I had planned a day on Beinn Dearg and it was am early start but a few things happend and the day was cut short. Rather than waste a long journey I headed up the road across to the Fannichs. The hills were pretty snow-less and the lay by that are used by walkers were very quite for the end of January. The weather was great though and no wind at all with reflections in the lochs of the hills.
I parked up on the Destitution Road at the end of the Fannichs and past Braemore junction, the road was so quite but there were some great views of these imposing hills. The Destitution Road is the name given to the A832 that sweeps over the bare moorland it was during the famine relief scheme that built this road and many other famine walls on Beinn Dearg etc during this sad time.
They also built the Fain Bothy on the roadside that is now ruined and we used in my early days as a simple base camp for my time with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team. This road was and is a huge start to my many adventures and you cannot stop being impressed by the wonderful views and of course the jagged An Teallach that dominates all.
During the 1840s there was great poverty in the Highlands. The failure of the potato crop in 1846 meant starvation for the people. The Central Board for the Destitute Highlands was set up and paid for various improvement projects. The ‘destitution roads’, such as this lonely road across the moor, were built by labourers in return for food.
A day’s work involved eight hours of labour, six days a week. Oatmeal rations for the workers were set at 680g for men, 340g per woman and 230g per child
I left the car in the lay by and needed a short walk and followed the new path to Loch a’ Bhroain and up onto Meal an – t Sithe 601 metres an outlying top on the Corbett Creag Rainich well protected by the big moors that are usually wet so this would be hopefully a dry walk on the frozen ground.
It was an easy walk up onto the ridge where I passed from a distance 3 hinds on the ridge line, they never saw me and I sat and watched them form a distance. I wonder what they make of this strange weather with no snow and little wind. It was great to be out on my own, yet I enjoy company and stop when I wanted and take in these great hills. The Fannichs are spectacular and the views of the outliers and then onto the ridge where the ground steepens and the huge moors that open out are in view.
I love the view of An Teallach and this is a great view-point and it is so wild the road amazingly takes a line through the moor and apart from this is wild ground. No snow hardly on any of the peaks at all what a strange January.
I was amazed how this wee hill steepens up and the last bit was enjoyable the ground frozen and as I was following the ridge line for the views that were just incredible. It was all over to soon and I stopped at the summit there was a little wind and I went to the lee side to get out of it and have some lunch. It was so peaceful. No one about and just these great views and hills.
I was enjoying the break taking in every hill so many memories when the silence was broken by a dog above me barking and I will be honest I jumped up. This was my meeting with Dearg and Rachel who had come from the Corbett Creag Rannich over all the tops moving fast and they were not expecting to meet this old guy and have their day ruined.
We had a great chat and as happens knew many of each others pals it was lovely meeting Rachel and Dearg and they were moving well enjoying this wild place. We walked of together with Dearg showing us the way off and enjoying the little bits of snow. We were soon down on the path again and back at the car. I miss my dog Teallach he loved these hills.