Monthly Archives: December 2012

zen bothying

Rounded off the year with a trip to Ben Alder Cottage, dusting down my 80 litre rucksack and walking boots, which certainly have been neglected of late. However, such is the habit forming routine I am now experiencing, it didn’t stop me from booking a cycle berth on the train, not even realising til I got to Glasgow and looked through my tickets. Doh! The plan was to hitch down the road from Rannoch to Bridge of Gaur, and then yomp north through the forestry and on up to the bothy. There used to bus a daily bus service to Pitlochry but now it only operates on a Wednesday in the winter, and only three times a week in the summer. And I got lucky, cadging a lift from a guy delivering building supplies to the house next to the station. The binmen were also in attendance, but according to this bloke, who had made the trip a few times, they were supposedly a particularly grumpy lot. A bit more local knowledge to add to the mix.

view west on the walk in to the bothy

view west on the walk in to the bothy

The walk in was certainly as long as I remembered and it took the rest of the day, but I was happy in the knowledge that with a bit of coal in the pack, and plenty of trees near the bothy, a comfortable evening was in store. And so it came to pass. The left hand room has recently been transformed into very plush accommodation, with full wood panelling, a sleeping platform and a substantial, and very welcome, wood burning stove. In fact I had a moment of complete zen like peace warming my wine by the heat of the fire, before starting to get spooked by the inevitable creeks and groans coming from the roof, as the temperature dropped outside. The  ghost stories associated with the bothy are hard to shake from your consciousness.Pan (3438) cover

In the morning it was absolutely freezing, so much so the river had iced up overnight, and I was glad I didn’t have any particular plans for the day. In the end I forced myself up to the first summit before Beinn Bheoil to take some photos, but I was too lethargic to do anything else. I think I deserved a bit of a break from what has been a very enjoyable but at times quite relentless year. The next day I walked out to Corrour via the Bealach Cumhann and Loch Ossian, stomping my way through 3 miles of undisturbed snow before I got to the lodge. I haven’t been so relieved to make a bridge crossing in my life, and almost kissed the railing in gratitude. I was also pretty ecstatic that the bar/cafe at the station was open despite the lateness in the year. A fellow traveller even bought me a pint. Having a bit of a charmed life at the moment.

Ben Alder Cottage

Ben Alder Cottage

view north towards Beinn Bheoil and Loch Ericht

view north towards Beinn Bheoil and Loch Ericht

View east from Sron Coire na-h-Lolaire

View east from Sron Coire na-h-Lolaire

On the walk down back to the cottage

On the walk down back to the cottage

Sun setting over Loch Ossian

Sun setting over Loch Ossian

cheers for the lift

On a bit of roll at the moment. After my trip to Mark Cottage last Thursday, got an offer of a lift at the weekend from my mate Phil, who was off skiing at Aviemore. It looked like it was going to be a great day for taking photos so I was hoping to get a few shots for the archive, as well as entertaining the main objective of the trip which was a quick tour of Ryvoan. We got to Glenmore pretty early, so I was able to pose with my tripod on the shore of Loch Morvich for over half an hour, before giving the reindeer a nod and heading on up the hill. The plan was to stop off at the bothy for lunch and then venture up Meall a’Bhauchaille, hoping to dawdle long enough at the summit to be able to catch the sunset. I can’t believe I’d never done this walk before but I suppose the focus has always been on skiing or climbing whenever I’ve been up this way.  In the end I also spent a good couple of hours in the freezing cold at the top of hill waiting for the big moment, and in the end it wasn’t quite as spectacular as I’d hoped. Anyway it was all good, and in actual fact I’m pretty happy with my days work,

Loch Morich, Glenmore

Loch Morich, Glenmore

Meall a'Bhuachaille

Meall a’Bhuachaille

Ryvoan bothy, Glenmore, Cairngorms

Ryvoan bothy, Glenmore, Cairngorms

Sunset from Meall a'Bhuachaille

Sunset from Meall a’Bhuachaille

Cairngorm and Byack Mor

Cairngorm and Byack Mor