Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Section 9 - Glen Roy to the Monadh Liath and Strathspey

Glen Banchor
Glen Banchor
Creag Meagaidh
Creag Meagaidh
South from Beinn Iaruinn
South from Beinn Iaruinn
Beinn Iaruinn
Beinn Iaruinn

This section refers to the hills and mountains of Glen Roy, Monadh Liath and Strathspey and include Creag Meagaidh and a walk across the Corrieyairack Pass. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams and Munros that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns that I have climbed in this section can be viewed here.


Section 9 - Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros
Beinn Iaruinn Carn Glas-choire A'Chailleach
Carn a'Chuilinn Carn na h-Easgainn Beinn a'Chaorainn
Carn an Fhreiceadain Carn nan Tri-tighearnan Beinn Teallach
Carn Dearg - East Creag Dhubh- Glen Roy Carn Dearg
Carn Dearg- North Creag Dhubh - Newtonmore Carn Liath
Carn Dearg- South Creag Liath Carn Sgulain
Carn na Saobhaidhe Creag Ruadh Creag Meagaidh
Gairbeinn Leana Mhor - East Geal Charn
Geal-charn Mor Leana Mhor - West Stob Poite Coire Ardair
Meall na h-Aisre    


Section 9 - Trip Reports

Beinn Teallach and Beinn a'Chaorainn

15 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1185 metres.

The weather forecast indicated that it would be better in the west so I settled for a re-ascent of the Munros, Beinn Teallach and Beinn a’Chaorainn. I parked adjacent to the deer gate which gave access to the forest on the north side of the A86 just east of the houses at Roughburn in Glen Spean.

It was raining when I set off through the adjoining kissing gate onto the forest track which wound its way north-west. After around a kilometre and at a junction of tracks I took a left and made a slight descent to emerge from the forest onto marshy fields with dilapidated gates and fencing. A track led to the Allt a’Chaorainn which was easily crossed as erosion and flooding had created around four separate streams. Once on the west bank a wet and boggy path led north to the top end of a forest where a stock fence was crossed.

The underfoot conditions improved, well at least for a while, as I headed up Beinn Teallach on a grassy walker’s path but it soon deteriorated becoming wet and boggy. Around the 650 metre mark I entered the cloud base so there was nothing for it but to plod on up the path, which did disappear occasionally, to reach the summit cairns. The North-East Top with the smaller cairn was highest by 0.6 metres.

With no views there was no point in hanging around so I descended the North-East Ridge, which in places was a bit rocky. Lower down the rain ceased and the cloud began to lift and I made my way to the boggy ground just south of the col with Beinn a’Chaorainn.

From here it was a fairly steep climb onto Beinn a’Chaorainn’s North Ridge. I had expected the cloud to continue to lift but the opposite occurred as I headed for the North Top then to the summit with occasional glimpses of the snow patches in Coire na h-Uamha.

The South Top was crossed before I descended south-west over some boulders and out of the cloud. Occasionally there were traces of a path but it didn’t seem to last or I lost it in some bog. A couple on a slightly different line were on their ascent the only folks I saw all day despite there being other cars parked at the starting point when I returned. Lower down the vegetation was long and wet as I made my way to the west end of the forest to rejoin the track used earlier that day and followed it back to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Teallach Munro sixth ascent 914.6 metres
Beinn a'Chaorainn Munro sixth ascent 1052 metres

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Meall na h-Aisre

12 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 13.25 kilometres. Ascent - 665 metres.

I parked on a large area of waste ground on the east side of Garva Bridge, reached along the single track road from the A86 at Laggan Village. I then crossed this bridge over the River Spey then took the vehicle track up the side of the Allt Coire Iain Oig to a new vehicle track used in connection with the construction of larger pylons over the Corrieyairack Pass. This track was to be removed afterwards but apparently it is now to be retained for the extraction of timber.

A bailey bridge was crossed then I immediately turned left along a little used estate track before walking over some wet and boggy ground. This took me to a path which was in similar condition on the south side of the Feith Talagain and is one of the access routes to the Munro, Geal Charn.

I later crossed this stream, the rocks were slippery, and then some rough vegetation to reach the summit of An Torr. From here a short descent took me to a boggy col where just to the west a short section of track had been dug out of the hillside. My route then took me onto the undulating south-east ridge of Leathad Gaothach with more areas of bog and peat hags. There was a cold wind blowing and higher up a wet quad vehicle track appeared and headed in my intended direction although the underfoot conditions didn’t improve.

The summit of this Corbett Top which was unmarked was reached followed by another descent to more peat hags and bog which I worked my way through then continued on the quad vehicle trail to the summit of the Corbett, Meall na h-Aisre marked by a trig point.

It was rather cold on the summit but the cloud had lifted off some of the tops so after taking in the views I descended south across rough and at times steep ground into Coir Iain Oig. I then walked down the west bank of the Allt Coire Iain Oig where occasionally there were traces of a path but it was quite rough going at times. Lower down the vegetation had been churned up by deer entering and leaving the nearby forest. Eventually I reached the new track mentioned above and made the short walk back to my car.

previous ascent

Meall na h-Aisre Corbett third ascent 862 metres

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Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Carn Liath

11 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 17.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1000 metres.

I parked in the large car park at Aberarder just off the A86 on the north side of Loch Laggan then set off to ascend the Munros, Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Carn Liath. A sign requested to use the path rather than the vehicle track but I suspect it’s not a safety measure but to count the number of visitors to the area as this route passes through a counter.

Beyond the buildings and house at Aberarder a good quality path headed north-west although in places it was overhung with bracken. Beyond the numerous silver birch trees and long vegetation the path gradually swung round to the west as I headed for Coire Ardair. There were a few deer on the ridge above me but the cloud covering the tops lowered and concealed them as I encountered the first of several showers.

On my previous visit I reached Lochan a’Choire in around ninety minutes but I must be slowing down as it took me an additional ten minutes although I did stop to don waterproofs. The man made path continued round the north side of the lochan until the route steepened and here the path became wet and peaty. I stopped for a short break while there were still views of the lochan and the snow in the nearby gullies.

On the move again it was a steady climb then higher up it steepened as I crossed loose boulders, stones, scree and in places water running down the path. This made for slow progress as the ground was slippery at times. On reaching The Window there was a choice of routes south would take me to Creag Meagaidh but last month I had climbed it from Moy so I headed north then north-east to the cairn marking the summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardair. There was a second cairn further north-east but I figured that the westerly cairn was the highest.

By this stage the rain had ceased and I now had some views as the cloud began to lift. I continued north-east along the ridge to the 1051 knoll, an old Munro Top, then to the Munro Tops, Sron Coire a’Chriochairein and Meall an t-Snaim passing a lone female going in the opposite direction, the only person I met all day. It was then onwards to the Munro, Carn Liath where I stopped for lunch.

Afterwards I headed south trying to avoid the boulders before joining a walker’s path. Lower down this path was wet and muddy but was even worse as it passed through the silver birch trees and long vegetation where there was puddles and running water to cope with. Eventually I reached the Coire Ardair Path and followed it back to the car park.

previous ascent

Stob Poite Coire Ardair Munro sixth ascent 1054 metres
Carn Liath Munro sixth ascent 1006 metres

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Carn an Fhreiceadain

9 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 16.25 kilometres. Ascent - 665 metres.

Back in January of this year I attempted to climb the Corbett, Carn an Fhreiceadain but had to abandon the ascent around two kilometres from its summit due to drifting and blowing snow so on this occasion snow wouldn’t be a problem.

Parking at or near Kingussie Golf Club is discouraged so on this occasion from the centre of the village I drove up the road on the east side of the Allt Mor and managed to get my car off the road beside the open gates on the road leading to Pitmain Lodge. I walked along the tarred road where a couple of cars were parked near the start of some local walks. The road also passes through the golf course. Further on the banks of the Allt Mor were being strengthened with the use of large boulders.

On approaching Pitmain Lodge there were a number of signs indicating the routes to take to avoid passing the Lodge. I stayed to the east side of the river and soon emerged from the trees and onto the open hillside where a large earth moving vehicle was parked. From here on it was just the case of following this track north then north-west across the hillside.

I reached the shooter’s hut, the point where I was forced to turn back in January and here the gradient increased before later easing as I approached Beinn Bhreac. At this point the cloud lowered and there was some light rain blowing through in the wind. The cairn marking the summit of this Corbett Top was reached then an improved track headed for Carn an Fhreiceadain. It appeared that holes had been made on the hillside to excavate hardcore for the track upgrade leaving ugly scars, although in the low cloud it wasn’t clear how much damage had been caused.

The trig point and cairn marking the summit of this Corbett was reached and here I took a break sheltering from the wind and hoping that the cloud would lift but it didn’t. I therefore continued along the upgraded track which now headed south-west and here more holes had been dug. I later emerged from the cloud and joined the path that descended round Meall Unaig and to the Allt Mor where a new hydro dam had been constructed. There was a second dam on is tributary the Allt a’ Choire Odhair. The area had been tidied up and would probably regenerate fairly easily unlike the holes made near the summit.

I followed the track down the west side of the Allt Mor to just before Pitmain Lodge where a deer gate was passed through to reach the bridge over the river and to rejoin the upward route which took me back to the start.

previous ascent

Carn an Fhreiceadain Corbett thrid ascent 878 metres

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Creag Meagaidh

25 July 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 13.75 kilometres. Ascent - 920 metres.

I was en-route home after spending a week hill walking in the Fort William area so stopped off to climb Creag Meagaidh. Many years ago I made a direct ascent of this Munro rather than using the Aberarder approach but had no recollection of this route. I left my car in the parking area east of Moy and walked back along the road (A86) to immediately west of the Moy Burn.

I stepped over a crash barrier then pushed my way through some trees expecting to find a path but there was none just lots of long wet vegetation. Occasionally I thought I had located a path but it either quickly came to an end or disappeared into long bracken. An old stone dyke and a tributary of the Moy Burn were crossed then it was a plod through wet and marshy vegetation until higher ground to the east of Creag na Cailliche was reached. I climbed this rocky hillock to gain a stone dyke which came in from the south-west and ran up the south ridge of Creag Meagaidh.

The stone dyke was followed north with a few undulations until high up on the ridge the dyke came to an end and was replaced for a few hundred metres by some old fence posts. It was then a short climb to the cairn marking the summit of Creag Meagaidh. On this ascent I encountered a few showers and it was raining at the summit with a cool breeze.

I therefore didn’t linger here so returned by the upward route meeting a lady from Scottish Hills, her husband and collie dog on their ascent. At the foot of Creag na Cailliche I crossed the Moy Burn to continue the descent along a quad vehicle track rather than cross the wet and marshy vegetation used earlier. This track was wet and boggy in places and lower down I left it, crossed more long wet vegetation, to reach another quad vehicle trail. This took me onto the A86 closer to my car than if I had continued down the side of the Moy Burn.

previous ascent

Creag Meagaidh Munro sixth ascent 1130 metres

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Beinn Iaruin and Leana Mhor (West)

22 March 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 7.75 kilometres. Ascent - 800 metres.

I met up with a Graham Bagging friend and we drove to Glen Roy, accessed from Roybridge on the A86, and parked on the grass prior to the ruins at Brunachan (Grid Ref. NM314895) where there was space for a few cars.

The cloud was well down the hillside and there was a cold wind blowing as we set off across the road and commenced the steep ascent which was made slightly easier by following animal trails. Later we entered the cloud then stayed close to the edge of a snow filled gully before crossing some burnt heather to reach Beinn Iaruinn’s North-East Ridge. Here there were lots of snow patches some we were able to avoid as we made the easy approach to Beinn Iaruinn East Top.

We were about to leave this Top when the cloud lifted enough to see the route ahead and a few deer. After a slight loss of height the ground levelled out then we commenced the ascent of Beinn Iaruinn. There were plenty of snow patches around but nothing requiring the use of crampons. In low cloud and wind we reached the summit cairn.

Due to the unpleasant conditions there was no point in hanging around so we descended south-west round the head of Coire nan Eun then to the col with Leana Mhor and out of the cloud. There was a fence junction at the col but we stayed to the east thus avoiding a crossing. Spring had obviously arrived as we could hear and saw lots of frogs.

It was a steady climb on a pathless hillside to gain Leana Mhor’s summit cairn which was in the cloud. We sat at the top for a while listening to a Golden Plover and waiting for the cloud to clear which it did briefly to allow us views across Glen Spean to the Easains, Grey Corries and Aonachs.

The descent was via the ridge on the south side of Coire an t-Seilich mainly through heather to reach a deer fence which had to climbed. An area of rough ground was then crossed to reach a gate in the deer fence beside the road in Glen Roy just south of the bridge over the stream flowing out of Coire an t-Seilich. It was then a short walk across the bridge to a car we had left on the grass verge there.

previous ascent Beinn Iaruinn

Beinn Iaruinn Corbett third ascent 803 metres
Leana Mhor (West) Graham second ascent 684 metres

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Carn a'Chuilinn

20 March 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance 13.75 kilometres. Ascent - 700 metres.

The weather forecast indicated that conditions would be better further east so we left Plockton and headed inland to Fort Augustus then onto the B862 parking near the cattle grid west of the bridge over the Allt Doe.

Once geared up we climbed an embankment then crossed a field to join the wide vehicle track that led up Glen Doe. On my previous visit in 2006 this track was in regular use by construction traffic heading to and from the dam being built at the head of Glen Doe. On that occasion I was advised by the local stalker that the width of the track would be reduced once the dam was completed but this hasn’t happened. In fact new vehicle tracks have been created in preparation for the construction of 67 wind turbines.

It was an easy walk up this track through Glen Doe and towards Coire Doe. Prior to reaching the coire we left the vehicle track and descended to the Allt Doe where we crossed a fairly new wooden bridge. A wet and boggy quad vehicle trail was then followed and the deer spotted earlier on that side of the stream had by this time disappeared.

As height was gained the ground became a bit drier and we worked our way to above Coire an t-Seilich crossing a few snow patches and disturbing some mountain hares. More snow was crossed as we headed south-west along an undulating ridge to reach the summit cairn.

Due to low cloud there were no views so we descended north crossing some snow patches and avoiding others which were icy or concealing water courses. This was made easier as we soon emerged from the cloud. The stalkers path in Glen Doe was reached before we re-joined the vehicle track and followed the outward route back to the start.

previous ascent

Carn a'Chuilinn Corbett third ascent 816 metres

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Carn Dearg

29 June 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 20.75 kilometres. Ascent - 885 metres.

I left my car in the parking area at the end of the public road in Glen Banchor, reached from the village of Newtonmore, and walked west along the private road towards the vacant buildings at Glenballoch. Just prior to the bridge over the Allt Fionndrigh I took a right and followed the grassy track across a field. Beyond a rough vehicle track continued up the east side of the stream for around three kilometres before it came to an end to be replaced by a peaty quad vehicle track which was relatively dry.

The Allt Fionndrigh was crossed by a footbridge then I followed the quad vehicle trail through the gap between Creag Liath and Meall na Ceardaich where I planned to leave the normal route to Carn Dearg and climb Meall na Ceardaich. Initially a quad vehicle track headed up this hill but it soon disappeared and I entered a large area of peat hags. However with the ground rather dry it made for some easy walking. Beyond the gradient increased and it was a stiff climb to the summit. En-route a ptarmigan was alarmed by my presence but its chicks were old enough to fly. Nearby there was a mountain hare and at the top leverets rushed off to hide under boulders.

I was unable to say where the highest point was but walked across the top before descending north where I disturbed another female ptarmigan and its chicks. This time the chicks were too young to fly and ran off to hide in the vegetation while their mother tried to distract me with the broken wing routine.The chicks were so small and difficult to spot I had to tread carefully before working my way below Carn Ballach and ascended Carn Ban.

From this Munro Top I descended south passing a couple going in the opposite direction and on reaching the col with Carn Dearg climbed this Munro. I continued to its South-East Top, a Munro Top, where I stopped for lunch with views towards Loch Laggan and its nearby mountains. Afterwards I descended south disturbing another female ptarmigan with its broken wing act while her chicks flew off.

At the col with Carn Macoul I descended the gully into Gleann Ballach where several grouse and their young took flight. The ground was a bit wet here and once across the Allt Ballach I climbed over some rough and boggy ground to reach the gap between Creag Liath and Meall na Ceardaich. I then followed the outward route back to the start.

previous ascent

Carn Dearg Munro sixth ascent 945 metres

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Creag Dhubh

23 March 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 34 or 41. Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 7.5 kilometres. Ascent - 540 metres.

En-route home from a week in the west coast I stopped off to climb the Graham, Creag Dhubh. At Roybridge, on the A86, I drove along the single track road on the east side of the River Roy to the end of the public road at Bohenie. Unfortunately there didn’t appear to be anywhere suitable to leave my car so I returned along the road and parked on the verge.

It was snowing when I set off back along the road to Bohenie then crossed some rough ground on the south side of a small stream to reach an electric fence. I wasn’t sure if it was live and wasn’t prepared to test it so instead crawled underneath. The route beyond followed the edge of the forest but it was still very rough and wet underfoot with several hollows created for tree planting. The path shown on the map wasn’t obvious.

Higher up a gate and immediately beyond an electric gate were passed through and this led to the open hillside. I then followed snow covered quad vehicle tracks which took me high up onto the west ridge of Creag Dhubh before they were completely concealed under the snow. I came across some fresh boot prints which made breaking trail easier before taking my own route to the summit trig point and cairn.

From the summit I had views across Glen Spean to the Aonachs, Grey Corries and the Easains so despite the windy conditions I remained at the top until another snow shower approached. The return was by the ascent route although by this time some of my boot prints were filled with blowing snow.

previous ascent

Creag Dhubh Graham first ascent 658 metres

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Gairbeinn

2 March 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance 10.75 kilometres. Ascent - 715 metres.

The snow conditions were apparently very variable so I decided on a fairly easy day with an ascent of the Corbett, Gairbeinn, and if possible include a couple of minor tops. Accompanied by my brother I drove west from the A86 at Laggan along the single track road to Garva Bridge where there was a wooden gate. However it was possible to continue for a further six kilometres to just before the Allt Feith a’Mhoraire where there was parking for several vehicles. Beyond, there was a locked barrier and road closed sign to prevent vehicles driving over the Corrieyairick Pass.

We walked along the road to Melgarve Bothy then followed a rather wet quad bike track on the east side of the Caochan Riabhach crossing a new vehicle track used in connection with the construction of large electric pylons. We later left the quad bike track and climbed through some heather and higher up a small amount of snow to the summit of Meall a’Chuit.

The descent from this Highland Five was across some boggy ground and a few snow filled peat hags. We spotted some bootprints in the snow and on scanning the South-East Face of Gairbeinn saw around eight walkers high up on the hill. We commenced the ascent of Gairbeinn avoiding some of the snowfields as a RAF Rescue Helicopter passed overhead. Further up the hill we were being watched by three hinds. Later we heard what sounded like a motor bike but after several minutes a couple of stalkers on a snowmobile passed below us. One got out, gave us a wave, walked to the edge of the snowfield before returning and moving off. It was Sunday and out-with the stalking season so I don’t know what they were looking for.

It was a steady climb and higher up the snow occasionally held our weight but at other times collapsed. The south-west ridge was reached and we followed it to Gairbeinn’s summit cairn where it was rather windy. We did try and have lunch here but the wind strengthened so we packed up and headed off north-westwards. Initially it was an easy descent but lower down the lying snow was blowing in the wind making it awkward to see dips in the snow pack. Old metal fence posts partially buried by the snow were a guide to the col with Carn an Aonaich Odhair. It was then an easy ascent to the summit of this hill.

A short descent south-west took us to the col with Geal Charn. Here there was a twin set of old metal fence posts leading towards the summit of this hill. Again lying snow was blowing in the wind making it difficult to see where we were placing our feet. Geal Charn’s summit cairn, a Corbett Top, was reached then we descended north across varying amounts of snow to the vehicle track on the north-east side of the Allt Yairack. The area was a bit of a mess with all the construction work that was on-going or possibly on hold due to the winter conditions. We followed this track, General Wade’s Military Road, back to the start.

previous ascent

Gairbeinn Corbett third ascent 896 metres

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Carn Sgulain

23 August 2013

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Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 18 kilometres. Ascent - 905 metres.

I parked at the end of the public road in Glen Banchor, reached from the Strathspey village of Newtonmore. Initially mine was the only vehicle there but just as I was about to leave a chap arrived in his car and started studying a map.

The vehicle track on the east side of the Allt a’Chaorainn was followed to a gate in the deer fence where a notice requested walkers stick to the paths and ridges where possible during deer stalking. Unfortunately it gave no indication if stalking was taking place that day and if so where. Beyond this gate and a small plantation I left the track and commenced the ascent on Creag an Loin, a Highland Five. The hillside was mainly covered in heather but a number of animal trails made for an easy ascent so I was soon at the summit cairn with views of Newtonmore, Strathspey and Glen Banchor.

An easy descent of the north ridge led to a gully which I by-passed to the west. Beyond it was hard going over some rough, wet and tussocky ground and this made for slow progress. An area of peat hags was reached but I was able to avoid most of them as I climbed north-east onto Geal Garn watched by a herd of deer which soon ran off. The final climb to the summit of this Corbett Top was over short cropped heather. The highest point appeared to be in the vicinity of a wooden post.

I descended north round some peat hags where a couple of hares ran off at speed, two of several that I saw that day. The peaty col with Carn a’Bhothain Mholaich was reached and this was followed by a climb through some long heather where I disturbed a family of grouse and led to the south-west ridge of this Corbett Top. Here I saw a family of golden plovers with the parents making a bit of a noise which was the reason I spotted them. Old metal fence posts were followed to the summit of Carn a’Bhothain Mholaich. The highest point was probably a large boulder.

Another Corbett Top was located a couple of kilometres further north but I opted to give that one a miss and returned along the line of metal fence posts to Am Bodach which was followed by a steep descent to the col with Carn Sgulain where a deer and hare made off. A steady climb then took me to the summit of the Munro, Carn Sgulain, marked by two cairns. The south-westerly and smaller cairn appeared to be at the highest point but in any case I visited both.

From this summit I descended south to the Allt Cuil na Caillich and followed it until just before it plummeted through a rocky gully. I crossed the stream and worked my way through some rocks watched by more deer to below A’Chailleach. I had been this route before and found continuing down the side of the Allt a’Chaorainn rather awkward so this time opted to stay slightly higher and walked through heather and some boggy ground below the east face of A’Chailleach. I later joined the usual route to this Munro and followed paths to the Allt a’Chaorainn and the track back to my car.

previous ascent

Carn Sgulain Munro sixth ascent 920 metres

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A'Chailleach

16 June 2013

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Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance 12 kilometres. Ascent - 735 metres.

Looking for an easy and fairly short walk not too far from Inverness my brother and I set off for Glen Banchor, west of Newtonmore, to climb the Munro, A’Chailleach. To make the walk circular we planned to include the Corbett Tops, Geal Charn and Creag na h-lolare.

We parked at the end of the public road in Glen Banchor then set off along the track on the east side of the Allt a’Chaorainn. Some improvements had recently been made to the lower section of this track but further on it narrowed and became a bit rough with some boggy sections. At this point we decided to cross the river which was easy as the water level was low. Once on the other side we followed walker and animal trails to the Red Hut a place I wouldn’t stay in unless it was an emergency. Lots of names and initials had been engraved into the wood dating back to the nineteen seventies.

An obvious path, boggy in sections, took us to an area of peat hags but due to their dry condition the walking was easy. The path then steepened until we reached A’Chailleach’s large summit cairn where we had good views of the surrounding hills, Strathspey and the cloud topped Cairngorms. We were taking in these views when a couple of gents arrived having ascended the east face of the mountain. We had an interesting chat and they told us they were Hump bagging and I think were surprised when I knew what they meant.

From A’Chailleach we gradually descended south-west to the col with the Corbett Top, Geal Charn, followed by an easy stroll to its summit cairn. Here we stopped for lunch and were overtaken by the two chaps we had spoken to earlier. We later followed them to the col with the Corbett Top, Creag na h-lolare then onto its south top where we met up again and discussed which was the highest point. I was told that the cairn on the north top was six metres higher so I headed over there.

We went down the south-east ridge over a mixture of terrain and vegetation. Lower down the deer had churned up the heather and a gully was avoided before traversing below Creag nan Abhag. We then descended to and crossed the Allt a’Chaorainn then a deer fence to reach the west end of the parking area.

previous ascent

A'Chailleach Munro sixth ascent 930 metres

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Carn nan Tri-tighearnan

1 May 2013

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Map - OS Landranger 27. Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 8.75 kilometres. Ascent - 420 metres.

The Graham, Carn nan Tri-tighearnan, a rather peat ridden hill, is located south-east of Inverness and east of the A9. I thought of climbing it from the west but due to the lack of access roads and poor underfoot conditions I opted to ascend it from Drynachan, reached from Cawdor along minor roads. The final section of the road between Drynachan and Daless Farm was full of large potholes and may be a bit risky if it’s not repaired in the near future.

There was ample parking on an area of vacant ground north of the Allt Breac beside Daless Farm. I crossed this stream, the water level was low, and followed the vehicle track above the north bank of the River Findhorn. There was a dead weasel just off the track but no sign of how it died. It may have been struck by a vehicle. After around three quarters of a kilometre I left this track and followed another one which crossed the moorland, descended to the Allt Breac which I re-crossed, before joining a third track that came in from the direction of Drynachan.

This track had been upgraded and was steep in sections. It headed west and took me below Carn an Uillt Bhric and continued a lot further than my map showed. It ended at NH 836388 from where I made as direct an approach as possible to the summit of Carn nan Tri-tighearnan. There were lots of peat hags and bog to contend with, some of the hags being taller than me but I was able to utilise their bases to make some progress.

A helicopter which was flying around the summit landed near the top and two or three folks alighted. As I got closer they returned to the helicopter and took off. I speculated that their visit could be in connection with the construction of a wind farm and on later checking Google I noted there was an application in 2010 for the Tom na Clach Wind Farm which was refused by Highland Council. I wasn’t been able to discover the result of an appeal to the Scottish Government.

Shortly thereafter I arrived at the summit where new fencing and a gate had been put up. To reach the highest point, which appeared to be the trig point, meant crossing this gate. It was a bit windy at the top so after a few minutes I returned to the start via the upward route.

previous ascent

Carn nan Tri-tighearnan Graham second ascent 615 metres

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Carn na h-Easgainn

29 April 2013

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Map - OS Landranger 27. Time taken - 3.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 445 metres.

I was staying in Inverness where the weather was pretty miserable but with a slight improvement forecasted for later in the morning I set off for Dalmagarry in Strathdearn, south of Inverness. I parked in the lay-by opposite the farm and headed along the signed track which initially took me underneath the railway line.

On the other side of the bridge rabbits quickly disappeared into burrows and there were several alarm calls from what I thought maybe terns. The track allowed me to make good progress but as height was gained there was a strong wind with rain, sleet, hail and snow showers. The map I was using showed the track ending at a hut but it continued round the west and south sides of Carn Moraig, before descending to Tomatin. I left this track near its high point and crossed some wet and mossy moorland to reach the summit cairn of Carn Moraig, a Sub Highland Five. From here the nearby unsightly Farr Wind Farm was visible.

I returned to the vehicle track, crossed it, and headed over rough and boggy moorland towards Carn na h-Easgainn during more hail and snow showers. I later spotted a new vehicle track which I discovered led towards the summit of Carn na h-Easgainn. Earlier I had passed the start of this track but wasn’t aware where it headed. In any case I needed to include Carn Moraig in this outing. The new track passed close to the summit of Carn na h- Easgainn so it was only a short stroll across moorland to reach its highest point, marked by a trig point.

It was windy with limited views so I returned to the track where rather than trying to keep to the highest parts I decided on a direct line to the col south-west of Carn na Loinne. The going was quite difficult with lots of bog and peat hags to contend with so I worked my way round the head of the Allt na Loinne Mor to reach the col then ascended Carn na Loinne, a Highland Five.

The descent was south-east over more rough and boggy moorland to the Allt a’Chuil which was crossed. Fortunately it wasn’t too high. I then followed the track used earlier that day back to the start.

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Carn na h-Easgainn Graham second ascent 618 metres

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Geal-charn Mor

24 October 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 755 metres.

On approaching Aviemore on the A9 I entered an area of low cloud which appeared to have engulfed the Strathspey area. Just south of Aviemore I left the A9 at the Lynwilg junction and drove to the end of the public road where there was ample parking for several vehicles. On setting off on foot I passed through a gate and commenced a steep climb along a tarred section of road. I found this tough on the calves and I might have been better parking further away and stretching my legs rather than tackling this climb straight from the car.

The gradient later eased and I was able to enjoy the autumnal colours of the trees as they appeared out of the cloud. Higher up there were a few Caledonian Pine trees at the side of the road and at one, which turned out to be the final one, I left the track and commenced the ascent of the south ridge of Carn Dearg Mor. With the heather managed for grouse the underfoot condition made for a relatively easy ascent. As I gained height I got above the cloud with interesting views of Strathspey. I also had a bit of sun but unfortunately this didn’t last. The cairn on Carn Dearg Mor, a Graham Top, was reached although the highest point may have been closer to the fence. I took a short break here looking across to the Cairngorms which were sandwiched between layers of cloud.

A stock fence was followed north-west to the boggy col with Geal-charn Beag then over more bog to this summit, a Graham Top. Here there was a cairn but again it appeared a point beside the fence was slightly higher.

The descent off Geal-charn Beag was by its south ridge to the col with Geal-charn Mor where I commenced the easy ascent of this hill. I crossed the Burma Road and followed a well worn path to the Geal-charn Mor’s summit, marked by a trig point. Unfortunately by the time I arrived at the top it had been engulfed by cloud.

I returned to the Burma Road and diverted to the nearby cairn, a memorial to a local gamekeeper, where I ate lunch. I then descended by the Burma Road, which was initially constructed by prisoners during the Second World War, back to the start.

previous ascent

Geal-charn Mor Corbett third ascent 824 metres

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Geal Charn

23 October 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 16.75 kilometres. Ascent - 765 metres.

My plan was to climb Geal Charn in the Monadhliath Range of Mountains from Glen Markie, starting at the Spey Dam, west of the hamlet of Laggan. On my arrival at this location I was surprised to see no parking signs and discover that a construction site was being built in connection with the installation of new pylons for the Beauly to Denny transmission line. I therefore drove over the Spey Bridge, passed a track used by construction vehicles, and parked beside the path that led down to the Spey Dam. I checked out this path to ascertain if continued across the dam but the answer was no.

I walked back along the road, crossed the road bridge and followed the track that led to the construction site and Glen Markie. Various improvements had been made to the initial section of the track as construction vehicles used it to reach what appeared to be a temporary bridge before following a new track west, apparently for several miles.

It was good to get away from this area and the noise of the lorries being unloaded. The walk up the glen on this calm morning was pleasant with just the noise from the nearby Markie Burn, the roaring of the stags and the grouse calls breaking the silence.

I was approaching the higher reaches of the glen when I met the estate owner on his ATV. He was out to recce his deer and we had a long chat before going our separate ways. On reaching the Piper’s Burn I crossed the Markie River, without difficulty, and followed a boggy track up the north side of the burn, passed a waterfall, to a gate that was tied down.

A walker’s path which was boggy in places followed the northern tributary of the Piper’s Burn although the path eventually disappeared prior to the gradient increasing. I climbed onto Geal Charn’s north-east ridge and into the cloud disturbing a few deer. The large summit cairn was reached where I found some shelter from a cool breeze for lunch.

The cloud was now quite thick so I took a bearing and followed it to the col between Geal Charn and the Corbett Top, Beinn Sgiath. The cloud briefly cleared and I spotted a couple of chaps on the horizon but never saw them again. It was an easy climb to the few stones marking the summit of Beinn Sgiath.

There was no point in hanging around so I followed the wide south-west ridge and through the cloud observed a family of ptarmigan. Lower down more deer ran off. Once beyond the rocks on the east face of Beinn Sgiath I descended towards Glen Markie to a point just north of the forest. There were still some rocks to avoid and the ground was wet and slippery in places. On approaching the Markie River I got closer to some young stags which I think are called ‘spikes’ due to the shape of their antlers.

The river was crossed and I climbed the steep embankment onto the track which was followed back to the start. Thankfully the construction site was closed for the day. On my return there were a couple of vehicles beside my car, their drivers working at the dam, so this off road parking area might not always be available.

previous ascent

Geal Charn Munro sixth ascent 926 metres

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Creag Dhubh

23 August 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 3.75 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 560 metres.

Four years ago I ascended Creag Dhubh by its south-west ridge so on this visit I set my sights on a north-easterly approach starting from the west end of the village of Newtonmore, where I parked my car on the verge beside the bridge over the River Calder.

We crossed the bridge on foot and immediately thereafter passed through a small wicket gate which led to a narrow grassy track. This track soon ended at another wicket gate where the options were to walk up the driveway of the house at Ballaid to a gate at its east side, which I wasn’t particularly happy with, or cross the driveway and follow what appeared to be a path round the west side of the property. I chose the latter which took us between the Riding School and the residence then very close to the rear of the house. Fortunately no one approached us as I didn’t consider this an acceptable walking route.

A vehicle track at the rear of the property was accessed through a gate and after a short distance this track led to a forest where we passed through another unlocked gate. The vehicle track wound its way through the trees and we passed a few paths which were possibly used by the Riding School. The track came to an end and was replaced by a path obviously used by horses. The ridge was visible but the path wasn’t heading in the correct direction so we left it, crossed marshy ground and followed some animal trails through trees, bracken and then heather eventually gaining the ridge.

The heather was fairly long as we walked along the west side of the ridge to a slight drop. Beyond, a path on the east side of the undulating ridge was followed to the summit cairn where we had reasonable views despite some rain clouds floating around.

After a short break we retraced our route along the path then kept to it as it followed the east side of the ridge before descending through heather to the forest below. It became a bit steeper and awkward as it wound its way round trees and over boulders before it levelled out and joined the path used on the upward route. We then followed this route back to the start although we opted to pass the east side of Biallaid House on this occasion.

previous ascent

Creag Dhubh Graham second ascent  756 metres.

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Carn Glas-choire

14 June 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 36. Time taken 4 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 425 metres.

My walking companion was heading home so today’s Graham had to be south of Inverness. Carn Glas-choire wasn’t too far from the Highland Capital so we settled on this hill, which is located north-east of Carrbridge.

The planned starting point was the B9007 Forres Road, just north of the hamlet of Duthill. I was aware from my previous visit that parking in the area was a problem but on arrival discovered a recently constructed entrance to the forest on the east side of the road. There was no obvious forest activity taking place so I took the chance and parked there.

We walked the short distance north on the B9007 to the vehicle track leading to Auchterteang Cottage. Not far along this track we crossed a new cattle grid although there was a gate if required. This was part of an extensive area of moorland that had been fenced off for tree planting. There were numerous bird calls as we continued towards the Cottage where my main concern was the dogs which I had a problem with on my previous visit. The gates at either end of the Cottage grounds were open and fortunately the dogs were locked away.

Steady progress was made along the vehicle track with the grouse moor to the east now covered in young saplings. Further on we reached the top end of the fenced off area where there was another cattle grid and gate. Beyond that we came to an estate hut, presumably locked, where we stopped for a coffee break looking across to the cloud topped Cairngorms. There were more bird sounds from the rough grassy vegetation nearby as the birds appeared to be disturbed by the sheep.

Once coffee was over we continued along the track which had been extended even further than on my previous visit. It now crossed the east shoulder of Carn Glas-choire. At the high point, we left the track and walked across moss and lichen which gave very little grip as it was wet and slippery, so I needed to take a bit of extra care to avoid another fall.

The summit trig point and cairn were reached with views of the Cairngorms, out to the Moray Firth and across towards Ben Rinnes. After a few minutes at the summit we returned to the car, which appeared not to have inconvenienced anyone, by the ascent route.

previous ascent

Carn Glas-choire Graham second ascent 659 metres

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Creag Meagaidh, Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Carn Liath

2 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 21.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres.

The starting point for the ascent of these three Munros was the car park at Aberarder on the A86 Newtonmore to Spean Bridge Road. Although it was only 9am there were already three vehicles parked there.

I set off along a marked path to the property at Aberarder, which was bypassed to the east, before a good quality path led through the trees and into Coill a’Choire, following the north side of the Allt Coire Ardair. The path had been improved since my last visit and the old railway sleepers, which were a nightmare to cross when icy, had been removed. The area was quite overgrown, which was obviously the idea, so they must have good deer management as I never spotted any all day.

Around ninety minutes after setting off from the car park I arrived at Lochan a’Choire and just above this loch I stopped for a coffee break trying to shelter from a strong wind. Well at least the midges weren’t going to be a problem on this walk. After my break I continued up the path, which had been upgraded as far as the crossing of the stream flowing down from Stob Poite Coire Ardair. The obvious path steepened before it reached the scree below The Window. The scree was climbed and a patch of snow crossed before reaching Uinneag Coire Ardair.

Here a couple of chaps were seated taking a break and another couple, whom I had followed up the glen, were now climbing Stob Poite Coire Ardair. I had views towards Glen Roy but at this time the summit of Creag Meagaidh was in cloud. I commenced the ascent of Creag Meagaidh following a stone path but took a slight diversion to the top of the cliffs above Coire Ardair to take a few photos.

I rejoined the path to Creag Meagaidh and by this time the cloud had lifted. I walked to Mad Meg’s cairn and then the final easy gradient to Creag Meagaidh’s summit cairn. Well it would have been easy but the wind was quite strong and contained a few spots of rain. On reaching the cairn some of the surrounding mountains were cloud covered but I had views to Glen Spean and across to Loch Treig.

Due to the wind I didn’t linger here but returned to the bealach meeting the two guys I had seen earlier. From the bealach I climbed to the summit cairn of Stob Poite Coire Ardair where I met another couple of guys who were going in the opposite direction. I continued to the easterly cairn, which appears to be a couple of metres lower, before descending the east ridge and climbing to the Munro Top, Sron Coire a’Chriochairein. It was now very windy and I was getting buffeted about at times so progress slowed a bit. However I did manage to find some shelter on the lee side for lunch, looking over to Shesgnan and the Corrieyairack Hills.

From this Munro Top I descended to the col at Uinneag Min Choire where on the ascent out of this col I was brought to a halt by the strength of the wind. Once on the move again I climbed to the second Munro Top of the day, Meall an t-Snaim before descending to the col at Uinneag Coire a’Chaorainn. Thereafter it was a gradual ascent to the stony summit of Carn Liath, marked by a cairn.

It was now time to return to my car so I descended south crossing some boulder fields. I joined a walker’s path lower down and followed it, as it wound its way to Na Cnapanan. Here there appeared to be a choice of routes so I opted for the path to its east which later swung round below its summit and made for an area of overgrown vegetation including birch trees. Here it was like walking through a jungle. Although the path was obvious, on several occasions I had to push aside the small trees to keep to the route. However I eventually reached the good quality path used that morning and followed it back to the start.

Creag Meagaidh Munro fifth ascent 1130 metres
Stob Poite Coire Ardair Munro fifth ascent 1054 metres
Carn Liath Munro fifth ascent 1006 metres

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Beinn a’Chaorainn and Beinn Teallach

10 April 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 34 or 41. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1170 metres.

I drove south from Inverness on the A82 as far as Spean Bridge, then east on the A86 to Roughburn, which was the start for the ascent of these two Munros. There were already three vehicles parked there and I found a space avoiding blocking the deer gate, which requires to be kept clear for vehicular access to the forest.

I walked up the track through the forest on a calm and rather hazy morning with the birds singing. At a junction of tracks I took a left and after a short distance came to a small cairn which marked the start of the fire break. Initially the ground was very wet and on entering the gap, boggy, but I managed to avoid most of it by walking through the trees at the side. Higher up there was a slight improvement before I reached the stile over the deer fence.

I was now on the open hillside and initially followed traces of a path as it headed towards the rocks of Meall Clachaig, but the path soon disappeared and I made my own way through the rocks and onto a small knoll. The earlier haze was clearing but it was still calm so I stopped here for a second breakfast, looking across to Loch Treig and the snow capped Easains, Grey Corries and Aonach Mor.

After my snack I descended slightly before continuing with the ascent of Beinn a’Chaorainn and noticed a lone walker higher up on the ridge. It was a steady climb with the occasional trace of a path and some snow patches, which could be avoided. I arrived on the summit plateau with the vista opening up around me. I crossed an area of snow, which had been softened by the sun and reached the cairn marking the South Top of Beinn a’Chaorainn. I now also had views of Beinn a’Chaorainn's true summit, its North Top, Creag Meagaidh and the cornices above Coire na-Uamha. A sole walker was heading to the highest point as was a man and his dog, who appeared to have come directly up from the Glen.

From the South Top I descended to its col with the Middle Top and took a few photos of the cornices. Bootprints went close if not over the edge, which may be a walking route but not in my book. I then made the ascent of Beinn a’Chaoriann keeping away from the cornices, as had other walkers. The man and dog were descending back into the glen and the sole walker was now on the North Top. I headed over to the North Top, where Stob Poite Coire Ardair could be seen beyond Creag Meagaidh. The actual summit of the North Top was buried under the snow so like a few others before me I went to what appeared to be the highest point without, hopefully, going onto the cornice.

The descent involved heading north over snow covered terrain before I gradually swung round to the west where the ground became steeper as I crossed a mixture of terrain, including some rocks and snow. Several of the snow fields couldn’t be avoided but the snow was soft so there were no problems crossing it, other than occasionally sinking too far. I reached the Tom Mor bealach just north of the cairn and saw a couple of solo walkers, possibly those I had seen earlier, on the north ridge of Beinn Teallach.

After crossing a bit of bog, filled with snow, I climbed onto Beinn Teallach’s north ridge and commenced its ascent passing a group of walkers going in the opposite direction, the first folks I had met all day. I reached Beinn Teallach’s North-East cairn where I came across a chap from Buckie, a member of Scottish Hills, who was just finishing his lunch, and possibly one of the chaps I had been following all day. I accompanied him the few metres to the other, and possibly, higher cairn, where I stopped for lunch while he headed downhill and back home.

Members of a hill walking club were also lunching here with views west towards Meall nan Teanga, Sron a'Choire Ghairbh and to the snow capped Kintail mountains beyond. The club members soon departed leaving me in peace and tranquillity and taking in the surrounding vista. Before they left I had ascertained that the crossing of the Allt a ‘Chaorainn wasn’t a problem.

Once lunch was over I descended the south ridge of Beinn Teallach, which had a few small snow fields and traces of a path, quite wet and boggy in places. The Allt a ‘Chaorainn was reached and I continued down its west bank, to where it was wider with a couple of small islands, and made the crossing easily. I then followed a vehicle track to the forest edge where instead of continuing on the vehicle track I followed traces of a path through a fire break. This path was rather wet and boggy in places so was probably an error, but it later joined the vehicle track I used in the morning. It was then a short walk back to the car with a plan for an overnight camp once I stocked up with food in Fort William.

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Beinn a'Chaorainn Munro fifth ascent 1052 metres
Beinn Teallach Munro fifth ascent 914 metres

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Creag Liath

24 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 505 metres.

The start for this walk was the end of the public road in Glen Balloch, accessed from the village of Newtonmore where there is parking for a number of vehicles. I was here last October to climb the Munro, Carn Dearg.

On the drive south from Inverness the weather was variable with some fresh snow on the A9 and patches of low cloud creating poor visibility. As I set off from the car park and descended to Shepherd’s Bridge the mountain tops were covered in cloud. Beyond the bridge the vehicle track was icy with hard packed rutted snow as it had been used by estate vehicles. Some of the snow had been scraped to establish a route for these vehicles. A shepherd on his All Terrain Vehicle past me headed in the opposite direction and as I headed west the cloud on Creag Liath broke occasionally so I was optimistic that the weather would improve.

Prior to the bridge over the Allt Fionndrigh I left this vehicle track and followed another one that run up the east side of the burn. Progress was now a bit easier as there were bare sections of ground some created by animals searching for food. I was well up this glen when the sun broke through and I had views of the snow covered mountains to the north and my intended destination, Creag Liath. Glen Banchor was still in the cloud.

I continued to the footbridge over the Allt Fionndrigh where there was a slight drop from the snow covered heather to reach the bridge structure. I then followed bootprints through a gully and when these bootprints headed north I turned and commenced the ascent of the north ridge of Creag Liath. Once I had gained some height I came across some more bootprints as I worked my way up the ridge searching for the easiest route and avoiding some of the large snowfields that dropped into Gleann Ballach. I had earlier spotted a few figures walking north up this glen probably heading for the Munro, Carn Dearg. The sun was still out but there was a lot of cloud floating around and by the time I made it to the summit cairn it was rather cloudy round about.

After a short break at the summit I climbed to the south top. The cloud had now broken up and I could see the sun shinning on the snow covered Cairngorms. I descended south-east following bootprints and crossed several snow fields, some of which held my weight while others collapsed slowing progress a bit. The bootprints appeared to head direct for the River Calder but my target was the forest on the west side of the Allt Fionndrigh so I made my own trail. I spotted several hinds who just wandered off. Maybe in the soft snow it was too difficult for them to run. Apparently in these wintry conditions it is best for the deer not to run as they need to conserve energy, so I was pleased that they hadn't rushed off.

On reaching the south-west corner of the forest I made my way to the Allt Fionndrigh, crossed this stream, and returned to the car park by my outward route.

Creag Liath Graham second ascent 743 metres

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Carn Dearg

17 October 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 19 kilometres. Ascent - 830 metres.

The start for the ascent of the Munro, Carn Dearg, was the end of the public road in Glen Banchor reached from the main street in Newtonmore. It was a sunny, frosty morning with some early morning mist, which was burning away.

On my arrival at the parking area there were signs indicating that stalking was in progress. I wasn’t satisfied that these signs were current as a vast area was being restricted to walkers and the track beyond the car park and along the north side of the River Calder was a Right of Way.

I set off along the Right of Way to the nearby Shepherd’s Bridge which was covered in frost. There was no evidence that a vehicle had crossed the bridge that morning. Further on the puddles on the track had a layer of ice and which was still intact. I therefore came to the conclusion that if stalking was taking place it wasn't in the area I was headed.

The track was followed along the north shore of the River Calder. On the opposite side I heard the noise of several roaring stags in and around the trees, which were magnificent in their autumnal colours. Just before the boarded up house at Glenballoch I left the Right of Way and walked up the track on the east side of the Allt Fionndrigh with several groups of deer on either side of the glen. The track came to an end and a boggy path led to a footbridge which had recently been repaired. Beyond this bridge the poor quality of the path continued through a gap before I climbed to a small cairn on the south-east ridge of Meall na Ceardaich. Here I sat for a while surrounded by the noise of the roaring stags.

The next section of the walk involved a lot of wandering around peat hags (see photo 11) as I made my way towards the Allt Ballach. There was a large group of deer around Meall na Ceardaich and stags were walking back and forth and being chased off by the dominant stag. A few grouse rose as I made progress through the peat hags but on reaching the stream the walking became a bit easier. At the head of Gleann Ballach more peat hags were traversed and some rocks avoided before I climbed towards the north ridge of Carn Dearg. I obviously disturbed a stag and his hinds as they ran off over the ridge and out of sight.

Once on the north ridge it was only a short walk to the summit cairn perched on the edge of the easterly cliffs. It was still a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze on the summit and some good views especially clear towards the Cairngorms, the Kintail mountains and the Cullin of Skye. The Drummochter Hills to the south and the Laggan Hills to the west were rather hazy.

I left the summit of Carn Dearg and walked the short distance to its South-East Top, classed as a Munro Top, and on my descent from this summit spotted a couple of ptarmigan. I could still hear the roaring of the stags in the corrie below and was able to watch them for a while as the dominant stag chased off any pretenders. The hinds appeared to be aware of my presence as they were barking warnings. It wasn’t till I moved that they did likewise.

The col with Carn Macoul was reached and I climbed this Corbett Top before finding somewhere for lunch while watching the deer below me. Afterwards I descended the south ridge which was steep and rocky in places and led to Gleann Lochain. Here a boggy path headed south-east down the side of the Allt an Lochain Duibh. However lower down it became very wet and the route wasn’t obvious so I cut across more wet ground to the ruined house at Dalballoch, where I found the path that headed east along Glen Balloch and the Right of Way back to the start.

I never came across any stalkers or their vehicles. I did hear on three occasions shots away in the distance but it could easily have been from adjoining estates.

Carn Dearg Munro fifth ascent 945 metres.

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Beinn Iaruinn

31 January 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken – 3.25 hours. Distance - 6.2 kilometres. Ascent - 623 metres.

The original plan was to head further west but the forecast, which midweek didn't mention the wind gusts of up to 90mph, put us off any ridge walking so we settled for this Corbett instead. The starting point was Glen Roy, accessed from the A86 at Roy Bridge, at the bridge over the stream flowing out of Coire nan Eun. (Grid Reference NN 30835 89064) Another car was already parked here and we set off up the east side of the stream where there were traces of a path, which soon disappeared.

It was a steady climb up through grassy rakes in the mainly heathery hillside aiming for the north-east ridge of Beinn Iaruinn. The driver of the other car parked at the start was slightly further west as he descended to his vehicle. He obviously had an early start and I noted that he later drove further up the Glen, probably to climb one of the Carn Dearg's, as suggested in the SMC Corbett Book.

Once on the ridge it was an easy walk to the summit of Beinn Iaruinn crossing a few snow patches. It was fairly windy here but nothing like what was forecasted. Here we had views to the three Glen Roy Carn Deargs, the Creag Meagach Group, the Laggan Munros, the Easians, the Grey Corries, Aonach Mor, Ben Nevis, Meall na Teanga, Stob a'Choire Ghairbh and Ben Tee to mention the nearest.

We decided to do a circuit of Coire nan Eun and as expected we were rather exposed to the wind at the top of the Coire and beyond that there were a few snowfields to cross. The route back to the car was a rather steep descent through long heather avoiding the rocks to our left. It was rather slow going and not the most enjoyable of descents. On my previous ascent of Beinn Iaruinn I had included the Graham Leana Mhor to the south.

Beinn Iaruinn Corbett second ascent 803 metres

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Geal Charn

29 December 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken – 4.75 hours. Distance - 12.6 kilometres. Ascent - 650 metres.

The two routes to reach the Munro, Geal Charn, are from Glen Markie or Garva Bridge both accessed from the unclassified road that runs west from Laggan Village on the A86 Newtonmore to Spean Bridge Road. I had decided on the Garva Bridge approach although it did mean an additional six kilometres drive.

I was surprised to find that the temperature at Garva Bridge was around freezing as it had been a lot colder on my drive south. There were already two cars in the car park east of Garva Bridge and a couple were also camping nearby. I set off from the car park, crossed Garva Bridge and walked up a vehicle track on the west side of a stream, re-crossed it by another bridge and followed a track and walker’s path up the side of the Feith Talagain. In normal circumstances this path would be wet and boggy but due to the recent cold weather the ground was frozen hard so there was no problem with sinking into the bog. The only obstacle were areas of ice.

The Allt Coire nan Dearcag was reached and although the water was low the stream was awkward to cross as most of the boulders were covered in ice. It was easier to enter the water than risk sliding on the ice. Beyond this the ascent of Geal Charn's south-west ridge commenced initially over heather and frozen bog until higher up where there was an obvious path through the frost covered vegetation. Here it was very cold in a strong icy wind and the down jacket came into use.

On approaching the summit the cloud covered the top so the last thirty metres or so of ascent were in poor visibility. However I was once again trying out my GPS, having already failed on Carn a’Mhaim and Creag Rainich to get it to work properly, on this occasion it took me directly to the large summit cairn. Hopefully I'll remember how it works for my next outing as it will be a useful addition to map and compass.

I remained at the summit for a few minutes hoping that the sun would break through but to no avail so I returned to Garva Bridge by the ascent route.

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Geal Charn Munro fifth ascent 926 metres

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Carn Dearg and Leana Mhor

2 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken – 5 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 830 metres.

There are three Corbetts called Carn Dearg and two Grahams named Leana Mhor in Glen Roy. Our target on this visit was those on the east side of Glen Roy. The glen is reached from Roy Bridge on the A86 Laggan to Spean Bridge Road. Just south of Brae Roy Lodge there is a wooden bridge which crosses the River Roy to a barn. We parked beside the bridge and while preparing to leave were joined by several other cars and walkers.

We crossed the bridge and followed the north bank of the stream flowing out of Coire na Reinich. It was a lovely sunny morning with snow lying higher up although being on the west side of the mountain we were in the shade. Higher up we spotted deer and heard the roar of the stags as they roamed around the hinds. As we got nearer the deer became aware of our presence and disappeared over the hill.

Despite being in the shade it was warm work as we gained height and followed a tributary onto less steep snow covered ground and eventually into the sun. The snow was rather soft as we walked towards the summit of Carn Dearg avoiding some bog and peat hags. To the north we could see the other two Carn Deargs.

On reaching the summit of Carn Dearg there was a cool breeze blowing with great views of the Munros, Beinn Teallach, Beinn a’Chaorainn and Creag Meagaidh, with its ‘Window’, which stood out well in the snow. To the south there were views of the Easians, Grey Corries, Aonach Beag, Aonach Mor, and the summit of Ben Nevis. In the distance we could see the Loch Quoich and Kintail mountains as well as to the north, Ben Wyvis.

After a short break at the summit we headed down the south-west ridge of Carn Dearg and met the group of walkers who had obviously come up from Coire Dubh. However we continued on a south-westerly direction to the col with Leana Mhor where we had to cross a fence. The fence was unusual in that it had been folded over to make a double layer of fencing, something I don’t think I have seen before.

We ascended a gully before cutting across and heading to the summit of Leana Mhor. The summit was reasonably flat but I eventually found what appeared to be the highest point as it was marked by a few stones. We weren’t the first walkers there that day as there were other boot prints in the snow. There were good views across Glen Roy to Beinn Iaruinn, the other Leana Mhor and beyond to Meall na Teanga.

The descent was by the steep north ridge of Leana Mhor to a fence which we followed before crossing the stream flowing from Coire Dubh. We then followed one of the Parallell Roads, before descending to the bridge over the River Roy used earlier that day.

Carn Dearg Corbett second ascent 834 metres
Leana Mhor Graham first ascent 676 metres

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Creag Ruadh

30 August 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 35. Time taken – 2.75 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 380 metres.

The starting point for the ascent of this Graham was the unclassified road that leaves the A86 at Laggan Village and heads west towards Garva Bridge and the Corrieyairack Pass. Just beyond the house at Sherrabeg I found a place to park and headed across a boggy field to the west of the Allt Sniomhach. As the ground became steeper the terrain was a bit drier.

I came to a deer fence which I followed until I reached a mature woodland. Here there was a gate that gave access to the younger plantation so I went through this gate and followed the deer fence separating the two forests. There were traces in the long grass of an all terrain vehicle having used this route but not recently. A black grouse flew off. Higher up I came to more open ground and climbed a rocky ridge, which in places was covered in flowering heather.

At the highest point on the ridge I had to climb over a deer fence and walked to Loch na Lairige. It was then a short easy climb to the summit trig point of Creag Ruadh. Here I had good views of Loch Laggan, Lochan na h-Earba and the Grahams Binnein Shuas and Binnein Shios. The higher Monadh Liath mountains were covered in cloud.

I took a break sheltering from the wind before heading back to Loch na Lairige and then down the west ridge, following the deer fence, avoiding some rocky outcrops. A snipe was startled and flew out of the long grass. I joined the vehicle track in Glen Shirra and followed it through the forest to Glenshero Lodge. I heard what sounded like a capercaillie but I couldn't see it. From Glenshero Lodge it was just a short walk back along the road to my car.

Creag Ruadh Graham first ascent 622 metres

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Creag Dhubh

3 August 2008

photos taken on walk

Map- OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 7 kilometres. Ascent - 500 metres.

It was only a short drive from my earlier ascent of Meall nan Eagan to the A86 Newtonmore to Laggan Road. Parking near Auchmore east of Cluny Castle was a bit awkward as the carriageway was rather narrow at this point.

Just west of Auchmore and on the opposite side of the road, a large metal gate allowed me access to the field on the north side of the A86. The track shown on the map wasn't immediately obvious but I soon spotted it and followed it uphill. Not long afterwards the rain started and got heavier, however progress was relatively easy and a wooden gate had to be crossed as it was tied to posts.

At the end of the track the ground was very wet and boggy so I searched for the best route as I followed a fence towards Creag Dhubh. I met a couple descending who told me that the rocks on the ridge were very slippery due to the rain, which had now ceased, and lichen and that they had come down through the heather. I therefore made a direct ascent of Creag Dhubh through the heather, crossing a fence en-route. On approaching the summit I spotted a stag and stopped to photograph it. I took a few pictures trying to remain relatively still and the stag twice took a couple of steps towards me. However I couldn't remain still for long as the midges were attacking me. As soon as I moved the stag ran off downhill.

The twin summit cairns were reached with views of Newtonmore, Glen Truim, Glen Banchor and out west to the Laggan mountains. I was planning to have lunch here but the midges changed my mind so I set off down Creag Dhubh's south ridge. It wasn't too slippery, just a bit of care required now and again. Lower down I joined the upward route and followed it back to the start.

Creag Dhubh Graham first ascent 756 metres

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Glen Roy

10 – 11 May 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken - 2.5hrs/1.5hrs/6hrs Distance - 7.5k/6.5k/15k. Ascent - 530m/200m/790m

Glen Roy has seven mountains that are either Corbetts or Grahams, three have the name Carn Dearg and two are called Leana Mhor which makes the area rather confusing, especially to those that are unaware of this.

However my first mountain was the lone Graham, Creag Dhubh, located between Glen Spean in the south and Glen Roy. From Roy Bridge on the A86 in Glen Spean I drove up the unclassified road on the east side of the River Roy as far as the road end at Bohenie Farm. The area is a bit untidy with ruins and bits and pieces lying about but I did manage to find somewhere to leave my car.

A new track had been constructed to the forest east of Bohennie Farm as it appears that these trees may be ready for cutting. I followed this track to the forest then walked round its south side and followed traces of the path shown on the map. New fences and gates had been constructed in the area and further east new tress had been planted which in time will probably make this route to Creag Dhubh a bit more awkward.

The going was a bit rough in places but fortunately it had been dry for a few days so that helped me cross the wet and boggy sections. There were rumbles of thunder but I was hoping that it would stay dry although it was a bit cloudy. Higher up the final fence was electrified but a plastic grip allowed the fence to be opened at a gate. I thereafter followed a path north for a short distance before leaving it and climbing towards the summit of Creag Dubh. The going was relatively easy over minor dips. As I approached the summit I was surprised to meet a chap coming off the hill as it is unusual to come across walkers on less popular Grahams.

After a short chat we parted and I headed to the summit cairn and trig point with views into Glen Spean and across to the hazy Grey Corries and Easains. After sitting there for a while I felt a few spots of rain so headed downhill returning to my car by the route of ascent.

I returned to Roy Bridge and drove up the road on the west side of the River Roy to the end of the public road south of Brae Roy Lodge. Once I had sorted my gear I set of passed Brae Roy Lodge to Turret Bridge, crossed the bridge, and followed the vehicle track east along the north side of the River Roy to a point around one kilometre west of the bothy at Luib-chonnal. Here I set up camp and made my evening meal. Later on I took a walk to the bothy which I found to be uninhabited. Work appeared to be on going by the Mountain Bothy Association with the upper level having new flooring and a stove. I could have saved weight and left my tent in the car.

The next morning after some occasional light rain I packed and headed up the path towards the Allt Chonnal. The path wasn’t very obvious but there were some All Terrain Vehicle tracks to follow. I later followed the Allt Dubh and then the Allt Beithe Mor into the cloud and to the bealach between Carn Dearg Beag and Carn Dearg. I then climbed to the summit cairn of Carn Dearg. There were no views to be had so I descended to another bealach between the two Carn Deargs which was clear of cloud.

I left my rucksack at this bealach and climbed the next Carn Dearg to the north of Gleann Eachach and back into the cloud. The cairn was reached, once again without any views before returning to the bealach for my sack. I then commenced the descent of Gleann Eachach until I found a suitable point to have lunch and a brew. Thereafter I continued down the glen following tracks, which were probably of the animal variety, avoiding several deep gorges. Lower down the walking became less steep as I entered Glen Turrett and headed back to Turrett Bridge and Glen Roy for my car.

previous ascent of the Carn Deargs

Creag Dubh Graham first ascent 658 metres
Carn Dearg Corbett second ascent 768 metres
Carn Dearg Corbett second ascent 815 metres

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Carn na Saobhaidhe

1 November 2007

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 26 kilometres. Ascent - 770 metres.

This rather remote Corbett is located at the north end of the Monadhliath Mountains and can be climbed from Strath Dearn in the east or from Strath Nairn in the north. I planned to climb it from the north.

The starting point was Dunmaglass on the B851 Fort Augustus to Nairn Road just west of a telephone box. There is very limited parking in the area. I set off along the Estate road and shortly thereafter spoke with the gamekeeper. He was a pleasant chap and told me that there were at least a couple of stalking parties out on the hills shooting hinds and that one party was on my ascent route. He ‘supposed’ it would be okay to continue so I took that to mean that access was permitted, well he didn’t say otherwise.

My route involved using several of the Estate tracks that would take me to the final ascent across peat hags to a small summit cairn. From my previous ascent, when the higher tracks were snow covered, I was aware that a track, not shown on the map, ran to and probably beyond the Carn na Saobhaidhe/Carn Mhic Iamhair bealach.

Lower down there were lots of game birds with numbered shooting posts. On the track up the side of the Allt Uisg an t-Sidhein I came across a parked Land Rover and a few minutes later I heard five shots and spotted a few deer running off. I never saw the shooters.

The Estate had obviously constructed numerous tracks and care was required to ensure I followed the correct ones. A lone wind turbine, which wasn’t working, located on the south summit of Beinn Dubhcharaidh was passed on its south side but at this time the cloud started to lower and the rain became a bit more steady.

A couple of deer ran off so the stalkers wouldn’t get them, well not that morning at least. Tracks seem to head off on all directions but I managed to keep to the correct one which led towards the source of the Aberchalder Burn. The track required crossing at least a couple of times but the water was quite high so by keeping to the east bank rather than crossing the stream the track was soon rejoined.

The low cloud prevented me from seeing where the tracks headed. As well as feeling remote there was also a feeling of being enclosed on the higher tracks which had piles of peat at the edges over six feet high. As I headed along one of these tracks towards the bealach between Carn na Saobhaidhe and Carn Mhic Iamhair another new track led off to my left which was towards the summit of Carn na Saobhaidhe. This track, again with piles of peat at the sides suddenly came out onto the mossy summit of Carn na Saobhaidhe and tracks led a few metres to the summit cairn. This was confirmed by using a GPS as the area was just a vast mass of moss.

There was nothing to see due to the low cloud so I about turned and returned by my ascent route. I never came across any other stalking parties but in the afternoon the cloud was well down the hill.

For fit cyclists it would be quite possible to cycle all the way to the summit cairn.

previous ascent

Carn na Saobhaidhe Corbett second ascent 811 metres

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Carn nan Tri-tighearnan

28 October 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 3 hours. Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 470 metres.

The forecast was for showers, wintry on the higher tops, so the plan was to have a short day south-east of Inverness as the west coast was to be hit by frequent showers especially later in the day.

Heavy overnight rain had eased and by the time I left Inverness the sun was out. The start of the walk was Dales at the end of public roads from Cawdor passed Drynachan Lodge. The section of road beyond the Lodge was in poor condition. There were ample parking facilities on a grass area just before the ford over the Allt Breac.

I crossed the ford and followed the Estate road that climbed above the River Findhorn on its west side. There were lots of game birds around and the Estate had planted several areas of the hillside with cereal crops for the birds to shelter and feed on and had constructed bird enclosures within the crops.

Higher up I followed a vehicle track that descended and re-crossed the Allt Breac. However the track was obviously no longer in use as it was overgrown and boggy with deep water filled gouges. I followed the track to its conclusion and then climbed up over heather, some of which over the years had been burnt.

The triangulation pillar on the summit of Carn an Uillt Bhric was reached with views across the Moray Firth to the Caithness Hills. Carn an Uillt Breac was 16 metres lower than my target hill which was still 1.5 kilometres further west. Initially the walking was relatively easy over some moss but then I came across an area of peat hags which took a bit of work to get round or across. Several mountain hares ran off when they spotted me.

After what seemed ages I eventually reached the summit trig point of Carn nan Tri-tighearnan where, despite the sun, it was cold in the strong wind. From the summit I had some good views of the Cairngorms and Ben Wyvis, the tops of which were cloud covered. I could see at least three different wind farms from this summit.

I descended south-east across more peat hags, some of which were rather deep and involved lots of ups and downs. In places I walked along the base of the peat hags which were around 12 feet high. Some areas of peat showed compacted tree roots which were obviously hundreds of years old.

I reached the top of a tributary of the Allt Breac where I found an All Terrain Vehicle track which I followed downhill across some boggy ground to a more substantial track. It thereafter joined the vehicle track above the River Findhorn which I used to rejoin my upward route and walk back to the start.

Carn nan Tri-tighearnan Graham first ascent 615 metres

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Carn Glas-choire

21 October 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 460 metres.

The start of this walk was the B9007 Duthil to Forres Road approximately one kilometre north of its junction with the A938 Carrbridge to Grantown on Spey Road. A wooden gate on the west side of the road says 'Cawdor Estate - Private Grouse Moor', which interested me as I am not aware of a public grouse moor, well not in Scotland. There are no parking facilities at this location.

I went through the gate and followed the vehicle track to Auchterteang Cottage. The track continued through what was the old farm buildings but I was unable to proceed as it was fenced off and two unfriendly dogs were running about barking and one was growling. I'm not a great lover of dogs I don't know so I walked round the property pursued by these dogs until I came across a fence topped by barbed wire. I had no option but cross this fence and rejoin the track. Someone was aware of my presence as a vehicle passed me just before I arrived at the Cottage and I also saw the front door close without any attempt made to control the dogs.

Once beyond the Cottage I made good progress across the vast track of grouse moor, although I saw only a few grouse. After a 'shooter's hut' the gradient increased and I followed it to its end which was just below the bealach east of Carn Glas-choire, which is slightly further than the map showed.

I climbed to the bealach over some peat hags and here saw some deer and mountain hares. The hares were starting to get their winter coat as they were starting to turn white. The climb to the summit trig point of Carn Glas-choire was rather awkward underfoot as it was very mossy. The moss was very wet and like a sponge with poor grip so I was sliding about. Eventually I reached the summit with hazy views of the Cairngorms, the tops of which were cloud covered and out to the Moray Firth.

The plan was to walk east along the ridge and take in the rocky summit of Creag na h-lolaire and rejoin the track beyond the shooter's hut. However this plan was abandoned as the area was a mass of peat hags and slippery moss so I returned to the B9007 by my route of ascent. My only concern was the dogs at Auchterteang Cottage but as I climbed the fence and walked round the property there was no sign of the dogs so my apprehension was unfounded.

The enjoyment of the walk was spoilt by the dogs so on my return home I e-mailed Cawdor Estate but to date they have not seen fit to reply. I don't want to walk through farm outbuildings so I have no objection to the area being fenced off. My complaint is the alternative route round the buildings involved clambering over a barbed wire fence. All it requires is a small gate and some signage and in my opinion the Estate would then be conforming with the Land Reform Scotland Act, 2003.

Carn Glas-choire Graham first ascent 659 metres

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Carn na h-Easgainn

9 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 2.5 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 350 metres.

The start of this walk was the A9 Inverness to Perth Road about 14 miles south of the City of Inverness and was conveniently situated for a morning stroll as I was staying there for a few days. A lay-by opposite Dalmagarry Farm allowed for parking at a railway bridge. Here there was a new sign and walking route to Tomatin Distillery a distance of around 2.1 miles.

I took this route, which went under the railway bridge, and followed the vehicle track up the side of the Allt a’Chuil. Various tracks led off the main track including the route to the Distillery but my route continued uphill and alongside the stream. The walking was easy using this track which led passed a wooden hut. My map showed the track stopped here but that was not the case as it continued over the top of the hill.

A few metres beyond the hut I left the track and initially crossed some wet and boggy ground as I headed for the south ridge of Carn na h-Easgainn. On approaching the ridge I was surprised to find a wind farm on the other side of the hill. The area was a mass of tracks leading to each of the turbines but at least I suppose there were hidden from public view.

It was rather windy on the ridge with lots of peat hags to cross before I finally climbed to the trig point marking the summit of Carn na h-Easgainn. Here there were good views of the City of Inverness and of the Moray Firth. Unfortunately to the west it was rather cloudy as rain was forecast for later in the day.

The return was by the ascent route and was uneventful.

Carn na h-Easgainn Graham first ascent 616 metres.

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Meall na h-Arse

28 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 640 metres.

The starting point for this walk was Garva Bridge which was accessed along an unclassified road from Laggan village on the A86 Newtonmore to Spean Bridge Road. Garva Bridge is an old Wade Bridge and there is a large parking area just before its crossing.

There were a few other vehicles already parked there when we arrived and some walkers were preparing to set out. Once ready we crossed Garva Bridge and followed the other walkers up the side of the Allt Coire Iain Oig. These walkers used the first bridge to re-cross the stream as they were headed for one of the Geal Charn Munros. We continued up the side of the stream to a second bridge where we crossed and commenced the climb to the Leathad Gaothach ridge. I noticed that we were being followed by two other walkers. However they later realised their error and had to re-trace their steps back to the first bridge as they were obviously headed for Geal Charn. Hopefully they will have learned not to follow other walkers without knowing where they are headed.

Once on this ridge we followed a fence for a while and upset a couple of grouse who were very alarmed. On treading carefully we came across two very young grouse chicks who blended in well with the surrounding grasses.

We crossed the fence and headed to the 844 knoll while blasted by a snow and hail storm. It lasted for around ten minutes and slowed our progress. Once beyond this knoll the storm passed and we headed onto the north-east ridge of Meall na h-Aisre where there were old fence posts to follow to the summit trig point. Here we had views to the Glen Doe Hydro Scheme which was under construction.

The weather was deteriorating again so we descended south to Coire Iain Oig where we disturbed some deer sheltering from the wind and sleet. Allt Coire Iain Oig was then followed back to the start.

previous ascent

Meall na h-Aisre Corbett second ascent 862 metres

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Gairbeinn

7 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 6 kilometres. Ascent - 555 metres.

I only had one client this day as after a tough four days one had returned home. My other client also needed to travel home at a reasonable time so it was a short walk to the summit of the Corbett, Gairbeinn in the Monadh Liath range of mountains.

It is possible to drive along the unclassified road from Laggan Village on the A86 almost as far as Melgarve, despite the gate at Garva Brdige, as it is a public road. However the road conditions suddenly deteriorate just before Melgarve where the tarred road ceases and General Wade's Military Road over the Corrieyairack Pass commences.

From Melgarve it was a steady climb towards the summit of Gairbeinn and the ascent was very uneventful. We did see one chap running down the hill. It was windy on the ridge especially so on approaching the summit cairn. From here we were able to see the construction vehicles at the Glen Doe hydro electric dam. In a few years time the views in this direction will change forever.

A few minutes later the cloud came in and the views were curtailed. We found some shelter for a snack before returning to the start by the ascent route disturbing a snipe en-route.

previous ascent

Gairbeinn Corbett second ascent 896 metres

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A'Chailleach and Carn Sgulain

13 September 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken: 5.5 hours. Distance: 15 kilometres. Ascent: 740 metres.

It was a windy morning when we set off from the end of the public road in Glen Banchor and followed a vehicle track up the east side of the Allt a'Chaorainn. Higher up the glen we located the bridge over the river and headed for the bothy marked on the map. The bothy lacked a door and window frame but had a table and bench inside but was a bit drafty looking.

From the bothy we followed a walker's path onto the south-west ridge of A'Chailleach and followed this path, which later became a bit steeper, to the summit cairn of A'Chailleach. It was very windy here so we didn't hang around and headed down its north side and crossed the Allt Cuil na Caillich.

The ascent of Carn Sgulain involved crossing numerous peat hags but we eventually reached its summit. The wind was even stronger now so we returned to the Allt Cuil na Caillich where it was a bit more sheltered. We followed this stream downhill through some rocks until we came to leveller ground.

The route down the glen was a bit torturous at times as we wound our way round some bog and lots of peat hags, at times following traces of a path. However we eventually reached the vehicle track used on the upward route and followed it back to Glen Banchor.

A'Chailleach Munro fifth ascent 930 metres
Carn Sgulain Munro fifth ascent 920 metres

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Carn a'Chuilinn

21 July 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 660 metres.

I parked my vehicle at the side of the B862 near the bridge over the Allt Doe and walked back along the road to the cattle grid where a small gate allowed access to the hill. I followed a deer fence south-west to the vehicle track that headed up Glen Doe and was astounded to find that it had been upgraded and widened considerably since my last visit.

I headed up Glen Doe on this 'motorway' of a track and a few minutes later an Estate staff member stopped and spoke to me. He informed me that the track had been improved to provide access to a new dam under construction several miles to the east and that the road upgrade continued all the way to the dam. He wasn't happy about the road construction but he said according to the plans the width of the track would be reduced once construction of the dam was complete. He was also worried that the construction work had had an adverse affect on the deer population and he didn't know where they had gone, especially with the stalking season approaching.

I continued up the Glen and passed several large construction vehicles but most of the workmen were taking a break in the sun. Several vehicles passed me, going in both directions, putting up lots of white dust with very poor visibility for several seconds until the dust settled.

I was subsequently stopped and warned about the dangers of being on a 'Construction Site' and told to take care. However a few minutes later I was again stopped and asked if I hadn't seen the signs stating that the area was a 'Construction Site' and informed I shouldn't be there. (There were no signs on the access route recommended to Glen Doe). I was further informed that the site will be closed for five years, which is the length of time it will take to construct the dam.

I continued on up Glen Doe, after being warned to take care, and at the turn in the track thankfully left it and headed along a poor quality stalker's path and commenced the climb of Carn a'Chuilinn. I saw a couple of the Estate's deer but they quickly disappeared. I also spotted a couple descending from the summit.

As I approached the summit a band of low cloud covered the hill so once I reached the summit cairn I only had limited views east to the numerous lochans. I could hear a pile driver working away in the distance but couldn't see where the construction of the dam was taking place.

I lingered on the summit for a while hoping that the cloud would lift to no avail so I commenced the descent to the stalker's path. The cloud did lift but by that time it was too late and I headed back by my route of ascent.

I met the couple I saw earlier on the vehicle track and we walked back together to the start. I was stopped for a third time and warned to take care but I was glad when I returned to my car to get away from all the construction and traffic.

Carn a'Chuilinn Corbett second asscent 816 metres

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Corrieyairack Pass

17 May 2006

photos taken on walk

The Corrieyairack Pass is a Wade's Road, built by General Wade in 1731 to link Fort Augustus with the south.

My client on this occasion was from London and was a member of the London Ramblers. She wanted a low level walk and the owner of the property she was residing at suggested a linear walk over the Corrieyairack Pass. Transport wasn't a problem as the client's host was to collect us at the other end.

We set off from the Ardachy Road, near Fort Augustus and walked up a path which led to the vehicle track of the Corrieyairack Pass. It was a bright and sunny morning and as we gained height we had good views of Fort Augustus and Loch Ness. Further along the road we had to leave the track to allow a Swiss registered 4 x 4 to pass westwards. Still wondering where he came from. Despite the fact that the road is a public road some of the later stretches are very eroded and would be difficult even for a 4 x 4 to traverse.

The next point of interest was the Blackburn Bothy, which had been re-built, and was in good condition. We had a look around it and noted from the Bothy Book that some TGO Challengers had past through in the last few days.

Once across the stream we continued along the road, the line of which was obvious as pylons cross the hillside in the same direction and at times parallel to the road. We crossed a few bridges and at a concrete building, probably used in connection with the electric pylons, we took shelter from a cool breeze for lunch. While sitting there I heard what I thought was the noise of a horse and on looking round the building saw half a dozen horses and their riders heading towards Fort Augustus.

After lunch it was a steady climb to the highest point of the Pass with views west to the mountains around Glen Dessary and Kintail. Once over the top we met the only walkers on the route who were heading for Blackburn Bothy. The route of descent was rather eroded, especially at the zig zags with some rough walking between boulders. One part of the banking had been washed into the adjoining stream.

The gradient of the road became easier as we headed downhill, although with a lot more erosion on this side of the Pass than on the north side. We eventually reached Melgarve Bothy which we visited before continuing east reaching the tarred road a few minutes later.

We followed this tarred road for a further couple of miles before we were uplifted as arranged.

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Geal-charn Mor

15 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3.25 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 600 metres.

It was cold and windy when I parked at Lynwilg, just west of the south entrance to Aviemore. However I was hoping that I could pop up and down this Corbett before the strong winds and heavy rain, which was forecast, arrived.

The walk commenced at the bridge over the Allt na Criche, which was probably part of the old A9 Perth to Inverness Road. Here there was a sign indicating that my intended route was part of a 'Right of Way' on the Burma Road which if followed led to the River Dulnain and onto Carrbridge.

The first section of the walk was on a tarred road until the Scripture Centre where a locked gate impeded progress. A sign warning of the danger of 'ticks' and another 'Right of Way' sign were posted on the gate. However a style afforded access over the deer fence, and a steep climb followed through the forest.

The gradient eased to a steady climb as I followed this vehicle track which took me to An Gleannan where I was passed by an Estate vehicle, the occupants of which were friendly enough as they at least acknowledged my presence. I continued on this track to its highest point where there are a couple of cairns and a monument to a deceased headkeeper.

I left the track and followed traces of a path over wind swept heather towards the summit of Geal-charn Mor disturbing a few hares in their winter coats. The path was rather slippery in places and has obviously been created by Corbett baggers. I entered the cloud base at around 750 metres and the path became rather indistinct. The wind was now bitingly cold and there was hoar frost on the heather.

I soon reached the frost covered trig point, which is located at the north-east end of the 820 contour mark, but continued south-west until the hill started to drop away and I was satisfied that the trig point was the actual summit.

I returned to the trig point but didn't linger as it was very cold and commenced my descent by the route I had taken on the upward route. I soon reached the vehicle track and on descending it I was once again passed by the Estate vehicle I mentioned earlier.

Once over the style and onto the tarred road again I heard the call of the buzzards as I walked the short distance back to my car. I had made it up and down before it rained.

Geal-charn Mor Corbett second ascent 824 metres

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Kingussie Corbett

11 September 2005

photos taken on walk

The start of this walk was at the Kingussie Golf Club, just north of the village. Fortunately I had been here before as the start isn't easy to find.

We approached the Golf Clubhouse and then walked round the back where a small footbridge took us over the Allt Mor. Thereafter a tarred road is followed on the east side of the stream to just before Pitman Lodge.

At this point we continued up the east bank of the stream before it headed out over the heather moors with the heather in bloom giving a purple tinge to the hillside. We disturbed lots of grouse as we went uphill so maybe the estate isn't shooting here this year.

The cloud base was at this time above the summits but it was a bit cool so we stopped at a hut, not marked on the OS map, for a coffee break. This was followed by a steep climb before the gradient eased as it reached Beinn Bhreac.

Although the OS map shows the track finishing south of Beinn Bhreac it actually continues over the side of this hill and onto Carn an Fhreiceadain which was today's target.

From the summit of Carn an Fhreiceadain we crossed over to a large well built cairn, which didn't seem to have any significance, before continuing down the track to the west of Carn an Fhreiceadain. Lower down we stopped for lunch before continuing the descent back towards Pitman Lodge. On this descent section the cloud lowered onto the hills and spots of rain could be felt but we managed to get back to the start before it rained.

Carn an Fhreiceadain Corbett second ascent 878 metres

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Geal Charn

18 March 2005

It had been a very wet week with lots of snow melt and localised flooding so the ascent of Geal Charn via Glen Markie was cancelled for the drier route from Garva Bridge.

From Garva Bridge we followed the track and path, which was a bit wet and boggy, up the side of the Feith Talagain. The water was rushing down this stream with a few small waterfalls.

On reaching the point where the Feith Talagain and Allt Coire nan Dearcag merged we were unable to cross the latter stream due to the volume of water so we walked up its south bank. Here it was at least sheltered from the wind.

We had to follow the stream for about a kilometre and a half before we found a suitable crossing point. Once over the stream we climbed through some wet snow to get onto the open hillside although there were no views by this time as the cloud had lowered.

A steady climb took us to the summit cairn of Geal Charn. En-route we came across some ptarmigan whose winter plumage was starting to change to a darker shade. However due to the lack of snow cover they were fairly obvious to any predators.

Geal Charn was Laila's 200th Munro so she only has 84 more to climb. Congratulations Laila and well done.

A few photographs were taken of the summit to mark this occasion before we returned to the Allt Coire nan Dearcag, near to where we had crossed it initially. Once across this stream we followed our outward route back to the start.

Geal Charn Munro fourth ascent 926 metres

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Gairbeinn

28 March 2004

From the Corrieyairack Pass at Melgrave a walk along the rough track followed by a climb up onto the summit of Gairbeinn. The intention was to continue out to Corrieyairiack Hill but due to the strong wind this plan was abandoned and a direct return made to Melgrave.

Gairbeinn Corbett first ascent 896 metres

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Laggan

22 March 2004

Frances wanted to climb the two Munros on the north side of Glean Spean. From Roughburn we followed a new track by the side of the river before commencing the steep climb up the snow clad Beinn Chaorainn. As we climbed higher we got into the cloud and on both the South Top and the actual summit we had no views. However as we headed out towards the North Top the cloud cleared and we had spectacular views to our right of twisted cornices.

Once down at the bealach a climb up to the summit of Beinn Teallach was interesting due to the different snow formations caused by the wind.

From the summit of Beinn Teallach we headed directly back to the start and on descending the south ridge we encountered a heavy snow shower.

Beinn Chaorainn Munro fourth ascent 1049 metres
Beinn Teallach Munro fourth ascent 915 metres

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Monadh Liath

21 March 2004

From Garva Bridge I followed the track up the side of the Allt Coire Iain Oig before climbing up onto the Leathad Gaothach where the snow was wet and fairly deep. A climb over the rocky top led me to Meall na h-Aisre. In the sunny weather there were good views of the surrounding hills. A pleasant lunch-break was had before a direct descent back to the Allt Coire Iain Oig and Grava Bridge.

Meall na h-Aisre Corbett first ascent 862 metres

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Monadh Liath

13 March 2004

I set off from Dunmaglass in Strath Nairn with a pleasant walk along the side of a river with lots of game birds flying around. Unfortunately there was evidence of shooting with numerous spent cartridges lying around. This reminded me of a visit to Glenlivet Estate many years ago where various signs asked visitors to take their litter home. However the Estate was littered with spent cartridges which would take many decades to decay. Hillwalkers have a responsibility to ensure a litter free countryside but so do Estate Owners so it is time that they tidied up after any shoot.

Further up the glen a new lodge has been constructed west of the present Dunmaglass Lodge but there was no sign of the occupants. However the Estate has erected signs to take you away from them.

I followed tracks climbing south passing a steel girder bridge which had been built to span a gorge. The bridge was obviously constructed to assist in gaining access to an adjoining hill where a large wind turbine has been erected. I can appreciate the need for windfarms but not only is it the turbine that blots the landscape but the poles crossing the hillside taking the power off the hill and the bulldozed tracks giving access to the turbines. If this topic is of interest to you an article appeared in January’s edition of the TGO and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has an item in its March magazine.

Getting away from the controversy of windfarms I continued south on various tracks disturbing several herds of deer. Higher up the paths were covered in snow and ice and a new bulldozed track continued beyond the point shown on the map. I am against these ugly tracks scarring the landscape and this one in particular has large unsightly mounds of peat and heather piled up at either side. However I have to admit that the track did make access easier, so it is a catch twenty-two situation.

I later had to leave this new track when it changed direction but due to the low cloud I was unable to ascertain where in fact the track was headed. I crossed over frozen bog and heather and reached a small cairn which marked the summit of the Corbett, Carn na Saobhaidhe. The return was the long walk back the way I had come.

Carn na Saobhaidhe Corbett first ascent 811 metres

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Glen Roy

9 November 2003

To suit my travel arrangements, I drove to the head of Glen Roy where I had two Corbetts left to climb.

I walked past Brae Roy Lodge where one sign welcomed considerate hillwalkers while another instructed visitors to remain off the hills between 1 July and 15 February due to deer stalking. I think this to be a bit of a contradiction. It is obvious from these signs that the Estate doesn’t want hillwalkers on their property so I look forward to next year’s legislation, which hopefully will resolve any possible confrontation.

It was Sunday and illegal to stalk on the Sabbath, so I continued on my quest to bag the two Carn Deargs. I walked up Glen Turret then a steep climb took me to the peat hags on the south-west side of the hill. Walking round the peat hags, where possible, I climbed to the summit of the first Carn Dearg.

After a short break looking north towards Fort Augustus, I descended to the bealach between the two Deargs and climbed up onto my second and final hill of the day. A descent back to Glen Turret, disturbing some stags en-route, and down to Brae Roy Lodge and these signs again, completed my walk.

Carn Dearg (North) Corbett first ascent 815 metres
Carn Dearg (South) Corbett first ascent 768 metres

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