Walking in the Scottish Highlands

Last winter, I joined a friend on his quest to finish all his Munros. He only has 23 to go. (Update - he finished them all in Glen Shiel on Saturday when the 2013 Celtman was taking place).

On Saturday we did the 4 eastern Fannichs in 9.5 hours through lots of snow but with good visibility. The only other folk on hill were an RAF Mountain Rescue team from Leuchars. It was the second time for me on these tops but I think it's nice to do hills in a different way and in a different season.

On Sunday we did Ruadh Stac Mor on Beinn Eighe in 8 hours car-to-car. We walked past Liathach up into Coire Mhic Fhearchair,which is stupendous. Three 1000ft buttresses command the back of the corrie and dwarf everything underneath. We watched two folk climbing the East Buttress (grade IV) and they were just tiny. Another group were starting up Fuselage gully (grade II) which has the remnants of a Lancaster bomber that crashed in the corrie in 1951 (the resultant body recovery led to the formation of RAF Mountain Rescue. See here for more details - http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20010304/ai_n13957724/.

Our plans were more modest but involved a steep 100m scree gully that gave access to a bealach where you can walk up Ruadh Stac Mhor. Likely a grind in summer, the gully was banked out with hard snow and a small icy patch near the top. Going up it turned out to be easy enough, if calf-busting, but the high winds as we arrived at the tiny bealach wasn't pleasant. The plan was to do the western Munro (which we did) and then traverse the long ridge to the eastern Munro (which my friend had already done, and we didn't). Thoughts of an icy ridge, 40-50mph gusts reported from others higher up and at least one 50m vertical cliff-face to fall over if you slipped dampened my enthusiasm and I was happy to return to Coire Mhic Fhearchair, where we headed back to the car.