The Beast from the East never fully made it to the west coast. But it did force us to change our plans from the Beinn Dearg group because of persistent showers sweeping in from the east and dumping snow in a band stretching from Dornoch to Ullapool. There was no sign of that at Achnashellach – just perfect neve, ice on the paths and another dozen walkers from our sister club, Highland Hillwalking Club, heading the same way as we were.
Michael, Dougie and new potential member David, had stopped at the parking area near to Loch Sgamhain to head for Moruisg – pictured above – by its northern ridge. Challenging conditions required the full panoply of compass, map and GPS for the detailed navigation to reach the final steep pull up Sgurr nan Ceannaichean’s ridge. In deteriorating weather the trio retraced their route, descending the North ridge with a wee sigh of relief as they exited the cloud. David’s first winter excursion was deemed challenging and enjoyable in Ledgowan Lodge afterwards.
Ewen, Toni, Peter, Marion and Nell headed east from Achnashellach station and enjoyed a gentle climb up the hillside to the Coulin Pass. After elevenses, Marion and Peter headed west up Carn Odhar. Ewen, Toni and Nell carried on round to the Teahouse bothy at Easan Dorcha. It was a very pleasant walk with frequent stops to enjoy the views and take photos. Frozen waterfalls seemed to be the outstanding feature of the day.
The rest of the group – Robin, Masoud, Kirsty, Shona, John and Arthur – loitered for a bit in the forestry car park at Craig to allow the Highland Hillwalkers to get a head start, before walking up the track to the stalkers path up Sgurr na Feartaig. It was good neve all the way, and after the summit the cloud cleared to give the group clear views of where they were heading along the ridge, although there was still a chill wind. A steep descent down towards Carn Mor took them to the stalkers path – below – and the long march back to Craig. En route, a pair of climbers who were also descending reported stonking conditions on the waterfall climbs in Coire na h-Eilde.