Hiya all.Still working through the backlog of our trips since New Year.Nothing much on the telly tonight until nine pm so here`s the next one.This is from a trip a few weeks back.Another outing tagging along with our much bolder " Jeune Ecole" mountaineering club for us toothless, semi incontinent older guys.
This time to the frozen north of Scotland at Dundonnell near the seaport town of Ullapool.We were staying at the Smiddy,a climbing hut which sits under the magnificent bulk of An Teallach,one of the finest hills in the UK and in many peoples top ten British mountains list including mine.As we arrived it had a dusting of fresh snow on its soaring ridges and spires.
Its a fantastic area however the weather conditions that weekend were for strong gusting winds and further snow showers so my original idea of climbing this peak for views and photography were ditched for something lower and less life threatening
Fortunately our master bagger Alex had a cunning plan.As several of us had been up the areas Munro's and the Jewels of Assynt in the dim and distant past crafty uncle Alex swayed the gullible, now reclining happily pissed and stuffed with grub in the hut on Friday evening, by damp sock hypnosis and other mysterious black arts into climbing the lesser known Breabag across the road from Suilven and Canisp.
A carload of four of us,Alex,John,Scott and myself, set off from the hut Saturday morning to do battle with the elements,driving in and out of occasional mist and snow flurries towards the soggy bowels of Assynt.
In good weather this landscape is truly stunning,a rugged plain of low ridges studded with a myriad of interlinked lochans which sparkle and dance in the sun,more water than solid ground.From this boggy wonderland soar isolated sandstone monoliths,thousands of feet into the air in a dazzling array of shapes and sizes...the Jewels.
Stone pyramids,squat cubes,multi pinnicled ridges and even mighty sugarloaf Suilven with its comets tail arete flowing gracefully behind.
This sign summed up the weather aptly enough.Bleak gun metal skies with a bitter bone peircing wind once on the heights.On the same day an intrepid pair of younger guys in the club attempted the traverse of An Teallach but were beaten back before the sharp middle section seen above in second picture started..A high jaggy ridge is not the best place to be in a near gale in midwinter.However a keen, and frankly bonkers, select few managed eight Munros over the course of their hut stay,no mean feat given conditions on the summits that weekend.
An uneventful ascent up the lower Breabag with one final steep climb up slabby rock onto the broad summit ridge seen us grab our prize then we were off at a canter down easy snow slopes to the west.A combination of high winds and painful hailstone showers meant the summit was not a comfortable place to linger.Did manage to get these few shots though.Breabag ridges...Stac Polly..Suilven and Canisp from Breabag.
Although I enjoyed the summit in the same reluctant way I always look forward to my bath of ice cubes before breakfast :o) it was also a pity it wasn`t better weather as the views around here are so special and different.I`ve not been up this way for years,Ah well,maybe next time we`ll get the sun as well.
I soon perked up again down at the caves where it was slightly less polar and fingers, face and toes came stubbornly back to life.
Now this was more like it.
No wind,a sudden painful return of body heat in the extremities and dark holes in the ground to explore.A few of us went off in search of bones up back passages so to speak.Having been keen on this for years I had a wee exploration of the interlocked cave system but alas age never sleeps.I don`t remember crawling and squirming through tight holes being so painful in the past but I gave it my best shot anyway, thrusting ahead protected from wildcats by my trusty wraparound caving balaclava and thick gloves.I`m no first time mug me! (wildcats have been known to use these northern caverns from time to time.) Meeting an angry wildcat in a confined space is not to be recommended for a good looking boy like myself.
Sadly I ended up rather grubby for the pub later as I didn`t bring a change of clothes just my ever present sun lotion and dark glasses so my chances of impressing the local girls were diminished somewhat.
Well, you never know......
A good weekend spent in good company and a cracking warm hut.Shame about the blue skies but then you cant have everything.
Dunno about Bob but I thought it was a tremendous day on the hill.Bit of everything thrown in weatherwise....typical Scottish winter day :)
Some more pics and a video.An Teallach from the old bothy at Fain on the Destitution Road .....
John on the walk in...
In the bone caves....
Finally,just to cheer Bob up,here`s a wee video of the best/worst part of the day :)