01 January 2011
10.9 km/953 m/05:30 hrs
Due to the lack of sleep the night before and the alcohol consumed (it had been Hogmanay, after all!) I had a very late start to the day. After driving from Fort William to Kinlochleven, I parked at the Mamore Lodge Hotel which looked deserted, as usual. Walkers who use their car park are expected to pay £ 3, but whenever I actually tried to pay the fee in the past, I found all the doors of the hotel locked and no one around.
The walk starts along a forestry track and soon joins the route of the West Highland Way. After leaving the forest, Loch Leven comes into view, with the Pap of Glencoe on the left and today’s objective, Beinn na Caillich, to the right.
On the West Highland Way, approaching Beinn na Caillich.
A small cairn marks the beginning of a track descending to a footbridge across the Allt Nathrach, after that a good stalker’s path zigzags up Beinn na Caillich’s East Ridge.
Kinlochleven comes into view.
After reaching a broad shoulder, the path flattens out before the last climb to the summit.
The path becomes rockier towards the summit, and it was partly covered in icy patches. Also, other hillwalkers had left deep footprints where they had sunk into the soft snow when the weather had been milder a few days ago. Now the snow surface was frozen, making it slippery and treacherous to walk on. I was very glad to have my Kahtoola Microspikes! They were also a great help on the steep, frozen grass slopes higher up.
In the distance I could see the sun shining on the hills south of Loch Rannoch, and the distinct shape of Schiehallion to the left (hardly visible in the photo).
I reached the summit a few minutes after 2:00 pm. I had been toying with the idea of continuing to Mam na Gualainn and descending the stalker’s path on its north side, but considering how late it was already, I decided against it.
Loch Leven with Ballachulish and Beinn a’ Bheithir in the distance.
Mam na Gualainn, the neighbouring Corbett I would have liked to climb had it not been so late…
Good views to the Aonach Eagach Ridge to the South.
Sgùrr a’ Mhàim, Sgùrr an Iúbhair and the Devil’s Ridge in between.
On the way down, the sun just disappearing behind the Pap of Glencoe.
The last rays of sunlight on Am Bodach.
I got back to the car in darkness, but I managed without a headtorch because the wide track was very easy to follow.
All in all, a good start to 2011 🙂