Friday, 15 March 2013

Hardcore Ardgour and more

25-02-2013 - 12-03-2013
Ben Nevis from Gleann Sron a' Chreagain
The ambition and plan was quite simple – get all the Marilyn and lesser hills in Moidart, Morvern and the east side of Ardgour in one journey, however long it would take. It took over two weeks. It is a lovely area – has a feeling of remoteness, whereas Fort William is just over the water. It has the feeling of an island – indeed, two ways of getting there are by short ferry crossings. And, I was very lucky with the weather – plenty of sunshine, very little rain/snow and frozen ground everywhere. It was so dry that moorland fires burnt for several days in Glen Scaddle.
Leacraithnaich bothy
I was fortunately given permission to drive to Leacraithnaich bothy to make access to both An Sleagach (515m P310) and Beinn a’Chaisil (437m P182) much easier than having to walk in all the way from Achranich. Future baggers beware, though, the estate were putting in a new gate, during my stay, to prevent unauthorised vehicle access. Nice bothy – although I was comfortable and warm in the motorhome.

An Sleagach and the Sound of Mull
Beinn a'Chaisil
Descending from the clouded land of Beinn Chlaonleud
Beinn Mheadhoin summit
Beinn Mheadhoin (739m P568) was a fascinating mountain with some great views – I enjoyed walking the full horseshoe of Coire Ban.

Meall nan Each - Ben Laga in distance

Then it was a change of area to Morvern. Ben Laga (512m P356) and Meall nan Each (490m P214) were fun. Although I had already done the Ardnamurchan Marilyns on a previous visit I made a quick detour to get the Hump, Beinne Bhuidhe (161m P125) – mainly because it is the most westerly mainland Hump. This means I have now visited the four cardinal mainland Humps. Hopefully, this autumn I will successfully bag the remaining most outermost British Hump, Cnoc Glas, on Soay.

Tides out in the North Channel - from Shona Beag

Next on the agenda was to tackle the tidal island of Eilean Shona to bag Beinn a’Bhaillidh (265m P265). I arrived two hours before low tide and the crossing point was quite dry – I suspect that it spends more time dry each day than under water. The hardest part is crossing Shona Beag which forms a Subhump (102m P99) – although, not all that obvious there is a well engineered path down from the summit of Shona Beag through the bracken to the beach between the two parts of the island. This is contrary to the descriptions I have read elsewhere.
Rock on Shona
Caisteal Tioram on another tidal island
On the Silver Walk - tree growing where the TV used to be - that's Shona at far back

Carna from beach at Laga
The puzzle of how to get on to the island of Carna to get Cruachan Charna (170m P170) was more easily solved than I thought it was going to be. Andy Jackson from Ardnamurchan Charters based in Laga is the caretaker for the holiday-let cottages on the island and he was doing some repairs. He gave me a lift there and back for a nominal contribution to the fuel costs.
Ardnamurchan Charters – 01972500208 
Tag and Dexter - or is it Dexter and Tag?

And, what a fine little island it is. It took just over an hour to visit the top and then do a part circumnavigation in the company of Tag and Dexter - Andy's two dogs.

The hills on the east side of Ardgour overlooking Loch Linnhe involve lengths trips along the tops and equally lengthy return journeys along the glens – so, a number of long days were spent getting them.

Stob Coire a'Chearcaill
 Ballachulish bridge from Beinn Leamhain
A'Bheinn Bhan 
Beinn na h-Uamha from River Gour 
Crags on A'Bheinn Bhan
Glen Gour after a light snowfall
Loch nan Gabhar, Glen Gour
My bike at private Corrlarach bothy Glen Cona 
Stob Mhic Bheathain
B na h-Uamha tree

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