The long journey across the Coran ferry and the prolonged spell of unusually warm Scottish weather encouraged all 10 members of the group, Ali, Ruth, Steve, Linda, Paddy, Gillie, Alan, Chris, Graham R and Sandy to head west early. The summits of six Corbetts were walked over, some more than once.
Sandy was the first to arrive on the peninsula with enough time to walk a circuit of Coire a Chearcaill from the east. It was another glorious, blue sky day and the walk up the glen was followed by a stiff climb up steep grassy slopes to the wide ridge on the north side. The ridge narrowed on approaching the summit (Stob Coire a' Chearcaill) and afforded great views back to the Ben with its fresh sprinkling of mid-summer snow, north up Glen Suileag and across the rest of Ardgour. The return along the south side of the corrie was more undulating and completed a good circuit.
Everyone was on an Ardgour hill on the Friday. Many met co-incidentally on the ferry.......
.....and a team of eight (all save Ali and Sandy) went off together to climb the craggy and perhaps the finest Ardgour hill, Garbh Bheinn. The group took the traditional route up the glen before climbing to the coll to access the summit and descended by the south east ridge. Ali (and Dylan) climbed Stob Coire a' Chearcaill again from the east while Sandy tackled Beinn na h-Uamha from Glen Gour. Friday started bright, was misty on the tops over lunch and then cleared again to give a fine if humid afternoon.
The route to Beinn na h-Uamha involved a fairly long walk in up Glen Gour and a crossing of the Gour before a stiff and sweaty climb up the rocky slopes - all the rock can be avoided but would give a good scramble for those so minded. An adder was spotted on the track before it realised it was being watched and quickly slithered off. To continue round the corrie would have extended the route considerably so returning by much the same route was the obvious choice.
We all met up in the bunk house at Ariundle in the evening and made plans for the Saturday. Ali was driving to Corpach to climb Meall a' Phubuill, Linda and Paddy were to climb Stob Coire a' Chearcaill with the others making an attempt on Carn na Nathrach and Sgurr Dhomhnuill. This later combination being Ruth's grand plan for the weekend.
An early start for Ruth's group of five with us on the road at 8am for the short drive to Kinlochan. From here we walked up Glen Hurich to a point where a cairn marker (missed by Sandy & Steve) pointed us up through the forest to the ridge. We had thought this short stretch would be unpleasant but a reasonable track took us clear of the trees and onto a very nice, undulating ridge that eventually led to the top of Carn na Nathrach. We say eventually as while this was the best part of the day more than one of the party remarked that the summit cairn seemed to be moving backwards!
As we approached the top we could clearly see our next target and the craggy hill of Druim Garbh that stood between us and it. After resting in the sun at the top we descended very steeply losing almost 400m in height before contouring around Druim Garbh to reach the coll at 640m. The mist was closing in as we climbed up to Sgurr Dhumhuill where we saw nothing. A bit of careful navigation from Chris and Ruth led us round the dog leg ridge to the lead mines where we came to the path leading straight to the hostel door.
Gillie and Alan had decided to attempt Nathrach by another route but rough ground slowed them and they returned after topping out on Druim Garbh at 803m.
Ali had a long drive round to Fasfern on Loch Eil and enjoyed her day on the grassy slopes on Meall a' Phuibuill while Linda and Paddy climbed Stob Coire a' Chearcaill from the north. Paddy had found a very good track that wound all the way to the ridge and gave easy walking to the summit.
Saturday evening was spent enjoying dinner in the bistro next to the bunk house. The menu was limited but adequate and despite our initial reservations about staffing and kitchen size, a good evening was enjoyed with the stories of the day.
(Editors Note: Spot the Teddy.....ask Graham sometime!)
A number of us had to be back in Deeside early so there was limited hill walking done. Gillie, Alan and Ali had family and dogs to attend to while Linda and Paddy went to do some bird and botany spotting in Speyside. Ruth, Steve, Chris and Graham had a full day walking by climbing Beinn na h-Uamha with Graham identifying many bird species and Sandy had a short day on Beinn a' Chrulaiste in Glencoe. Chrulaiste itself is not much to write about but on a very warm and clear day the views all round - Grey Corries, Mamores, Blackwater, Rannoch and Loch Ba, Creise, the Buachaille and Glencoe - were wonderful.