Wednesday 18 May 2016

TGO Challenge 2016 - Day 2: High Camp S of Fraochaidh to Glencoe

Saturday 14th May 2016

After a cold frosty night, I woke to warm sunshine on the tent. I was in no great hurry to start walking this morning after yesterday's late finish, and I also believed that today would be shorter too! Therefore I spent a leisurely time in the sunshine warming up after the cold night, but finally setting off walking at around quarter to eleven!

It was a tough, steep climb up the southern slopes of Fraochaidh in the warm sunshine. However eventually I reached the summit, and I was rewarded with fantastic panoramic views of the many peaks of Lochaber and across over to Loch Linnhe to Ardgour and Mull, plus I could just about make out the Paps of Jura in the distance to the SSW. The first photo below is a panorama of Beinn a' Bheithir and the Glen Coe hills from the summit of Fraochaidh. The second is the summit cairn with Loch Linnhe, Mull, Lismore and Ardgour beyond.

After spending a fair while taking in the views, I started my descent down the east ridge over several subsidiary tops to reach the Mam Uchdaidh, where the right of way from Glen Creran crosses the hills on its way to Ballachulish. I toyed with the idea of descending this way myself, but decided to stick with my plans to climb two more hills this afternoon.

The ascent up to Sgorr a' Choise was very heathery to start with, but there seemed to be some faint paths to follow that made the going slightly easier. Higher up the ground became rockier and I eventually managed to lug my heavy pack up to the summit of this hill. Again the views were stunning :-).

Continuing onwards in the hot afternoon sunshine I slowly climbed up my final hill of the day: Meall Mor. Despite the south ridge not looking horrendously steep, I found it hard going and wondered whether I should have descended after Fraochaidh. However by now the easiest route to Glencoe lay over the top of Meall Mor so I continued with my ascent.

I reached the summit of Meall Mor just before 6pm, with yet more great views! Just east of the summit there was a great vantage point for looking up the length of Glen Coe surrounded by the Aonach Eagach and Bidean nam Bian hills, as shown in the third photo.

I was now quite tired and had concluded that I would miss out my first hill tomorrow, Garbh Bheinn, and instead head via Kinlochleven. This therefore meant that I could resupply there instead of Ballachulish as planned. Therefore I headed towards Am Meall as planned, but instead of continuing up this small hill from the bealach I instead picked up a newish forest road heading down into Glen Coe. This seemed to go on forever as it looped endlessly down the hillside. I was keen to get down as I'd finished the last of my water and was feeling thirsty again! Eventually I reached the bottom of the glen where I picked up a pleasant woodland path running parallel with the A82 towards Glencoe village.

Shortly after 8pm I reached the Glencoe Gathering pub and headed inside for water, real ale, burger, chips and ice cream! I then headed to the Invercoe campsite where I pitched my tent at sunset after a cracking day in the hills, although I perhaps wished I'd set off earlier this morning!

See my current progress on Social Hiking

Route map and more photos will be added once I get home
posted from Bloggeroid

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