I was out with Duncan on a trip into Glen Affric to climb An Socach, Mullach an Dheargain and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. We walked into Alltbeithe to stay for two nights planning to climb the hills in between. The weather forecast was reasonable and the wild flowers were fantastic all the way with the Birds Foot Trefoil or “Ham and Eggs” like a bright carpet. We stayed dry on the walk in and enjoyed the breeze at the hostel keeping the midges at bay. On the walk in a strange bird was calling at us and we managed to get some good views of it enabling us to identify it as a pair of Green Shanks. It turned out we would see a few of these on this trip. It was fairly quiet in the hostel, but good banter and as well as our walk we were also looking for a ladies gloves who’d dropped them on the furthest away summit.
We set off early and enjoyed an atmospheric walk up the stalkers path behind the hostel to gain the high ground passing an abundance of lousewort, milkwort, orchids, cloud berry and dwarf cornell to mention a few of the flowers. First we headed up to An Socach and were treated to the views as it had cleared before the other summits. On the way we saw more Green Shank as well as some Ring Ouzels and Mountain Azalea. Next we descended into the wild corrie behind to contour round and out to Mullach an Dheargain. As we scrambled down through the broken ground we were surrounded by Starry Saxifrage and Alpine Meadow Rue. The usually boggy section was extremely dry and we made good time over to the ridge passing Butterwort and more Orchids in the grasslands. It’s a rocky ridge for a good while and we were constantly hearing the Ring Ouzels calling though didn’t spot anymore. Now the flowers were mainly Moss Campion and Thrift making bright purples and pinks in between the boulders.
After some food and drink we left our packs and headed out for Mullach an Dheargain and were glad to find the missing gloves as seeing some red deer on the hill-side below in between the snow patches of which there were many. We went back to our packs and continued along the lovely ridge to head up the steep northern part onto Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan making it there during a clear spell and before it tried unsuccessfully to rain on us. It was a lovely day and as we traversed the ridge back down to our path to the hostel we enjoyed the flowers on display again as well as some interesting ones in the enclosure area in the regenerating woodland. I’m still not sure what it is…
Our walk out was another good day and we were lucky to be offered a lift to the car park by the people from Trees for Life who we had med at the hostel when returning the gloves to their owner. It was a great trip and definitely full of good surprises!