 mins

Another longish and breezy day, this time with heavy rain showers and a deadline to pick Alison and my Mum & Dad up from Garve Station. Once the initial slog up Beinn Dearg was over, Ben found the rest of the day quite reasonable.  This is wild country which I love and where you are unlikely to see anyone once you've left the usual Munro bagging routes.  I had forgotten my maap so I made a makeshift one in the bunkhouse, consisting of a sketch and rough compass bearings.  The cloud more or less lifted, however, so I didn't really need it.  The descent of Cona Mheall toward Am Faocagach is incredibly rough and majestic.  I had intended to cross the outlet of the lochan but it was clearly a no-go since a huge curtain of spray was being blown several metres in to the air as the wind funnelled up the valley.  We therefore went round the lochan and hurried up the hill to make sure we were on time for the pick-up.  In the end we had plenty of time and the river crossings proved innocuous.  Ben was almost disappointed as I'd built them up a bit.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Maol Luinneadh, Moruisg

19 miles, 1690m ascent, 10 hours

Another long and breezy day which started with a steep ascent up from the river.  Like the previous day's it was unrelenting but didn't seem as long.  Once on the plateau we entered the mist, but it didn't take long to drop down to a track descending to the valley.  We had a spot of lunch in the sunshine by some ruins, before the steep ascent up the zig zags toward Moruisg.  Playing games saw us up this top, then we could enjoy the fine ridge to the demoted Munro which we duly bagged in strong wind and later rain.  All that  remained was to pack up the tent and walk out to our car for a welcome bit of comfort at the Aultguish bunkhouse.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bidean a Coire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor, Sgurr Coinneach, Sgurr a Chaorachain

22 miles, 2400m ascent, 10 hours 40 mins

By the time we set off down the track from the bothy, the burn had subsided and the path was no longer a river.  We then drove to Craig and walked up the forestry track to camp near the wire bridge.  At 11:40 we set off for the walk proper, starting with the wire bridge.  To my surprise Ben loved the bridge so much that he repeated the crossing the next day just for the fun of it.  Wet trudging ensued until we hit the path proper, then it was into the wind for a breezy traverse of Beinn Tarsuinn.  Wet scrambling on Bidean a Coire Sheasgaich (cheesecake) relieved the toil and from there we were in and out of the mist for the rest of the day.  Lurg Mhor flet quite a long way from anywhere, but Ben was up for descending all the way to the bootom then re-ascending what looked like a very steep slope opposite to Sgurr Choinneach.  The river crossing was easy enough but the same couldn't said for the ascent of the slope which was long, tedious and unrelenting.  I took a fairly direct line which brought us out fairly near the summit.  We were both glad to get there but the ridge to the next top was far easier and before long we were descending steep but straightforward ground to the river and our home for the night.  A tough but satisfying day.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Maol Chean Dearg

8 miles, 930m ascent, 4 hours

It rained all the way from Kendal to Coulags where we left the car.  Then it rained a bit, then it rained some, then it rained more still.  The burns were in spate making for tricky river crossings and by the time we had returned to the bothy where we had left our gear on the walk up, we were soaked to our skin - literally.   Ben showed great resolve in bagging the hill in such miserable weather after a long drive.  Fortunately some kind soul had left a large log and firelighters to boot.  This was an unexpected blessing and we burned most of the log over the course of the evening, thus drying our gear nicely.  Ben found a golf club in the bothy.  next time we must set up a pitch and putt course.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sgurr Eilde Mor, Binnean Mor, Na Gruagaichean, An Gearanach, Stob Coire a Chairn, Am Bodach, Sgurr a Mhaim, Stob Ban, Mullach nan Coirean

18.5 miles, 2400m ascent, 10 hours 40 mins

We set off early as Ben wanted to drive home afterwards and I didn't want to arrive home too late.  On the first hill, we met a man and his late teenage son who be bumped in to twice more before getting ahead of them later on.  The Mamores are always enjoyable and Ben romped round without any real problems, although the video shows that he was a little weary at the end.  The tree felling has devastated the track off Mullach nan Coirean.  What a mess!  Clambering over contorted branches is not the best way to end a walk, but we still made the car by 6pm and had a rare siting of a pine marten in the woods.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Carn Mor Dearg, Aonach Mor, Aonach Beag, Binnean Beag

12.5 miles, 2420m ascent, 9 hours 40 mins

We didn't set off until 11:30 due to driving down from Ratagan.  By that time it was sultry and the slog up beside the Waterslide was immense.  Both of us felt it, so it was a relief to get to the CMD arete which Ben skipped over.  On the top of CMD, a couple of Scots remarked that they'd got further than us to go (as they were about to cross the arete to the Ben) to which both of us retorted, 'well, actually no'.   A long afternoon of steep up and down over the Aonachs and then finally up Binnean Beag followed, finally camping at 8:20pm on the way to Sgurr Eilde Mor. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A Ghlas Bheinn, Bheinn Fhada

14 miles, 1500m ascent, 7 hours 25 mins

Two good hills on what turned out to be a good and warm day.  The abiding memory is of mist rising up one side of Beinn Fhada with the other perfectly clear.  Back at the hostel we bumped in to Marilyn baggers for the annual 'do' in Portree.  This really is a welcoming place with a most friendly Australian couple running the hostel.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain, A Chailleach

16 miles, 1030m ascent, 6 hours 40 mins

We set off to do Carn Dearg, with the possible option of adding the other two.  Despite lots of wind and rain from the start to the end, we made all three.  They aren't the most interesting of hills so if we had to do hills in the rain, they might as well be these.  Needless to say we didn't see anyone until back at the car.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Geal Charn, A Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mor

14.5 miles, 1270m ascent, 6 hours 35 mins

We didn't start the walk until 11:30 having driven up from home, but the ground makes for easy walking so we added the Corbett, the Sow of Atholl, before returning along the cycle track.  The highlight was finding a baby chick in the long grass, although the views were also good.  An uplifting day to be out (and my birthday)


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Luinne Bheinn, Ladhar Bheinn

13.5 miles, 1650m ascent, 9 hours

Another glorious day, this time with a bit less wind.  Again we saw plenty of refugees from the Royal Wedding (this being a holiday in honour of the wedding of William and Kate).  I'd intended to camp by the sea on the path out to Kinloch-hourn, but was tired enough by the camp site at Barrisdale so we stopped there, which was a blessing as we had use of the bothy and Ben was entertained by the chickens.


Saturday, 30 April 2011

Gairich, Sgurr Mhor

15 miles, 1750m ascent, 9 hours

We had struggled to erect the tent the previous evening in blowy conditions, and it looked as though it would be similarly windy on this day, but fortunately the wind did moderate a little.  The ground was pretty dry after the excellent weather of the past couple of weeks which made for pleasant walking.  We met a young girl and her father returning from Gairich which was something of a surprise, then quite a number on Sgurr Mhor.  We lost the people on descending to the end of Loch Quoich and had beautiful Lochan nam Bhreac to ourselves in glorious sunshine.  It's surely one of the best wild camping spots in Britain.  Ben paddled in the water whilst I went round capturing the scene with my camera.  Photos

Friday, 29 April 2011

Sgurr Mhaorich

4.5 miles, 800m ascent, 2 hours 45 mins

After driving up from Kendal I parked as near as I could to the hill and we took a fairly direct line to the summit.  Ben had been very tired on the journey up, even struggling to put his socks on, but once we got going all the aches and pains seemed to disappear and we actually had a good walk, before camping beneath the dam.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Bruach na Frithe, Am Bhasteir, Sgurr nan Gillean

12.5 miles, 1450m ascent, 8 hours

Another stunning day.  It felt quite Alpine in the heat of the valley and we needed frequent dousings in the stream to cool us down. We threw in Sgurr a Fionn Choire for good measure but missed out the Bhasteir Tooth, dropping quite a bit of height and going up and down the E Ridge of Am Bhasteir.  The mauvais pas wasn't as awkward as it looked from above but Ben needed quite a bit of help.  In contrast he loved the West Ridge of Gillean, as did I.  We took the right chimney which leaves a very exposed step round a block and then a keyhole higher up.  Its a lovely route which we all enjoyed.  We raced down the Tourist route and were fortunate enough to see an otter in the river on the return.  Photos

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


6.5 miles, 1000m ascent, 4 hours

Ben wanted a short day of the previous two days, so Blaven it was.  We went up and down the ordinary route from Loch Slapin to make it suitably short.  Both of us found it a bit of a slog and it felt very ordinary after the past few days. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Dubh Mor, Sgurr nan Eag

Another wonderful day that defied the weather forecast.  In view of the predicted mist and drizzle, we set our sites on purely bagging Sgurr Alasdair via the Stone Chute, but as the mist cleared we extended this by descending the chimney toward Sgumain and traversing out to Dubh Mor and thence Sgurr nan Eag.  Going UP the stone chute was hilarious, but I'm not sure that I'd want to do it more than once.  The intricate route finding to Dubh Mor panned out well and Ben just seemed to grow in confidence and ability as the day wore on.  I nipped up and down Thearlich too which is a nice scramble.  The late afternoon walk back was superb, as the Cuillin were bathed in golden sunlight and the sea sparkled.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sgurr na Banchdich, Innaccessible Pinnacle, Sgurr Mhic Choinnich

8.5 miles 1450m ascent, 9 hours

For all non-rock climbing Munroists this is the day of truth - the Inn Pinn.   Ben alternated between looking forward to it and dreading it, but with a good forecast I thought we might as well get it over and done with.  The weather was almost perfect and we had it to ourselves.  Firstly we made the ascent of the South ridge of Banachdich which is quite airy in places and Ben needed a bit of encouragement in a couple of places, so I was a little apprehensive about how we would fare on the Inn Pinn..  I needn't have worried.  Its quite an intimidating place and as you breach the top of Sgurr Dearg, there it is - a tooth rising out of the mists.  To save him worrying about it, we immediately slithered down the screes to the base of the saw-toothed ridge which soars improbably above.  I set off just dragging the rope behind me until I got to a decent belay, then brought Ben and Simon up together.  Ben clearly had no problem whatsoever and the broad grin on coming in to view said it all.  Its an easy scramble from there to the summit block, where we could lounge around a bit with no-one else to worry about.  The descent was a different story.  Ben didn't want to abseil and as I had feared when it came to the lower-off, he found the sensation of dangling in space very unnerving.  I abbed off first then Simon inched him down.  In the end we just had to get on with it, but it only took 5 minutes or so for Ben to recover his composure and feel exhiliration rather than fear.  So much so that the descent of the An Stac screes and the scramble back up to Sgurr Mhic Choinnich was accomplished swiftly and purposefully.  We romped down the screes to end a wonderful day.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sgurr Mhadaidh, Sgurr Ghreadaidh

8 miles, 1100m ascent, 7 hours

Ben's introduction to Skye began disappointingly with low cloud, a cool wind and drizzle.  We took the wrong way in the corrie and ended up just below the steep bit of the NW ridge which loomed impressively out of the mist.  It was raining and the rocks were wet.  Ben expressed his feelings in that timeless way - "I want to go down".   I couldn't blame him. It wasn't a great introduction to Skye, but it wouldn't create a great precedent for our week on Skye, so reluctantly he followed us across the unstable scree to An Dorus.  Once in the gully, he recaptured his composure and enjoyed the scramble up and down both sides of the gap, despite the wet rock.  I was so glad, because otherwise it might have completely changed the week.  Instead of a disappointing, unpleasant experience, he had a successful and ultimately very enjoyable day out.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Ben Dorain, Ben Dothaidh

9 miles, 1200m ascent, 4 hours 45 mins

It was something of a relief to have a nice easy trail, not much snow as far as the bealach and a relatively benign day, after the appalling weather of the previous days.  We almost got a view, and the wind was much less strong.  We therefore had some company on one of the summits and it didn't take long to scoot round before driving home.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Ben Chalum

8 miles, 950m ascent, 5 hours 30 mins

Another very testing day which demanded a flexible approach to get up our mountain.  The weather lived up to the horrendous forecast of 80mph winds and heavy rain, sleet and snow.  We met the CRMC on the way up as they were retreating with tales of impossibly strong winds on the top.  I has thought about trying a route round the side anyway, so this confirmed it.  We entered the coire to the East of the summit which made an interesting way up the mountain and a relatively sheltered one.  Unsurprisingly we saw no-one here and it felt quite exploratory.  We managed the headwall quite easily and it was really quite sheltered until just near the top, before gratefully turning tail for the downclimb.  The return journey in driving sleet and hail was not quite so pleasant, but it was highly satisfying to have bagged our summit in such demanding conditions.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Meall Ghaordie, Meall nan Tarmachan

9.5 miles, 1650m ascent, 6 hours 45 mins

Uncharacteristically we went for a day of pure bagging taking a route about which I would normally be somewhat disparaging.  This was dictated by the weather which was especially unkind.  First off, we made the short up and down of Meall Ghaordie before the wind rose too much.  It wasn't especially pleasant and I made the mistake of donning fell shoes which made for very cold feet.  On the descent we met other members of the CRMC.  We then opted for a hot lunch at our accommodation near Killin, a quick change of clothes, then up to the visitor centre at Ben Lawers for a quick dash up Meall nan Tarmachan.  This time the forecasted wind was accurate - its was touching 80mph at the summit.  I kept Ben on a leash and took a stilghtly unusual rouite at the very summit of Meall nan Tarmachan, going to the right then straight up to the summit via a steepish snow slope.  This kept us out of the worst of the wind until the summit itself and we could stumble back the same way.  It did mean downclimbing the steep snow slope though and even a bit lower down, the wind was strong enough to blow the sling up in the air, so we were connected by a billowing tape.  What the few other walkers must have thought, I'm not sure as speaking above the gale was impossible.  A very satisfying day nonetheless.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Creag Mhor, Beinn Heasgarnich

17 miles, 1350m ascent, 10 hours

A long winter's day, once again with no views of any description.  Once off the big track, it was more trailblazing in knee deep snow, so I felt like I'd had a good day out at the end as did Ben.  Navigation was challenging in the thick mist and snow, especially when snow also fell from the sky.  Fortunately the wind wasn't too strong and it felt like a good mountaineering day which Ben managed remarkably well, getting round the 17 miles in good time considering the very heavy snow conditions.  The hoar formations were magnificent as the photos show.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Beinn Mhanach

11 miles, 800m ascent, 6 hours

A windy day was forecast with more snow, so we opted for a short outing with plenty of valley walking.  Beinn Mhanach fitted the bill and unbeknown to us several friends from the CRMC had the same thought.  We bumped in to them, but went our separate ways when they opted to bag the extra top.  The valley walk is enlivened by the spectacle of the railway viaduct and the frequent river crossings, but the main ascent is nothing but a trudge.  We managed to keep out of the cloud until near the top and it wasn't as windy as predicted.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sgiath Chuill, Meall Ghlas

12 miles, 1100m ascent, 9 hours

After entering the cloud at around 500m, we stayed in a white world until the final descent.  Fortunately the wind was only fresh, but even this whipped up the spindrift.  precise navigation was the order of the day in thick snow with no prints and equally thick mist.  The snow was heavy and approaching knee deep, so it was laborious trailblazing for the whole day and no doubt Ben found it similarly tough to follow.  nevertheless, it made these rather lumpy mountains, something more of a challenge.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Carn an't Sagairt Mor, Carn a Coire Bodeach, Lochnagar

15 miles, 1150m ascent, 7 hours

A lovely walk through the royal forest, followed by easy walking over the plateau.  We enjoyed lunch on the top of Lochnagar and descended the Northern tops to make it back in plenty of time for the long drive home.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Mount Keen

11 miles, 670m ascent, 4 hours 45 mins

Again the wind was predicted to be reaching speeds of up to 80mph, but it didn't prove to be nearly that bad it was also bright.  We both enjoyed an easy walk leaving Ben lots of time to play with Timothy in Banchory.


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Carn na Tuirc

9 miles, 850m ascent, 4 hours 30 mins

The weather was predicted to be bad and it was - 80mph gusts on top requiring me to pull Ben over the scarp in to the wind.  He wasn't that keen to do the Corbett next door, but I managed to persuade him and it was actually fairly enjoyable until we neared the road when the rain really set in.  At the car, the wind tore at the car door and we were forced to change in the car before the drive to Banchory.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Cairnwell, Carn Aosda

3 miles, 400m ascent, 1 hour 45 mins

A quick dash up the two easiest Munros, but only after a long drive from home and starting as it was about to get dark.  It also began to rain and it was all a bit miserable.  A true bagging outing.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Beinn Fhionnlaidh

9 miles, 970m ascent, 5 hours 20 mins

Another beautiful day, although a bit more windy.  We were down in good time to drive home for tea, which was a bit of a shame given that the sun was shining and the West coast looked at its magnificent best.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Beinn Sgulaird

10.5 miles, 1640m ascent, 7 hours 10 mins

From a camp in the forest we first bagged the Corbett, Creach Bheinn, before crossing the rough ground to Ben Sgulaird.  We were blessed with fine Autumnal weather with extensive views of sea and mountain - the West coast of Scotland at its best.  In the evening we had the unexpected pleasure of talking to a fisherman in the sea loch who proceeded to give us a couple  of  mackerel which he gutted and we fried on our camping stove to make a wonderfully fresh meal.


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Geal Charn

8 miles, 600m ascent, 3 hours 50 mins

A quick ascent of a fairly dull hill.  The weather had been predicted to be very windy, but in reality, it wasn't that bad and we were well on our way down before we saw the weekend walkers on their way up.  It was actually surprisingly enjoyable and we were down before noon for the drive back home.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Beinn a Chaorainn, Beinn Teallach

11.5 miles, 1170m ascent, 6 hours

 A wet and windy day, although we managed to avoid the worst of the rain and wind until we had descended Beinn a Chaorainn.  Thereafter it was just a case of getting on with it in driving rain and wind.  We were down before lunch, so we could enjoy the afternoon in the cosy confines of the bunkhouse.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Stob Ban, Stob Coire Claurigh, Stob Coire nan Laoigh, Sgurr Choinneach Mor

15.5 miles, 1680m ascent, 9 hours 30 mins

Despite heavy showers, we had a great day traversing the scree covered ridges of the Grey Corries.  At times the sun lit up the slopes against a dark background, making quite a spectacle.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Beinn a Chlachair, Geal Charn, Creag Pitridh

16 miles, 1150m ascent, 8 hours

The still and fine weather finally broke with more typical drizzle, mist and some wind.  The river crossing to get to Beinn a Chlachair was a little alarming as having carried Ben across, I suddenly felt rather feint and had to lie down to let the feeling pass.  I had instructed Ben what to do in this event so he was okay about it, but after that I took things easy.  In any event, we cruised the rest of the day which improved to the extent that it ended sunny and summery.  It didn't take us long to hitch along the road to Tulloch and the comforts of Station Lodge.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Ben Alder, Ben Bheoil

10 miles, 1000m ascent, 6 hours

The crux of the day proved to be the morning toileting, with swarms of midges biting any uncovered flesh.  Ben was not impressed.  In contrast, the round of Ben Alder was almost disappointingly short and easy, so we had loads of time to entertain ourselves once back at the bothy, where once again there was no-one.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beinn Eibheinn, Aonach Beag, Geal Charn, Carn Dearg

13.5 miles, 1240m ascent, 9 hours

We didn't hang around on leaving Loch Ossian youth hostel as it was so midgy.  I felt sorry for two lads who had camped overnight next to the loch.  They didn't look as though they had enjoyed a good night's sleep.  However, the lack of any sort of breeze meant that the loch  had become a perfect mirror of the mountains around , so I did brave the midges to take some photos.  As suspected, the initial ascent was toilsome in the heat and Ben struggled.  Only after lunching on the first summit did we seem to flow and from then all went well along the fine ridge to Carn Dearg.  Surprisingly we were alone at Culra.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Carn na Caim

7 miles, 600m ascent, 3 hours 20 mins

A quick dash on the way over to Tulloch to catch the train to Corrour.  We actually met a lad younger than Ben - a real novelty.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


11 miles, 510m ascent, 6 hours 30 mins

I rose early given that we had to make the afternoon train.  Ben stayed sound asleep whilst I took the tent down around him.  He wasn't too pleased at being woken at 6:30 but soon came round.  We saw a white reindeer on the ascent of Braeriach with her young which made the morning for Ben (and me).  It was magnificent to be on top of Braeriach at 9am with no-one else there, not a breath of wind and a decent covering of snow.  Quite bizarrely Ben started talking about how we was looking forward to a school camping trip to Sunderland whilst we were striding across the roof of Braeriach.  It felt good to be descending as the day trippers made their way up Braeriach and Ben found much to amuse him in the forest.  By 1pm we were near Loch Morlich so we had a while to wait for the bus, then the train journey home.  I was just sad that Ben couldn't enjoy his usual Pizza in Glasgow whilst walking between stations, as sensibly he didn't want to risk it with his stomach bug. 


Friday, 4 June 2010

Monadh Mor, Beinn Bhrotain, Mullach Chlach a Bhair, Sgor Gaoith

17 miles, 1170m ascent, 9 hours 45 mins

I was relieved not to have to carry a pack after the previous day and I felt stronger after a reasonable night's sleep and the end of my tummy bug.  Unfortunately Ben picked up where I left off and was experiencing the same bug which required some improvisation after all the wipes had run out.  I won't describe what that meant, but you can use your imagination.  We romped over Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain, two new Munros for me, leaving just Ben Klibreck.  Most unfortunately, Ben fell in at an innocuous river crossing when he leaned over too far whilst I was carrying him across, causing me to stumble and have to sink to my knees in the water.  I placed him on his feet and told him to walk to the other side.  To my (and his) dismay he promptly fell in getting everything soaked.  I took everything off him, put on his spare fleece and his waterproof trousers and dried his clothes by carrying them in the breeze like a portable washing line.  By the top of Mullach Chlach a Bhair they were dry .  On the top we met a fellow walker whom we accompanied all the way to the next Munro.  I think both parties were glad of the company and Ben could talk to someone other than me.  The boggy traipse back to the tent wasn't as bad as feared and we had a lovely evening wondering round the tent in golden light.


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ben MacDhui, Carn a Mhaim, Devils Point, Cairn Toul, Angels Peak

12.7 miles, 1820m ascent, 10 hours

Having had a much better night's sleep the re-ascent to Loch Etchachan didn't feel too bad and we were at the summit of Ben Macdhui by 9am, although we weren't the first.  It was a very fine and soon to be hot, day.  Ben spotted a nest of speckled eggs on the descent to Carn a Mhaim where the fun really started. I elected to descend the steep gully leading directly to Corrour Bothy, but I hadn't reckoned on how awkward the pack would make it.  It wasn't too bad to start with, but at the steepening, the grass which had been flattened by the winter snows was bone dry which made it as slippy as ice.  I was aware of the danger and warned Ben who didn't seem to have any particular problems unlike me.  My pack threatened to topple me over at any moment and I knew that if I slipped I wouldn't be able to stop - it would like a long grass toboggan run.  This theory was soon put to the test as I slipped and started to accelerate.  I dug my fingernails, my heels, my elbows, anything in to the unyielding ground in a desperate attempt to stop.  It hurt a lot, but ultimately it proved successful and with a relieved sigh I ground to a halt.  From then on I moved even more cautiously until I reached the safety of the heather.  Once down I examined my scars - nothing too bad, just a red rash up my thighs and backside, but I felt a bit bruised and battered.  In the glen it was swelteringly hot so we stopped awhile in the shade of the bothy, before resuming the upward toil to the Devils Point.  Both of us suffered in the afternoon heat, but especially me under the weight of the sack.  I had a temporary reprieve on the out and back to the summit of Devils Point, but its was all too short.  I really don't like Cairn Toul and Angels Peak.  I can never seem to get into a rhythm on them and this day was no different, plus I was so, so tired.  I had been ill for the past three days with stomach cramps and hadn't been able to eat a lot, and this coupled with the lack of sleep and the heat was proving a potent mix.  So it was with some relief that we arrived at what was clearly an idyllic camping spot beside Lochan nam Stuirteag.


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Bynack Mor, Beinn Mheadhoin, Derry Cairngorm

11.8 miles, 1240m ascent, 7 hours 30 mins

After another very poor night I was shattered and had a nap on the top of Bynack More in the lee of the cairn.  If anything, it seemed less windy on the summit than it had at the tent, an impression that was confirmed on returning to the tent.  Despite my tiredness I really enjoyed the easy walking over the tundra, stopping to look at the 'bloomin' heather' in some detail.  It was nice to get out of the wind in the tent whilst we had lunch, but there's only so long you can put off an imposing ascent like that of Beinn Mheadhoin  from Loch Avon.  The river crossing was challenging with the pack and having to lift Ben over too, but we managed, albeit with wet and icy feet.  The video which Ben took of me toiling up the slopes is a fair reflection of what it felt like.  The ruscksack must have been between 25 and 30kg, so toil is the appropriate verb.  Ben playfully scrambled up the final summit tor before facing in to what hjad become a strong wind.  On arrival at the Loch Etchachan, it was clear that a night there would be a repeat of the flapping nightmare of Ben Avon so I opted to dump the sack, bag Derry Cairngorm, then retreat the 300m to the Hutchison Memorial Hut.  Here we were greeted by a party of 15 Dutchmen and a full hut so we opted to camp outside, fortunately in a sheltered spot.  We made friends with a family from Sheffield who we later re-encountered in Austria and it was all very sociable.


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Beinn a Chaorainn, Beinn Bhreac, Beinn a Bhuird, Ben Avon

24 miles, 1240m ascent, 12 hours 45 mins

A long but satisfying day over the lonely miles to Ben Avon.  After a restless night listening to the flapping of the tent I was tired, but at least I didn't have to carry the pack.  We entered the mist and drizzle soon after the river and didn't come out of it until the descent of Ben Avon, so I had to keep an eye on the map and compass across the peaty plateau between Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a Bhuird.  Ben strode out purposefully on the long walk back up the track where we passed our first person of the day beside the emergency shelter at the Fords of Avon.  It was not until 9:30 that we returned to the tent.   Photos

Monday, 31 May 2010


4 miles, 610m ascent, 2 hours 30 mins

After taking the early train from Oxenholme, we disembarked at Aviemore which had a very unfamiliar feel about it in warm, not to say, hot sunshine.  Whilst waiting for the bus to Coire Cas, we treated ourselves to fish and chips followed by an icecream.  With 5 days worth of food for the two of use and all the kit, it was a ponderous walk over to Loch Avon where we camped by the outlet.  I could tell it was going to be a windy spot, but there really was nowhere else to camp in the boggy tussocks, so we had to pitch the tent right in the funnel of the wind next to the loch, which led to two fairly sleepless nights for me as the wind ripped at the tent fabric.


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Carn a Chlamain

11 miles, 450m ascent, 5 hours

After an enjoyable stay at the Tarf 'Hotel' (read bothy), it was a much easier day back to the car and as promised, we were back for tea in Kendal.  We stilol had time to enjoy lunch by the river at Gilberts Bridge, watching the gushing water of which I took a few pictures.


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Beinn Dearg, An Sgarsgoch, Carn an Fhidhleir

19 miles, 1840m ascent, 10 hours 30 mins

From a delightful campsite in the woods in Glen Tilt, we took to the wide-open slopes of  the Southern Cairngorms, starting with the Corbett, Beinn Mheadhonach, before proceeding to Beinn Dearg.  From there it was fairly tortuous over to one of the more remote Corbett's Beinn Bhreac, then much more easily over the next two Munros.  Not an easy day for an 8 year old, given the lack of many interesting features and plenty of deep heather and tussocks.


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Bhuidhineach Bheag

4 miles, 500m ascent, 3 hours

A real short bagging expedition on the way home.  After a couple of frustrating days battling blizzards and heavy snow, with little but a Corbett to show for it, we just about made our way over the Slochd in icy ruts and waded through the snow via the shortest route possible.  A pleasant little outing after enduring 70mph blizzards on the preceding days.


Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sgurr na Ruaidhe, Carn nan Gobhar, Sgurr a Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fuar Thuill

14 miles, 1500m ascent, 7 hours

A great day when we saw no-one.  Once above 700m, we donned crampons and didn't take them off again until the final descent.  From that point on, the snow was perfect neve and the ridge delightful.  Only in the valley did Ben tire a little.