Druim na h-Earba - 287m
Bidein Bad na h-Iolaire - 528m

Friday 29th December 2017

Weather/Conditions: Deep snow, some snow flurries and a strong wind especially on top of the Bidean
Distance/Ascent/Time: 2.4km / 150m / 35m
3.6km / 450m / 1h 35m
Accompanying: Alone

I was continuing my end-of-year hills with two tops above An Gearasdan & Achintore. These are two more tops I'd never been on, despite living near to, and driving by them all the time. But they are not the most famous in the area, so it is little wonder. They would however, suit a limited time schedule, and they'd be two more tops to add to the list.

I parked out the back of Achintore at a large parking area. It would probably be a lovely location, except the Fort is a leaden-looking place under fresh snowfall and a grey sky. There shouldn't have been any problems finding the little ridge up to my first hill, except I got lost in deep drifts and long grass up to my knees, floundering around and feeling pretty shattered from the outset.

The trig point on top was a spectacular, if a grey and wild place - the views down Loch Linnhe are just stunning and a highlight, given how low in altitude the top is. But I was tired. In spite of this, there was a plan to keep to, and once I'd headed down the hill and back to the car, I drove around the corner to park underneath the flank of Bidean Bad na h-Iolaire.

I know this hill far better from the Glen Nevis side, where it is prominent from the Nevis 'Pony Track'. I also remember seeing the name Bidean on the map years ago when I first climbed Ben Nevis. But from the west side it is an easier, if a more anonymous climb, and once again I floundered through grasses and deep snow.

Effort became greater, and in time it was clear there was just no energy left in my legs. In fact I can rarely ever remember a time I've felt so bereft of energy and hollowed out. It seemed as though there was nothing left to give. It was with some relief that I came over the summit ridge, Glen Nevis burst into view and the summit followed shortly after. Ascents always feel like hard work to me, but descent would be easy.

The skies had brightened to give flushes of colour over Ben Nevis and Carn Dearg; certainly not the steel grey of the morning any more. I was content to get out of the searing wind, find lower altitudes and crawl back to the heat of the car and home. I have no good explanation as to why I felt so out of sorts on such a low and 'easy' hill.

Not my finest hour on the hills. But never mind, the following day would be my 250th of the year and a nice milestone to round off 2018.

360° Panoramas

Druim na h-Earba

Bidein Bad na h-Iolaire
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.30am Parking
(0.20) 11.50am Druim na h-Earba
(0.35) 12.05pm Parking

(0.00) 12.35pm Roadside
(1.12) 1.47pm Bidean Bad na h-Iolaire
(1.35) 2.10pm Roadside
Written: 2018-10-01