Inverie, Knoydart (Apr 2019)

12 – 14 April 2019

Inverie, Inverie, that’s where the mountains meet the sea.

Every laddie kiss your lass, everybody raise your glass,

and let’s hear a shout o’ Inverie. (Inverie)

And now for the latest installment in the DMC adventure series…. “18 go to Knoydart Island”

OK, not an island exactly but a superbly remote area, part of “The Rough Bounds” which means uncompromising (unshaven?) terrain, and makes for long ‘km’ and big ‘metres’…. as we were to find out.

Sgurr Coire Choinnichean is the sharp peak which looms above Inverie on the approach on the Ferry from Mallaig (and featured in Greg’s Mountain Mind Quiz a few weeks ago) – and is a good indication of what to expect, a sea level start, brutally steep, bit rocky and with fine ridges. This was the ‘plan’ for Saturday, start here, follow the long ridge beyond eventually leading to Ladhar Bheinn, then pick our way down to the north and circling back to Beinn na Caillich before a long walk out and back to the Bunkhouse. We soon learned that those who arrived for a full day on Friday had taken 10 to 11 hours to do Ladhar Bheinn (Konrad, Maddy and Stef) and Luinne Bheinn plus Meall Dearg (Berenice and Andrew).. maybe we were being a little optimistic??

All assembled on the Friday eve, some sampled the Old Forge seafood menu and real ales (locally brewed – yes even Knoydart now has its own micro-brewery.. “Remoteness” 3.8% abv – and not a bad pint…), others worked out how to share a single ‘3 working hob’ cooker in the bunkhouse (with beds for 24), and some (one?) who’ll remain nameless resorted to Pot Noodle at the campsite…

Saturday brought terrific clear conditions and loads of contenders for the next DMC Photo comp but pictures belied the true conditions with a fierce easterly wind and bitter wind chill. 4 seasons in 20 minutes, gloves on, gloves off, suncream on, sunhat off, shades on, down jacket on…. Dom&Amy and I pursued our mad round, and set about gently pushing back our target time for each summit, so 1pm leaving the top of Ladhar Bheinn became 2.15, and 5.20pm for the top of Beinn na Caillich.. with a mere 9km back to base. Whisker under 12 hours all in and a memorable day, especially the icicles and verglas encountered descending the north side of Ladhar Bheinn… Everyone made a Munro or Corbett – Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe all featured and we even came up with the new activity of wild paddling, the loch in question being too shallow for wild swimming..

A storming evening meal courtesy of Berenice, Andrew and Maddy, replenished tired bodies, and a combination of alcohol, Munro Top Trumps and Dobble frustrated tired minds, and set us up for Sunday’s adventures. Undeterred by even colder, windier conditions, Sandy and I traversed the length of Beinn Bhuidhe, whilst Dom&Amy took in Meall Bhuidhe. Some of the others opted for low level runs, and some cragging back on the ‘mainland’. Phelim, Katrina and Sandy stayed on for the Monday – has anyone heard from them since??

Sad to leave, another fantastic weekend and can’t wait for the next Chapter…

A ps from Sandy

Nice one Iain for writing the report…. Just to confirm, Phelim bivvied out on the beach Sunday night and left on the Monday morning ferry. Whilst Katrina and I set off for Our Mary, (lady of the sea) on the hillside before returning home to Dundee about 9pm. Ready for a new week after a very fine weekend!