Sunday, 3 May 2015

Knoydart, Apr'15

Richard and Al were leading April's long weekend hiking in the Knoydart peninsula. Here's Richard's tale of the weekend....

Al and I met up at Mallaig to catch the ferry over to Inverie and were soon enjoying a speedy crossing of Loch Nevis to the Knoydart peninsula. After settling into the Foundation Bunkhouse the group were left to explore the village and stretch their legs after long journeys to get here. A few folk came on later ferries and soon our plans were made for the next day.

The walks are all big mountain days on Knoydart so an early start saw us heading for Mam Barrisdale to traverse the peaks of Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe. It was a lovely start to the day with a cool wind and sunshine not to mention the millions of wild primroses all flowering at once to make for a beautiful bright walk up to the pass. As we set off on rougher ground from the pass we were joined by blustery winter showers though they were well broken. Al took some of the group on a wild bypass of Luinne Bheinn whilst I took the rest over the first summit in some fairly blustery strong winds. We soon met up on the long wild ridge to Mell Bhuidhe and the sunshine began to win the day leaving us with cold winds and a glorious afternoon as we walked back to Inverie to complete a wonderful long day in the hills.

Our plan changed for the next day as the weather forecast was suggesting a return to winter and very strong gusts of wind on higher summits. We walked around to the ruins at Folach before climbing up to the west ridge of Ladhar Bheinn. It was soon apparent that there was much more snow than just showers and we soon entered the white room! A brief snack in some relative shelter and we got the group to work as a team and we completed the final hundred metres of climbing to reach the trig point from were the conditions deteriorated to full wonder with driving snow, spindrift and a white out. We carefully negotiated the last narrow section to reach the summit and returned after a quick celebration. 

Jelly babies and a rapid descent were the only option so we soon worked out way together back down looking for some shelter. It took a long time, but when we finally came back out of the slippery snow and cloud we all sat down to have a very late lunch. It was a wild day and the long walk back to Inverie soon had everybody looking forward to some refreshments at the pub!

After a great evening many of the group were planning on relaxing before the return ferry, but Al took some off for an trip up Beinn na Caillich whilst I took a few up Stob Coure Choinnichean. By mid morning it was not a nice day and most of the group were enjoying the coffee shop and hot drinks before a really wet walk along the pier to catch the ferry back to Mallaig!

Allan, one of the group summed up the weekend : "Thanks for the Knoydart weekend. 2 good days of hills. Kenny enjoyed it too. A good bunch of people and 2 very good guides".

More photos by Jelena Brown are up in Jelena Brown's Flickr album.