Log 20 April 2010


Once again, the A9 was closed for us on the Friday, making for improvisations or total inability to achieve anything, depending on when people travelled or heard the news.  
On the Saturday we were reminded that all the mountains around Ullapool make their own weather, so our experiences varied enormously according to route or hill selected.  
The following report is contributed by various members.

Friday 16 April.  

Koon and Laurence diverted to the Beinn a'Ghlo group, setting off at 10:30 from Loch Moraig in beautiful sunny conditions.
12:00 saw us on the summit of CARN LIATH, with beautiful views in all directions - Ben Alder, Cairngrom etc, all clearly visible in their part winter cloak. 
The winding and undulating route ahead was clear to see.  
A cold wind picked up as we descended past Beinn Mhaol, before a pull up to the second summit of the day BRAIGH COIRE CHRUINN-BHALGAIN for a brief lunch stop, then down to the col before the final ascent, including snow banks to CARN NAN GABHAR for 3:00.  
We traversed across to Airgiod Bheinn, with wind increasing with wind increasing and gusting viciously.  
The gusts made the rocky ridge more entertaining - while Koon lapped it up, and danced daintily across the rocks, I was more like Stavros Flatley, staggering and pointing skyward!  
A steep but good path took us down, and we enjoyed the company of a large herd of deer near the Shinigag path, before crossing the water splash below Carn Liath.  
A wonderful 7 hours in the sun.  

Report by Laurence

Donald, Jimmy, Noelle and Sue had managed to get ahead of the worst of the traffic hold up and thus arrived in the Ullapool area early enough to get onto the hills.  
Between them, they covered MEALL DUBH (on foot), BEINN ENIAGLAIR and MEALL DOIRE FAID.   That was their reward.  The price was that the rain started.


Saturday 17 April 

Koon was dropped off by Donald at Inverlael with the intention of climbing Beinn Dearg and if time allowed Cona' Mheall too.
The col was reached after what seemed an eternity, she ascended the rocky ridge covered in over a foot of snow towards Beinn Dearg.   
It was now misty, a hail storm had started and gusts of wind of up to 60 mph were felt every minute.   
After 10 minutes of ascent, she contemplated putting a couple of boulders in her rucksack to weigh her down but she gave up instead and descended back to the col and made her way up to the lower summit of CONA MHEALL.   
A leisurely lunch was had hidden behind a rather small cairn looking out into the mist and day dreams of what view there could have been.   
She then made her way back to Inverlael where she phoned for a taxi and retreated to a cosy cafe with a big pot of tea with a large helping of apple pie and ice cream looking out to the swollen sea loch. 

Report by Koon


Kevin started at 8:00  from Inverlael and headed east through forest to Glensguaib and the stalker's track onto the Druim na Saobhaidhe ridge. 
Weather was dry/clear at this stage, and with following wind to aid progress. 
Cadha Dearg was reached at about 11:20 with fantastic panoramic views down the glen.  
The rim of the coire was followed onto the 906m top before heading towards the prominent peak of Creag an Duine (12:40)  
The weather had now changed to rain and blustery wind which prevented any scramble up the Duine, so progress round the rim of Luchd Coire led to the summit of SEANA BRAIGH (13:30).  
The route was reversed back to the car (17:20)

Report by Kevin


By contrast, Donald, Jimmy, Noelle and Fraser had more reasonable weather, with wind less troublesome, and just a couple of heavy showers until they were almost back to the car.  
They parked on the road near Loch a'Bhraoin, and took the path along and beyond the loch to take in BEINN BHEAG and GROBAN.  
These summits remained clear almost all day, and there were some spectacular views, looking back at our long trail, and down past Loch an Nid through rainbows. 
A feature of note was the work done in recent years by the estate to improve the path, create a berthing facility at the far end of the loch, and to restore the house and provide a bothy where there was once just a ruin.  
Both heavy showers found us sheltering therein.   24k, two mountains, just under 8 hours. 

Report by Fraser


Dave K walked in past Shenaval and climbed Beinn Dearg Beag; Allan and Derek eventually did some cycling around Loch Broom, and Sue walked locally at Ullapool.    Much demand on the drying room overnight.


Sunday 18 April   

Fraser, Derek and Allan cycled in to MEALL DUBH from a point north of Inverlael, which gave access to marked forestry tracks at a slightly higher starting level.   
This was prolonged steep, deeply mossy, and heavily overgrown until at length it joined up with the recommended route. 
Pleasantly sunny with impressive views.   Beyond the marked path, there was quite a covering of fresh snow.   Slight snow showers at intervals.  
Good paths taken back down to Inverlael and then the road back to the car.   Great to have Derek on the hills again.

Report by Fraser

Donald, Jimmy, Sue and Noelle drove back via Strathconon and broke the journey with walking hills at the head of the glen.

Dave and Kevin made a leisurely start, and took in LITTLE WYVIS from the A835.  
Conditions were much improved from Saturday, with blue sky and snow covered tops.  
Route was northern edge of Allt a'Bhealach to col between  Tom na Caillich and Little Wyvis.  
Return by same route.   Time 2 hours 30mins 

Report by Kevin

K and Laurence climbed BEINN LIATH MHOR A FANNAICH, starting from the dam at 9:30.  
Ice axes were carried with clear signs of new overnight snow.  
The summit was reached at 12:15, and expansive views of An Teallach, Beinn Dear and Cona Mheall were enjoyed in sunshine before strengthening wind and hail stones prompted retreat. 
After half an hour, it was back to sun again, and the car was reached at 2:30. 

Report by Laurence

Socially a most enjoyable week end, with thanks to Dave for making the arrangements.  
One sting in the tail was a diversion from the A9 near Dunkeld for yet another road accident on a single carriageway stretch.