Video of Icy camp :
“-8 in some sheltered Glens and widely -4 to -5 elsewhere”… that forecast had me packing my winter warming gear for this wild camp in the North West Highlands!
I had fancied a camp on the mountains to the north of Loch Quoich for some time and this good (if chilly ) forecast saw me heading off and up for a wild camp
My initial plan was to camp on Spidean Mialach, but I then changed my mind and thought the spot height summit at 840m on Gleouraich would provide better views
As always , I was rushing as soon as I left the car. With only a few hours until sun down, I wanted to get pitched up before darkness (unlike my bivvy on Chonzie a few months prior!!). A stalkers path winds its way up the hill side, gaining height quickly. This also meant I was gathering heat quickly and before long the sweat was pouring off my brow! However the sun was out and things were looking good. Taking a break after a steeping climb I noticed a relatively flat shoulder with rather nice views down Loch Quoich! I was about 650m altitude but the view and the flat sheltered spot was too good to resist. I downed my pack and got the tent up. At this point I wasn’t too sure if I would summit Gleouraich for sunset or sunrise, but with about 45 minutes to sunset things were looking good so I set off (rather optimistically ) to get to the top for sunset.
Gleouraich path by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
The path up is sensational. The views behind me back towards the tent and the loch were good enough, but as I gained height the South Sheil ridge came into view as the lowering sun lit it up red.
south shiel ridge by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
The higher I got and the mountains to the north with their white coats on came into view one by one! With very little time to spare I reached the summit ridge of Gleouraich and decided to get the camera out here. I got some nice photos then set up a time lapse as I traveled on to the ridge (only a short distance away).
Loch Quoich by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
It was a spectacular sunset and well worth the sweat and sore legs to get there in time! By the time I got back to the camera , the sun was down and darkness was mustering to the east! I decided to head back and got to the tent just before the head torch was required! The temperature was dropping quickly and the tent was already sparkling by the time I finished tea. I was hoping to try out some astro shots and time lapse but unfortunately the cloud had rolled in and I was a little disappointed (not too much after that sunset mind you!).
I headed to the tent and read some before looking out again about an hour later . To my delight the sky was sparkling! I got up and spent a happy few hours snapping away at the stars with my hip flask contents providing the warmth against the bitter cold frost.
tent at wild camp by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Milky way Scotland by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
After snapping happily away I eventually retired for the evening, looking forward to a long sleep (sunrise was about 8.40 the next morning – no need for an early alarm clock thankfully)….
A good nights sleep and I got up, had coffee and had a leisurely breakfast watching the sunrise over the Grey Corries. Everything was sparkling after a cold night and the clear skies and views were fantastic. I eventually packed up and headed back down the road. A rather satisfying wild camp in the mountains
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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.