Torridon Weekend

Fourteen of us was the final number who enjoyed great weather for our weekend at Torridon Youth Hostel 25-27th September. Ruth, Susan, Chris (Low) and Jane had left Banchory early on the Friday morning and had already bagged Beinn Dearg before the rest of us of arrived. There was a lot of mountain rescue activity in the vicinity of the hostel, triggered by a runner who had set out on Sunday but wasn't reported missing until the Wednesday, with the search starting on Thrsday. He was believed to be somewhere in the Beinn Alligin - Liathach area.

On the Saturday, the main group of six - two Chris s, two Roberts, Graeme and Moira headed for the mighty Liathach, while four intrepid ladies, Ruth, Susan, Linda and Jane committed themselves to the distant Corbetts - Beinn an Eoin and Baosbheinn. Iain, Eileen and their two blonde dogs went for Beinn Alligin and Neil opted to solo two Corbetts opposite Liathach, Sgurr Dubh and Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine. I checked out the evening meal arrangements at the Torridon Inn before setting out on a leisurely plod up Beinn Damh.

Quoting from the Walkhighlands website, "The Beinn Damh track starts through lovely Scots Pine woods with glimpses of waterfalls before breaking out onto the open moor. The track splits, with the shortest route to the summit leading south west, with fine views over Torridon, the length of Loch Damh and the islands. The first part of the route is on excellent stalkers path, becoming eroded on the steeper slopes to the ridge. From here the path is indistinct but easy to follow in clear conditions over grassy and then stony ground with quartzite rocks on the final ascent."

I had great views throughout, but especially from the summit looking over the panorama to the west including Maol Chean-dearg and Neil's Corbetts.

In poor visibility their topography can make route finding very challenging, but thankfully today all was clear. On the top I caught up with four walkers from Inverness who offered to let me join them for the steep descent down the west ridge (below),

...but I declined their offer, possibly influenced by the sight and sound of a search & rescue helicopter quartering around Liathach.

By my arrival back at the youth hostel the Liathach team were back and soon the others arrived, with the exception of the "four intrepid ladies", who weren't expected for quite some time. All had their tales to tell, but the main point was that all had had a great day.

And then we heard that the mountain rescue team had recovered a body well down the slopes of Liathach - seemingly the inevitable outcome of this particular search. Apparently the casualty was a some time volunteer with the Dundonnel Mountain Rescue team whose partner was abroad, hence the delay in reporting him missing.

Our inability to make internet contact with our "four ladies" proved a temporary frustration, reminding us how dependent we seem to have become on instant access, but a text message confirmed that they would be late for the meal, so the rest of us set off to the Torridon Inn where we found the staff very pleasant and accommodating. In due course all were well fed and watered - with "the ladies" reporting a tough but exhilarating day.

On the Sunday, Linda and I took a leisurely drive via Sheildaig to Applecross and back over the spectacular Bealach na Ba. I had thought to tackle Beinn Bhan from the high point of the road, but a stiff wind, weather deteriorating from the west and mainly lack of motivation resulted in us just enjoying the views from the car. Others made of sterner stuff took in Fionn Bheinn on the way home - an unusual event for this Munro to be visited in good visibility!

Paddy Grant

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