A Busy Ben Wyvis
I made the best use of yesterdays great forecast and went to my local Munro Ben Wyvis. I had been driving all week and Dianne my pal offered to drive so we left a cold Burghead early for the hour and a drive to Ben Wyvis.
The morning was stunning and cold the temperature hitting – 3 at times. The roads were quiet and the gritters were out but the light was superb as the sun came out. The Moray Firth was covered in mist due to the cold with the hills peaking through the mist. As were the fields on route and with the big sunrise it was a free nature show all the way.
We stopped at Tarvie Services for a tea and I had a Loren sausage ( square sausage)for the hill. Well worth a stop!
The wee car park was already busy with many out early to catch the sunrise. Ben Wyvis is a popular hill with many locals and treated as their Ben.
I also met two guys who had been at my lectures last week in Irvine and we had a blether. We followed them up the hill chatting when we stopped to catch our breath.
It was also a Moray Mountaineering Club Meet and a few were coming! I was still struggling with my cough so we set out early.
It was bitter cold as we went through the forestry and the frost was well set in. The hill at this time on a beautiful day was amazing the bracken is brown and the light with the sun spell binding. There was no wind on the first mile, the trees shelters you and the path is superb.
We had a shirt stop then the path opens up to the open hillside. The path is brilliant so much effort as this used to be very boggy. Now it is a sound path
onto the hill and the steep pull up An Gabor. (Blessed are the pathmakers)
From here it’s a steep pull and a wind came from no where it’s hard going and the wind was bitter and I found very hard going it was 30/ 40 knots in your face and slowed us down. Dianne was going well and despite the constant cough the views were magnificent. The Ridge is steep but the views when we stopped of 360 degrees is amazing. All the great Northern hills and more are in view. The light and sun made it so clear we spotted so many old pals mountains I love among the views. You cannot take it all in and makes the effort so worth it. The wee Cairn on the first top gave us shelter and I had some mint tea and food. From here the ridge is a wild open plateau easy walking in summer but in winter a long open walk with little protection or shelter from the wind.
Thankfully the wind had dropped and the hour to the summit over a false top was good walking. I met a few friends on the way and so many were on the hill now. I have rarely seen so many dogs on the hill. In winter this is a wild place with big Cornices making this mountain an interesting place that can catch you out.
It was good to see so many out but the wear on the paths and the summit plateau is there for everyone to see. This is a habitat of the Dortrell a stunning bird that lives high up. The summit has the lovely soft grass that covers the plateau is trouble with the increased numbers on the hill popularity has Its problems. They the experts are working on solutions and have tried various ways to stop the erosion and “mats” are all over the eroded areas to try to help the ground recover?
We never saw much in the way of wild life too many folk about and a lot of dogs. Great to see so many out and about enjoying this hill. On the way up we meet a few who had enjoyed the sunrise it’s getting popular early starts to see the views. Munro Moonwalker you have given so many a new interest in the peaks.
The summit plateau is wonderful with the views into these huge Corries and it’s hard to believe that in another month the snow will be down. It was an enjoyable walk and a good catch up with many of the club who were now on the summit ridge.
It was then some photos admire the views -An Teallach and the Fannichs looked incredible. Beinn Dearg looked superb and the Moray Firth still with some cloud inversion looked amazing.
It was then a wander back and I took the skulkers path that skirts the last top An Garbat. I stopped to take a few photos as the shadow of the Corrie and the ridge was calling out for a photo.
I was a bit behind after that looking down the steep Corrie that in winter has some huge avalanches. I soon caught up and was back on the ridge heading down when after 20 minutes I stopped to let the others catch up and I realised I had left my phone at the last stop.
So it was off up the hill I was sure I knew where it was about but I did not need that trip back up the hill. Anyway off I went and about on the last stretch I saw my friends Andy and Jane from the club they had my phone. I was so glad but what a plonker I am so it was a big thanks and head down again.
I had told Dianne to go down so I slowed down had a break needed it after that rush up the phone again. I stopped at the big boulder for a break and a drink it was a great place to stop and I could have fallen asleep!
It was then head down knees sore but the path making life not to hard on the knees. It was then back into and it was still icy no sun here.
The last mile always seems longer and the car park was still busy.
We decided to visit pals Anne and Mark a few miles away at Black Bridge for a tea and cake (Free)
Then back home to views of the Moon over Ben Wyvis a lovely day and despite the cough the phone problem it was so good to get out.
It was dark just after 1630 and cold be aware winter is here the forecast for this week is interesting !
So get that gear checked especially your torches and I am sure the snow will be here soon.