Glencoe Weekend

Sgorr Dhearg on Beinn a’ Bheithir seen across Loch Leven.

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.

Kitchen altercation.

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!

Despite being surrounded by higher mountains, the Pap of Glencoe attracted my gaze for most of the day.
After the bright start, showers had drifted in, but luckily, most of the time, they were ‘over there’ and not falling on us much at all.
Loch Leven and surrounding hills pano.
Possibly a Fox Moth caterpillar. In the spring they are bigger and hairier and more orange.
Another Loch Leven Pano, with the Tower Captain.
Pale Rainbow.
Loch Leven and the Tower Captain.

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.

The hills around Glen Coe.
Setting off from our early stop. The skyline ridge is our descent route.
The climb ahead.
TC on the ascent. Ben Nevis is almost out of the cloud behind him, with the Mamores spread out on the right.

It’s far too long since I’ve walked the marvellous ridges of the Mamores.

Sgorr Bhan and Sgorr Dhearg.
The Tower Captain and The Prof approaching Sgorr Bhan.
Sgorr Dhearg from Sgorr Bhan – these rocks provided another excuse for a brew/snack stop.
Looking back to Sgorr Bhan, The Aonach Eagach, and Bidean nam Bian.
Sgorr Dhonuill from Sgorr Dhearg.

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.

Sgurr Dhonuill.
Andy taking ‘the ethical line’.

Anyway, the ridge was great fun. Rocky and airy to begin with, broader, grassy and easy walking after that.

The ridge.
Sgorr Dhonuill again. Beinn a’ Beithir has more than its fair share of ridges.
The ridge is broadening.
Along Loch Leven to the Mamores.
Looking along the loch to the hills of Ardgour. And Moidart?
Ben Nevis tantalisingly almost clear again.
Another Loch Leven pano.
Looking back up to Sgorr Bhan and our descent ridge.

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..

Atmospheric lochan – unnamed on the OS map.
At one point, the Pap of Glencoe did clear, but only briefly.
Glencoe Weekend

Stob a’ Choire Odhair

Loch Tulla, Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh.

Our annual walking weekend in Scotland was back on the menu, after a Covid absence last year. On the Saturday, with a mixed forecast, but with the potential for clearing skies later in the day, most of the party were heading for Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, opposite our accommodation at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. The Tower Captain and I had ticked those off on a previous visit, and he was keen for fresh ‘bags’, so instead, we parked down by Loch Tulla, intending to climb Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar.

Abhainn Shira

As we were on the bridge over the Abhainn Shira, four Red Deer stags waded across up stream – you can just about see them in the photo.

Abhainn Shira and Araich

We started out in a light rain which quickly became a bit of a downpour. Not to worry, the scenery was still pretty spectacular despite the weather. Particularly the waterfalls…

Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire.

…of the Allt Coire na Muic.

Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig.

All of the streams seemed to be running pretty high, including the ones we had to cross…

Allt Caolain Duibh.

The ascent route has some excellent zig-zags, which took some of the sting out of a steep slope. The rain desisted, but we soon into the cloud and a fairly strong wind.

By the time we reached the top of Stob a’ Choire Odhair it was extremely windy, the sort of wind which has you staggering about, and the wind was driving icy precipitation – either soft hailstones or hard snowflakes – into every nook and cranny of our clothing.

Stob a’ Choire Odhair.

It was pretty fierce, and given that our ascent had taken rather a long time, I wasn’t at all keen on continuing to Stob Ghabhar. I was quite surprised, when I mentioned this, that TC immediately acquiesced.

We decided to drop down the ridge towards Stob Ghabhar, giving us a slightly different descent route. At one point, we dropped down a fairly steep, rocky section of path and suddenly the howling gale was stilled. The absence of the noise and the buffeting felt quite odd. We took advantage of this sheltered haven and stopped for hot drinks and butties.

The bealach between Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar. TC mid-stagger.
The onward ridge?

The respite was short lived however, as soon as we resumed our descent we were back in the powerful hold of the storm and staggering about again.

Allt Coirein Lochain.

And then we dropped slightly below the bealach into Coire Toaig and relative peace and calm…

Coire Toaig.
Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig, again.
The Tower Captain recrosses the Allt Caolain Duibh.
Sunshining, but more weather to come.

Despite the fact that we had a couple more showers, the descent was delightful.

Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire again.
Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain.

Our enjoyment was only tempered by the realisation that the others were probably enjoying superb views from their chosen hills, which had cleared and were bathed in sunshine, whilst our own route, or at least the higher part of it, remained stubbornly in the cloud…

Stob Ghabhar – still in the cloud.

What’s the opposite of schadenfreude? Rather than pleasure found in the misfortune of others, pain occasioned by another’s good luck? Of course, the Germans have a word for it – Gluckschmerz, literally luck-pain. You can see that TC is upset by it here…

The Tower Captain following the Abhainn Shira.

Actually, I think we were both enjoying this part of the walk, now that it wasn’t raining and the views and scenery were rather good.

The shed behind TC is the Clashgour Hut, a corrugated iron monstrosity which belongs to Glasgow University Mountaineering Club. It’s bookable. Maybe it’s much more comfortable on the inside than the exterior suggested, but, frankly: rather you than me.

We saw a number of Red Deer stags as we neared the end of our walk, including one in the garden of one of the remote houses we passed.

Then, as we sat in the car gently steaming and finishing off the contents of our flasks, one wandered through the car park…

Red Deer stag.
Stob a’ Choire Odhair

Stob Coire Raineach

Or: An An Even Shorter Post About Another Short Walk.

A bit of sunshine on the Aonach Eagach.

The forecast for Sunday was slightly more optimistic, albeit only briefly, with heavy rain and gales expected to arrive during the day. Stob Coire Raineach was promoted to full Munro status in 1997 by the big-wigs of the SMC, in their infinite wisdom. I think I’ve ticked it off before, but my record keeping is a bit lax, so I’m not sure. I certainly have been up Buachaille Etive Beag before, but that may have just been Stob Dubh, back when it was the sole Munro. UF, who is close to finishing the Munros, (to be honest, I was under the impression that he’d finished them years ago) hadn’t however, so a smash and grab raid was planned: park on the A82 (conveniently high up), take the well made path up to the bealach and then ascend Stob Coire Raineach, and maybe Stob Dubh too, if the weather was still fine.

Here we are on the way up, with the party leaving me behind at various rates of knotts.
Stob Dubh

In the event, when we hit the ridge, it was already extremely gusty and the rain was coming harder and seemed set in, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and didn’t continue to include Stob Dubh, although the TC, who hadn’t been this way before, was highly disappointed.

As far as I’m concerned, it just means we have to come back on a better day, so no lose. Anyway, I hadn’t anticipated climbing any Munros at all in 2021, so this was an unexpected bonus.

Stob Coire Raineach

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh


A cast of thousands (well a dozen or so) assembled for our winter gathering, this year held once again at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and, as ever, superbly organised by Andy. On the Saturday, The Tower Captain and I decided to tackle the two hills which tower over the hotel to the East – Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

The route was extremely simple: follow the path beside the Allt Coire an Dothaidh into the slightly forbidding looking Coire an Dothaidh…


Turn right at the col for the long haul up to Beinn Dorain before returning to the col to nip up Beinn an Dothaidh via a circuit of Coire Reidh.


Looking down Glen Orchy.


Looking across Loch Tulla.

Towards the top of Corie an Dothaidh I was really surprised to see, emerging from the snow, the flowers of what I assume to be Purple Saxifrage, familiar to me from the limestone crags high on Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.





We stopped for a while, behind a boulder near the top of the corrie, for a drink and a bite to eat.


Lochan on the ridge, unnamed on the OS map.


Beinn a Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach, with Beinn Sheasgarnaich behind TC.


Looking up to the steepest section of the climb on Beinn Dorain.


Looking back towards Beinn an Dothaidh.


Across Loch Tulla again. Ben Starav, Stob Coir an Albannaich and Stob Ghabhar.


Pano. Click on this, or other pictures, to view a larger image on flickr.


Looking south-west, Ben Oss and Ben Lui prominent.

The weather was pretty changeable and we had a few showers of snow, hail and rain, but on the whole that just added to the drama of the views.

The false summit of Carn Sasunnaich came as a surprise, in mist I can see that it would be very easy to be fooled by it.


I was feeling in particularly fine fettle along this section of ridge, like I was really in my element.


In fact, here I am, feeling very pleased with myself. The Tower Captain took the photo, I don’t think he’ll mind that I’ve used it.


Looking back along the ridge to Carn Sasunnaich.


Across Loch Tulla again – the weather coming in.


Looking toward Ben Oss and Ben Lui again.


Looking South from the top.


Ice formations on the slopes of Beinn an Dothaidh.


Looking back to Beinn Dorain.

I was hoping that Beinn an Dothaidh would give us superb views across the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor, but, by the time we had reached the top, the weather had closed in again and our views were a bit limited.


Looking down to Loch Tulla.


Beinn Achaladair.


Large cornices and the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.


The Tower Captain on the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.


Looking towards the hills around Loch Lyon.


I’m not sure what kind of rocks the hills we climbed are composed of, but they seemed to glitter in the combination of damp and sunlight we had, with lots of silvers and golds on display. Eventually, it occurred to me to try to photograph them, but I only took one photo, which hasn’t really captured the effect very satisfactorily.


When we got back down to Coire and Dothaidh the snow had mostly melted and the late afternoon light put a completely different aspect on the views.


We sat by the same boulder as we had on the way up for one final rest stop…


…before returning to the pub for food, drink and a convivial evening with old friends.


Beinn Dorrain

Can’t be bad.

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

Meall Glas


Ben More.

Another day of blue skies and sunshine! Another marvellous walk.

When we reached this collection of boulders it seemed like a fine place to stop to admire the view.


Actually, when the others reached this collection of boulders, I presume that it seemed like a fine place to stop to admire the view and wait for Tail-End Charlie, i.e. me. When I finally caught up, I declared my intention to spend the remainder of the day there, or thereabouts, sunning myself, snoozing, taking in the scenery etc..

It seemed like a fine idea, but in the eventually, when the others had set-off, I decided to follow on anyway to see how far I might get.

They were headed for Meall Glas…


…and some of the party were intending to climb…


…Sgiath Chuil too.

Here they are together, along with some more vertical stripes…


I have a feeling that when I first climbed these hills, many moons ago, there might have been three Munros here, and that one of them has subsequently been downgraded, but I’m too lazy (and unconcerned) to look it up.


The rest of the party must have realised that I was still, despite what I’d said, dogging their tracks, like Frankenstein’s creature trailing across the ice, so when they found a snow free patch they waited for me again.


The final push!

By the time I reached the top though, only the Tower Captain was waiting, the rest having gone on.


Obligatory summit photo number three.

If anything, I think I enjoyed this second outing of the weekend even more than the first.


If I’m allowed to quibble, perhaps the views were a little more hazy compared to the Saturday.






…summit panoramas.

But I can cope with a little haze!

Amazing weekend.

Meall Glas

Meall a Choire Leith and Meall Corranaich


When you book* a weekend away in the Scottish Highlands, at the tail end of winter, months in advance, you are inevitably making yourself a hostage to fortune. Over many annual visits to the Killin area, our group of old friends have enjoyed quite variable weather, with days out memorable for both fine conditions but also sometimes for some pretty wild and unpleasant wind, rain, hail, snow – not necessarily all at the same time. We have never however, experienced a weekend on a par with this year’s superb trip. Days like these come far and few between.

On the Saturday we split into several groups with one party heading for Ben More and another for Beinn Dorain. The Tower Captain and I meanwhile opted for the two ‘spare’ hills at the North-Western end of the Ben Lawers range. This has the advantage of a very high start, although the road past Lochan na Lairige eventually became impassable and we first helped to push another car which was stuck and then had some dodgy manoeuvres of our own to negotiate before we found a good place to park off the road.


Lochan na Lairige


Lochan na Lairige panorama.

I took lots of panoramas. All of them, to a greater or lesser extent, have these vertical lines across them, but I’ve included them anyway because I think they give a better idea of the views we had.


Meall nan Tarmachan.

We had to descend a little at first, in order to get to a point where we could begin our ascent of Meall a Choire Leith. That climb was a long old drag (much bigger than Arnside Knott! – see last post) and to say that I was very tired by the time we’d finished it, is somewhat of an understatement. The snow was pretty hard in places. On a previous trip the Shandy Sherpa lent me his Kahtoola Microspikes and, impressed with their efficacy, I bought myself a pair almost immediately afterwards. I haven’t worn them in the two years which have elapsed since, and for some reason didn’t put them on as soon as I might have on this occasion either. When I eventually did fit them, I again found they gave great assurance and wished I’d put them on sooner.

If the climb was exhausting, there was some recompense in the views…


…with ranks of snowy hills stretching away in every direction.

Even this raven…



…seemed to have paused to contemplate the majesty of it all.




Meall Garbh, An Stuc, Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas. (I think)


Obligatory summit photo number one.

We did some hasty mental calculations and decided that, even at my slow plod, we still had plenty of time to include Meall Corranaich.


Looking back to Meall a Choire Leith.

The climb was long and gradual, and should have been relatively easy, but for, in the latter stages, some energy-sapping, deep, unconsolidated snow.


Still, we got there eventually…


Obligatory summit photo number two.


More stripy panoramas.


Click on any of the photos to see larger versions.


Looking across Loch Tay. The two prominent hills are Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin. (Probably)


(Soon to be) obligatory summit panorama.


TC was wearing his own crampon substitutes which seemed to have coiled wire rather than spikes. They worked well, but had an unfortunate habit of coming off from time to time. Here, on our descent, he had just retraced his steps and luckily managed to retrieve them both.


A final view of Meall a’Choire Leith and our ascent route.


Fantastic. All that, and we still had the prospect of a delicious meal and a few convivial beers in the bar of the Suie Lodge Hotel to come.

*Not that I booked it. Thanks to the Shandy Sherpa for that. This is (I think) the sixth year that we’ve stayed at the Suie Lodge and it may, sadly, be the last, since the owners have it on the market. The warm welcome and great food there are highly recommended, catch it while you can!

Meall a Choire Leith and Meall Corranaich

Luib Weekend – Beinn Chabhair

Lochan Beinn Chabhair

Sometimes you wait ages for a bus and then three  arrive in quick succession. This weekend it was  a bit like that for me with new Munros. Nothing in years and then two in a weekend. Sunday’s target was Beinn Chabhair, which might mean hill of the hawk according to Cameron McNeish’s Munros book. A steep climb on a good path alongside the falls of Beinglas Burn brought us to a boggy plateau and more gentle climbing to Lochan Beinn Chabhair. This was a wild and atmospheric spot which my photo doesn’t do justice to at all. I didn’t climb high enough to get a decent vantage point. Still, Robin, who did, paid for his artistic endeavour when a singularly green section of hillside revealed itself to be more liquid than most and he sank to his oxters. (Well – actually not so deep, I just like the word oxters.) 

We skirted around the lochan and then picked our way through the crags so that we could traverse the ridge from East to West, only finding a faint path as we neared the summit, but finding a good path from that point on. Unlike the day before, the cloud offered no promise of respite. There were flakes of snow in the air and everything was rimed with ice.

The obligatory summit photo OR ‘Whatever Happened to the Bash Street Kids?’


On the way up past the burn I had a close encounter with a black feral goat with very impressive horns, but wasn’t quick enough retrieving my camera from my sack. Later I also spotted a solitary ptarmigan.

I’ve had another peek at my Munros map since yesterdays post and realised that the total I gave is (not particularly surprisingly) wrong. I didn’t count the Monadhliath hills, because they aren’t ticked off on the map, but I definitely did them, on an epic day which I would hardly forget, and I’m afraid that I have absolutely no intention of doing them again. And Ben Cruachan – didn’t I do that once too? Oh well – not to worry. I think that I can safely say that I’ve done at least 150 Munros and possibly more. Meanwhile Robin is now, without doubt on 3 and will probably finish before me, even if that is in the 24th Century.

Luib Weekend – Beinn Chabhair

Luib Weekend – Stuchd an Lochain


 Loch an Daimh

Our annual weekend get together in the Highlands. For several years now we have been meeting in Crianlarich for this event, but we decided that it was time to move on, time to ring the changes, go for a change of scene. So this year we booked Suie Lodge in Luib. (Just down the valley from Crianlarich – nothing too radical then.) On Saturday morning we drove down Glen Lochay, past road signs warning that this was a no-through route, then turned North on what my (old) map shows as a track, but which newer maps apparently show as a (yellow) minor road. In the event it was metalled, but in places more pot-holes than road and probably not to be recommended. On the far side of the pass, in Glen Lyon, we left a car at Pubil and continued round to park below the dam of Loch an Daimh. This gave us a head-start on our climb, beginning at around 400m, and with a linear route in mind. Looking at the map I had liked the idea of tackling the ridge of Creag an Fheadain, but that would have necessitated following the shore of the loch for perhaps a couple of kilometres, and when we found a well-used path taking a more direct line up towards the top of that ridge at 887m it seemed sensible to follow it.

From that top we followed the rim of Coire an Duich, the cloud drifting in and out giving some views and often seeming to be about to lift.


Whilst the others stuck with the path up the Munro top of Sron Chona Choirein, Geordie Munro and I continued to follow the edge of the corrie. A very fine corrie it looked too and it was quite tempting to carry-on round and down via the eastern ridge.

But the summit called and we joined the others and followed the main ridge, stopping to admire the frozen Lochan nan Cat when the cloud allowed us a view.

Partial views were to be the order of the day.

But it was great to be out. Stuchd an Lochain (960m) was my first new Munro for…well I’m not sure how long for, but for a very long time. I’ve just done a quick count on my Munro’s map and it seems to be number 145 for me – although that takes no account of my dodgy record keeping and any messing around the SMC have done with the list in the last 10 years (I stopped paying attention). What I do know is that for my friend Robin it was number 2 after Meall nan Tarmachan last year. At this rate he may finish sometime in the 24th Century!

From the Meall an Odhar ridge we had tantalising glimpses of the neighbouring Corbett Creag nan Nathrach and not content with our Munro fix, we crossed some peat-hagged saddle and then climbed steadily to its summit.


On the top we were tempted to loiter by the promise of blue sky overhead and by occasional views back down to Loch an Diamh. There was some debate about potential descent routes but eventually we took a direct route back to Glen Lyon…

…and Pubil. Whilst the faster walkers had taken the car to retrieve our other vehicles the tail-end Charlies followed down the valley where we discovered a memorial to Glen Lyon born explorer of the Yukon, Robert Campbell.

Luib Weekend – Stuchd an Lochain

Meall nan Tarmachan

Or Another Crianlarich Weekend I

Or My Favourite Christmas Present III

A fifth annual weekend get together with old friends at the Ben More Lodge Hotel just outside Crianlarich. Last year both days walking ended for me, not without satisfaction, but with DNS (Did Not Summit) against my name in the record book. This time the Saturday was far more fruitful with great weather and a terrific traverse of part of the Tarmachan Ridge. Most of the party were taking the opportunity to ski on the couple of Munros on the North-Western end of the Lawers ridge, or to traipse along in the wake of the skiers, but being without the benefit of touring skis R and I decided to tackle the more interesting hills across the pass. After the initial excitement of the lizard spotted amongst the moss (see previous post) an excellent path gave us a pleasant steady climb (at my usual snail’s pace) towards Meall nan Tarmachan’s southern ridge.

The day had begun bright, had clouded up a little, and now the cloud was lifting to reveal Meall Coranaich (where our friends were skiing) Ben Lawers and Beinn  Ghlas:

The ridge ends in a small knoll and the climb from there looked both snowy and steep. We found an opportunity to practice ice-axe arrest…

(It works if your eyes are open too)

…and then pressed on.

As it turned out, after one steep climb the remaining steep and corniced section could be bypassed on a broad shelf which rose gradually to the summit ridge.

R posing after the first steep section.

Approaching the summit ridge.

The snow was deep. Sometimes it would support our weight. And sometimes it didn’t…

It was surprisingly windy on the top, given that it had been very calm up to that point, but I think that R was enjoying his first Munro.

From here a short descent and a short but occasionally steep climb brought us to Meall Garbh.

Gaelic scholar’s may take me to task, but I always translate Meall in a hill name as ‘lump’. That doesn’t fit Meall nan Tarmachan very well and it certainly doesn’t do any justice to Meall Garbh. Rough, which I believe is a fair translation of Garbh, might redress the balance somewhat, but the name still doesn’t prepare the unsuspecting for what is to follow…

…which if not quite a ‘knife-edge arête’ is at least sufficiently sharp to add a little spice to the crossing. I didn’t ought to have been ‘unsuspecting’ since I’ve been this way twice before – admittedly both of them many years ago – but I must confess that although I remember enjoying both days on the ridge (one summer, one winter) enormously, I didn’t have any recollection of this part of the route.

The views by now were fantastic, particularly of nearby hills such as Ben More and Stob Binnein to the west and Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin across Loch Tay to the south.

We had some difficulty descending the next part of the ridge which was briefly very steep, icy and rocky. After a bit of a false start, a re-ascent and eventually a flanking manoeuvre with some step-kicking and a short bum-slide, we eventually made it down to the coll. Whilst we were trying to negotiate the difficulties, I was temporarily diverted by a pair of birds, small and dumpy which kept low to the ground and which I didn’t recognise. They may have been snow buntings, but I’m not sure.

It was getting late by now, and I could feel the first signs of cramp in my thighs. We decided to err on the side of caution and head down from here…

For what would have been an easy finish along a landrover track back to the car, except for the cramp which finally did attack.

Late sunlight on Beinn Ghlas

In fact, this wasn’t quite the end of our days walking because we took a short stroll along the western end of Loch Tay, near Killin, to seek out a geocache there. I feel slightly responsible – I think that I introduced R to the idea of geocaching and now he is a man obsessed. Now if started him on Munro bagging….oops!

Meall nan Tarmachan