A few days before the Autumn WH Meet, weather forecast was gloomy. Rain, rain, even more rain, gale force winds, low cloud. I wondered if the curse of Walkhighlands was upon us again, but in the end, it wasn't. The Autumn Meet was an absolute success (many thanks to Hugh who organized it so close to our home!). We spent some time up on the hills. We meet some old friends and some new ones. We even managed to keep our tent standing in the gusting wind on Friday evening!
Kevin worked on Friday so we only arrived in Torridon at 8pm and immediately started to look for a good spot to pitch. There was some dry ground at the far end of the campsite, but we opted for a small hideout just by the gate. It was surrounded by trees and shrubs, protecting us from the gusty wind:
We caught up with other folks on Friday evening in the hostel. Different groups planned to do different things, but for us it made little difference which hill we'd pick as it would be a repeat anyway. So why not return to one of our favourite Torridon Corbetts, Beinn Damh? I have already climbed it in summer time, in winter conditions, now it was a good occasion to experience it in late autumn.
In the end it was just us and Kerrie, another group went for the neighbouring Graham Beinn na h-Eaglaise (we met them on the descent). As we were leaving the lay-by, it was raining cats and dogs, but thankfully, the rain didn't last long.
We took a short break by the waterfall. It was easier to see it now with no leafs on the trees:
The rain stopped altogether shortly after we left the forest path and started the ascent up the Toll Ban. I remembered the path was quite boggy higher up and indeed, since our last visit here, it suffered badly from erosion and small landslides, but it is still walkable
A quick breather with cloudy weather in the background:
Because it was a windy day, I hoped that the gusts might blow the clag away. At the moment, it was still cloudy higher up but I could see the perspective for clear summit:
Liathach (sort-of clear) and the village of Torridon. To the left, still cloudy Alligin. I knew there was another brave group of Walkhighlanders marching up this one, and I wished them good luck. At the moment, it looked like they would not see much from the ridge
In contrary, "our" hill had potential for some really good panos. The clag was thinning and as we climbed up towards the high bealach below Meall Gorm, I knew we were in it to win it
On the eroded section of the path:
On the bealach, another break for photos. It was still quite windy...
...but views south along Loch Damh were tremendous:
The path was less obvious from here, but having been to this hill twice, I knew more or less where to go. We still managed to hop over a few unnecessary boulders en route, but who cares I was glancing back towards Meall Gorm - one day we will come back to visit this outlying top as it looks interesting - must be a good viewpoint:
Even if you don't know the hill well, there are cairns marking the path so you won't get lost...
...and reaching the top of Bidean Toll nam Biast is always a WOW moment, when the superb views east to the other Torridon hills are revealed...
Snack break on the first top. The summit was not far away, but we didn't know what conditions we'd have on the very top, so we better fill up now!
The summit of Beinn Damh, now in sight:
Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin with cloud lifting slowly:
As we continued to the top, the sun came out and brightened the sandstone world around us. It was a wonderful opportunity for Kevin to play the game of sunshine and shadows with his camera!
The summit of Beinn Damh casting shadow onto the glen below:
The lower tops and the cliffs seen from near the summit:
The best way to impress girls
The summit wasn't as windy as we expected. It was OK to sit for a few minutes, have a sandwich and admire the panoramas...
Kevin kept himself busy taking photos. The best views were to the east/south east to Maol Chean Dearg and An Ruadh-Stac. From this angle they looked like twins:
I studied Beinn na h-Eaglaise, hoping to see the other WH group on the summit:
View north to Beinn Alligin, now sunny spells even there:
We returned the way we came. I know there is a scrambling route down via Stuc Toll nam Biast, but no way I was trying it today (if ever at all!)
On the way down I had to stop to swap my thin gloves for the winter ones - it was cold on the ridge!
Happy Kerrie, who added a new Corbett to her tally:
Weather was decent all the way down, the winds dropped and it stayed dry. On the main path we bumped into Malcolm's group returning from Beinn na h-Eaglaise. This is indeed a superb Graham and given some nice weather, I'd be happy to do repeat this one, too.
We returned to the campsite, had a quick shower and dinner before the evening quiz. As always, it was great fun, lots of shouting, squeaking and laughing, too many empty bottles and not enough time to talk to everybody. At some point I was running around with Kevin's phone, taking photos, but as light was not great and my hands a bit shaky (too much "little water" possibly ) most of the snaps came out blurry. Of course i didn't think of such an obvious thing like using the flash Definitely too much water in my system
On Sunday morning weather looked superb, but Met Office said, it was going to change by midday, so after packing up and saying good bye to everybody, we headed for home, but decided we had enough time to stop on the top of Glen Docherty and climb Bidein Clann Raonaild, which is said do be an excellent viewpoint. We were not disappointed. It is indeed a tremendous vantage point, easily accessible by a good, dry track. And weather held for long enough!
We parked by the gate at 079584. The track goes all the way to the summit from here. We encountered a few boggy puddles on the way but nothing too taxing
Happy Panther ready to meow:
The track goes through the forest first...
...only to emerge on the open moorland. The gate used to be padlocked but it is not any more. Views are good even lower down.
The Coulin hills:
South-east to Achnasheen and Fionn Bheinn:
Soon we reached the summit, marked with a large cairn...
...and a phone mast plus extra man-made structures. They do spoil the feeling of being on a mountain summit, maybe, but at least they don't spoil the surrounding vistas!
Me and Lucy on the top. Bidein Clann Raonaild is a Sub'2000 Marylin so we added another, if small, mountain summit to our tally:
Panoramic view of the Torridon Giants, Beinn Eighe taking the center stage, Liathach seen from a very steep angle:
Liathach - close up:
Beinn Tarsuinn and Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair:
Wider pano to the north:
One last snap including the mast:
I was surprised how good the views had been from this small top. I can recommend it to anybody, even the beginners. It may not be worth sacrificing the whole day but could easily be added to a shorter mountain day in Torridon. We intend to visit it again in full winter conditions - fingers crossed we have a good winter this year!
Weather is looking extremely good for the coming weekend so expect more meowing mountain stories soon!
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