9th to 11th August 2019 - Kinlochewe bunkhouse, Kinlochewe
August in Torridon, mixed bag of weather, still great hills!
Three of us (Martha, Emma and I) arrived at Kinlochewe on Thursday night expecting to have the bunkhouse to ourselves, we should have known with the NC500, the Cape Wrath Trail and some amazing hills on the doorstep that this would be a popular spot…the bunkhouse was nearly full. Time for a quick beer before finding an empty bed on the three story bunks, which proved to be pretty comfortable and…more importantly…squeak free!
Friday: An early wake with some of our fellow bunkers heading out at 5am, we had a groggy breakfast before heading out to a very windy Maol Chean Dearg. Great views of the impressive lump of rock that is Corbett, Ruadh Stac. On another day it would have invited us up, but the mix of 70mph winds and rocky scramble wasn’t so tempting. The wind eased a little as we climbed higher above the col and after a quick stop at the summit we headed back down and off to the bunkhouse to dry off and eat a lovely pot of steaming stew, thanks to Martha. Then played cards with Gillian and Alexander whilst the other EMC members arrived in dribs and drabs on Friday evening. Nigel filled us in on his day’s exploits on a couple of Marilyn’s – Bideain Clann Raonaild and Meall an Fheadain.
Saturday: On Saturday morning everyone was unusually chipper despite the moody skies, after a little discussion we discovered it wasn’t due to something funky in the water, it was the total absence of the usual window rattling ‘loud sleeping’ in the bunkhouse over night!
Saturday hills included a big day for Alexander on a traverse-ish of the Beinn Eigh ridge and then back to the bunkhouse. Nigel was out on Ben Shieldaig and An Staonach, he had generally dry weather but no views due to the low cloud. Kate and Gillian were on a Graham - Beinn a Mhuinidh, followed by a good spell in one of the local tea rooms. On Saturday morning Neil and Claire half walked half trotted up Beinn Liath Mor and Sgurr Ruadh and were mostly in the wispy cloud and peering into deep gullies. They unlocked the car on approach to dive in and avoid the midge! Then drove up the road and had car sandwich before the painful dull boggy dampness of Moruisk and Sgurr nan Ceannichean, my 2nd time in as many months! Both were unimpressed!
Martha, Emma and I headed over to Beinn Alligin, were greeted at the car park by a swarm of hungry and particularly sharp toothed midges, which followed us up the whole windless and steamy accent and were still biting at the summit. A very quick look at almost a view from the top of the first Munro and then onto the second, still no view but a lovely ridge walk all the same. Then down through the clouds towards the Horns of Alligin, we didn’t really know what to expect so was surprised to see the first one looming out of the cloud. They proved to be good fun, despite the wind and rain picking up and we were soon on our way down the hill following a steep but well worn track.
Saturday evening saw half of us eating at the hotel and half in the bunkhouse, but we all came back together to partake in Nigel’s fabulous Sticky Toffee Pudding! There wasn’t even a crumb of pudding, or smear of sauce left after Claire, Neil and Martha had done their bit for the pre-washing-up effort! Yum, thanks Nigel!
Sunday: was a little better weather wise but the general consensus was to delay leaving the bunkhouse and then do hills later on. Emma, Martha and I headed up a very boggy and rainy Fionn Bheinn, the clouds cleared after the summit and we got some good views and even managed to avoid the bogs to cut down to a hydro access track that threw us back onto the A832 a mile or so east of Achnasheen. Kate and Gillian got fed up of waiting for the rain to finish so went for a coastal walk before heading to the Torridon Hostel in preparation for their boating adventure on Monday. It took Claire & Neil over 30 mins to get to Torridon, NC500 hotspot on the single track road! Brilliantly the torrential downpour finished just as they got out the car and Beinn Damph wasn't as damph as it would otherwise have been. Good views in between the wisps to Applecross and Alligin and found a midge free bit for lunch. No view from the summit so they'll have to return in good weather. Alexander was heading up Ruadh Stac Mor and Nigel to Meall an Doirein, with a quick shower becoming dry and clear for a good view from the summit.
Monday: Gillian and Kate enjoyed a great day on Monday with a boat approach across Loch Maree to Meall Mheinnidh (Graham) and Beinn Lair (Corbett). Great views into Fisherfield and back to Torridon from both summits.