Thursday, 4 April 2013

Inverlael Gully, Beinn Dearg

Inverlael Gully (II*), Beinn Dearg

There's a particular moment on the road near Loch Glascarnoch when An Teallach suddenly comes into view. Always a pang of excitement…you know are you are about to enter the incomparable landscape of the far North.

Despite temptation, I try to limit my number of visits to this incredible area of wild land. There's a certain aura surrounding the whole place which I love, and by going there only occasionally I've maintained a sense of mystery and unfamiliarity which leaves me feeling almost like I've visited another country when I return home to Glencoe.

First light on An Teallach
But it's not just that…for many reasons I always return with a general feeling of contentment and release, whether I've been climbing, walking or not doing much at all. Last night after work, I knew that a trip to the far North was needed to blow away the cobwebs from the mayhem of Easter weekend working in the Clachaig.

Despite having climbed on 10 new cliffs this winter, none of my routes had ended on a new summit for me. Beinn Dearg has a legendary place in Scottish winter climbing…I'd never climbed there, or stood on its top, so that is where I found myself this morning after a pre-4am departure from Glencoe.

Cadh' an Amadain

Looking towards the sea from Inverlael Gully

Inverlael Gully, a deep cleft in the right-hand face of Beinn Dearg's West Buttress that can be seen from miles away. A straightforward but beautiful route on a cliff I'd never climbed before. Today I was not looking for a mental challenge as has often been the case during this winter, I was seeking the simple relaxation of climbing with ease in an inspiring place.

Beinn Dearg's West Buttress. Inverlael Gully is the deep gully on the right.
The extent of the wild land that can be seen from the summit of Beinn Dearg is quite amazing. Torridon's noble outline is made even more outstanding by the fact that it is framed by the Fainnichs and An Teallach, and as for the wilderness beyond Seana Bhraigh…how many people ever tread there?

A view of views towards Torridon

Today was my 30th winter route of the season. I've long stopped expecting each one to be my last of the year and just let 'em come. What an amazing winter.


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