On Friday evening ten members of the Club assembled at Raisg, the Climbers’ Club Hut at Roybridge. This turned out to be a very well appointed hut and the scope for access to the hills was enormous. Discussion over drinks turned to objectives for Saturday’s walk: we decided to stay close to base. Jim wanted to bag Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain to the east of Loch Treig, while Mike was keen to visit the Easains on the opposite side of the loch, both of these could be reached from the Fersit road.
The tops were all cloud covered when we set off in the morning and it was very mild. Clouds of flying insects plagued us as we toiled up the steep muddy slopes of Meall Cian Dearg and onto the ridge above. We could hear stags roaring in the hills around us, and later spotted a large herd in Coire Aluinn above Loch Treig. As we approached the top of our first hill, Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin, breaks in the clouds gave us glimpses of the surrounding wild country. We sheltered from the chilly breeze at the cairn and ate our lunch. Then we descended a stony shoulder to the bealach before climbing again towards the impressive peak of Stob Coire Easain.
At last the clouds cleared to reveal fine views of the Grey Corries and the Nevis ranges and south over Rannoch Moor – so many places to visit on future outings. We took another break to enjoy our lofty viewpoint.
After a long traverse along the ridge we dropped to a path beside a lovely river and eventually picked up the track of the dismantled tramway (part of the extensive work undertaken as part of the Lochaber Power Scheme associated with the aluminium smelter at Fort William http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/~scotgaz//features/featurefirst10538.html.)
The tramway took us round the base of Craig Fhiaclach and back to a track that led down to our starting point beside An Dubh Lochan. By this time the other party was already in the bar at the nearby hotel so we drove back to the hut, and after refreshing showers and welcome cups of tea everyone repaired to the hotel for a delicious meal – no preparation or washing up!
On Sunday the party now only eight in number, as Dan and Nigel had headed for home, packed up their kit and drove the short distance to Roughburn near the Laggan Dam. From here we set out for Beinn a’Chaorainn. Initially we followed a forestry track but once on the hill it was again boggy underfoot. The day was much chillier than Saturday with a cold wind, so extra layers were needed as soon as we stopped walking. After the boggy climb up Meall Clachaig we moved onto stonier ground and continued the climb up the ridge which steepened markedly as we approached the first of Beinn a’Chaorainn’s three tops. Then it was a windy walk round the rim of a well-defined corrie where a number of ravens were enjoying the up-draught.
The views were extensive: peaks to the west were particularly clear, notably Knoydart and the Munros above Loch Lochy, and to the north we could see the hills of Kintail amongst many others. We descended from the third top towards the glen and found a large boulder which offered us a lunchtime shelter. Then it was off across the boggy area around Tom Mor before ascending the line of a steep gully and onto the rugged slopes of Beinn Teallach – this hill was a Corbett until a re-survey in 1984 promoted it to the lowest spot on the list of Munros, its height is now officially 915 metres.
On the way up Beinn Teallach we startled a blue hare which quickly loped out of sight. Apart from more roaring stags this was the only animal life we came across.
Following the ridge of Beinn Teallach southward we veered off to join the track above the burn and then crossed the Allt a’Chaorainn to rejoin our outward route. A wee diversion along the riverbank is not to be recommended!
Despite the name, Beinn a Chaorainn (Hill of the rowan tree), I found only one rowan and that was near the end of the track – perhaps before the establishment of the forestry plantation there were more rowans growing in the vicinity.
Thanks to Mike for finding such a great base and for organising a superb weekend – even good weather! Thanks to the members who came along and shared a memorable trip: I always enjoy your company.
There is endless scope for lots more adventures in this area: a return visit should definitely be considered.