A weekend in Wester Ross with old university mountaineering club pals. Over the years, the conversations have evolved from youthful exploits in far-away mountains through babies and the trials and tribulations of teenagers to retirement and the inevitable aches and pains of getting older. But, by and large we are still game and still manage to get up hills. The days are short in November so we headed for Cul Beag, a steep wee hill near Ullapool.
I’ve been up this hill a couple of times before but have never seen the view from the summit so I was looking forward to climbing it on a clear day. In fact, the last time we went up there Scott (in the photo below) was blown over and badly sprained his ankle. We had a bit of an epic getting down (we’re of a generation that sees calling for the MRT an absolute last resort) but we managed to help him hobble back to the car.
Looking towards Suilven
Today, we took the ‘path’ (more like a burn) leading over from Loch Lurgainn to Loch an Doire Dhuibh before setting up the steep hillside. There was no obvious path so we all made our own route as we slogged up the hill. The weather was dry and cloudy but even on a dull day, the Wester Ross landscape was magnificent.
Landscape from Cul Beag
When I reached the col, I found a bit of a path and, as I approached the summit, blue sky appeared and I hoped for some sunshine. There were sunbeams over Loch Broom but, sadly, they didn’t get to us. I was first to the top so I sheltered till everyone arrived when we had lunch and a summit picture. It was windy and a getting a bit cold so hats were on and hoods were up.
Summit sunbeams over Loch Broom
We all made it to the top
We decided on a different way back to the road and headed east from the summit. There’s a line of crags above Loch Lurgainn that we managed to avoid through some superb navigation (suggestions that this was luck are simply slanderous). But the way down via a remarkably steep grass slope to the loch side was a wee bit challenging but fortunately not too slippy. Everything stayed dry which is pretty good for November.
Then back to Ullapool for dinner and drams. I think Springbank may be the malt of choice for this year’s TGOC, if I make the cut.
I made the classic mistake of putting my camera on charge at home then leaving it behind. So, all photos taken with my iPhone. Phone cameras are now remarkably good quality.