Glen Strathfarrar by bike up a special Glen from near Beauly a magical afternoon.

Yesterday I had a great day the weather was stunning and my mate Kenny Kennworthy now a who lives near Beauly took me for a run on the bikes to Strathfarrar. It is a locked Glen that allows access to cyclists and walkers from the gate. I love these Glens and they are the true wildness of Scotland and a walk through and over these Glens and there Munro’s is superb. In my days in the RAF Mountain Rescueteam we had access up the Glen and even used to camp here. The Munro’s are superb and are on both sides of the road that is a hydro road and the estate has been spending some cash with the old lodge now refurbished and many of the bothies updated. It is a great glen and has some wonderful winter climbing where you will not see anyone and the wild life is incredible, stags and hinds especially in the winter abound. Yesterday we saw kites and so many other wild life, all with few cars mainly hydro vehicles there is lots of new projects going we followed the back roads and the river to Struy and then the locked gate up Strathfarrar. I have always loved this Glen and today there were several families cycling up the Glen wonderful to see all enjoying this wonderful place. It is an idyllic place with the fishermen on the river and with a head wind few flies or midges and every turn another hill comes into view.

Kenny is a beast on the bike but I got a few photos you cannot not stop and how much you see. I was picking out the hills as we moved along there are a few Corbetts and Grahams as well as the Munro’s all looking superb these hills are old pals. I have done the Munros on many occasions grabbing both sides of the Glen in a big 24 hour day with the team member’s.   The main Munro’s are wonderful hills and a great place to get the hills done. We camped here on two occasions my team not impressed by the midges or the lack of a pub until we went to Struy for beer after  great hill days and a few call – outs.

On the back road to Struy a supern low key road that follows the river, another special place.

The gateway to Strathfarra bikes and walkers are welcome and they allow a few cars up daily that has to be agreed before hand. The sign advises potholes but after the first few hundred yards the road is fine and a superb place to be. Its up hill all the way and you gain height but a great journey into the Glens of Scotland.

The views of old familiar hills just keep coming.

The road is fairly good up Glen Strathfarra and just need s care with the odd potholes, but what a special place to be.

The yellow man enjoying the views in the Glen what a stunning area to be in.

At Braulin Lodge near the head of the Glen Strathfarra a place I love and we used when it was run down as a Base Camp now refurbished and looking great.

My mate Kenny with a smile in Glen Strathfarra, superb trip up the glen.

Kenny and Elaine’s new puppy Coll what a wee star, looking forward to getting out with you on the hills when your a bit older.

Strathfarrar from my North to South Walk in 1976 – Day 8 Strath Connon

1976 May – RAF Kinloss MRT – North to South Traverse of the Highlands.

The aim – This was a mountaineering expedition from the most Northerly Mountain in Scotland Ben Hope to the most Southerly Ben Lomond. The route was planned to cover 270 miles. Climb 42 Munros and ascend a total of 70,000 feet. This was 1976 gear was simple as were the maps  and there were limited communications Mobile phones were a long way away

The Team was all from RAF Kinloss MRT  Heavy Whalley , Jim Morning , Paul Burns all were young SAC ‘s (a very low rank in the RAF)This trip was only allowed to go after great arguing with the powers that be by the RAF Kinloss Team Leader Pete Mac Gowan. by  and gaining authorization for expeditions in these days had an officer in charge. (Normally military expeditions were led by an officer or SNCO) The planning was done an orgy of maps joining and tracing other walks in the past and done in the dark winter nights or at weekends. Food was planned and food caches set up with the help of Keepers and Village Halls and friends of the team. The RAF Team would meet us at weekend training Exercises and re supply us, well that was the plan.

We had to have a day of at Scardroy Lodge where the keeper and his wife looked after ne while the others had a day off. I slept and ate feeling awful with a bug we had 7 hard days on the hill and I was struggling. I will never forget the kindness that I was given and by next morning I was up and away feeling awful but determine dto keep going. It was going to be a hard day for me as there was a long walk in to the mountains that we had planned to do they were the four Munros of the Strathfarrar Hills. Normally they are climbed from Glen Strathfarrar  where access is limited by a locked Hydro gate but this is another wonderful Glen  and to climb these mountains from Strath Connon would not be easy, especially feeling not 100%  the plan was to climb  Sgurr Fuar-thuill :   ‘peak of the cold hollow’ Sgurr a’Choire Ghlais :  ‘peak of the grey-green coire’ Carn nan Gobhar :   ‘hill of the goats’ Sgurr na Ruaidhe :   ‘peak of the redness’  We had big bags that we had restocked with  4 days food but I just took it easy and followed the stalking  paths for nearly three hours up and down this remote area meeting lots deer in the hills, what a wild area this is.  The usual wild river crossings were interesting but we were getting good at them by now, boots off and get in there.


I was very weak still I kept going and it was a long day and once on the ridge the wind came up. Paul and Jim waited on each summit and i just kept going, The wind was draining I had little reserves and this was the start of the Glens huge wild Munros and in the bitter wind so hard. I could see them in the distance it was head down and into my world of pain and suffering.  it is a great area but limited shelter and eventually we were on the last Munro. It was a bitter cold on the top and I could see the road below Paul and Jim headed down and I took it easy on the way down. I was running on empty when I got into the old bothy near the old Braulin Lodge and had an early night really exhausted after a huge day, I was shattered, food sleep and prepare for the Cannich Munros, then the Affric ones and to Kintail, I was struggling.- Big bags, Big days and Big learning.

1976 walk big bags big days Big learning

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 Articles, Cycle to Syracuse Training, Cycling, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain Biking, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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