I wanted a short trip somewhere amazing. Five hours drive from the Central Belt gets you that. Leave at the time you normally commute to work, and you can be there at lunchtime and still have up to ten hours of daylight to play with. Why don't more of us do this, more often?
Slioch, five hours and another world away:
Previous trips to Kinlochewe and Torridon were concentrated on Munros. Today it was the turn of a couple of Corbetts to the north of Beinn Eighe.
Ruadh Stac Beag prominent from Meall a' Ghiuthais:
Ruadh Stac Beag is Beinn Eighe's orphan peak, a junior companion to Beinn Eighe's summit of Ruadh Stac Mor, but despite its closeness to the main ridge it is almost never tackled on a traverse of the Beinn Eighe massif due to the drop and reascent required. To the north of the wee red stac is Meall a' Ghiuthais, both peaks easily ascended by stalker's track from the oddly named village of Kinlochewe (odd because it should be Kinlochmaree - Loch Ewe is miles away). I climbed out my car, donned boots, rubbed on sun cream, and headed off at pace on the hottest part of the day. Moving quickly through the forest trail kept the clegs at bay but this was not the real reason my legs were pumping like pistons up the stalkers path. The real reason was that strange excitement of a new hill on a fine day.
The hot squeak of quartzite on quartzite as the stones on the path ground underfoot.
Ruadh Stac Beag is a steep knob of quartzite blocks, grey and bright. I took the easiest route up a stream to the col between this hill and Beinn Eighe. The summit rocks are pitted with what looks like the fossilised shells of sea creatures.
Back down the way I came, then as hard as I could up Meall a' Ghiuthais. A fantastic view back over to Beinn Eighe and Torridon.
Loch Maree gloriously blue and island studded, and An Teallach keeked up behind Slioch.
Torridon and sunshine makes for a happy hillwalker, and I was looking forward to a relaxed camp. And in this more expansive frame of mine, the highlight of the day revealed itself. I did not even notice on the way up, so fixated was I at getting my Corbetts, but a small lochan near the path was full of newts! I watched them for over half an hour.
This year's short spring is nearly over already: summer is knocking on the door, and it could not have started any better than a weekend by Loch Maree. Will you go anywhere amazing this weekend?
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