Big hike to two remote Scottish hills: Creag Mhor & Beinn Heasgarnich

in dlive •  6 months ago

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I'd been wanting to climb these two remote mountains for ages. I wanted to climb them in winter, as the area is notorious for bog, so I was hoping to go when the bogs were still frozen. But that presented a couple of problems.

1 Starting out, Ben Challum and Creag Mhor in the distance.jpg

The view at the start of the walk. The big mountain at the left is Ben Challum. Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich can hardly be seen at this stage.

The walk covers a distance of almost 24.5km (15.5 miles) and a total ascent of 1436m, and to do that in the winter months would make it likely that we would be returning in the dark. Walking over a notorious bog in the dark doesn't appeal to me!

57 Snow-covered river on marsh back from Heasgarnich - gorgeous ochres and blues.jpg

It took us two hours to walk back over this marshy area, before we reached the road. The snow patches are covering a river. I wouldn't want to do this in the dark!

Also, the area is so remote that you have to drive almost 6 miles along a single-track road in order to reach the start of the walk. My car probably wouldn't make it in icy conditions.

Map grab 2.jpg

April seemed like a good month to do it, once the low-level ice had melted but there was still a lot of snow on higher ground.

17 Peter, Mandy, Karen and Ella walking towards Creag Mhor summit peak.jpg

Approaching the summit peak of Creag Mhor.

This area – Glen Lochay – fascinates me. Few people live around here, and those who do must struggle in winter when the roads are impassable.

200 years ago the area was more densely populated, but the Highland Clearances forced many local people to leave their homesteads and move to the cities, or overseas to the Americas.

5 Looking over to the flank of Heasgarnich.jpg

Beinn Heasgarnich. Heasgarnich is a mis-spelling of Sheasgarnaich, which means peaceful or sheltering mountain.

People were replaced with sheep and deer hunting estates, at a time before the age of motor travel, and as a result there are few roads in these areas.

Six of us went on this trip. The walk took us 10 and a half hours, and during that entire time we only saw three other people and a dog.

The weather forecast was for cloud and intermittent rain and hail showers, but instead we were treated to lots of sunshine and just one brief hail shower – until we were just 10 minutes away from our cars. Then the heavens opened and there was an almighty hailstorm. It was still quite warm at the time, but I had to put on my gloves, as the hailstones were coming down with such force that they were stinging my hands.

43 Dramatic cloud formations from top of Sron Tairbh, cropped.jpg

Despite ominous cloud formations, there was no rain or hail until right at the
end of the day.

A tough expedition, but a brilliant day out!

My video is at DLive

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Hiya, just swinging by to let you know you're being featured in today's Travel Digest!

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Great - thanks!

Wow. Id find it pretty scary venturing into wilderness like that. Probably need that adventurers bone to be able to do that. Haha. Im lacking in that department.

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Well I had five great companions with me and some good maps so I felt quite safe! :)

OMG that looks an amazing place to hike in!

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It's a wonderful place :)

Seems a challenging but rewarding hike! The other 5 ppl, are they your friends or did you also had a guide with you?

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Actually it was my Meetup group! I'm not a qualified mountain leader (yet) but I have good navigation skills and lots of experience. There are some walks that I would choose to do with a qualified mountain guide with local knowledge, like the Cuillins in Skye or Ben Nevis via the Ledge route, but I felt confident to organise this one for a small group.

Wow that looks like quite a hike. Congratulations! The scenery is stunning. Love that little lamb in the video <3

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Thanks! It was a fantastic day and there were cute lambs everywhere!

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