Day 4 May 12
The night was spent in the bothy at Loch Coire Mhor below the great cliffs of Seanna Bhraigh a wild place. This was day 4 of a walk from the North of Scotland from Ben Hope to Ben Lomond in the South by three young member’s of the RAF Kinloss MRT. We were staying in bothies where possible and carried our gear and food with us using pre placed food caches every 3- 4 days. It was a trip into the wild with basic maps one inch to the mile and simple hill kit. It was May 1976.
It is a great way to start a day right in amongst the hills and the bothy at Loch Coire Mhoir is the place to be. Outside is the incredible ridge of An Sgurr onto the steep narrow Creag an Duine Ridge interesting way up onto the summit plateau of the huge Luchd Corrie and the summit of Seanna Bhraigh.
This is where the famous Corriemulizie Club mainly from St Andrews University who produced a guide to the area in 1966. I was to lead a trip for 5 days in 1981 to climb here an amazing trip but that was in the future. It is still an area rarely visited and I enjoyed the wildness of these huge cliffs. From here the weather changed and it snowed and it is a long way to the next Munro Eididh nan Clach Geala this is really remote and challenging area where navigation has to be on the ball. There are some secret cliffs in this area and many I have still not visited. I was so looking forward to seeing the remote Coire Ghranda and I was to snow- hole on the beleach years later after a wonderful climb in this remote Corrie.
The main cliff of Beinn Dearg and the normal approach up Gleann na Squaib most go for the classic Emerald Gully a real tick in the old days but in later years I was to have some wild days on Penguin Gully and other climbs of a modest standard nowadays. These were climbed by such great talents of Scottish Winter climbing like Tom Patey, Bill Murray and Norman Tennant some of the greatest climbers of the pre and post war eras . The hills are hard work and in the weather we had tricky there were few paths and by now the snow had covered them one we went to Meall nan Ceapraichean and out to Cona ‘ Mheall and then in white out up to Beinn Dearg our last Munro of the day. It was very tricky finding the top as there was still plenty of snow about and big cliffs to be aware off. From here it was a tricky descent still lots of snow very hard in places. It was very steep and into a very wet glen walk to Loch Droma bothy a very simple broken down hut by the A 835, where we managed to get a small fire going and our wet clothes off. We soon ate and were in our beds early everything was soaked and we were off to the big hills of the Fannichs tomorrow another huge day, with wet gear. I went up to the house to mention we had arrived but no joy, so we just got on with our night meeting no one again. We had spent a whole day of the hill helping making the track up to the house for the Very Senior retired RAF Officer the year before who owned the house. I remember it well and spoke my mind about it at the time but was only a young lad. It was a tricky day with long spells of hard navigation this was not a place to underestimate in bad weather and we were walking into a wind from the summit plateau only getting a break in snow covered peat hags, We saw few footprints until Beinn Dearg this is a lonely place to be and never easy in bad weather. It was a wild night in the bothy and the snow and rain fell most of the night, it was damp and wet and I could not wait for morning to come. The Deer were down at the wee bothy all night and on the road after the salt and shelter it was a night to be in!
Distance 16 miles and Height 6599 feet.
This was written on a winter trip to Beinn Dearg now the views I enjoyed are not the same?
POEM THE CORRIE OF THE 4 LOCHS April 2013
Familiar view, dry frozen moorland.
Swans on the Loch, little wildlife about.
Stop, the view the Fannichs – snow plastered.
Grind up the hill, frozen loch.
Peaceful, hard going in the snow.
Huge Cornices, ice ribbons, gullies
The big corrie – wild remote exciting.
Walk across the frozen loch
Take it all in – Wildness as it was.
Only nature is working here.
Time out – enjoy.
The journey back – hard going
Ruined crofts – what have they seen?
The Dam – landscaped changed by man?
All gone now?
Soon the road.
Are we losing it?