Archive for the ‘beinn an dothaidh’ Tag

Winter Weekend – Ben Inverveigh and Meall Tairbh   10 comments

March brings along our annual winter gathering of old university friends. We’ve been holding this event for I think 14 years now and the numbers seem to be as strong as ever. 15 this time for the weekend but some of us were there early for an extra day. That extra day was looking a bad idea as the Friday morning was truly appalling. Heavy horizontal rain lashed the hotel and we sat over a lazy breakfast and morning watching the puddles get bigger. The forecast was for a possible improvement after lunch so we headed out on the off chance. As we parked up, the rain stopped and the first flashes of blue sky and sunshine appeared.

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We took a route I’d done a couple of years back up the small mountains behind the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. It makes a nice if rather soggy circuit for a half day.

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The wind was ferocious and in a couple of places hard to stand up. The views were pretty decent though and far better than anything we could have expected after the morning deluge.

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Views towards Rannoch Moor and Loch Tulla.

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THO enjoying the wild weather.

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And MM and Danish Matt hiding from the wind.

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Looking down on our hotel home for the weekend.

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As we neared the top of Ben Inverveigh we were caught in a wild and nasty rain storm. The rain was stinging my face as we walked and I nearly bailed and ran down. It seemed to last forever but was only a few minutes after which we were treated to some glorious vistas.

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Stob Ghabhar and the Blackmount.

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The happy band on the summit.

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Wild weather and storms all round.

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The twin munros of Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

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Further rain fell as we crossed the col to the second and higher peak of Meal Tairbh. As we reached the wild and exposed top and hunkered down out of the wind we had more fabulous stormy views.

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Doesn’t really tell just how windy it was here!

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Its a long and rather boggy walk down the ridge and we were hit by a pretty heavy rain shower. I love days like this. The wild weather makes you feel alive and the views when you get them are always so clear and so dramatic.

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From the embers of a poor morning we’d lit the fire of a really good afternoon in these little walked hills.

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The river views of the Allt Tolaghan at the end of the walk were the icing on the cake.

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A decent 8 mile circuit and the weekend off to a great start.

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Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 1   12 comments

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Winter in the mountains this year has been wildy unpredictable. I’ve been skiing at over 2000m in the Alps over rocks and bare patches of grass while my mate UF has just been suffering from no skiing due to too much snow just a month later. Ahead of our annual trip top the Southern Highlands the conditions changed from full winter, to no snow, back to loads of snow, followed by another thaw, all in a period of less than two weeks. I had no idea whether to pack skis, crampons, axes or shorts for this years trip!

Our home for the past few years has been the Suie Lodge Hotel. Sadly the wonderful owners who looked after us so well have sold up and the place was in transition to new owners so we needed a new home. This year we gave the Bridge of Orchy Hotel a go, more upmarket and pricey but after some negotiation by your truly we got a decent rate. It has a location to die for and the place is rather nice. The bar was out of action for a refurbishment but the rooms were great and the staff superb. Food was also top drawer so the place comes highly recommended

The weather forecast looked promising but drawing back the curtains on the Friday revealed a stunner. Cloudless blue sky and wisps of mist over the summits and valleys. One of the huge benefits of the hotel is the possibility of munros from the door so we chose a route over Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Achaladair leaving a car at the far end so we could make a circuit

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It was a magnificent day, far better than the forecast had led us to believe.

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As we ascended Coire an Dothaidh the views just got better and better

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We hit the snowline at 700m and it the transformation was dramatic. From odd patches to complete deep cover in a mater of minutes. It was primarily deep unconsolidated snow on very wet ground so no need for metalwork and it was hard going. Luckily we had fit people in the party happy to break trail for me! 🙂

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At the col we were in a winter wonderland. There was much exchange of smug grins and talk of people still at work

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We pressed on towards the first summit of Beinn an Dothaidh. The snow was in places surprisingly extensive and deep considering there had been a major thaw less than a week ago

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This range is one of the best in Scotland on a clear day. They stand proud above the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor giving a reals sense of air and space with a huge spread of mountains to the south and west

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This is the next mountain on the route, Beinn Achaladair

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We hit the edge somewhere between the the three tops and took a wander back to one of the lower tops on a whim, seeing as it was such a nice day.

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It was an inspired idea. Not only were the views majestic but there was a perfect lunch spot tucked under the rocks, out of the wind and with the best of the views

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Ben Cruachan looked particularly superb

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Nothing better than a blue sky day, winter conditions and a chance to savour it with good friends of long standing

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Onwards across the edge to the very shapely north top before plunging down to the col for another climb

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The ridge to Beinn Achaladair is a long one, although not steep but you barely notice such things on a perfect day

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Lochaber and its vast collection of summits was laid out in front of us

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Even Ben Nevis was clear of cloud

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As the day progressed it became a view of two halves. Supremely clear to the north and west but with cloud building from the south. The advance of bad weather that was forecast for the rest of the weekend. The cloud created some mesmeric lighting effects that my camera didn’t do justice to

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The walk along the last part of of the summit ridge was a delight

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It was one of those days that you just don’t want to end. Tired legs and fading light dictated otherwise

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The party divided. Some chose the easy and longer option of a return to the col. The rest of us plunged down a quite outrageously steep grassy slope on a more direct route to the car.

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The setting sun provided a fitting finale to a memorable day.

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I thought we’d used up all our Scottish good weather luck last year but it was still holding

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