Somebody, Andy I think, had organised an extended trip to Glencoe and had booked a a little bungalow for us to stay in. Being a teacher, I couldn’t get time off for the trip, but luckily the Tower Captain agreed to join me for a weekend only version. We drove up on the Friday after work, stopping in Hamilton for my usual haggis supper and fish supper for TC.
In my head, the Saturday dawned clear and bright after a week of miserable weather, but looking back at Andy’s posts about this trip, I find that that is just wishful thinking on my part, and that they had already had several excellent days. Never-the-less, Saturday morning was stunning and it was fairly quickly agreed that a jaunt up Beinn a’ Bheithir was called for.
Here are some of the crew in the kitchen of the aforementioned bungalow. I believe there was a bit of a Herefordshire Harangue in progress which is what was making Uncle Fester grin so much. Clearly, I should have used video and then I might have some hope of recalling why the Prof was in trouble with his Parental Control.
Four of these people had the misfortune of sharing my time at University, centuries ago, (not the Prof obviously) and three of them, I think, were with me the first time I climbed Beinn a’ Bheithir. On that occasion, we ascended the western arm of the horseshoe, heading for Sgorr Dhonuill. The ridge has more contours than you can shake a stick at, with constant up-and-downs over innumerable humps, hollows, knobbles and hillocks. In deep powdery snow and a strong wind it was exhausting.
Anyway, this time we were heading for the other munro, Sgorr Dhearg. We parked in the playground of Ballaculish primary school (it’s allowed apparently) and set-off towards our first objective, the rounded lump of Beinn Bhan. This ridge…
…the southern arm of Coire Riabhach, offered an alternative, much steeper, route to the top.
Our own route was steep enough at first, after a couple of fields, the going became both steep and rough, with initially no sign of a path.
I was entertained by a pleasing variety of wildflowers underfoot, most notably some Grass of Parnassus, also known, apparently, as Bog-star, which gives an idea of the kind of ground we were crossing!
The path on the ridge was much better and the ground began to level out a bit too. We had the first of many stops not long after I took this photo, I think.
It’s far too long since I’ve walked the marvellous ridges of the Mamores.
If any of the party had been keen to go on to bag Sgorr Dhonuill, they managed to hide their disappointment well as we all turned down the long ridge which heads north from Sgorr Dhearg.
I think that I’ve been down this way once before. It was May half-term, about 30 years ago, and I was acting as driver for a school group – they were mountain biking and I was driving the minibus and towing a bike-trailer between the hostels we were staying in. I had knee problems, but where possible I would try to fit in a walk whilst the others were cycling. One day, I decided to repeat the two Munros of Beinn a’ Beithir. One of my colleagues, my friend CT, and a couple of the lads (it was all boys on the trip) decided to take a day off from cycling and join me for a walk. I think we had a good day, but the descent does stick out in my mind since I can remember a steep slither beneath dense forestry. Not much fun.
Anyway, the ridge was great fun. Rocky and airy to begin with, broader, grassy and easy walking after that.
Eventually, the easy walking ran out. We entered a heavily vegetated, tussocky purgatory. It was horrible. Different from slithering through steep-sloped forestry, but just as bad, although we did manage to squeeze in a bit of forestry right near the end.
At least it did end, and we had a table booked at the Laroch in Ballachulish, where the food was superb. I think the beer might have been acceptable too. And the company was definitely up to scratch.
On the Sunday, the weather was pretty poor. We were forced to restrict ourselves to a short ramble in the forest behind the village. I was worn-out from the day before and happy to have an excuse not to do too much before our long drive home.
A couple were getting married by the lochan, a shame about all the clouds. I hope they had a good day..