Ben More Assynt South Top

24 09 2015

Wed 2 Sep 2015

Although the forecast was for a dire day all day – heavy rain and high winds from the north – I got up anyway and had a look out at 0830. After a quick walk up and down Ullapool to see which of the smaller hills were out, I decided it didn’t look too bad to the north after all. A quick breakfast later and the bike was bundled into the car for the 23 mile drive to the start – the access track to Ben More Lodge.

I was surprised on the drive north to be seeing the classic Sutherland inselbergs were out for the first time – Culs Mor and Beag were both out and most of Breabag. My hills, however, were in cloud… Read the rest of this entry »





Dreich on Sgurr Creag an Eich

19 09 2015

Sun 30 Aug 2015

Richard and I had booked a week in Ullapool – partly because we like the place but mainly because I had six Munro Tops to finish off in the area. After having superb weather on the Saturday when we stopped on the way up for a day in the Cairngorms, Sunday dawned (or rather didn’t) dull, very windy and excessively wet. As the week’s forecast was pretty dire, however, I thought I’d best make a start and chose my easiest (navigationally) hill and also the safest/widest. This was the western outlier of An Teallach – Sgurr Creag an Eich – which, if the weather cleared up, would be a great hill to couple with the Corbett of Sail Mhor.

My route started off up the Ardessie Gorge – I’d chosen this route partly because I really wanted to see the gorge in its entirety. Little did I know how spectacular it would become by the end of the day! Read the rest of this entry »





Stob a’ Choire Odhair, Knoydart

12 09 2015

Tue 11 Aug 2015
After waiting nearly two weeks for a weather window (i.e. for the gales and torrential rain to stop) in Scotland to do this Munro Top, I finally got a decent forecast of two clear days on the Tuesday and Wednesday of the week. As I was wanting to car-camp near Arnisdale on the Glenelg Peninsula before catching the boat across to Barrisdale on the Knoydart Peninsula, it needed to be warm overnight so I couldn’t leave it much later this year. I had to go for it, I decided, and rang work to book an extension to my already-long holiday.

I’d had to miss this top out when doing Ladhar Bheinn from Inverie due to a gale but didn’t mind having to come in from the other side of Knoydart as I wanted to see Barrisdale and the mountain’s famed Coire Dorrchaill. To briefly fast-forward to the start of my actual walk, I headed along the stalker’s path across Barrisdale Bay and rounded the corner of Creag Bheithe where the full glory of the corrie suddenly burst into view… I recommend you have a good look and turn back here! Read the rest of this entry »





Saddle Tops from the South via The Pylon Track

4 09 2015

Sat 27 June 2015
When I’d originally done ‘The Saddle’ with Richard during my Munro-bagging crusade, I hadn’t been sure I was going to do ‘The Tops’ as well. This led to me chickening out of the tougher bits of the walk, namely, the infamous Forcan Ridge and the narrow and scrambly route to the two western tops.

I’d outright refused to do The Forcan Ridge but did set off with Richard towards the western tops after meeting him on the main summit. I soon found the ridge was too narrow and steep-sided for my liking, one side being sheer for a very long way into the northern corrie of Coire Uaine and the other being steep slippery slabs. I ended up turning back and sunbathing peacefully by the summit lochan while Richard bagged them.

Now, I was top-bagging and being made to regret my earlier cowardice as I now had to face them alone… Read the rest of this entry »





Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh & Banachdich Tops – Gripping Stuff!

13 08 2015

Thu 9 July 2015
This was the Cuillin round I’d been dreading ever since I’d decided to bag Munro Tops as it traverses the exceedingly narrow South Top of Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh – probably the narrowest section of ridge in Scotland! I wanted good weather for this – no rain and no wind – as we’d saved this for the Thursday, I was lucky and it was a calm and fine day, although cold and dull.

I’d woken a couple of times in the night with nerves – how would I find the knife-edged ridge? Would I be terrified on the sections where I would have to sit astride and shuffle my way along? Was I even supple enough nowadays to shuffle along a ridge with no footholds on the sides? How long was that section and would my nerve hold out? At last it was time for me to get up and meet my guide Andy at The Slig to find out – I was almost relieved to get out of bed… Read the rest of this entry »





Sgurr Sgumain to Thearlaich

26 07 2015

Wed 8 July 2015
After meeting our new guide Andy the night before in the Sligachan Inn, it was decided we’d meet up there the next morning at 0900 to car-share to Glen Brittle. Richard duly dragged me out of bed with a coffee at 0815 after having to get up earlier to prepare flasks etc and I sat to eat my breakfast while checking my phone. The weather had been horrible all night – high winds and heavy rain – my spirits were lower than the prevailing cloudbase as I imagined sliding around on slippery, steep and narrow Cuillin peaks while being gusted around…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
L-R Sgurrs Sgumain, Alasdair, Thearlaich (R Wood)
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A Superb Day on the Tops of Aonach Mor

18 07 2015

Fri 12 June 2015

The final day of our Roy Bridge trip, I’d scheduled to do the two Munro Tops of Aonach Mor which live on a little side ridge. I’d had a recce to try to reach the start of the ridge from the main road via Leanachan but, as reported on my Stob Coire a’ Mhail post, was totally unsuccessful. I couldn’t get any more information about reaching the start of the ridge – most seemed to contour round the Aonach an Nid nose on the north-east side of Aonach Mor. Being fairly unsound of leg and also wanting an easy day, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t take the Nevis Range Gondola up to the mountain restaurant and start from there.

The reason I’d left this walk until Friday was because I wasn’t sure the superb spell of weather we were having would last till the end of the week and these can easily be navigated and walked in any weather. As it turned out, the weather remained superb and I wouldn’t have missed the gorgeous views for anything! Read the rest of this entry »





Carn Dearg, Ben Nevis – Go The Other Way!

1 07 2015

Wed 10 June 2015
Originally, I’d been going to do the south-west Top of Ben Nevis, Carn Dearg – one of two peaks with the same name on The Ben – via the infamous Waterslide Route. The Waterslide route goes up the Allt Coire Eoghainn and has something of a reputation. Despite numerous enquiries, Googling and guide book studies however, I never managed to find out why! Irvine Butterfield, in his revered ‘The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland’ book says the route is ‘a steep, murderous flog of fully 4000 feet up slopes strewn with gullies and clifflets’. My friend Mark, who did it in snow and a winter gale with his mate, reckoned they had such an epic that day they were lucky to get back down in one piece – I re-read his report recently and it didn’t encourage me – nor did the photos! Read the rest of this entry »





Grey Corries – Nice Ridge, Shame About The Finish

20 06 2015

Mon 8 June 2015
After skiving for the first day of our Roy Bridge trip due to bad weather in the morning, we decided that Monday was the day I should make a start on my Munro Top bagging. As we’d both always wanted to re-do the Grey Corries, Richard decided to come with me. The weather forecast was for high pressure, light winds and lots of sunshine – perfect – however, this was Scotland which means the weather pretty much does what it wants…

Coire na Ceannain (stiched)
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An Garbhanach – Please Make a Cairn Someone!

13 06 2015

Thu 14 May 2015

After a better night in a nice B&B in Fort William (I had wanted to car-camp in Glen Nevis but, looking at all the warning signs, thought I would end up getting moved on), I awoke to a second sunny day. My knee had recovered from its collapsed state but my quads hurt (a sign though that they had at last started to do their job and protect my ailing joints) and my legs were very tired. I thought I’d be pushing my luck to do another 3000-footer today…

An Garbhanach-the Monster!
An Garbhanach – scary beast!
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