Well, I felt it was about time I introduce my beloved to a Munro! We drive north on a Friday night, stopping at the travellodge in Perth. Our goal for day one is a simple circuit starting from Balsporran cottages on the A9 and taking in the summit of Gael- Charn (one of many many Gael Charns, this one is the Drumochter Hills, west of the A9). We are the first people to park up on a crisp cold morning, & set off up the track with frost & ice crunching under our boots.
It is a very straightforward walk up the long eastern ridge, perfect for ones first Munro. We pause at the tall stone pillar that guards the eastern edge of the summit plateau to don an extra layer, then amble on to the summit cairn. There is some cloud around, but not to spoil our enjoyment of the day.
On the descent the track has begun to thaw, becoming very muddy. We are back at the car mid afternoon, and off to check into our hotel in Newtonmore. By a fantastic stroke of luck there is a small mix up with the room I booked and we are upgraded to the luxury bungalow. Score!
A delicious meal & a good nights sleep later, we are off for our second outing: A’Chailleach and Carn Sgulain in the Monadh Laith. We set out from the parking at the end of the road in Glan Banchor. A good track leads up into Allt a’ Chaorainn. We cross the main stream and climb alongside one of the tributaries. There is surprisingly little snow, even higher up, maybe the final 200m we find thicker patches.
We arrive at the summit cairn on A’ Chailleach (930m) in patchy cloud, wait for it to clear to get the views. Its another gorgeous day & I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather be, or any person I’d rather be in the hills with!
From A’Chailleach we descend North West, to cross the Allt Cuil na Caillich and attain the broad ridge leading up to the spot height to the west of Carn Sgulain. In by the stream we do find snowbanks, but nothing to give us any trouble. Heading up the other side we find ourselves in cloud, and also find the fence the Munro bible recommends one use as a handrail (we check the bearing to be sure). There are two summit cairns on Carn Sgulain, within sight of each other. I guess some people aren’t sure which point is higher…
To descend we continue with the fence for a little way, over Am Bodach, then turn right to head down from the belach between Am Bodach and Gael Charn back towards the main stream in Allt a’ Chaorainn. After what seems a long period of heather hopping we join a rather muddy path alongside the stream, that eventually links back up with the track on which we walked out. Thawing in the heat of the day, the track is a lot muckier than it was on the outward trip. Its a beautiful evening, looking back up we can see both hills still in drifting cloud. Another perfect day!