Thursday, 21 October 2010

Beinn Sgritheall

Munro Count:
13 (unlucky for some - but not for me!)


Munro Stats:
3196 ft
"Scree hill"

7/10. Anyone could do this hill I feel.

9/10. Weather made this walk, as well as the ferry at the start, the brochs and a cracking band at the Glenelg Inn.


It has been some time since I have done any proper walking so apologies. Something I hope to correct in the coming few years.

Back in August my friend Gerry and I decided to go for a stomp on the west coast. After an overnight stay in Plockton (which was it's typical gorgeous self) we took the Skye route to Glenelg.

This allowed us to savour the fine weather we were having and take the little known small community run ferry to Glenelg from Kylerhea.

From there we dropped our bags in the Glenelg Inn and proceeded towards the Munro start-point. The books had us starting at some point in the road 3 miles before Arnisdale. (The other route coming from Arnisdale is a markedly steeper route by all accounts and at the end of the walk we were very glad with our decision to take our chosen route.)

We drove slowly looking for a track leading left near Eilean Rarsaidh. Thankfully we did not go up a small track we saw on our left and ran into 2 walkers who had got up early to make the climb and were heading back to Arnisdale, for they told us of a very small (but noticeable 4-5 foot) cairn that led the start of the walk that was 15 metres behind us on the hillside of the main road. Look out for this and you won't go wrong.

It was a fairly steep climb all the way through shrub and small trees for the first 1/4 of the climb. Only 1 -person wide path. I can imagine how bad this climb would be after heavy waterfall. Thankfully things had been fairly dry in the week preceding our climb. Once out of the shrub the 1st view was to be had...

The sweat was on and the 2 hills above us were now clear to see.

(Prizes are available if your description of that view matches Gerry's)

From there, a good amount of steady climbing on good footing and excellent path.

Before we reached our destination...

After some lunch and a few drams I decided to pipe down the hill and had THE most comical fall on my ass as I slipped, followed by the whining out of the pipes a la 'So I Married An Axe-Murderer' (There's a piper doon!!)

After a wee dip and another wee climb to the next Cairn heading north-easterly - here is a fine view of the Munro looking back at it...

From then on the path is fairly obvious. An exceedingly steep decline again made me glad of my pacerpoles. Gerry had his first time using poles on any kind and the ease of spotting yourself down a hill really made him fancy a pair by the end of the day.

After the first big descent is a river. Follow it down following a fence right the way back to the village for Arnisdale. My legs were like jelly by the end. Annoyingly the path goes right round to the west end of the village rather than directly into the village adding an extra 15 mins or so. I say annoyingly as the midgees were out by then and I was desperate for a pint and some rest! My other half was waiting at the bottom and had already been shown the village pub...

Random collection of booze on display and a cracking stereo system too!

You'd also be silly to miss the biggest brochs on mainland Scotland near Glenelg (the biggest being in Shetland).

Then it was back to the Glenelg Inn (new owners - so don't believe everything you hear on google/trip advisor. Excellent food, service and rooms which are being renovated to be top spec).

Even had the chance to join in with the band... before Gerry put a bid in for the set of pipes and 'won'... making his bar tab one of the most expensive I have ever seen! Good on ya Gerry!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Shetland Munro...

Yeah right. There will obviously be a rather long pause in this here wee blog as I'm in Shetland for 6 months! Some lovely walking but no big hills to climb... much to the delight of my girlfriend who does not tire in telling me she "loves these Shetland Munroes!"

Looking forward to basing myself in Inverness for the next 2 1/2 years come February 2008. Till then,


Thursday, 19 April 2007

Beinn Bhuidhe - not completed!

Munro Count:
The same! 12 as I didn't find the top!!!


Munro Stats:
3110 ft
"Yellow hill"

8/10 based on the route I actually did - steep as hell climb so it was!

7/10 more for the fitness aspect of my day!!!


Little was I to know that a little more research into the route would have paid me large dividends!!! An OS map also would have been handy. But no! I'll read Mr McNeish and Munro Magic. It looks a simple enough route. Obviously not!!! Somewhere I went wrong and I'm going to blame the weather!!!

I started the day getting my bike ready as I hadn't ridden it all year and had to change my slicks to offroad tyres which took longer than anticipated!!! So off I went to the NE head of Loch Fyne and parked my car easily enough in the walkers car park. It is lamb chop season right now and they were everywhere!!! Very cute so they were:

2 roads lead the way to Inverchorachan. Don't take this one which is directly opposite the walkers carpark!!!

Take the tarmac route nearest the main road. The other route takes you through a building site with many dead ends before going through a field where you have to play chicken with a herd of coos!!! (Which also was fun!) They meet together anyway 2.5 miles along the 5 mile cycle-in to the start of the Munro. You pass a few houses (marked Glenfyne on Mr McNeish's book) and a little further on the road forks. I went left and presumed that the building on the right was Inverchorachan - marking the start of the climb up to Beinn Bhuidhe...

Wrong!!! On my return home after a few further searches on the net... THIS was the building I should have stopped at:

This was obviously a little further on the path I was on - but what made me think it was the former was a gate that asked all bikers to leave their bikes here (there was a few posts for chaining up your bike). So I thought here is the start of the walk.

"Take to the slopes due W and follow the S bank of the stream to its source then bear NW up steep grass and bracken into the upper corrie"

The Munro Magic chat was:
1 Head NE on south bank of River Fyne to weir
2 Cross river and follow the road/track NW turning N to Inverchorachan
3 Leave track and ascend W by stream to Meall an Daimph
4 Ascend NNW to summit of Beinn Bhuidhe
5 Return by same route

So instead of looking up and seeing the view of the top behind that house... I looked beyond the gate where I chained my bike up and saw this:

Yes I did follow "a" stream up... but it was obviously the wrong one!!! There was no path. The ascent was steep as hell. I felt like I was in a WW2 movie in the Scottish jungle. Once I was out of woodland the ground was wet, mossy as anything and I was using my poles to dig in and basically pulled myself up the mountain. Looking back towards where my bike was:

At the top of my ascent I got myself into full waterproofs. Visibility was shocking. I climbed what I thought was the ridge leading me to the top but alas there were taller structures looming in the misty shadows. After lunch I headed for them thinking... that's be the top right there! There were trig point shaped rocks all over the place!!! Once I had climbed one wee hill there was another in the distance. At one point I shat myself as the ground swallowed me up to mid-thigh level I instantly wondered how there could be sinking sand all the way up here and in Scotland!!! After 45 minutes of doing this the weather was getting worse. Wind. Rain. Exceedingly wet and boggy underfoot. I was enjoying the walk and the closeness of my visual field... but with no prospect of magically finding the summit and no further high looming shadows to climb I decided to head back down the steep mountainside.

On my way down I slid down a lot of the mossy ground which was like 4 duvet covers on top of each other to walk on. Great going down but absolutely shite to climb up!!! So down I slid and got back to my untouched bike (if only it took that long! 5 seconds of sliding then on my bike!!! Ha ha ha!!!). Saw some Heilan coos and some deer (bottom right of pic) on my way back which was nice but my then I just wanted the warmth of my car & to be home:

Got back and was knackered! So glad I brought the bike though!!! After the 12 miles of walking on Mount Keen I did previously I'll never walk that sort of a walk-in to a Munro again if I can help it!!! A bit disappointed but the fact that I never saw the excellent surrounding views means that maybe fate had something to do with getting it completely wrong this time!!! I'll be back!!!

Read the above and don't do what I did!!! Look out for that house!!!

Supposed to take 6 hours if you get the route right - walking that is. My escapade took me 4 hours but I was hardly stopping due to the downpour and I cycled in.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


The purpose of this site is to help me log all the Munroes I've done and hopefully spur me on to do more. My love of the outdoors has only really been a recent one. I used to hate hill-walking! I actually enjoy making things a bit harder for myself sometimes and having to rely on my own instincts to get back (partially because of the fact I don't always have an OS map!)... even though I may not at the time... it makes coming home that little bit sweeter!

I would like to apologise first to everyone who has gone up a Munro with me and something has gone wrong... wrong turn... thunderstorms... not enought time for lunch... night-walks... unwanted wildlife... but it does give you something to remember & treasure when you look back at it doesn't it?! Even if it's just to take the piss out of me!!!

My main references are at present Cameron McNeish's book "The Munroes" which I no longer fully trust after my experience up Ben McDui!!! Also other folks routes and tips on Munro Magic's website are extremely useful. Those along with the odd OS map I have kicking around have done me well so far but... and a big BUT... I may be investing in OS online to make things a little bit easier for myself. I'm getting fed up of going the harder ways on already hard routes!!!

I have no idea when I'll finish this quest!!! Hope you enjoy the site and the photos. Would be great to hear your comments / suggestions & have your useful Munro links too.



This is as much a reminder for me as it is advice for you! And basic advice at that!!! You just never know when the weather is going to change.


Walking poles (recommend these 100%)
Wick layer
Windstopper fleece
Walking trousers (with zip off for shorts)
Thermals if early Spring / Late Autumn
Proper walking shoes & socks

Quality backpack with waterproof shield layer & hip strap - around 30L should do
Camera and spare battery: I often photograph maps and routes & chat (even snapping the laptop screen without the flash) so I can easily refer back to what others have said without having to take lots of paper up the hill!
+/- OS map and map case
Hat & gloves- windstopper
Torch / Headtorch - when you run out of light!!! You just might!!!
Swiss army knife

Medical kit
Compeed blister packs
Avon Skin So Soft - for midgees. I walked the West Highland Way and only got 1 bite & that was because I didn't put it on quick enough
Duct tape - for emergencies - making stretchers / splints etc. You never know!
Food - and plenty of it
Water - camelback / 1-2L bottle
Thermos flask for hot drink - coffee for me!
Whisky flask - nothing like having a dram with a view!
Toilet roll (not a whole roll obviously!)

BIKE - for those cycle-ins

Cycling shorts
Puncture repair kit
Tyre levers
Spare inner tube
Bike tool kit
Cycling gloves
Chain & padlock for security - bikes have been nicked before!!! (Sheep stealing has gone out of vogue for these modern hill-abiding teuchters. They'll steal what they can sell nowadays and you can't get a lot for a sheep in the Barras I'm told. Now Aberdeen's different!!!)


Spare clothes for the drive home: - nothing like getting out of those wet socks & putting on some soft shoes is there?!
Outdoor shoes, T-shirt, fleece, tracksuit bottoms
Towel - hopefully unnecessary - but you never know!!!!
Water / IRN BRU / Beer-Wine for the passengers!!!

Please add a comment below if there's something you take up that you think everyone should too!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Beinn Narnain & Beinn Ime

Munro Count:

Solo (me & my iPod)

Munro Stats:

Beinn Narnain 3038 ft "Hill of the notches"
Beinn Ime 3317 ft "Hill of butter"

Beinn Narnain 6/10
Beinn Ime 4/10

Beinn Narnain 7/10 (for the climb)
Beinn Ime 7/10 (for the views at the top)

Parked in Succoth car park (£1/day) across the loch from Arochar. I walked sans OS map for the whole day without much problem. (Click here for Munro Magic route)

However I followed the newish path (to take some of the load off the mountain) which, although very hairpin-like as it zig-zagged through the forest - got me to a white post and a junction - where views of The Cobbler (left) and Bein Narnain (right) sprung up infront of me.

At this point you could head for the Cobbler (left) or turn right and traverse around Beinn Narnain (for 15 minutes or so with no further ascent but with good views of Loch Long) to the main path (unmissable) up Beinn Narnain. I did the latter after asking a random where the better path up Narnain was!

Once on the proper path it was a nicely challenging route up to the top.

Several false summits pushed me forward before a nice steep climb ended the first Munro of the day.

I had my lunch up top then descended over the other side, with the Cobbler to the left and Beinn Ime to the right. Climbed the fence then headed up the beginnings of a path up Beinn Ime. This path was pretty terrible. Very damp underfoot and lost the path altogether several times until 2/3 of the way up - where it is obvious.

It was a much slower climb because of this - but the views were well worth it. There was a wind shelter at the top and it was a spectacular view of Vane, Loch Lomond & the aforementioned Cobbler & Narnain. The sun also decided to pop out at that point which was an added bonus and the cause of my sunburn later that evening!

Headed back down following my own little path!.. as the hillside was nice and soft away from the direct route I had taken up. Headed then between Narnain & the Cobbler (unmissable path) and considered climbing the Cobbler again - but decided against it as I was pretty knackered at that point.

Met up with the tourist path had deviated away from at the white post - which took me back to the car park.

Find the elusive path I missed somewhere so you don't have to do the traverse. There was a road to cross 15 minutes into the start which I crossed over and turned left as I saw a sign up the hill that way. This was the "tourist path" to the Cobbler. If I has turned right at this point I have a feeling this would have led me to the main Beinn Narnain path. Let me know if I was right for others by adding a comment below!

Time to climb Narnain from start (1 break): 2:10
Lunch then up Ime: 1:50
Break at top then back to car park: 2:00

Total time 6:00

Saturday, 7 April 2007


Munro Count:


Munro Stats:
4242 ft - 5th highest!

4/10 - come on! You drive half-way up!!!

8/10 - amazing cairn views at top. Wild reindeer too! Nice!!! Snow also great fun sliding down.

Parked up at the carpark (half way up the mountain - always a good start!) right by the ski-lifts. The books describe 2 routes. 1 crap-sounding route where you basically climb right by all the ski-lifts... nice! Or...

Turn around and walk back down the main road away from the ski-lifts as if you are heading back down the hill. Turn right at the first road (you drove down this as it's a one-way system). Walk for about 100m and you'll see a drain-like thing on your right. Now... there's the smallest of goat-paths on your right you have to find!!! It won't get into a big path for about 200m. Look up and you'll see a massive lonely boulder - the path gets big here.

It's a nice ascent on this path all the way to the Ptarmigan. We had some snow but only at the top of the ski-slopes.

Once at the top of the slopes there's a well made path that leads the way to the summit. Umpteen cairns lead the way to the summit next to a weather station.

We had cracking views all round although twas well windy and cold at the top so hats and gloves a must even for this - one of the shortest of climbs.

What a view!

Coming down was sweet! Soft snow for the feet & lots of sliding down action to be had if you don't mind getting a wet bum! And back at the carpark we weren't expecting to see wild reindeer... Nice!

Pack warm


Total time 3:00 all round (generous timing - we were going slowly)

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Mount Keen

Munro Count:

Nick Ross & Alex Gordon

Munro Stats:

3081 ft
Most Easterly Munro

6/10 Flat walking and a nice steady climb

3.5/10 - 6 miles is too long to get to the mountain. Took too much enjoyment out of the day - especially for 1st Munro-baggers Nick & Alex... but for me also.


Weather was excellent but the planning will have to be improved upon next time to say the least! The "plan" was to test out 3 gadgets of mine too... the walkie-talkie watches which my sister got me for my birthday/christmas, and try and have a BBQ by lighting a fire with my fire-stick knife - and cook the massive amount of meat I had purchased at the butchers in the morning on a BBQ-grill gadget I had randomly got myself some time back!

Parked at the pay & display car park in Glen Tanar estate by a lovely old bridge and followed thr road around the back of the riding school and Glen Tanar buildings. Through a gate then a left turn through the small field area. Turning right is the only way to go from there which then takes you into the forest.

I am sure I had been told it took 4 hours... but after a slow 6 mile walk to the foot of Mount Keen (which took about 2 1/2 hours) we were all pretty knackered!!! It was a nice walk through the forest with lovely views all the way to the foot of Mount Keen.

Nick & I made it to the top and toasted the Old Man Of Lochnagar - as its summit could be seen clearly across the way - whilst downing a few drams of its 12 year old malt. Nice.

The walk down was sore to say the least, with only the comforting few hundred metres of snow walking which felt like walking in sand compared to the coal-walking that followed our 6 mile lumber home. Our soft feet blistered and our stiffening legs ached, and there wasn't enough time to sit back and enjoy the BBQ... at all! The walk ended in darkness but lessons had been learned on Ben Macdui - and my head-torch lit the way back to the car.

The weather was amazing and it was great to get some fine Highland air. There is a nice feeling to be had when you are sore all over and you can sit down knowing you deserve a lazy night in front of the telly! All in all a great weekend and I can now tick off the most Easterly Munro on my map!

We were too knackered to go out for dinner but had lunch the next day at the best place in town... The Boat Inn. Best fresh haddock and chips... massive portion as usual!!! Log fire too. Tell them to turn the train on for you too for a laugh! Only other place I'd recommend is Lodge on the Loch just outside Aboyne heading for Aberdeen (1 mile outside take left turn off road). Great loch views (& food of course!) and amazing sticky toffee pudding and ice cream!!!! Mmmmmmm!!!

Take mountain bikes if doing this route. It might be crap going steadily uphill (it's not that bad - I have cycled this path before another time - had to stop a few times ) but it's great coming back! And you save injuring your feet so much!

I have since been told that this is much better a climb coming from the other side of the mountain (from Edzell way). You would need someone to drop you there and ideally drop some bikes off at the foot of the mountain on the other side (accessible through Glen Tanar estate - easily drivable road - no 4x4 required!!!) I will do this route this summer maybe so will update this when I do it that way!

Glen Tanar carpark to top of mountain without much stopping 4:00
We took an hour to descend due to blister patching and sore feet!!!
3:00 to get back to the car :(

Total time 7:00

Saturday, 2 September 2006

Ben Macdui

Munro Count:

Jeni Strachan

Munro Stats:
4295 ft (2nd highest Munro) "Hill of the black pig"



What an adventure this walk ended up being. My sister re-named the mountain Ben "Make-do-ee" afterwards! Again... a little more planning would have paid dividends but then I would not have the stories to tell afterwards and where would be the fun in that?!

It was this walk that made me no longer trust Mr Mcneish's artwork or chat (Hint 1)! My sister and I decided to do this walk knowing that it was the 2nd highest Munro - but not really anticipating how long it would take. First rule of Munro club I'm sure!!! But nonetheless we started in high spirits even stopping in Braemar for a coffee in the cafe "taste"... when we really should have been up at 6am and starting the walk at 8am or so!!! (Hint 2)

We took mountain bikes and the path to Derry Lodge was cracking!!! Great scenery cycling by the river as can be seen here:

Just before the lodge the OS map talked of a bridge. It's obviously no there any more:

Just at the lodge I had a go at crossing on my bike. It was successful... not!

The walkers bridge is in fact behind the lodge and after that you go across a field then back onto quality track to the drop off point for bikes. (Remember this field for the trip back...)

1km from the drop off point my back bike tyre popped (-(-boom-)-) and I walked the last 1km deciding to repair the puncture there while my sister had a break. After locating the rip, repairing it and blowing up the tyre I was surprised to see the inner tubing herniate out of the tyre rim. It was my brother's bike I was borrowing... and the back tyre had perished half way round the tyre and it would simply pop again if it had to take any weight. (Check your tyres before leaving - Hint 3).

Thankfully I saw a solution with my duck tape and taped the tyre inside to outside - which worked! Hint 4: always take duck tape with you - it is invaluable in many emergencies!!! After securing the bikes we headed up the mountain.

What a climb! Fantastic views, amazing rocks, lovely weather. Wouldn't have rather been anywhere else! :

We reached the top after lunch and time was ticking on.

We followed the path and were intending to head up Derry Cairngorm on the way back to the bikes. The sun was setting and it became clear that this path was heading us off track.

But how could this be?! We were just off the top of the OS map as we passed a wee loch - but we were still on Mr McNeish's map which claimed there was a path that headed back onto the path for Derry Cairngorm. Bollocks!!! We lumbered over the steepness south of the path we were on and got ourselves back onto the Derry Cairngorm path.

By then we had a decision to make... Do another ascent and climb down the other side of Derry Cairngorm... (in retrospect I wish we had done - but my sister at the time was unwilling to climb any more. The path would have been better - but what were we to know lay ahead of us?!)... or climb down as much as we could down the side of the mountain (it was getting dark and we were knackered). So down we went. Before long the view was this:

We had walkie-talkies and used them whenever my sister lost sight of me. There was no path and to minimise the risk of one of us going over on our ankle we split my poles and basically walked like beaters through the hilly heather heading down and back to the bikes. One thing in our favour was that it was a full moon that night. Unfortunately it was rising over derry Cairngorm and until it was high in the sky we were in almost pitch blackness. We could barely see the top of the heather and no way could see anything resembling a sheep path still.

Another obstacle that cropped up were the six small rivers we had to cross in order to get across to the other side of the glen. Fub fun fun. But not when you have to contend with a girl... and have to coax her across!!!

We looked up at Derry Cairngorm and saw a flare... SHIT! We were almost certain our mother had called mountain rescue. Surely they would have gone up there first since she knew where we were going. It was about 10pm at this point and looking back to where the summit of Macdui was we were convinced we could see flashing helicopter lights! No way! No way! "Hide the OS map Jeni!" was one thing that was said!!!

But thankfully it was not a rescue but tricks of the night. A low lying cloud hitting the bright moonlight of the night was a spitting image of a flare and no helicopter arrived!!! The full moon also brought visions of certain supernatural animals into mind and on several occasions after beating the heather (to gauge depth) and some grouse wakes up and jumps at you flapping its wings all of a sudden... scared the hell out of us!!! We eventually found the path and were SHATTERED!!!!!:

Finally we got back to the bikes and had a quality cycle back to "THE FIELD". The path seemed to glow in the moonlight. Our legs were close to falling off by this point and with Derry Lodge in sight we entered the 4x4 dirt track across the final field before the lodge. (-(-SPLAT-)-) I went full on over my handlebars as my front tyre went into a massive hole, camouflaged by the night. Winded I stood up and waited for Jeni to catch up. Surely nothing else could happen tonight... wrong!

We stood and watched as six animals approached from the 2 O'clock position in front of us and ran approximately 150-200m away from us in a semi-circle around the back of where we were. The stopped abruptly one after the other... 1...2...3...4...5...6. Half surrounded, and after a second of exchanging "What the..." looks... we got straight back on our bikes and cycled like we'd never cycled before back to the car. What were they??? They weren't deer. Dogs? Wolves?...locals on the full moon. We'll never know. But it certainly wasn't funny at the time.

What a day. What a night!!!

One final photo which would have been amazing had it managed to focus. It was a stunning sight in reality...

Get up early and start this walk early!
Stick to the path... beware of the mooooon!!! No seriously... watch out for the lack of a path to Derry Cairngorm. Once on the plateau before the climb up - the path is easily visible. It's just getting there!!!
Remember to check your equipment!!! We forgot our torch which would have been invaluable... and how useful was the duck tape?!!! Made it all the way home and it is still holding the tyre together!!! (My brother asked me to replace the tyre as I had obviously burst it!!! gtf!)


Total time 14 1/2 hrs car to car
Suggested timing 8-12 hrs by Mr McNeish
Total 30.4 km

Started 11:30 - didn't realise we started this late till now!!!
Derry Lodge 13:30
Puncture 14:15
Started ascent 15:00
Summit 19:00
Derry Cairngorm plateau pre-final ascent 21:00
Back on main path 23:00
Back at car after walk to bikes & cycle back 02:00
(Drive and back at home 03:00)