Friday, 13 June 2014

Knoydart – Day 1

Knoydart is a peninsula in Scotland west of Fort William and there is no road access. There are three Munro’s in the area and there is no way of climbing them without staying on-site. There is a small village – Inverie (population 120) which is run by the Knoydart Trust. There is a pub (The Old Forge) – the remotest in Britain 16 miles from the nearest road. We booked to stay in the bunk house for two nights, climbing Ladhar Bheinn (short day) on arrival, then the longer day with Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe tackled the next day.

We were up again at 5.30am driving across Scotland to Malliag to catch the 9.30am boat to Knoydart, Unfortunately on arrival it was raining, also the midgies were out!

The trip over on the boat was good – we arrived at the Quay and made our way past the pub to the Bunkhouse, a 15 minute walk. The weather forecast had changed overnight with today starting showery but brightening up later, but tomorrow was poor with heavy rain due. At the last minute I decided we would tackle the two hills today and get it over with.

We were soon making good progress past the Loch an Dubh-Lochain up the Mam Barrisdale (the pass over the hills) by which time it had started to pouring down. A cairn on the path indicated the start of the climb up the north-west ridge of Luinne Bheinn. Visibility was about 30 yards and we contrived missed a junction in the path and ended up below a cliff face with the summit above us, but we climbed up a corrie to our left and were soon standing in the rain at the summit.

The summit of Luinne Bheinn or Luny Bin as it is commonly known.

We headed over the east top on a good path down over Druim Leac a’ Shith and eventually to the base of the east ridge of Meall Buidhe. We were soon standing by the cairn on the south-east top. It was only a further 200 metres to the main summit and as we got close the weather which had been improving suddenly opened up giving us great views.

The view from the summit of Meall Buidhe with the ridge we climbed up in cloud on the left

On top of Meall Buidhe with the sun breaking through

We descended down the west ridge and eventually arrived back at the bunk house at 8.15pm unfortunately we had booked a table at the pub of 8.00pm. We quickly showered and marched off again. The staff were excellent and the food plentiful and good quality.

The two hill we had climbed – it wasn’t like this when we started!

We arrived back at the bunkhouse to find we were sharing with half a dozen others, they were all fast asleep with the lights out, we had to stumble around in the dark, they also had left us the top bunks to sleep in – great, so knackered, aching limbs and a full bladder I clambered up the step ladders and tried to manoeuvre myself into bed. I was just starting to drop off when the snoring started, I was not impressed. Even less so when I had to clamber out of bed at 2.00am to go you know where. Between paying a visit and returning to bed I lost about a pint of blood to the midgies, they were ferocious!

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