My first sighting of Streap, a superb, 909m high Corbett in the West Highlands of Scotland, was on a 6-day backpacking adventure from Glen Shiel to Glenfinnan, when a friend and I followed part of Scotland's epic Cape Wrath Trail. After I returned home, a paragraph in Ralph Storer's classic book, '100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains', which highlighted Streap's narrow summit ridge 'should be left well alone by the inexperienced" in Winter, continued to intrigue me over the years.
In February 2016, I finally organised a visit to Streap. The weather forecast was excellent and we spent a great two nights based in Gleann Dubh-Lighe bothy, trekking beneath a clear blue sky in temperatures that remained, pleasantly, well below freezing.
As Ralph Storer says, the mountain is not for the beginner in Winter. In poor weather, top-notch navigation skills will be needed to steer yourself through its complex, craggy bluffs and a steep-sided, narrow arete demands caution before the summit will be attained. On a nice day, the difficulties are slight and the ridge is simply awesome, with just the right amount of awkward terrain to keep your interest, incredible views - south-east to Ben Nevis and north-west out to the islands of Eigg, Rum and the Skye Cuillin - plus a small enough summit that it made me exclaim to my partner, "Okay, how do we get down from here?!".
All put together, Streap is an excellent hill. We paired it up with an ascent of Streap Comhlaidh and another Corbett, Braigh nan Uamhachan, completing a round trip of ‘feet in front of the bothy fire’ to 'feet in front of the bothy fire’ of 12 hours (our slowness in part due to our travel being hampered greatly by deep snow). The next again day, we made an ascent of another Corbett, Beinn a’Chrulaiste, via the fun scramble, Pink Rib.
View more photos from my Streap winter hiking adventure in my image library.
(Gear note - A few posts back, I advocated travelling light in the mountains. All the images on this fun winter hiking adventure were taken with a pro camera body and a single 24mm f2.8 lens, which I stuffed into a Lowepro Toploader AW75 camera bag for protection whilst I was on the move. Being able to take minimal photo gear into the mountains - and not the full quota of camera and lighting equipment, as I would if I was shooting for a client - definitely does make for a much more pleasant carrying experience).