- Guided Hillwalking Across the Scottish Highlands

Ben More Assynt and Conival

by JohnKing 0 Comments

During Sunday and into Monday a big thaw set in across the Highlands causing significant melting of what was very extensive and deep snowcover. However, with the temperatures plummeting again on Tuesday the snowpack had consolidated and the avalanche hazard was low. This was combined on Wednesday with the promise of sub-zero summit temperatures, very little wind and bright sunshine. Forecasts don’t come any better and with the day free I decided to go for a day’s personal mountaineering with Ben the dog. We headed northwest to Inchnadamph to tackle Ben More Assynt and Conival, hills that I’d visited a couple of times before, but never in winter. As we headed north and west we were treated to amazing views of all the hills. An Teallach looked particularly good, but the view of Ben More Coigach was really special!

Ben More Coigach from Loch Cul Dromannan early on Wednesday Morning

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Winter Assynt – Climbing Cul Mor in the Snow

by JohnKing

With time against me but conditions looking good I decided it would be good to get out west to Assynt and take in the relatively accessible summit of Cul Mor in winter conditions before the thaw sets in at the weekend.  There was much more snow around than I expected, the snow line was around 300m on the way across and there was a slow thaw during the day. It was a beautiful morning, but more of a mixed bag in the afternoon.

I took in an anti-clockwise circuit of the summit and Creag nan Calman.  There was deep, soft snow on the upper part of the hill and tricky conditions in places crossing boulder fields obscured by snow.

It was a good ascent, with stunning views of Suilven, Canisp and the hills behind Inchnadamph. Part of the way I met another John from Ullapool.  It was good to have some company on the way up and I got some good practice higher up breaking trail.

Suilven from Cul Mor

Suilven from Cul Mor

After a nice summit/lunchtime chat we headed different ways and I had to navigate a little to find my way round to and then off Creag nan Calman.  There was a brief break in the cloud giving an atmospheric view of Cul Beag.

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Cul Beag catching some nice light

Picking up the outward route just west of Meallan Diomhain I was lucky to catch some amazing late afternoon winter light, bringing out all the different shades of orange and brown wonderfully and casting long shadows across the land.  Unfortunately some drizzle set in about 1km from the car but it wasn’t enough to dampen a great day in Assynt.

 

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