Thursday, September 20, 2012

Loch Ericht to Loch Laggan: Ben Alder (25) and Beinn Bheoil (112)

Walk date: 03/05/12

My Munro #'s: 228 and 229

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Byn awlder - hill of the rock - 1148m

Byn vyawl - hill of the mouth - 1019m


Duration (all) - 08:00 - 19:50
Duration (hike) - 09:45 - 18:30

Distance (all) - 57.1 km
Distance (hike) - 25.3 km

Total ascent (all) - 1650m
Total ascent (hike) - 1050m

Weather - nice all day long, warm and dry with a good wind on top

Team - with Paul P

Other hikers: only people on route in/out or staying at bothy, no one up at height

Day 5 - Thursday
Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2012

And so at last we come to Ben Alder!! Long have I looked in books at these hills and wondered when the opportunity would come. The Ben Alder group of hills is massive, but it is their remoteness which really conjures up a special feeling and epitomises the difficulties of spending time amongst them. It takes 16km of thankfully good estate tracks before the hiking even starts. Although Culra bothy looked good, we hadn't managed the organisation required to stay there, and instead opted for cycling in from Dalwhinnie.

The going is good pretty much all the way in, although there is a significant incline after the Alder lodge and the high track is of not as high quality. Rounding Loch Pattock is also a little rough, but the views from being lochside together with the delights of negotiating the suspension bridge made it worthwhile!

Once beside Culra bothy, we ditched the bikes and hiked up Bealach Beithe on a great path. Our thoughts of tackling either of the northern buttresses soon receded as our going was more than sufficient, even around Loch a Bhealaich Bheithe when the path got a little soft.

Once up on the high Bealach Breabag, we had a good break and once again ditched the bags to enable a quick ascent.  Unfortunately the path we were following turned out to go down toward Loch Ericht again and so we had to make a quick turn and charge up the rough southern flank.

As we reached the crest we also reached the snow line and we soon found ourselves strolling on thick snow with tremendous views all around.  It was great to sit and admire the distance we'd come, as well as contemplate Bein Eibhinn, Aonach Beag, Geal charn and Carn Dearg, all waiting for another adventure.

Our return to the bealach was fairly quick, although we still failed to find an actual path, and found a way through the rough eastern flank instead!

After that, Beinn Bheoil and it's straightforward path came easy, although it was further than it looked with an unexpected height gain on the second part, but we knew everything was in hand, and the views along Loch Ericht made it worthwhile.

The return leg on the bikes was smooth and a fair bit quicker, enjoying as we did the incline we had previously slogged up.  We arrived back at Dalwhinnie just shy of 12 hours.  A superb day out, and a set of hills that I personally can't wait to get back to.

The Alder Lodge:
The suspension bridge at Loch Pattock:

First sighting of Culra Lodge:

The bealach from Loch a Bhealaich Bheithe:

Clambouring up the south side of Ben Alder:

Loch a Bhealaich Bheithe from Alder:

Overhangs on Alder:

The final climb on Beinn Bheoil:

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home