A' Bhuidheanach Bheag - a pleasing solo day to do in winter

Date walked: 15/12/2021

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 9km

Ascent: 436m


Sitting at the traffic lights on Allison Street I spy an old guts outside the Vicky Bar, collar turned up against the wind, a cold smirr settling on his cap, sucking at at a ciggie like his life depended on it, and I cant help thinking I've done the right thing to leave Gladgow mid-week and head for the hills. A couple of hours earlier I'd spotted a break in the weather, with the promise of a sunny day in the east. The mountain forecast predicted cloud on the tops to the west, but things looked to be a better to the east of the A9. I bundled the dog, all my gear and a purchased a large amount of cholcolate from the petrol station, and set off. Less than 2 hours later I'd arrived at our wee cottage in Blair Atholl - I repacked all my gear (preparing for every eventuality) and got an early night, planning to be on the hill by 8am.

Woke up at 8.45! 😵 Pulled on my clothes (might have sworn a bit), jumped in the car and headed up the A9 to layby 76 - a bit of a rush, but was ready to set off by 9.30. The rain had stopped and there were already a few ragged patches of blue. I set off up the path and made good time - until i took a short cut, which ended up with me bouncing over tufty heather (something I'm not fond off). Found the path again, but realised I'd forgotton my water. There were no lack of streams pouring down the hill, decided to keep going and risk drinking melt water. My lack if breakfast kicked in so I ate a cereal bar, and was soon up onto the high moor.

Totally loved it up there - a bit windy, but the clouds blew clean away leaving the sky blue, and the sun shone across what was left of the snow. Great views to the hills on the other side of the A9 - I'd done them in the summer and it was cool to see them all again.

There's a good path but it was covered in slushy snow and quite hard going. Sunk up to my thighs a few times - not very elegant getting out! 🤣

Saw a white hare, looking rather conspicuous against the brown heather. He lolloped ahead of me for ages, and the sight of him spurred me on.

The path heads down after A' Bhuidheanach, and at the bottom of the gullly heads over what I guess is usually a stream - but today it was a torrent with all the meltwater. I looked for a place to cross and saw there was a deep whirlpool where the water headed underground for a bit, boiling up again a few feet further down. I was able to cross the natural turf bridge here, and continued on my way.

The last hike up was stunning, with the sun lighting up the snow slopes ahead.

At the top it is very boggy, but a lot of this was still frozen and it was possible to cross without sinking in. Also some snow fields to cross, turning a translucent blue in places - I picked my way over very carefully, not sure if there was a body of water beneath.

Then just a quick jaunt to the top, and the last of the clouds cleared giving fantastic views to the east, west and north. My feet were soaked despite gortex liners (I think the water had come up over the top more than once) so I changed into a pair of sealskins, ate more of my cereal bar and a huge chunk of chocolate (I'd had no time to get a roll from the shop vefore I left) and headed down.

Decided to leave the second Munro for another time.

Met some great guys on their way down and had good chats about hills we'd done, places we'd been, favourite climbs and trips we planned to do. They were all in their 60s and 70s and such an inspiration - made me feel quite a youngster! 😆

All the tops were clear as we walked down. We saw an eagle flying over the high slopes - hope he didnt see my friend the hare.

All in all a great day, despite the last minute planning and the late start - my first solo winter walk and that makes it 30 Munros since July this year.

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Comments: 1

Andrea Caldwell

Activity: Ambler
Pub: The Anderson
Mountain: Ben Lawers
Place: Gairloch
Gear: Rab jacket
Member: none
Ideal day out: walk with dog, coastal

Munros: 94
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 5
Sub 2000: 6

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Trips: 1
Distance: 9 km
Ascent: 436m

Joined: Mar 25, 2016
Last visited: Aug 18, 2022
Total posts: 2 | Search posts