walkhighlands


Ben Ledi getway

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Corbetts: Ben Ledi
Date walked: 05/12/2023
Distance: 10.8km
Ascent: 839m
Views: 41


Ben Cleuch circular

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Fionas: Ben Cleuch
Donalds: Ben Cleuch
Date walked: 23/09/2023
Distance: 10.48km
Ascent: 804m
Views: 31


Strathfarrar 4 (plus extra tops)

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Munros: Càrn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgùrr a' Choire Ghlais, Sgùrr Fhuar-thuill, Sgùrr na Ruaidhe
Date walked: 17/06/2023
Distance: 26.55km
Ascent: 1783m
Views: 31

Fisherfield 6 - summit camp & inversion on A' Mhaighdean

Route: Fisherfield 6, from Shenavall

Munros: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mòr, Sgùrr Bàn
Corbetts: Beinn a' Chlaidheimh

Date walked: 29/05/2023

Time taken: 26 hours

Distance: 47.4km

Ascent: 3141m

Monday 29th May 2023

After two weeks of cracking weather on annual leave, I had a couple days left to squeeze in a few hills before going back to work. The forecast said any hill would be bathed in sunshine...decisions decisions! I hadn't been up a hill in a few months so naturally decided to head to Fisherfield and ease back into it :lol: Having decided on doing the Big 6, I hoped to camp on the summit of A'Mhaigdean, which would be a fitting way to reach my 200th munro. I was buzzing at the thought! The forecast suggested 20 degrees too, lovely.

After a stunning drive north, I reached the busy layby at Corrie Hallie and just about managed to find a space (forgot it was a bank holiday!). I set off about 10.45am and hoped to have plenty of time to reach my planned camping spot before sunset. It was already warm on leaving the car, short sleeves from the off. Most importantly, there weren't many midges about. Result! The first views weren't bad either with the mighty An Teallach looking intimidating in the sunshine.

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Ever changing views of An Teallach on the walk in. Superb.

As many will know, the rough land rover track climbs steadily to a high point of 425m before descending down to the river. As the views opened up into the Fisherfield, I was more and more excited about the route ahead. The views were incredible already, with Beinn Dearg Mhor catching my eye the most, what a mountain! I was also noting how steep the first summit (corbett) looked, and depressingly how much height you need to lose by having to descend to the river and then climb back up again.

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Views down to the river and Sgurr Ban the scree covered top on the right

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Panorama down Strath na Sealga and the route ahead

It took about an hour and 40 minutes to reach the river, which was not a problem to cross due to the lack of rainfall of late. I could have made it over rock hopping on stones, but since I had taken my river crossing sandals, I was keen to use them and avoid any daft mistakes which resulted in wet boots for the next two days. I had a quick bite to eat by the river before figuring out a plan of attack up the first of the six, Beinn a'Chlaidheimh (corbett). Every option looked steep so I started battering uphill and occasionally saw faint paths and usually lost them fairly soon afterwards. I aimed left of the crags and powered up towards the ridge. It's definitely a steep and tough ascent. To make the going worse, I filled up about two litres of water on the way up as I wasn't convinced how much water would be available over the next couple of tops. Water was my biggest worry on the route since it had been so dry.

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I chose left of the crags and pretty much straight lined it towards the ridge, right of the top in view

On reaching the ridge, my jaw about hit the floor when I saw the views. This was a very common theme on the trip as it would turn out, every view seemed to be better than the last one! Absolute scenes 8)

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Panorama after reaching the ridge. Just wow.

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Looking south along the ridge towards the summit of Beinn a'Chlaidheimh and the route ahead beyond...

After reaching the ridge, another few minutes saw me standing on the first summit of the day, at 1405 hours. It felt like I had been walking for hours already and the route ahead looked pretty daunting. I was wondering if my A'Mhaighdean plan was realistic while carying camping gear. It looked MILES AWAY!! To be fair, it was. The summit area on this corbett would also make a cracking place to have a camp, with some flat grassy areas with stunning views in all directions.

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Corbett ticked off, looking towards Beinn Tarsuinn and A'Mhaigdean in the distance.

Onwards towards the first munro, Sgurr Ban, which involved a longer walk than I had expected and looked miles away as usual. I descended to the small lochans and filled up with a couple of litres of water. I definitely did not want to play roulette with water sources after it being so dry for so long. I was gazing up at Sgurr Ban as I refilled, working out my preferred line. As you look at it, the left hand side is boulder central and right of centre it is steep and grassy. I opted for the steep approach to avoid the boulders.

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Sgurr Ban from the corbett descent. My ascent line followed the right hand edge of the boulder field. It's bloody steep but I prefer that to boulder fields.

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Looking back at the descent from the corbett Beinn a' Chlaidheimh with Beinn Dearg Mhor to the left

As expected, the ascent of Sgurr Ban was steep and a good full body workout. How anyone climbs steep hills without poles is beyond me. My route worked out well, and I reached the rocky summit at 1543 hours. The summit is fairly flat, so the views aren't quite as good as from either side. I had a quick snack and continued on the route, keen to keep making progress.

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Sgurr Ban summit, with An Teallach in the distance. A rocky summit, nae pitches here.

A scree descent then gave me a view of the next target, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, which was thankfully much closer in distance than that between the first two summits. The boulders/scree and steepness made up for it though! These really are a bit of a pain in the arse, but I tend to negotiate them pretty quickly. The steep descents are the most energy sapping element of this whole route I found. Again, I couldn't imagine descending such steep unstable terrain with camping gear without poles. My knees would be trashed. Looking ahead, I couldn't believe how steep the zig-zag scree path looked up Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Ooooft I thought! Some views though, I was having a cracking time.

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The zig-zag path up Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. It looks mental.

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And here is said quality path up close....I actually quite enjoyed it as you gain height quickly, which can only be a good thing!

The steep ascent was over fairly quickly and at 1630 hours I was on the summit of the 3rd summit, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. This was a brilliant feeling and the views were incredible. Without a cloud in the sky, the only thing I had to pick fault at was that it was a bit hazy :lol: . I think this was the first point that I felt sure that I would be camping on A' Mhaighdean. Beinn Tarsuinn was looking spectacular next on the list, with the tennis court and ridge catching the eye, and the ascent up A'Mhaighdean itself looked very kind and grassy, a welcome sight!

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The stunning summit of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, with Beinn Tarsuinn and the tennis court visible behind to the right, Slioch and the Torridon hills in the far distance. Magic!

I was alone on the summit once more, I hadn't actually met anyone on the hills yet, which was surprising given it was a holiday Monday and such a cracking day. I soaked it up and then continued to towards Beinn Tarsuinn, which involves by-passing a small top, Meall Garbh, after yet another steep scree descent. After skirting under the minor top, I bumped into a father and son near the bealach, who both looked burst. They had set off from the car at 7am and had also planned to camp on A' Mhaighdean, but said they wouldn't make it that far. We had a good chat and I continued on my way.

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Looking back towards Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and the minor top, Meall Garbh, to the right. If you zoom on the image you will see the path skirting across near the base of the hill.

The climb up Beinn Tarsuinn was a much easier one, still steep enough but without a billion boulders and scree to negotiate. At 1735 hours, I was on the summit, which boasted one of the most spectacular views I had seen to date. A grandstand view of the Fisherfield 6 it felt like, with the summits already ticked off on the right, and the ones still to do on the left. Right ahead of me down the Glen was An Teallach. Phenomenal scenes. Yet again, I stood alone on the summit and there wasn't even a breath of wind to spoil the peace.

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What a spot. I really felt on top of the world to be seeing these views in the evening light.

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Fisherfield panorama. Wowsers. The photo does it about 10% justice as always.

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Looking forward to a game of tennis on the ridge, it really is the strangest feature.

After peeling myself off my summit perch, I made my way around the ridge, through the tennis court and then opted for the ridge scramble. The by-pass path would prevent me seeing the magnificent views of the Fisherfield circuit, so it was a no-brainer. There is nothing really technical on the scrambling front, but care is always needed with a heavy bag on. I loved it!

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Looking back along the ridge after a cracking bit scrambling.

All too soon it was time to look for a way down from the ridge that would take me towards the bealach and what I hoped would be my evening water source at the bealach with A' Mhaighdean. I came across a very steep scree path which took me down and went for that. It was probably the steepest descent of the route, really energy sapping after a long day.

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My scree path was just left of this shot, but the pancake rocks look cool from below. You get an idea of the steepness.

With some sore quads, I reached what would probably be a bog nightmare in most conditions. It was almost bone dry in my case, which wasn't filling me with glee. I had just drank all my water, which was planned as I had about reached my pre-determined re-supply point....based on the map that is. Sadly, I found dirty bog water and a couple of streams on the map that didn't exist. I zig-zagged left and right and also descended almost 100m looking for water but did not find anything other than minging dried up bog filled with tadpoles. Sake! I had a minor panic as I was gasping for water in the heat and couldn't face a big descent in search of water from here. I had a brief dizzy moment and sat down, got the map out and looked for a "sure bet" water source. I noted the Allt a' Chlaonaich stream which lay about 500m west of the path. I put my eggs in that basket and contoured round in search of clean running water. I was annoyed at wasting a fair bit time and adding extra distance and ascent to my day.

To my great relief I heard running water on my approach and found crystal clear water flowing water. I couldn't be bothered filtering it, it looked perfect. I downed about a litre and a half and then carried 4.5 litres in my rucksack for the climb up A' Mhaighdean, the night ahead, and also for the next morning. Chucking that additional 4.5kg on my back was not welcome, but I had a second wind after drinking all that water. Onwards! It felt like the end of the day, and my finish point wasn't far away now. I was so excited to see the views from A' Mhaighdean.

The ascent is remarkably gradual, grassy, and oh so welcome after a very long day. On nearing the summit, I was met with some absolutely spectacular views, in all directions really. The most jaw-dropping was down to Gorm Loch Mor and beyond to Torridon...then out to sea, then everywhere to be fair.

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Just incredible. Views that make you say wow and almost laugh with excitement.

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Beyond to Slioch, fantastic scenes.

At pretty much exactly 2000 hours, I stood on the summit of what is widely regarded as the most remote munro, A' Mhaigdean. This was also a personal milestone for me, my 200th munro. I was delighted in so many ways. I was chuffed with hitting the number, seeing the spectacular views, being finished for the day, and was buzzing to get the tent up so that I could get cracked on with dinner and coffee. For the first time today I also had company, a couple from Sheffield who had just pitched their tent north of the summit on a nice flat spot. I didn't have to go far past them to find another flat spot, but pitched about 100m away to give each other privacy.

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The orange hotel. It's not subtle, but I do love it. MSR Access 2 for anyone interested.

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and relax...

After pitching, cooking and coffee drinking I had around an hour to kill until sunset, which was great to finally relax and just sit and enjoy the views. About 20 minutes before sunset I wandered back up to the summit to watch the action. I was joined by my fellow campers, which was nice to share the experience with. They were also doing the big 6, but over 3 days at a more leisurely pace. The views are just sensational out to the west, I will remember the evening for a long time. Incredibly, there was virtually zero wind, and surprisingly no midges! What a combination to enjoy an evening in the hills.

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Sunset views out to sea

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Phone panorama, over-exposed, but what a landscape

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Looking north to the orange hotel about 10pm

About 2240 hours, I thought I better get myself to bed, although could have stayed up for hours. As is often the way, I didn't really feel tired when getting into my sleeping bag and my body temperature was still through the roof from the day's exertions. Needless to say, I tossed and turned for a few hours and had set my alarm for 4.20am in case sunrise was worth watching...

Day 2

The alarm went off and I opened the tent door in a slumber. The sun was just rising above a blanket of cloud in almost all directions. Yaassss! I had hoped for an inversion and it was looking like a cracker! There was zero chance of going back to bed when it looked like this, so I quickly got dressed and went back outside to watch the action.

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What a place to watch the sunrise.

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Back at the summit, sometime before 5am, looking west out over the inversion before the sun hit it.

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Watching Slioch and Torridon light up bit by bit

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Looking back to yesterday's summits.

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Between Sgurr Ban and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair with the Fannichs beyond, Sgurr Mor I think.

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Same view, without the zoom.

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North towards An Teallach

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Out to sea from the tent, I was not exactly in a rush to go anywhere!

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Packed up and ready to go. Leave no trace and all that!

Somehow, after getting up at 4.20am, I only set off walking again at 6.45am. It was safe to say I enjoyed a leisurely morning taking in the views with porridge and coffee and it felt a pity to leave. The only thing that spurred me on was getting round the rest of the route and driving home again in time to put my daughter to bed :) I was glad that I had taken 4.5 litres up to the summit as I only had about 500ml left. My legs felt pretty good too which was a relief after barely doing any hillwalking for a few months. Anyway, the descent off A' Mhaighdean had a fairly reasonable path by Fisherfield standards, mostly a dirt stalkers type path, winding its way between rocky ground and steep slopes.

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Stunning views north keeping my progress in check on the descent

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Same view, zoomed.

The bealach with Ruadh Stac Mor has a few wee lochans if in need of water, and then the ascent is the standard steep scree path, but red scree this time! I was making such slow progress up Ruadh Stac Mor as I kept stopping to take photos of this view below, I must have taken about 20 photos of the same view. Standard!

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Gorgeous morning light, A' Mhaighdean and inversions. Delightful.

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The ascent path up Ruadh Stac Mor takes you pretty much up the centre of that lot.

At 0730 hours, surprisingly only 45 minutes after setting off from my camp spot, I reached the summit of Ruadh Stac Mor, my 6th and final summit of the trip. I was also met with the best view yet, a full inversion to the north, with An Teallach swimming in the middle of it. Just wow. Absolutely incredible scenes, and yet again, I was alone on the summit with no wind or midges for company either. Tremendous. I actually couldn't believe what I was seeing and how lucky I felt to be able to witness this.

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An Teallach swimming in the cloud.

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Looking over Fuar Loch Mor and out to over the inversion.

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The "island" of Beinn Dearg Bheag, I think anyway.

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I had a second brekkie staring at this view, couldn't take my eyes off it.

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Ruadh Stac Mor summit trig. Job done (minus a 4 hour walk back to the car...)

I genuinely could have stayed up there all day, but really had to peel myself away to keep making progress. What was making matters worse was the thought of leaving such a view, one that I might not ever better, only to be plunged into the cloud within 20 minutes of leaving the top! Sure enough, this did happen, but I savoured every moment until then. The descent is also deceptively steep on a grassy/rocky slope. I occasionally followed a path and sometimes just found my own way.

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Looking back up to Ruadh Stac Mor before slipping into the cloud

As soon as I entered the cloud, aside from a much needed water refill, it was head down walking until I reached the final hurdle of the trip, the infamous bog section. I was chuffed to meet a few of the Highland Trail 550 mountain bikers in Gleann na Muice Beag, who unsurprisingly looked exhausted and far less cheery than I probably sounded. If only they could have seen what lay above the blanket of cloud...

After crossing the wee river over to the bog, the final hurdle lay ahead. I took my time initially but found it to be pretty dry on the whole, some bits required care and a change of route, but a lot of it was fairly solid. That is until I stood on a bit that looked alright and I got the fright of my life as I immediately disappeared up to my waist and had to lunge forward for solid ground. Nightmare. I struggled to get my legs out but was thankful I never went any deeper! The mud was absolutely stinking and I now looked a disaster.

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Not how I wanted to end the trip!!

Absolute shambles, but a lesson to pay more attention I think. My eyes were fixed on the bothy ahead where my lunch would be made, and I was probably getting a bit casual with my route given how "dry" most of it was. I would hate to cross that after a wet spell, I might have been in up to my head, which is a scary thought in itself. I guess this could really be dangerous in the wrong conditions, especially alone. A heavy pack wouldn't help matters either.

I huffed my sorry muddy self towards the bothy and was thankful to wade knee high in the river with boots on to try and clean myself up a bit! What a mess. On crossing the river, I stopped in the sun and got the Jetboil out to cook lunch. It was only 10.50am, but it certainly felt like lunch time! My trousers and mud dried up pretty quickly and I spent half an hour sunbathing before setting off again. Annoyingly I forgot I was supposed to take the path behind the bothy for a few minutes, so then had to double back and traverse some rough ground for a bit until joining the path. Muppet. I think I was still reeling from my mud bath.

All that remained was to walk the seemingly endless and unwanted ascent from Shenavall back to the bealach and then the car. It does feel a proper trek when the legs are feeling it and walking under a baking sun. It was probably only about 19 degrees but there was just no escaping the sun the entire trip. If I didn't have a cap I think I would have been absolutely gubbed. Fuelled on the dregs of my snacks and the last drop of water in my bottle, I walked back to the car at a fair lick. What a relief to finally hit the road and see my car safely abandoned on the verge. The end of my walk came at 1315 hours. Phew!

I felt fairly shattered from lack of sleep, but was absolutely delighted how the trip had gone. I had been saving this route for good conditions but would never have dreamed of them being so good. As many describe, this route is tough. The distance only tells half the story, the going is so slow at times and the steep ascents and descents really sap the energy, especially under an unrelenting sun. I had taken a mere 225 photos and seen views I will certainly never forget. It is definitely up there with one of the toughest rounds I have done to date.

After changing out of my smelly, muddy clothes into clean gear, it was straight into the car in search of a coffee, lunch and cake, and a 200 mile drive back home. A magical trip.

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Comments: 25



Ben Cleuch at night

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Fionas: Ben Cleuch
Donalds: Ben Cleuch
Date walked: 24/04/2023
Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 782m
Views: 119


White Coomb loop from Grey Mare's Tail

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Corbetts: White Coomb
Donalds: Lochcraig Head , White Coomb
Date walked: 13/04/2023
Distance: 12.4km
Ascent: 710m
Views: 113


Bengairn hill

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Sub 2000s: Bengairn
Date walked: 12/04/2023
Distance: 10.6km
Ascent: 574m
Views: 125


The Loch Lochy munros

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Munros: Meall na Teanga, Sròn a' Choire Ghairbh
Date walked: 28/03/2023
Distance: 20.3km
Ascent: 1361m
Views: 132


West Lomond and Bishop Hill

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Sub 2000s: Bishop Hill, West Lomond
Date walked: 15/03/2023
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 688m
Views: 108


Dumyat with Laura

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Sub 2000s: Dumyat
Date walked: 09/03/2023
Distance: 6.6km
Ascent: 325m
Views: 113

jimbell21


Location: Dunfermline
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: The Ship Inn, Limekilns
Mountain: Bidean
Place: Knoydart
Gear: Water.

Munros: 205
Corbetts: 36
Fionas: 4
Donalds: 7
Hewitts: 4
Sub 2000: 27
Islands: 13
Long Distance routes: Great Glen Way   



Filter reports


Statistics

2023

Trips: 12
Distance: 183.93 km
Ascent: 12163m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 3
Fionas: 1
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 4

2022

Trips: 17
Distance: 277.05 km
Ascent: 15487m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 3

2021

Trips: 18
Distance: 229.19 km
Ascent: 14280m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 1
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 7

2020

Trips: 35
Distance: 687.49 km
Ascent: 39402m
Munros: 43
Corbetts: 12
Fionas: 2
Donalds: 6
Sub2000s: 5

2019

Trips: 68
Distance: 1170.79 km
Ascent: 72997m
Munros: 102
Corbetts: 15
Fionas: 3
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 3

2018

Trips: 16
Distance: 211.83 km
Ascent: 11366m
Munros: 14
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2017

Trips: 9
Distance: 85.62 km
Ascent: 6310m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 1

2016

Trips: 5
Distance: 74.07 km
Ascent: 2283m
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2015

Trips: 6
Distance: 85.07 km
Ascent: 5698m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 5

2014

Trips: 4
Distance: 48.97 km
Ascent: 4734m
Munros: 6
Fionas: 1

2013

Trips: 1
Distance: 12.81 km
Ascent: 938m
Corbetts: 2

2012

Trips: 3
Distance: 26.89 km
Ascent: 2280m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 1


Joined: Feb 19, 2018
Last visited: Apr 09, 2024
Total posts: 262 | Search posts