Archive for Mamores

“The best weekend ever…”

Posted in Munros with tags , , , on April 12, 2010 by ayrshiretiger

I’ve been promising to take my son Craig camping for quite a while but have been waiting for a guaranteed good weather weekend (those that know me well know that I don’t really do wet weather camping anyway and I certainly didn’t want to put Craig off). So on seeing the forecast on Friday it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. Picked him up from his mum’s on Friday night and headed to the new Go Outdoors at Clydebank to get him a decent pair of boots. Also picked up a pair of walking trousers for him with zip off legs to convert to shorts – in the event that turned out be a good move!

We set off at about 10am on Saturday morning to head for Kinlochleven where I knew there was a good campsite attached to the Macdonald Hotel. Arrived there at about 1pm, got the tent set up and were ready to go for a walk by 2pm.

Craig outside tent at Macdonald Hotel Campsite

Craig outside tent at Macdonald Hotel Campsite

Given the time I wasn’t sure how far Craig would be able to manage so I did consider the 764m Beinn na Caillich but then thought the steep initial ascent might not be the best of starts. So we decided to go for a walk up to the beallach (875m) below the Munro Am Bodach (1034m) where I knew we would get a fantastic view of Ben Nevis and the Ring of Steall. It’s also a much more gradual ascent and would, depending on time, give us a chance for Craig to bag his first Munro!

We drove up to Mamore Lodge and parked the car. Normally they charge £3 for the pleasure but it looks like it’s not open – a shame as it really is in a fantastic location but I know from the times I’ve been inside it that it’s not really been maintained. Anyway it’s a great place to park for doing the Mamores as it saves about 200m of climbing! Craig did really well on the ascent, my only worry being the river crossing I knew we would have to make. But he got over it with absolutely no problem and we continued on, with a few stops to get to the beallach just before 5pm. I’d said to Craig that we would need to turn back at 5.30pm at the latest but as we could see the summit I asked him if he wanted to carry on. Of course he did! So we left our rucksacks at the beallach and headed upwards. A few false summits left Craig a bit exasperated and few snow patches slowed us a bit but we got to the summit at about 5.20pm.

Craig on Am Bodach with Ben Nevis behind

Craig on Am Bodach with Ben Nevis behind

A few photos and then we headed down. I did warn Craig that although going down is easier than going up on your legs it can sometimes be easier to slip going downhill. And so it turned out as his enthusiasm got the better of him a couple of times. Nothing serious though thankfully although he did go for a paddle at the river crossing – not too bad although the water did go over his boots so that was the boots well and truly christened! Got back to the campsite at 7.25pm meaning we did the walk in 5 hours 15 minutes which I though was absolutely brilliant for his first real Scottish hill walk (we’ve done Conic Hill and Ben A’an before). Had a well deserved bar meal in the hotel and then crashed out in the tent.

We got up at the leisurely time of 9am and after packing up we headed for the Ice Factor for breakfast and then Craig went on the High level rope course.

Craig on the high level rope course

Craig on the high level rope course

We had a quick stop at the new layby at Loch Achtriochtan in Glencoe to take a photo of the Aonach Eagach ridge.

Loch Achtriochtan and the Aonach Eagach

Loch Achtriochtan and the Aonach Eagach

We were going to meet up at the Real Food Cafe with Elaina, Petesy, Sandy and Bobinson who had gone wild camping up at Loch Quoich but they were having so much fun in the good weather that they were still high up in the hills (it turned out they didn’t get down until 7.30pm!). But we couldn’t go home without introducing Craig to the best fish and chips this side of Whitby! After that it was the long drive home, made worse by the inevitable traffic jam on Lochlomondside as half of Glasgow had obviously been making the most of the excellent weather! Still we made it back to Ayrshire just after 6pm with Craig telling me several times on the road back that this had been “the best weekend ever!”. May it be the first of many!

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“Ayrshire Tiger I Presume…”

Posted in Glencoe, Munros, Snow with tags , , , on December 15, 2009 by ayrshiretiger

Well what a fantastic weekend! As promised the weather was superb and we finished up having three consecutive dry days on the hills! On Friday we had a relatively easy day doing the Pap of Glencoe…

Pap of Glencoe

Pap of Glencoe

View towards Kinlochleven and Saturday's hill Na Gruagaichean

View towards Kinlochleven and Saturday's hill Na Gruagaichean

Iain and Kirsten joined us on Friday and after a good evening in the newly refurbished Glencoe Hotel Saturday saw us heading for the Mamores to do Na Gruagaichean. At one point the clouds started rolling in particularly over Buachaille Etive Mor to the south…

Clouds over Buachaille Etive Mor

Clouds over Buachaille Etive Mor

However the clouds cleared by the time we got to the summit. Words cannot really describe the scene…

Looking south to Glencoe

Looking south to Glencoe

Looking towards Ben Nevis

Looking towards Ben Nevis

Looking towards Na Gruagaichean's north top and Ben Nevis

Looking towards Na Gruagaichean's north top and Ben Nevis

Silhouettes on Na Gruagaichean

Silhouettes on Na Gruagaichean

Near the summit we met a group of three folk coming down and as they passed one of them paused and asked if I was Ayrshire Tiger. Now I’ve joked for a while that one day this would happen but I was still somewhat surprised – it turned to be a chap Peter who had come along to an OM meet a couple of years ago at Killin – all I can say is that he has a better memory than I do!

We had originally planned to go on and do Binnein Mor but as we had spent so long on the summit of Na Gruagaichean we decided to be sensible and retrace our route. A spectacular day was completed with a brocken spectre…

Brocken Spectre

Brocken Spectre

and an interesting descent in the dark…

Sunset over Loch Leven

Sunset over Loch Leven

Sunset over Loch Leven

Sunset over Loch Leven

So onto Sunday and yet another dry day and a wander up Stob Coire Raineach on Buachaille Etive Beag. We did the whole ridge back in the summer at which point the National Trust for Scotland were carrying out footpath work. Great views again including this one of yesterday’s hill…

View towards Na Gruagaichean

View towards Na Gruagaichean

Another interesting descent as the path was very icy in places meaning we tended to by-pass it and use the grassy slopes instead culminating in a spectacular triple somersault by yours truly! At least it proved that old saying about cats always landing on their feet, well almost!

As ever we finished the weekend at the Real Food Cafe where we met up with ptc and Sandy who had been wild camping in the Grey Corries and Beinn a Creachain respectively.

Glencoe OutdoorsMagic Meet

Posted in Glencoe, Munros, outdoorsmagic.com with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by ayrshiretiger

Had a great weekend up in Glencoe meeting up with old and new faces from OutdoorsMagic.com.  We had Friday off so decided to head up and do Meall a’ Bhuiridh and Criese, two Munros that Elaina hadn’t done.  In the event we only did Meall a’ Bhuiridh as we spent so much time chatting to a couple of other walkers.  Not a particularly exciting hill  what with all the skiing infrastructure about but there were some interesting bits…

Elaina attempts a bridge crossing!

Elaina attempts a bridge crossing!

We arrived at Signal Rock Cottage just after 4pm.  We’ve stayed here before and after a chat with Slawek and Luiza we had a quick shower before heading for the Clachaig Inn for dinner.  Eventually the rest of the crowd arrived although we did have to bring Polly the Parrot out to attract some of the OM folk who were on their first meet!  Highlight of the night had to be the arrival of Sir Jimmy Savile!  Have to say he’s looking well for someone who’s going to be 83 in a few weeks time!

Saturday morning saw reasonable weather to start with as some of us met at Mamore Lodge.

OMers meet at Mamore Lodge

OMers meet at Mamore Lodge

We set off along the landrover track with the aim of doing Binnein Beag.  It’s a long walk in to the remotest of the Mamore Munros and it wasn’t long until we realised as we approached Loch Eilde Mor that we had walked past the turn off that takes you around the shoulder of Sgurr Eilde Beag.  A quick re-assessment saw us take the path up the east side of the Allt Coire nan Laogh (a route we had taken in reverse last winter when the stream was in spate!).  We eventually got back on the planned route and carried on towards Coire an Lochain below Sgurr Eilde Mor.  The weather had deteriorated by this time and Sandy and Louise decided to make Louise’s first Munro Sgurr Eilde Mor rather than Binnein Beag.

Sgurr Eilde Mor

Sgurr Eilde Mor

The rest of us carried on hoping for the weather to clear and with immaculate timing it did as we approached Binnein Beag.

The summit party contemplate the final ascent!

The summit party contemplate the final ascent!

Looking towards Buachaille Etive Mor

Looking towards Buachaille Etive Mor

We did have discussions about going on to do Binnein Mor but the weather was still being temperamental and the realisation that it would probably add a good couple of hours to the day made it an easy decision to take the long path back to Kinlochleven for Haggis Fritters and Steak and Chips at the MacDonald Hotel!

Loch Leven Sunset from MacDonald Hotel

Loch Leven Sunset from MacDonald Hotel

It was late by the time we got back to Glencoe and the campers decided to stay at the camp site.  Elaina and I headed for the Clachaig planning to meet Ian Gallagher of Kendall Mountaineering Services who had taken three OMers scrambling on Ben Nevis.  Unfortunately the pub was mobbed and we didn’t realise that they had decided to go through to the Lounge Bar.  So we just had the one pint before heading back to the B&B.

Sunday saw ourselves, Sandy and Louise heading for Glen Nevis and a walk up to Steall Falls and a play on the wire bridge!

Elaina crossing Steall wire bridge

Elaina crossing Steall wire bridge

On the way back we were interviewed by someone from the John Muir Trust who were doing a survey to find out if people thought the path to Steall was appropriate.  There have been several accidents, some fatal, and the Trust are looking to be able to justify not making changes to the path.  Hopefully our response will assist in that aim as it would be crazy if health and safety concerns led to “improvements” being imposed!

Sunday night saw us back in the Clachaig for a really excellent night with a dozen of us staying on to the bitter end of a cracking weekend.  It’s a good sign when you are having to be chucked out of the Clachaig at closing time on Sunday night!

On Monday we all headed home but not before we introduced Iain to the joys of the Real Food Cafe!  Two egg and bacon rolls, a very large coffee and a large hot chocolate later (and that was just for Iain!) we parted company with plans already in hand for the next OM meet in Great Langdale in the Lakes.

Got home and watched a recording of Sunday night’s “Munro – Mountain Man” programme in which I made a fleeting out of focus appearance in the background of the Clachaig Inn as Nick Crane was interviewing folk for the programme – you’d think I was never out of the place!

Mamores in a day, maybe…

Posted in Munros with tags , , , , on September 2, 2009 by ayrshiretiger

After I left school I spent a couple of years working at the Onich Hotel and spent a lot of time doing low level walks around Glencoe and Glen Nevis. Although I did do Ben Nevis by the ” so called tourist” path I didn’t really have the confidence or experience to do other hills such as those in Glencoe or the Mamores – most of my walking had been done on the North York Moors.   I remember visiting Kinlochleven many times and looking up at what I now know to be Na Gruagaichean and thinking that they were well beyond my capability.

However since I got back into hillwalking some seven years ago I’ve really got to know the Lochaber hills quite well and in particular the Mamores which are probably now my favourite hills.

Anyway I’ve had a notion of doing all the Munros in the Mamores in a day.  I did plan to attempt this a few years ago on an OM meet but was distracted by friends who wanted to do the Aonach Eagach in a nun’s outfit (more of that another day!).

I know it’s not the same as Tranters Round or Ramsay Round but still enough of a test for a nearly fifty year old!  So that’s the challenge I’ve set myself for next summer.  Better keep up the gym membership!

There still life in the old dog…

Posted in Munros with tags , , , on July 26, 2009 by ayrshiretiger

Had a quick dash up north to meet up with some folk from ScottishHills.com who were having a meet in Fort William.  Despite plans to leave early it was 8.30 before I left Ayrshire, arriving in Glen Nevis at 11.30.   Parked  at the Polldubh car park and headed up Allt Coire a Mhusgain to the lochan below Sgurr an Iubhair.  From there it was a quick climb up the zigzags on the Devil’s Ridge.

Stob Ban from Devil's Ridge

Stob Ban from Devil's Ridge

The last time I did the ridge was almost exactly  two years ago with Elaina and on that occasion we met a chap who had moved up to Fort William from Troon when he retired.  He and his dog, Becky, had done the ridge over a hundred times at that point.   As I walked along the ridge I could see a familiar looking man with a dog and sure enough it was the same guy!  He had come up the same way as I had but gone on to Am Bodach and was  planning to go back over the Devils Ridge.   Unfortunately Becky, who is now approaching 16, had dislodged a stone at the tricky down-climb and Ian was having difficulty persuading her to make her way down, despite now approaching 200 crossings.  Ian was resigned to making his way back down the way he had come but asked if I would give him a hand getting Becky down the tricky bit.  As it turned out she managed absolutely fine and we made out way up to Sgurr a Mhaim.

Ian and Becky with Devil's Ridge behind

Ian and Becky with Devil's Ridge behind

Some cracking views across to Ben Nevis and Stob Ban.

Ben Nevis from Sgurr a Mhaim

Ben Nevis from Sgurr a Mhaim

Stob Ban from Sgurr a Mhaim

Stob Ban from Sgurr a Mhaim

It was a long descent down the scree-covered slopes of  Sgurr a Mhaim back to the car at about 5pm and on to meet up with the Scottish Hills crowd in the old Nevisport loung bar, now called Cobbs, for some very good value (£4.95) bangers and mash!

Final word must go to Becky, who hopefully will have many more days in the hills…

Becky, Devil's Ridge veteran!

Becky, Devil's Ridge veteran!

Windy in Kinlochleven

Posted in Munros with tags , , on February 15, 2008 by ayrshiretiger
Loch Leven MistDescent from Sgurr Eilde Mor
Apologies for the formatting!  Tried to edit to put paragraph spaces in but it won’t let me!
Had a grand time up in Kinlochleven last weekend staying at Bob & Chris’s excellent B&B.  After much despondency after the thaw from the previous weekend’s snow Saturday morning turned out to be cloudy but dry.  We arrived as promised at the car park at 9.15 but there was no sign of our fellow Air Na Creagan friends who were staying at Blackwater Hostel!  A quick phone and it became clear that it would be at least half an hour before they would be ready so Elaina and I decided to go on towards the eastern Mamores.
A good steady plod through the woods saw us hit the landrover track within an hour.  We headed east towards Loch Eilde Mor and along it’s northern shore passing a boathouse and several streams in full spate.  We did see a path heading up the hill but didn’t fancy the look of the waterfalls it seemed to be heading for so carried on until we were due south of Sgurr Eilde Mor.  And so we hit the open hill, easy going grass at first but then it steepened until at one point we were on a 75 degree slope which unfortunately coincided with the wind getting up a bit!  However we managed to grab enough clumps of heather to get ourselves up onto the rockier ground above.
Surprisingly we then started to meet other people, a couple coming down and others who had traversed round from the western slopes.  At one point we found some rocks to shelter behind and decided, sensibly as it turned out, to have a spot of lunch.  Eventually we hit the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor but didn’t hang around as the wind was just about blowing us over!
The original plan had been to do do Binnein Beag as well but time was running out so we headed down the southwest scree towards Coire an Lochain.  Some interesting snow filled gullies and earth moving moments saw us eventually level out at the lochan.  Then the fun really began as we realised that the outflow stream wasn’t the easiest to cross.
Fortunately a couple of other walkers joined us at that point and between us we all managed to get across, albeit having to recover an ice axe from the water!
And so we went on to the penultimate obstacle of the day, the Allt Coire nan Laogh, which we took one look at and then decided to follow the feint path down it’s eastern bank.  Slippy though it was it was preferable to the risk of a dunking!  And so we hit the landrover track just as the rain started.  We then donned headtorches to negotiate the final obstacle, the woods that led back to the village.
An excellent night in the MacDonald Hotel followed with good food, drink and company as usual!
And the Tiger’s managed to recover from 2-0 down at half time to draw 2-2 at home to Blackpool.  Play-off place still in our sights…