An encouraging weather forecast did not disappoint. The conditions in Glencarron were excellent, and we decided to ascend Maol Chean-dearg from Coulags. There had been a hard frost, and the ground was well frozen – handy for negotiating boggy country. The first part of the walk up the glen was by the track to the new hydro dam. There are few suitable glens these days without a run-of-the-river scheme; much less intrusive than the windfarms.
Past the stone where legendary hero Fionn tethered his dog when he went off to fight the baddies, then take the track to the left towards the col. We cast a few longing glances up at An Ruadh-Stac; padding up the slabs is great on a summer’s day, but route-finding on the way down can be awkward – and slippery in these conditions! We left it for another day.
At the col, we left the path leading over to Torridon and struck off right up the hill path; well-defined in most places, but crossing a few boulder fields. The weather had been calm up until this point; we started to feel the wind chill heading onto the higher slopes. By the top the visibility was superb, but we were glad of the shelter of the elaborate cairn. Great views north to Torridon, west to the Applecross hills, south to Ben Nevis, east to the Monar hills…..
After a lengthy photographic stop at the summit we reluctantly headed back down the same way, stopping off at the bothy for some food and drink and getting back to the car at dusk, around 4.30; late enough for this time of year. But we cheered ourselves with the thought that the sun will be coming back towards us in around six weeks’ time!
The day was rounded off by a visit to the Ledgowan Hotel in Achnasheen and their ever-welcoming hosts, blazing fire and comfortable armchairs. The team this time was Daniel, Masoud, Michael, Dougie and Ewen.