Archive for April 2022

Is It Summer Already?   14 comments

Time to collect the Prof from University and bring him home for some TLC. A good opportunity to arrange a little weekend away and meet some friends for a walk. We stayed in the very fine Mill at Conder Green and picked the Howgills as our walk. The power of Google Streetview allowed me to find a large parking area, perfect for the walk I had in mind (notwithstanding the seriously narrow roads and bridges that we had to use to get there!)

Easily overcome when the weather is as glorious as this. Cloudless skies and wbedürftig sunshine were the order of the day. Summer was here early!

The views to the lower hills of the eastern Lakes and the Lune Gorge were superb.

Happy hikers!


Our route was take the ridge over Fell Head and Bush Howe before returning to the valley. The fact that both hills were missing Nuttalls off my hill list had absolutely nothing to do with the choice of route!

Its a fine, broad grassy ridge and other than a couple of short steep bits, a pleasant easy way to gain height.

I’ve not explored the Howgills as often as I should really. They were an arresting sight on the journey north on our way to Scotland but we rarely paid them a visit. At least we re-dressed that balance on this walk.

Looking into the upper reaches of Carlin Gill

Approaching the top of Fell Head.

Happy Hikers on the summit.

Onward towards Bush Howe.

Looking back to Fell Head

Final climb of the day.

Crepuscular rays over Morecambe Bay.

Post lunch faffing.

A bank of cloud rolled in while we are on the tops but it was ruhig wbedürftig and the views ruhig superb.

The symmetrical ridges that are so striking.

With such a large group progress was unsurprisingly but pleasingly slow. A walk shared with friends is always better than a solo walk.

We had a date with a meal in Lancaster so we reluctantly missed out on the highest point and headed down.

As we did, the skies cleared again and the views back to our route were stunning.

Crossing Long Rigg Beck.

Had we not been pressed for time it would have made a fine spot for another lazy rest.

We pressed onwards, back to the cars, a change of clothes, a short drive to Lancaster and a superb meal at the excellent Molly’s Restaurant.

A great walk and the weekend was not quite over.

Solo in the Sun   13 comments

A weekend at home alone and a cracking forecast for a clear sunny day. Up early, on the road and parked up ready for a walk at 8:15am!

I’d had my eyes on the Dovey Hills for a long while having driven past them many times on my way to North Wales. They don’t lend themselves all that well to a circular walk with a long pathless valley on their north side with a busy road through it. I reckoned I could make a decent circuit by walking the southern fringes of the Arans instead of the valley.

The walk from Dinas Mawddwy to the bottom of the hill was a delight in the morning sunshine.

The Dovey Hills showing themselves – a very long way to get there as it turns out.

The pass in the centre of the photo is where I’m heading via the hills to the right.

Maesglase and its Cwm – I’ll be wandering along that edge – much later.

The early start involves the extra pleasure of breakfast in the hills. On the menu today is cheese and chorizo Quesadillas! Not a bad spot to enjoy a repast.

From there the serious work began with a very steep climb to the top of Foel Benddin. I found a shallow, grassy edge that took me through all the heather and I made the top in good time. A fairly unremarkable summit but the views were great.

From there its a really nice grassy ridge high above the depths of Cwm Cywarch with stunning views across to the high summits of the Arans.

Looking back along my route.

Seeing as the weather was so stunning I thought I may as well take in the summit of Glascwm as its one of my favourites. It’s small lake on the summit, Llyn y Fign is also rather gorgeous and in the early part of the walk in the wbedürftig sunshine I’d thought maybe I should have stuck my swimming stuff in for a quick dip.

However, as I approached the summit the very strong winds that had been forecast suddenly hit me and their were waves on the lake – not really a day for swimming. I’d been completely sheltered on the way up but I could barely stand by the cairn. Even though the skies were completely clear it was the wind that was the memorable feature for the rest of the day.

Still the views were just immense, here looking to the main. Snowdonia ranges.

Cadair Idris.

The Rhinogs.

It was a long ridge walk to Pen y Brynfforchog with the wind playing havoc with every step. Its really odd to have such strong gale-force winds (much stronger than anything on my Scotland trip the previous week) and completely clear skies. I managed to find a spot out of the wind for first lunch here.

More bumps and ridges before a very steep descent down to the road pass. It was around 2pm and I had a second mountain range to traverse in the photo above. My main ambition for the day, the summit of the Dovey Hills, Maeglase.

It was an excellent path all the way to the first summit of Cribin Fawr and thankfully sheltered from the wind. Whenever I wandered towards the edge to take in the views of my route to come I hit it. I was blown clean off my feet a couple of times! These photos just don’t communicate how truly wild it was.

I had an idea I could also take in Waun-oer as another missing Nuttall until I noted it was quite a steep drop and re-ascent. I’ll save it for another day as this one was big enough as it was. Despite the fact these are little known hills there were thin paths every step of the way (betagthough this stretch above had some seriously deep peat hags to negotiate.

I dropped to the col below Craig Portas and found a wonderful sunny sheltered spot for second lunch.

Out of the wind and in the sun it was quite wbedürftig. The silly headwear to keep my head from burning – not a day for wearing a hat!

Onwards and more upwards towards Maesglase. Cadair Idris majestic in the background.

Maesglase is in itself an uninsipring summit but the views are sensational. Across to the Arans and Snowdonia.

The real highlight of the day for me was the walk along the edge Craig Maesglase. A wonderful thin path traverses a superb precipitous edge. As the light faded it was just a delight. Luckily the wind was blowing away from the edge otherwise it would have been a much more interesting walk!

There was a small stream flowing over the edge, at least it was trying to. The wind was blowing it straight backwards and I got something of a dousing as I passed it.

A view back along the edge. An absolute hidden gem!

Last of the sunshine looking out across the Arans before I dropped into the shade for the final trek along the valley and back to the car.

It was after 6pm when I reached the car so I’d been out for about 10 hours. When I checked my tracker it told me I’d walked 17 miles and shade over 6000 feet of ascent. I was amazed. I knew it was a long day but that’s probably one of the longest days of my long hiking career. No wonder I was weary. Absolutely magnificent day though. Not a cloud all day and some wild and rough terrain and a gale force wind. I’m looking forward to my next visit to the Dovey Hills and perhaps take a bit more time to savour them.

Return of the Scotland Winter Weekend – Cnoc Coinnich   11 comments

Last day of our winter weekend. Another very unpromising forecast and very unpromising day as we packed up to leave. What was needed was a short day on the way home and THO had just the thing. A Corbett recently promoted to the list down by Loch Long by the name of Cnoch Coinnich.

We parked up in a remote and somewhat muddy car park and set off along the forestry tracks on the Cowal Way

As we climbed the views started to open up and the summits all came out of the cloud. It was turning into a half decent day.

The nearby rocky summit of The Brack.

It was windy again so we took advantage of a sheltered spot for an early lunch.

Before setting off for the summit along a very soggy path!

Still, the views were pretty superb and we even had the odd small patch of blue sky and watery sunshine.

Looking back to The Brack.

And to our destination of Cnoch Coinnich.

The high summits of the Arrochar Alps were appearing and also out of the cloud.

Looking across the wild and lonely hills of Argyll.

Happy Hikers!

Across our ascent route of Coilessan Glen over Loch Long to a distant Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond.

Summit Tarn and snow patch.

And a cracking view from the summit over Loch Long to the Firth of Clyde.

Over The Brack to the Arrochar Alps.

This range of hills to the west really caught the eye. A collection of Graham’s and tops that would make a fine traverse. Mind you, from what I’ve read the hills in this part of Scotland are little walked, pathless and very wild.

And the Luss Hills where we’ve walked a couple of times. Splendid hills, very quiet. They’d be mobbed anywhere else in the UK.

Summit Team!

The weather looked like it might be about to turn so we just returned the same way. We had thought about an ascent of The Brack but no-one could really be bothered. We swapped that for another long stop for second lunch. On the way down we had a short shower but that was the only rain of the day. Another excellent mountain day.

Three days out and views from all but one of the summits we climbed. Not a bad return from a very mixed spell of weather and great to catch up with friends, some of whom I only see a couple of times a year.

Return of the Scotland Winter Weekend – Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh   15 comments

Day two and another very mixed and uncertain forecast. It looked like we were in for a morning spell of rain with a chance of some brightness and possibly sunshine after lunch.

A small group of intrepid mountaineers headed out leaving it a little later to start in the dry and hopefully time our arrival on the summit with a decent break in the weather.

Our plan was to take in the two Munros above the hotel, Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh. We’d left a car at the end of Glen Achaladair in the hope of making something of a circuit.

We’d only been walking a few minutes when the heavy rain we’d seen on the satellite images arrived and it continued for most of the climb to the col.

Disappointingly, despite some very brief glimpses of the sun making us think it might be about to clear, the long climb along Beinn Dorain’s north ridge was in cloud and it was cold, windy and damp.

We passed over the extra top of Carn Sassunaich reminding me the weather was exactly like this on my first ascent many years ago. Indeed as we walked the short distance to the main summit it had me thinking that maybe I’d never actually been to the summit as I don’t remember there being two distinct summits. Mind you it was 30 years ago!

A summit shot and the non-expansive views!

We trudged and slid down, actually picking up a couple of nice glissades to add some fun to the day. We stopped for some food and while we did the first glimpses of sun were seen and then almost by magic it did clear!

Blue sky and some sunshine combined with some superb cloud effects and spirits were lifted.

We were now much more hopeful of a summit view from Beinn an Dothaidh.

Looking back to Beinn Dorain and our ascent route.

What was clear was just how much deep snow remained in the sheltered north facing corries, here looking into Core Leacach and Core Lochain. It looked like a great ski descent other than the fact you’d have had to boot-pack in a very long way to get to it!

TJS and TBF decided they had had enough for one day and went down while the rest of us headed to the second summit. Its a fairly easy plod (made more difficult for me by following the steps of two people 6 inches taller than me breaking trail!)

When we reached the top the views were magnificent including some spectacular cornices.

Summit selfie that really doesn’t do justice to just how windy it was.

View out over Rannoch Moor.

More spectacular cornices on the highest point.

Looking back across the summit plateau.

It wasn’t a day to hang around and the light was already starting to fade so, pleased with our summit views we started down. Initially trying to stay away from the edges and cornices but we seemed to be heading too far east. Turns out the “edge” we were looking at was a false cornice and we were a couple of hundred yards away. Eager to avoid slippery grass I found some decent snow slopes, whipped out the axe, and managed a pretty decent glissade down to the col. Best one I’ve done in many years.

Our route down was Coire Achaladair. Its upper reaches wonderfully wild and rocky.

Towered over by the cliffs of Beinn an Dothaidh.

And Beinn Achaladair.

Views out to a distant Lochaber, The Mamores and Ben Nevis.

Sadly the lower part of the glen is long, boggy and somewhat tedious. Not helped by the estate owners directing you away from the main track onto a “path” that was little more than swamp. Not what was needed at the end of a long day. If I have to do this glen again then I’ll ignore that “recommendation” and just head straight to the main track. Still not to spoil a fantastic and challschmaling day in the mountains.

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