Ben Aslak / Beinn na Seamraig (Isle of Skye) 6th July 2012

I thought a return visit to Skye was long overdue and with a warm sunny forecast I planned to climb Ben Aslak, a Graham at 61om high, and it’s neighbour Beinn na Seamraig at 561m, classed as a Scottish sub-2000 Marilyn. Combining the 2 hills would give me a longer day so I loaded up the rucksack, took Mia for company, and off we went.

Approaching the Skye Bridge

After driving over the Skye Bridge I took the Kylerhea single track road then parked up at the bridge over the Allt Mor, about 2 miles before the Bealach Udal.

Start of walk at Glen Arroch on the road to Kylerhea

From here a good track heads South and as I started to gain height, views to Broadford Bay began to open up.

Looking back from the track

I followed the track to it’s end to Bealach na Cruinn-leum (about 2 miles). Ben Aslak came into full view and so I took a break here to determine the route up.

Ben Aslak from the approach  track

I took a break when I reached the end of the track before taking to Ben Aslak’s slopes.

Ben Aslak from the end of the track, summit on left

As I got closer I could see there were some impressive crags guarding the SW face.

Crags on Ben Aslak’s SW face

I skirted the left side of the crags then headed up until I reached the ridge. It wasn’t too steep but the warm weather had me sweating. Thankfully there was a gentle breeze, so guess what ? No midges & no flies !

Isle Ornsay from the ridge above the crags

The ridge undulated and there were plenty of lochans for Mia to cool down in. This one was  just below the summit.

Lochan below the summit (top centre)

At the summit there were great views and I spent about 40 minutes just lounging about, exploring the summit area and tucking into some lunch.

Here’s a few summit pics.

Beinn a Chapuill & Beinn Sgritheall

Looking WNW to the Cuillins

Mia’s summit pose with Sgurr na Coinnich behind

I reluctantly left the summit and thought I’d return to the Bealach na Cruinn-leum near the end of the track to start my ascent on Beinn Dubh a Bhealaich then along the ridge to Beinn na Seamraig. I’d spotted this grassy ascent from high up and so I headed down towards it, avoiding those crags again on the way down.

Looking down towards grassy ascent (Left of centre)

I started the ascent which wasn’t too steep but the weather was still very warm which made it quite strength sapping. I skirted Beinn Dubh a Bhealaich’s summit and headed onto the ridge where I could just make out Beinn na Seamraig’s summit trig point & cairn in the far distance.

Looking towards summit on Beinn na Seamraig

This wide ridge also contained lochans and there was a section which was rockier and had slabs. As I walked along I noticed a couple of walkers heading my way from the summit. We finally met and surprised to see it was people I knew, Hugh & Marlene Munro from Beauly ! As Hughie said, “It’s a small world eh”! The last time I saw them together was at their house for supper about 10 years ago when Hugh held a slide show of his mountain pics ! After chatting for a few minutes we went our separate ways. This is a photo of them further along the ridge.

Hugh & Marlene on the ridge

As I neared the summit the ridge became very grassy and was a delight to walk on.

Lochan below Beinn na Seamraig summit

There’s a cairn and trig point at the summit. If the weather’s clear there are fabulous views to be had. Here’s a few summit pics.

Isle of Rum (L), Canna (centre) & Loch Eishort

Looking to Isleornsay

Beinn Sgritheall (L) & Loch Hourn

Looking back to Ben Aslak

Enjoying the sunshine on Beinn na Seamraig

The Skye Cuillins & Broadford Bay

After drinking in these wonderful views I had to force myself to head back along the ridge then traversing to the left. This next photo shows part of the grassy summit area looking back to Ben Aslak (R) & Sgurr na Coinnich (centre).

I headed left off the ridge and followed an ATV track all the way back to Bealach na Cruinn-leum then the main track back to the car.

Looking back up to Beinn na Seamraig

Heading down the main track with views to Broadford Bay, we arrived back at the car and the total time had been around 6 hours.

Heading down to Bealach na Cruinn-leum

It had been of the most enjoyable walks for quite a while and just goes to show that some of the best views can be had from some of the smaller hills.

Bye for now

Keith

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Sgurr Marcasaidh 26th June 2012

Tuesday 26th June 2012

It was a good weather forecast today, dry with sunny spells, so I decided to take Mia and climb a hill in Strathconon, Ross-shire. Sgurr Marcasaidh at 580 metres is classed as a Scottish sub-2000 Marilyn. I drove over the Meig dam to Little Scatwell for the start of the walk.

Start of walk at Little Scatwell

As I parked my car I couldn’t help but notice dozens of damsel fly’s. I managed to take a close-up picture of one as it came to rest at my feet.

Azure Damsel Fly (Male)

From the car I walked up the private road to Glenmarksie, an estate cottage now unoccupied.

Estate cottage, Glenmarksie

It was quite warm and humid without a breeze as we carried on towards our target for the day and I wasn’t looking forward to the climb to gain the ridge as I knew it was going to be steep !

Steep climb !

What a relief to finally gain the ridge and be on more level ground ! Eventually I could see the summit but it still seemed a long way off , about another kilometre. Flies had been a nuisance all the way up, as you can see from this next photo they were all over the lens ! This is looking towards the summit, just right of centre.

The summit ridge

Almost there !

Almost there !

The summit trig point was reached after an undulating ridge walk and had taken just over 2 hours in total.

Sgurr Marcasaidh summit

After devouring lunch and half a litre of tea I lingered for about half an hour taking in the views. Mia also found some water to cool off and play about in. After our usual summit pose it was time to head back down.

Summit pose

We headed down to Gleann Marcasaidh avoiding the crags SE of the summit following animal tracks which kept us out of the heather & bracken for the most part. Then we just followed the main track back to the car via the cottage. Just before the cottage I spotted an Anguis Fragilis (slow worm). This one was about a foot long.

Anguis Fragilis

Whilst I was having a good look at the slow worm, Mia decided to go and cool off in the burn !

Mia cooling off

We enjoyed the leisurley stroll back towards the car. It had been an excellent day for wildlife, one of my best yet, as I spotted a Brown Fritillary butterfly.

Fritillary butterfly

And so it was back to the car and a 40 minute drive home. The next walk will be this coming week-end (weather permitting) for our works summer camping trip to Glen Feshie to climb the remotest Corbett of all, Beinn Bhreac.

bye for now

Keith

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Carn Ban 23rd October 2010

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Andy, Brian, Keith, Richard & Roddy AKA the 5 Beauly Posties.

Our Beauly Posties Autumn bothy weekend was to be spent at the remote Coire Mor / Magoo’s Bothy, accessed via Strath Mulzie in the NW Highlands. We finished work on  the Saturday afternoon and loaded our heavy packs into Roddy’s Landrover and drove to Corrimulzie Lodge where we would begin the walk.

It was overcast and dry as we set off but it wasn’t long before we noticed that there was fresh snow on the hills.

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Setting off

We had to cross the Mulzie river but thankfully the stepping stones made it just passable.

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Roddy & Andy crossing the river.

Our spirits were lifted when Coire Mor/Magoo’s bothy finally came into view. Our heavy packs included coal which would ensure us a warm cosy night there.

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Coire Mor / Magoo’s bothy

Once inside we soon had a roaring fire going and we set about preparing our meals.

Roddy preparing his food

The bothy is situated right at the foot of Carn Ban’s SE ridge and we were hoping for clear, dry weather in the morning.

Our accomodation for the night – Coire Mor bothy

Next morning Richard, Brian & I set off to climb Carn Ban whilst Roddy & Andy crossed the river to climb Seana Bhraigh. We soon gained height and the bothy began to get smaller & smaller. Can you spot it ?

Looking down to Loch Coire Mor & the bothy from Carn Ban slopes

It wasn’t long before we hit the snow line !

Me heading up the ridge

Once we levelled out,  the snow became deeper. I led the way up for a time and we were still a long way off from the summit plateau.

Me leading the way

The cloud began to roll in as we headed up towards the plateau.

Me & Brian with cloud rolling in

At this point it was out with the compass as Carn Ban has quite a large plateau. We took our bearing which led us straight to the summit cairn ! We looked across towards Seana Bhraigh where we hoped Andy & Roddy had made it to their summit.

Looking across to Seana Bhraigh from summit of Carn Ban

We took a few summit pictures in freezing temperatures then it was time to head back down where we could warm ourselves up in the bothy before starting the walk back out. Here’s a shot of Brian with the Assynt hills in the distance.

Brian high up on Carn Ban with the Assynt hills behind

As we headed down another snow shower hit us. Winter had certainly come early to the Highlands this year !

Heading down in a snow shower

We finally got back to the bothy and no sooner had we got back and started to pack up, Andy & Roddy turned up within 5 minutes and reported that they had summitted.  And so we started the long walk back………….We  paused and looked back to reflect on what had been a great weekend away for our gang of 5 Beauly Posties !

Looking back towards Seana Bhraigh

Bye for now

Keith

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