Wildlife on 2 - a.k.a The long walk out

Grahams: Ben Armine, Creag Mhór (Sutherland)

Date walked: 31/07/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

First, as I won’t be writing a report on our climb of Ben Klibreck a few days earlier, I would like to give a :clap: to the guy who was returning to his car at 10am having completed this mountain then driving on to climb Ben Hope the same day. Very impressed.
Second, my appreciation to Malky_c :thumbup: for the idea of using a bike for the private road into the stalkers path for this walk.
Now to our day. As we were staying in the Strath for a week in July after a fantastic week on Orkney, these two hills were penciled in. Starting the day with a reasonably late rise, it was a short drive from the rented cottage up the Strath to Kinbrace then along to Badanloch Lodge where I had planned to leave the car at the road-side having identified this spot after a virtual drive along the road a month earlier when doing my planning. By the time we offload the bikes and get ourselves ready, we are off by 10am. About 8.5 miles and 1 hour later passing a few lochs with sandy beaches...
Armine 1.png

and taking a few photographs along the way...
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we arrive at NC686310 where we were going to leave the bikes. Pushing the bikes up the stalkers path towards the fence, we find a small recess to our left where we padlock the bikes together out of sight from the vehicle track. Being Midge season, we slap some repellent on exposed skin, me trying a new brand we had recently bought in a pharmacy and my better half using our regular stuff. Both seemed to work equally well. After a short distance, I realize I had missed a couple of areas so splash more repellent on.
The first wildlife to see was an owl lifting from the grass but too quick to get a photo but a little farther on, we approach a hollow in the track full of rainwater with Water Striders skimming over the surface.
Armine 3.png

Gradually, the track condition is deteriorating and more overgrown due to the infrequent passage of boots.
After 3.5 miles, we reach the fork and turn right heading between the 2 hills. Then we (read ‘she’) notice a lizard at the side of the track which was quite happy to sit and pose for a few photographs.
Armine 4.png

I knew that laser surgery was a good idea. Midway between the crests, we look for a decent place to leave the track but not finding anything, we meander through peat hags gradually gaining height. At least it wasn’t wet and boggy this day. Once out the hag area, we (I) spot a herd of Deer near the top...
Armine 5.png

then a frog in the grass at my feet, but like the Deer, it was not very photogenic so had to get a couple of quick snaps before they disappeared.
Armine 6.png

Time to tread a bit more carefully in case we stand on some little creatures. Closer to the top, a few birds that look like Chiffchaffs but according to RSPB website, they don’t venture this far north, so if anyone can correctly ID them for me, I would be grateful.
Armine 7.png

Finally, we reach the summit and get the rucksacks off for a rest and admire the scenery. The wind has picked up a bit by now giving a wind chill of 6° (a July mid-day) so it’s time for jackets. Ben Klibreck is a short distance away and still hiding in low cloud as the day we climbed it.
Armine 8.png

At least Creag Mhòr and Ben Armine are clear. After sharing a pot of hot, instant oats, a delicious looking egg sandwich for 1 and a not so delicious Ciabatta and egg sandwich for me, and quick slug to wash it all down, a few more pics and we are on our way to the next summit. Much clearer from up here to see a route through the hags. The climb up Ben Armine is much easier with better terrain and 1.5 hours later (though it didn’t seem as long as that) we are perched on a warmer Ben Armine. Just over the crest, another (or the same) herd of Deer. After another quick sandwich and drink, it’s time to head back so we take the shortest way down to the fork and back along the track. It might have been better to walk North West along the ridge to pick up the track closer to the bikes, but happy with the route we took. Finally, the bikes are in sight, we get them unlocked and push them down to the main track for 6:15pm. An 8.5 mile cycle, a short drive and we should be back at the cottage well before 8. Paahhh! So we start pedaling and after a couple of miles, I decide to stop at a small bridge over a burn to take a photograph and look behind but no wife!!! Where has she gone??? Don’t tell me she has fallen off!!! So, ready to turn back, here she comes walking with her bike, minus 1 snapped chain. Drat and double drat. :-x 6 miles from the car and nearest civilization and we have 1 disabled bike. What to do? Both walk out? Take her rucksack and pedal as fast as I can back to the car then return for her? Give her my bike and rucksack to pedal back to car? In the end, I decide the best option is just swap bikes, give her the car keys and I will walk out with her bike. What a star! :angel: Thinking that it was mostly flat with some downhill, this shouldn’t be too bad as I can freewheel along much of it. Wrong. Turns out it was mostly uphill with only 2 reasonable downhill slopes. I was sure it was slightly uphill going in. :oops: Oh look, whoopee-doo, 13mph.
Armine 9.png

So, 6 miles, well over an hour later and weary legged, I finally reach the car.
Armine 10.png

And there she is sitting in the comfort of the car having a good :lol: on the phone with our daughter. Huh, one of the rare times we actually got a signal. Not our longest day out on the hills but a close second. At least the Ring of Steall was 4 Munro’s, not a couple of Grahams.
So the Saturday once we get home from holiday, I visit our local cycle shop to buy a new chain and get told my big mistake. Should have carried a chain splitter. :oops: again. Cycle shop guy always carries chain splitter and spare tube when he’s out. Oh well, we live and learn. Expect the unexpected. Now next year when we cycle the Great Glen, I will go one better and take a spare chain. Or just renew my chain before we go? Hmmm. Take a spare methinks.

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Location: Central Jockland
Pub: The Lade Inn, Kilmahog.
Camera: Olympus VR310

Munros: 39
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 13
Sub 2000: 3
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Rob Roy Way   

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Trips: 1
Grahams: 2


Trips: 6
Distance: 184 km
Ascent: 277m


Trips: 2
Distance: 23 km
Ascent: 625m
Munros: 5


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Distance: 15 km

Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Last visited: May 27, 2017
Total posts: 12 | Search posts