Wester Ross

670 miles from London is a little village called Poolewe. After a roundabout route via Cath in Bromsgrove, Murrayfield in Edinburgh (the Boks winning convincingly 27-3) and then up the A9 to Inverness, we turned left and drive 75 miles into a mountain wilderness. After the flatness of London the lumps and ridges on the landscape are so good to look at. There is a particular quality in the light that makes the slopes of heather come alive. Red, oranges, greens and purples. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of diesel fumes in the air. Alas though, the crystal views were not to last and were soon replaced by low grey clouds scudding in off the North Atlantic. The Gulf Stream rushing up the NW coast doesn’t help things either and feeds in loads of warm moisture laden air that obscures the Munro tops. Inverewe Gardens makes the most of though and there is a profusion in plants from all over the world on display.

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Amy has a new mountain bike and was itching to get out and go off-road and so we headed out along forestry tracks and estate roads to the back of beyond.

463WildWestTopos provided us with some great detail on the profusion of climbing routes available in the area and we spend the one sunny afternoon at the Tollaidh Crags climbing some great lines on excellent rock. Thankfully there was a breeze blowing otherwise I wouldn’t have had a belayer willing to endure the billions of midges. In the Pink (HVS 5a) is a fantastic route and it would be good to get back and sample some of the other 300-odd routes.

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The remaining windy, cloudy damp days were spent trudging along the low level paths around the peaks. We were turned back on Slioch by thick cloud and no view and the view of Triple Buttress in Torridon was obscured by horizontal rain and cloud. Still, it is nice to be out in the hills and have the place to yourselves.

469 (btw there are more photos in the gallery)

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