Cool four day weekend trip with Russ.


Well, I say cool, it was minus two degrees.DAY ONE

I picked him up from the airport on Thursday and we hot-footed it up to the highlands. First stop was the Cruachan Reservoir Power Station Visitor Centre. (It almost goes without saying).

Fueled up on veggie soup, and knowledge of pumped-storage hydroelectric power, we took to the trail. Up through a wood, and somehow managing to miss seeing the Cruachan Falls, we popped out onto a path covered in snow. We looked up at the dam, the reservoir behind and, instead of the glorious view of the mountains, saw only cloudy gloom.

We followed a land rover track up to the dam wall and then struck off up into the gloom on steep snow covered heather. With wind and snow on our backs we reached the summit of Beinn a Bhuirdidh but made no attempt to pronounce it. Next we took a rather worryingly steep slope down to a bealach and climbed up a long ridge on the other side to Stob Garbh and Stob Diamh.

Just below the summit we sheltered from the wind behind a boulder and ate sandwiches. Then for a few minutes the cloud blew away, the sun shone and the view opened up in front of us. It was a fleeting moment but a good reward for the climb. The wind and gloom returned and the light began to fade, so we retraced our steps to the bealach. We followed a burn down to the reservoirs and, in the dark, descended the track to the car.

We stayed the night at the Bridge of Orchy bunkhouse. It was £13 a night each but there was no kitchen so we ended up eating in the Hotel restaurant for dinner and breakfast.

In the bar were some other walkers, one in particular stood out. She had a loud mouth and was adept at "just being honest" and "putting things out in the open" before slagging off all her friends. She admonished her shy-retiring-type husband for only talking to people she talked to, and being too quiet. Everyone else in the room thanked their lucky stars that they had been nowhere near Kilimanjaro on that "tearful" day.

We ignored her. I taught Russ to play Peanuts, a card game Lindsay recently taught me. Several beers and whiskeys later I clinched victory.


A hearty fried breakfast digested in our stomachs as we walked out from Loch Tulla along the land rover track by Abhainn Shira. We turned off the track by a green shack and followed a slushy path beside Allt Toaig. We kept watching the skyline, admiring the clear blue sky and willing the small cloud sat on our hills to blow off (we couldn't think of a better word). The sun shone and without difficulty we topped Beinn Toaig and Stob a Choire Odhair. We had luch enjoyed the stunning weather and snowy wonderland panorama.

After lunch we overtook a couple with two dogs in tow and did a bit of map reading to make sure we were on the right ridge. Soon we found our selves in someone else's tracks. They took us up a steep snow plod and along a narrow and exposed ridge that our photographic efforts could not do justice to.

Up on the summit of Stob Ghabar we looked back on our whole days walk, then we slid, tripped and tramped our way back to the footpath. When we got to the burn it was dark and the head-torch was required for locating stepping stones.

Back at the car, the central locking had frozen solid and I had a momentary panic. Then, in through the passenger door, we got the engine and heater on and it opened. We stayed in the bunkhouse at Inchree, cooked ourselves chilli and roast spuds, and Russ' Peanuts skills improved. Then we went and got some beers and whiskey.

The booze took its toll and we resigned ourselves to a late start and drove out to Glen Creran, parked at Elleric and walked up a track in to Glen Ure. Up the glen was a beautifully shaped little hill called An Grianan. A lone walker ahead of us carried on up the glen as we turned hard right. We crunched up above the tree line and crunchy heather turned to crunchy snow. We hauled up on a handy fence and then took on the steepest snow slopes of the trip. There was little wind but sadly our view over Mull and out to sea was obscured by cloud.

We reached the summit of Ben Sgulaird and followed along the ridge south-west. Then we pondered a steep looking descent from a bealach before Meall Garbh. As we waited, the lone walker, a Glaswegian, caught us up. We made our way back together and got to Glenure farm just and darkness fell.

That night we stayed in Fort William in a bunkhouse run by Alan Kimber (Scottish mountaineer). It was by far the best we stayed in and also the cheapest. we cooked a curry and then hit the town.

Just one hill on Monday too. Beinn Teallach is a bit of a lump but it provided great views over Loch Treig, Ben Nevis, and a wintry plateau to the north. We pissed about on the summit trying to write HAPPY CHRISTMAS in the snow to make cheap Christmas cards. Then, after being warned to avoid the steep easterly slopes, got bored of the north ridge. We turned east and took some more photos jumping off the small cliffs and sliding down most of the way to Allt a Chaorainn. Going back through the woods was pleasantly Narnia-like and, just as it got dark, we reached the car.

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