The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Five go to Corrieshalloch Gorge
It was another bright sunny day in the Highlands. After a few days of serious hill walking in desert like conditions there were big decisions to be made. There was so much to see and do in the area. Should I stay in our luxury lodge for the day, sitting on the terrace and admiring the views, lunching on delicious CYHA sandwiches? But no, I dragged myself off to join John Judi Colin and Cress on a walk along the Corrieshalloch Gorge.
We drove a few miles back up the road to Braemar junction and not far from there we found the Gorge. Down a steep path we went and across a wibbly-wobbly bridge, made even more wobbly by the large number of European tourists rushing across to the viewing platform. Piece of cake, as I later realised. The views were spectacular, all the way back along the gorge to Loch Broom. The foot bridge over the river looked very familiar; not surprising as it was designed by John Fowler of Forth Rail Bridge fame.
Back in the car for a mile or so and then we were at the start of our walk back to the Lodge. No other tourists here. We crossed a bridge and walked along a very narrow path high above the river. It was quite likely that no other humans had trodden this path in a very long time, only deer, and when we were faced with a six foot high deer fence we were stymied. Rather than risk life and limb by fording the river we decided to turn back and find another bridge that was marked on the map. It was a very old bridge with rusty iron and some missing railings, rotten wood and missing planks. Some of the party scampered across, others took their time. As I gingerly inched my way along I thought that at least my fall would be broken by the tree tops, but there were no trees in the middle of the river.
We hopped along and across the rocks for a while before we were out of the gorge and into more open pastures. We ambled along beside the river, watching the occasional fish jumping, until we were back at our lovely Inverbroom Lodge in time for tea or G & T on the terrace.
The Walkers Who Stare at Goats
It was hot. It had been hot all week, but finally there were a few clouds forming on the hills. With the inland peaks partly covered, this was a recipe for a coastal hill walk and Beinn Ghobhlach fitted the bill.
The initial ascent was a steep slog through trackless heather up to a couple of tarns. Trudi took advantage with a cooling swim for some respite from the heat. Whilst the break was welcome, we were still only about half way up – plenty of time to get all sweaty again.
Down by the lochs there was grass and heather along with the most beautiful sundews – like sticky red jewels in the grass – but as we climbed the land got steadily rockier. At the summit was loose rock and a small shelter had been built at one end: the perfect location for a spot of lunch whilst we listened to the rumble of thunder from neighbouring peaks.
Nibbling on our beautifully hand-crafted sandwiches, we became aware of being watched. Over the rise of the summit we could just see a pair of twitching ears. Standing up for a better look, we made out five white goats. Knowing they’d been rumbled, they started and trotted off further along the ridge, but not too far.
Lunch over, we continued our walk, completing the circuit of the ridge before descending back down to the lochside. The goats trotted along in front of us, never quite letting us catch up, or letting us out of their sight. Eventually, as we got to the end of the ridge, their nerve broke and they raced off down the slope at a speed we couldn’t hope to match.
Descending at a more sedate pace, we forged our own path through the bracken down to the lochside. The walk ended with a lovely stroll back to the car along a path lined with beautiful orchids. Just one of many superb walks accomplished on our Whitsun week at Inverbroom.
The Beinn Dearg Epic
Having settled into our splendid Victorian shooting lodge, with its grand dining room, luxurious lounge and vast billiard room, our first morning in the Scottish Highlands was dazzlingly sunny, so nine of us dashed off to the nearest Munros – The Beinn Dearg Four. The walk in saw 3 turn back due to excess heat and insufficient water, but the slog up Eididh nan Clach Geala rewarded us with spectacular views to the mountains of Assynt including the distinctive outlines of Stac Pollaidh, Suilven and Canisp that would provide targets for later in the week. Five of us pressed onwards, crossing increasingly large snowfields and passing lochans adorned with glistening ice. After the second peak, Fergus and Colin hurtled off across the wilderness to claim the third, while Mike, Ali and I scrambled up the boulders to the high point on Beinn Dearg. Returning to the car park at sunset, 12 hours after we’d left, it was certainly an epic start to an amazing week!
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