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Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.


Postby Norman_Grieve » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:11 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Mhor (Uist)

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Beinn Corradail (South Uist), Thacla or Hecla (South Uist)

Date walked: 10/08/2012

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 36 km

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Scaled ma penultimate Graham, Beinn Mhor, following ascents of the sub2k Marilyns, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist, on Friday.

As the more observant o' youse may hae kent, ah've noo added a route map, fae which I've sussed the distance covered as 15 miles o'er the trios summits tae Usinish bothy - although as usual I can't get the ascent off the GPS map but must be aboot 4kft?
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Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:44 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby hills » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:09 pm

Nearly there then Norman, good luck with the compleation. :D
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Herebe yon photies - voyage tae Lochmaddy, North Uist.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:17 am

hills wrote:Nearly there then Norman, good luck with the compleation. :D


Herebe yon photies o' voyage tae Lochmaddy, North Uist, for your delectation:-

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CNV00001 by EuanHS, on Flickr

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Photies of Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla to Uisinish b

Postby Norman_Grieve » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:42 am

Photies of traverse of Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on approach to Uisinish bothy on east coast of South Uist:-

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Ferry back fae Lochboisdale on South Uist to Oban [5hr].

Postby Norman_Grieve » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:41 pm

Photies fae ferry back fae Lochboisdale on South Uist to Oban [5hr cruise for £12.50]!

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CNV00108 by EuanHS, on Flickr

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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby malky_c » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:53 pm

You got the right weather for that lot :D

I really fancy staying in that bothy - looks a good one. I think my sister used it recently - must ask her.

Just Slat Bheinn to go then?
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Lift at last...?

Postby Norman_Grieve » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:39 am

malky_c wrote:You got the right weather for that lot :D


Aye, only in t' mist for a wee whiley on Hecla, any more o' this & ah'm gonna be labelled a fair weather near Grahamist, a la Mr K!

malky_c wrote:
I really fancy staying in that bothy - looks a good one. I think my sister used it recently - must ask her.



A full review may be appearing in the fullness o' time [demand dependant], - watch this space... :?

malky_c wrote:

Just Slat Bheinn to go then?


Last chance for that lift at last...? :wink:
Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TR pt.17

Postby Norman_Grieve » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:11 pm

Left t' hoose c. 5.30am, riding mein faithful steel hoss 3 mile doon t' hill, leaving her tethered securely in a hidden shady city centre coral, fae which a brief stroll under the main highway took moi tae ye olde railroad station. The northbound engine was already in position, doon t' south end o' the southbound platform, doors still locked but it didnae fool ma & minutes later auld fiend MK, o' Tomsleibhe fame arrived, the doors opened & we climbed aboard. The loco pulled heavily oot o' t' station at 6.14am prompt & nae lang after ye olde, rather rotund ticket inspector made his approach...

'Twa tae Inverness please', says I, pleasantly enough, only tae be greeted with an exasperated 'fae fecks sake, there's seven blo*dy ticket machines in yon station, could ye nae hae used wan o' them'! 'Ye cannae spek tae us loike that'! I doth exclaim and with that the wee ticket mannie turned on his heels with a parting shot o' 'We'll see aboot that'!

Sometime later we arrived at Inverurie, where we stopped for a prolonged period, prompting MK tae pipe up

'Are you sure this is normal? Could it be owt tae dee with what you said tae the ticket mannie back there'? Assuring my compadre that this was perfectly routine, I happened to glance out the window, feeling sure that our foe was outside by the stationmaster's house, calling for reinforcements, no doubt tae eject us fae yon train...

Thus, it was with some relief that we finally pulled awa without further incident, soon passing the fine sight o' Mither Tap, eastern end o' t' lang ridge o' Bennachie, Airberdin's local mountain. Rounding the western end o' the Hill o' Foudland, close under Tap o' Noth, we recalled a traverse fae Insch station over a dozen years ago, when we'd declined a lift fae some fiends o' MK, who'd we'd met on the summit ridge o' t' former, driving a 4X4. The skies were much brighter than we'd been led tae believe fae the rather pessimistic forecast for the east & both Clashmach Hill, above Huntly & Meikle Bin, another conquest o' Wee Norm & Wee Norma, beside Keith, were both in the clear.

Another lengthy halt at Elgin, the station bustling with commuters, passed without any sign o' us being escorted fae the train but I still felt some unease at the failure of yon abrasive, foul-mouthed ticket mannie tae reappear. Perhaps rather rashly, I eventually decided tae go seek him oot, explaining to MK that I was concerned that if we were found to be ticketless upon arrival in Inverness, any delay would likely result in us missing the onward connection to Skye & thus the wan ferry leaving Uig for Lochmaddy on North Uist, at 2pm.

I'd nearly reached the back end o' the wee train, when the much feared railwayman came into view, approaching apace with his white shirtsleeves rolled up, evidently ready to mix it. However, he eyed me somewhat sheepishly, his tone much softer than before, perhaps having been reminded by the stationmaster that in these PC times, four-letter expletives were right out? 'Aye, ah wasnae swearing at youse, ye ken', says he, going on to explain that he had been directing his ire at his damned ticket machine, which had evidently jammed & had since been on the charger...

A few minutes later he meekly appeared at our seats, his machine noo evidently good as new & proceeded tae sting us for £55, way in excess of anything I'd previously had tae shell oot for this rather modest leg of the journey. Still I held ma woosht & painfully extracted the required notes fae ma dusty wallet, handing them over with trembling hands. Forres & Nairn rushed by, as we sped o'er the flat Moray plain, soon arriving at the HC, where, as noo fully expected, neither barriers nor ticket collectors impeded our serene progress oot o' t' rail station & doon the high street, the short distance to the right turn beside Craigdon, to the bus station.

Given that all UK schoolkids, both north & south o' the border were now off on their lang summer hols, I'd fully expected to find the Portree bus fully booked up, precipitating a quick volte face back to the rail station to attempt tae catch the 9am train to Kyle o' Lochalsh. However, following a heart-stopping lang delay, whilst awaiting the response o' her computer, yon bus ticket wifey came up trumps with twa tickets for the 9.15am to Portree, setting me back the princely sum o' £29 and MK, concession card in sweaty palm, a mere 50p booking charge. We then nipped into the station cafe on the corner, partaking of morning tea & a bacon butty each, before making oor way across tae stance twa, shortly climbing aboard the first bus which drew up.

Commandeering the back seat, it's space restricted by the rest room, having first jettisoned our gear in the hold in the Portree section, which seemed tae include virtually everywan else on t' bus, we were soon on our way oot o' yon HC. The skies soon brightened as we headed towards Loch Ness, doon t' Great Glen & arriving at the spacious Urquhart Castle drop-off I reminded MK that we'd had to stop there with a flat many years ago, dropping off a couple of young hitch-hikers, who we'd picked up in Glen Shiel. We also reminisced about the memorable, high-speed lift we'd had between Drumnadrochit & Invermoriston in a Lotus sports car, having been dropped off at the latter by an auld dear in another classic, a rather more sedate old Morris Minor.

After the coach had negotiated the narrow, windy stretch up Glen Moriston, we then made good speed in the bright sunshine, along the eastern shore of Loch Cluanie. It's huge tide mark around the sunken waters, indicating that the infamous 'Cluanie curtain', sheets of rain hanging in the air, must have been a rare sight indeed over the past few months. MK recalled more distant memories of weary limbs & refreshing pints downed in the Cluanie Inn, following long days on the many Munros of the South Glen Shiel ridge. Further down Glen Shiel I pointed out the steep path we'd taken one Hogmanay, then covered with deep snow, through which we'd ploughed to gain the icy ridge leading to the summit of Saileag high above.

Lower down the glen we passed below the soaring WNW ridge of Sgurr Fhuaran, highest rising up 3500ft in one continuous sweep up into the mist, reputedly the longest continuously steep slope in all blightly. Minutes later we passed Shiel Bridge, finally reaching the west coast at the head o' Loch Duich, thence hugging the north shore along to pass the crowds admiring scenic Eilean Donan castle. Just beyond, crossing narrow, wee Loch Long at Dornie, just another 1/4hr along the north shore of Loch Alsh & we stopped at Kyle for a few minutes, giving us a welcome chance tae stretch oor legs, out in the sunshine.

MK was treated to their first sight of the Skye bridge, it being almost 18 years since their last, ferry borne crossing o'er the sea hereabouts, the rather more speedy arrival at Kyleakin by road minutes later, being rather less inspiring. Passing through the lang ribbon of dwellings strung alang t' roadside which forms Broadford 1/4hr later, I pointed oot the spot where GC & I had perhaps rather rashly picked up our dodgiest ever hitch-hikers, en-route tae scaling Marsco c. 5 yrs ago.

Another half hour took us past the Red Cuillin & the large, white-washed pile of Sligachan Hotel, where Sgurr nan Gillian's shapely spire capped with mist, formed a worthy backdrop & north end to the tremendous Black Cuillin ridge.

Arriving in Portree we ambled across the square, milling with well to do touros, where I took my 1st of 129 snaps, looking over the bus depot to the jagged, saw tooth ridge of the now more distant Black Cuillin, which had just cleared of mist. Strolling slowly above the harbour we reached the very busy chipper, where we treated ourselves to twa fish suppers, grabbing the last free spaces at the wooden, picnic style tables outside, listening to the sound of many mingled foreign tongues floating through the pleasantly warm air around us. Walking back around the top of the block to the square, with just minutes to spare 'til the bus was due to leave for Uig & the ferry we asked the 1st driver if his was the wan we were after, only to be directed to the 'North Circular', up front. Presenting our Inverness-Uig tickets to the driver o' this wan, he shook his head gravely, saying he couldnae accept them but assuring us that another, faster, more direct bus would be along shortly.

Mindful of the saying 'A bird in the hand...', I replied that if said promised other bus hadnae arrived by the time he was leaving, I'd just as well stump up the trios quid to Uig, given that the only boat was leaving for Lochmaddy in 1/2hr. Nae lang after a big Megabus hove into view onto which we climbed with some relief, having nae shelled oot anymore scarce backsheesh. The view fae the backseat, of the relatively gentle western slopes of the Trotternish ridge was somewhat obscured by the mesh window covers, as we raced along tae Uig, where the big boat could be seen awa below, ready to set sail.

Doon t' hill past the YHA, where GC & I had spent t' nicht 4 years earlier, after missing the ferry to Tarbert to scale Clisham, we then curved round tae a halt in front o' t' ferry terminal, several hunnerd yards short of the ship. The driver hollered summat unintelligible up the aisle & I rose, then advanced to enquire what I'd missed, this turning ooot to be that if ye hadnae got a ticket [we hadnae], then ye'd best get wan pronto, as the boat wasnae gonna hang around & neither was he if we wanted him to drive us up to the said vessel. Without further ado we exited yon bus & stumped up the princely sum o' a tenner for twa tickets for the 1hr 40 min voyage tae Lochmaddy on North Uist. Hastily filling in oor boarding cards, we hotfoot back to yon Megabus & were soon hopping off again & scaling the gangplank, minutes later casting off at the appointed hour o' 2pm.


I was soon oot on t' stern deck, snapping awa as both the distant Black & Red Cuillin appeared under broken cloud, thence receded further, as to the NW the lang chain o' hills on Harris & Lewis grew larger. I could clearly pick out the trio o' Grahams which I'd scaled only the previous month, whilst much closer at hand to port, we swished oor way past the wee Ascrib Island chain, then Vaternish Point, at the NW mouth o' Loch Snizort. Fae here we headed due west for 20 odd miles across the Little Minch, a similar reach tae crossing the English Channel, awa doon south.

I mistakenly teld MK that the hills which hove into view to port, beyond much nearer, smaller ones to the left o' Lochmaddy, were on Rum, only much later realising that they were in fact the very ones I'd come to climb. As we entered Loch na Madadh, we passed a couple of sea stacks on the port side, the closer wan sporting a fine, steep central corner, rising straight from sea to summit, which looked like it may repay attention. Beyond these we got a good view of the steep, rocky NW faces of the twa sub2k Marilyns North & South Lee, which with higher the Eaval to their south, also looked well worth climbing. A tanker sailed out of the spacious bay past us, then we gave some wee islands a wide berth to starboard, slowing down as we approached the pier, the scattered whitewashed cottages of Lochmaddy stretching awa to the right.

After disembarking we sauntered over towards a wee deserted bus, parked o'er on the right, which had Eriskay up on it's destination board, wherever that may be, there being neither stance nor timetable on display. A couple o' teenaged lads sat doon nearby on a grass bank with their big sacks & I followed suit, soaking up the warm sunshine, whilst MK ambled doon tae investigate a tourist info. office down the road next tae the whitewashed hotel. After half an hour of inactivity another wee bus marked Sollas appeared & the driver confirmed that the wan we wanted was indeed the Eriskay wan. Nae lang after MK had returned, apparently having learnt very little at the touro office, another wee bus appeared driven by a wifey, an aging portly guy soon materialising, standing alongside, gabbing to her through her open driver's window.

He also confirmed that the Eriskay bus was the right wan beside which tae continue oor vigil but failed tae mention that he was the driver, the seat of which he was occupying, all set tae drive off, when I next glanced up a minute later, the twa teenage lads already magically aboard. Stumping up trios quid tae Howmore, where there apparently lay a hostel, conveniently situated near the closest point on the road to Hecla & Beinn Mhor, I made ma way tae yet another backseat. We were soon hurtling alang the 8 miles across the low moor, twixt a myriad network o' lochans, to reach the west coast of North Uist, thence turning left, south, along the A865. Another twa miles took us through the wee hamlet o' Cairinis, the aroma of burning peat wafting through the air, not far beyond which we first crossed the causeway to wee Grimsay island, soon leaving it by another, taking us onto much larger Benbecula.

Here we took a wee diversion round the west side of the island, with a wee halt at the airport & another to pick up a couple o' teenage lassies at a wee council estate, dropping them off at wee Lionacleit college a few miles doon t' road. Shortly thereafter we got back on the main road, where we turned right, south bound, soon crossing another causeway, taking us o'er tae South Uist, thence yet another o'er Loch Bee. Fae here Hecla, the northern of the triumvirate of hills for which I was bound, rose just a few miles to the south and after an hour on the road, not far beyond Loch Druidibeg, yon driver drew to a halt, with the cryptic announcement 'Hostel'!

A sign, duly marked 'hostel', pointed the way west along a wee lanie, along which we'd nae gone far before a whitewashed, thatched cottage, looking very much like that which I recalled fae the hostel website, appeared up a wee drive on the right. Thus we traipsed up this, peering through the windows of the apparently deserted cottage, until I decided it looked rather too luxurious inside, there being a large double bed but nae sign o' ony bunks. Thus, I headed back doon t' drive & carried further on alang t' lane, thinking if yon hostel didnae materialise, we were in for another long march o'er rough ground tae distant Uisinis bothy, nae doubt arriving in the dark wance again.

Perhaps recalling the dark, very late show, approaching Tomsleibhe on our previous jaunt together, MK seemed markedly reluctant to leave the blessed, deserted, thatched 'hostel', still being seen hanging around outside, as I sauntered past another 'hostel' sign 200 yds doon lane, this pointing o'er to the right. I soon spotted a guy with a large rucksack sitting at a wooden table outside another whitewashed thatched cottage, beyond a gate, looking back doon t' lanie, to see that MK had finally given up the vigil at tatched cottage # 1 and was following in ma wake.

Arriving at the hostel c.6pm, after a journey nearly 12hr in length, I enquired of a 40ish bearded mannie if the place was full. Much tae ma relief he indicated that the small room, on the inside right of the kitchen-diner was free, most o' t' folk already in lodging appearing to be members of his family. I relayed this welcome good news to MK, who arrived shortly thereafter, who after we'd baggsed the said room, made some tasty snacks & coffee. After chatting for some time I decided tae check oot t' beach, which lay back right doon t' end o' t' lane, where stood a large, white-washed chapel.

I followed the track doon tae the left beyond, soon reaching a junction, where I took a left, soon branching off right where straight on led to a bridge over the Howmore River, beside which a guy was sitting twixt his car & tent. Looking back I saw that a couple fae the hostel were following my route 100yds or so behind but they cut doon through the dunes tae the beach on the left after a few minutes. I carried on for another half mile or so, 'til a sandy path led left doon through the lang marron grass to emerge on the light, white sands. I lay doon on t' sand for a while tae read some more of 'Death of a Salesman', Arthur Miller's classic play, then carried on along the beach for another 1/2 mile or so, 'til I reached some rocks forming a low headland, Sgeir Dhreumasdail, where a sandy track led back up through the dunes to the right.

I stopped here for a fair while langer, reading some more of that late fair hillbagger, Marilyn Munro's, late ex-hubby's play, then as dusk was falling, made ma way up the sandy track. Through the dunes I cut off right across the fields, as it appeared that the track led up towards a farm straight ahead. I was surprised to see a mannie down the field heading left across my path, towards his car, parked near the end of the lane I'd recently quit. After climbing up onto the crest of a wee ridge o'er the far side of the field I could see the white chapel awa in the distance to the right (south), towards which I headed, easily enough at first but soon ran into a succession of fences, eventually opting to veer to the left, following a narrow strip of field, soon leading to a surfaced track.

I headed right [south], alang this, past a wee flock o' sheep & coos stretching back left towards Loch an Eilein, sporting a wee castle [Caisteal Bheagram], on a wee island, like the rather more famous wan, at the foot o' Ord Ban, near Aviemore. The track soon led back to the start o' ma wee circuit, where I turned left up to the large, whitewashed chapel, arriving back at the hostel shortly thereafter in the gathering darkness c. 9.30pm. MK had already turned in & lent me their wee torch, with which I read another few pages of MM's auld hubby's most celebrated work, before dropping off mesen.

We rose c. 7.30am in t' morn, slid back the wee dorm door & were breakfasting in t' wee kitchen-diner on tea, toast & more of MK's tasty snacks, when mein fiend announced that they didnae feel up tae today's wee bimble. Various large feet of ascent nos. & mileages alang exposed narrow, rocky ridges were quoted in defence o' the decision & as their mind was evidently made up I chatted to a young freulein, who enquired aboot t' way up Beinn Mhor. I teld her that I'd mebbe see her on 't top but explained that I was 1st intent on scaling Hecla & Beinn Choradail en-route...

After packing up ma gear & changing intae me red S4k Verto's, I was ready for off pretty early at c. 8.20am, young fiends & auld wishin' ma bon voyage, as I snapped the view of my mist-capped, distant objectives. I soon reached the end o' the wee lanie, crossed the main road & headed up easy slopes of improved grassland, close beside the fence enclosing the left side of a narrow field. At it's top I passed through a gate below a transmitter aerial gubbins, past which I skirted up more shortish grassy, firm, gentle slopes, running into short, purple heather as height was gained. I traversed a wee col to the right, still moving easily up rather steeper slopes, with a few, wee rocky outcrops, scattered about, soon gaining the trig column at the summit of Hatharsal.

Fae this modest summit there was an extensive view up the coast, past a patchwork of lochans, large & small, to the low profile of the Monarch Islands, well out to sea, left of the modest hills of North Uist. To the left the distant hills of Bara were seen across the low moorland, water being rather less preponderant, with fewer, smaller wee lochans scattered across the approaches to the higher hills nearer the still hidden east coast of South Uist. Ma trois objectives were still rather too distant looking for my liking & their mist caps stubbornly refused to clear, as I curved around leftwards, turning ENE, heading along the rather ill defined, lowish broad ridge towards Na Creagan to the north of Loch Airigh Amhlaidh.

As I dropped down to the right of a wide, flat col before the next wee rise on the ridge, I followed a rusty line of wee spaced old fence posts for a short distance, before moving further right to cross a flat shoulder. The going was much softer than before, with longer, lusher grass, making for harder, slower going with my relatively heavy pack. Over it's far side I dropped down rougher ground, moving back left, close to a weed choked wee lochan, below the much larger Lochan nam Breac Peatair, on the west side of Na Creagan. I then moved back right, crossing the southern flank of Na Creagan, above a wee concrete dam & sluice at the outflow of Loch Airigh Amhlaidh.

There was some limited help from rough animal tracks but the ground remained fairly tough going, as I dropped more steeply above the deep water backed up in the stream draining into the head of the loch. I crossed this just below smaller Loch nam Breac Ruadh, having lost most of the height I'd gained earlier on the ascent of Hatharsal, then turned right, trying to avoid the boggier looking parts of the flat stretch below the steepening slopes rising up towards Maoil Daimh, the NW forepeak of Hecla. I was glad there hadn't been much rain for months, so the bogs were pretty dried up, as the approach to the hills didn't bear thinking about after a wet spell.

I headed SE, soon gaining steeper grassy slopes, close to the course of a burn flowing to the north of the Abhainn Airigh Amhlaidh & it's hidden cluster of shielings. I txt MK my position, it noo being 1 1/2hr since the off, at approaching 10am, the summits of both Beinn Mhor & Beinn Choradail emerging briefly fae the mist up to ma right. The angle fell back once more as I crossed the aforementioned burn & it's tributaries, then followed the course of the Abhainn Ruadh, into a shallow corrie, to the north of the rocky nose of Maoladh Creag nam Fitheach. The going became easier as I climbed, the ground becoming firmer, with shorter grass & heather than I'd had to contend with lower down.

There was a final, steeper pull leading up to the col between Hecla & Beinn Choradail, which was gained at c. 10.30am, after a trek of o'er twa hours fae t' hostel. There was a distant view over the sea to Rum & Skye over the col, beyond which Gleann Uisinis led doon tae t' bothy o' the same name, my eventual destination for that evening. I dumped my pack beside some rocks on the SW side of the col, hoping that I'd be able to find it later, should the mist shrouding the summit o' Hecla up above, decide to lower. I took just ma bottle o' juice in ma haund, leaving me heavy jacket with ma pack, then after a quick scoof, set off without further ado, climbing up the rocky ridge to the north o' t' col.

Following a wee drop, crossing a narrow higher col, I then slanted leftwards, skirting the left side of the steepest, most continuous bands of crags on the SW flank of Hecla. After a few hundred feet of steep, rough going, glad to be free of ma bulky pack at last, I turned back to the right, as the angle lay back, approaching the NW ridge of Hecla. Looking o'er tae ma right I saw that the mist had noo dropped back doon on Beinn Mhor but Beinn Choradail, remained mostly in the clear, whilst up ahead mist cloaked the summit rocks of Hecla. I gained the rounded crest of the ridge at a gentle section, scattered with boulders embedded in the short, springy turf, snapping the extensive views northwards over Benbecula & North Uist, there being almost as much water as the interlaced moorland.

Progress was eased further as the ridge steepened & narrowed approaching the summit, an unexpected, well defined wee path materialising, testament to the popularity of what that premier hill-bagger, Ann Bowker, describes on her website as 'One of the great walks of Britain'. I could see over the left edge of the ridge down into Coire Buidhe to the north, it's craggy headwall being well seen below Beinn na Laire, Hecla's NE satellite, which was just out of the mist. Fae here however, I was nae quite so lucky, the last few hunnerd feet being swallowed by the clag, arriving at the trig point around noon, c. 3 3/4 hr after leaving the hostel, the odd Raven cawing loudly in protest at the violation o' their sanctuary. After txtin' ma idle Safety Officers fae the near Graham - most lofty sub2k Marilyn in t' Western Isles - I accepted that I wasnae gang tae be rewarded with nae summit view for mein efforts & headed hotfoot back the way I'd come, the wee path zig-zagging round tae the left o' the summit rocks.

I took a more direct route doon tae the left, nae lang after reaching the base o' the summit cone, negotiating a very steep, black, wet break, rounding the right side of a wee crag, high up. Awa down Gleann Uisinis tae ma left, Loch Coradail, nestled below the crags on the NW flank o' Beinn Choradail, surely wan o' which must be a misspelling by the OS bods? There were a few hinds grazing over on the steep stony slopes below to my right, the only Red Deer I can recall seeing in the 13hr o' ma trek o'er the twa days, a scarcity I've recently seen remarked on elsewhere in accounts of lang hill days in the Outer Hebrides.

I soon rejoined ma ROA at the knobbly, rocky ridge between the twa cols I'd traversed earlier, being pleased to relocate me abandoned sack & jacket, still lying undisturbed by any potential well meaning, hi-vis glad do-gooders... After brief refreshments, I continued on me merry way, leaving ma gear behind wance mair, ascending a wee rise, only tae drop back doon to a third, narrow, peaty defile. I climbed up the steep, grassy bank on it's far side, diagonally leftwards, then back right above, soon passing between several wee lochans, nestling between fine rough, pale grey slabs of Lewisian Gneiss, wan sporting a glacial erratic perched near it's smooth rounded crest.

One reedy pool, cradled by the pale rocks, white heads of cottongrass dancing in the breeze, made a fine foreground to a view over the Little Minch, to the distant hills o' western Skye, the twin, flat-topped peaks of McCleods Tables being prominent. The trail o' wee lochans led fae by far the largest, not far above the 3rd col, along a low-angled but rocky ridge, towards the very steep summit pyramid of Beinn Choradail, topped with steep crags, forming a fortress split by parallel chimneys. Thinking o' the comfort o' ma remote idle Safety Officers, of somewhat dubious reliability, I opted tae sidestep their obvious challenge, taking a line to their right, above more broken, higher crags dropping awa below into Gleann Dorchaidh & the source of the infant Glendorchay River.

I skirted the right edge of a wee boulderfield below the summit parapet, crossing very steep grass, traversing in what felt like a fairly airy position, nae doubt even more exciting in snae & ice, to reach the base of a steep, grassy runnel, leading straight up betwixt broken wee crags to emerge quite suddenly on the crest o' the gentle, short grassy carpet of the summit ridge. Here I turned back sharp left, leaving ma bottle o' juice perched on a wee ledge, near the base of a steep wee rock step, tae leave ma haunds free tae grasp the holds. A couple o' minutes later I was standing on the top o' ma 2nd sub2k Marilyn o' the day & 99th in all, at c. 1.15pm, nae much o'er an hour since I'd been on the summit o' Hecla, upon which their was just a wee wisp o' mist hanging around the highest rocks.

Looking onwards to the SW, I was pleased to see that the same was now true of Beinn Mhor, my main objective o' the entire trip, which was by now looking suitably impressive. A long line of precipitous crags, reaching a height o' 700ft, extended well to the west of the summit's rock tower, a series of narrow parallel. gullies, slanting very steeply fae right tae left. As I retraced ma steps, thankfully locating ma precious bottle o' juice at the rockstep, I snapped the fine view doon the east coast o' South Uist, over the several shapely sub2k Marilyns, stretching down the south end of the island. Continuing over a wee grassy knoll, in places following a wee sheep track, several of the beasts involved in it's construction, standing, grazing roundabout, I snapped the view back left over the wee beach beside Uisinis bothy, towards the distant northernmost point of Skye across the wee Minch beyond.

I skirted another wee grassy top on it's left, all too aware of the steep cliffs dropping awa ahead & to it's right, doon tae the Bealach Heileasdail, the col with Beinn Mhor. After dropping most of the way down to a wee col with the next top on the narrower SE ridge, dropping straight doon tae the east coast, I turned right, with some trepidation, to begin the attempted descent to the bealach. This went surprisingly easily, with some zig-zagging aboot tae find the easiest line through the bands of crags higher up, thence I headed back right, skirting the left edge of continuous higher crags. Although fairly rough going traversing bouldery slopes of heather & tufty grass, the angle soon lay back, as I crossed a wee shoulder, then dropped down more steeply again beyond a shelf, to gain the Bealach Heileasdail.

I traversed the left [south], side of the col, along the rocky ridge above wee Lochan na Comairig, to gain the foot of the NE spur of the northern top of Beinn Mhor. At first I followed the grassy course of a wee stream twisting twixt the many wee outcrops, where I slaked mein thirst & topped up ma juice bottle. Above this point I found a particularly green slimy stretch of waterway, beyond which an enormous fresh jobbie formed an island in the stream - good title for a song that? Higher up I couldnae resist scaling a vertical wall of lovely, rough dry Lewisian Gneiss, pulling o'er a wee overlap at the top, fortunately reaching over to grasp hidden, comforting jug holds.

Wance again mindful o' ma still silent, unresponsive Safety Officers, I then managed to resist the temptation of launching up an even steeper, higher line on the next outcrop forming the right side of the crest of the ridge. Doon tae the left o' the ridge I had a good view down Gleann Heileasdail, to the loch o' the same name, the foot o' the glen dropping awa oot o' sight not far below, into the sea at Bagh Choradail. The Isle of Rum was seen more clearly than ever, in the distance across the wee Minch, framed by the steep slopes I'd nae lang descended fae Beinn Chorodail.

The skies were noo brightening at lang last & o'er to the NW, the distant white beaches of the Monarch Islands were highlighted, as a low line in the sea by the bright August sunshine. Above the rocky central section of the ridge, with it's many opportunities for soloing wee rock climbing problems, the higher slopes remained fairly steep but became predominantly stony firm turf. The big cliffs down to the left of the summit rock tower were well seen fae a wee level shoulder, the cleanest rock face forming the lower half of the precipice, well to the right of a huge, deep, dark, straight, gully.

As I reached the top of the ridge, looking back the way I'd come, even the summit of Hecla was by noo basking in the sunshine, it's stubborn mist cap having been finally burnt off. Here I turned leftwards, following the middle of the level ridge, looking down the broader, easier angled NW ridge, which merged here with the ENE ridge which I'd just ascended. There were a goodly number of sheep scattered aboot, a fair flock extending below towards the foot o' the big cliffs to the SE, making the wisdom o' ma recent streamwater refill, briefly cross ma mind.

A brief stroll up the final gentle firm rounded ridge led up to a sizeable cairn at the NNW top of Beinn Mhor, reached c.3pm, approaching 2hr after leaving the top o' Beinn Chorodail. Here the rapidly clearing skies revealed a fine vista to the south o'er the many arms o' Loch Eynort to the distant hills of Bara, beyond the low straight flat stretch of the west coast of the southern end of South Uist. A wee path had materialised, leading easily south along the narrow ridge towards the first rock tower, over the springy turf & moss carpet.

The path dropped doon the north side of the crest, just short of the rock tower, before splitting, where I followed the right branch back up to the crest, where a wee cairn adorned the top of the tower. The ridge narrowed still further beyond, the north side noo dropping precipitously & gaining in height towards the main summit, the path noo dropping doon the south side of the wee col before the final steep climb, thus avoiding a short, sharp, knife-edged section along the crest.

The well worn path of smooth earth became rather rockier, as it twisted it's way through the wee outcrops guarding the NW side of the summit tower, giving the edge of big cliffs to the north a wide berth. As I reached the big round summit rock shelter, built around the OS column, I finally received a txt fae wan o' ma lax SOs, who was busy coverin' ma shift back in t' workhoose. After a ritual mounting o' the trig pt. & standard Brucie pose, I strolled onwards alang the much gentler, wider grassy ridge, the Buail' a' Ghoill, leading SE to a large, beckoning cairn.

Here I made twa o' several wee videos, panning round to take in the stunning vista o' islands, mountains, loch & seascape, the 2nd being required, as I overbalanced, whilst turning around, as I perched on the side o' the large pile o' stones. Retracing ma steps, back alang the flattish, wide grassy ridge to the summit shelter, I turned round, to spy with some surprise, what appeared to be a large rucksack propped against the right side o' the large cairn, which I'd left minutes earlier. The reason for this soon became clear, as several bods appeared, advancing towards it, fae the ridge beyond doon tae it's right.

It was noo c. 3.30pm, as I headed off back down the steep descent off the summit tower, taking a line much closer to the edge, following a much smaller path than that of my ROA. This gave dramatic views back across the cliffs, the near vertical big drop fae the sunshine bathed summit into the shadows doon below, seen in profile, forming a frame to the sunkissed Gleann Heileasdail behind. The wee path dwindled to almost nothing over the mossy top of a wee pinnacle, followed by a lichenous knife-edged slab, where I made a mental note to try to slip to the friendlier angled, sunny south west, rather than the shadowed NE, if I should lose my balance.

The view back across the extensive big wall running back east grew more complete, as I continued along the edge of the narrow ridge back to the NW, the true angle being shown to be rather less than vertical when seen side on. I soon regained the larger path of my approach and my rate of progress increased apace, as looking back I saw that the aforementioned figures had arrived at the summit & were now peering down over the precipice. As I soon passed the 1st tower, then the large cairn back at the NNW top, I saw that they were also beginning to move slowly alang the very crest of the ridge, as I had just done.

A gentle stroll back down the widening, easy angled northern edge of the summit ridge, then took me to the fork at it's end, where I turned right to begin my descent back down the entertaining ENE ridge. Added interest was provided, around the wee level shoulder nearly half way down, when I disturbed a Golden Eagle, which accelerated swiftly awa below me, soon soaring off to be lost in the wide blue yonder. Progress was again halted briefly, as I found more fine wee routes on another very steep wall on the NNW side of the rocky central section of the ridge.

Looking back up to the summit ridge I saw that my 4 followers had made very little progress & were strung out along the first narrowest section of the crest, in sensational looking positions. Lower down I passed several bigger, even steeper, smoother walls, as I moved to the left o' ma ROA, dropping down into the head of Gleann Dorchaidh, on the NW side of the Bealach Heileasdail. Looking across it's far side I could pick out a feasible more direct line down the SW face, off the summit ridge of Beinn Choradail but I thought my knees would have been glad o' ma wee detour to the SE on my descent to the bealach earlier.

It was noo getting rather warm in the brilliant summer sunshine, as there was little breeze doon in the head of the sheltered glen, during the warmest part of the afternoon & I stopped briefly for a lang cooling scoof o' juice. Looking out to sea I was then gobsmacked to clearly see the unmistakable outlines of several steep sided islands, a truncated cone shaped one lying to the right of a much longer wan tae it's left. I immediately recognised this as St. Kilda, although I could scarcely believe how clear & close it looked in the clear air, not having expected to see it fae so far south, recalling only photos of the islands taken fae much further north on North Harris.

I continued to descend to a couple o' hunnerd feet below the Bealach Heileasdail, down increasingly gentle, less rocky ground over lusher grassy slopes, crossing the infant Glendorchay River. I then continued due north, along the foot of the steep rocky slopes on the west face of Beinn Choradail, then bore right up more heathery ground, to climb up to the crest of the NNW ridge of this sub2k Marilyn, gaining it close to the largest of the string of wee lochans, not far south of the col. Fae here I then dropped doon the r.h.side of the steep bank to gain the narrow peaty col to the south o' that where I'd left ma sack & jacket earlier in the day.

Rounding the next wee ridge on the right, I then cut back to the left to reach ma gear, snapping the view over Loch Coradail?, doon in Gleann Uisinis, the Black Cuillin on Skye & the Cuillin of Rum appearing on the far horizon, as if floating on the glassy blue Little Minch, under clear blue skies. It was noo c. 5pm and all I had tae do was descend the aforementioned glen, tae reach the beckoning bothy o' t' same name, passing t' aforementioned loch. The initial descent intae the head o' the glen was fairly steep, taking a central, wide grassy gully between broken rocks, doon increasingly lush lengthening grass, progress being eased somewhat lower down, as I picked up animal tracks across the stream draining into the loch.

Although the ground here was rougher & stonier, the animal tracks were fairly continuous, skirting below the long broken crags on the lower south face of Hecla, high up above. By now I was running low on fluids wance mair and was pleased to have an opportunity to top up my 2L plastic bottle, at the Allt na Criche, beyond the foot o' Loch Coradail, a fair sized burn draining the SE flanks of Hecla. Towards the end of the lang day, wance mair carrying a fair sized pack, I was pleased to find the tracks increasing in size to almost reach the point where they could be described as a path through the deepening heather. Still, I thought it didnae bear thinking aboot tae have had tae find yon bothy in the dark the previous nicht, should MK and I have failed to locate the Howmore hostel then, as had at first seemed likely.

I carried on down the glen nae far left o' the true right bank o' the Abhainn Aon-uillt, draining the loch, below the remarkable concentration of prehistoric souterrains, hut circles & even a wheel house, hidden up the steep, rough slopes above. As the deep, heather clad slopes dropped awa below again more steeply doon tae the sea, the path curved left, to initially reach the ruined walls o' an auld cottage, with nae sign o' any intact bothy, the exact whereabouts of which I had nae map tae guide me. Thus it was with some relief when it came into view nae lang after, a short distance awa towards Bagh Uisinis, with it's wee wide curved stretch o' shingle beach beyond.

There was a huge pile of cut peat blocks piled up against the back wall & as I came around tae the front, I found that there was a large bright green fishing net spread out on the grass, with several long whale bones stacked to the left of the green door, below the window. A fair sized yacht sailed past nae far oot tae sea, as I gave ma heid a fair clout, nae bending doon low enough below the 'Welcome' sign, as I passed through the doorway. Inside I wasnae at first too impressed, as the place was clearly just a storeroom for some fermer/fisherman but I soon realised that the door on the left led through to the fine MBA bothy, which a wee plaque dedicated to a late luminary o' that worthy organisation, who'd sadly passed awa back in '79 [a guid year].

The Alladdin's cave which lay beyond had tae be seen tae be believed, a fine pristine, new looking stove stood against the far wall, to the left of which was a coal box, with others full of more peat blocks & sticks of wood to it's right. On the sturdy wooden table in the l.h. corner was a box with enough dried grub tae last a week in numerous large foil packets, whilst in another wee box were even more plentiful wee luxurious looking packets o' exotic fruit smoothies, expensive looking Slazenger sports drink powders & many others in plainer foil packets. There were also packets of dried fruits & nuts and on the shelf above the stove an expensive looking, fancy jar of full ground coffee, alongside a wee tub stuffed with creamers, sugar & beveridge sachets.

Another wee box contained underwater-style matches in wee plastic bags, beside which lay twa lighters & a box o' common or garden Swan Vestas. I soon set about lighting a fire, only to find that neither of the lighters worked & the matches were wet, so resorted to the fancy matches, which turned out tae be almost like wee fireworks! Anyroad these soon did the job & with the aid of a few good blasts o' air fae yours truly, a hungry wee fire was blazing in yon stove. I then emptied most o' ma precious water into a handy saucepan, purloined fae the shelf on top o' the wee whitewashed wall, up a couple o' steps to the left o, the wee whitewashed bunks & placed it on top o' t' stove.

I then grabbed a handy spade & wan o' a huge no. o' toilet rolls up on a wide shelf, above the other single low bunk, to the left of a couple of plastic chairs, which were rather lowering the tone of the place? I then headed doon tae the shingle beach, where after making good use o' ma hefty handtool, I combed the stanes for more wood, most o' which I found at it's far end. As I turned around I heard voices coming fae awa up by the bothy, where I could make out several figures sitting outside on a large log to it's front right.

I then heard a huge splash not far out to sea to my left, where the head of a seal bobbed up shortly afterwards. Back up the grassy path, outside the bothy, I found that the figures were twa young couples, who I had last seen back up near the summit of Beinn Mhor. Diving into the bothy I soon spotted a very large brown furry bundle under wan o' the cheap plastic chairs, which I found to be an enormous dead rat, caught in a trap. I took the unfortunate beast outside, showing it to the new arrivals, the elder, tall bearded guy saying that he reckoned it had only just met it's demise, as rigor mortis had not yet set in.

They soon began cooking their supper outside on camping stoves, the same bearded guy offering ma a wee swallie o' gin & tonic, which never actually materialised. Back inside I flicked through the many packets of freeze-dried food, selecting a lamb hot-pot, which I simply had to chuck in the now boiling water for a few minutes, then had a fine tasty meal ready. I was glad to see that a wee plague of large Bluebottles which had earlier been buzzing around when I'd first arrived, had evidently been driven out by the smoke of the fire.

After a wee whiley, the folk joined moi by the fire, which I stoked up with peat blocks, my fresh supplies of beachcombed wood & coal, then made some of the fine bean ground coffee, to which I added a couple o' the creamer sachets & sugar. I chatted for some time with the taller of the twa lassies, who teld moi that they'd been on several long sea canoe trips o'er the past 3 weeks, including out to both the Monarch Islands, which I'd seen earlier & Mingulay, to the south of Barra. They'd come up fae Bristol and still had another fortnight tae go - quite a holiday says I.

I then drew their attention to a bottle of spiced spirit which was sitting up on the shelf above the fire, which the aforementioned beardie then proceeded to pour into the stove, producing a very large flash of flame, which shot oot between us intae t' room. I said I thought that if any Scotsman found out what he was up tae, wasting good drink, they'd be nae too amused, then went out into the gloaming tae seek out the Abhainn Aon-uillt tae refill ma waterbottle. I followed a wee path 200yds or so, through the heather across tae the burn, where I found there was a stand of wee trees, quite a few of which were dead & rotted, snapping off several to feed the hungry fire.

Back in the bothy I used my fresh stock of water & wood to heat up a packet of sausages & beans, which young beardie reckoned were army rations that some military chap or chappess had kindly left behind. I said if that was the case then I was awa tae join up, given the quality o' the food that they get nowadays, although my fellow bothymongers remarked that the MOD hiv bin letting lads go of late, to which 'Aye must be nae enuf wars?', was my reply. On that note they decided tae hit the sack & nae lang after I climbed up the wee ladder tae the top bunk, which had been helpfully lined with wee strips o' carpet for added comfort.

In the morn, I was woken early, by the sun streaming in through the skylight & after a wee piece I packed up my gear, climbed back doon the ladder & headed on oot t' door, at the back o' half seven. It was already warm outside, with clear blue skies & I was glad I'd made an early start, as it could only get hotter as the sun rose in the sky. I reversed my route fae the previous afternoon pretty closely as far as the head of Loch Coradail, where I bore left along the shore, cutting back right to cross the 1st & larger of the twa streams feeding the loch. I then followed a tongue of lush longish grass up between the streams, crossing a tributary coming in fae the left after a couple of hunnerd feet of moderate climbing.

Following a wee flat stretch steepening, more heathery slopes, led to a rocky narrow spur, slanting down fae right to left, which made for more enjoyable climbing up the headwall of Gleann Uisinis. The angle soon lay back and I entered the mouth of the peaty, narrow col, below the steep bank leading up to the string of wee lochans, which I'd followed the previous day up the NNW ridge of Beinn Choradail. I followed the wee narrow, peaty trough o' the col, past several wee sink holes, rather reminiscent o' the Yorkshire Dales, then bore left, curving round the northern flank of the top of Maol Creag nam Fitheach.

This became increasingly steep & craggy, as I dropped WNW down the northern edge of it's crest towards the Glendorchay River. There was a last wee bit o' easy scrambling tae be had on the fine, pale grey Lewisian Gniess, before I cut back left down a ramp through steeper crags at the foot of the nose, to cross a last wee stretch of rough, stony, heathery ground to reach the wee 'river'. I crossed the slow moving peaty waters with ease, then headed across the dried up bog beyond, glad of the lang dry spell. I cut through a line of auld rusty fence posts half way across to the foot of the steep, rocky slope leading up to Maola Breac, at the NW end of the ridge leading up tae the northern top of Beinn Mhor.

I then crossed the twa branches of the Abhainn Dubh nan Each & carried on westwards to climb up the far lower end of the ridge falling NW fae Maola Breac, above the source of the Abhainn Mhollach. I then spotted an ATV track to the left of that burn, below the confluence of trois mair o' it's branches, heading in the direction of a wee wood & hoose in the distance, which I kent were beside the main road. Thus I dropped doon towards this, between the 2nd & 3rd branches, again running doon intae lush soft ground, which I thought would be a nightmare tae cross after a wet spell.

The ATV track comprised little more than wheel marks in the lush grass, still holding some water in places, despite the near drought by Hebridean standards. It crossed a wee ridge south of Lochan Sgeireach, beyond which I spied a gate in a fence doon tae the right, where I reckoned firmer, easier going would be reached across the fields. However, once I'd reached yon gate I saw that a well surfaced gravel track lay up to my left, which once reached gave a simple tramp doon the last few hunnerd yards tae the road. Here I turned right, back towards Howmore, beside a sizeable hoose plastered with the ubiquitous whitewash & a rare English name hereabouts, to whit 'Mill Croft'.

Just alang t' road I crossed the bridge over the Abhainn Rog, which I'd just spent 13hr walking round most of the watershed at the outer limit o' it's catchment area. I hadnae gone much further when twa lassies came pedalling slowly up the hill fae beside Loch a' Chnoic Bhuidhe, weighed doon with large panniers. I stepped deftly aside matador style, as the trailing lassie headed straight for moi, then snapped the view across the sparkling blue waters of the loch, past twa white Swans beside some reeds, towards the long line o' spaced whitewashed cottages along the Howmore cul-de-sac.

O'er a wee ridge, heading towards Hatharsal, my 1st wee conquest on these isles, the road bore left, following the eastern shore of the larger, Loch a' Phuirt-ruaidh, passing the hoose o' t' same name & wee strip o' woodland on the right. Up ahead in the distance I soon saw a wee red van, which I thought looked like it mebbe a post bus & just had time to check oot the P.O. & shop on the left, finding a helpful notice in the windie, stating that it had been permanently closed, when I flagged doon the said van. The friendly middle-aged woman driver confirmed that she could take me to the ferry terminal at Lochboisdale, where the last boat for twa days was due tae sail for Oban. Evidently she wasnae a faithful wee free churchgoer, as she said it was ridiculous that there was still nae Sunday service, giving ma the option of staying for another day tae bag a few sub2k Marilyns.

She was also nae too amused by the ludicrous amount o' sunshine which the poor unfortunate, fair-skinned islanders had hae to endure, saying that she herself had had to take powerful painkillers, as the dangerous rays had burnt her up so bad... I was glad the ship wasnae due to sail for another 2 1/2hr or so, it noo approaching 11.30am, having taken me o'er 3hrs tae reach the road fae t' bothy, as she managed to avoid the straightish main road almost entirely, detouring to the west coast & back via Staoinebrig. When we eventually got back on the straight & narrow, we motored past the ruin o' Flora McDonald's birthplace, which I recalled that MK had mentioned wanting tae visit the previous day, having last received a txt the previous lunchtime that they were well to the south on Eriskay.

I was keen to get a 'T-mob' topup voucher [other networks are available], as I'd run oot o' cred & thought ma idle safety officers might be getting concerned - although there wasnae much evidence o' that admittedly... After a good few more miles had sped by, heading south, past the distant sub2k Marilyns of the east coast, awa tae oor left, we stopped at the P.O. at Dalabrog, where I finally managed tae get ma auld Nokia [other makes are available], topped up. Back outside in the van/bus we trundled doon the last few miles tae t' ferry terminal where I said my fond farewells to the only other occupant of the vehicle & dived inside tae purchase me ticket for the 5hr voyage, this setting me back the princely sum o' £12.50.

I asked the cheery, silver haired ticket officer where I might get some signal for ma mob., to which he suggested heading up the hill beside the wee council estate. This I duly did, spreading mesen oot on t' grass up behind the whitewashed hotel, where I had mesel' a wee picnic in the bright, warm summer sunshine. MK was on a bus heading awa up north tae Berneray, whilst another txt revealed that ma Snr. Safety Officer had just cycled round Arran in aboot 5hrs. I was soon engrossed in 'Death o' a Salesman', which a few weeks later, almost seemed a prophetic title for ma last book, as I was mown doon by a Japanese wifey, when cycling back fae work on t' dual carraigeway...

I became so engrossed that it was only the sound of the nearby hidden ship's big motors rumbling into the pier, that spurred ma intae action and I soon joined a wee gathering o' fellow foot passengers, many o' whom had been dropped off by a wee service bus. It wasnae lang afore we were climbing up the gangway & handing in oor boarding cards, then waving doon tae those left behind on the quayside. As the [you guessed it], whitewashed hotel grew ever smaller, we raced past a fine sailing boat to port, twixt the wee island of Gasgaigh to starboard. Further out into the mouth of Loch Baghasdail, we passed the wee isle of Calbhaigh to starboard with it's wee castle & lighthoose, the steep, rocky sub2k Marilyns of Beinn Ruigh Choinnich & Triuirebheinn to port, beckoning me to return someday.

Once into the Little Minch the view opened up further, to the right up past Stulaval, to my trios peaks o' my previous day's conquest, today in the clear, if a wee bit hazy, whilst leftwards Bara was also seen rather faintly, beyond Eriskay & a host of other small isles. After checking out a wee bit o' the ladies mountain biking on the penultimate day o' the Olympics, below decks, I emerged into the sunshine once more, soon becoming engaged in conversation with a fellow Munroist. He was with his wife & son, who had also bagged o'er fifty o' those lofty peaks, being on his way back hame tae Richmond in North Yorkshire. He seemed interested in a trip to Uisinis bothy, of which I showed him ma wee photies on me digital camera, opting tae let his wifey go below decks for a meal without him...

I thought I detected a wee bitee o' wistful longing, as he teld moi that he didnae get time to get intae the Corbetts & Grahams, on account o' his family commitments. I then went o'er to the port side to snap Rum & Canna, nae lang after getting into the 1st o' twa chinwags with yet another Munroist, who rather put ma exploits o' the previous day intae perspective, as he teld moi that he'd run over all trois peaks & back tae the road, in just 5hr, half o' my time, dropping doon tae the closer bothy!

The next main highlight o' the trip commenced nae lang after, as several binocular toting sightseers let oot excited whoops, leaning oot o'er the port side, where even the naked eye could soon clearly see that several Dolphins were rapidly approaching. Remarkably they then headed straight under the stern end of the ship, perilously close to where the no doubt massive propellors were doing their thing. I went over to the starboard side but didnae see any mair sign o' the said Dolphins, being rather concerned for their welfare, looking back doon the line of spume snaking across the sea behind us to see if I could spy any Dolphin shaped objects floating to the surface...

By now we were passing between low lying Coll & Tiree to starboard, with Muck & the larger Eigg, with it's distinctive Sgurr, a few miles beyond to port. Ahead we were approaching the long narrow channel separating Ardnamurchan Point, most westerly on the British mainland, from Mull to it's south. I recalled swimming with my twa grown up daughters by a beach near the fine Ardnamurchan lighthouse on a scorching day in early May, well over 20 years ago. As it was still very warm in the blazing sunshine, I decided to nip doon below amidships to purloin a wee shandy, soon reemerging to snap the view back up north on the port side to Rum, where the fine spire of Askival, it's highest point, was noo seen tae advantage. A similar distance to the SE, a rather more hazy view of Ben More on Mull was also seen to starboard.

A few miles into the channel we turned right passing the entrance to Loch Sunart on the port side, Ben Hiant towering above the cliffs of the headland of Maclean's Nose, to enter the Sound of Mull at Tobermory Bay. There was a stiff, cool breeze blowing up the channel, with several large yachts plowing through the chopping waters alongside at a good rate of knots. There was only a brief glimpse of the famous multicoloured line of tennements backing Tobermory harbour, as it was largely screened fae view for over a mile by the bulk of Calve Island.

Having finished ma shandy, I headed below decks wance mair, this time opting for a wee cuppa, on account of the chill breeze noo blowing across the decks. Back outside again I watched in relative luxury, as we cruised past Glen Forsa, Beinn Talaidh prominent at it's head, bringing back recent memories o' ma visits tae Tomsleibhe bothy, hidden at the foot of it's north ridge. We soon had a grandstand view of Dun da Ghaoithe, Mull's sole Corbett, as we sped down the sound, past the coast road to Craignure, along which I'd cycled on the first of those visits, still under a year ago.

Beyond Fishnish Point to starboard & Lochaline, with the other end of the course of it's ferry to port, I took a final snap of another Calmac ship passing on the latter side, presumably headed for Barra. I had a final wee chat with the fell-running Munriost between Duart Castle & Lismore Island, as we took in the fine view up Loch Linnhe, up past the Glen Etive & Glen Coe hills to The Ben. He said he'd briefly worked at the huge superquarry, on the SE side of Beinn Mheadhoin by Kingair Loch, remarking that they'd clearly lied when promising it would be hidden fae view when seeking permission for it's go-ahead.

Nae lang after we were rounding the NE end of Kerrera island & heading into Oban Bay at 7pm, where I realised as we were just starting to disembark that I'd left ma jacket on the luggage rack. I then hotfoot to the bustop past the rail station, only to discover that I'd missed the bus to Dundee by nearly 2hrs & tae Glasgie by o'er an hour. Knowing that I'd also missed the last train I followed the signs along the seafront towards the large Youth Hostel across the bay, taking a wee detour up right when I reached a sign enticing me to try the 'best backpackers hostel in Scotland, just 100yds this way'. However, this turned out to be heaving with youngsters & unsurprisingly the slightly more mature lassie at reception teld moi that not only were they full but so were all other such establishments in toun. Responding tae ma nae doubt downcast visage, she then helpfully said that I 'could try the Youth Hostel', to which I duly headed.

After a short stroll through the warm evening sunshine, back alang the seafront, I reached the imposing, grand auld stone building which was the YHA and entered, reaching the spacious smart reception, being then informed to my relief that they did indeedy hae a spare bed for the nicht. Up the grand staircase I soon found ma room & after repeated failed attempts tae get yon newfangled keycard to work, the door was opened by a kindly east European roomate. Thanking him I dumped me sack & headed downstairs to the TV lounge, just in time to hear John Inverdale saying 'and if you missed it - where were you?', Mo Farrow, apparently having just won his 2nd Gold medal in the 5000m.

I finally took off my S4k Verto boots, having abandoned my trainers with MK, in the Howmore hostel the previous morning, which noo seemed an age ago, settling down to watch the 4 x 100m relay, in which Eusain Bolt & Co. smashed the world record. This was followed by some of the boxing finals, in wan o' which we had tae settle for a silver, our man being narrowly outpointed by a Cuban? I then retired tae ma pit, finding after wance mair failing tae use yon keycard successfully, that another Pole had shifted ma gear off the bed I'd bagsed it with, being none too pleased with yours truly, who then took the sole remaining berth, this being a double. After drawing the curtains & reading a few more pages by Marilyn's late ex-hubby, I then hit the sack, arising early in the morning, intent on trying not to miss the early bus tae Dundee.

The huge breakfast room downstairs was largely deserted & I helped mesen to a bowl of cereal, tea & toast, courtesy of whoever had left the grub in the 'free food', box in the pantry. There were a few fellow oldies hotellers scattered around the 'youth' hostel dining room, some of whom were off to Coll & Tiree on the morning ferry. I bumped into some of them again back round the bay at the ferry terminal, where I went to attend to my ablutions after coughing up 20p for the privilege, whilst waiting for the 9.10am bus. This duly arrived & an uneventful journey of over 3 1/2hr followed, broken by a wee detour to Killin, where we were briefly allowed out to stretch our limbs.

Arriving at Dundee bus station I found I'd only 40 mins to wait 'til the next Airberdin bus, which I used to find ye auld corner shoppe to get another mob topup, as the very wee shop in the station couldnae help moi & the cafe was also closed - welcome to Dundee! Things were looking grim when the bus arrived, the driver announcing that only those with tickets & booking could get onto the packed vehicle. Once they had so done I asked if there was any chance o' a ride & he disappeared inside to check for empty seats, returning to gie ma the guid news that there were indeed wan or twa still vacant. An hour or so later I was back in the GC and a short trek took ma tae mein steel hoss, still safely tethered in her wee, hidden coral, fae which a mere half hour , well worn ride back up t' hill took ma tae hame, sweet hame, just in time tae see the end of the Gold medal winning bout of oor Super-Heavy...
Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:49 pm, edited 50 times in total.
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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:41 pm

malky_c wrote:You got the right weather for that lot :D

I really fancy staying in that bothy - looks a good one. I think my sister used it recently - must ask her.


So did she or no... [we're still patiently waiting!'

malky_c wrote:
Just Slat Bheinn to go then?
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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby malky_c » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:50 pm

malky_c wrote:I really fancy staying in that bothy - looks a good one. I think my sister used it recently - must ask her.
Norman_Grieve wrote:So did she or no... we're still patiently waiting!


She did - with about 15 other people plus some campers outside! Not the quiet place I thought it would be, apparently.
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Still nae lift?

Postby Norman_Grieve » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:15 pm

malky_c wrote:
malky_c wrote:I really fancy staying in that bothy - looks a good one. I think my sister used it recently - must ask her.
Norman_Grieve wrote:So did she or no... we're still patiently waiting!


She did - with about 15 other people plus some campers outside! Not the quiet place I thought it would be, apparently.


Malky, I'm sure ye'll be delighted tae hear that ah've finally got tae the bothy review section, in ma above TR. :wink:
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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby BoyVertiginous » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:24 pm

Cracking report, Norman. Good to know there's plenty of "logs" in the stream and on the beach for future reference.
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Re: Beinn Mhor, Beinn Choradail & Hecla on South Uist.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:58 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:Cracking report, Norman. Good to know there's plenty of "logs" in the stream and on the beach for future reference.


Aye boy, mebbe better give wan or twa o' t' smaller bruin logs in t' vicinity o' t' beach a wide berth 'til they've fully dried oot, however they may then burn slowly in extremis...

P.S. A few perhaps slightly better possibilities may well be mentioned afore the TR is finalised - whenever that may be? :shock:
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That's all folks!

Postby Norman_Grieve » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:53 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Das ist alles mein volk!
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Links tae videos taken on this trip - twa mair added 10/10/1

Postby Norman_Grieve » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:46 pm

Herebe links tae videos taken on this trip;-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76512826@N04/8066359467/in/photostream

[flash=http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786]width="400" height="225" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=44b65b4b33&photo_id=8066359467" bgcolor="#000000" allowFullScreen="true"[/flash]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76512826@N04/8066352948/in/photostream

[flash=http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786]width="400" height="225" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=4c739eb296&photo_id=8066352948" bgcolor="#000000" allowFullScreen="true"[/flash]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76512826@N04/8073679969/in/photostream

[flash=http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786]width="400" height="225" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=a96ba3ee4c&photo_id=8073679969" bgcolor="#000000" allowFullScreen="true"[/flash]


http://www.flickr.com/photos/76512826@N04/8066365507/in/photostream/

[flash=http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786]width="400" height="225" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=a350e7c227&photo_id=8066365507" bgcolor="#000000" allowFullScreen="true"[/flash]


http://www.flickr.com/photos/76512826@N04/8073616461/in/photostream

[flash=http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786]width="400" height="225" flashvars="intl_lang=en-us&photo_secret=ae755693de&photo_id=8073616461" bgcolor="#000000" allowFullScreen="true"[/flash]
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