Fort William Mountain Festival – Last chance. Reaburns Gully Meagaidh





fort william mtn fest


Today is the last day of the Fort William Mountain Festival – it will be a great night have and look and you will not be disappointed.  It is the Best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival have a  look on the web site and look and if in the area pop in.

I left early from Onich and was away at 0600 it was dull and a smattering of snow as I drove back home via Creag Maegaidh at Laggan. The car park was busy and lots of climbers were already on the routes as I arrived in the corries with no camera disk it was still in my laptop. Note for brain carry a spare in my bag! Every route was busy so I decided to have climb up Reaburns Gully with great views of Smiths Route. The snow was rock hard and a great way up. I had first climbed Reaburns with John Hinde, Tom MacDonald and Barry Hartshorne in 1973 and wondered if I would ever climb these great ice routes. Tom and John went on and did the 3 Munros after the route.  Luckily with a tight rope and great friends I have managed most of the classic all great serious climbs Smiths was one of them, scant belays and a fear of falling made me some partner.  Today this was enough, the body hurt and the snow perfect but one had to concentrate and take a big rest half the way up, no camera and phone camera in the car. Anyway it was a great way up and so glad to pull over the top. Collapse in the sun and drink it all in. This is a wild place in a bad day which is very serious to navigate and has many an epic. My dog Teallach went 1000 feet over a cornice here many years ago and lived to tell the tale. Also one of the troops survived a huge fall over a cornice many years later which gave us all a fright. I have never been so glad to see him walk off the hill as we started off to search for him fearing the worse. Today it was easy the sun was out, it was crystal clear  on the walk back down the car. I followed 2 guys down one very young said as he passed me “what did you do ”  Reaburns I said  -” “we walked down that to our second route of the day!” he said with youthful  confidence” I just laughed and said you only did two routes on a day like this! Off he went muttering.  It was a fun but scary day out for me, maybe my days are limited on the mountains but what a kick you get out of whatever you do in such a place.


I got home and body in pieces as I creaked out of the car. I unpacked the kit and after a bath was asleep before the football results came on.  I need some time off now!

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Mountaineering, Munros, Scottish winter climbing., Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

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