DHC Kinlochleven Weekend: 24-27thOctober 2019
Eight club-members participated: Gillie, Alan, Sandy, Robert, Chris, Graham Tim and Iain.
Tim kindly drove Gillie, Chris and Iain to Tulloch on Thursday afternoon, where the Hostel provided a hearty supper, complementing Tim’s excellent home-brew.
Friday morning, refreshed and well-rested, the team caught the 8.15am train up to Corrour, to be greeted by bright sunshine and fresh snow on the platform.
However, as the day progressed, the entropy of the group increased. First to go was Iain, who solo-ed a low-level route north, around the southern end of Loch Trieg, west to Loch Eilde Mor, with a quick sprint up and down Sgurr Eilde Mor, taking in blizzard conditions, but only for half an hour.
Iain's view of the south end of Loch Treig
Gillie, Chris and Tim headed straight up Corbett Leum Uilleim.
Tim returned to Corrour and caught the train back to Tulloch. Chris and Gillie headed west with Gillie taking the low-level route to Kinlochleven via the Blackwater reservoir. Chris opted to bag Glas Bheinn and head for Kinlochleven via Loch Eilde Mor, miraculously rendezvous-ing with Iain at the west end of the Loch.
Graham and Sandy climbed a very wet Beinn Trilleachan from the head of Glen Etive. The slabs gave really interesting rock formations and they witnessed a sole and then a pair, of ptarmigan. Weather stayed dry all day, which afforded great views across to Ben Starav and northwards from the Ballahullish horseshoe, to the Glencoe mountains.
The rest of the group joined at the excellent Blackwater hostel (cosy, ensuite rooms) Friday evening. Thanks, Alan for delivering the overnight bags! A hearty meal was taken at Chillers Bar (part of the famous Ice Factor).
Saturday dawned cool and sunny in the valley, with wind and snow forecast for the summits.
Munro-baggers, Iain and Robert headed straight up Na Gruagaichean and along the ridge to summit Binnein Mor before noon, accompanied by stunning views of Lochleven, Ben Nevis and Glencoe.
All pretty straightforward so-far. However, Binnein Beag (at 943m the smallest Munro of the day) proved to be the most-challenging. First came an icy/windy descent of the north ridge of Binnein Mor, then a long boggy slog to the bottom of Beag and a short (steep and icy) ascent to the summit. No-sooner were we off the summit than the weather arrived for our four-hour trek back to Kinlochleven.
Graham says he went “bird-checking” on his way home on Saturday……..
Chris solo-ed Corbett Mam nan Gualainn....
....while Sandy solo-ed Meall Lighiche from Glencoe and tagged on the two nearby Grahams of Sgorr a Choise and Meall Mor. Much drier underfoot but also much steeper ground.
Gillie and Alan took-in the history and culture of Kinlochleven (including the remains of its historical aluminium infrastructure).
The Tailrace Inn provided excellent sustenance Saturday evening.
Sunday saw Chris and Sandy on Garbh Bheinn behind the Aonach Eagach. Heavy overnight rain ceased to give a fine clear day. Windier than the previous two days and more snow on the ground but great visibility. The intrepid pair climbed from the west which gave a very steep ascent and the scaling of two 6ft deer fences (in retrospect, the route in the Corbetts book would probably have been better).
Looking west towards Blackwater reservoir
Once on the ridge they had a fine walk up to the summit and a great view of the AE. Found a better route down avoiding the steepest ground and the fences.
All-in-all, a fun weekend in a nice hostel - with beautiful scenery and great company!