About 10 years ago, my good friend Guy, led me on a walk up the Munro Stob a’ Choire Odhair in the Blackmount region of the Scottish West Highlands. Guy, never one to just follow the standard routes up hills, suggested we climb this Munro by way of its neighbouring top, Beinn Toaig. We did this and it made for a very good route, but on that day, it was a very good route in thick cloud and we didn’t see very much. Since then Nita and I had been back on two or three occasions, and on one of them, we enjoyed hot clear conditions ….but still didn’t see much because of very thick heat haze!
Yesterday, with the weather once again set fine for the West Highlands of Scotland, we decided to go back to Beinn Toaig, but this time, spend a few hours exploring it and enjoying the fine views we expected to get. That said however, it didn’t look too hopeful as we drove up the side of Loch Lomond at about eight o’clock yesterday morning. There was thick dark cloud and it all looked very dreary. We shouldn’t have worried however, the folk at the Mountain Weather Information Service had got it right and by the time we’d had a coffee and breakfast at the Green Welly, the thick cloud was breaking up and clear blue skies were taking over.
We parked the car at the end of the road near Victoria Bridge on the West Highland Way and following the broad track through the trees until we reached the open moorland. The views were already stunning and our hill, Beinn Toaig, looked very inviting with plenty of snow still on its steep upper slopes. We weren’t really sure what the conditions would be like higher up as, after many weeks of freezing temperatures on the mountains, spring had suddenly arrived and the temperatures were quite high. After a couple of kilometres on the WHW we turned off and made our way across the edge of the moorland, heading for the lower end of the broad ridge leading from the summit of Beinn Toaig. I can’t quite say how wonderful it was to be out here with the mountains all around and the huge space of Rannoch Moor stretching out below us. Wow! There was a lot of snow higher up but despite this there were still areas of snow free ground and for the most part we were able to follow these up the steep slopes leading onto the ridge. By the time we needed to get onto the snow, the slopes were very gentle and the snow underfoot, fairly soft.
I had hoped before setting out, that the views from the ridge into the heart of the Blackmount, would be good. When we gained the height and could see into the main group of mountains ….well, it was just breathtaking, especially so in this clear crisp spring light. We spent so much time just stopping and looking and taking photographs and our lunch spot was one of the most enjoyable and spectacular we’ve had for a long time …..and that says something. We could hear the distant roar of the river rushing through the glen below heading for Ba Bridge and Rannoch Moor and there were the occasional sounds of Raven, Plovers and at one point, high up, two Golden Eagles. Nita watched them for quite a while but they were too high up for me to make out ……but it was great to know they were there.
We didn’t quite reach the summit of Beinn Toaig in the end. We carried on until about three o’ clock and still a short distance from the top, decided it was probably sensible to start heading back ….I really am very slow on the descent! It was probably a good decision as in the end we only got back to the car at about half past six and the sun was down by then and everything was getting a little dark. What a day though …… my jaw was aching from smiling so much!