Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports


Section 10a - Morvern, Sunart, Ardgour and Moidart

Loch Shiel and Loch Eil
Loch Shiel and Loch Eil
Loch Shiel and Beinn Resipol
Loch Shiel and Beinn Resipol
Stob Mhic Bheathain
Stob Mhic Bheathain
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain

This section refers to the hills and mountains of Morvern, Sunart, Ardgour and Moidart and include a walk down Loch Shiel and part of the Great Glen Way. They cover the Corbetts and Grahams that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns that I have climbed in this area can be viewed here.

Section 10a - Index

Corbetts Grahams
An Stac Beinn Bheag
Beinn Mhic Cedidh Beinn Gaire
Beinn na h-Uamha Beinn Mheadhoin
Beinn Odhar Bheag Beinn na Cille
Beinn Resipol Croit Bheinn
Carn na Nathrach Druim na Sgriodain
Creach Bheinn Glas Bheinn
Fuar Bheinn Meall nan Damh
Garbh Bheinn Sgurr a'Chaorainn
Rois-Bheinn Sgurr Mhic Eacharna
Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn Sgurr nan Cnamh
Sgurr Dhomhnuill Stob Mhic Bheathain
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain  
Sgurr na Ba Glaise  
Stob a'Bhealach an Sgriodain  
Stob a'Coire Chearcaill  

Section 10a - Trip Reports

Glas Bheinn and Meall nan Damh

2 December 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 960 metres.

I met up with a ‘Graham Bagging’ friend in Fort William and we headed to Callop, east of Glen Finnan, on the Mallaig Road. The access road to the car park on the south side of the Callop River and the car park itself was sheet ice.

Once geared up and with spikes fitted we set off along the ice covered vehicle track towards the house at Callop immediately passing folks ‘car camping’. At Callop the female occupant had to take control of her dogs before we could proceed south along the track well above the Allt na Cruaiche. This track, although icy, was in reasonable nick as recently the area had several small hydro electric schemes installed.

Back in 2005 I climbed these Grahams in an anticlockwise direction so on this occasion I wanted to do them the opposite way. This meant finding a route through the forest but from a visit in 2009 I remembered seeing a track and thought then it may afford access to Glas Bheinn. The track was spotted but firstly we had to descend to a bridge over the Allt na Cruaiche and pass through an unlocked deer gate. The track was boggy, with cut timber and branches laid to assist vehicles, but fortunately parts of the route were frozen. Eventually the track led to an in-take dam on the Allt na Teanga Duibhe where it came to an end.

We crossed this stream, dispensed with the spikes, and climbed over a deer fence to reach the open hillside. The ascent of the west face of Glas Bheinn commenced with ever improving views of the snow covered mountains to the north as the earlier low cloud covering Loch Eil engulfed Callop and other low lying areas. It was a steady climb, watched by deer, and higher up the ground consisted of some rocks and ice which we managed to avoid. It seemed to take ages to reach the summit which was the cairn to the west of the trig point, as shown on my map. After visiting this cairn we crossed to the trig point where we took a break looking east towards the massive snow covered bulk of Ben Nevis.

From the trig point we descended to Glas Bhealach, climbed onto the east ridge of Meall nan Damh, then ascended to the small rock positioned on top of a boulder which appeared to the highest point of this Graham. This was followed by a slight descent before climbing to the West Top of Meall nan Damh, apparently one metre lower and a Graham Top.

The descent was by the rocky north-east ridge of Sron Meall nan Damh to just before a small rise. Here we headed west down some steep and rocky terrain before heading for the path on the west side of the Allt Feith nan Con, again watched by some deer. On reaching this path the spikes were donned before we could follow it to the track beside the in-take dam on the Allt na Cruaiche. This track was then followed back to Callop and the car.

previous ascent

Glas Bheinn Graham second ascent 636 metres
Meall nan Damh Graham second ascent 723 metres

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Stob Mhic Bheathain

14 November 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40 & 41 Time taken – 8.75 hours. Distance - 26 kilometres. Ascent - 1190 metres.

I had been invited to stay at the Corran Bunkhouse, Nether Lochaber, south of Fort William, very convenient for the Corran Ferry, which I needed to use to access my penultimate Graham, Stob Mhic Bheathain. I was up early and caught the first ferry across the Corran Narrows to Ardgour. There was only one other vehicle on the ferry which cost £6.40 for the five minute crossing. For those interested cycles and pedestrians are free. From Ardgour I drove the six kilometres north on the single track A861 to the start of the private road leading to Cona Glen. Here there was a large area of rough ground suitable for parking with several signs indicating that the road up the Glen was private but walkers and cyclists were permitted.

It was still dark as I walked up the tarred road which later became a vehicle track. I passed a couple of houses but the only thing I saw was the reflection of light from my head torch on the cow’s and deer’s eyes. As dawn broke the route up the Glen was visible and I could now see the deer. One hind was so startled it jumped into and crossed the Cona River. The weather started dry but the rain showers commenced not long after daylight arrived.

The vehicle track was in reasonable condition and could easily be cycled. After an hour and three quarters I arrived at the private Corrlarach Bothy, which was locked. It was at this point that I had planned to cross the Cona River if it was in spate as there was a bridge shown on the map. The river was fairly high from the recent rain but the bridge wasn’t in great nick although it appeared to be the best option so with care I worked my way across using the wire hawsers and chain links for support as the wooden boards were in poor condition and some were loose.

Once across the river I followed what was probably deer tracks along the south side of the river but underfoot it was rather wet so I gave up and headed uphill through an area of Caledonian Pine Trees which were well spaced. However I came to a deer fence and walked up the side of this fence following more deer tracks. It became quite rough going so I mistakenly decided to cross the fence but the terrain and vegetation was even worse here so it was back across the fence which I followed to its top end where I disturbed more deer.

From here the walking became a lot easier as I made a rising traverse to the col near the 389 Point where metal fence posts led to the small lochan on the 515 knoll and onto Lochan nan Stob. The showers were now more frequent and merging together with the cloud base well down the hillside. I followed the fence posts and ascended Stob Mhic Bheathain where there was evidence of a few wet snow patches. I came to a cairn but according to my map this wasn't the highest point so I continued west, lost a few metres of height, before climbing to a second smaller cairn passing an area of quartz en-route.

Satisfied that I had reached the highest point on Stob Mhic Bheathain and with no views there was little point in hanging around especially as it was a bit breezy. I returned to the lochans where I met my "Rambler friends" from Corran Bunkhouse. They had saved forty five minutes by cycling up Cona Glen but would save a lot more time on the return route. However I had planned to walk back over the Druim Leathad nam Fias ridge which involved some more climbing before making my way along the undulating ridge. Unfortunately, except for a brief break in the cloud, there was nothing to see while on the ridge as the rain and wind continued. My main concern was the river crossing at the foot of the ridge although the map showed a bridge I was hoping it still existed and was crossable.

The descent from the Druim Lathad nam Fias ridge continued along the line of metal fence posts that I had now been following for several hours. As I exited the clouds there were views of the lower reaches of Glen Scaddle and Cona Glen. The final section of the ridge was quite steep and bouldery, this not being shown on my map, so it required a slight diversion. I choose to go north still following fence posts but this drop was awkward due to wet vegetation and hidden boulders but once on more level ground I resumed my route towards the River Scaddle.

I could see that the River Scaddle was in spate so I was thankful when I spotted the bridge. It was rather unusual as there was no path or vehicle track leading to this fairly substantial bridge. Once across the bridge I joined the vehicle track in Glen Scaddle and followed it to the main road and the short walk back to where I had parked my car.

Stob Mhic Bheathain Graham first ascent 721 metres

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Beinn na Cille, Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn

4 October 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 49. Time taken - 8.75 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 1490 metres.

On my return from a walking week on Mull I joined some friends who were staying at the Ariundle Bunkhouse in Stontian. Their plan was to climb the Graham, Beinn na Cille and the Corbetts, Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn at Kingairloch. Kingairloch is located to the south of Ardgour and was reached by leaving the A861 Corran to Strontian Road west of Inversanda and following the single track B8043 south-west to the house at Glengalmadale. We parked at the side of the road west of the Glengalmadale River.

It was a fine sunny but chilly morning when we set off and walked west along the road to a small forest where we left the road and climbed steeply up the side of this wooded area where the vegetation was long and wet from the previous day’s rain. Once above the tree line several rocky areas had to be avoided before we reached the south-east ridge of Beinn na Cille with views south-west to the Graham, Beinn Meidhoin which I had climbed a few weeks earlier. We also had views down Loch Linnhe, across to Appin and the Island of Lismore.

As we climbed the south-east ridge of Beinn na Cille we spotted several stags and hinds but they soon ran off. The summit cairn was reached with views now including across to the Glencoe Hills and the Mamores with a touch of snow on the highest peaks. More deer were spotted below us.

After a short break at the summit we descended Beinn na Cille’s north ridge to the col with Fuar Bheinn. The crescendo of the roaring stags, which continued most of the morning, could be heard in the corries to the east. We commenced the ascent of Fuar Bheinn and stopped and watched numerous stags running around below us. It was a steady climb and higher up there were some rocks to scramble over or bypass. We were passed by around a dozen Ochil Hill Runners who were staying the weekend at the Corran Bunkhouse. The earlier sun was slowly being replaced by cloud as we reached the summit of the Corbett, Fuar Bheinn. From here we had views of Beinn Resipol and the Ardgour Hills including Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Garbh Bheinn as well as our next Corbett, Creach Bheinn.

Once we had taken a few photographs and the Hill Runners had departed we headed north-west over some rough and rocky ground to the Bealach Chuil Mhaim where we found some shelter from a cool breeze for lunch. After lunch we climbed to the summit of Creach Bheinn where we met a lone female doing the route in the opposite direction. It was here that we experienced the first shower of the day which contained some sleet.

Just below Creach Bheinn we came to a walled area, shown on our maps as ‘Camp’, which apparently relates to a lookout post in the Napoleonic years. The route continued round the head of Glen Galmadale and over Maol Odhar where pieces of an aircraft crash are spread around as well as marking the summit. From this top it was an easy descent as we gradually swung round to head south before climbing over Meall nan Each. Thereafter we followed the Druim na Maodalaich ridge until opposite the house at Glengalmadale. At this point we descended over some rough vegetation to the B8043 beside the house at Glengalmadale, meaning only a very short road walk back to the car. Here we met the lone female we had spoken to on Creach Bheinn.

previous ascent Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn

previous ascent Beinn na Cille

Beinn na Cille Graham second ascent 652 metres
Fuar Bheinn Corbett third ascent 766 metres
Creach Bheinn Corbett third ascent 853 metres

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Beinn Mheadhoin

13 September 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 49. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

I left my accommodation in Strontian and drove round the head of Loch Sunart on the A861 and the A884, over the pass beside the forest at Doire nan Gad where due to mist visibility was very poor. Immediately I crossed the pass I was into the sun. At the junction with the B8043 I took this road to Kingairloch.

Just before the house under renovation at Tigh Ghardail I spotted a new path which headed south round the forest edge and appeared to be a suitable starting point for my ascent of Beinn Mheadhoin. However parking in the area is very restrictive giving me the impression that despite the construction of paths walkers weren’t really welcome here. I found a piece of waste ground further east and once booted up walked back up the road to this new path.

The sign at the start of the path said ‘Shalachain Flats’ but I had no idea where that was. A large pile of grit at the start of the path prevented parking adding to my impression of being unwelcome. I climbed over the grit and followed the path, which crossed the Abhainn na Goinnich by a bridge, before heading east along the top edge of the forest. However when the path started to loose height I left it and crossed some rough ground to the east ridge of Sgurr Shalachain while being attached by flies, midges and flying spiders. There were good views back across Loch a’Choire to Loch Linnhe and the Appin Hills.

It was quite a steady climb to the summit of Sgurr Shalachain, the first hill on my walk round Coire Ban. I took a break at this point as there was a slight breeze which kept the insects at bay. The views were terrific with Beinn Resipol appearing above the cloud covering Loch Sunart and away in the distance the Rum Cuillin.

The next hill on the round was Meall na Greine and on its ascent the Skye Cuillin became visible. There were views of the lower hills of Morvern, Moidart and out towards Ardnamurchan from the top of Meall na Greine. I descended to Bealach a’Choire Bhain before climbing to the small knoll which I am naming as Beinn Mheadhoin’s West Top. There were more superb views from here, some I have already mentioned, but they also included the mountains of the Island of Mull and its Munro Ben More which had a touch of cloud around the summit. Further south there were the Paps of Jura, the Arrochar Alps and closer the Island of Lismore.

It was only a short walk to the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin marked by a trig point and large cairn. I had similar views here as from the West Top but could now see diggers on the east ridge of Beul Choire nan Each which was obviously part of the Glensanda Quarry, where access is only by sea. To the east across Loch Linnhe were the Appin and Glen Coe Mountains.

I descended the east-north-east ridge of Beinn Mheadhoin which was initially quite steep and involved a bit of careful footwork over some rocks. Beyond it was a pleasant descent and I decided to stop for lunch early rather than lower down and be attacked by flies. Sitting at the edge of the ridge I watched stags, running around the coire below. The rut was about to start and it appeared the stags were rather excited and covering a lot of ground as they climbed the side of the coire before changing direction and heading back towards the stream. A few hinds directly below me continued to feed and were unimpressed.

After lunch I continued the descent which became a bit steeper over some rough, rocky and long vegetation. I headed to the north of a small forest plantation but the ground was quite wet and boggy and even worse where the streams joined. Once beyond this area I followed the north side of the Abhainn na Fearna to the ruin at Old Mill. There were lots of deer fences and the route planned to get across to the forest wasn’t suitable as it was a muddy field full of cattle.

I continued along the side of the stream then walked up a track at the edge of a field of recently cut grass to the house at North Corry where someone was sitting outside reading. Rather than disturb them I walked around the property which involved climbing a couple of fences. This took me onto a tarred road that led to Kingairloch House. Before reaching the House I followed a track going north through the forest where I found a marked route through the trees. It was supposed to be a woodland walk but there was little evidence of a properly laid out route. However it did eventually take me to a bridge over the Abhainn na Goinnich just below where my car was parked.

Just to endorse my view of the friendliness of the locals a note had been left on my car that I shouldn’t be parked on the rough ground at the side of the road. No doubt more large boulders will be dumped to prevent future parking.

Beinn Mheadhoin Graham first ascent 739 metres

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Sgurr nan Cnamh

12 September 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 16.5 kilometres. Ascent - 875 metres.

I was staying at Ariundle Bunkhouse, Strontian so getting to the start of this Graham didn't require much effort. There is a car park around half a mile north-east of the Bunkhouse but I decided just to walk from my accommodation.

I walked along the tarred road passed the car park and followed the vehicle track through the Ariundle Oakwood National Nature Reserve which consists of oak, birch, hazel and rowan trees among others. It was a rather misty and still morning which showed off the thousands of spider webs, some of which were quite high up in the trees. Various notices gave information about the woodlands and wildlife with a few paths for visitors follow.

I came to a set of double gates with a wicked gate at the side. I don’t know why there were two gates, one being a deer gate. Immediately beyond these gates, at a junction of paths, I took the lower one which continued through the trees and gradually descended towards the Strontian River. On approaching the river I saw some movement in the water and on closer inspection realised it was an otter diving around the pool looking for its breakfast. I tried to get a photo but without success.

The track came to another deer gate and the easy walking was over. The route was now less obvious as I headed to a stream before following it to the Strontian River passed the semi collapsed building at Ceann a’Chreagain. I crossed the river with relative ease and climbed to the north of the forest edge and a small stream, through some rough and long vegetation, which was rather wet from the morning dew.

As height was gained the vegetation became shorter and the walking easier although occasionally I was in low cloud. I disturbed a few hinds whom I could hear barking a warning to their young and pals. The terrain was now rocky in places so I worked by way over or round these boulders as I headed to the top of Sgurr nan Cnamh. Just prior to reaching the summit cairn a stag appeared out of the cloud.

Once I visited the summit cairn I found some shelter for a break with the hope that the cloud would clear. It did but only slowly and after around fifty minutes on the summit of Sgurr nan Cnamh I had views down Glen Gour, of the Graham’s Beinn Bheag, which I had climbed in July 2008, and Sgurr a’Chaorainn, which I had climbed in September 2004. The Graham Druim na Sgriodain and Corbetts Beinn na h-Uamha and Garbh Bheinn were unfortunately still in the cloud.

I gave up waiting for the cloud to clear completely and headed for the rocky Sgurr a’Bhuic and a steep descent to the Strontian River before joining the track used on the outward route.

I was unable to find a contact for stalking in this area which is apparently owned by Resipole Woodlands but the phone number I had was at least eight years out of date.

Sgurr nan Cnamh Graham first ascent 701 metres

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Beinn Gaire and Croit Bheinn

11 September 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40. Time taken - 8 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres.

I had been waiting several months for some fine weather to climb the remaining Grahams in Moidart and Ardgour and with a ‘high’ forecasted to last for several days I set of for Strontian where I was to stay for a few days.

I left my accommodation early and drove west then north along the A861 to the hamlet of Ardmolich. I crossed the road bridge over the River Moidart and immediately turned right and travelled along the signposted road for Glen Moidart. At the end of the public road there was a small parking area where a large digger and trailer were parked so I had to be careful where I left my vehicle.

Above the car park I could see a vehicle track and signage indicating the route to Glen Moidart, obviously to avoid Glenmoidart House. I set off along the vehicle track with its initial short climb before the Glen opened out in front of me. The track had been upgraded and a cycle could easily be used. I passed through a herd of cattle but fortunately they just stared me although I avoided any eye contact. I could see some kind of works ahead and on reaching the outflow from the loch in Glen Forslan I realised why the track had been improved. A small hydro scheme was being constructed. I spoke with a chap who told me that it had rained for 60 days but the work was near completion. He also told me about the bridge over the outflow from the un-named loch near the ruined buildings at Glenforslan. However a steep but good vehicle track led to the loch and looked more inviting.

I walked up this vehicle track and on reaching the loch crossed the outflow where the only noise was water being sucked through a large pipe. From the dam I headed onto the Sron Duibh an Eilich ridge and climbed it with views back to Glen Moidart. My route took me round the north side of Sgurr Gorm where it was a bit wet and boggy and the cloud covering the higher tops lowered and I was engulfed in cloud. A few herds of deer appeared out of the cloud so I was glad that a few days earlier I had made contact with the stalker to ensure he wasn’t shooting in this area. In fact he was quite appreciative of the phone call. As I headed towards the summit of Beinn Gaire the cloud lifted a bit and it made for easier navigation.

At Beinn Gaire’s summit cairn I took a break but the views weren’t that great as the higher mountain tops were still covered in cloud. After some food and coffee I descended the gentle slopping north-east ridge where more deer were spotted along with a large herd of stags. There were a few knolls to cross or bypass before I reached the Bealach a’Choire Mhoir which was rather wet and boggy. As I crossed the bealach so did the stags slightly to my right. I’m not sure if they were all aware of my presence but they were following their leaders who were now crossing the west side of Croit Bheinn.

It was a fairly easy climb to the summit cairn of Croit Bheinn where more stags were feeding but they soon disappeared. The earlier cloud was still rising but I had views down Glen Aladale to Glen Shiel and Sgurr Ghiubhsachain, which was my final Corbett second time around in June this year. The other Corbetts in view were Beinn Odhar Bheag, Beinn Mhic Cedidh and Sgurr na Ba Glaise.

I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to descend into Glen Gluitanen as it was apparently a quagmire and this was confirmed when I spoke with the stalker who said they had around seven inches of rain although I wasn't sure over what period of time he was speaking about. So I set off to return to the start with a re-ascent of Beinn Gaire. The advantage was that the cloud covered tops which I hadn't seen earlier were now clear. On the descent of Sron Dubh an Eilich there were views of Loch Shiel, Loch Sunart and Ben More on Mull. The only alteration to my upward route was that I continued down the Sron Dubh an Eilich ridge as far as the derelict buildings at Glenforslan and used the bridge and track recommended earlier in the day. The track was very wet and muddy and is not a great route unless it dries out.

In addition to the deer there were lots of frogs and flying spiders which were a nuisance.

Stalking Information - Glenmoidart Estate 01967 431395.

Beinn Gaire Graham first ascent 666 metres
Croit Bheinn Graham first ascent 663 metres

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Stob Bealach an Sgriodain and Sgurr Ghiubhsachain

21 June 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40. Time taken - 11.5 hours. Distance - 22 kilometres. Ascent - 1475 metres.

The start for the ascent of these two Corbetts was the car park on the south side of the Callop River accessed from the A830 Fort William to Mallaig Road at a point east of the hamlet of Glenfinnan and west of the railway bridge crossing the A830. As well as being signposted for Callop, at the time of these ascents it was also signposted for the construction of hydro schemes at Callop and Guesachan.

I was supposed to meet my walking partner here so that she could complete her round of the Corbetts but she failed to appear. There were a few midges around while I prepared for the walk as the car park was sheltered and there was little in the way of wind. After waiting for a while I set off slowly south on the vehicle track to Callop and then on a newly constructed vehicle track on the west side of the Allt na Cruaiche. The cloud was down over the summits but not as low as the forecast had indicated. I could see back towards the car park but there was no sign of any other walkers arriving.

The new track led to a recently constructed dam where I joined the path that was part of the ‘Right of Way’ to Ardgour. A deer fence was reached with a wicket gate and once beyond this gate I climbed to a high point where I managed to get a mobile phone signal. On contacting my walking partner I found she was on the wrong track and would have to retrace her route back to the start before setting off again. I later learned that she was very late in arriving at Callop as she had gone to the wrong location despite having walked from Callop before and assuring me she knew where she was going.

I walked slowly along the path and before it dropped to Cona Glen I took an extended coffee break but there was no sign of my walking companion nor was there any mobile phone signal. I therefore continued towards Cona Glen and shortly thereafter came to a junction of paths taking the right hand one before leaving it and descending over some rough terrain to the Cona River. Here there were some young cattle resting so I took a slight diversion to avoid them before easily crossing the river as it was quite low. Some new trees had been planted on the south side of the river and a deer was trapped within one of the enclosures and was trying to escape but without success.

There was still no sign of anyone behind me so I commenced the ascent of Stob a'Bealach an Sgriodain by following the stream to the west of Meall Mor. Firstly I climbed up the east bank but soon crossed to the other side where walking appeared a bit easier on or around some rock. It was at this point that I saw a figure in the vicinity of the Cona River but there was no way of telling who it was.

I continued my slow ascent, taking frequent stops to give the other walker time to catch up. I eventually reached the col between Meall Mor and Stob a'Bealach an Sgriodain where there was a double line of old metal fence posts about 10 metres apart, one the normal height and the other set for a deer fence. The cloud had lowered and visibility was now poor so I decided to hang around until the other walker arrived. It was some time before she arrived at the col studying her map. We then climbed the rocky and knolly ridge to the summit cairn of Stob a'Bealach an Sgriodain where we had a late lunch in the cloud and my walking partner tried to explain her tardiness and route finding.

We were now well behind schedule, probably by more than ninety minutes, but I was keen to continue and my walking partner decided to follow, although she was thinking of just going back to her car. The descent was over more rocky ground to the Bealach an Sgriodain and then along Druim Tarsuinn. The two sets of metal fence posts were useful aids along the ridge until we exited the cloud and descended, latterly quite steeply, to the bealach between Druim Tarsuinn and Meall nan Leac. It was then a steep, initially grassy climb, towards Meall nan Creag Leac which we by-passed to the east.

The cloud had lowered again and was once more quite thick as we headed along the twisting west ridge of Sgurr Ghiubhsachain over several knolls. Eventually we reached the summit cairn which was the end of Janice’s challenge to complete the Corbetts. It was also a second round completion for myself.

We took a short break here before descending the north ridge of Sgurr Ghiubhsachain. It was quite tricky in the low cloud as there was lots of rock to bypass and it was time consuming wandering round these drops and trying to stay on a bearing. Once beyond Meall a’Choire Chruinn the cloud lifted and we were able to see the descent route to Loch Shiel although it still required some care and searching for the easiest way down. Later a bit of a path was found and that took us to the house at Guesacahan. The area around the house was a total mess with construction work, vehicles and vegetation that had been dug up and dumped, all part of the hydro scheme in Coiere Ghiubhsachain.

We still had around 5 kilometres to walk along the vehicle track on the east shore of Loch Shiel to near Glenfinnan then east to the car park at Callop. The latter section of this track my walking companion recalled from earlier in the day. It had obviously been a longer day than expected and now too late to celebrate our achievement. My walking companion headed home and I back to Inverness although I had planned to go home.

previous ascent

Stob a'Bealach an Sgriodain Corbett second ascent 770 metres
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain Corbett second ascent 849 metres

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Druim na Sgriodain

2 May 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40 & 41 Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

The Graham, Druim na Sgriodain, is located in Ardgour and rather than take my car across on the ferry I parked it in the free car park at Nether Lochaber on the east side of the Corran Narrows, part of Loch Linnhe. I boarded the ferry, which runs every half hour, during a heavy rain shower, with just a few minutes to spare before the ferry sailed. The ferry is free for passengers and only takes a few minutes to cross the Narrows.

I was deposited in the small village of Ardgour and walked north on the main road, A861, through the village. The shower had passed and it was now a pleasant day so I sat on the shore of Loch Linnhe and had a coffee before the next shower arrived.

After around 3 kilometres of road walking on a very quiet road I left the tar for some rough terrain as I headed uphill following sheep tracks. Between the showers I had views up Loch Linnhe to Fort William but unfortunately Ben Nevis and the Mamore Tops were cloud covered. There were lots of sheep and new lambs in and around Ardgour and on the hillside. I eventually came to a fence that marked the east ridge of Beinn na Cille where deer were feeding but they quickly disappeared.

I followed this fence over Beinn na Cille and onto the twisting ridge of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne. The fence then joined a deer fence and headed round the north side of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne so shouldn’t be followed unless you want to miss out on the climb of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne.

I climbed to Sgurr na h-Eanchainne's summit trig point with views up and down Loch Linnhe, across to Loch Leven and down to the village of Ardgour, the Corran Narrows and Nether Lochaber. The trig point however wasn’t my destination as the highest point in the area was four metres higher and over 1.5 kilometres further west. After a short descent I worked my way across towards Druim na Sgriodain briefly coming close to the deer fence which I had come across earlier. The hill was then engulfed in cloud but there were a few lochans en-route which assisted me in finding the summit cairn.

On reaching the summit of Druim na Sgriodain I found shelter for lunch hoping the cloud would lift but unfortunately it didn't. The descent was down the east ridge during a couple a hail showers. Lower down I left the ridge and dropped to the stream coming out of Coire Dubh. There were a few small gorges to cross before reaching this stream at the waterfalls, Tubhailt Mhic ic Eoghainn (also known as Maclean’s Towel). I managed to find a crossing point before descending round some rocks to a telecommunications mast. From here it was across some wet and muddy ground, through some trees and a field of sheep to the main road. A short walk along the road took me to the jetty ten minutes prior to the departure of the next ferry across to Nether Lochaber.

Druim na Sgriodain Graham first ascent 734 metres

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Sgorr Craobh a’Chaorainn

7 February 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 12.8 kilometres. Ascent - 790 metres.

The starting point for the ascent of the Corbett, Sgorr Craobh a’Chaorainn, was the car park at the bridge adjacent to the road leading to the house at Callop, reached from the A830 Fort William to Mallaig Road east of Glenfinnan.

We walked along the private road to Callop and discovered that a track had been constructed heading south above the west side of the Allt na Cruaiche. Although the track was a bit icy it did make for good progress but the surrounding area was a bit of mess as pipes had been laid. Beyond the Allt Coire na Leacaich the track terminated at a small dam. My thoughts were that a lot of money had obviously been invested in laying the track and pipes for such a small dam.

Near the termination of the track a sign indicated the route for hill walkers but the path was initially difficult to find in the snow and I suspect it doesn’t actually exist at this point but is a means of directing walkers away from the dam. We eventually found the path and followed it through a wicket gate in a deer fence, very boggy at the approach, and round the east ridge of Meall na Cuartaige. At this point we left the path and headed onto the ridge searching out the best ascent route through drifting snow.

It was a pleasant sunny day, although occasionally there was a cold wind, but the views were great back over Callop to the Munros, Sgurr nan Coireachan, Sgurr Thuilm and Gulvain and the Corbetts, Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan. There was evidence of deer in the area and we spotted some on the west face of the Graham, Meall nan Damh and disturbed a couple of hinds on the north side of Meall na Cuartaige.

A steady climb took us to the summit of Meall na Cuartaige, which doesn't quite make a Corbett Top as it is below 610 metres, with views back to the Grahams, Meall nan Damh and Glas Bheinn and to the south the Graham, Stob Mhic Bheathain and the Corbett, Stob a’Bhealach an Sgriodain. From Meall na Cuartaige a short descent took us to a col and then to the foot of the rather rocky Sgorr Craobh a’Chaorainn. It was here that the hill walk became more of a mountaineering experience as the ascent became steeper and the summit was a mixture of neeve and soft powdery snow which was obviously unstable.

Time to fit the crampons and plan the route ahead, which was initially through the soft snow before crossing the neeve snow. Higher up the gradient eased a bit before the summit was gained. The views were awesome east towards the Aonachs, Ben Nevis and Bidean nam Bian, south to the Ardgour Corbetts, west to the Corbett Sgurr Ghiubhsachain and Moidart and north to the Glen Finnan mountains already mentioned.

We sought shelter for lunch but had already decided not to try for Sgurr Ghiubhsachain as it would make for too long a day especially in winter conditions and we had already experienced a fine winter's outing. The return was by the ascent route spotting deer feeding at the foot of the east ridge of Meall na Cuartaige and also near Callop where the estate was feeding them silage.

previous ascent

Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn Corbett second ascent 775 metres

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Circuit of Coire an Iubhair

6 July 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 40 & 49 Time taken – 7.25 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1320 metres.

I last climbed Garbh Bheinn on Christmas Day 2004 to complete a round of the Corbetts. The weather conditions that day were poor with fresh snow and even driving to the start was an expedition as the Corran Ferry, which runs between Nether Lochaber and Ardgour, doesn’t operate on Christmas Day so I had to take the long way round on snow covered roads. I had always wanted to return on a fine day to take in the views and to climb it by the classic route, a circuit of Coire an Iubhair.

The first ferry across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour on this Sunday morning was 0845 so I was there in plenty time for the crossing which only took a few minutes. I thereafter drove along the A861 Ardgour to Strontian Road as far as the bridge over the Abhainn Coire an-Iubhair. If in doubt there are signs at the bridge naming the stream. There is also a parking area at the north-east corner.

I set off along the path on the east side of the Abhainn Coire an-Iubhair and shortly thereafter reached a fence and at this point decided to leave the path and commence the climb towards Lochan Druim an Iubhair working my way round rocks and through grassy gullies. The cloud level was well above the summits so I had views down Loch Linnhe to the Island of Lismore and across to the Ballachulish Bridge and the Glen Coe mountains.

The gradient became easier on this complex ridge, known as Druim an Iubhair, and once beyond Lochan Druim an Iubhair my next target was a small lochan before the final climb to the summit of Sgurr Mhic Eacharna. En-route a couple of ptarmigan were agitated by my presence and one gave me the injured wing treatment but there was no sign of a nest or their young as I treaded carefully to the summit cairn. The views were now quite extensive including Garbh Bheinn’s Great Ridge and Buttress.

Having taken in the views I descended to the bealach with Beinn Bheag, the latter section being steeper with some rocks to cross. It was then a long climb to Beinn Bhrea where I had more extensive views especially further west. There were also three ewes and a ram near the summit and from their state they hadn’t been shorn for a couple of years. I would have thought the local farmer would have been looking for his ram. It reminded me of an incident the previous year a few miles away on Sgurr Dhomhnuill when I came across two rams fighting. They also appeared to be have been forgotten about.

I continued on my circuit of Coire an Iubhair along the narrowing ridge to Beinn Bheag’s west summit before descending steeply down a grassy gully to Lochan Coire an Iubhair. Then it was the ascent of Garbh Bheinn which looked a bit intimidating. However it wasn't that difficult. Initially I followed an obvious grassy gully before leaving it to the east and onto some rock with a couple of easy scrambles. This took me to a small corrie containing a stream and I followed its line to the head of the corrie before clambering over rocks to the summit cairn of Garbh Bheinn with some terrific views including the Island of Rum.

It was now time for lunch sheltering behind the cairn but the wind died down and a few midges had the nerve to try and spoil my day. Once lunch was over I commenced the descent of Garbh Bheinn over its South-East Top and down the ridge, Sron a’Gharbh Choire Bhig. The going was over some rock and in places boggy ground but there were traces of a walker’s path. This path was more obvious lower down and in fact became a bit eroded in places. Eventually the path led me back to my car and the end of an entertaining and enjoyable day in Ardgour.

previous ascent of Garbh Bheinn

Sgorr Mhic Eacharna Graham first ascent 650 metres
Beinn Bheag Graham first ascent 736 metres
Garbh Bheinn Corbett second ascent 885 metres

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Beinn Resipol

24 March 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 810 metres.

The start of this walk was Upper Scotstown north of the village of Strontian. An unclassified road ran north from the A861 at Strontian and after 3 kilometres the hamlet of Upper Scotstown was reached. Another road headed south-west and I drove along it as far as the gate before the Allt nan Cailleach where there was limited parking.

We left my vehicle and continued on foot along this vehicle track which was now rough and muddy and obviously used by cattle. After 250 metres we took the 'miner's path' that headed north-west up the side of the Allt nan Cailleach. Initially it was still a vehicle track as far as the local water source. Beyond that the path was in poor condition although as height was gained it did improve slightly, although covered in snow.

There had been some overnight snow even down to sea level and the frequent showers continued as we headed up the 'miner's path'. There were some deer in the area but they soon disappeared.

On reaching the highest point on this path and a kilometre short of the old lead mine, hence the name of the path just used, we headed over towards Meall an t-Slugain through some soft and drifting snow. The area had quite a few peat hags and boggy sections to avoid and the wind was rather strong. We had already put on our goggles as the snow stinging our eyes was rather unpleasant. We put up a couple of grouse, the only bird life we saw on the hills all weekend.

Once beyond Meall an t-Slugain we climbed the east ridge of Beinn Resipol. The direct route, which was less windy looked rather avalanche prone so unfortunately we had to climb onto the main section of the ridge where the wind was stronger with lots of spindrift. Progress was slow trying to find the best route through the rocks and drifts, some of which were now thigh deep which was tiring.

The ridge eventually narrowed and became fairly rocky. Occasionally we had views of the Corbetts Garbh Bheinn, Beinn na h-Uamha, Sgurr Dhomhnuill, Carn an Nathrach and Loch Shiel as we worked our way along the ridge between the rocks where the gaps were full of soft snow. Occasionally we came across nieve snow with a thin covering of fresh snow on top which required some extra care to cross.

Eventually we reached the summit cairn with its broken trig point nearby. To the west we could see a couple of walkers climbing towards Beinn Resipol's west ridge but they still had a bit to go to reach the summit where it was cold and windy.

We returned by the ascent route where possible following our bootprints but some of the marks had been filled in with the blowing snow. Later we did try and make a more direct descent to Meall an t-Slugain searching for shelter for lunch but the spindrift put paid to that idea so out came the 'Storm Shelter' to protect us from the elements. It worked well as it was rather cold when we rolled it up again and packed it away.

The descent over Meall an t-Slugain was uneventful as was the return down the 'miner's path' until near the end when we met some cows and calves which caused my client some concern. However they never bothered us as we continued down the track and back to the car.

Beinn Resipol Corbett second ascent 845 metres

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Carn na Nathrach

23 March 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

The initial problem was getting to the start of this walk which was on the unclassified road that led from the village of Strontian, on the A861 in Ardgour, to the road end at Pollock. It had snowed overnight and the higher part of this road was covered and impossible for ordinary vehicles. Fortunately with my 4x4 and some care I was able to negotiate the hill although I came across an abandoned van.

I parked my vehicle just north of Kinlochan at the east end of Loch Doile. Although this was off the public road it appeared that no objection was raised as a local passed us as we prepared to set out for Carn na Nathrach.

We walked along the vehicle track on the north side of the River Hurich, crossed the road bridge east of the cottage at Glenhurich, and followed the forest road that led towards Gleann an Dubh Choirein. Just beyond the double bend where the track started to descend I looked for a route through the forest so that we could gain the south west ridge of Carn na Nathrach, called Beinn Mheadhoin. I missed the few stones, which I spotted on my return, and we wandered through the forest until we came across the walker's path, which was actually a slightly worn route through vegetation climbing steeply out of the forest and avoiding some rocks.

Once above the trees the walking became easier although any path along the Beinn Mheadhoin ridge was hidden by the previous evenings snow. It was now significantly cooler out of the forest with a cold wind and some snow flurries. We never found the lochan shown on the map and as we continued up the ridge we saw a few deer. The twisted ridge became a bit steeper before we reached the 602 point which was followed by a slight descent and then a deer fence. There was no gate or stile so the only option was to climb over the fence.

The wind was now a bit stronger with some spindrift as we avoided rocky knolls and worked our way through drifts now up to near knee height. Progress had been slow but we eventually reached the summit around thirty minutes later than planned due to the conditions.

From the summit we had views to the west of the Island of Mull, Beinn Resipol and the Rois-Bheinn Corbetts, Callop and Glen Finnan Hills to the north, Glen Saddle, Ballachulish Bridge, the Glen Coe mountains and Lochs Leven and Linnhe to the east and to the south the Corbetts, Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Beinn na h-Uamha.

We found a relatively sheltered place for a late lunch out of the spindrift before setting off back down the Beinn Mheadhoin ridge to the start. As expected with the condition of the road we never met any other walkers but spoke to the owner of the abandoned van who was staying locally and he explained how wild the conditions were as he tried to get over the hill road the previous evening.

previous ascent

Carn na Nathrach Corbett second ascent 786 metres

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Beinn na h-Uamha

19 January 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 910 metres.

One of the starting points for this Corbett is the hamlet of Sallachan just off the A861 Strontian Road, 2.5 miles west of the ferry terminal at Corran. This ferry runs on a regular basis between Nether Lochaber on the A82, 8 miles south of Fort William and Corran. It would be feasible to leave your vehicle at Nether Lochaber, use the ferry as a foot passenger, and walk the two and a half miles to Sallachan. Alternatively you could cycle as persons on foot and bicycles are free. Another incentive is that there is very limited parking on the narrow road at Sallachan but you could park on the verge of the A861.

I set off from Sallachan up Glen Gour on the rough vehicle track on the south side of the River Gour. This is a Right of Way to Strontian some 12 miles distant. After about 600 metres I came to Loch nan Gabhar where a couple of swans were feeding. The track, which was flooded in places, continued onto the ruin at Tigh Ghlinnegabhar and across a fairly level plain with some deer feeding amongst the wet grasses.

Just before the Allt an Fhaing I came to another set of ruins and at this point crossed some wet and bogy ground to the south bank of the River Gour. To climb Beinn na h-Uamha I needed to cross this river so I walked along its south bank looking for a suitable point. The river was a bit deep initially but just west of the Allt an t-Sluichd I found a suitable crossing point without getting my feet soaked.

Once on the other side of the river another wet and boggy area was crossed before reaching the foot of the south-east ridge of Beinn na h-Uamha which was fairly steep and rocky. I climbed the ridge using grassy gullies and in the process disturbed a fox that was hiding in the rocks. I climbed over Stob an Ullt Dharaich and on towards the snow line. During the ascent I had views back down Glen Gour, across Loch Linnhe to Loch Leven and the Glen Coe mountains, down Glen Scaddle, the cloud covered Ben Nevis and to the south Garbh Bheinn, Beinn Bhreag and Sgorr Mhic Eacharna. Garbh Bheinn was my final Corbett on Christmas Day 2004 but the plan for its second ascent is to incorporate all three mountains on a circuit of Coire an Iubhair.

A lot of the snow that had fallen recently had disappeared and what was left was a bit soft and wet in places. I tried to avoid these sections and eventually reached the summit cairn. Here a cold wind was blowing with some low cloud floating about so the views to the west of Sgurr a’Chaorainn and Sgurr Dhomhnuill, the hills I had climbed in conjunction with Beinn na h-Uamha on my first ascent of this mountain were disappointing.

I returned towards Stob an Ullt Dharaich before descending steeply south to the River Gour disturbing a few deer feeding in the sheltered hollows. On the opposite side of the River Gour was the vehicle track that would return me down Glen Gour. This track ceased at the stream flowing from Sgorr Mhic Eacharna, a lot further than indicated on my map. However there is still a large section of the Right of Way to Strontian that was pathless.

I didn't cross the river at this point but walked down the north side of the river bank, through some wet and boggy ground, to the crossing point I had used earlier in the day. On re-crossing the River Gour I headed onto the vehicle track and had a fast walk back down the Glen as darkness was falling and also in an attempt to catch the five o'clock ferry back to Nether Lochaber. I made it to my vehicle with ten minutes to spare, sufficient time to drive to Corran and catch the ferry instead of waiting for half an hour for the next one.

previous ascent

Beinn na h-Uamha Corbett second ascent 762 metres.

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Loch Shiel

23 August 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 13.9 kilometres. Ascent - 284 metres.

This was the final walk for Yvonne and Thomas so for another change of location I decided on a walk down Loch Shiel in Moidart. We parked in the car park just south of the A830 Fort William to Mallaig Road at the private road leading to Callop.

We walked through the forest to the head of Loch Shiel where we discovered a path and footbridge had recently been constructed across the burn giving direct access to Glenfinnan, its Monument and the A830. Nearby there was an information board indicating that the Monument was leaning over and its inclination was increasing every year similar to the Leaning Tower of Pizza. The fact that the Monument was leaning to the west was very obvious from our position.

We continued down the vehicle track on the east side of Loch Shiel with the cloud covered mountains on either side. A couple of lorries carrying timber passed us creating a lot of dust. After around 2.5 hours and around 7 kilometres of walking we stopped for lunch which we had sitting on the stony shore of Loch Shiel.

After lunch we returned along the east shore of the Loch and at the new bridge Yvonne and Thomas crossed the burn and headed over to the Glenfinnan Monument while I went back and collected my car. While at the Visitor Centre they were able to see the Steam Train cross the Viaduct, used in the Harry Potter movie.

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Beinn Odhar Bheag and Beinn Mhic Cedidh

29 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 6.75 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 1080 metres.

The start of this walk was the A830 Fort William to Mallaig Road east of Loch Eilt. At grid reference NM856813 there was a fairly large area of ground, partially tarred with a sign and map relative to accessing the Hills of Moidart. A gate gave access to a bridge over the Allt Lon a’Mhuidhe and immediately thereafter I crossed the railway line.

Once on the south side of the railway line I took a bearing and headed for the knoll at 400 metres. There were some marks on the grass where it appeared that other walkers had passed this way before but with the fresh growth it was unwise to follow marks which may have been animal trails.

The mountain tops were cloud covered but the forecast was for an improvement throughout the day. However once I had reached this knoll and started ascending the NNW ridge the cloud lowered further and it started to rain. To the east of the ridge there was an attractive gorge containing the stream flowing from Coire Choin Duinn.

The rain eased as I gained height along this fairly contorted ridge and I started getting views out to the Islands of Rum and Eigg. I eventually reached a small lochan and thereafter made my way through some rocky terrain to the summit cairn of Beinn Odhar Mhor. The trig point itself was lying about in several pieces. Unfortunately the summit was covered in cloud when I arrived so I decided to hang around there for a few minutes to see if there was any improvement. I was lucky, the cloud did start to break up and eventually I had views of Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Viaduct. I was also fortunate to see the Island of Rum again, the Sound of Sleet on the Island of Skye and across to the Knoydart Munros.

The ridge between Beinn Odhar Mhor and Beinn Odhar Bheag was very rocky in sections and contorted and I was glad that I could see where I was headed as I worked my way round the rocks seeking the best route along the ridge. The ascent of Beinn Odhar Bheag involved keeping to the east of some slab rock before reaching the summit cairn in the sun. The cloud was lifting all around me and I was now enjoying views in all directions. I took shelter from the wind and had lunch while looking down Loch Shiel to Loch Sunart and across to the Ardgour Hills and to Beinn Resipol the highest hill in Sunart.

After lunch I reluctantly left this superb viewpoint and descended in sun to Bealach a’Choire Bhuidhe where I disturbed a lone deer. This was followed by a steady climb to the small cairn on the top of Beinn Mhic Cedidh. Here I had further views of the Islands of Rum and Skye and of Knoydart. I also had good views of the three Rois-Bheinn Corbetts and of the Graham Croit Bheinn.

I had lingered a fair bit on all three summits but it was time I headed back to the start. I descended Beinn Mhic Cedidh’s north ridge which was steep and rocky in places and was far from straight forward so I was glad of the clear visibility. Lower down the ridge divided, the easiest route going north-west but I headed north-east which was steeper and rockier and required a fair bit of care. On approaching the Allt a’Coire Bhuidhe the ground consisted of long tussocky grass which slowed my progress.

On reaching the Allt a’Coire Bhuidhe there was a bridge which I used to cross the river and thereafter I followed an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) track to and along the south side of the railway line. The ATV track later went under the railway line and continued east along its north side. I eventually left this track and headed for the Allt Lon a’Mhuidhe and walked up its south bank until I found a suitable point to cross it and onto the main road. I followed the road east for around a kilometre before arriving back my car and the sun was still shinning.

Note – the distances and height climbed is the minimum in both cases as they have been taken from the map and do not include all the undulations, twists and turns.

previous ascent

Beinn Odhar Bheag Corbett second ascent 882 metres
Beinn Mhic Cedidh Corbett second ascent 783 metres

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Stob Coire a’Chearcaill 

28 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 4 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 810 metres.

I was staying in the Fort William area and had a day off so, despite the inclement weather, I decided on a short day climbing the Corbett Stob Coire a’Chearcaill.

The start of the walk was the A861 single track road which runs along the south shore of Loch Eil, at Blaich. I noted on the Ordnance Survey Map that a path headed south from the A861 to the east ridge of Stob Coire a’Chearcaill at a height of 470 metres. I fancied trying this ascent route rather than over south rough and boggy terrain above Duisky, which was how I climbed it before.

I located the start of the path, which was in fact a vehicle track, at number 7 Blaich. Here there are several tarred roads but fortunately I selected the correct one and followed it passed some old buildings and through a gate. A slight deviation was required due to a herd of cows and calves. Higher up a deer fence was reached with a gate and the estate had added a suitable wicket gate to make access easier for walkers.

The vehicle track became a bit steeper before it reached the wide east ridge of Stob Coire a'Chearcaill at Ceann Caol and abruptly came to an end at a small cairn. The earlier light rain was now a lot heavier as I headed west over some rough ground and into a westerly breeze. The underfoot conditions became a bit easier and I disturbed a golden plover whose alarm call gave me little chance of getting close to any wildlife. A skylark was also disturbed by my presence.

The ridge was followed over the knoll at 609, along Briagh Bhlaich into the cloud and to the summit of Stob Coire a’Chearcaill where there was a trig point and a reasonable sized cairn. It was unfortunate that I didn’t have any views as the east side of this summit was very rocky and the views into Coire Chearcaill and to Fort William and Ben Nevis would have made the climb more worth while.

The return was by the ascent route with heavy showers and again I had to make a deviation for the cattle.

previous ascent

Stob Coire a'Chearcaill Corbett second ascent 770 metres.

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Rois-Bheinn Corbetts

29 July 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 17.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1600 metres.

The starting point for this walk was the A861 Lochailort to Kinlochmoidart Road at Inverailort, where I parked my car, walked passed the cottages and climbed to the col south of Tom Odhar. The path in places was a bit overgrown as I had to push my way through some young trees.

From the col I followed the path which later joined an all terrain vehicle (ATV) track up the west side of the Allt a'Bhuiridh. Higher up I crossed this stream and climbed to the small lochan south of Beinn Coire nan Gall. En-route I heard some barking and spotted several deer which had become aware of my presence on the hill. The barking continued as the hinds warned their young.

It was rather windy at this lochan so I climbed onto Druim Fiaclach where I found some shelter and took a break looking out to the Small Isles and the Isle of Skye. The tops of the Rum and Skye Cuillin were in cloud.

It was very windy as I made my way along the ridge to Sgurr na Ba Glaise where several sheep were sheltering from the strong wind. On a couple of occasions I had to stop as the wind tried to blow me over.

From the summit of Sgurr na Ba Glaise I descended to the Bealach an Fhiona and climbed Rois-Bheinn. The ascent of this mountain was hard going in the wind but navigation wasn't a problem as a dry stone dyke marked the route to the summit over some stony ground. The trig point marked on the map no longer exists although there was some of the old concrete base used as part of the cairn.

I walked out to the westerly point for some views and shelter from the wind. Once again I was looking out to the Small Isles, up the coast to Arisaig and the mountains to the north which were a lot clearer than those towards the cloudy south.

The descent from Rois-Bheinn was back to the Bealach an Fhiona but it wasn't as windy at this time although it was now trying to rain and I had a few light showers for the rest of the day. The descent from Bealach an Fhiona to a lower bealach was rather steep and awkward on the damp rock. The stone dyke followed this route but it shouldn't be used for navigation as it doesn't lead to the lower bealach and goes over some rocky sections.

At the lower bealach I climbed through some crags to the summit of An Stac where again it was very windy. Here I had a couple of options. Descend steeply west to the A861 near Alisary and a long walk back along the road to the start or a similar steep descent north and rejoin the upward route. I decided upon the latter which involved finding the easiest route through numerous crags. Lower down I came across some more deer, or it may have been the same herd I saw in the morning, but they ran off towards Coire a'Bhuiridh.

I crossed some rough ground to reach the ATV track used in the morning and then followed the upward route back to the start. During the day I never met or saw anyone on these hills, only some deer a few sheep.

previous ascent

Sgurr na Ba Glaise Corbett second ascent 874 metres
Rois-Bheinn Corbett second ascent 882 metres
An Stac Corbett second ascent 814 metres

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Sgurr Dhomhnuill

3/4 June 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 880 metres.

I set off late in the evening for a pleasant walk through the oak woods of Strontain Glen. Once beyond the woods I pitched my tent beside the ruin of the old building at Ceann a'Chreagain. Unfortunately the midges were out so once the tent was up I was forced inside.

In the morning the midges were still out, although not as bad so after breakfast I took my tent down and headed up to the old lead mine, although the path shown on the map disappeared at times.

From the old lead mine I climbed onto the west ridge of Sgurr na h-Ighinn. Before the final ascent to this hill I traversed below its west side and reached the bealach between Sgurr na h-Ighinn and Sgurr Dhomhnuill. Here I came across a ptarmigan and its chicks and managed to get a photo of one of the chicks and its mother who was obviously concerned about my presence.

From the bealach I commenced the climb of Sgurr Dhomhnuill but unfortunately the cloud came down and on reaching the summit I had no views. I had hoped to have views to the north as during this ascent I had good, albeit hazy views of all the hills in the area except to the north.

I hadn't made a plan for my return but due to the low cloud and the time of day I decided to retrace the outward route which I did. Once lower down I cleared the low cloud and descended the west ridge of Sgurr na h-Ighinn. Beside Druim Leac a'Sgiathain I came across of pair of Black Face rams having a real head to head, charging each other repeatedly with a loud crash as their heads collided. It was maybe a frustrating time of year for the rams but I gave up watching them and continued my descent into the oak woods of Strontain Glen and back to my starting point near Ariundle.

previous ascent

Sgurr Dhomhnuill Corbett second ascent 888 metres

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Callop Grahams

1 August 2005

photos taken on walk

I had a day off so I decided to climb a couple of Grahams near Glenfinnan on the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road.

A parking area is provided on the south side of the road just west of the railway bridge, east of Glenfinnan.

From this parking area I walked along the track to Callop then followed the path up the side of the river which was very low. The path was a bit overgrown but underfoot it wasn't as boggy as it was on my previous visit to this area. This path can also be used to climb three nearby Corbetts.

A new deer fence has been erected round the west and south side of the forest and incorporates some of the land around the path but the Estate have included gates to allow access on what I think is a Right of Way through to Cona Glen.

Once beyond this fenced area and after a slight climb I crossed the Allt na Cruaiche and climbed steeply up onto the ridge where I had good views of the surrounding hills. This was followed by an undulating ridge and while climbing this ridge I observed a large herd of hinds with calves which had obviously been spooked, probably by myself. I heard the hinds barking at their fawns and the noise of their hooves on the boulders as they ran out of the corrie.

I continued up the ridge onto the 722 point where I had good views of the Ardgour Corbetts as well as the mountains around Glenfinnan. However I didn't linger here as the midges were out and biting, so I continued to the summit of Meall nan Damh, which was further east and one metre higher.

I still had good views including that of Ben Nevis with a small amount of cloud sitting on its summit. The midges were bothering me here also so I headed off to the next Graham along Meall nan Damh's east ridge before heading north to the bealach and an easy ascent to the trig point of Glas Bheinn.

Fortunately there was a slight breeze here so I was able to sit in the sun and eat my lunch taking in the views around me including Ben Nevis which was now clear of cloud.

After a fairly lengthy break I headed north-west towards the forest looking for the fire breaks so that I could navigate my way through the trees. I selected a route but it was knee deep in grass and shoulder height in bracken so walking conditions were difficult as it was impossible to see the uneven ground. Further into the forest things got a bit more awkward as there were lots of trees blown down so I had to search for an alternative route. This is where the compass came in really useful as it was impossible to see anything but trees and I needed to ensure I was going in the correct direction. It would be too easy to wander round and round in circles in the forest trying to avoid fallen timber.

Eventually a came across a vehicle track and followed it out of the forest just north of Callop where I crossed the river and walked the last few yards back to my car.

Meall nan Damh Graham first ascent 723 metres
Glas Bheinn Graham first ascent 635 metres

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Final Corbett

25 December 2004

The readers of this article will probably think of me as a lonely and sad individual and this is probably accurate but at least I didn't over indulge in food or drink and I got some exercise, more than I bargained for.

During the last few months I had an idea that I could climb my final Corbett on Christmas Day. However I had several remote or awkwardly located Corbetts to climb first. It wasn't until the week before Christmas, after a visit to the Outer Hebrides to bag Clisham, that the plan looked feasible.

I had resided overnight at Station Lodge Independent Hostel at Tulloch and my first problem of the day was digging my car out of the car park where it was snowed in. Secondly, it was getting up onto the main road. I needed three attempts to negotiate this access road and on the second attempt my car slewed across the road and I had to dig it out.

Having made it to the main road, driving was difficult as far as Spean Bridge as the ploughs hadn't been out. The conditions thereafter improved and I made reasonable progress on the rest of my journey to the start of the walk albeit I had to take the long route round by Loch Eil, as I was aware that the Corran Ferry wasn't operating. The only plough/gritter I met was on the single track road on the south side of Loch Eil. Strangely it was also working on that stretch of road on my return journey.

The start of the walk was beside the Abhain Coire an Iubhair which crosses under the Ardgour to Strontain road. Due to the travelling delays I was late in starting. Before setting off for the south-east ridge of Garbh Bheinn I equipped myself with all my winter gear, as the snow was down to sea level.

The walking on the first few hundred metres wasn't too difficult and here I disturbed a hind and its young. This was the only life I spotted on the hill all day. As I gained height the snow was deeper with frequent sections knee deep and on occasions higher. This slowed progress as I had to try and find the easiest ascent route avoiding ice clad rocks. Fortunately the weather wasn't too bad. I had occasional snow and hail showers interspersed with periods of blue sky.

The underfoot conditions were making it a very tiring climb and at times I was doubtful if I would reach my target.

I climbed up the ridge Sron a'Gharbh Choire Bhig and on frequently looking back across Loch Linnhe I could clearly see the snow clad mountains of Glencoe and Ballachulish where the weather appeared to be better as occasionally the sun was shining on the other side of the Loch.

I continued on this tiring climb to the summit of what appears to be known as Sron a'Ghairbh Choire Mhoir. Here I had views of the rocky east face of my final Corbett, Garbh Bheinn. Firstly I had to descend to a col and climb up through a snow filled gully. At this point the sun shone and I thought I was going to be lucky with the views but the sun was short lived. I then climbed through some rock, round the headwall of Garbh Bheinn's east face and out to the summit cairn. It was cold and windy on the summit and cloud was coming in again so I took a quick photograph and departed from the summit. I had no feeling of elation at having reached the top of my final Corbett. It just felt like any other hill that I had climbed recently. The amount of effort involved in reaching the summit had dulled any enthusiasm.

I returned down the snow filled gully and found a bit of shelter to take on some food and liquid. It was only to be a short break as I was running out of daylight. After my late lunch I had to re-climb Sron a'Ghairbh Choire Mhoir where it was windy and spin drift was blowing about. This was exacerbated by the snow shower that was passing through reducing visibility.

The descent from Sron a'Chairbh Choire Mhoir involved basically retracing my route of ascent and I was fully aware that light was fading and hoped that I would make it back to my car before it got completely dark. Fortunately my timing was good as I reached my car around the time I would need my head torch, some five and a half hours after I set out on what was an arduous day on the hills.

The journey back to Tulloch was hampered by snow and poor road conditions, particularly north of Fort William and I was thankful when I reached my accommodation for my Christmas dinner of beans on toast.

There was no celebrations as my fellow hillwalking friends had sensibly remained at home to indulge in the Christmas spirit. In any case there was no pub or restaurant open in the vicinity to buy them a celebration drink or meal. No doubt I will be told that I had planned it this way.

Garbh Bheinn Corbett first ascent 885 metres

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5 December 2004

The overnight accommodation was at Corran Bunkhouse at Nether Lochaber, Onich, south of Fort William. This was ideal for this walk as we needed to use the adjacent Corran Ferry to cross over to Ardgour before driving to the start of the walk at Glengalmadale in Kingairloch.

I parked the car beside the Glengalmadale River and we walked eastwards for a few yards before climbing through wet grass onto Druim na Maodalaich where there was a faint trace of a path. Although mainly cloudy and windy it was at least dry.

We continued up Druim na Maodalaich disturbing feeding deer and over Meall nan Each. After a descent of about 90 metres we commenced the gradual climb onto Maol Odhar before picking up the bealach at its west end. The final climb, to the first Corbett of the day, was round some rocky outcrops before passing some old high stone dykes and encampments. This is marked on the map as 'camp' which I thought was to do with the Ordnance Survey working on the trig point when it was constructed and subsequent mapping. However reference books say it is a lot older and goes back to the Napoleonic Wars when it was used as a lookout post. A few yards further on and we reached the summit trig point of Creach Bheinn.

A descent towards a wide bealach followed where we found shelter from the wind for some lunch. Afterwards a steady climb took us onto the summit of the second Corbett of the day, Fuar Bheinn.

A gradual drop took us to the bealach between Fuar Bheinn and the Graham, Beinn na Cille, which I had already climbed. My companions today weren't interested in climbing the Graham so we dropped down to the Glengalmadale River. This descent was rather tricky as the ground was wet and slippery and there were lots of rocky outcrops to be avoided.

On finally reaching the River we located the track, which was full of large pools of water, and followed it back to the start and the end of another day's Corbett bagging for my companions.

previous ascent

Creach Bheinn Corbett second ascent 853 metres
Fuar Bheinn Corbett second ascent 766 metres

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3 and 4 September 2004

On a wet and blustery morning I set off from the Ariundle Nature Reserve, north of Strontain through the forest and onto open hillside. Initially I was on a good track but once on the open ground the stalker's path is a bit churned up by cattle grazing on the hillside.

At the end of the path I headed up over Druim Leac a'Sgiathain and onto Sgurr na h-Ighinn which were both covered in low cloud. I then walked out to the Corbett Sgurr Dhomhnuill where I sheltered within the circular cairn and had a bite to eat.

I returned towards Druim Leac a'Sgiathain and traversed below Sgurr na h-Ighinn to the bealach between it and Sgurr a' Chaorainn. As I climbed this hill in poor visibility the intensity of the wind and rain increased. A climb between slabs of rock took me to this summit which is one of the highest Grahams.

I walked out the east ridge, descending to a bealach before climbing the Corbett Beinn na h-Uamha, which is one of the lowest Corbetts. The Graham, Sgurr a' Chaorainn is shown as 761 metres in height while the Corbett Beinn na h-Uamha is 762 metres.

I was now a long way from the start in very wet and windy conditions with a long walk back in front of me. This entailed a re-ascent of Sgurr a' Chaorainn before traversing to the Strontain River and the walk back through the Nature Reserve to the car park.

The following day was drier and less windy when I set off from Kinlochan and walked up Glen Hurich before climbing onto Beinn Mheadhoin. This required an awkward climb through a short section of woods trying to avoid the wet rock. Once on the open hillside I continued up this ridge to the summit of Carn na Nathrach. The cloud threatened to lift all day but never cleared the summits so once again I didn't have a view.

My return to Kinlochan was by the ascent route.

Sgurr Dhomhnuill Corbett first ascent 888 metres
Sgurr a'Chaorainn Graham first ascent 761 metres
Beinn na h-Uamha Corbett first ascent 762 metres
Carn na Nathrach Corbett first ascent 768 metres

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31 July 2004

The two Corbetts planned for the day were Beinn Odhar Bheag, little dun coloured hill, and Beinn Mhic Cedidh, MacCedidh's hill. I had read conflicting reports regarding the starting point of these Corbetts but decided on the unmarked car parking area about one and a half kilometres east of Loch Eil. Here there was a large map of the area with details where stalking information could be obtained. I was pleased to note that stalking wasn't due to start in this area until mid September.

Donald and I set off from here, crossed the railway line and headed up onto the north ridge of Beinn Odhar Mhor. The underfoot conditions were initially difficult through long tussocky grass and yesterday's hard day was telling a bit. It was very calm and we tried to stay on the highest parts of the ridge, firstly to get any breeze that was going and secondly to get away from the midges.

Higher up it became less steep as we wound our way round numerous knolls to reach the summit of Beinn Odhar Mhor. This was followed by a drop down to an undulating and rocky bealach before the ascent of Beinn Odhar Bheag. Normally the Mhor is the higher of the two hills but on this occasion, and few others, the Bheag is the higher one. Here we had good views of the Corbetts on the other side of Loch Shiel which we had bagged the previous day and the Rois Bheinn Corbetts to the west. Ben More on Mull was a bit more hazy but at least it was clear.

From Beinn Odhar Bheag a long descent led to the Bealach Choire Bhuidhe before a steady climb to Beinn Mhic Cedidh. Here we stopped for lunch, joined by the midges and a fellow Corbett bagger from the Black Isle.

After an interesting chat about Corbetts we set off down the north ridge of Beinn Mhic Cedidh before picking up an all-terrain vehicle track to the Allt a' Mhuidhe. We met up again with the Corbett Bagger from the Black Isle who had parked his car nearer Loch Eil so we followed him across the burn, which was very low, and onto the main road beside his car. He gave us a lift the short distance back to our vehicle, which was very welcome as it was uphill.

Beinn Odhar Bheag Corbett first ascent 882 metres
Beinn Mhic Cedidh Corbett first ascent 783 metres

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Three Corbetts in Ardgour

30 July 2004

I was back residing at Station Lodge, Tulloch with the intention of tackling some of the more remote and awkward Corbetts in Section 10 of the Scottish Mountaineering Club List.

Donald, John, Maria and I set off from the car park near Craigag Lodge on the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road and walked up the track to the cottage at Callop. The start of the path was difficult to find due to the long grass but after a while it became more distinct and muddy. At the highest point the path splits. The one leading down to Cona Glen was obvious but the one turning to the west is overgrown and and difficult to see. However we left the path here and headed down to the Cona River where we had our first break of the day.

From the river we climbed a gully to the bealach and a line of old fence posts and followed the undulating ridge to the summit of Stob a'Bhealach an Sgriodain, peak of the pass of screes. An interesting point here is a double line of old metal fence posts, some twenty feet apart, which followed the line of the ridge towards the next mountain. I can only presume one was an estate boundary and other was an area boundary, but what happened to the ground in between these fences?

The next section involved a descent to the Bealach an Sgriodain and a walk along the Druim Tarsuinn before climbing up to the second Corbett of the day, Sgurr Ghiubhsachain, peak of the fir wood. Here we met a fellow walker. He was 72 years of age, from London, and explained that he had set off the previous day with his son, to climb this mountain and the next one on our list but had to turn back because his 40 year old son was incapable of continuing.

After lunch we descended some awkward slabs and grass before climbing up onto the final mountain of the day, Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn, rowantree peak. From here a descent to the path used earlier in the day led us back to our cars.

Stob a'Bhealach an Sgriodain Corbett first ascent 770 metres
Sgurr Ghiubhsachain Corbett first ascent 849 metres
Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn Corbett first ascent 775 metres

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12 July 2004

The start of this walk was the A861 on the south side of Loch Eil at a hamlet with the quaint name of Duisky.

The first three kilometres were over wet and tussocky ground which made progress slow and in places difficult. Reference books mention an old fence but I didn't find it until the descent as the rusty metal posts blended in well with the surrounding colours. Higher up a deer fence had to be climbed.

Once up on the ridge there was a cold wind blowing but the views were good especially of the rocky corrie of Stob Corrie a'Chearcaill, peak of the circular corrie. I climbed to the summit cairn and trig point and took in some splendid views of the mountains to the west including Ben More on Mull.

The descent was down the side of the old fence which was preferable to the upward route I took, but there was no trace of the faint path indicated in the reference books. There is also a gate in the deer fence which makes life easier.

I had the hill to myself on this occasion and it was a good half day's outing which allowed me to head home in the afternoon.

Stob a'Coire Chearcaill Corbett first ascent 770 metres

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10 July 2004

To access these hills entailed using the Corran Ferry, south of Fort William, and driving south on a single track road to the Kingairloch area.

The starting point was just west of Glengalmadale and involved a steep climb up the side of a small wooded area. If I stopped to check the underfoot terrain or to rest I was immediately attacked by the midges so I tried to keep going. Once beyond the forest I entered some rocky ground where there was a slight breeze and I was thankfully able to leave the midges behind.

I continued to the summit of Beinn na Cille, hill of the church, a Graham which was in the cloud, before dropping to the col and ascending the first Corbett of the day, Fuar Bheinn, cold hill. I disturbed a lot of hinds en-route and frequently heard them barking a warning to their young. I never saw any stags but they were maybe aware the stalking season had commenced!! I also spotted a Ring Ouzel (mountain blackbird).

From this Corbett, which was also in cloud, I descended to the next col and climbed Creach Bheinn, hill of spoil, but once again I had no views. To the north of this summit are several stone walls and it is alleged that they were used as lookout posts during the Napoleonic wars.

I descended to Maol Odhar where I had views south towards Oban and the south-east corner of Mull. Once I finished lunch I continued my descent along the Druim na Maodalaich ridge with views to my right of the cloud covered hills I had climbed. Lower down I came across some feral goats before I dropped to Glengalmadale and the starting point of the days' walk.

Once above the forest this is a fine horseshoe traverse and on a clear day would give good views.

Beinn na Cille Graham first ascent 652 metres
Fuar Bheinn Corbett first ascent 766 metres
Creach Bheinn Corbett first ascent 853 metres

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8 November 2003

At the beginning of November I returned to Fort William for a weekend Corbett bagging. (mountains between 2,500 and 3,000 feet) As the sun rose on this Saturday morning I was heading west on the Fort William to Mallaig road for my starting point at Lochailort.

Parking my car near Glenshian Lodge I walked past the Lodge, while the occupants were still in bed, over wet and boggy ground before finding the path round the side of Tom Odhar. Heading up onto Beinn Coire nan Gall, the Druim Fiaclach ridge looked rather interesting, so I decided to deviate from my route and drop down to its east end. I climbed up onto the ridge at the same time as the wind started to pick up. The ridge involved some easy scrambling made slightly more awkward by the strength of the wind. However the sun was still shining although further east it was obviously cloudy.

Once back on my planned route I headed for the first Corbett of the day, Sgurr na Ba Glaise and a short break for lunch, once I found somewhere out of the strong wind.

The next Corbett, Rois Bheinn caused me a few problems as I was being buffeted about in the wind. Hidden on the summit cairn is a watertight container containing a stamp and notebook to record your presence on the hill. However it was too windy to sit down and write anything so I continued to its west summit where I had good views of the Islands stretching from Mull to Skye.

The return to the bealach between Sgurr na Ba Glaise and Rois Bheinn was difficult in the wind as was the descent to the next bealach and the climb up onto my final Corbett for the day, An Stac. The sun was now being engulfed by some cloud and it would soon be getting dark so I headed down the north ridge and regained the path beside Tom Odhar while I could still see. I tried a different route back to Glenshian Lodge but it was even wetter than the one I used in the morning.

Sgurr na Ba Claise Corbett first ascent 874 metres
Rois-Bheinn Corbett first ascent 882 metres
An Stac Corbett first ascent 814 metres

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Great Glen Way

27 October 2003

The final day’s walk was on the Great Glen Way so I drove, Claire, Gwen and Vera to Gairlochy on the Caledonia Canal. They walked south and I drove round to the finish of the walk at Benavie near Fort William. I walked up the Great Glen Way and met the ladies a lot earlier than expected, so they had made good progress. I accompanied them back to Benavie and the end of their fifty mile hike.

Gwen and Vera took the four days in their stride and appeared to be at home in this environment. Claire due to her initial breathing problem and her subsequent blisters struggled most of the time. If it wasn’t for her determination and willpower she wouldn’t have made it. The ladies, as well as doing this walk for their President’s Award were also doing it for charity. They have already collected over two thousand Euros for their efforts. So congratulations to Claire, Gwen and Vera on their achievement.

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