Too soon for work - Escape to Strathfarrar

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Attachment(s) Grahams: Beinn na Muice
Date walked: 09/01/2020
Distance: 5km
Ascent: 540m
Views: 10

A fine night out in Glenlivet

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Corryhabbie Hill
Grahams: Cook's Cairn
Date walked: 05/01/2020
Distance: 25km
Ascent: 860m
Views: 5

Mount Eagle - why bother?

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Mount Eagle
Date walked: 03/01/2020
Distance: 4km
Ascent: 70m
Views: 6

Exit from Cape Wrath

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Date walked: 01/01/2020
Distance: 18km
Ascent: 500m
Views: 8

Hogmanay bothy trip - why not Kearvaig!

Sub 2000s: An Grianan (Parph), Beinn Dearg (Parph), Creag Riabhach

Date walked: 31/12/2019

Time taken: 8.75 hours

Distance: 22km

Ascent: 1000m

Sub 2k Marilyns: An Grianan, Creag Riabhach, Beinn Dearg.
Date: 30/12/2019 to 01/01/2020.
Distance: 6 + 16 + 18 km.
Ascent: 50 + 950 + 500 m.
Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes + 7 hours + 4 hours, 50 minutes.
Weather: Very windy, particularly on day 3. Largely dry, some sun at times.
Plus 3 miles on the bike in an aborted attempt to get back to the starting point!

Our last New Year's Eve trip to Fisherfield would be hard to top, but fortunately Jackie was much less injured this year, so we could be more flexible and cover more difficult terrain if required. The holy grail of a New Year's Eve would be a summit camp, but only in the right conditions, and the forecast wind made that look like a poor idea.

Bothy trip it would be then. We had a bit of a blind spot in retrospect, as we didn't bother looking at the SW and W highlands, starting our search for the destination at around Torridon. The weather looked better the further north we went, so it quickly became a Kearvaig trip - Jackie suggested this as the ultimate New Year spot and I agreed instantly! Given that the forecast was better on the 2019 side of the day, we decided to make our first night out the 30th rather than the 31st. A plan quickly fell into place, using Strathan as a stop-off point on the 30th then taking the high route through Parph on the 31st. Minimal awkward river crossings this way, plus the chance for me to take in a couple of hills that I'd missed out on a previous visit - the imposing An Grianan and the 'new' Marilyn Beinn Dearg.

We didn't get away as early as we would have liked, and there were countless showery squalls on the road up, but eventually we reached Oldshoremore for a quick photo-stop at the beach before starting the walk. In between the showers, there had been some welcome sunshine en-route.

CW NYE.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

ImageArkle from Loch Stack

Oldshoremore beach


People on Eilean na h-Aiteig

After eating lunch in the car near the beach (it was windy), we drove round to the start of the Strathan path. We were now far too late to take any detours via Sandwood Bay, but the weather didn't encourage anything more than the shortest route to Strathan anyway. We met another couple packing bags at the car, so we knew there would be company this evening.

Oldshoremore with Foinaven behind

Sunlight over Handa

The beginning of the walk is along an easy track, before it deteriorates into a boggy path around Loch Mor a' Chraisg. We passed a couple of guys on their way out - they and two others were also at Strathan and had been sent out for more supplies! So a body count of 8 so far...

Looking back across the moors

Loch Mor a' Chraisg with An Grianan ahead

The walking wasn't particularly difficult, but with heavy loads, jumping from hag to hag got a bit tedious. The light was going as we dropped down the hill towards the bothy, but at least we could see our destination now...as well as the two other bothy inhabitants by the bridge...except it was actually four! Count 12 for the evening :lol: . We were grateful for the bridge even though getting onto it was a bit of a chore and the ground on either side was poor.

Bridge to Strathan

...and finally to the bothy! It would be fairly cosy, but with 3 rooms, there was actually plenty of room for 12 folk, even if it was a little unexpected this far north. Then again, at 1 hour 45 minutes of largely downhill walk-in, it is one of the easier bothies to reach. The extra 4 plus the two behind us were a group, as were the other 4. Both had planned for a comfortable stay, and we felt a bit of food and drink envy by comparison! With the fire going, there was drink, a cheeseboard and even a ceilidh as one of the guys had bought his fiddle.

Party time

The downside of wanting to make a decent start the next day was needing to go to bed before the festivities had finished - this meant a night in the cold room! Fortunately we were able to get ready the following morning without standing on too many heads. Despite being a bit breezy outside, it wasn't actually that cold.


We were on our way shortly after 9am and it still wasn't fully light. As we climbed up the southern flanks of An Grianan, there were some impressive views into the sunrise over Foinaven. Sandwood Bay looked great too, as did the coast south.

Looking back on Strathan

Sandwood Bay

Sunrise behind Foinaven

Sunrise from An Grianan

Ben Stack and Quinaig

Given that Jackie was after some reasonable underfoot conditions, it isn't really that clear how she came up with a walk across Parph carrying a bag of coal as a good plan :lol: . To be fair, the terrain underfoot is quite damp but you never quite disappear into a jungle of heather in the same way that you would further south.

Approaching the summit of An Grianan

An Grianan was impressive - like a mini Stac Pollaidh (although not so much so from our direction of approach). Our next destination (Creag Riabhach) looked rounded and unassuming from here so we decided to backpack over it rather than dumping the packs for an out-and-back. I knew that the north side of it had some ferocious and impressive crags on it, and we would be in for a steep descent.

Cranstackie and Foinaven

Down the coast to Handa

Foinaven and Arkle

Creag Riabaich

Looking back to An Grianan

Firstly was the steep descent of An Grianan, which wasn't that bad. Then a small burn crossing and some up, and before long we were on Creag Riabhach.

An Grianan

Fashven - for another time

Jackie on Creag Riabaich

An Grianan

Sandwood Bay

Across the plateau was a steep descent down the edge of the crags, at which point we reached somewhere out of the constantly battering wind that was sheltered enough for lunch. The wind wasn't strong enough to blow us over, but it was relentlessly tedious; we knew it would only get worse tomorrow.

Looking back to Creag Riabaich

Now where? Jackie was keen to go up Fashven as it looked like a proper little mountain and she remembered admiring it on a previous trip to Cape Wrath. However time was ticking on and I favoured Beinn Dearg as I had missed it out on my previous visit, and it was a bit more direct. We could have done both I suppose :wink: .

Massive crags on the north side of Creag Riabaich

Creag Riabaich from Beinn Dearg

Beinn Dearg it was - a much less imposing hill than Fashven, but one with stunning views of the coast - in particular Sandwood Bay and Am Buachaille. It was also a much easier ascent. There were some interesting erosion features on the summit - monster tussocks.

Looking across to Durness and Whiten Head

Sandwood Bay from Beinn Dearg

Beinn Spionnaidh and Cranstackie

Very difficult to capture just how massive these tussocks are

We could finally see roughly where our destination was, but there looked to be an awful lot of bog and water between us and it! After dropping off Beinn Dearg past a small waterfall, we decided to follow the western bank of the Kearvaig River, cutting off a couple of corners where possible while largely avoiding the wettest looking areas.

The way ahead...oh ****!

Lower down it was much less difficult to see the best way ahead, but we missed anything too disastrous. However Sgribhis Bheinn on the northern horizon didn't get closer very fast, and by the time we approached the first bombed out shipping containers, we were bored of our route. Worse still, the glen narrowed down into a gorge and we would need to traverse along the side of it - never a recipe for fun walking.

Navigating our way through the edge of the previous picture

Kearvaig River

In the end I opted to traverse right out of the gorge and over a little ridge, allowing us to drop down to the road in the last light. Phew! We still weren't quite there though, as there was over a mile of road and track walking to reach the bothy.

Last light

Impressive skies

In the end I manage to persuade Jackie that we should take the shortcut along the east bank of the Kearvaig river - I had done this before and it was nowhere near as bad as what we had just done. Not sure she fully agreed, but before too long we were rounding the corner with that iconic bay, and finally the bothy in view. Not much light left to take photos though!

Kearvaig Bay

Finally the bothy

After a quick stroll along the beach, we made a beeline for the separate room on the east end of the building - this is the cosiest in the bothy and my favourite. It appeared to be already occupied with stuff strewn about, but it was no hardship to go to the main room with the fireplace instead. Kearvaig is massive, and despite being very well known, it is pretty hard to reach at his time of year, so we didn't expect to be jostling for space.

The other folk were a group of 4, and they soon returned from their walk out to the lighthouse and back. They appeared more hardcore than us, as they had walked in via Sandwood Bay in a single day on the 30th - quite a trek considering the impressive stock of food, alcohol and fuel they had with them! We spent a bit of time chatting to them, then put our dinner on, managing to push back the lighting of our fire until about 8pm. We had 7kg of coal - plenty enough for a decent blaze, but not if we had lit it at 4:30pm!

Cozy night

At midnight we went outside and met our neighbours, toasting in the new year with whisky. The wind had got up even more, but the skies were partly clear and there were an impressive amount of stars in view through the gaps in the cloud. We even detected the faint backlight of an aurora, although there was nothing particularly impressive to see.

The next day dawned clear but really windy, and we knew we had a tedious walk ahead of us. We would like to have spent a bit of time exploring the bay and cliffs, but there was a limited amount of daylight available and I suspected we would use it all up just returning to civilisation.

Kearvaig Bay on 1st January

Leaving behind the other group at 9:40am, we climbed to the tarmac road and were immediately assaulted by the wind howling across the moors. This wouldn't be a difficult walk, but it wouldn't be much fun either - with hoods up for the most part, it was too noisy to have a decent conversation.

Time to go

Leaving the bay

Leaving Kearvaig

As we marched on we spotted the group ahead of us - probably by a good mile at least. There was a brief respite from the wind as we dropped down to the cottage at Daill, but we were back in it again as we climbed up to follow the edge of the Kyle of Durness. At least the scenery was good!

Wind not shown


Bay at Daill


South down the Kyle of Durness

Faraid Head

Kyle of Durness

We had another break at the point where we needed to leave the road to get to the south end of the Kyle - it was actually nicely sheltered here. We had gained a lot of distance on the group, but they disappeared up the track as we ate.

The Kyle from the slopes of Beinn an Amair

The less easy-going bit

Great views from the path as it abruptly climbed up the slopes of Beinn an Amair. While not as good as the views from the summit itself, it was an impressive place to be on New Year's Day. There is a sort of built path climbing up - more to provide a safe passage for quadbikes - then you are on your own for the rest of the journey. Except there was actually more of a path than we expected - even better it headed uphill, aiming for the same high traverse as I had favoured when looking at the map.

Last look north along the Kyle

Beinn Spionnaidh across the Kyle

Around the corner the path became indistinct and intermittent, and I could see that the group had taken a lower option than us. It didn't look great - we had gained on them quite a bit.

Meall Meadhonach

Allt Coire Fresgill

Beinn Spionnaidh

After a small amount of heathery thrashing (never as bad as it looked), we picked up another animal track ascending again. This didn't seem like the best idea, but we persevered with it, and were rewarded with a direct line to the bridge over the Grudie. The group were following the curve of the shoreline and we beat them to the bridge with little effort.

Crossing the Grudie River

River Dionard

Now all that remained was a wet quad bike track and a short traverse over a headland before we reached the main road.....

Head of the Kyle

….and the worst bit of the day - our bikes! While the walk-out had been easier than expected in the wind, we knew the cycling wouldn't be. I reckoned a couple of hours back to Oldshoremore.

A landrover and a car pulled up - the group from Kearvaig had managed to arrange a lift back round to their starting point. We would see them again even though they were probably 15 or 20 minutes behind at this point. We set off on the bikes, and things immediately turned out to be way more difficult than I had hoped for. The wind was pretty strong even down at sea level, but the main problem was the gusts, which were even stronger and kept pushing us into the verges and occasionally off the bikes! This isn't a busy road in January, but we needed to stop every time a car passed to avoid getting blown into them.

Now for the rubbish bit

After 40 minutes, we had only managed a little more than 3 miles (admittedly largely uphill) and it looked like it would probably take at least hours, if not longer. The next vehicles to pass were our friends from Kearvaig, who fortunately had a couple of spaces left and were also going back to Oldshoremore - we were in the car practically before they had finished asking if we wanted a lift :lol: . The bikes wouldn't fit, but they would be easy to come back for provided we remembered which passing place we had ditched them down the verge from...

We were extremely grateful for the lift back to the car, which we reached at around 4pm. After collecting the bikes, we silently dismissed our possible next bothy night and headed home - we were knackered! Home by 6:30pm when we had been guessing at 9 or 10 if completing the full cycle - what a trip 8) .

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Breezy Elidir Fawr and other Christmas shenanigans

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Attachment(s) Hewitts: Carnedd y Filiast (Glyders), Elidir Fawr
Date walked: 28/12/2019
Distance: 9km
Ascent: 675m
Views: 6

A very short layover in the Lakes

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Great Mell Fell, Little Mell Fell
Date walked: 23/12/2019
Distance: 5km
Ascent: 385m
Views: 5

A quick taste of winter around the Northern Corries

Attachment(s) Date walked: 22/12/2019
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 750m
Comments: 2
Views: 256

Birthday Beinn, and a decade of Walkhighlands

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Liath Mhor a'Ghiubhais Li
Date walked: 21/12/2019
Distance: 9km
Ascent: 550m
Comments: 6
Views: 420

A quick whang out to the Whangie

Attachment(s) Date walked: 16/12/2019
Distance: 4.5km
Ascent: 180m
Views: 23


User avatar
Location: Inverness
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 74
Wainwrights: 104
Hewitts: 256
Sub 2000: 256
Islands: 33

Filter reports



Trips: 4
Distance: 52 km
Ascent: 1970m
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 71
Distance: 1108 km
Ascent: 66415m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 16
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 43
Hewitts: 12
Wainwrights 2


Trips: 74
Distance: 1529 km
Ascent: 85110m
Munros: 20
Corbetts: 29
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 51
Wainwrights 20


Trips: 59
Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 9


Trips: 55
Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 33


Trips: 50
Distance: 1009 km
Ascent: 58815m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 52
Distance: 1143 km
Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 43
Donalds: 33
Sub2000s: 23


Trips: 45
Distance: 1121.2 km
Ascent: 52310m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 36
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 61
Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 96
Wainwrights 16


Trips: 49
Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18


Trips: 45
Distance: 987.3 km
Ascent: 49290m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 33
Grahams: 32
Sub2000s: 10
Hewitts: 4


Trips: 43
Distance: 741 km
Ascent: 35725m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 14
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 47
Distance: 540.5 km
Ascent: 37865m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 471.5 km
Ascent: 30550m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 4


Trips: 36
Distance: 472 km
Ascent: 32785m
Munros: 39
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 4
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 29
Distance: 464 km
Ascent: 27635m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2
Hewitts: 5
Wainwrights 8


Trips: 43
Distance: 839.4 km
Ascent: 47975m
Munros: 60
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 45
Distance: 798 km
Ascent: 51905m
Munros: 68
Corbetts: 5
Hewitts: 5


Trips: 47
Distance: 634 km
Ascent: 42245m
Munros: 46
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 24


Trips: 61
Distance: 738.5 km
Ascent: 59035m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 53
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 51
Distance: 512.5 km
Ascent: 42190m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 55
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 47
Distance: 504 km
Ascent: 43786m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 48
Wainwrights 4


Trips: 37
Distance: 378 km
Ascent: 33525m
Munros: 12
Hewitts: 46


Trips: 43
Distance: 512.1 km
Ascent: 44205m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2
Hewitts: 63
Wainwrights 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 476.5 km
Ascent: 40740m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 75
Wainwrights 17


Trips: 2

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