I had decided not to go up Bidean nam Bian on the Thursday, as I had already ascended it, was not too fussed about Sgreamach, and was feeling pretty rough after the previous day. The weather was awful on the Friday, and it had been decided in adavance that it would be our rest (shopping) day in Fort William. And it was here that we kitted Mr. Eadon out with new gloves and rucksack, in an attempt to prevent him from killing himself from hypothermia on a hill one day.
On the Saturday we set out for Beinn a’ Bheithir on what would turn out to be a fateful day. Yes there was a death, but regrettably it came not in the form of a human, but in fact was John’s alternator, or generator upon which he is so insistent on referring to it. Arriving at the Car Park at Gleann a’ Chaolais, we immediately turned round, and the car died altogether as John reversed it into a parking slot at the accomodation. The yellow pimp mobile in the last photograph is the car procured by John to replace it.
A rather light Hogmanay was conducted to facilitate a climb on Beinn a’ Bheithir on the Sunday, New Years Day. We worked our way up the forest track from the car park, a newly constructed path lifting us high onto the hillside above Gleann a Chaolais. We fought our way across an ice ridden track to the climb up to the foot of climb up to the bealach.
Whereas ice had been the main contention on the Aonachs, on Beinn a’ Bheithir it was slush. Particularly on the ascent of Sgorr Dhonuill it was very slippery, and with my slip on Aonach Beag in mind, I was not very happy, and moved very slowly. Summiting Sgorr Dhonuill we turned immediately back for the bealach, having been the first to summit the hill in 2006. It was very slippery on the way down from here, and I certainly took my time. We ascended up Sgorr Dhearg where we met several groups who had ascended directly from Ballachulish, and on the summit Chris produced a bottle of Champagne.
On descent we took the Ballachulish ridge, as that heading straight for the church appeared prohibitively steep from the summit. We reached a point on the Ballachulish Ridge where it too appeard very steep and slushy, with crampons not being an effective option on this terrain, we descended via Beinn Bhan over a gentle tussocky slope. As the path disappeared we descended directly over the fields, and into Ballachulish from where we walked back up the road to the car park at the foot of Gleann a’ Chaolais.
We had a good week all told, I probably lost a little confidence if the truth be told, but hopefully I will recover that by the time I arrive at Newtonmore in February.