Osbert Sitwell did a fine job drying my boots overnight. I must remember to thank him when I next see him.
We woke to blizzardy showers thrashing against the bothy walls, but decided that our route over to the Lairig Leacach would be okay as it was mostly with the wind. I’ll let the pictures tell the story – but what you won’t see is the blizzard we were caught up in – but it was all good fun.
[CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE]
You really should click on some of these pictures as they are pretty good – a combination of all three of Andy’s Phil’s & my attempts at capturing the day.
[PHIL’S PIC OF BEN NEVIS FROM MEANACH BOTHY – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[PHIL & THE MAMORES – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[PHIL'S PICTURE OF THE MAMORES – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[ANDY'S PICTURE OF PHIL & ME & INCOMING BLIZZARD – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[ANDY ENROUTE TO LAIRIG LEACACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[ANDY - CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[PHIL'S PICTURE OF ANDY – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[PHIL'S PIC OF ANDY & ME & LAIRIG LEACACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
We called into Lairig Leacach Bothy for an early spot of lunch, snaffled some army soft drinks that had been left and left some Mountain House meals in their place – they didn’t seem to be popular this year. Then it was straight up the side of Sgurr Innse and over the bealach on the right and down into the glorious Coire na Cabaig.
[ANDY'S PIC OF SGURR INNSE – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
Coire na Cabaig is an absolute gem as you will see from the pictures below. A gushy set of streams and falls with fabulous views all the way down to Creag Meagaidh and back up the way we had come. Utterly fabulous.
[ANDY & COIRE NA CABAIG – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[COIRE NA CABAIG – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[THE BOYS, LOOKING BACK TO SGURR INNSE – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
[LOOKING BACK TO SGURR INNSE – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
Then we joined the line of the old tramway. In the summer, I am sure this would be an absolute delight, however, we caught it after a very wet winter and it was a waterlogged nightmare of squishy track, often completely flooded. We made heavy weather of it and to add insult to injury, you are accompanied by a barbed wire fence along its entire length. The views from it were lovely though.
Then we dropped off down to Fersit.
Now here’s a place! The path takes you past a row of homes that are barely huts – it definitely doesn’t feel like a right of way – but it is marked on the map. Even the people living there didn’t seem to know that there was a track to Tulloch. In fact, after passing the huts and what felt like someone’s drive, you come to an eight foot locked metal gate that you have to clamber over in the middle of a horrendous bog. The only thing missing was a sign saying “Beware of the leopard!”
However, once past the gate, the track is quite pleasant for a short while, whilst you shadow the route of the railway.
[ANDY'S PIC OF PATH TO TULLOCH]
Then it all went horribly wrong as we lost the line of the path in the forest plantation and had to extract ourselves by forcing our way through dense conifers down a steepish hill and then clamber through one of the most unpleasant foul-some tussocky bogs I have ever clapped eyes upon. To cap it all we then had a couple of deer fences to climb.
I arrived at the railway bridge over the river in a very poor state indeed – absolutely knackered, scratched and bleeding from the conifers and on my last legs. I almost fell into the bunkhouse.
The Tulloch Bunkhouse is very friendly, the food is very good, but it is a bit run-down. But it was a very welcome home for the night and we spent a good evening sorting ourselves out with another party of Challengers from Glasgow.