Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Wednesday 23rd July, 2008

Couldn't think of an interesting name for this blog entry!  Not that Gairich is a boring hill - not at all.  It stands majestically above the south shore of Loch Quoich, and you need to walk across a dam to get to it;  it is a fine small mountain ... I just couldn't think up an interesting title, that's all!

Gairich from the north, across Loch Quoich (left)

Still based at Glen Nevis.  Tuesday 22nd was a dull cloudy day after overnight rain, but Wednesday 23rd looked a bit brighter.  As we ate breakfast outside the tent, the cloud was steadily lifting off Ben Nevis, so we decided to head for Gairich.  Enjoyed the drive up Loch Garry, past Tomdoun and Kingie, to arrive at the Quoich Dam at 11.30am.  There were still clouds lingering about the summits at around 900m, but it looked like it would clear as the day went on, so we set off hopefully across the dam.

The path led south just above the shore, rather boggy in places, but gradually rising to higher drier ground, before dropping to the bealach at the end of Gairich's long east ridge, Druim na Geid Salaich. A zig-zag track led up to a broad stony ridge, along which we tramped for an hour or so, rising steadily towards the foot of Gairich's summit cone (right).  

A good path led the way, with one very suprising point, where the path appeared yo be coming to an abrupt end;  with a couple of paces to go, it suddenly became clear that the path turned sharp right across the hillside!  Zig-zags continued ever upwards, with one rocky step easily ascended.  

Anne coming up the steep section just below the summit, 
with Loch Quoich below:

Towards the summit, the drops to the north opened up, and 3.5 hours after leaving the car, we were standing on top of Munro 220.  The cloud had cleared, and views were good.

After a 45 minute rest on top, we headed back down by the same route, then back to Glen Nevis to celebrate our 28th Wedding Anniversary!

(posted 23/05/10)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Completing the Ring!

Back in October 2006, Frank and I had to curtail our "ring of Steall" due to a dodgy knee and a TV schedule!  July 2008 - Anne and I camped at the superb Glen Nevis camp site - and had a beautiful day to "compete the ring".  No, not the whole thing this time - just the bit I had missed earlier!

Under a bright sky blue, we set off nice and early from our aged and fading tent.  As usual, on arrival at the campsite, we had played our regular game of "let's see if we can find a tent that looks older than ours" - and couldn't see one!

A quick drive, and we were parked at the lower falls (Achriabhach) at 8.30am, ready to head up the hill. We quickly gained height up the excellent zig-zag path, with ever improving views across to Ben Nevis (right).  

Soon we were on the final 750m of steep quartzite screes, leading to the summit ridge.  

After 3hrs 20 mins of ascent, we were esconced on the summit of my 219th Munro (right).

Looking around the horizon, we could see Skye, Mull, Jura, Ben Nevis, Schihallion, Ben Lawers, Ben Lui and Beinn Cruachan (to name but a few of the more distinctive hills).

With the hard work of the day over, now it was time for some fun - a traverse of the so-called "Devil's ridge" (left).  

In fact, it was less fearsome than we had been led to believe.  Mind you, M&R has watched a dead climber being airlifted off after a short fall there the previous year, so perhaps that coloured their judgment!

Here's Anne on the one slightly tricky bit ...  descending to a short notch, then up a sloping slab at the other side.

Beyond the tricky point, the path follows a narrow grassy crest for a few hundred metres.

We continued along the ridge, over Stob Choire a' Mhail, with fine views across to Stob Ban's dramatic east face (below).

Finally, we descended by grassy slopes to the lochan below Sgurr an Iubhair, where we paused a while to watch a golden eagle as it soared above the ridge and across the glen.

After a while marvelling an its effortless loops, we headed off down the path to the car park - just beating the rain which arrived from the west at 3.30pm!