The week around New Year 2003 was spent on Mull. The first part of the week saw cold temperatures but little in the way of snow on the hills. However, the new year saw a reasonable amount of snow appear and a day that looked promising weather wise for a walk. So I think this was on New Year's day.
I'd had my eye on Dun da Ghaoithe because it gets good write ups in the Scottish hill literature and now a chance to walk it presented itself.
We took the snowed in landrover track up from the south east with the radio masts ahead indicating the 400m and 550m contours. This made for a reasonably fast route of ascent. I think we started quite late in the day though -maybe 10.30am or 11am so we didn't have a lot of daylight left once we got onto the ridge around mid day. Notable points between the second radio mast and the 757m top were the fine gullies you can see marked on the OS map and the expansive view over the Firth of Lorn, Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull, including good views of the Glencoe hills and a distant Rum. The view to Rum in particular caught the attention of the youngest of our party who had only twice before visited Scotland, one visit having been to Rum. It was indeed a splendid sight.
The dip between the 757m top and the main summit had only a thin layer of snow so it was mostly fairly easy going though this did vary and there were quite deep drifts in places.
The walk up to the summit was in very fine weather with the late afternoon sun casting long shadows and showing us the contours of all the neighbouring hills. All in all, a great walking ridge once you are up there with good views of the other Mull hills.
The final part of the descent was in darkness but we had the mixed blessing of the freezing track to follow. My three companions, all German, taught me a song on the way down. Funny how these things stick:
Zu lang der bauch in die vests passé
Wirt keine arbeit angefast
Meine Heren, Meine Dammen
Die arbeit ist kein fruche
Zie huft, zie huft, zie huft, zie huft, zie huft
Uns nicht dafont
Apologies to anyone proficient in German.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.