It was the week before Christmas and I had to use up my remaining holiday entitlement before the end of the year. With the kids at school and my better half working, I had a week to play
Monday had seen me head for a day trip to Ardgour and Tuesday was an indoor day as a large Atlantic weather system swept over Scotland. The forecast for the rest of the week was changeable across Scotland – apart from the far north! So decision made – I was headed for Sutherland! Leaving the house at 6am, I arrived on the shoes of Loch Merkland four hours later at 10am. At this time of the year the days re short (an even shorter the further north you go) so I was aware I needed to get cracking and I had decided on Ben Hee as it would fit in with me getting back before dark. The plan there after was to enjoy some carlife (;)) and spend the next three days in this area.
The forecast was looking good and I set off in glorious sunshine with little wind. Numerous herds of deer greeted me as I headed up the track and towards the Allt Coire a’ Chruiteir burn. The skies were still blue but as the summit of Ben Hee came into view I noticed it was capped in cloud, which was skudding over the summit . The path was ok, but had been eroded away by the burn in places, but I wasn’t complaining as it was dry and nicer than the rest of Scotland. Once out of the wee glen the winds picked up and it was cold!! The pull into the cloud and towards the summit was also the freezing level and a white rim coated the rocks as I approached the cloud capped summit of Ben Hee.
As opposed to coming back down the same way, I decided to drop down over Sail Gharb and hoped to snap a photo of Loch an t-Seilg. I wasn’t sure whether the cloud base would enable this , however the views soon opened out and the views over to Ben Hope and Ben Loyal were fabulous. I was a bit jealous as these near bye peaks were cloud free. A few more snaps and I was soon chasing the unset down the hill to get back to the car before nightfall.
Back at the car and I found a larger parking area to spend a cold night in the car before another adventure on the Thursday
a few photos :
Quinaig by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Sutherland Lochs by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Hope and Loyal by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
frozen lochan by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Ben Hee Stars by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.