It will take me a while to dry out from the last three days. Dave Anderson and I were walking through the Grey Coires with our team of Summer Mountain Leader candidates with two wild camps, night navigation, stream crossings, scrambling ridges in 40mph wind and rain, belowing stags and lots of smiles. It was quite an experience and a great result for everyone.
We started and finished at Coire Choille near Spean Bridge. A long walk in along forest roads got us to Allt a Coire Eoin and the walk up the fine ridge to An Chul Choire. This is a rarely visited peak off the side of Aonach Mor. I think it has great views from its top but we were in thick mist so we couldn't see anything at all. We descended the steep slope from the col down to one of the most impressive coires in Scotland, An Chul Coire, under the huge east faces of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag. We couldn't really get a feel for the wholel thing, stuck as it was in the mist. However this added to the sense of mystery of this wild place, so close to home, but so rarely visited.
The second day took us round the head of the coire doing some fine detailed navigation legs before emerging onto the main ridge of the Grey Coires at Beallach Coire Easain. We were quite glad we were not going to spend much time on the ridge in the 50mph wind and rain! Instead we climbed the steep rocky ridge of Stob a Coire Easain and went straight down into Coire a'Mhadaidh and round to our camp at Coire an Lochain. This was another fine camp site and gave us great night navigation.
This morning was thankfully dry and cool. We packed up our camp with cloud down in the valley and views over the red ridges with grey rocky tops and stags on the horizon. The walk down was full of great discussion about adventure philosophy, land management and why we get so much out of spending three rather wet and challenging days in the mountains of Scotland. The final result was a clean sweep of seven passes out of seven candidates. Well done to you all, your hard work paid off and Dave and I had a brilliant few days with you.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.