Wednesday, February 08, 2012

142-143. Beinn an Dothaidh (129), Beinn Dorain (64). 06/02/2012

This was one of those days you can wait for a long time - I am struggling to think of a hill I have climbed in better conditions.

From our lodgings in the Bridge of Orchy Hotel (which was very nice btw), it really is the obvious walk and we could see our twin targets only a couple of miles away as soon as we set out. As we climbed up to the bealach, the ground became a bit icy, but nothing too much to worry about and by the time it got steep this was just hard packed snow. The four of us all took ice axes (which is good practice), although on this walk they weren't required. The only worry was that the section before the pass would be too icy to get up, but this proved not to be the case. By this point the views were already superb and they were only to improve.

The snow slopes slowed our progress a little, but also later cushioned our descent. We were soon at the top of Beinn an Dothaidh (pronounced Ben uh Naw-hee, clearly), from where we had clear views for hundreds of miles in all directions. The snow-clad peaks of Bens Lui, Cruachan, Starav, Nevis, Lawers, and More were amongst the clearest and most obvious, but we could also catch glimpses of Skye, Mull, the Paps of Jura and all the hills in between. Also, reaching this top meant that I was over the half way point in terms of Munros - A fact that I forgot to celebrate having only realised it when we were back at the hotel.

Having feasted oor een for a moment, we ambled along to Beinn Dorain to the south. I had been well warned by every guide book and several co-climbers that there was a false top here, but fortunately it was a clear day, so we weren't fooled into stopping too soon! The last 100m of ridge gave a great idea of scale, since we were able to look straight down to the A82 as the side of the hill took one continuous swoop for some 1000m of descent. Needless to say, this was not the way down. We retraced our steps to the pass and easily negotiated the steep snow slopes from there to the path. Definitely one of my best outings.

Distant Nevis, some 30 miles away.

Back along the summit ridge from Beinn Dorain.

The four of us at the to of Beinn an Dothaidh.

BaD with the Glen Etive hills behind.

The pointed top of Ben Cruachan, from the bealach.


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