24th March 2012.
I traversed Glasgow to pick up Bob at 5.50am and headed up to Strathan at the end of the Loch Arkaig road.
Loaded up the bikes and headed in to A`Chuill bothy . A pic of myself cycling in to A`Chuill with Bidein a`Chabair looming in the background.
We dumped our sleeping gear,food and firewood,had a quick coffee and then continued on the bikes another couple of miles until it became quicker to walk.Walking through the forest with Bidein a`Chabair in the distance.Further away than it looks I can tell you 🙂
It was warm for March as well.We stopped for a spot of sunbathing at the end of the forest and this is where Bob discovered he had left his water bottle in the bothy and inadvertently brought along the one filled with vodka and coke.I wasn`t sure if this was a genuine mistake as some of you will know that he has “previous” in this department 😮 He was being a good boy today however and refused my offer of orange juice,pronouncing in fact that he would now forego hydration for the day and be for ever known as Cactus Bob 🙂 A couple of stags admired his inner strength…
We took our separate ways,as usual, up the nose of Meall na Sroine and on reaching the top Bidein came into view in the distance.Zoomed shot of the distant summit…..
We followed the ridge around lochans and over crags for what seemed like ages.Well,it was ages if the truth be told 🙂 Eventually we got closer.Bob is a spec to the upper right of the lochan here…
A couple of pics looking back along to Sgur na Ciche..
Oban bothy and Loch Morar from the summit….
…..and performing a balancing act with it, Sourlies bothy down the opposite side.
I`d read on hillwalking forums that most folk don`t venture out to the outlying Sgurr na h -Aide because they are usually knackered by now.Of course,When I mentioned this to Cactus Bob he decided that we`d fly the flag for our clubs mountaineering tradition and sally forth ignoring the fact that the day was getting on.Bidein was one of the few hands on summits in Scotland…so was it`s near neighbour.I suspect you`d get your moneys worth on this trip under good winter conditions.
Cactus Bob on the ascent of Sgurr na h-Aide…
Bob on the summit of Sgurr na h-Aide…
Passed this nice perch for a tent under the main summit on the way back.A flat pitch,a water supply and a view to die for…
One of the curses of sticking to our clubs mountaineering tradition is that in following it`s rules you end up out in the dark and it was now after 5 o`clock and we still had to get down and find our bikes in the forest where night falls early.Cactus Bob had a fortifying swig of vodka and coke and we headed back along the ridge.To save time we descended directly into the lonely Gleann an Lochain Eanaiche.Well at least I did.Bob stopped half way down and decided to traverse on a higher level where I`m sure he partook of further fortification 🙂 We met up again at the start of the forest and started looking for our bikes in the fading light.Found them easily enough as Bob had the good sense to mark the clearing which they were hidden off by a couple of acorns 🙂
On with the headtorches for the run out only to be saddled ( ahem …forgive the pun ) by a mechanical embuggerance with a chain which took about 20 minutes to sort out and shortly afterwards we reached A`Chuill bothy about an hour after dark.
A convivial night in the bothy as usual along with seven others including a German guy on his way to Cape Wrath who had that day discovered what the word “bog” actually meant 🙂
A long day out especially for Bob as this was his first hill day after being knocked down by a van shortly before Xmas.The van driver was too busy focussing his attention on his sat nav to notice that the lights on the pedestrian crossing were at red.The driver was subsequently charged by the police and hopefully banned.
A last view out to the Rum Cuillin behind Sgurr na h-Aide.Picture of myself by Bob.