Day 1 - Friday 8th May
Ruth and I left Deeside early on Friday morning and enjoyed a glorious drive over to the north west. Inch lodge kindly let us leave our overnight kit in the lobby as we had planned a traverse of Glas Bheinn, a Corbett lying just to the north of Inchnadamph and the car would need to be retrieved later. We started to the north east of the hill already at 250m and from here a very wet track led us to the foot of the steep scree slopes.
We contoured round to the north, climbed into Coire Dheirg and then zig-zagged our way up to the ridge. From here the going was easy on short grass and we took in the views to the Quinag, Ben Hee, Klibreck and many others before arriving at the summit only one and half hours after
leaving the roadside.
The cairn builders had also provided a tidy stone shelter to take lunch in.
The walk out to Inch Lodge in the south was longer and less dramatic but gave a very pleasant wander through the glen and between many lochans on a path that improved by the mile the nearer we got to Inchnadanph. Ruth heard and pointed out a Greenshank by one of the lochans. We passed another well built shelter on the way out and soon enough heard the call of the cuckoo as we approached the trees around the settlement. An excellent if short day finished with tea and home made cake taken while enjoying the late afternoon sun in the garden.
Day 1 - Party 2.
Meanwhile Chris and Iain were bagging munros a little to the south, Cona Mheall and Beinn Dearg, (shown below) where we had similar glorious conditions and stunning views.
We encountered quite a few snow patches at higher elevations which required some concentration at times!
Day 2 - Saturday 9th May
We debated options well into the evening before breaking into the following groups: Ali & Moira, Seana Bhraigh; Iain, Ruth and Robert, Conival & Ben More Assynt, Jane, Glas Bheinn; Chris, Graham and Sandy, Quinag.
The three of us set off from the normal start point on the A894 and headed up the newish track maintained by the JMT. The track forces you away from sensitive, wetland bog to reach the foot of Spidean Coinich via the hard rock. The climb up to this first summit is on sound rock and at a very comfortable gradient that allowed us to have a conversation while still gaining height steadily. The cloud was still hiding the tops at this point but by the time we reached the summit the sky was clear and blue although the air remained cold. While on the summit Graham alerted us to the warning call of the Ring Ouzel, the first of five pairs that we were to encounter during the day.
We continued north to the summit of Sail Ghorm where we took shelter from the cold west wind to look across to the peaks to the north and east before returning to the Bealach and turning eastwards to scale the highest peak in the group, Sail Gharbh. The summit itself affords great views of Glas Bheinn and I also walked to the end of the ridge to look directly down on the elegant Kylescu bridge.
The descent into the corrie was on steep grass slopes but as it was dry took us quickly down to the lochan and the path leading back to the roadside.
Meanwhile Ali and Moira were cycling up Seana Braigh (below).
Day 3 - Sunday 9th May
Sunday was a very different day with mist, low cloud and rain. Ruth, Jane and myself opted for a short walk up Cul Beag. With waterproofs on from the start we headed off into the wind and rain from Linnereaineach. We followed the track round to the lochan, found the marker for the ascent and headed upwards. The weather broke slightly just beneath the summit and so we took a short break before claiming our top and quickly turned around to descend. On the way down the rain stopped and the cloud lifted to reveal Cul Mor, a shapely hill. We returned to the car in much better spirits and pleased that we had made the effort to put our boots on.