Back to The Mountains (Sgurr Nan Conbhairean)

Spring has turned to summer and mountaineering bears were feeling restless. It had been over a hundred days of lockdown, staying a home to help combat the dreaded covid 19 virus. We had been busy in the garden.

Planting a lawn

The climbing gear was checked for wear or damage!

‘This rope is OK!

And some new gadgets tested.

This solo wood burning stove is very efficient

We practiced our mountaineering skills

Definitely getting better at abseiling

and tried our best to keep fit!

‘Phew’

So when the travel restrictions were lifted we were ready to go. The Adventure Wagon was packed with all the necessary kit and kaboodle, and at 6:30 in the morning, bleary eyed bears hit the road, heading for one of our favourite areas, Kintail. By 7:30 we were waving to Nessie as we drove past Lochness

and an hour later four very excited bears were starting out from the shores of Loch Cluanie. The mountains looked very imposing and I was wondering if we were all fit enough to climb that high! Well there was only one way to find out! “Onward and upward Mountaineering Bears”

Four excited Bears ready to climb a mountain.

The hills were colourful with wild flowers. Corbett was beside himself running from flower to flower with excitement. On the lower slopes, the pale cross leaved heath was growing side by side with the deeper bell heather and there was a profusion of Spotted Marsh Orchids.

Corbett admiring the cross leaved heath

Even the cotton grass flowers seemed plump and extra fluffy.

Higher up the small flowers of the starry saxifrage bloomed in the damp shady places ground with patches of wild thyme on rockier ground. Mountain everlasting, thrift and alpine ladies mantle all added to the display.

Corbett with some of his favourite wild flowers

All the way up the mountain we were accompanied by the chit chat song of the wheatear as it flitted from rock to rock! Frogs large and small were jumping out of our way. I saw a large gold and black dragonfly laying eggs in a stream and a vivid green emperor moth caterpillar eating its way through the heather.

Emperor Moth Caterpillar

The track, soon became a path which got fainter as we made our way upwards. It was rough under foot, sometimes muddy and lots of streams to ford. The mountain beckoned us on but no matter how far we walked it never seemed to get any closer.

‘It ought to be closer than that! Surely’

and then came the peat hags. A chance to teach Alligin the art of bog hopping!

Bog Hopping in a peak hag

Oh dear! He’s wobbling! Not sure Alligin has got the hang of of this yet!

Grad a hold of this! We will soon have you out of there!

It’s not a proper mountaineering adventure unless at least one bear ends up with a wet bum! šŸ˜‚

Gorm Lochan in Coire Lair was a pawfect spot for a rest and an early lunch. Alligin had a wash. Corbett spotted newts and water snails in the crystal clear water while I was just soaking up the atmosphere and Big Ted was soaking his hot paws.

Gorm Lochan Coire Lair.

‘Come on bears, mountains don’t climb themselves! Time to get moving’ Rested and refreshed we scampered up the steep grass to Glas Bealach.

From the bealach there were mountains in every direction, as far as the eye could see. We had reached 950m altitude and it would be an easy walk to Sgurr nan Conbhairean summit. But where is the adventure in that! We are Mountaineering Bears and like to do things the mountaineering way! So rather than go up, we went down!

Down into the Glen between Sgurr Nan Conbhairean and Creag a Chaorainn

and down and down and down into the Glen, so that we could climb back up the mountain by its rocky North East Ridge.

Which one is the middle buttress?

We had instructions to follow but they didn’t make much sense so we followed our noses! ‘Take care bears, this rock smells a bit rotten and loose’

‘I don’t think this grass will hold me, I wish I had eaten less cake during lockdown’

Corbett decided to climb the grass, but that smelt scarier, it was steep, muddy and slippery with nothing to hang on to but loose tufts. I am sure I heard him whimpering.

‘Now where have all those juggy holds gone!’
Look Alligin that is Glen Affric to the north
Oh my bear! Take it steady Big Ted!
Whats round this corner?

It is the final slope to the top!

Sgurr Nan Conbhairean Summit

Way hey! We made it! Time for heroic summit poses! Mountaineering bears, are back where they belong.

Ben Nevis

It felt like a long walk down but the grassy ridge was gentle on our sore paws and we could see Ben Nevis in the distance! So back we trudged through the mud, and the wild flowers, thinking noble thoughts about egg and chips for supper!

I wonder where we will go next!
The route

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