Memories from the Scotland walking trip - 2006
A crack team of 7 travelled up to Fort William on the Sunday with the
aim of conquering some of Scotland's finest peaks.
Alison, however, planned on floating in the hotel pool for a few days. Macca
and Ken, fresh from their Dales Way exploits and Jon Gilson were up for
taking on the 'big boys' for the first time.
For some the aim was to ascend Ben Nevis whilst for others the gloomy
recesses of Glencoe were to be experienced.
DAY 1 - MONDAY
We awoke on the Monday to fine weather and hangovers. Macca, Ratboy and Jon
were aiming for the ascent of Ben Nevis (4406 ft) via the Carn Mor Dearg
arete. Ken, Terry and myself opted for the more enjoyable
Bidean Nam Bian (3766 ft) in Glencoe.
The 'hidden valley' on route to Bidean Nam Bian. It is believed that many of
the MacDonald clan escaped into this hanging valley to escape the massacre
of Glencoe - many died due to ill-fitting boots and gaiters.
Ken and I had resisted ample opportunities to do away with Terry who was
doing his best to annoy us with the usual regular 'pole' activity and
factually incorrect wittering. The weather was glorious. A steep ascent led
us onto the main ridge where the sun lit up the view into Glen Etive and the
various peaks to the south.
On the main ridge. Terry looking visibly knackered as he views the final
climb to the summit of Bidean Nam Bian (Peak of the mountains).
The final climb to the summit of Bidean was a highly enjoyable walk in
superb weather. The clouds came and went which offered teasing glimpses into
the glens and onto the surrounding peaks.
The combination of sun and cloud was just right for 'Brocken Spectres' which
meant that Terry wasn't the only ghostly apparition seen on the hill. Terry
spotted an eagle which looked suspiciously like a raven, heard both barking
dogs and a multitude of helicopters as the lack of oxygen began to take its
grim, maddening, toll.
Ben Nevis (far distance) and the Aonach Eagach ridge (middle distance) from
the summit of Bidean Nam Bian.
A text was sent to Ratboy to check on his position on Ben Nevis. I
jokingly asked if Macca had thrown up yet but was unaware of the fact that
he was already on the way down after aborting his brave attempt.
Macca's glasses steam up as he views the hotel bar from the CIC hut.
Macca would like to make it known that his decision to abort the summit
attempt was due to his glasses steaming up and nothing to do with the 15
pints he had drank during the previous night or the 2200ft of steep climbing
that awaited him.
A GPS view of Macca's failed attempt on the Ben. The previous nights
festivities coupled with the fact that he'd never climbed anything as high
before meant that there was only going to be one outcome - failure.
Note the tomfoolery in the forest at the foot of the Ben. Macca insists that
the path was difficult to follow whereas we are convinced that he was
chasing a rather attractive goat.
A GPS view of Macca's preferred and usual route for the week.
Jon enjoying the 'footpath' up to Carn Mor Dearg. Ratboy was so far ahead he
needed to use a small telescope in order to obtain this shot.
In the meantime Ken, Terry and I were enjoying the delights of Bidean and
nearby Stob Coire nam Beith. That was until the descent.
The descent from the main Bidean ridge is steep, rocky and requires the
crossing of a stream at multiple locations. The previous years events on the
Ring of Steall had cemented the view that wet rocks aren't to be trusted -
especially when jumped on. With this in mind I placed my feet carefully in
order to prevent another soaking.
Ken hadn't experienced many descents like this in his long walking career
and it showed. He fell on no less than three occasions, each one seemingly
more spectacular than the last. Two of the falls occurred within the space
of twenty yards, one in a stream, one on steep rock and the other on small
boulders. A cut finger and grazed arm was Ken's reward for such
(un)surefooted behaviour along with constant offers of assistance from the
We finally made it to the road and yomped the final two miles along the A82
back to the car. An excellent day's walking was enjoyed by both parties -
DAY 2 - TUESDAY
The Tuesday saw a few of the group taking a short wander up Glen Nevis. It
should be noted that nobody attempted the wire bridge over the River Nevis -
DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY
We awoke on Wednesday morning to a murky grey sky.
Macca had already dismissed any chance of walking and Jon, due to the first
recorded case of lack of sleep caused by too much ale, also decided to give
it a miss. The plan was to bag the highest of the Mamores, Binnein Mor, from
the Mamore Lodge.
Terry decided that the final stretch of the West Highland Way (Mamore Lodge
to Fort William) was to be the order of the day whilst Sean, Ratboy and Ken
were ready for the Mamore tops. Macca decided to catch the Fort William to
Mallaig train, Jon wandered onto the top of Cow Hill and Alison continued to
As the walkers headed SW to the Mamore Lodge the weather improved
considerably and by the time we reached our destination the views were
The Pap of Glencoe and the Mamore Lodge from the track to Loch Eilde Mor.
The 5 mile\2500ft walk to the foot of Binnein Mor's NE ridge skirted the
side of Sgor Eilde Beag and meandered through Coire an Lochan before
reaching the bealach between Binnein Mor and Binnean Beag . The clear
weather of the morning had turned darker and cloudier as we climbed steeply
up the NE ridge. A short level plateau took us to the base of the final
rocky ridge to the summit.
About to tackle the upper section of the NE ridge of Binnein Mor.
After an enjoyable thirty minute scramble we hit the summit. The cloud
cleared to give us fine views of the western section of the Mamores and over
to our next peak - Na Gruagaichean.
The summit ridge of Binnein Mor.
The summit of Binnein Mor (3700ft) from the slopes of Na Gruagaichean
The twin tops of Na Gruagaichean.
Ratboy took numerous, excellent shots, with his digital camera which he
later found had 'crashed' earlier in the day. Only a single picture
A quick ascent of Na Gruagaichean's smaller top resulted in us reaching
the col and the path back towards the Mamore Lodge. Ken was more than happy
by the fact that he had borrowed Terry's gaiters as the descent was wet and
Later that evening Terry offered to give Ken the gaiters but this kind offer
was refused as they were too dirty. Terry completed his 15 miler in 5 hours.
Macca thoroughly enjoyed his train journey and took some superb shots of the
hills and lochs around Mallaig.
The best of which can be seen below:
An excellent few days was enjoyed by all. Excellent walking, drinking,
shopping and floating and most importantly excellent weather.
Jon had achieved a lifetime ambition in climbing Ben Nevis whilst Macca
achieved a lifetime ambition in drinking lager, bitter, red wine, Guinness,
port and whisky in a single night. Maybe, just maybe, something similar may
be arranged for next year?