Banner picture: Creag an Amalaidh and The Mound from Cnoc Odhar
Creag an Amalaidh
16 September 2016
This was an impromptu run up this fine wee hill. I had changed into my sports kit earlier, only to then discover that the staff-student football was postponed. All dressed up with no place to go!
.... Well not quite; not on a day like this and living in such a beautiful part of the world. I looked at an online map before setting off and tried to hold the route in my head. This was done rather successfully, though spotting a potential bothy, I took a bit of a detour to check out Achinael.
I started at this entrance (right). Concerned that I might end up in the front garden of Cambusmore Lodge. I therefore headed up right though this turned out to be a mistake.
The vegetation was high and dense. In places, it was very scratchy and spiky, resulting in a bloody knee. At one point I could hear something moving in the undergrowth, presumably a deer, probably roe deer. As I began to clear the bracken and beach, I saw a fly hit this web (left) and the spider run out to wrap it up in silk.
A short distance further up the ridge, I came to what I assume is some kind of communications transmitter. There was a good path heading out to this installation, which looking at Google earth seems to head out from the Cambusmore - Achinael track, though I did not see where during my ascent. I need to do some further reconnaissance, as this would probably provide the best approach to Creag an Amalaidh. The west ridge provides the best view of Loch Fleet and The Mound, but hacking one's way through the vegetation is not fun at all!
From the west ridge looking towards Beinn Lunndaidh/Bheinn Bhraggie and The Mound (the name given to the embankment across Loch Fleet).
It is always good to do a "to show I was here" selfie! The summit cairn and Loch Fleet visible behind my left shoulder.
As I descended I spotted a distant cottage (Achinael). From a distance, it looked intact and in good condition. I was wondering if it might be open. On reaching it, The door and windowpanes were gone (so I guess it was open!) and it seemed to have been taken over by pigeons. The walls still looked good but the timbers were riddled with woodworm. I started up the stairs but I was not sure if they would hold my weight and I could hear flapping pigeons - I did not want to have pigeons flapping around my head. If it was not for the Mountain bothies Association, many other wonderful places would be in a similar condition!
I headed along the track towards Cnoc Odhar, which was ascended with ease. I was interested in looking south to survey Ben Tarvie and Meall an Eoin, whidh I hope to do as a run from my home one day!
Looking northwest towards Ben Klibreck, partly covered in cloud and Ben Armine with Creag an Amalaidh to the right. The visible track leads to the cottage at Achinael.
Looking nrthwest towards Beinn Lunndaidh/Bheinn Bhraggie.
A very similar photograph but panoramic including Creag an Amalaidh left and Loch Fleet right. Slide the bar at the bottom for the full panorama!
After taking a detour to a couple of grassy knolls that provided good view points, I headed towards a memorial next to the track to Achinael. The map refers to a memorial, but looks like a grave. The inscription says FREDERICK WILLIAM WIGNALL, D.L., BORN SEP. 24TH 1872, DIED MAY 6TH 1939, "UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS". It goes on to commemorate a couple more family members. My research suggests that D.L. stands for Deputy Lieutenant.
I jogged down the track, listening out for the sound of dogs as I approached the lodge. The track passed very close to the lodge. I saw a man walking towards the splendid house, but no dogs. :)
I took this final shot of the entrance for anyone planning to approach Creag an Amalaidh from the lodge. I need to go back and check, but this is probably the best starting point.
I particularly enjoyed this fine wee hill, partly because of its coastal situation with fine views, but largely because I seized an opportunity to climb a hill on a beautiful September afternoon. It came like a wonderful surprise gift!
Click here for more about the Cambusmore Estate.