A bothy night at Lurg Mhor
by Mountainlove » Thu May 11, 2017 8:51 pm
Route description: Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhòr
Munros included on this walk: Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhòr
Date walked: 06/05/2017
Time taken: 12 hours
Distance: 38 km
Ascent: 1530m26 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I have read countless reports of bothy lovers, of nights in front of a fire with a whisky in hand and a group of people. But there was always the part of late arrivals who woke everyone up, too many strangers in one room and my personal pet hate of loud snoring . For me it had been clear that if I ever would sleep in a bothy it would have to be in solitude.
With another sunny weekend I had made plans to climb the 2 remaining Munros at the western edge of Loch Monar. I had arrived at Shiel Bridge campsite the night before and the place could only be described as a hill walkers refugee camp. I have never ever seen the wee campsite so busy and had been glade when I was on my way to the hills.
I arrived just before 9am at the walkers car park at Attendale gardens and was surprised to find it mobbed. There goes my chance to sleep in the bothy I thought, as based on the amount of cars parked, I expected a group of twenty occupying it that night.
The start of the walk
Walking towards the gardens in the most glorious morning I could have ever wished for and I did not see a single soul. Passing trees covered in young light green leaves and carpets of bluebells it was a stunning start of a walk. Once I was on the main track it was a bit of a come down, as the large hydro scene left an ugly scar of a road in its place. I followed the steep road which climbed higher and higher and marveled at the views around me. This was much nicer than the walk in from Craig had been. By the time I reached the highest part of the road the two Munros came into view and also some massive construction vehicles.
Passing a pretty bridge
Looking back towards Loch Carron
The ugly road, with some lovely Munros ahead
The ugly construction
Its the path towards Loch an Laoigh (new path which isn't on the map)
Continuing down the path big dust clouds shot up in the air from all the activity at the construction area and I felt anything but remote.
Walking past the site I was rewarded when the lodge and bothy came into view. The walk in had taken me 2.35h. I stopped when I reached the path down to the bothy. Two bicycles were leaning against the wall and the door was open.
Bendronaig Lodge and Bothy
I stepped into the bright interior and was standing in a large room . To my front a large fireplace was boarded off, but in front of it was a large pile of fire wood. Two saws were handing from the wall and an axe rested next to a wooden block. To the right was a little alcove with a large old fashioned Belfast sink. How marvelous I thought and I stepped closer to find a bucket with water, washing up liquid, a washing up bowl, a block of knives and lots of other bits and bobs. Well equipped I thought! Opening another door I stood in front of a toilet with an amazing old fashioned toilet seat. The first time I had ever even thought about writing a toilet seat, but it was such a great one, rounded and chunky and certainly carved from a solid block of wood. Closing the door I found 3 more rooms, all with their own fire places and wooden floors and rather well kept.
The room with the wood burning stove
The main room with the kitchen
With my inspection finished I moved into the garden, found a flat surface and set up tent. Good knows how many people would stay here tonight and at least I would have had the choice of garden space I thought. Once I had repacked my bag it was blissfully light. Sitting in the sunshine next to my tent I had a lengthy lunch I enjoyed the sunshine.
With my tent set up
Bothy, tent and path
Getting up a good half an hour later I started my walk towards Loch Calavie. When the road came to a junction I turned right and started laughing when I spotted a pile of about 18 mountain bikes. Moving on the path climbed higher and finally the sense of remoteness which I had been lacking during the past 14 filled the countryside around me. With the lovely loch on the horizon, I had nearly forgotten all the construction and was in awe. It was lovely! Stopping for some photos I saw some walkers coming down the hill and looked up at Luig Mhor. There wasn't an obvious path, but it had just the perfect amount of gradient.
Myself at lochan Calavie
The gentle walk up to the right hand side of the burn
On the way up
At the bealach between Lurg Mhor and Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich
The climb was indeed great. Half way up I sat down on a moss covered rock and just looked at the countryside...what a perfect day it was! In due time I reached the top of Lurg Mhor and met another hill walker who was sitting at the cairn. We chatted for a while and once he had left, I enjoyed the views and some food and looked across towards the Munros I had climbed the previous weekend.
View towards Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich and the Cuillins
Down Lurg Mhor
Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich
Sgurr Choinnich, Shurr a Chaorachain and Maoile Lunndaidh across the other side
Another one of Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich
Towards Loch Monar
The summit cairn
Myself posing at the summit
The road traveled
On the way up Cheesecake (Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich)
I returned the same way down to the bealach and started climbing up towards ‘Cheesecake’. The nickname of the mountain always makes me laugh and once I reached the top I greeted the walker I previously talk to and he introduced himself as Simon.
Chatting away we discussed plans for the return. Should we head back down to the bealach and return the way we came from, or head over the shoulder. We settled for the shoulder and decided to walk together.
Views from the top
Views towards Sgurr Choinnich, Shurr a Chaorachain and Maoile Lunndaidh
Panorama of an amazing area
Cheesy grin on Cheesecake
With Lurg Mhor behind me
On the way down
Moving along it was harder than I had expected and Simon had some near falls down the wet slope. When we reached the path again, we both decided that the drop down to the bealach would have been far more pleasant.
I arrived at the bothy, shortly followed by Simon on his bicycle. I was greeted by new arrival Will and Simons friend who had been waiting patiently for the past 4 hours. Grabbing some chairs we all sat outside, drinking tea and sharing stories. It was nearly 8pm when the 2 decided to leave and I was left in the company of Will. Age 70 he was on his final countdown of 8 Munros before completion and having battled through major operations a few years prior, he was back to full health and determent to complete them. Hats off to him!
From the bothy watching a bird
No one else appeared that evening much to my amazement and when Will announced that he would still prefer to camp outside, my dream to have a bothy to myself just had come true. With 4 rooms to choose from I settled for one of the smallest, yet coziest looking ones. Looking out of the window, it had lovely views across the moor which had turned pink with the setting sun.
Once it got too cold to sit outside we moved into the room with the wood burning stove. I left Will to light the fire, while I went for a wander and came across a bottle of Turpentine. Will that do I asked him? It sure should he replied and I poured a large amount of turpentine onto the dry embers. We watched the flame inching forward and with a whoosh we had a large fire going in a split second. Ohhhh perfect I proclaimed.
Sitting and watching the fire going, we felt that we were getting high on the strong smell of burning turpentine which filled the room. Will joked that if any other hill walkers would enter the bothy now, he or she would think that 2 meth addicts were staying, based on the smoke and smell of turpentine which seemed to fill every single room of the bothy. Haha.
Once Will had retired to his tent, I gathered a few candles and tea lights and placed them on the fire place and floor of ‘my’ room. In the warm glow of the candles I crawled into my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. Listening to the darkness, I could hear squeaks and cracks. Sounds that made the house feel alive. I blew out the candles and darkness surrounded me. My mind drifted to the families who had lived here a long time ago. How had life been for them, how had they looked like? With thoughts about the past I slowly drifted into sleep.
I woke at 7:30 am during the next morning and looked around me. Blue skies could be seen outside and getting up and dressed I said hello to Will who sat outside and enjoyed a cup of tea. Once he was off I looked around and decided to do a clean, as I had nothing else planned apart from the long walk back. Once I was happy to leave the bothy in a better stage than I had found it I packed my bags.
My room at daylight
Stepping outside and walking up the path towards the road I looked back to the first bothy I had slept in. I felt strangely attached to it and sad that I had to say good bye. Turning around I walked on, happy that a dream had finally come true.
by Mal Grey » Thu May 11, 2017 9:22 pm
Possibly my favourite is the one up the glen from yours, Bearnais, which we used as a base to do the same 2 wonderful hills as you. Its much smaller, and doesn't have sink or loo, but boy is it in a fantastic location.
by PerthAlly » Fri May 12, 2017 8:38 am
Super report. And well done on walking the whole way
I, however, plan to cycle in. Question is....is the route through the hydro works to the bothy obvious? Looks like a confusing layout . Or am I being dim?
by dibs » Fri May 12, 2017 8:52 am
by dibs » Fri May 12, 2017 8:58 am
by Mountainlove » Fri May 12, 2017 9:08 am
PerthAlly- Be aware that the cycle in is pretty hard. The few men I spoke to were only 20 min faster with a bike, than I was walking. Obviously it all depends on your speed going up hill. I had to check the map and walk description quite a few times, as many paths turn off the main one which is a bit confusing. But as long as you remember not to take any right turns its ok. The sign post for the two lochs at the construction place (for which I added a photo) is the only time I was really confused. For that you need to remember to take the left path. Fingers crossed you will have a fab day when you get around to it!
dibs- I do recommend that you try a bothy Its worth it!!
by PerthAlly » Fri May 12, 2017 10:12 am
I used to be good with maps and paths . But all of a sudden I'm illiterate and thick! Your photo with the two signs confused me but pleased you clarified things
Really looking forward to this walk, but def risking it by taking my bike. Not sure I'll bothy it ( despite that one looking pleasant ). I've only ever stepped inside one ( Stob Ban ) and it stank of pee. It was awful.
Many thanks for the info.
Perth Ally ( but formerly Ayrshire! )
by BlackPanther » Fri May 12, 2017 1:33 pm
by Jaxter » Fri May 12, 2017 9:48 pm
by Yorjick » Fri May 12, 2017 9:59 pm
We picked the same room in the bothy. How did you get on cutting up firewood? I failed hopelessly - like hitting tractor tyres with a blunt axe. The axe just bounced off!
by Coop » Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 am
These scientists can work wonders but they need to invent a cloaking device to hide these construction sites.
Cheèrs fir the superb report
by DLF60 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:33 am
The road in is very steep on the way in and we needed to push our bikes for a short period right at the top.
The night in the bothy sounds good but wasn't required on this occasion.
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- Joined: May 5, 2016
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