Carn Dearg, Sgor Gaibhre, Beinn a' Chumhainn, Ben Alder & Beinn Bheoil
Saturday 22nd June 2013

Weather/Conditions: Bit bleak and very wet over Carn Dearg. On Sgor Gaibhre views opened up and conditions are actually quite nice over Alder and Bheoil, which was unexpected.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 29.3km / 1970m / 10h
Accompanying: Struan

The weather for this weekend wasn't looking good, and I nearly bottled it in favour of an easier option. I'd given two days to climb eight Munros on either side of the Loch Ossian to Culra divide. But with rain forecast (and lots of it), I wondered for a while whether to go for something less risky, like the individual Munros NW of Fort William.

The reason I finally went for it and didn't bottle out, was because Struan was joining me. He'd booked train tickets from Edinburgh, was going regardless, and if anyone could push me on during a hard trip it was going to be him. On the phone the previous night, I said "I'm coming, but don't let me bottle out of doing them"! I sure as hell didn't want to have to come back, that would be a day down on schedule.

I got the morning train from Tulloch to Culra on the 22nd. Struans train got in half an hour later, so I rolled out the sleeping bag and got a bit more kip until he rolled into the station, well keen for another weekend out.

Outside, the hills were grey and rain-washed. We were on our way. We set off for Carn Dearg, which was dispatched in the relentless rain. It hadn't rained quite like this in a while, and soon the water was making it's way through my waterproofs. The last time that happened was in the wet days of May.

We met Robin Howie (11-times Munroist!) on our way up Sgor Gaibhre, and plodded up the long slope to the top. On the summit, the rain unexpectedly ceased falling. When the rain falls, it's always too miserable to really stop for anything more than a look at the map and a picture. So we counted ourselves lucky and had a break. Even Ben Nevis was out of the mist... what's going on?!

We'd made our first day the longer of the two, since the weather would be wilder the following day. From Sgor Gaibhre we headed over to Ben Alder, a huge mountain with long access from any direction. I was amazed that the weather held all the way over this mountain, and it even stayed sunny as we continued beyond.

We slogged over the top of Beinn Bheoil, stopping en route just to curiously sit in the silence, have a break and take the whole place in. We'd done about 20 miles, it was good to sit in the sun and just watch while we could.

But ultimately, it was amazing to finally get back down to Culra. It's a great bothy, always busy and seemingly always surrounding by DofE tents. From here, Ben Alder looks incredible, especially under the veil of rain and covered in remnant snowfields. We met Roy and Steve in the bothy and shared a lot of chat. They'd been up the Geal-charn 4 (tomorrow's hills for me and Struan) and were heading out to Dalwhinnie in the morning.

Pasta for tea, and we turned around to sleep.

360° Panoramas

Sgor Gaibhre

Beinn a' Chumhainn

Ben Alder

Beinn Bheoil
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 9.15am Corrour
(0.25) 9.40am Loch Ossian YH
(2.20) 11.35am Carn Dearg
(3.25) 12.40pm Sgor Gaibhre
(4.43) 1.58pm Meall a' Bhealaich
(5.15) 2.30pm Beinn a' Chumhainn
(6.55) 4.10pm Ben Alder
(8.45) 6.00pm Beinn Bheoil
(10.00) 7.15pm Culra bothy
Uploaded: 2019-02-08