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Icy Lochan | by Scotland's Mountains
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Icy Lochan

Video of adventure:

 

youtu.be/gKgv56WycM8

 

My third and final day in Sutherland and I had planned on heading up the magnificent Ben Stack at the head of Loch More. However as the days progressed I had kept one eye on the weather and the forecast for this final day was looking a bit gloomy Shame as it was the winter solstice today and Ben Stack would have been an ideal short outing give the short day ahead (in terms of available daylight!!)

 

Instead I opted for the final Corbett in the immediate area – Beinn Leoid. As this was probably going to be a bit more of a trek I set the alarm early, struggled out of my warm , cosy sleeping bag and eventually got my kit ready and drove the 500 metres to the start of the hike  The mist was down to the glen floor and as I set of my head torch illuminated the water particles in the dark and it felt other worldly. Heading up the well-made stalkers path, ancient, knurled trees revealed themselves out of the darkness and gloom as my ray of light caught their contorted shapes, all really a bit spooky! Up I went and eventually found the light starting to appear. I had thought it would com earlier given the time but the fog bank I was in was blocking any of the residual dawn light hitting me and as I walked higher I started to get above this first bank of fog and found myself in-between layers of cloud as the dawn approached. As light started to reveal a monochrome landscape I was soon reaching the endof the (rather icy) stalkers path and I could see that the next hour was going to be contouring rough ground round the side of the Graham Meallan a’ Chuaill. I had planned on going up here for sunrise to capture some photos but that plan had disappeared as soon as the landscape was revealed to me with the growing light (I should say that the light revealed no landscape but clouds hugging the mountains – hence no views!!).

 

On a trudged round the side of the hill and I was very relieved to catch a glimpse of Loch Dubh, as I knew another stalkers path awaited me here! A short break at Loch Dubh and the feeling of remoteness was at its height here, it is a lonely place ! rough ground and knowing there aren’t many other humans for miles and miles gives it that wilderness feel, especially with the clag in! Up and over the corrie headwall and the ground conditions eased as the vegetation shortened as I gained height. The white icy rime hat had greeted me on the last two days also materialised and ice coated all vegetation. A light mizzle started to fall and all layers were donned. Head down and onto the summit I went.

 

With little chance of any views appearing, I did a piece to camera then headed back down the way I had come. I knew I still had a fair bit of rough walking to go and then a 4 hour drive home so I wasn’t hanging about. The rain grew ever more steady as I descended and the icy on the path became even more treacherous when I finally reached it again. The fog had lingered all day in the glen and I got some nice shots before the final descent to the car. Another lovely walk and although no blue skies , the conditions today had their own qualities , sometimes these days are just as rewarding if not more so than the blue sky days….

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Taken on December 21, 2018