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The Great Wilderness – Dundonnell and Fisherfield Forest

Our second annual Highlands trip was at the end of April 2010, to Dundonnell and Fisherfield Forest, near Ullapool in Wester Ross,  the Scottish Highlands.

Heading Out

Gin, Ol, Kitty, Griff and I (Pip was in a play in London so had to stay behind with the Grandparents for support) planned three nights of rough camping and Munro bagging.  It didn’t go to plan because Flybe lost my bag on the way up – I didn’t fancy a 4° night in a tent wearing just my jeans and t-shirt – so we spent Friday night and Saturday morning finding a place to crash, and borrowing bits of kit.   Anyway, once we’d begged and bought enough stuff that I could survive the weekend, my bag turned up, so we set off just 16 hours late.

The area is known as the Great Wilderness, and the further in you go the more remote it feels.  Because we’d started so late, we camped only about five miles in, on the bend of a river under some budding silver birch trees.  It was a perfect spot.

Idyllic Campsite Campfire Day 2 #3 Tree #2

Even if it was surrounded by deer corpses – there were three within five meters, and they scattered the whole area, victims of this year’s particularly harsh winter…  After setting up the camp, we took a little stroll to some waterfalls a mile or so off.

Idyllic Campsite, surrounded by corpses Exploring a waterfall #2 Second Waterfall #1 Second Waterfall #4

On the Sunday we had a choice of hills.  The most dramatic, An Teallach, was not possible because the rivers were in spate and because the crags are dangerous enough in the summer when they’re not covered in snow.  The girl who lent me some waterproofs had a friend who slipped off the path two years ago and fell to her death.

We chose Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh, the northern summit of a long ridged massif of three Munroes.  First off, crossing the icy burn.  It was a simple climb, with just a little scrambling at the top, and the weather was good throughout.  The summit was attained after a few hundred metres along the snowy ridge, then we descended a little and stopped for lunch.

River Crossing Day Two #2 Climbing Day 2 #5 Climbing Day 2 #6 Summit Day 2 #3 Summit Day 2 #4

On the trip down we detoured to a waterfall before returning to another camp-fire, another great dinner from Kitty , and drank all the whisky we had left.

Descent Day 2 #5 Third waterfall #2 Third waterfall #6 Campfire Day 2 #1 Campfire Day 2 #2

On the Monday morning we struck camp and walked out via the Shenavall bothy and the foot of An Teallach.  The route was boggy but beautiful.  We were back at the car for 2:30 and the airport for 4, and I was in the bath in London by 8pm!

Hiking Out Day Three #1 Hiking Out Day Three #5 Hiking Out Day Three #9 Luggage Heading Back

Thanks everyone, I had a great time!.  Full photoset is on Flickr here, and there’s a map here.


Created with flickr slideshow.

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