Beinn Damh – Torridon
The seagulls were up again at 0400 so need for an alarm clock, it was so misty as I left to pick up a friend in Forres Bernie Foran. The trouble with hot weather is the mist/” haar” you get on the East Coast early in the morning but it was cool and very poor viability all the way to the “Height of Kinlochewe” Then the mist cleared and Slioch emerged from the mist with the views of the quartzite screes of Beinn Eighe and the Loch Maree emerging. The sun was out and the West Coast was stunning, we drove by Liathach and the magic nearby Corbetts, Sgurr nan LochanUaine and Sgurr Dubh past the ling Hut and nestled among 100 hills (glacial moraine) It was just so special after driving the mad motorways of the M5/M6 windows open and the clean air blasting through. We parked at The Torridon Inn just passing Loch Torridon the water was shimmering and so clear. It was very early 0730 but we had passed many cars parked in the layby’s of these great hills trying to steal a day under a very hot forecast. I had done this hill at least twice before once with the three Munros and Fuar Tholl in one long day and the other in 1973 as a young man. I had never savoured it, this would be the day.
Follow the sign
It is not easy to find the start of the path but from the Hotel past the accommodation flats then you pick up a sign and then the path winds it way through the shade of the trees and across the main road. Then more trees and a great path take you through rhododendron bushes and Caledonian pine trees its magical. Below the river crashes down ( this is where I went Gorge scrambling in the past with the Torridon Team) What an adventure that was, I was told by one of the instructors that I did well for an old guy! I asked him have you climbed the Chasm in Glencoe that is gorge scrambling! You leave the trees and follow the right fork into the Corrie of Toll Ban a huge wild Corrie. It was here that I was attacked by clegs my legs soon bitten and running with blood! It was so hot about 25 degrees and not 0900 yet. Constant drinks and a breaks helped but no wind made it hard going for both of us but at least we soon made the ridge after a steep rise in the path gaining height all the time. The views were breathtaking across Loch Torridon.
Great views on the breaks on the way up.
On the ridge we got a breeze and kept to edge with outstanding view in a panorama of wonder. The Corbett Beinn Bhan another neglected gem with its trilogy of Corries was looking great. Many years ago the glacier had trundled down to sea and the huge sandstone slabs were left today they were gleaming in the sun, we looked in wonder at nature. We stopped and drank in the views and drank our water it was still so hot. The ridge is fairly long to the summit with several tops.
I was amazed at the erosion on this hill after all these years it must be a busy one but no wonder with the views. The ridge is covered with quartzite boulders that radiated the heat it was over 30 degrees here, there was no wind and we struggled. Near the summit we were back on the ridge and the slight breeze and more views of the Achnasheallach hills of Maol Chean Dearg and it neighboring Munros. The stalkers paths in the area are the best in the world and a low-level trail along them gives another view of this wild area.
Dressed for a hot day – big hat light clothing be aware of clegs and midges.
We wandered along the summit ridge saw two hinds on this peak of the Stags most I imagine would resting in a mud wallow or river far below. We had a long stop took lots of photos and drank a lot more water. There was no water at all on the hill apart from the way up, it was very dry. The views went on and on, I had time to look at other ways off and we took a different line the North East ridge a scramble down Bernie was excited by this.
The way home
It was steep and interesting I think Bernie enjoyed it or maybe not?
Water and watermelon great
We ended eventually we were down in the Glen , no shade and getting short of water.It then became according to Bernie a ” March or die in the heat” I was in a great place the body was aching old aches and pains and the hernia was sore but I was so happy. The views on the way home were truly amazing and eventually we reached the shelter of the trees and shade. We met a group of 5 young family with a little bottle of water each the only people we met all day, they would struggle in the heat.
Shade at the end of the day
The final descent out of the sun was great the trees made life so good and we were soon at the Hotel. We met Ryan the local celebrity and his bonny lassie Adelle and of course Hamish the dog had a drink.
Ryan uses our hill Beinn Damh as training run up and down in under 3 hours from his house on the other side of Loch Torridon.
What can I say!
I drove home the hills were all in view, what a place to be Scotland I love you ! Even though the getting out the car at the end was not easy and I drank 4 pts of water on the way home!
Off to golf now!