Allt 'Choire Mhòir again, and its slaistery environs.
Summit of Ben Klibreck, looking towards Loch Shin.
~ From the Crask Inn, by the path to the Bealach Easach then striking north over Carn an Fheidh and a'Chioch. With much spring snow in these northern parts, it was heavy going for most of the way, until a broad staircase of frozen sastrugi eased the final 500'.
Down by Meall an Eòin to Loch a'Bhealaich, and back to the Crask, where although I had the van with me the welcome from Mike and Kai is so warm that I had to treat myself to a night at the Inn.
Beinn Fhada from upper Glen Affric.9.30am, 31/12/79 ~ New Year at Alltbeithe, back in the days, sadly now gone, when the YH was left open all winter and spring for use as a bothy. From my log :-Sat 29 Dec 79
~ Bus to Cluanie for 1.45; weather for once improving on the way north, so an easy enough walk up an Caorann Mor & over to Alltbeithe, a few inches of snow and the bogs frozen over to some extent. The clouds behind Ceathreamhnan flushed and faded, and the sun had set before I arrived (4.30), but a moon in its second quarter meant that daylight was not going to be a problem. About a dozen others, mostly from Edinburgh Uni MC who were having a NY jolly at Glenlichd House.Sun 30
~ Off by 10am, up Beinn an t-Socaich, very hard work in deep soft snow, in shoulder-deep at one wretched point, but the weather dry and fairly bright. Above 3000' the going was easier in places, but this was also the cloud level, so nothing much of interest except the massive concretions of ice on the W side of the old fence-posts. Ceathreamhnan's summit ridge was an uncomfortable place with a lot of unstable snow, which meant a gingerly traverse below on the N side to the main top. An Socach seemed a bit too far away, so off vaguely SE, keeping to high ground for as long as possible before wading down to the hut (2.30).With it getting crowded, 16 at least, an evening stroll 3 miles down the glen and back, the path crunchy & the torch superfluous in the frosty moonlight.Mon 31
~ A fresh fall of snow overnight, but a fine morning. Not in the mood for another hill after yesterday's labours, so a walk round the full length of Loch Affric, out along the forestry track and back on the N side, the sun barely reaching the floor of the glen. A herd of over 100 deer ranged nervously round the base of an Tudair, and a big yellow moon lit my way home.
With most of the EUMC lot off to Glen Lichd for the festivities, leaving only 3 couples plus one, a thankfully quiet Hogmanay. Colder now, down around -10°C, the burn frozen over, the water-bucket in the kitchen growing a skin of ice, the windows heavily hoared inside, but a good fire going.Tue 1 Jan 80
~ Up before 7, into a little world rigid with cold, the dawn temperature -12.5°C. I had hoped for an early start, but my boots, which I had unwisely left in the hall, were like iron and needed much thawing out over the Primus. Then down the glen, & after a further delay to re-bandage my now suffering feet, off up the Coire Ghadheil path at 10; floundering for a while in the valley drifts before heading for higher ground on the right, still a laborious plod but more than compensated for by the delights, great and small, of a rare flawless winter's day. Steadily upwards into the sunlight and then, with Ceathreamhnan's majestic lustrous sprawl on the left, the high country - a 2 mile ridge not falling below 3400'. An airy lunch at the Mam Sodhail cairn (12.45); boots, socks, and finally feet froze, but the half-hour haul to Carn Eige produced a pleasant soggy tingling mush. Both tops, & the entire range as far as I could see, were untrodden, and it occurred to me that I was firstfooting the 2 highest hills N of the Great Glen. Riding high on an ocean of icy peaks - the views were stupendous, the Torridon hills standing in distant glamour, even Skye clear, a pale Tir nan Og. Back to the Mam where the EUMC 7 were assembled, having followed up in my steps (I should have collected a royalty from them), then, by now monstrously tired and feeling it prudent to get off the hill asap, I dropped down into the Coire Leachavie. The slopes cooled from pink to blue, the burns stiffened, and a clear turquoise luminescence lit the southwestern sky as the moon rekindled the sparkling snow; this, and more, observed at some length, as the price of the quick descent was a 6 mile walk back along the path.Wed 2
~ Back to Cluanie for the mid-day bus, the weather now (happily) dull, but still dry.