Autumn Walks, Turning Leaves and Rutting Stags

After a largely wet and cool Summer, Autumn is turning out to be a much more pleasant time with weather more in keeping with the seasonal average. Nice crisp, cool days with sunshine mixed in with some stormy spells. Just the right conditions for some nice walks in the hills to see the changes in the colours of the leaves on the trees and listen to the stags roaring in the glens and corries.

Creag Ruadh

A nice hill just on the fringe of the Monadhliath hills area which we made a loop of by leaving from Sherrabeg, beside some very obvious storm damaged trees, ascending the hill’s NE ridge then, after summiting and enjoying views over to the Cairngorms, south towards the Loch Pattack hills and west over Loch Laggan, we descended westwards to Glen Shirra and skirted round the northern edge of Meall an t-Sithein.

For most of our ascent we could hear stags above and though we did see some hinds running on the hillside we never did see any stags. Great views and a nice quick walk to break up a journey south from the highlands.

Ben Tee
One of two walks in the same weekend in view of one another but reasonably far apart. Sgurr a’Mharaich had been the chosen hill for the day but on driving past Ben Tee en-route which was enjoying clear skies and seeing the greyer skies above our destination, we hastily revised plans and about turned.

Ben Tee was walked in a anti-clockwise circuit, avoiding the there-and-back walk suggested, and with the intention of getting a close look at Kilfinnan Fall. Though we never saw the falls marked on the map, we did see other dramatic ones but our alternative descent route proved to be pretty rough going and was a bit of a low point of the whole day. Still, nice to walk (and trip, slip and slide) through very natural and colourful woodland for a change.

Views across to Sgurr a’Mharaich confirmed the revised plan had been a good choice for the day and after a pint and some soup we were soon headed in towards there to camp for the night. Dinner and an evening warming ourselves by the firebox (very necessary) before an early night, for us at least, the stags in all directions didn’t seem to sleep and were roaring and barking all night and beyond.

Sgurr a’Mharaich
A beautiful and clear morning beside Loch Quoich confirmed again we had made the right choice in switching day to walk up Sgurr a’Mharaich but after breakfast and the drive in to the base of the hill, things deteriorated a bit. Sky greyed, and mist started to shroud the tops.

Again, we chose an anti-clockwise circuit, first heading up alongside the northern arm of Loch Quoich to take the stalker’s path which ascends Am-Bathaich. Some light drizzle and continued misting on the tops didn’t dampen our spirits too much (even if soggy feet tried) as the stags and colours in the trees in a nice little wooded section were distracting us along the way.

The path is good for a steady ascent and soon we were well above any deer activity and eventually in to cloud (boo!) and on the summit of this satellite peak. Occasional clearings in the cloud gave us views in various directions and thankfully we got one right across Loch Hourn and beyond to Skye and the Cuillin, fleeting though, and soon enough we were clagged in again as we ascended onwards to the top of Sgurr a’Mharaich.

Our descent down the SE ridge brought us in to ever brightening conditions and it looks like we may have missed out on better conditions up top by half an hour or an hour. Oh well, we are keen to get back and see the views from here again by another route soon anyway.

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