I’ve not written for a wee whilie….last time I wrote I was driving down Loch Quoich after walking the Easians one fine September weekend. It was still daylight as I didn’t fancy driving this long remote glen in the dark in my Bongo, just on the off-chance the worst would happen and it would break down, miles from anywhere on my own, in the dark!
Beinn Alligin was one of my first Munros, many years ago. I had gone on a walk from a guide book with a friend that took us round the back of Beinn Alligin (meaning the north), past the little lochans and effectively on a circuit of the mountain. Then when we reached the slopes leading up to Sgorr Mor, the book said it could be easily climbed if felt like it. We thought ‘why not’ and went for it. I remember clinging on the steep slopes with hands but enjoying the grassy climb. Sadly the views were not to be that day from the top, with extensive cloud cover, but we duly edged back down, not realising there were two Munro summits and that we could go back down via Tom na Gruagaich. From the bottom, the walk had us simply continue round the base of the mountain, except the pathless ground got rougher and rougher, and we took forever descending the tussocky heather. The sun came out and baked us as we slowly made our way back to the road, hot, sweaty and gasping for a drink, eventually collapsing in the Torridon Inn with relief and a pint.
Meall a’ Chrasgaidh, Sgurr nan Clach Geala & Sgurr nan Each
Ally and I had booked a weekend at the campsite at Poolewe. It is a great campsite and a brilliant location – something we had booked a while ago to do something else that we ended up eventually not doing, but we decided to still go for the weekend anyway. We realised we were not too far from some of our unclimbed Fannichs so set off from the campsite on the Saturday to walk the middle three Munros of Meall a’ Chrasgaidh, Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Sgurr nan Each. We had walked up the Western pair a few weeks previously, and had planned to backpack the seven eastern Munros on another weekend. Ah the best laid plans…this summer has been a wash-out and not enticing enough most weekends to make us want to get out and backpack. The whole summer has been woefully absent of camping and backpacking – I’ve really missed it. However, Ally was also two Munros away from halfway so he thought these hills would be a fitting way to reach it.
I was two Munros away from the halfway point and we had one day left of hill holidays. I really hoped to get a great Munro for this. My 50th Munro was Ben Macdui which was excellent. However my 100th Munro I was on my own, in the pishing rain and a howling gale, on Meall Chuaich, an unassuming and, some say unexciting (although I’d never go that far – all hills are exciting) Munro at Drumochter. It was hardly an occasion to remember. At least, not for the right reasons – I remember battling my way in a galeforce wind across the summit, taking a selfie in the lee of the cairn and getting the hell out of dodge. I had grand plans to climb Buachaille Etive Mor, but Glencoe weather that week was appalling and I had specifically taken a week off to reach 100.
I was looking for a pair of suitably memorable Munros to take me to the halfway point at 141. Well, what would you know – Torridon had a great forecast for the last day of our holidays 🙂 And I immediately thought of Beinn Eighe with its two Munro summits. It fit the bill perfectly.
Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe – Sgurr na Carnach – Sgurr Fhuaran
After several days of torrential rain on our hill holiday week, Thursday looked very promising. We opted for the Five Sisters of Kintail ridge – a classic ridgewalk that has long been on my wish list and especially so this year. Trying to find a decent weather window to do it justice though had so far been very hard this poor summer.
The day after the Grey Corries was forecast to be miserable in Lochaber, but up north looked promising. Ally and I settled on these two outliers of the Fannichs. It meant a long drive up to the campsite at Ullapool but the reward was another fine day in the hills!
After two lovely sunny days on Thursday and Friday, Saturday was pretty grim, with rain all across Scotland reportedly. Ally and I followed where the forecast was best and drove up to the far north-west, to Lochinver in Assynt which was no hardship. I’d happily go there any time – Assynt is possibly my favourite area in Scotland.
After doing the Mullardoch round, Ally and I camped overnight again at the dam carpark at Loch Mullardoch. The next day dawned calm and sunny – it was going to be another fine day.
An Socach – An Riabhachan – Sgurr na Lapaich – Carn nan Gobhar
Oh I was looking forward to the Mullardochs! This is a lovely round of Munros from Glen Cannich in Inverness-shire. To save us the long walk along Loch Mullardoch either at the start or finish, Ally and I had booked the Mullardoch ferry – a small boat that takes you down Loch Mullardoch and drops you at a convenient point to climb the round of four Munros, starting with An Socach and ending with Carn nan Gobhar. (http://www.lochmullardochferry.co.uk/). We had taken the Thursday and Friday off work and hoped for better weather than we had been getting. Surely because it was during the working week the weather would be glorious?! Weekend weather has so far been pretty poor in comparison to the working week. True to form, Thursday and Friday turned out to be glorious; the weekend not so.
This was the second day in Ullapool for the book festival and I had time for a short hill in between book talks. Again, the weather was excellent with full sun and low wind. Canisp would be a superb viewpoint.