What a day two Corbett’s in Ardgour – Fuar Bheinn and Cruach Bheinn and a visit to the Voodoo Crash site on Meal Odhar.
Hamish Brown describes Ardgour as “There is a feel of an Island to Ardgour it is nearly surrounded by water and reached as like or not by ferry.” His book “Climbing the Corbetts” holds a wealth of knowledge and is one of my best loved books. I re read it again and again.
It was a magical long day for me away early from the bunkhouse at Strontian these These Ardgour Corbett’s are hard work . Its even an interesting drive to the hills the road is just above the sea in places with cliffs above. I had once tried to do all the Ardgour Corbett’s over the weekend as training for Tranter’s round it was epic to me these were the harder day. Memory fades The first hill Fuar Bheinn is over some hard ground no path such great hills but to get there you start more or less from sea level. Lucky the ferns are not high yet. but it was a big pull up onto the ridge and then it’s good walking.
I had parked the van at Kingairloch and headed up. There was a cuckoo as my early morning call and lots of flowers the bluebells still hanging on it was beautiful but the ground was so dry I was glad I had lots of fluid with me.
“I like to get away early before the sun is out it’s a lot cooler”
From here the first top of the day it was a big drop down to the beleach and I lost most of my height then a plod up the first Corbett of the day Fuar Bheinn. It’s not high 766 metres but a great view point.
All day the views were outstanding and with a breeze great walking . There is no rush “the Retirement watch has no hands”.
How I had missed this after various illness it was a day to savour. I drunk a little and often then continued along to the bigger Corbett Creach Bhein at 853 metres it is a magical hill. It has big cliffs and gully’s. It was living up to its name mountain of spoil. There was an Eagle soaring above as I wandered to the summit soaring in the thermals,what a place to be.
There is the remains of a Colby camp here just off the summit this must have been a huge undertaking when Scotland was being mapped. They made this their camp it’s big ! I cannot imagine the effort to move all these stones.
Colby Camp – The monument comprises the remains of a campsite, constructed by soldiers of the Ordnance Survey early in the 19th century as part of the first triangulation of Scotland. It is situated near the summit of Creach Bheinn at around 850m OD in open rocky grassland.
The camp is located in a shallow saddle about NNE of the triangulation station, the two joined by a well-laid footpath. The main structure of the monument is a large windbreak wall about 2.5m high protecting the W side of the camp. A small dry-stone structure around 3.5m square lies on the N side of the camp and represents the only formerly roofed building at the site. This served the joint functions of guard and cook-house. The remainder of the structures at the site consist of a further dry-stone wall on the E side, now ruinous, and four low stone circles representing the footings for tents. Three of the ‘tent circles’ lie close to the S of the stone building, while a further circle lies closer to the triangulation station. The last may have been the officer’s accommodation. Also included in the scheduling are the substantial remains of a circular stone-built platform on which the survey instruments were mounted. This lies to the SSE of the camp and is now surmounted by a concrete pillar of standard mid-twentieth century type.
Such camps are often known as Colby Camps, named after the officer commanding the Ordnance Survey at the time. The nature of the instruments of the period, the need for very precise measurements and the exigencies of Scottish mountain weather frequently necessitated lengthy stays at high altitude (in one extreme case, three months) to complete the measurements required. This survey programme laid the backbone of the mapping system that served Britain until recent advances in satellite and electronic distance measurement.
The area to be scheduled has a figure of eight plan, formed by the junction of two circles, one 100m in diameter and the second 70m in diameter. Within the larger, northern part are the stone building, windbreak walls and three of the stone tent circles.
Within the southern part of the area are the triangulation station and the fourth stone tent circle. Both areas include all of the features described plus the original footpath and an area around them in which evidence relating to their construction and occupation is likely to survive.
It’s impressive as were the two goats on the ridge connecting to Moal Odhar. This ridge is cracking and I was going not bad I was wearing my running shoes they were ideal for the dry ground.
This is an incredible place with the massive Corrie’s and these huge hills.
Heading up to my last hill I saw some wreckage from the USA Voodoo aircraft that crashed in May 1964. It took ages to find the aircraft unfortunately the pilot was killed. Most of the main wreckage is on the wild Corrie most of it is still there. I did not have time today but this is a hill I will come back to.
The search was hampered due to the weather and the secrecy of the aircraft this was the height of the Cold War. There are a few tales from this call out.
The Mountain Rescue Teams were out for over a week in awful weather. I will do a full account in my blog again soon.
There is a lot of wreckage about near the summit most is now in the far Corrie some still hangs on the cliffs. It’s a Somber place .
I headed of to finish the horseshoe back to the road and met a group heading up in the sun. The walk off is a great series of small hills with views to the sea.
I was tired but so happy that I was feeling okay. It was a long day 10 hours I spent lots of time looking about and then a walk back to the car in baking heat.
There was no rush nowadays and I should have fallen asleep on the hill. I was on my own a day it was a day to sit and enjoy this special day. I have not enjoyed a day like this for a while.
Back to the bunkhouse and a treat in the restaurant to a three course meal and lots of fluid. I needed that and an early night my feet are sore I need some new running shoes for the hill. Any thoughts?
Midges are out in force now at the bothy but I am tired but very pleased.
Thanks to Kalie and Terry for being my safety persons I love being the hills on my own. I get time to think .
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week thinking of all those out there.
Great day – what will tomorrow bring.