Ally and I had booked Alltbeithe hostel for a few days. It is known as the UK’s remotest hostel, only accessible by foot or bike, via a long walk in of around 8 miles and I have been wanting to stay here for years. We chose the Glen Affric approach which is along a good Landrover track, rather than the Cluanie approach which is extremely boggy.
Glen Affric is often called ‘Scotland’s most beautiful glen’. It is indeed very beautiful, but to really see the beauty, you need to walk right up the glen and around the loch on a clear day. Not just drive up in the car, get out for a wee wander, sniff and get back in your car again, as many people do and then contest that it is not that beautiful! The drive along to the carpark is fine, but that is not the true glen.
The forecast for last weekend was looking horrendous. Ally and I had arranged a bothy night in Glencoe with some of Ally’s ML course pals, but MWIS (Mountain Weather Information Service) was forecasting heavy rain and winds with gusts up to 80mph in most areas. As usual, the better weather was looking like it would be in the east, so Ally quickly looked out an alternative in the SE Highlands.
The plan was to walk in from Bridge of Tilt carpark to Allt Scheicheachan bothy, stay overnight, walk up the Munro, Beinn Dearg, the next day (weather permitting) and then walk back. If the weather was really awful we could just walk into the bothy and back out the next day.
My birthday has rolled round once again. Ally asked what I’d like to do so I suggested a weekend involving backpacking, bothies and hills – a few of my favourite things. He planned it all and it was going to remain a surprise as to what / where exactly, but my inner planner got the better of me and I asked him to tell me a few days beforehand. It was in Highland Perthshire, north of Dunkeld – a two day backpack and an overnight stay in a bothy with hill options on the way. Not knowing what the weather would be like, Ally had erred on the side of caution and stuck to relatively lower ground. Looking up the planned route on the map I noticed that although we weren’t in the high hills, there were two Marilyns (Deuchary Hill and Creag nam Mial) en route for each day. Always a sucker for hills on a list, I suggested we included these as well.