July Weekend to Lochailort

The original plan for this weekend was to visit Strontian, but Bob MacDonald suggested that nearby Lochailort would be an ideal location for the completion of his round of Grahams.  The weekend forecast was for heavy rain and for much of the weekend it was unfortunately correct.

On Friday, Bob, Cornel and I had a very pleasant walk to Peanmeanach bothy, which is perfectly situated on the coast in an idyllic bay .. well worth a visit.

At Peanmeanach Bothy

Gordon and Andrew added two more Grahams to their tally and the rest of the group arrived at the Lochailort Inn at various times throughout the day.  The food was very good but several choices on the menu were unavailable, which was very disappointing.

The rain was heavy throughout Friday night and we considered whether Bob’s last Graham would need to be postponed.  Meith Bheinn is an awkwardly positioned and rugged hill, but after much consideration we decided to have a go.  We found the signpost at start of the footpath and a warning sign that there were some deep shafts near the footpath .. be warned, Steven found most of them!  We soon lost the track in deep ferns but managed to find it again.  After fording a couple of swollen burns we soon reached the top of an intervening ridge where we could see all the way back down to the glen below where we were heading before starting up Meith Bheinn.  The descent was steep and led into a deep gully which we had to scramble up on the far side.  It was hard going.  We soon reached a small hydro station where we stopped for lunch.

Meith Bheinn .. Bob's Last Graham  On the summit of Meith Bheinn

There were signs that the rain was easing up, so we set off up the hill.  After a few hundred metres of ascent, the party split with five going on to the summit and the other five deciding to make a retreat.  After several false summits the trig point was finally reached and Bob celebrated with a (shared) bottle of bubbly.  Well done Bob .. the Club’s first Graham completer.  In another Club first, the champagne was not fully drained and the cairn received the remaining fluid, such was the rush to depart the summit.  Bob had another word for it .. ‘B@$!&%d hill’.  One group arrived back at the hydro station just as a Landrover appeared and were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the generator!  Both groups managed to find better routes on the return leg and the sun came out.  We were rewarded with some spectacular views down Loch Beoraid.  We had a quick look for Prince Charlie’s cave but were unsuccessful.  On our way down, and about 25 yards off the main path, we came across the 1976 Avro Shackleton crash site where 13 airmen died.  The story was briefly explained on the memorial plaque beside the memorial cairn with more on this link supplied by Steven and Hilary .. http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/pages/scotland/scotlandxf702.htm.

Hilary and Jim Waterton had gone on separate tours around the local area and we all met up at the hotel for dinner where Bob was presented with a bottle of whisky to mark the occasion.

On Sunday it was time for local walks along the beaches of Arisaig and Morar, while others headed straight down the road for home.

The sands at Camusdarach

Allan Boyd

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