Creag an t-Saighdeir - 175m
Thursday 8th November 2018

Weather/Conditions: Another cool, breezy day
Distance/Ascent/Time: 1.9km / 150m / 42m
Accompanying: Alone

Another drive past Fort William; another afternoon of thinking of doing a hill. I enjoyed Sgurr an Utha a few days ago, and wanted to climb something else. I'd originally intended Stob a' Ghrianan above Gleann Laoigh, but left that a bit too late. Not much too late, but I wasn't for pushing darkness, and at some point I realised I'd left my headtorch somewhere at home.

So I drove up the back road from Banbhaidh with half a plan in mind. I was in no rush, and enjoyed seeing the first pepperings of snow on the big Lochaber hills. I remembered there was a little top above the Mile Dorcha and set upon this: it would give me a walk and it was a hill; well, sort of. Maybe...

The hill is Creag an t-Saighdeir, and is enclosed on it's north by the Mile Dorcha and on it's south by Achnacarry. To the east; Loch Lochy and to the west Loch Arkaig, which stretches for miles to find its end buried in Na Garbh Chriochain, that tangle of rough mountains climbing the spine of the north-west Highlands from Moidart to Knoydart.

I parked up at Eas Chia-aig, a double-tiered waterfall right beside the road. Even in the middle of the day the light felt rarefied, a real sense that we were getting towards winter. I walked down the road, then climbed steeply up into the trees.

This hill is entirely covered by woodland which can be rough from time to time. But the hill had recently been partially cleared of rhododendrons and I can imagine it being almost impassable before. Existing roddys were hard to get through, and meant a winding route to find my way to the top.

These ground conditions are certainly harder than the open moor or stone of the high hills - but the compensation is to be so near to the road. I wandered over the summit, getting only glimpses of views through the trees, then kept going to see if I could find a way down to the east. I'd have to be so careful here to get the right way down. The forest further east has all been cut down, and it entirely changes the Mile Dorcha. I'm glad I saw it a few years ago, when the high pines closed out the light and the stone walls were draped thick in moss. Now the southern slopes of the pass are clear-felled and barren.

I got sick of trying to find a way down these eastern slopes, so went over the top of the hill to go down more closely to my original route. I linked up animal tracks, who seem to be able to get through the smaller gaps and under fallen trees. I slipped and slithered my way back to the tarmac, wandering back along the road to my car.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 3.09pm Corran
(0.18) 3.27pm Creag an t-Saighdeir
(0.42) 3.51pm Corran
Written: 2018-11-08ish