Holiday in Heaven
by MilanBohac » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:54 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dorain, Beinn Sgritheall, Ben Hope, Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Creag Meagaidh, Sgurr Alasdair, Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Poite Coire Ardair
Corbetts included on this walk: Canisp
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Meall Mor (Rannoch Moor)
Date walked: 22/08/2015
Time taken: 240 hours
Distance: 99 km
Ascent: 7390m22 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).
This report will be about my holiday in Scotland. But let's go back a bit. I became obsessed with Scotland four years ago when I visited it for the first time. There was something in that land and especially in the mountains that pulled me back. From that time I visit Scotland every year and I can say it gets better everytime I go. This year wasn't an exception.
This time I planned my trip weeks before. And because I was going only by myself and wanted to clear my head, I planned to hike as many hills as possible.
So on Saturday 22nd of August I was ready to go. I woke up at 03:00 in the morning, grabbed my things and drove my car to Prague Airport. I boarded the plane and in 4 hours I was in Edinburgh. I picked up my rental car in 10:00 and drove right into the Highlands. To be more accurate, I set off for Bridge of Orchy. You can guess which hill I wanted to climb.
Yes, it was Beinn Dorain. When I got to the Bridge of Orchy it was already 13:00 and the car park near the train station was almost full. I thought I will give it a try even the weather wasn't so promising. The mountain was in the cloud and the clouds were dark. But it proved to be quite good, only small showers on the way to the col.
At the cairn I met two guys from Glasgow. I joined them in their journey to the summit of Beinn Dorain. After a while we finally reached the second cairn, which marks the very top. There were no views, but the feeling of bagging my second Munro was great.
After a short break we turned back and headed for the col again. It started to rain a bit, but It wasn't that bad. We split up at the cairn, because I wanted to do Beinn an Dothaidh as well. I thanked these guys for a great company and headed up the path. Soon, the rain became heavier and the visibility was pretty bad. When the path ended and there was only bog I turned back. There was no point to do it in these conditions. I didn't have a map, I didn't have a GPS, so I remembered what people in the mountains told me: "These mountains will be here much longer than you can imagine. There is no rush." It is true. Anyway, I will certainly be back even for Beinn Dorain, just in better conditions. I want the views!
When I got back to the car park it was around 18:00. So I thought it would be a good idea to try one wee hill on the way to Rannoch Moor. I read at least two reports about the hill named Meall Mor (one was from The Rodmeister - thank you, Sir!). I wanted to go there because of the views and because of the monument there. The walk was a bit boggy. When I was almost to the top, it started to rain really heavy. It felt like the spirit of this place didn't want me to disturb him. Soon, strong wind started to blow. But I didn't give up. I reached the cairn and turned to the monument. I told to myself, I am not leaving without visiting it. So I went there in the rain and it felt kind of strange. When I got to the monument, I read the very nice and true words on the plaque. I stopped for a while, watched the rain falling on the infinite fields of Rannoch Moor. The thoughts were clear in my head. I walked back to the car and I was happy. This was the exactly the reason why I was in Scotland. To find a bit of inner peace.
Unfortunately no pictures from this one, the rain was too heavy...
The next day, the weather changed. It was a sunny day, but a bit windy. I wanted to try Buachaille Etive Beag. Later it proved as a good choice, because the wind on the ridge was very strong, can't imagine doing the big Buachaille! The path up is really good, a nice change from yesterday, almost no bog. The ridge was a bit windy, but there were beautiful views all around. Most of you probably know this one, so I will let the pictures talk.
I planned one of the mountains in the Kintail & Lochalsh area for the third day. The weather forecast was quite good for western hills, so I later decided to go to Skye and try Bla Bheinn. A few miles behind the Eilean Donan castle I had to stop. It appeared, there was an accident on the road and the road will be closed for hours. I was pointed to go to Glenelg and go to Skye by a ferry, but it later proved to be impossible, because of the big number of tourists going the same way. I would wait hours for the ferry! So I turned back and went to Arnisdale. I knew there is a munro named Beinn Sgritheall, but this one was not planned. I parked my car in the village and went up the steep path. Although the path is a bit boggy at the beginning, later it gets better and it is a great experience. It leads around the waterfall and later it becomes so steep that a little bit of scramble is needed. And it is what I like. I climbed to the first top of Beinn Sgritheall, it's the lower one. The weather was great and the summit was clear.
But when I got to the very top, it looked like this.
Later, it started to clear. The views were incredible!
I took the other path down to protect my knees. I met German couple on the way down and had a nice conversation with them. It was great to meet them. Although this mountain wasn't planned, it proved to be an excellent walk with stunning views.
When I got to the car park, it was still time to move to Skye. So I jumped in the car and drove towards Elgol. When I got there it was almost the sunset, so I went to the sea and experieced a fine sunset over the panorama of the Cuillin hills.
The next day the weather didn't look so great. But I said to myself, I will give it a try. So I parked my car under the mountain of Bla Bheinn and went up. The path is really good. Soon a few showers came by, but it was still walkable. But when i got to the bealach, the rain started to be heavier and heavier. I waited for an hour under the big stone there (a good place to hide actually ) The rain eased a bit but the clouds were still very dark and the path up the mountain was very slippery so I turned back and thought about the advice I was talking about before.
I moved to Glenbrittle campsite, where the weather improved and the evening was warm and fine. But the next day the weather was really bad. It was raining from the morning till 16:00. The camp warden had to move my tent from the puddle, otherwise I would have slept in a fine wet sleeping bag. Thanks for that! But later after 16:00 the weather improved. It was no signs of rain and the visibility was great. The island of Canna and Rum was visible so I thought I will walk up to Coire Lagan and enjoy at least a bit of mountains that day. I got to the loch only one hour after I left the campsite. And because I had a lot of time and the weather still looked promising, I started to walk the great stone chute. In just 50 minutes I stood on the top of Sgurr Alasdair. I can't describe the feeling I had there. I tried to climb this one two times before and now I was standing on the top. Even there was a cloud on the top, I was able to easily navigate by the crampons marks on the stones. Thank you Sgurr Alasdair to allow me to climb you! It was a great experience!
I got back to the campsite just 3 hours and 40 mins after I set off. It was a great feeling. I slept like a baby that night.
The next day I wanted to get to Torridon and maybe climb some hills there. But when I read the forecast, it looked bad there. It proved so when I arrived do Achnasheen. I thought I will come back later, so I went on to Ullapool and then to Assynt. There I wanted to try Cul Beag. I started from the car park on the main road and approached the hill from the east through very boggy ground. When I was almost at the base of the mountain, the heavy rain started. I took the advice for the thord time and turned back. I was soaked when I got back to the car. I went back to Ullapool and slept in B&B. I really needed it after this.
The next day the weather looked promising. Patches of sunshine and a few showers. I wanted to try Canisp, because Assynt is a very special place for me. I walked Suilven last year and it was just incredible. The whole area is magical. So I stopped in the lay-by near the Ledmore junction and started the walk. It was raining a bit and the ground was very boggy but I was determined and I believed the weather will improve. Soon, the rain stopped and the ground started to be more stony. There were few showers but it was still good. Later, the views started to be stunning with Cul Mor, Stac Pollaidh and Suilven.
However, when I got the the top, it looked like this.
Canisp proved to be one of the great mountains with great character. The views were stunning. Maybe it is just a corbett but it sure has the spirit greater than some munros. Totally, one of the most beautiful places in Scotland I have been to.
I spent the night in the campsite in Durness. Fine weather, almost no rain. The next day I set off for Ben Hope. The weather forecast for north was good. When i got to the car park under the mountain, there were already two cars there. The way up Ben Hope is good was easy to walk. The views from the top were beautiful. But the place itself was very windy and cold. So after I took some pictures and had a snack I went back. Ben Hope is a fine mountain with great views. Its remoteness is making it even more special.
I drove south from Ben Hope and thought I will try Torridon. When I got to Kinlochewe, it was still very cloudy, but Beinn Eighe was visible. The forcast for the next two days looked good. The next morning was cloudy but it wasn't raining. I went one low level walk just to watch the Beinn Alligin and Liathach. But soon it started to be worse and worse. It was raining whole day. I thought the next day will be better so I stayed for one more night. But it wasn't. It was raining whole night and my tent was almost soaked. So I said to myslef, there is no time to lose time. I packed my things, jumped to the car and set off for Creag Meagaidh. I arrived to the car park under the Creag Meagaidh at 09:30 in the morning. I set off immediately and in 7 hours I did the whole circuit with three munros. Great ridge walk, clear tops, what a day!
It was the best holiday trip I have ever been to. I have met a lot of friendly people who love mountains and Scotland as much as I do. The weather and mountains were kind to me, that they allowed me to climb this many of them. I am pretty tired when I write this, but it was worth it. I am looking forward for next year adventure.
I just want to share this experience with you. Thank you for any comments.
Scotland with its mountains is a very special place to me. There is something in it, I don't know what it is and I cannot describe it. But there is something in these mountains what other mountains in Europe, maybe world, don't have. And it makes them very attractive and special. They are unique and you, people of Scotland, are lucky to live in such a place.
Distance travelled by plane to get to Edinburgh: 1200 miles
Time spent in Scotland: 10 days
Distance travelled in car: 1100 miles
Distance travelled by foot: almost 100 km
Total ascent of all walks I did: 7390 m
Number of day offs: 1
Number of annoying midges: zillion
by Petr Dakota » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:19 pm
it's a good job from you, well done !!!
I'm sure you enjoyed the holiday...and yes, this is the Heaven for walkers
I thing it was also good refresh from the tropical weather now ( almost all this summer ) in Czech
What is your next plan in Scotland - in your next visit ?
by weaselmaster » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:36 pm
Great to read your enthusiasm for the hills.
Pity the weather wasn't that kind to you - but that's been the story of this "summer"
by basscadet » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:20 pm
Your enthusiasm is inspiring - if you were born and brought up here, you kind of take the hills and scenery for granted.. I spent a year in Australia and came back with the same enthusiasm you have after the break, but complacency has obviously set in for me, so it is nice to be reminded of how lucky we are to have the hills close by
by Alteknacker » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:06 pm
And you've got the Torridons and others to look forward to next time
by MilanBohac » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:28 pm
weaselmaster - Thank you! Actually, that is what almost all people I met in the hills told me - that this year is especially wet and bad in weather. So in the end I was quite lucky
RTC - Thank you for your kind words!
basscadet - Thank you! Scotland is truly special in some way. I travelled to Alps many times, climed a lot of hills there, some of them very high, but still, Scotland beats them in the mountain spirit.
Alteknacker - Thank you for your words! I have certainly places to look forward next time. I guess it will take me a very, very long time to run out of these places, especially in Scotland
by dav2930 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:49 pm
by Owen b » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:30 pm
by BobMcBob » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:49 pm
MilanBohac wrote:There was something in that land and especially in the mountains that pulled me back.
I completely and totally agree with you on that one. It was 4 years ago when I first visited it properly and it has had a pull over me ever since. I think it takes you about as long to get to Edinburgh from Prague as it takes me to drive there from my house
Assynt is a magical place, once it has got a hold of you it will never let go.
I hope one day we meet on a Munro
by MilanBohac » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:21 am
Owen b - I am so happy that my report made you smile! Thank you for nice comment.
Bob - Thank you! It would be great to meet you on a munro, so maybe next year!
by The Rodmiester » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:50 am
by pollyh33 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:45 am
Looking forward to your next whistlestop tour of the Scottish hills- hope you get a bit more sunshine next time
by GillC » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:00 am
by MilanBohac » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:51 pm
ancancha - Thank you!
pollyh - Thank you for kind comment and for the wish of better wetter. I am sure it will be better next year.
Gill - Thank you very much!
I am happy that you guys like my post! It means a lot to me.