Mountain Skills Course

The past two days I’ve been running a Mountain Training Mountain Skills Course for Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors. Gina, Lesley, Paula and Andy were looking to consolidate, improve or learn new skills for walking in mountainous terrain. The course had some classroom elements, but was largely delivered outside in appropriate terrain.

The team in the wind on the summit of Meall Tairneachan.

The weather over the weekend meant some careful planning was required to avoid being hindered by high winds and rain. On Saturday we drove to the head of Glen Ogle and from there walked up on to the slopes of Meall Buidhe and Beinn Leabhainn. These two hills have lots of interesting small features and are great for working on your navigation in rough trackless terrain. On Sunday with higher winds forecast again we went to the Corbett of Meall Tairneachan north of Weem. This allowed quick access to the hill on a good track and shelter from the southerly winds for large parts of the day. It’s worth noting the access track is very much a working track for the mine and probably best avoided during the week. Two good days running a very rewarding course, thanks to the team for their interest and enthusiasm, which made for a good course. We were even rewarded with some excellent views towards the end of Sunday.

Knoydart

Jen and I are just back from a few days staying at Inverie on Knoydart. We travelled up by train to Mallaig and then boat to Inverie, which is an excellent way of visiting this beautiful and remote peninsula.

Jen on Luinne Bhein with Ladhar Bheinn & Skye behind

Jen on Luinne Bhein with Ladhar Bheinn & Skye behind

The weather was better than forecast and we had some excellent walks including Beinn Bhuidhe; Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe; Sgurr Coire Choinnichean and Druim na Cluain-airighe. The last of which, although being the smallest, is very rugged and requires good navigation particularly in poor visibility. The views from these hills were superb with Eigg, Rum, Skye and a huge number of mainland hills all being visible.

Snow patches on Meall Buidhe

Snow patches on Meall Buidhe

The walking on the ridges was generally on short grass and pretty dry, however getting on and off the ridges often involved steep, tussocky ground and we were glad the bracken was still low on some of the lower slopes. Later in the summer it’s probably worth planning to gain and lose height on the excellent tracks and stalkers paths and avoid the bracken covered areas, as it looks like it may be a bad year for ticks.

Jen and me at the summit of Meall Buidhe

Jen and I at the summit of Meall Buidhe

The hills in this area are pretty much snow free now, with just some patches remaining in North and East facing coires. Views inland showed there’s still plenty of snow on some of the higher peaks away from the sea.

Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, Luinne Bhein, Meall Buidhe and Sguur na Ciche from the boat out.

Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, Luinne Bhein, Meall Buidhe and Sguur na Ciche from the boat out.

We had a really friendly welcome from every one on Knoydart and particularly at the quiet bunkhouse where we stayed. Also, we had excellent food at the Tea Shop in Inverie; The Old Forge, the remotest pub in mainland Britain, and at Doune an even more remote restaurant and accommodation spot.