Saturday, 6 May 2017


The team on Am Fasarinen pinnacles, Liathach
We have been enjoying some of the finest weather up here in The Highlands over the last few days. The massive continental high pressure system is bringing a long spell of warm temperatures and clear skies. The best of this weather has been in the North West Highlands. I had a days work on Liathach for Friday so took the opportunity to spend a bit more time beforehand and headed out for some magic mountains and wild camping.  Tuesday morning I started out from Achnashellach train station and headed up Beinn Liath Mhor, a beautiful, long ridge walk with one Munro summit above Coire Lair. I saw no one all day. T-shirt weather on the tops with completely clear skies.
The long ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor
Looking west along the ridge with Sgor Ruadh to the left
Tuesday night I camped down at Loch an Eoin. A beautiful evening with a lovely sunset and fine views of Liathach from the front porch.
Loch an Eoin under a hot afternoon sun
Camp spot near Loch an Eoin with Maol Chean-dearg in the background
Liathach, who put all those Torridonian sandstone rocks there?
Wednesday morning and one of the many dawn clear skies this week. It's absolutely bliss camping in these conditions and no midges! By 9am I was down to T-shirt in the wonderfully warm sun. This area between Glen Carron and Glen Torridon has some of the finest stalkers paths you could ever wish to walk on. If you wanted just some low level walking in this area you would be treated to some fantastic mountain views. The big Torridonian giants of Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe dominate the scenery in front of you has the trail meanders through the lochan dotted landscape. There are big slabs of Torridonian sandstone throughout the descent down to the loch side and then you've reached the finest arena of mountains on this planet!
Upper Loch Torridon
I continued along the loch side, passing through the village and decided to spend the night camped up on Beinn Alligin. This is the most westerly of the 'Big 3' and hoped for a terrific sunset on the summit area. The days are so long now that I had time to traverse across the two Munros of Beinn Alligin, whic are the summits of Tom na Gruagaich & Sgurr Mhor. There was a chilly east wind on the tops  but worth lingering an hour for the magic light and some nice photography.
Beinn Alligin ridge
Baosbheinn & the Flowerdale Forest
The Horns of Alligin, Beinn Dearg & Liathach
Back to the tent, bite to eat and then a glorious sunset over Loch Torridon and Outer Hebrides. Best of all was the golden light across the mountains of Sgurr Ruadh, Beinn Liath Mhor and Maol-chin Dearg.
Golden brown sunset over Torridon
Sunset over Skye & Outer Hebrides
Windy and chilly on the summit of Beinn Alligin. But the Glow Worm sleeping bag I'm testing  from Summiteer kept me cosy, 'Ne'er cast a clout till May be out'! Another beautiful dawn, I could get used to this! Stunning sunrise and what better place to see it from. There are some folk who say that you're not really a mountaineer or hill walker unless you've slept out on a mountainside! 
Sunrising over the Horns of Alligin
First light over Sgur Mor & The Horns of Alligin, Slioch beyond
Sgur Mor, warming up
I was back down in Torridon before the first of many folk heading up the hill on Thursday morning. The temperatures seemed to have gone up a notch in the afternoon. It was blazing hot in Torridon. Hard to believe it wasn't that long ago we had snow to low levels for two or three days. 

Friday and I was back to work. I was guiding a great group of 7 guys all from the St. Albans area. Dave & his team of adventurers are a fit bunch considering they don't have any mountains in their neck of the woods. They came out with me this same period last year. It was very different weather at the beginning of May 2016. We still had some good snow in The Cairngorms and I took the guys out in winter kit for a grand day out up on the Fiacaill Ridge. No need for all that ironmongery and big boots this year. I talked the boys into a day out on Liathach, possibly the finest mountain on earth (after An Teallach that is).
The classic view of Lithach
The boys on the Munro summit of Spidean a' Choire Leith

Looking west to Mullach an Rathain

 We set off under a blazing blue sky and that's the way is was all day. The clarity of air was superb. The company brilliant and on my favourite mountain (2nd), what more could you ask for! Liathach has two Munro summits and may Munro 'tops' but the best and finest features of this 5km ridge line are the Am Fasarinen pinnacles. Fantastic scrambling of around grade 2 if taken direct. There is a traverse path to avoid these but you miss all the fun! The traverse path is in fact quite exposed and is eroded in places.

Am Fasarinen
More scrambling fun!
 The guys just loved all the sensational and brilliant scrambling, topped with stunning views. All too quickly the scrambling finishes and it's just a stroll up to the second Munro of Mullach an Rathain. Stunning views from here down to Loch Torridon. Where the cool beers where waiting. But it's not over until the steep descent to the glen. Fantastic day and a big thanks to Ian Herd who was assisting me today.
Loch Torridon from Mullach an Rathain
The team and the Pinnacles
Coire na Caime
Loch Torridon
Enjoy the rest of this heatwave! If you've never been to Torridon-why not!

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