It was the first day we had been allowed to travel to the hills and I did not want to be with the crowds in the honeypot areas. My pal Babs had a Corbett near Fort Augustus to climb Carn a’ Chuillin to do so despite a poor forecast we met in Fort Augustus in separate cars. We parked at the Wind farm and headed up the big road that was built to support the wind farm.
The rain started as soon as we arrived! The mist was down and the Sky threatening grey and dark! Yet here we were out on the hill.
It was great to see that the Access had been sorted for this hill. There has been Great work done by Mountaineering Scotland and the Access Officer also Highland Council. The massive road to the wind farm was busy but there was no problems this time.
Most of the vans on the road going to the wind farm waved at us. They would be heading to the Wind farm that caused a lot controversy and debate over the years.
My companion “Babs” told of a previous attempt on this hill many years ago. There was so much snow and ice they stopped at the frozen Lochan and skated on it. Sadly they did not get the hill done so today was the day. Why did we pick this hill? We knew it would not be busy so we could “socially isolate”
We cut off the road after a pull up across to the hill track taking us into the hills. As normal it was still raining. I had full metal Gortex on and was so glad of it. From here the hill track was muddy as it’s now well used by cows and even so a lot better than 6 years ago on my last visit. There were so many wild flowers, orchids butterwort abound.
There are plenty of shooting butts about more than I remember the Estate will use the road access.As Hamish Brown says this used to be wild country and still is once you get away from the road. The mist came and went we stopped to check the map and have some food. You follow a burn up it has small waterfalls and gorges all the way up.
Babs has been on her bike all lock down and was going well. I was feeling ok the chest not bad but I would have to watch the dampness. At our stop Babs told me she gets her pension soon!
From the track we picked a line onto the ridge it was steep and slippy at times but I did enjoy being out the space the wind and the rain seem cleansing? There was a bull high up and he was bellowing to his girlfriends on the ridge ? Is that the way to get the girls?
We put on hats and gloves as we made our way round the outcrops and onto the main ridge. We both thought that seemed a long way in the mist.
On the summit we took a few photos but wandered along the main ridge to find some shelter. Last time here in 2014 I was in shorts and a pre 1950 pixie smock that the RAF Teams were issued with! It was by no means warm, still misty and we descended checking where we would drop off and get some shelter and a late lunch.
We found a spot I wished I had a hot flask with me. Then we descended the steep wet grass hard going at times heading back to the path. Good boots are needed here the ground is rough and very slippy.
Babs stopped for a call of nature (she drinks a lot) and I saw an Eagle above me. It made my day. There was a huge erratic boulder where we stopped again taking of my hat and gloves and picking our line to the path. It was a bit wetter and muddy and went on a bit but we were soon at The wind farm road and heading back to the cars.
It was pretty wet a change of clothes at the car then home in our separate cars.
It was great to get out have some company Babs is good fun and keeps an eye on my route. Always laughing she is good company and she got a new Corbett.
We saw no one on the the hill away from the road. It was great to see the Access sorted and a reminder how cold the hills can be just now!
I headed home listening to the football so good to be out again.
Getting home a hot both sort the wet kit out and clean the boots and gear.
I had some food and went out for a short walk I had been dry at home all day. There were breaching Wales in the sea no photos to far away but a great end to a day.
So glad I went out ! Now to re read Hamish Browns classic book about climbing the Corbett’s a must read.
A love of the Scottish hills doesn t depend on the height of any summit but on an indefinable quality which the 2500ft plus hills have in abundance, even more than the Munros perhaps. This book describes one well-known mountaineer s compact with the Corbetts, rich with anecdote, historical connections, and written with companiable enthusiasm. As with the Munros, the Corbetts will introduce the hillgoer to interesting new areas and islands such as the Galloway hills, Applecross, Ardgour and Morven, extensive wilds Beyond the Great Glen , Arran, Jura, Rum and the Outer Isles, and gems like Ben Tee, Fuar Tholl, Cul Mor and Cul Beg, Foinaven and Arkle, The Merrick and The Clisham. Hamish is the perfect host to introduce this alluring Scottish game of Climbing the Corbetts. As with Hamish s Mountain Walk and Hamish s Groats End Walk, Sandstone s superb production includes two sections of fabulous colour photographs.
“Stronlarig info – SSE has completed the construction and commissioning of the 66 turbine/228MW (megawatt) Stronelairg wind farm, near Fort Augustus. With a total investment of around £350m, Stronelairg is expected to be SSE’s final wind farm to be accredited under the Renewables Obligation.
The completion of Stronelairg takes SSE’s onshore wind farm capacity to 2,143MW, and its total renewable energy capacity (including pumped storage) to 3,955MW.”