Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Carn Ban and Beinn a` Chaisteil.

16th/17th April.

I haven`t been on a bike for over a year so wasn`t looking forward to the cycle in one little bit.As always though,it was never as bad as it seemed beforehand and I actually enjoyed it.I was grateful that I had listened to Bob and Scott though and donned a pair of cycling shorts :)

Looking east down Gleann Beag...

Looking west up Gleann Beag....

This was my first outing for over a month while I tried to give my foot a break so it might seem daft to pick one of the remotest hills in Scotland.There was method in the madness though as the brunt of it could be done by bike and there was a good stalkers path leading up the first 1,000 feet of ascent.Scott and I left Bob and Froodo at the weir and started up the hill about 2`o`clock or so while Froodo rehydrated with a few cans of Mr.Becks finest lager.The path was excellent and I doffed my hat in acknowledgement of the guys who built it all those years ago.We were up in jig time and soon reached the delightful Loch Srùban Mòre which Scott suggested we be the ultimate getaway from it all camping spot.

The foot got progressively worse from here on to the extent that I couldn`t be bothered with the camera so the days photos are courtesy of Scott

Looking over Loch à Choire Mhòir to the Assynt hills...

Hobbling over the plateau to the summit..

We made it back down to the bikes at 6pm and set off up the side of the river with the sun now shining. This was absolute torture on my foot with tussocky bog twisting it and I gradually fell behind.The bothy eventually hove into view but the last few hundred yards were a struggle.Earlier in the day a can of beer had punctured in my rucksack and sprayed all over my sleeping bag and thermarest.Bob had graciously carried them in earlier in order to hang them out to get rid of the stale beer smell . Luckily I still had one left and plonked myself down on the first chair...nectar :o) Pottered around sawing wood and cooking dinner and putting a freezing gel on my foot from time to time until Bob and Froodo arrived back at 9pm.The gel didn`t seem to do much good but the bottle of wine seemed to do the trick :)

Awoke to a lovely sunny morning and it seemed a shame to rush about on a morning like this so we lazed around cooking breakfast and watching a dipper darting up and down the river.

The offending foot seemed to have decided to play ball and the walk back to the bike was a painlesss one.

Walking away from the bothy...

A wee tip.The north bank of the river is a much better way in and out of the bothy...bog free in the main.We managed to cross the river without getting wet just down from the bothy.Scott and I were away ahead of the others as we were going to do Beinn a Chaisteil on the way out.

Looking up Gleann Mor towards Alladale on the way out.....

We dumped the bikes and were high up on the western slopes as the others biked into view...ants in this huge landscape.

You can see the track out below Meall a Chaorainn  in this pic from Scott,

The foot was miraculously still behaving itself as we wandered over to the summit.The view was surprisingly good and better than the map would indicate.Ben Loyal was prominent up on the northern coast and we lay around for half an hour picking out the hills we could see.Back down to the bikes...

.... and a quick descent back to the main road.

Looking back to the bothy at Lubachlaggan on the way out....

Picked up Froodo and a quick stop at the ever friendly Tarvie transport cafe and we were off home.
Footnote to Bob`s entry.He commented on the minimalist size of my panniers but the prize for the lightest load must surely go to Froodo.No sleeping mat,no stove,gas or pans,nothing at all actually other than a few sandwiches,a bottle of wine,a half bottle of Glenmorangie and 4 cans of beer.Having consumed all of this on the Saturday night in the bothy he had nothing left to carry out.Eat your heart out all you lightweight freaks..!


The Glebe Blog said...

Good to see you back blogging Alex.
I sympathise with your bad foot.I still suffer with my right calf two years after the injury.
I think Froodo should be in line for Lightweight of the Century for his forward planning.

mountain coward (Carol) said...

Brilliant blog! Enjoyed reading through your archives today :-)

Robert Craig said...

Glad you are still able to get out even with a bad foot. If things get too bad, you could take up canoeing?

PS whisky over beer all the way for bothying!

Alex said...

Not really had much to blog about Jim..! Off to the physio next week though I won`t be holding my breath on a cure from there .

Hiya Carol :)

Aah...the problem Craig is that the only whisky I really like comes in at a price I can`t afford.! 2 cans of beer for coming off the hill and and bottle of wine for fireside swally does the trick for me.