Ascent from Glen Loth - NC 936 155 via north east flank. Descent from col between Dhorain and Ben Uarie.
The approach was up the minor single track road from the A9. Snow was abundant on all the hills. The first sighting of Beinn Dhorain was breathtaking. It was by far the most heavily covered hill in the glen. This was one of the toughest hills I have climbed especially in these conditions. Every side of the hill is incredibly steep.
I ploughed through deep soft snow covering tussocks and heather and then on the flank it became steeper and steeper. I was kicking deep steps in the snow which was not really firm enough to give support, and then I was hands on plunging fists into snow for hand support and occasionally using my knees. This was strenuous and endless and I found myself resting every few steps as if on a Himalayan ascent.
On the summit I reckoned my ascent route was too steep to descend, but looking at the contours on the map there wasn't much to choose in steepness from any other option. I decided to go to the col between Dhorain and Uarie. The snow alternated between long patches often thigh deep and shallower but treacherous sections where heather showed through. On the former patches I did some bum-sliding and on the rest picked my way carefully. All the time I was conscious of the possibility of further snow as happened yesterday with an unbelievably rapid change from blue sky sunshine to a thick covering of snow and minimal visibility. That could have blocked the glen road which had a warning at its start from the A9 saying the road was not gritted or attended to in bad conditions.
Back at the car I was off south to, guess where, yes, the Poppy Café. I am becoming a regular at this cosy venue, and had some good chat with the staff. I learnt that the aforementioned Duke of Sutherland had forced his tenants to contribute to the cost of his gigantic monument under threat of eviction. The café is named after an old established sweetie shop that occupied the premises before it became a café. The first one failed, but the present owners have been in situ for I think they said three years and long may they continue.
First sighting from the road. Dohrain is the highest on the right
I know everybody says this but this photo and the next in no way convey the actual steepness.
Looking down from about halfway up my ascent route
From the summit
In Poppy Café
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