Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Front of the Ben

This is something we have almost forgotten.  This morning's wasn't strictly a sunrise, as the sun rose above a mass of cloud rather than the horizon, but it was promising enough to have us out of the house and into the hills as quickly as possible.

We left the car at the turn to the new wind turbine at Beinn Bhuidhe just short of Camas nan Geall, with the intention of walking diagonally up the southeastern flank of Ben Hiant.

It was great to be out in weather that promised well for the day, with blue sky above us and the sun warm on our cheeks; and this was great walking, a steady climb up a hillside which, despite all the recent rain, wasn't too soft underfoot.

Within minutes we had spotted red deer, a small group of half-a dozen hinds who were in no great hurry to be away from us.

The next, a young stag, had tucked himself into the steep little glen cut by a burn into the face of the hillside.  He was too confident of the safety of his hiding place, so when he saw us so close he had a fright.

We then had a salutary lesson in how quickly the weather can change here.  Within minutes of watching the young stag bound away up the hill we were in a blizzard, big flakes which seemed to blow first from one direction then the other.  The snow clouds had crept up on us from behind the bulk of the ben.

We continued to see deer, a much larger group of hinds, then these two young stags.

The snow lasted for about a quarter of an hour and then it stopped, the clouds moving away across Morvern.  By this time we were high on the southern flank of Ben Hiant, looking down into the secluded basin of land formed between the ben and the lumpy hill called Stellachan Dubha.  Beyond lay the Sound of Mull with, to the right, Bloody Bay and, to the left, Tobermory Bay.

By this time we were up into patches of snow which have lain there for about a week.  A small gully and the blue sky above it tempted us to climb onto the ridge, and suddenly we were within easy striking distance of the summit of Ben Hiant.


  1. Dear Diary

    Fabulous pictures these past few days. We are so lucky to experience the best of West Ardnamurchan through you lens without getting wet or exhausted. Hope Betsy survived your pig-minding duties and Spring will soon be sprung.

  2. Many thanks for your kind words about the pictures, Liz, though they hardly reflect the real thing. Betsy not very happy alone, though rumour has it that Bobby will be back with her shortly. Jon