Ben Tee - 904m
Meall a' Choire Ghlais- 901m
Sron a' Choire Ghairbh - 937m
Meall na Teanga - 918m

Friday 24th March 2017

Weather/Conditions: Soft light, but with sun coming through. A haziness in the air, and high cloud. Light winds, but cutting and cold at a few points.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 19.2km / 1700m / 5h 55m
Accompanying: Alone

This was very much a last minute decision, but a decision I'm glad I made. I'd spent the previous night sleeping in the car at Kinloch Hourn and intended to climb Sgurr a' Mhaoraich in the morning, along with a clutch of other summits I'd not been on before. But as per the forecast, mist settled over the hills in the morning, which wouldn't normally be an issue except I'm putting together a complete set of Munro summit panoramas, and Sgurr a' Mhaoraich is one of those outstanding. I almost went for the walk - I was packed and everything.

At the last moment, I took my rucksack off and got back in the car. It wasn't quite right. So I will go on a good weather day some time soon.

I drove east to the Great Glen, knowing the weather would be better there. I had one hill in mind; Ben Tee - a nice conical shaped Corbett I hadn't yet climbed.

I stopped in at Invergarry, for a look at Tobar nan Ceann (and takeaway rolls). But I found myself feeling indecisive. I think this pre-walk indecision might be my worst enemy, for every time I begin walking, I get in a groove that's hard to stop.

In time, I parked at Kilfinnan and set off up the hillside immediately behind the parking. This took me past the Kilfinnan Falls which looked pretty impressive. I was aiming for Ben Tee, a trackless climb of almost 3000 foot from car park to summit. I was also to cross the mouth of Coire Glas, which is soon to be dammed. For the meantime there wasn't a hint of industry, not an access track - nothing. At the time of writing, investment is allegedly needed for the project to take off. But for the moment, I'd enjoy the silence, for if the invesment is granted, this coire will resonate to the sound of industry and be forever changed for it.

I gained the top of Ben Tee having come through some snowfields, then a direct descent took me to the foot of Meall a' Choire Ghlais. It looks as thought a glacier gouged a 400m trench between these two hills some time in the past: Meall a' Choire Ghlais looks chopped off, and you might imagine it continuing unbroken toward Ben Tee.

I put the head down on this climb, and the ascent almost appeared to pass unnoticed. I took some small buttresses up the crest to the ridge, which gave some moments of technical interest. Then from the crest, it was a long broad walk to Sron a' Choire Ghairbh.

Ahead of me the north-west Highlands were all snow covered. A chilling breeze came over the hillside. I noticed that this ridge is so broad it can actually be difficult to see down into Coire Glas. Each time I'm here, I grow more fond of these hills. I guess I find more depths of character with each visit, but it has also been enjoyable to approach from different sides, rather than do the same route to the Munros each time.

Sron a' Choire Ghairbh came and went, and I took a quick break at the Cam Bhealaich where a cold breeze froze me stiff. I took feet out of boots here too; when the snow is thawing and damp like this, the water goes straight through the boots, which either means you get chilled while drying out feet, or your feet suffer because you just keep walking in damp footwear.

Meall na Teanga was an enjoyable plod. In the winter, a snowbank consistently builds across the ridge here and has to be crossed. I was without an axe today; just a mistake, but I actually enjoyed the thrill of being sure footed as I crossed the rim. The summit followed within ten minutes.

I descended these hills via. the Cam Bhealaich track, which is well constructed and maintained. I haven't been here since my first visit in 2013, as last time (2015), I did these hills from an entirely different angle. The walking was enjoyable, easy, and I still felt pretty fresh. It's something I've enjoyed a lot recently. This spring I seem to have been feeling pretty damn strong on the hills. It helps that I'm on them all the time; indeed for the winter-spring period, my activity has gone up by 250%. I have moving to Ballachulish to thank for that.

Somewhere on the way back, I realised walking conditions had been good, and I knew the following day's forecast was to be even better. Somewhere along the way it suddenly came into my mind that I might be able to fulfill that Kintail round I'd been thinking about: A' Ghlas-bheinn, Beinn Fhada, then all the summits from Ciste Dhubh to the Sisters. I could feel the excitement build, as I do when everything slots into place. On a mental high and under a magnificent pink sunset, I drove to Loch Duich. Today had been good, and tomorrow would just round everything off.

360° Panoramas

Ben Tee

Sron a' Choire Ghairbh

Meall na Teanga
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.50am Kilfinnan
(1.35) 1.25pm Ben Tee
(3.05) 2.55pm Sron a' Choire Ghairbh
(4.10) 4.00pm Meall na Teanga
(5.55) 5.45pm Kilfinnan

Written: 2017-03-04