I had to go back to Glen Roy, the other day when dropping some old gear of at Mick Tighe’s for the Scottish Heritage Collection, I had forgotten how a lovely place this glen is. It was a lovely Sunday Bank Holiday morning when we left a leisurely start at 0730. It was a lovely day, sparkling it just called for a day on the hills and the weather was going to be superb. I had tried a lot of friends but all were busy? It is daft taking an empty car so I convinced Bernie an old friend that he would enjoy another day on the hills. When I picked him up he was all kited out and had some new kit he had purchased locally from “Mac McPherson’s a family business in Inverness” good to support the local shops. I think he now has the bug and I may have a convert and McPherson’s a new customer.
The hills were looking great the Cairngorms looked beautiful with the sun out and I drove on the old A9 to enjoy the slower pace and the trees. I met a friend in Newtonmore and had a chat he laughed when I said that I was off to climb some Corbett’s in Glen Roy. Then it was off down the Laggan Road and passed Creag Dubh just out of Newtonmore. Its great steep cliffs looked dry and how I would love a climb on this cliff again once the body is fixed. I say “enjoy” as it is a steep wild cliff but I have always had some fun here. We passed all the usual haunts and the Munro baggers were out every lay by full already with people out enjoying the weather. I am spoiled that I can usually miss the busy times on the hills and get out midweek away from the madding crowds. It took longer than I thought and the drive up the tight Glen Roy took another 40 minutes to the parking spot at the end of the road. There was no rush as we looked at the incredible and World famous “Parallel roads” that are the levels of ancient reservoirs which were dammed up by glaciers blocking of the mouths of the Glens and incredible sight.
Both hills are called Carn Dearg ( the red cairn) and from the Turret bridge it is suggested that you follow Glen Turret and into Gleann Eachach onto the Beleach which gives access to both hills. This is wild country with few paths and I decided to climb the steep heather slopes as the midges were out in the glen. It was very hard work but the smell of the heather was magic, the hernia really hurt as the ground was pretty rough for about 45 minutes. Shorts were great to wear but the heather was so deep the old legs got a bit battered. As we climbed the views opened out and the Parallel roads were looking incredible. We reached the ridge at Sron a Ghoill and through the peat hags to at last good walking on the ridge to the first summit Carn Dearg South at 768 metres. We had great views of all the big hills, they would be busy today. The Ben was looking great as were the grey corries and the panorama from these hills was wild. Creag Meagaidh a big complex hill looked simple from this view but the Glen Lochy hills in contrast looked impressive and the Western Peaks were there for all to see all the way to Skye and Knoydart . It was cold on the top and only a small cairn and after a spot of lunch we were off a big descent to the beleach.
The descent was steep and in bad weather these hills would be interesting and we managed to find a way through the peat hags and follow the burn up back onto the steep ground. You lose a lot of height and it was about 250 metres pull back up on to the second summit, the legs feeling it. We passed two small tops saw a lot of frogs and voles building for winter in the grass. We were soon back on steep ground and onto our second Corbett Carn Dearg North 815 metes. We had great views again but this time spoiled by a huge wind farm complex with not one working – how sad this is to me. The guide-book suggests that you drop down to the beleach again but we followed the ridge along past more peat hags to Teanga Mhor. We saw several stags and hinds on the ridge and envied their movement on this ground, then we went down very steep grass and runnels to Gleann Eachach. I would not advise this in winter as it is pretty steep and the runnels are small burns which would be interesting in bad weather. It would be better to head out and come down the easier ground to the West!
It was great to be back down to the road and the body was very sore, the final traverse down the steep ground trying to keep away from the peat hags and runnels hurt. Bernie coped very well and we had a good chat on the way and we enjoyed the last wander down the road back to the car. There was another of these “big houses on wheel”s parked beside us and a few midges about but no people. We had seen no one all day on a Bank Holiday what a joy. The Glen was quite and we drove home on a beautiful night, we passed many coming of the hills after a great day. We chatted all the way back and listened to the football on the radio but turned it off in the end. It was a great day but we both though it was so sad to see the ruined houses with just the odd chimney stack left in the Glen as there are all over Scotland. It must have been a hard life to live in such a place in the days of no electricity and hard living.
I wonder what they would make of Scotland today and the Referendum?