Sunday, 10 November 2013

Beinn na h-Urchrach

After a week of blustery winds, hail showers, thunder and lightning, the first winter snow on the hills, and a precipitation total of around 80mm, we could be forgiven for feeling that we deserved this - a perfect dawn and the promise of a day of clear skies and light winds.  Picture shows sunrise across Morvern at 8.07am, with the mountains of Mull to the right.

We've been keeping away from the remoter areas of Ardnamurchan Estate land over the last few weeks as it's been the height of the stalking season, but this weather called for a walk in the hills, so we chose the left-hand of the peaks in this picture, Beinn na h-Urchrach, the hill of the cast or throw.

We saw deer almost as soon as we set foot on Estate land, a red deer stag with a small group of hinds.  They stood for some time watching us before disappearing over the hilltop.

Beinn na h-Urchrach, at left with Ben Hiant to the right, is an extended ridge.  We've been to the summit before, but have never followed the spine of the ridge from the Kilchoan side.  On a day like today, it's a wonderful climb, offering view after view as one gets higher, each more spectacular than the one before.

This one looks almost west.  All the foreground is Estate land, with the scaffolding round Mingary castle clearly visible, and Kilchoan in the distance, tucked under Beinn na Seilg and Druim na Gearr Leacainn.  To the left is the Sound of Mull, with the island of Coll along the horizon.

At the summit we looked in the opposite direction, towards the mountains around Fort William, all covered in snow.  Even on Bein na h-Urchrach there were still patches of frozen hailstones, and the northern, shadowed face of Ben Hiant was white with ice.

This is the view northwestwards, with four of West Ardnamurchan's summits visible: from left to right, Glas Bhein, Meall an Tarmachain, Meall nan Con, and Beinn an Leathaid.

With a last look back the way we'd come, we set off down.  The walk took three hours - had it been a little warmer we might have lingered longer - but it was great to be out in the hills on such a glorious day.

1 comment:

  1. We had great weather here in the east too. The clarity of the air contributes much to your stunning photography.