Sunday, 28 August 2011

Save Monadhliath Mountains update.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post to help publicise the Save the Monadhliath Mountains Petition. The Save the Monadhliath Mountains campaign, now has its own website, which has recently gone live.
I wish them well, and hope that they can build on, and complement the outstanding contribution already made by Alan Sloman, through his superb blog and his Wake for the Wild Walk.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Decisions, decisions!

I’d like to grab a quick trip to Scotland, but question is what should I do? Do I just bag a few more Munro’s, or do I go somewhere new and remote, wild camping?

If take the Munro’s option then the itinerary is easy, because I’ll take the opportunity to climb some of the peaks that my brother has already done.

If I go for the wild camping option, then I’m really am spoilt for choice.

My first thought is always the Cairngorms, because their wild beauty keeps calling me back.
Time may be running out for the Monadhlaith, so should I revisit this wonderful place, before those money grubbing b******s and politicians ruin it forever.
Then there is Skye. Loch Coruisk has been on my wild camp wish list ever since I read a Chris Townsend article in TGO magazine a few years back. But would I survive the Skye midges in August?
Last but not least, there’s Torridon or somewhere in the far North West, I haven’t been there for 30years, but can I really justify the fuel costs for such a long solo trip?

Hmmm, decisions, decisions!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Loch Quoich Part 2.

The evening was spent cooking supper, dodging midges, and searching for a decent pitch for the Voyager. We eventually settled for a spot on a small humpy piece of ground close to the bridge, not ideal but attracting a gentle breeze which kept the midges at bay whilst we set up camp. 
The next morning was warm and sunny, but unfortunately windless so the tent porch was filled with midges, as it was quite early we decided to give it an hour to see if an early morning breeze would drive the little blighters away. No such luck! An hour later there were clouds of midges everywhere so we dashed to the car and drove along the loch side searching for a windy spot that would enable us to breakfast in peace.

Today we had decided to climb Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach, another good stalkers path was promised by the guide book and we weren’t disappointed. It starts opposite the car park by a large estate sign, and is easily followed up the southwest ridge until it terminates at a very elaborate shooting butt. A less distinct path climbs the last few hundred metres to the top. The day was hot with very little wind and our legs were still carrying the fatigue from yesterdays outing, never the less we arrived at the summit in just few minutes over book time, which was very good considering the amount of time we’d spend looking at the view.

The walk along the ridge to our second Munro of the day Spidean Mialach was super with great views in all directions. The path is easy most of the way, although the drop down to the Fiar Bhealaich is steep enough to require all of your concentration.  

By this time our out of condition legs were feeling pretty tired and the last slopes up to Spidean Mialach proved a bit of a trial.

We spent almost an hour on the top, resting our tired legs and drinking in the views, before picking up the faint descent path which starts just a couple of metres to the east  of the summit. Although its hard to follow at times, the path continues all the way back to the road, which it joins just a short distance from the car park. Another spectacular day in the hills, this really is Scotland at its very best!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Save Monadhliath Mountains

The Monadhliath Mountains are a wild and wonderful place, not protected by national park status, they are currently being desecrated by the construction of dozens of wind turbines. You can help save what’s left of this once road free wilderness by signing the Save the Monadliath Mountains petition here. Chris Townsend’s blog has more information about the Monadlaith Mountains and the Cairngorms wild places here, and Allan Sloman continues to keep a watchful eye on the wind generation industry here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Loch Quoich Part 1.

My visit to Scotland last week turned out to be as good as it gets! A traffic free trip saw us arriving at Crainlarich SYHA in the early evening, the weather was excellent and looked settled for the next few days.

The following morning we drove to Loch Quoich pausing at Morrisons in Fort William for fuel and an all day breakfast.

We arrived at Loch Quoich to a wonderful sight, the loch was shining brilliant blue under the cloud free skies, and the surrounding peaks were bathed hazy sunshine. Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich would be our target for the afternoon. The little green book says  830m of up and 10km distance in 3 hours 45 minutes, this, plus the promise of a good stalkers path for most of the up, made it a perfect choice for our first peak of the week.

After parking the car alongside a small wood we walked back to the start of the path which is marked by a small roadside cairn. The stalkers path takes the long south ridge to Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach, it then turns westwards and after several ups and downs climbs the final rocky ridge  to the summit of Sgurr a; Mhaoraich.

From the top we descended the south ridge which is quite knobbly at first before opening out onto steep grassy slopes.
This really is a super peak, the path up excellent, it’s beautifully graded, and is very reminiscent of the Alps, particularly the in the way it zig zags past the steeper sections.

So an excellent first day, a brilliant peak, brilliant weather, and brilliant views who could ask for more!