Return to Scotland

Beinn Challuim Scotland
Looking to Beinn Challuim from Beinn Bheag.

Have no fear. Terry is here. This wee blog has been a scene of rolling tumbleweeds of late and for good reason too. I’ve been away some considerable time completing ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’ (just one last brief trip to go now) and working on another project north of the border in Scotland.

Alas, I’m back to urban living and busy beavering away deciding what stays and goes in my paean to the Scafells.

Before popping back to the Western Lake District, I hitched a ride on the train to the Scottish Highlands jumping off at Tyndrum with the aim of capturing on video the scenic delights of that iconic peak, Beinn Dorain. Why? Well, it’s all a bit ‘hush, hush’ at the moment but it concerns a visual and aural feast for Scottish Natural Heritage. I’ve been extremely humbled to have been approached by them seeking visuals of the area for a future feature. I guess they’ll reveal all in due course. In the meantime, I just have to crack on and do what I do.

Beinn Dorain from the West Highland Way Scotland
Beinn Dorain as seen from the West Highland Way.

Beinn Dorain is quite the distinctive hill, as it towers over the A82 and West Highland Way but I’m afraid to say I’ve never paid the area more than a passing visit. Thankfully, I’ll be spending a helluva lot more time around here in the coming weeks and months ahead.

My initial visit to the area consisted of getting to know Tyndrum and it’s locals (pricey but excellent chip shop there, by the way!) and of course doing a recce and wander on the local tops. Sadly for 3 of my 5 days there the clag was low, it rained a great deal and was rather windy too. But that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable.

Better a rainy day out, than a sunny day indoors – so the saying goes.

And despite the general conditions, I did catch some breaks in the cloud as the sun teased it’s golden rays onto the nearby snow covered peaks. More importantly, on the penultimate day of my visit I got to enjoy a day out on nearby Beinn Bheag under predominantly blue skies and warm sunshine! It was absolutely wonderful.

I chose to wander up Beinn Bheag thinking it’s little-visited and that it just might be one of those places that what it lacks in stature, it makes up for in quality views of the surrounding landscape. I wasn’t wrong.

After a somewhat monotonous slog up it’s flanks through a dense conifer plantation and reaching the start of the snowline, the views opened up to reveal a scene words cannot describe. I was happy as the proverbial pig. It was quite simple astonishing! Scotland at it’s best. World class.

Ben Lui Scotland
Ben Lui looking superb before the oncoming storm.

Beinn Dorain from Beinn Bheag Scotland
I did some timelapse of this very scene. It’s a still from the camera. Beinn Dorain…gorgeous!

Beinn Dorain timelapse
DSLR set up to capture timelapse.

The air clarity was gin clear to most points of the compass, and the jagged peaks of the Highlands rolled away as far as the eye could see, all laden with snow. Quite simply, it was a “Holy s***!!” moment.

The soft, thawing snow was generally knee deep too (often up to the waist higher up) as I plodded on to Beinn Bheag’s summit and other nearby tops soaking up all the fine views and grinning from cheek to cheek high on adrenaline and joy. I think it proved to be the best winter’s day I’ve experienced in quite some time. In fact, since I worked on ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’. Wonderful.

Ben Lui looked particularly impressive from afar and I didn’t waste any time rolling about in the snow and reaching for my cameras capturing the delights that had unfolded around me.

Time flew by and it was while capturing some timelapse of Beinn Dorain that a storm from the west came rolling in and enveloped my position with biting cold winds, blizzards and piss poor visibility. Even these conditions made for some epic scenic delights but I didn’t hang about for too long. Besides, it was getting late in the day and I was thirsty for a pint in Tyndrum.

Top visit, well worth being patient and I’m relishing my return – this time hopefully camped out on the tops.

Beinn Chuirn Scotland
Storm approaching over Beinn Chuirn

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