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Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memories

Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memories


Postby dogplodder » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:53 pm

Route description: Biod an Fhithich, south Glenshiel

Fionas included on this walk: Biod an Fhithich

Date walked: 17/04/2017

Distance: 6.5 km

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The first time I consciously noticed Biod an Fhithich was on the way up The Saddle in 2012 when I caught it in a photo before starting on the Forcan ridge. I thought then it looked an interesting hill.

Biod an Fhithich (on right) from Meallan Odhar
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It appeared again in a photo from Faochaig on the way up Sgurr na Sgine in 2013. From that angle it looked so impossibly pointed and steep and the idea was tucked away that some day when there was only time for a short trip I would like to come back and climb it.

Biod an Fhithich from lower slopes of Faochag
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Easter Monday 2017 turned out to be that day. I was feeling wiped out by a combination of circumstances so a big challenging day probably wasn't the best idea but I knew that a short walk in the hills was what I needed and where better to go than Kintail? BBC Weather was giving the best outlook for Shiel Bridge and when Moira said she'd be up for Biod an Fhithich as her first hill of the year that clinched it. :D

We parked in the layby on the north side of the A87, a bit west of the Malagan bridge, and walked the short distance back to reach the gate through the deer fence. The layby was surprisingly empty but the road was busy and we had to wait for a space to get across. :o

We followed the excellent path up the zig zags through the rocky knolls before reaching the long traversing path that heads straight for Bealach na Craoibhe. It can't be many Grahams that boast such a good approach path..... but it's all down to sharing it with the main approach to one of the finest mountans in the Highlands! :wink:

Glen Shiel looking west
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Biod an Fhithich - and can you spot the stag?
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Well camouflaged - apart from the antlers
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Glen Shiel looking east
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Looking east stirred memories of walking the Brothers ridge with Anthony, Chris and Murdina in 2009, when Murdina just went for it despite her fear of heights. :clap:

Zoomed to Brothers ridge
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Reaching the col made me catch my breath to see again the jagged profile of the Forcan ridge, climbed on a sunny August day in 2012 with David, Euan, James, Anna, Bregtje and Kath. :thumbup:

Zoomed to an interesting part of the Forcan ridge
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Also visible from the col is Sgurr Mhic Bharraich reminding me of a wonderful autumn day in November 2014 with Liz and Roger. :D

Sgurr Mhic Bharraich
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From the col a path turns right towards Biod an Fhithich. A small pool marks the spot to start heading up the ridge. There's no clear path at this point but higher up it becomes more defined and leads all the way to the summit, crossing a couple of short sections of slabby rock, but with no difficulties.

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Looking back I could see the west end of the South Glenshiel ridge, stirring memories of a cold rainy day in August 2006 with Moira, Evelyn, Flora, Claire, Janice, Chris, Andrew, Philip and Ken - and the laughs we had despite the less than perfect weather! :lol:

West end of the South Glen Shiel ridge
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Zoomed to part of the South Glen Shiel ridge
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Also in full view was Sgurr na Sgine which I went up via Faochaig with Rob and Mary on a beautiful September day in 2013, after a few weeks earlier doing a recce of the first part of the route with Pete. I remember on the day I returned to do the full climb having to help my dog Jack over a scrambly bit higher up - the first time I had to do that and a sign of his advancing years. Having said that both my dogs are still enjoying their walks but I don't take them on anything but the smallest hills now. 8)

Sgurr na Sgine
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Dominating the view to the north was the Five Sisters ridge which I traversed with Anthony on what was for me an exhilerating day in 2011. Maybe less so for him having to go at my pace! :wink:

Sisters ridge from slopes of Biod an Fhithich
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Biod an Fhithich's east ridge
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It's a great wee hill to climb and before you know it you're at the summit cairn - and what a viewpoint it is. :D

View north west from the summit
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Sitting just across Loch Duich was Sgurr an Airgid which Moira and I climbed in 2015 after waiting quite a long time to get a good day for it! 8)

Zoomed to Loch Duich and Applecross hills
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I could only see its north ridge because the bulk of the Saddle was obscuring it, but I knew Beinn Sgritheall was there and I thought about the magical day in 2012 with Kath and Penny - on what turned out to be the last Munro I climbed with Kath before her tragic accident the following spring. A haunting reminder we never know what a day will bring.

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The top of Sgurr a Mhaoraich was now visible, bringing back memories of climbing it with Nancy and Amile in 2011 on what was Nancy's first Munro. :clap:

Sgurr a Mhaoraich
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Back to the present.... a scenic spot for lunch with Moira :D
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Leaving the summit I was telling Moira about Basscadet's brave ascent with a partially healed ankle, drugged up to the eyeballs and crawling off the icy summit in reverse with her ankle in the air! :crazy:

What's happening down on the A87? (Zoomed from near summit)
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We reached the col without incident and headed down the path which personally I found longer on the descent.

A last look at the Saddle
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Start of descent from the col
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Looking back at Biod an Fhithich
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I enjoyed this spectacular wee hill, surrounded as it is by so many other hills, all with their own stories to tell, and with the unique memories of all the people who walked them with me. And I suspect when I'm no longer able to get out to climb hills reading these old reports might give me a bit of the 'hill fix' that I'll be missing! :D
Last edited by dogplodder on Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby Mal Grey » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:41 pm

You enjoyed the hill, and I enjoyed reading your report about it, and hearing of the memories it spurred back to life. Lovely little report.
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:41 pm

Beautiful photos and a lovely tale of hills climbed with friends :D :D
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby kmai1961 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:47 am

Hi, DP. We seem to be in the same areas, and often on the same hills, in close proximity to each other -- I was on this hill on the day before you, on Easter. Perhaps our paths will actually cross one day!

I haven't got nearly the memories of the area that you do -- this was my first prolonged visit to Kintail, so I was busy making some new ones to rely on in the days to come. But agree that it's a crackin' wee hill, with magnificent views. Big rewards for not a huge amount of effort.

Karen
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:06 am

It's a lovely wee outlier, overlooked and forgotten, but it should be climbed on its own, if only for the views! :D We did it on Boxing Day a few years back and couldn't get enough of gazing at Forcan Ridge in white.

Speaking of winter, we were climbing in Sutherland the very same day and walked through 3 hrs long snow blizzard! Hard to believe it was the same day, looking at the blue sky in your photos :D
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby basscadet » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:44 pm

Looked like a cracking day to be in Kintail - and ti is a bonny wee hill - nice and quiet so you can do ridiculous things like walk like a crab and crawl off backward with one leg in the air :D

Conversations up mountains used to consist of arguments about which hills are which, but the more you go, the more conversations turn into 'do you remember that day we were up that one and...' :lol:
You should hear Dougie and I in the car passing through Glen coe - almost every buttress and bare scrap of rock has a memory for us 8)
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby dogplodder » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:31 am

Mal Grey wrote:You enjoyed the hill, and I enjoyed reading your report about it, and hearing of the memories it spurred back to life. Lovely little report.


A great wee hill - height's not everything! :-P
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby dogplodder » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:34 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Beautiful photos and a lovely tale of hills climbed with friends :D :D


The thing is the hills start to feel like old friends too... :wink:
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby dogplodder » Thu May 04, 2017 7:07 pm

kmai1961 wrote:Hi, DP. We seem to be in the same areas, and often on the same hills, in close proximity to each other -- I was on this hill on the day before you, on Easter. Perhaps our paths will actually cross one day!

Karen


I'll speak to everyone I meet just in case it's you! :lol:
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby dogplodder » Thu May 04, 2017 7:13 pm

BlackPanther wrote:It's a lovely wee outlier, overlooked and forgotten, but it should be climbed on its own, if only for the views! :D We did it on Boxing Day a few years back and couldn't get enough of gazing at Forcan Ridge in white.

Speaking of winter, we were climbing in Sutherland the very same day and walked through 3 hrs long snow blizzard! Hard to believe it was the same day, looking at the blue sky in your photos :D


I go into anorak mode when planning a walk - scanning BBC weather for the local forecasts - and it does at times pay off. 8)
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Re: Spectacular Kintail hill surrounded by a host of memorie

Postby dogplodder » Thu May 04, 2017 7:20 pm

basscadet wrote:
Conversations up mountains used to consist of arguments about which hills are which, but the more you go, the more conversations turn into 'do you remember that day we were up that one and...' :lol:
You should hear Dougie and I in the car passing through Glen coe - almost every buttress and bare scrap of rock has a memory for us 8)


Yep and when we're on summits we spend ages talking about all the other hills we can see, who we climbed them with and what the day was like... Hill walkers are a strange breed of folk right enough. :eh:
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