Roy roving

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

On Sunday we headed south to Fort William to meet up with a friend, Freddie who was staying at the Fort bill to attend the Mountain Festival. We, too, had booked tickets for the festival event that evening – a showing of some of the films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, so selected a short day walk that would allow us to be back in town in time for that without constantly ‘clock-watching’.

We chose to climb a Corbett and a Graham in Glen Roy, Leana Mhor and Beinne Iaruinn working on the principle that ‘you often get the best views of the big hills from the smaller neighbouring hills’.

This walk in lovely Glen Roy also provided the opportunity to view this glen’s renowned parallel roads. These three sets of horizontal parallel lines running either side of the glen. The ‘roads, represent the shorelines of ice-dammed lakes created during the last ice age when the glen was blocked by a glacier. Typically they are narrow benches (several metres wide) cut into the bedrock of the hillsides and in places covered by remnants of lake beach gravel. It is thought they probably were formed through a combination of intense frost weathering and wave action along the lake shore zone. These lines can be seen clearly from the roadside viewpoint part way along the glen and we stopped here briefly to catch a picture or two. More information about the geology of the area can be found on this

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

We began the ascent of the two hills from a bridge crossing the burn running between the two hills at NN300281. From here we ascended the SE shoulder of Leana Mhor, crossing the three parallel roads in the first 150 metres of ascent. This broad ridge gave an easy, steady plod up through heather and short grass with increasingly better views of the upper glen below.

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

As we gained height we got views south to Loch Linnhe and west Loch Arkaig.

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

From the rounded summit of Leana Mhor we dropped down about 150m to the saddle between the two hills. We found a little shelter from the cold northerly wind for a bite to eat before setting off up the long slog of Meall Bruic. From this point we spotted a couple of other walkers here the top of Leana Mhor, but they disappeared from sight and we didn’t see them again.

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

As we approached Coire nan Eun we had dramatic views down into the head of Glen Roy and the parallel roads. We spotted the snow on the cornice above the corrie rim breaking off so chose a line well back from the edge.

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

The summit cairn on Beinn Iaruinn was certainly a much bigger structure than the puckle pile of stones on Leana Mhor. Again we had a 360° panorama of hills and with varying depths of snow. Heading back to the saddle we could see the snow cornice line better, so Freddie and I enjoyed plodding along in the crunchy snow.

Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

From the saddle we picked up a faint path that followed the burn that runs between the two hills down to the glen. The low afternoon sun gave more interesting views of the parallel roads in the upper glen – an area we must return to visit some day.

Leana Mhor and Beinn Iaruinn, Glen Roy

More photos on Flickr

Some of you may be able to see the embedded video from the BBC featuring geologist, Iain Stewart sharing information about the parrallel roads in Glen Roy.

By paddle steamer to the hills

As well as my love for the hills, I love the sea, so when Neil suggested a day trip on an old boat I was keen on the idea.

This was not just any old boat, but the PS Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. It was built on the Clyde in 1947 to replace the previous Waverley that sunk off Dunkirk in 1940. The Waverley was originally built to sail only between Craigendoran & Arrochar in the Firth of Clyde. In 1974 running costs were too high – despite conversion from coal to oil in 1957 – and it was withdrawn from service. The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society bought it for just £1, and restored it to it’s former glory with brightly-painted funnels, timber decks, gleaming varnish and brass fitments.

We studied the itinerary and chose to go from Kyle of Lochalsh via Broadford on Skye and onto Raasay. I thought a hour and a half on the boat each way would be enough and would give us about 6 hours in which to explore Raasay.
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“A lovely day for winter” – in summer

Ascent of Beinn Bhan 896m (2939ft), Applecross

On our drive over the Bealach na Ba we gazed across at the magnificent southern flanks of Beinn Bhan. It is a prominent hill, the largest by far on the Applecross peninsular, but is relatively untrodden since it is not a Munro – missing the ‘magic’ height of 914m by only 20 metres.

As I mentioned in a previous post Neil and I were enjoying a visit to Applecross to accompany our friend, Freddie and his mate who are backpacking coast to coast, Applecross to Beauly, by the high route. We spent Friday night at the well-appointed camp site in Applecross and decided to walk with them today as they took in Beinn Bhan before they headed east.
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Above Glen Dessary

We recently headed west again following a working day for Neil in Fort William. Heading along Loch Arkaig in the early evening, we’d forgotten just how long the loch is and just how much of a roller-coaster the road is and it was getting towards dusk when we were only half way along the loch. Nae worries; we found a wee corner to pull off the road and a wee bit of flattish grass to pitch the tent.

Loch Arkaig

Early the following morning the lighting was wonderful and gave more great views over the loch and to the hills in Locheil Forest, Glenfinnan and out towards Morar and Knoydart.
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Ice and snow in Strathconon

Beinn Mheadhoin, Strathconon

Mention Beinn Mheadhoin and most hillwalkers think of the Cairngroms and Loch Avon. But this is a smaller ‘middle hill’ (mheadhoin = middle) – a lovely wee Graham in Strathconon.

At 10pm at night I clicked on the weather forecast and saw sun predicted for my local area. Glorious sun all day. I quickly followed this by checking MWIS for Northwest Highlands and saw more sun. Sun, 90% chance of cloud-free Munros and little winds. Too perfect a forecast not to head to the hills. So without giving it too much thought I decided to return to Strathconon (having previously climbed Bac an Eich in November).
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A Man In Assynt

Cul Mor

I was talking to a friend recently about the hills in Assynt and promised to share our pictures of a day’s walk on Cul Mor. We undertook this walk on a wonderful, clear, sunny day in March. I’ve now finally uploaded some of Neil’s photos – all showing the hills looking clear and looking great. As I’ve mentioned previously this is one of my favourite places in the country! 🙂

I shall let the shots of the fantastic watery landscape of lochs and hills and of the interesting rock formations speak for themselves and give you a photo essay of the day’s walk. The final few pictures were taken at the Knockan Crag information centre.

The pictures are accompanied by Norman MacCaig reading part of his poem, A Man In Assynt.
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