Am Bàthach South Top - 734m
Am Bàthach - 798m

Friday 19th December 2014

Weather/Conditions: Mental winter conditions. Full-blown spindrift, high winds, desolate looking mountains. Amazing conditions to be out in, but not great for going far!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 6.8km / 630m / 2h 50m
Accompanying: Alone

A day that although I write long after, I still remember a lot of the details.

It was a weekend with Kev McK and the crew, which usually means surface at mid-day after a night of drinking and have a few precious hours to climb something. The Mckeowns went to Skye and the Storr. I drove up to the Cluanie after mid-day and set off for a hill I hadn't been on, Am Bàthach. Being under the 3000 foot mark it had escaped my efforts so far, but since completing the Munros it left these more isolated summits a good target for blizzarding days.

The day was utterly wild. Just above the Cluanie, wild winds whipped up spindrift tornadoes in the snow. Spindrift was flying everywhere on the high tops. Am Bàthach was a good hill for these conditions - it's a pretty stunning little wedge of mountain jammed between two parallel glens. It would at least be short; something to do in the few hours before it got dark.

I walked up to the ridge and conditions deteriorated so quickly. By the time I was on the ridge, spindrift was hammering by on a wind that drowned out all other sound. And yet I was exhilarated. The mountains shone bright in their early-season mantle: austere light painted them in hues of blue fringed in pink. All the while the wind hammered by. It was not a place to stay for long.

I struggled over the south top - I didn't cease taking pictures however inconvenient, although from time to time I'd worry my rucksack was going to disappear over the edge with the rest of the snow.

On the summit of Am Bàthach I got more photos, another panorama; then made off for the north to come down the north ridge then leftwards into An Caorann Beag. At least in this glen the wind hadn't the incredible intensity. I walked out the miles to the Cluanie quite content with a modest effort, but that nagging wonder in the back of my head; just how hard would it be to traverse all the high tops of Glen Shiel? A normal Munro bagging hill day could become damn near impossible in this weather.

Pretty humbling conditions, all in. That following night I can guarantee will have disappeared nito a drink-filled haze. I can't remember if I was participating yet, but the stack of alcohol in all the photos would suggest so.

360° Panoramas

Am Bàthach south ridge

Am Bàthach
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 12.45pm Cluanie Inn
(1.35) 2.20pm Am Bàthach South Top
(1.50) 2.35pm Am Bàthach
(2.50) 3.35pm Cluanie Inn

Written: 2017-10-31