Following my Oban trip I headed north to Fort Bill for the night and despite a very grim Friday I prepped for a two night exped to somewhere...
With a slight lack of enthusiasm (I had a window and a forecast at my disposal) a plan was hatched which had the makings of an epic, to walk into Ben Alder hills that night and back out Sunday with a few hills under our belts. We met at the distillery in Dalwhinnie about 9pm and a quick look at the map (my first for this plan) brought home reality of the 40km involved in just the walk in and out, never mind doing any hills! After a rapid reappraisal of our situation it was decided that the far north west of Scotland was the obvious choice!
Arriving in Inverness late on a Friday night and not a map could be found so we decided to head towards Ullapool with the idea of getting one first thing and making a two day exped out of it. After a soothing night of gale force winds rocking us to sleep in the car, the picture in the morning was not much better with winds forecast up to 95mph so back to sleep and a leisurely day ensued taking in the spectacular Corrieshalloch Gorge.
Map in hand and a much better forecast, our time may have been shorter but our ambition remained. A quick check on Walk Highlands showed a 4 munro circuit of the Ullapool hills north of the Fannichs, but we figured that number 5 could be a goer.
A 5am alarm saw us leaving at 6.20am (omelette issues!). With a clear sky and full moon we made good progress (it was also Craig's first proper hill day in months) ticking off the first three munros in an anti clockwise sequence from the large bealach seperating them, heading off to number 4 to the north and had our planned reappraisal of the plan, head back now and we will be back at the car by dark, or add on an extra 10k, some difficult ground and get back to the car about 9. So after a quick check in phone call we headed for the last peak and with tiring bodies made the difficult return to our planned descent path by retracing our difficult outward leg from the last top with an even more difficult return leg in the dark and following a relatively easy if unending path to the car park, arriving back just over 15hrs after we set out having covered 36km and 2.25km of ascent/descent. If only the long drive south could have waited!
Click here for all of the photos from the trip.
After a trip to the Oban area last week, I extended the excursion for a few days however encountering some of the wettest and windiest weather Scotland has ever thrown my way in the process.
A bit of an ad hoc road trip ensued seeing me do and afternoon start on Ben Cruachan (primarily to avoid weather in the morning but a bit tired also!) and managed to avoid most of the high winds until on the ridge for the last section where I was getting thrown about on the snow, not fun. A beautiful sunset from the summit and returning via a nice moon rise and back at the car by tea time. Only one shower for 10 min but a brutal 10 min it was! It was good to get up into the snow line again and some decent footwork was required on some pretty solid stuff. See more of our photos here.