Archive for the Hills Category

Retreat (or not) on Beinn an Lochain

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on March 4, 2018 by Jinja Coo

Just over 10 years since my last visit to this hill, which seems hard to believe.

A cold start had us wrapped up early, but this hill’s northeastern ridge is served by a tiered path, which lends itself to a friendly pace and not too much overheating.

We passed two groups who had turned back rather than tackle a section of steep snow / ice and wondered if we might have to too. However, though it looked exposed, there were nice big bucket steps all the way up and it was good to be getting the most out of crampons after so long without having to use them.

This is an interesting hill, especially up top with good views of similar ones concentrated nearby and with good views too to those isolated ones further away like Cruachan and Ben More on Mull. There was quite a murky haze in the distance and so Ben More was only just visible because of the contrast of its own white coating.

From the summit we opted to continue with a loop rather than retracing steps, descending fairly directly to the Rest-and-Be-Thankful car park.

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Gulvain and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on June 16, 2017 by Jinja Coo

After making a first hill walking visit to the Glenfinnan area earlier in the year, two of us were keen to return in better weather to see more of the area, on a day with better views from the tops.

A late call had us back on an absolutely stunning day, perhaps the nicest of the year at the time. Friday night’s drive up itself had been a joy and promised much itself with lovely light on the hills and latterly a red-sky-shepherd’s-delight forecast.

After walking up Gulvain we dropped to the west at the bealach between its two summit tops and crossed over to Braigh nan Uamhachan. Traversing its southern ridge, we enjoyed views along the length of Loch Shiel and beyond, before dropping down to re-join the approach path in.

Despite encountering some rough ground on the the high crossing and descents from both hills, this proved to be a great route choice with great views all around, especially to Ben Nevis, south over Loch Shiel and out to the isles of Skye and Rum and into Knoydart too, though Loch Arkaig remained largely hidden from us. I can’t remember the last time so long was spent lingering at summits in warmth, taking in such a wide expanse of scenery.

To the west, Streap was a potential extra hill to link up with, but would have pushed a day, already tiring enough, into knackering territory and would have resulted in a bit of tarmac pounding at the end too. Something to look forward to in future anyway and a potential high camp with a fine set of views all around.

If only we could have stayed up high for sunset, which was surely to be a repeat of the previous night’s one, but with the recent spring-forward in the clocks, the days were already stretching and it would have required a four hour delay before our long drive home.

Glorious Winter

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags on February 14, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A rare (of late), stunning winter’s walk with harsh whites and blues book-ended by warm browns and reds. Strong winds lifted waterspouts off the surface of Cruachan Reservoir and higher up spin-drift was occasionally driven into all nooks and crannies by gusts, leaving behind air heavy with glistening ice crystals.

Amazing views – close up the crags of the Cruachan horseshoe, further away the eye was drawn by the snowy peaks on Mull and Jura.

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Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , on February 3, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A big day in (and above) Glen Finnan, which started out bright, but with height gained, it turned grey. All along the tops and ridge, we were denied views unfortunately, from what must be a good vantage point for the Morar and Arkaig areas. Snow was poorly bonded to the ground, making the walking trickier – a bit bruising on tested ankles and knees – adding to the sense of a big day out.

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Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on January 17, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A day that started with a drive through dawn, cocooned in a warm car, heading towards hills increasingly coated in snow. The slopes turned orange and pink as the sun rose behind me and the moon descended behind the area we would be walking in.

After meeting up with two friends, we dropped a car at our end point and continued on to our starting point where it was out into the cold, a biting cold in the wind, which died down over the course of the day.

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Despite the snow, a track up to Meall Tairneachan gave us easy walking, gaining views of Schiehallion and other hills to the west as we went. Views to the south and east were blocked by the higher ground we were headed to, until finally, cresting the summit we had views of identifiable hills in all directions. The world around us was largely white, but layered and textured by distance and features.

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Both summits were quite steep and gnarled, requiring focus to find a line down slopes with fresh snow on them, and occasional drifts of surprising depth along the way slowed us down slightly, resulting in us finishing just as darkness arrived.

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