The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 9 September 2023

Gairbeinn (896m; NN460985), Geal Charn and Corrieyairack Hill

Thursday 7 September
Start Point: Small parking area at road end by Melgarve (which is some 5km beyond the road end as shown on current OS maps, but only around 1.3km beyond the road end shown on my 2011 map)
Distance and ascent: 16.1km, 854m
Weather: Glorious!

Another excellent weather forecast and my final opportunity for a hill on this trip. I opted for Gairbeinn, from Melgarve, to be tackled as a circuit with (yet another) Geal Charn and Corrieyairack Hill. Corrieyairack Hill is shown on the map as being the same height as Gairbeinn, and they used to be listed as a twin Corbetts, but more modern surveying has shown Gairbeinn to be the higher of the two.

For the second time this week, MWIS got the wind forecast wrong. There was a breeze today but not enough to be really noticeable.

Early mist at low level again

My main objective (Gairbeinn) viewed from the Corrieyairack track.

If there’s any sort of a trodden line up the hill from this side, I didn’t find it. The going up to the 600m contour was rough; the going from there to around 850m was rough and steep. The rough, plus the steep, plus the temperature meant I took longer to get to the top than I’d expected, and by the time I got there it was clear that I’d not taken enough water with me. Even so, I opted to continue on to do the full circuit, choosing to enjoy the conditions up high (and get thirsty), even if it would leave me rushing later to fit in the rest of my task list for the day.

Summit selfie

It doesn’t come across on the photo, but the sun was setting off the colours of the hillsides nicely.

Crossing peat hags in the dip to my next objective wasn’t too bad after a dry week; I’ll wager they would have been soupy a week prior.

Not much need for navigation on such a fine day, particularly with two lines of (largely) parallel fence posts marking the way

After ascending on the right hand side of the shot, I’m going to end up at the top of the zigzags, to the right of the pylons, on the left side.

I’d seen a couple of large herds of deer, but didn’t expect to see sheep on the top of Corrieyairack Hill.

Looking up the Corrieyairack track (not the direction I’m going). I’d just joined it and had to race to take this snap before an ATV came past me.

Looking down in my direction of travel

At the top of the zigzags I came across a gaggle of mountain bikers, sweating profusely, sitting at the sides of the track. They’re cycling LEJOG (and certainly not via the easiest route!), one week per year, and were nearly at the end of this year’s final day, with their destination being Fort Augustus.

Looking back up the zigzags. If this snap was a better resolution, you’d be able to zoom in and see the cyclists.

A short while after that photo, I found a peaked cap sitting on the edge of a burn. It’s been a long while since we last found a hat out in the wilds, and even though this one was a bit muddy and had maybe been there a while, I picked it up (as litter, if nothing else; I also came back from this trip with a pair of glasses for the same reason). Later in the day I threw it in the machine with my laundry and it came out good enough to go into our hat collection.

The rest of the trot down the track was entirely straightforward, but by the bottom I was starting to feel like I had climbed into an oven. Once the car’s thermometer settled on the drive back to Newtonmore, it read 27 degrees. No wonder the 1 litre of water I’d taken with me had been inadequate! I consumed another litre between getting back to the car and leaving the glen.


Erica-the-Campervan patiently waiting for me, all on her lonesome


  1. As I commented a few posts back your photos are great when enlarged to a decent size. The size on your posts doesn't do them justice. I hope others take the trouble to "click to enlarge."

    1. Unusually, I have seen these in full size myself. Usually I have to pick which ones to include from my phone, but I've been at leisure lately to upload my snaps to the laptop before choosing. Alas, even in full size, they still don't do justice to the colours.

  2. I've just read your comment on my blog about disappearing photos and have put on this reply:
    Yes, 30 days seems to be a cut-off point for photos. Thanks for alerting me to this. I notice that another lot of photos have disappeared from the post on August 12th. What to do??
    I have been using BlogTouch to upload posts from my iPhone, and this app appears to be the cause of the trouble.

  3. Agreed, always worth taking the trouble to click on an image and view a slideshow. Also, if you have time, it's easy for the author to adjust the size at which images appear in the blog if they sign in to Blogger.
    Good to catch up, Gayle, I assume you are at home but returning to Scotland in October.