Sometimes the best days out are ones where you chain together hills in an unusual manner.
I guess most people would do Geal Charn with its two Munro neighbours, but since we'd been up Creag Pitridh a couple of years ago (and run out of time to go any further), and Dad had done Beinn a'Chlachair years ago, Geal Charn became the main objective. And since we were up that way, crossing over the Ardverikie estate to Binnein Shios seemed like a nice extension to the walk. These hills are deceptively far away from the road, so big brother Shuas could wait for another day…
The weather forecast was pretty accurate, in that it would be dry and mild, but with cloud down to around 2500ft, so we knew we'd be in the clag for some of the walk. Parked at the lay-by off the A86 near the Ossian track end, and followed the track across the River Spean bridge, remembering to turn left and not blunder straight on past Luiblea as we'd done last time
We made fast progress up the track round the foot of Binnein Shios, to the head of the SW twin of Lochan na-h-Earba, a wonderful viewpoint.
The path was pretty good all the way up the side of the Allt Coire Pitridh, and as we entered the cloud, we branched off E, picking up another path towards the upper slopes of Geal Charn. Then, after leaving that path, it was a steady climb ENE to the remarkably well engineered cairn and summit trig.
Not much to see here, so we descended, immediately being dragged E off our bearing before recovering and contouring around the head of Coire an Iubhair Mor. Eventually we joined a faint path that led us down the Moy Burn and back to the track running alongside Lochan na-h-Earba. The many scattered trees below craggy slopes seemed more reminiscent of the Alps or the Rockies than Scotland; maybe some very effective deer management had allowed the trees to grow here.
After crossing the bridge over the river connecting the two parts of the loch, we took the direct route up Shios, firstly through grassy slopes, then a band of natural pinewood.
After crossing a rusty old deer fence, it was a case of picking a way up through steep, occasionally slabby slopes to gain the summit ridge. It was a nice stroll along to the summit cairn, with Creag Dubh as prominent as ever to the E and Binnein Shuas to the W.
We returned along the ridge, a fast descent down to the edge of the forest and a high deer fence corner. Beyond this corner, the forest is much more open, so was an easy descent to the track along the south shore of Loch Laggan. This track took us all the way back to rejoin our outward route, and back to the car. A wonderful long day out, and finished just in time to log my route before my phone died
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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.