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A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borealis

A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borealis


Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:56 am

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 26/03/2016

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Beinn Alligin summit camp under a dancing Aurora

Film of Adventure...



The settled weather continued for yet another weekend (couldn’t believe it!) so I decided for another wild camp. Up until I made the decision to camp in Torridon, I hadn’t even considered Beinn Alligin as a location, however I did want to take a photo of the Horns of Alligin and Beinn Dearg from the summit of Sgurr Mor. So Beinn Alligin it was on a whim….

The weather was superb and I set off in blazing sunshine from the car park with my light bag on;) The snow seemed fairly stripped from the mountain but I couldn’t see the route between the two Munro’s so I packed axe and crampons just in case (been caught out before!). This made the pack even lighter (sarcasm…) . Given the size and weight of the pack I decided against The Horns and headed up the Coire nan Laogh route, however there was a fair bit of ascent before reaching the Corrie! Psychologically I was thinking it was an easy dander until the Corrie then a steep pull up. In reality there’s a rather steep walk in to get to the corrie an I STRUGGLED! The sweat was pouring off me and the blazing sun was beating down, I had no energy and seriously considered if I was going to be able to do this! Maybe try for the first Munro and camp there, I thought as I slowly made my way up. The shade in the Coire nan Laogh was welcome and after a drink and a bite eat I started to feel better. A water stop near the top of the Coire made my bag even lighter – I was so delighted at this (sarcasm) but at least I didn’t have to hunt for H20 when I finally got my camp set up…….


A little further and I was soon approaching the first Munro – Tom na Gruagaich. The views were absolutely stupendous. I took an airy perch on the trig and sat with eyes wide open at the splendour of our wee country….we are so lucky!! The Torridonian Mountains to my east and the sea board and Islands at my back- an amazing view point.

Trig Views..
ImageDrone shot of Torridon by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Liathach...
ImageLiathach by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr


The sun was starting to drop towards the Atlantic and the Outer Hebrides so I made the decision to crack on the Sgurr Mor. The small light weight pack made my descent of Tom na Gruagaich a little interesting and care was required but I was soon heading uphill again this time with numerous breaks (just wanted to look at the views – honest – the pack was so light!). A quick gander at The Black Cleft and I was nearly there.

With sunset approaching I didn’t have time to mess around so set straight to getting the tent up then some photos……

Some sunset snaps....

ImageHORNS of ALLIGIN by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageDusk over the Red Cuilin by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageLiathach red dusk by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

After playing with the camera I set about using my new stove (was very nice and efficient) and had a cracking tea. The horizon was red and I sat watching the fishing boat lights twinkle on the Inner Sound and out to The Minch, not a bad way to let my dinner digest!

Imageminch sunset hebridies by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Imagehebrides by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr


As you may know I like playing with my camera settings with some photos of the stars so I decided to have a lye down and listen to music waiting for dusk to pass… I was knackered and nearly didn’t get back up to take photos, but I am so glad I did awaken!!!

For years I’ve dreamt of being on a wild camp when the Aurora comes to play, and at the tail end of 2014 I got the northern lights on a wild camp in Glencoe. However pleasing it was , it wasn’t a strong show (only a faint glow visible to the naked eye) and some cloud spoiled the event (plus me having a frozen lens didn’t help with the photos…). With the advent of social media catching the lights has become a little easier and only a few weeks ago I was treated to the best display I have seen above Perth where the lights were dancing and the lights were performing to their full specification – pillars, shafts of light etc etc

In my tent on the top of Beinn Alligin I didn’t have a signal to allow alerts to come through so was unawares until I stepped outside… I saw the glow – it was faint – just as it had been in Glencoe – but it still had me rushing around getting the tripod set up, these shows don’t last long sometimes…… 4 hours later I was still outside standing and gawping…… The faint glow I saw as I emerged from the tent soon brightened and for about an hour the Northern lights were dancing above Gairloch and clearly visible to the naked eye. I was in awe, when I wasn’t trying to capture it on the camera I was just standing and staring… an amazing spectacle …. I wanted to stay up all night but I was exhausted and eventually hit the hay, with the alarm set for getting up before sunrise for some more photos (I wasn’t sure if I had any memory left on the card after the Aurora shots ;)

some aurora shots...

ImageWild Camp Northern Lights by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageAurora Borealis in Scotland by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Imageauroa selfyand scarp (1 of 1) by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageAurora double wave by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

I slept well, which is unusual for a camp but was soon up brewing the coffee and waiting for the sun to rise . I had thought I may have got an inversion but the cloud hadn’t moved fa enough west. I could see fog to the east… never mind a few weeks later and I was treated to the inversion of inversions on Ben Lui;)

As with the sunset, the sunrise was spectacular….. It rose over Beinn Eighe and filled the glen with shafts of light… To the West the shadow of Ben Alligin was cast across the Inner Sound, pointing out towards Clisham….. More photos and I had to start thinking about heading home, it is a long drive!!

Sunrise shots...

Imagesunrise torridon by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageAlligin at first light by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

After numerous photographs I once again saddled the small light weight pack and made a second ascent of Tom Na Gruagaich….. The blues skies and crystal clear clarity were not helping my progress… every five meters was a photo stop!!

ImageLoch Torridon by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

The steepness of the descent started to make sense of why I had lacked energy and tiredness the day before!

I eventually made the car and I am glad I had such a light back pack as the memories I collected were a full load! As superb trip to a superb mountain with superb entertainment laid on by Aurora Borealis…

ImageIce Axe at Dawn by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby mamoset » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:02 am

Stunning pics, you certainly picked the right night for this one, well done :clap: :D
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:24 pm

Magical - beyond all words! :shock:

You've surpassed even your very high standards with this one - this is my Nr 1 vid so far! Well done :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: It answers perfectly the oft asked question: why do you do it?
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby BobMcBob » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:05 pm

Amazing! Great photos and what a night to choose! :clap: :clap:
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby dooterbang » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:08 pm

So that's what the views from the summit look like...I seen bugger all!!

What a night, it does indeed live long in the memory and clear the mind.

Loved the 360deg drone summit shots - fantastic! Gives it a whole new perspective.

Was this last night? It says you walked this today?!

simply stunning :clap:

Cheers :)
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby Guinessman » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:40 pm

Superb pics, will watch the youtube vid later on ,on the big telly.
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby Challum » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:03 pm

Superb photos, thanks for posting.
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby jac the lassie » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:20 pm

What a stunning night!
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby Jaxter » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:35 pm

This is amazing!! So cool seeing those shots from the air. Worth every ounce of that light pack I'm sure :lol:

You've got balls sitting on that cairn :shock: :crazy:
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby litljortindan » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:16 pm

I'm sure that's a trip you won't forget in a hurry.
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby 2manyYorkies » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:55 pm

Love that "Dusk over the Red Cuillin" stunning. Well the whole thing is!
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:23 pm

Truly stunning
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby L-Hiking » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:33 pm

Awesome lost for words Thanks for sharing
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby jupe1407 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:38 pm

That's a ridiculously good vid and set of images. Superbly well played :D :clap: :clap:
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Re: A Beinn Alligin Summit camp under a Dancing Aurora Borea

Postby ancancha » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:56 pm

Outstanding :!:
The drone shots and the aurora ( not much wonder you were gawping for ages ) are amazing 8)
Very professional :clap:
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