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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Friday, 13 September 2019

Ladhar Bheinn (1984)

Following my trawling of the past in my last post I also unearthed this little adventure from 13/15th July 1984 just a month or two after that Carlin Gill saga.

I mentioned in a reply to comments on that post that I would advise youngsters setting out in life to keep records. They will much appreciate that in later life.


Verbatim from my records:

Thursday/Friday/Saturday - July 13/14/15th 1984

This plan was formulated the year before with Tom on our Sgurr- na- Ciche trip.

Ladhar Bheinn in Knoydart is a remote peak requiring a long march from any direction.

The original plan was to take the ferry from Mallaig to Inverie, but it transpired that there was no reliable return journey during the weekend.

It then occurred to me that I had the Mirror dinghy, and with an outboard motor we may be able to approach by boat.

After some thought there were two possibilities. The first was from the North, launching at Corran, but although a short distance it seemed to involve a more open sea crossing not suited to the Mirror Dinghy, and the second plan was to launch at Kinlochourn which we settled on.

We set off from Tom's parents at Grange-over-Sands at 6:00 p.m. with the Mirror dinghy on the roof of my Ford Sierra. and a newly acquired Yamaha 2 h.p. outboard engine in the boot. We arrived at Kinlochourn in the dark at about midnight and tried to get some sleep in the car - this is never a satisfactory business.

After a quick breakfast we launched and packed the boat and we were away by about 8:00 a.m. on the high tide. About halfway we put into a small island to refuel and unfortunately struck a sharp rock fracturing the plywood hull of the boat - this was not too serious, but it meant we had to keep bailing as we motored on. We saw seals popping up to have a look at us, and we saw a salmon or sea-trout leap about two feet clear of the water.

Our intention was to land at Barrisdale Bay, but on the falling tide we ran aground on a shoal  about half a mile out and it was apparent that entry to the bay was not possible without knowledge of the exact location of the channel. We eventually landed at Inbhir Dhorrcail to the North West. The weather had been fine and was improving. By 1:00 p.m. we had pitched the tent and were ready for off after a quick lunch.

We ascended by Creag Bheithe - long and steep all the way - a great ridge with magnificent views into Glen Barrisdale and Loch Hourn. Eventually the way was barred by the daunting steepness of Stob-a-Chearcaill which rises sheer for 500 feet or so in a series of grass ledges divided by almost vertical rock walls. There seemed to be no alternative to climbing this so up we went - it was not difficult but certainly demanded care and concentration with one or two small scrambling sections where moves had to be made. At the top we were in some mist and worked out a compass bearing to prevent us from getting down the North East ridge of Choire Chorrcaill which we had noticed on the ascent. All went well and we progressed  up the magnificent summit ridge with the mist clearing, giving us superb views accross to Skye and Rhum.

We reached the summit and  visited the separate trig point and then ate, and dealt with a miniature of Glenmorangie that my daughter Jill had given me at Christmas, which I had been keeping for a suitable occasion.

We descended by the unrelenting Stob a Choire Odhair which is the North East arrete of Ladhair Bheinn leading directly and steeply down to our camp site for 3000 feet or so. We saw a number of deer on the way. At the bottom we were crossing a grass meadow and my legs buckled underneath me and they were just like jelly - I couldn't have been very fit, but it was a very demanding descent, and no it wasn't the whisky!

We were back at the tent about 8:00 p.m. and proceeded to make repairs to the outside of the boat's hull with Elastoplast daubed with Nickwax, and this enabled us to make our return trip to Kinlochourn without much bailing the following morning. From Kinlochourn we drove straight home. 

I had done a round trip of 720 miles and got back in time to see Jill win an important swimming race we had been anticipating for some time.   

Departure from Preston

Breakfast at Kinlochhourn. Tom has a degree in chemistry with a resultant attention to detail in food and other preperations


Note the hair style

Towards the sea

Refuelling and...

...a bit later attention to damage

Boat repairs - Tom's attention to detail shining through again in this study
Elastoplast and Nickwax save the day

The old Blacks Good Companions Major (with A poles and sewn in groundsheet!)

From well up on Ladhar Beinn

Very steep grass ledges to come

Tom on the summit

I see from this Tom was carrying his ice axe

As is so often clouds cleared as we descended

Spot the tent

Approximate only depiction of route 

General location for followers from abroad who may not be familiar with UK geography


  1. I love everything about this post. The fact that you have such a detailed account AND could lay your hands on the photos that went with it; the non-standard way you got around a logistical problem; the visual of the dingy almost dwarfing the car as it sits atop it (hate to think what it did to your MPG!); not to mention the unexpected adversity (particularly holing the boat and the patching thereof). A veritable adventure!

    I'm guessing that this trip hasn't been erased from your memory in the same way as the 1984 Carlin Gill trip?

  2. Incidentally, the second photo down does look a little like you had popped a white-hulled boat into the boot of the car too.

  3. Pure unadulterated nostalgia. Excellent.

  4. Gayle - the whit boat was nothing to do with us. The company car was burdened enough with the Mirror.


    BC - I may have more to come when I get back fro the Angles Way

  5. What a wonderful adventure! Glad you managed to patch the boat. I’ve made the same trip down Loch Hourn, but with an experienced ferryman, and he kept to the north shore and was clearly nervous of rocks. Incredible views from the top of that mountain.

  6. That really was one of the very very best- unforgettable - a sort of non-lethal commando raid (even down to evading the flak from the form mistress on arriving back a day later than promised !) - no memory of the cloud clearing on the top - as it did on Sgritheall a year or so earlier - but your record of 1984 must rank before my 2019 memory, however infallible that might be!
    (ps some of the images are of different days and places and exploits)
    Not a bad idea to post tales of such pleasures past : more please !

  7. Ruth -by whatever means you manage to visit that part of the world it will provide a memory for lifetime.

    Gimmer- the photos all came from the 1000 35mm. slides I had digitised. They were slightly mixed up but I couldn't face or guarantee I could sort them. I would be interested to hear which you think are not relevant to that trip. I know the boat repair ones are not in chrono order but the way I did it seemed to fit the story - a little bit of editor's licence.

  8. the ice axe - from Bowfell towards the Langdale pikes (with 'that' crag) - and the view down from the Crinkles to Upper Eskdale with Harter Fell at the top left:
    the others are 'echte'

    for such a range of pleasures and enjoyments, I cannot think of another quite like it - could never go back - would shatter the memory
    - unlike, say, Sheigra, which with its own constantly changing magic, makes every return a new 'experience' (if that were not such a devalued word these days !)