Loch Etive and Creach Bheinn

Jen & I are just back from a few days staying near Taynuilt with friends. On Sunday the two Jens and I went for a low level walk in the Inverawe/Loch Etive area, whilst the rest of the group went up on to Ben Cruachan encountering snow from around 700m.

Looking towards the summit of Creach Bheinn on Monday.

On Monday I had a bimble up Creach Bheinn in Glen Creran. The new hydro access track along the Allt Buidhe made for a quick approach. I was on hard old snow from around 700m and descended via Meall Garbh and a Grade I gully in the coire to the west of Meall Garbh’s summit, which made for a quick day. Various road cycling and low level walking also went on. It snowed overnight on strong east/north-east winds and there was a dusting of fresh down to about 300m near the coast this morning.

Argyll and Appin

The last three days Jen and I have been based south of Oban with B, Butch, Jen, Patrick, Rachael, Tom and Wilmot. On Friday we had a pleasant half day walking in the Knapdale Forest starting from the visitor centre for the Scottish Beaver Trial and walking down to Rubha na Stiure. This gave a sheltered walk with plenty of interest looking for signs of the reintroduced beavers.

Descending Beinn Fhionndlaidh towards Glen Creran.

On Saturday we headed up Bienn Fhionndlaidh from Glen Creran. This worked well on a day of sunshine and showers falling as snow or hail above about 750m on a south-westerly wind. Congratulations to the two team members for whom it was their first Munro.

A zoomed in view of Ben Cruachan showing the snow level on Sunday.

On Sunday after dropping some of the team at the station in Oban a reduced group caught the short ferry to Kerrera for a delightful wander around the southern loop of the island. It was cold and sunny with great views out to the islands and back to the hills where a dusting of snow had settled down to around 700m.

Beinn Sgulaird Slabs

Yesterday Ivor, Nettle and I headed to Glen Creran on a hunch by Nettle that the rarely visited granite slabs would provide an entertaining way to the summit. We approached via the South-West ridge of Beinn Sgulaird to give us a look at the slabs before stashing sacks at the bealach and dropping down to the main slabs.

Nettle high on the slabs. Photo credit: Ivor McCourt.

Nettle high on the slabs. Photo credit: Ivor McCourt.

The slabs had patches of damp and some seepage, but the granite was rough and clean enough to allow us to climb the very good and varied VS of Tokalosh, which is worth a couple of stars. This was even the case when it started to rain on the upper pitches and Nettle made a particularly good lead of the top pitch in increasingly wet conditions. The route is low in the technical grade, but requires a bold approach on some sections. The pitch lengths in the guidebook are a little bit out. This allowed us to link pitches two and three for speed. It’s also worth noting that it’s possible to push on beyond the final belay as described to a good block belay, which avoids climbing unroped on the steep grass exiting the slabs. We then headed up to the summit of the hill before returning via the South-West ridge.

Ivor, me and Nettle on the summit of Beinn Sgulaird. Photo credit: J. Foden.

Ivor, me and Nettle on the summit of Beinn Sgulaird. Photo credit: J. Foden.

An excellent day on a remote crag with very pleasant climbing.