The purpose of the pilgrimage to Beinn Sgritheall was to meet a friend who was down to his last six Munros. I wouldn't be able to join him for the grand finale on Mull in September but wanted to be there for at least one of his final few, hence this rather crazy arrangement. Myopic Munro bagging results in these situations where the driving outweighs the walking. Beinn Sgritheall is remote and brutally steep. It eschews the small talk and gets straight down to business with a relentless climb from sea level at Arnisdale to the summit. On a day of low cloud with no views, such as today, it is the ultimate bonkers bagger's peak.
Arnisdale village feels - and is - a long way from anywhere. It faces Knoydart across Loch Hourn, and is walled in behind by the huge silent slopes of Beinn Sgritheall and Beinn na h-Eaglaise, screes toiling up into dry-ice clouds.
|Boats moored off Arnisdale|
|Putting the scree into Sgritheall|
The descent was every bit as unrelenting as the climb up. Then after a coffee and a breather at the roadside it was back in the car for a four hour drive back to Fife.
|Not nice for knees|
I didn't have a particular route in mind, so this walk developed into an unplanned wander. If anything I wanted to avoid climbing hills for the sake of it! Large tracts of hillside above Muckhart, in Glen Quey and in neighbouring Glen Sherup have been planted with native woodland by the Woodland Trust. Across Glen Devon to the east, a less welcome plantation of wind turbines sprouted from the hilltops. I'll be walking through this one on the Tay watershed walk.
|Green Knowes wind farm from Innerdownie|
I followed a trail up the glen, then onto the ridge of Mailer's Knowe, where a black grouse scuttled then flew away low over the heath and saplings. At the boggy watershed between the head of Glen Sherup and the Glen of Sorrow grew an abundance of cottongrass, white heads bobbing and waving in the wind.
I jogged - yes jogged! - up the grassy slopes to Tarmangie Hill. To the west the highest part of the Ochils massif bigged up its modest credentials under a mantle of stormy cloud. Sadly, more of those pesky 'money spinners' were planted right where they shouldn't be.
|Burnfoot wind farm from Tarmangie Hill|
The return of the sun coincided with my emergence into upper Glen Quey. Some semblance of wildness is returning here thanks to the work of the Woodland Trust.
|Two very different visions of forestry in Glen Quey|
|The birth of a new native forest in Glen Quey|