Date: Saturday – Sunday 18th-19th April 2015
Distance: 15.6 + 7km
Ascent: 1500 + 70m
A week of growing anticipation for a high pressure weekend – initial plans had been formed for a Beinn a Bhuird/Ben Avon loop from the north as we were heading to Nethy Bridge on Friday night.
The forecasts began to suggest the east might not hold the sun so we started to swither on Friday night.
Said toodle-pip to Nethy Bridge at 0630 and headed for Inverness – as is our wont we were trying to decide what to do for the weekend as we drove.
Inverness being one of the crunch points we headed for Shiel Bridge.
Parked up at Morvich at 0820 – one of a few potential camp walks from here was voted through by committee as we booted up.
Decided on a loop of Carnan Cruithneachd and Sgurr an Airgid. We’d wanted to camp on the Corbett for a while. Took the “Red Route” to the Graham (more of a Carnation Route given the relative sparse uptake of Grahams I suppose).
Fairly obvious route – follow the Falls of Glomach route to NG 983 229 and then follow forestry tracks and a path to the bealach between Carnan Cruithneachd and Beinn Bhreac at NG 986 254.
Spring in the air, lambs in the field and the first flowers of spring breaking forth. Can’t but feel alive.
Followed the track uphill to the foot of Carnan Cruithneachd – views open back to 5th Sister of Kintail Sgurr na Moraich (a step-sister of the 5 Sisters of Munro).
Carnan Cruithneachd looks less distinguished from this side – its aspect from Glomach is rather more characterful.
Dropped much of the camp gear and headed up the steep slopes of the Graham. Passed a few frog pools with serenading frogs on the way.
The summit is a grandstand for Glen Elchaig.
The summit cairn is a grand eagle perch – plenty of evidence of use with pellets, droppings and a few pieces of down.
The wheatears are in supervisory overdrive at the start of the mating season.
Great view up along the top of Glen Elchaig to Iron Lodge and An Socach.
…and of course Chrysanthemum.
Dropped back steeply off the Graham…a splendid wee hill.
Saw 2 very young Common lizards on the day (tiny, black and very fast) Hazel got a good look at an adult.
Picked up the camping gear and headed on over the gnarly ground to Sgurr an Airgid. Quite a bobbly area with slower progress.
Found our previous pitch site on Beinn Buidhe – a cracker of a pitch. Resisted temptation this time.
The summit area has 3 tops – wandered across them towards Sgurr an Airgid.
Dropped off Beinn Buidhe and crossed the peat hags to start the ascent to Sgurr an Airgid – still and warm it was a bit of a plod.
Sgurr an Airgid is a splendid viewpoint – Kintail Hills on one side, out to sea on the other. A personal favourite and a 4th visit.
Dropped off the highest point to cross to the 820m W top with the best view out to sea. The whole summit area affords an absolute wealth of potential pitch sites – you could easily have a summit wild camp meet up here. 😉
Spent an hour or so identifying where we wanted to pitch. Chose a point just E of the 820m W top.
A corking view of Rum to the SW.
The Ben filled a wee gap off Sguur an Fhuaran.
A great view out to Kyle of Lochalsh, the Skye Bridge and the Cuillin.
Pitched at 1800hrs we just dossed around, cooking tea and watching the world go by.
The sun was setting at about 2040hrs – red hills just before sunset.
Air clarity was fantastic – a good view out to the Western Isles – Barra, Harris and Lewis visible.
Insulation donned we enjoyed the rather nice sunset.
Off to bed – we’d been up til midnight in Nethy Bridge watching badgers and pine martens so we slept very, very well.
Up at 0100 on an alarm to see the stars….despite the new moon the starscape was not astounding so jumped back in and slept soundly til the dawn alarm at 0550.
Up to view the sunrise in a chill northeasterly breeze.
A chilly morning – about a 20mph breeze meant the sun struggled to warm. Spent an hour watching the light change from dawn to morning before returning to the tent to heat up our cocoa for breakfast.
Only about 7km from the car we had a few options – but in a sun-warmed, windproof tent we just snoozed and enjoyed the view as the sun climbed.
The summit abounded with wheatears establishing territories who kept the morning alive with their calls around the tent.
Got up at 0930 and spent about 90 minutes dossing around in the warming sun enjoying the sublime views.
Finally called time on the visit, leaving at 1100 to wander back to the car.
The summit area – camping heaven.
The descent is about a couple of hours for us – a decent track.
Bumped into out only hillwalkers of the weekend as we descended – 2 single walkers and one pair.
Views from the descent track remain enjoyable.
From the cemetery car park wandered the last mile or so back to the car. A fairly easy wander – good value nonetheless. Roll on more good conditions for 2015.
…as I’ve written this I’ve just removed tick number 001 of the 2015 season. Spring is here!