It was an early start from Dalwhinnie with Mairi as we cycled into the Ben Alder hills along the stunning Loch Ericht. The plan was to try to climb all six Munros and make the best of the fantastic hot sunny weather that was still with us. Our journey in went well though it was hot by the time we reached the area near Culra to set up our one night camp and have a cup of coffee. We left our camp and bikes to walk up Ben Alder first using the wonderful Long Leachas ridge to scramble up onto the plateau. The wild flowers were stunning with a lovely cushion of Moss Campion near the top of the ridge. It was bone dry and our route took us purposefully past some streams to ensure we could drink enough water in the hot sun. The walking was superb and we were soon having some lunch at the summit shelter taking in the views with some Ptarmigan nearby for company.
The walk round to Beinn Bheoil was great with views of the remaining snow on Ben Alder and even a soaring Golden Eagle overhead as we worked our way down the steep broken slopes to the beallach. We pushed on to reach the summit for afternoon tea as well as the views of Ben Alder and Loch Ericht. It was a superb day to be out in the hills. After some refreshments we headed down to the tents for the night and were treated to a breeze keeping the midges at bay long enough for a wash and dinner then into the tents to rest for tomorrows challenges.
We had an early start to see if we could climb our first hill before it got too hot and were soon enjoying the rest on the top of Carn Dearg after a very steep start to the day. the views and morning light were amazing highlighting Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from yesterday as well as the dramatic cliffs of Geal Charn our next summit. A light breeze and some red deer were on the ridge to Geal Charn and the reflections in Loch an Sgoir were stunning. The climb up onto Geal Charn is another steep one and we diverted to get fresh water from a good spring before crossing the lovely grassy plateau with Mossy Cyphel and Moss Campion dotted amongst some boulders. Our route ahead was basking in sunshine and after some more food we continued along the grassy ridge to Aonach Beag listening to Ring Ouzels in the corrie below. On the way down Aonach Beag we stopped at the rich soil section to see what plants were out to find Mouse-ear, Alpine Lady’s Mantle, Water Avens, Frog Orchids, Tormentil, Alpine Meadow Rue, Starry Saxifrage, Moss campion and the remains of Purple Saxifrage flowers. It’s a fantastic spot and so luscious!
The final summit was Beinn Eibhinn where we sat for a while enjoying the views towards Loch Ossian with Ben Nevis beyond. Sadly we still had a long way to go and we began our descent to the Beallach Dubh and back down to the tents. It was very hot and still in the glens and after more coffee and packing up the tents we were back on our bikes for the long cycle back to Dalwhinnie. A fantastic trip and we made good time in the heat, but the views were well worth the effort!