Heavy rain earlier that morning meant that the river beside the bothy was in full flow, so the little timber bridge beside the bothy was very welcome, even a little scary to cross as the water thundered below, and, as the first to arrive, we had our pick of the accommodation, spread our gear out and soon had a fire going. Climbing Ben Alder was meant to be the climax of the Alder Trail, but when I woke the next morning and saw even more fresh snow on the ground outside the bothy, I made the immediate decision to stay in the glens. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. It’s a long, narrow, one-story building in two parts. I refused painkillers. Approaches are long from any direction; Corrour Station gives the nearest access from the west, whilst it is possible to approach from Loch Rannoch in the south. The bothy itself is plush, boasting three rooms and even some bunk beds, but there’s also a resident spook, if the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal is to be believed. Therefore, no matter how long the trip is to reach and stop at a bothy in the Scottish Highlands, you need to be self-sufficient and ready to handle adverse and unpredictable weather. But somehow they found the hospital (of course there are signs). This was Saturday night Sunday morning in a Scottish town. Walk in to Ben Alder Cottage (aka McCook’s Bothy, after the last permanent resident), climb Ben Alder and Ben Bheil, do a little trout fishing and generally have a good time. Always open, the 1870 bothy is small but well kept, with two rooms downstairs and some additional sleeping space in the attic. Start from Lochinver, a small village on the coast, and follow the narrow road straight east. But at midnight, they added: "'Injured' walker remaining at the bothy with his friends. I don’t usually do much of my hillwalking in summer. 999 should work on any compatible network but you’d be unlikely to find any at all 10 miles from anywhere. Frank can sleep anywhere, so he was soon snoring away, but my attention was divided between checking on Bill’s condition, worrying about Johnny (I had broken a golden rule by letting him go alone, what if he falls into a hole, no one will know where he is, or that we have a rescue situation up here) and thoughts about the likely means of rescue. A Ben Alder Crossing from Rannoch to Corrour Station. The view sweeps the length of the quiet Loch, its 14.5 miles (23.3 km) straight as a pin. Fort William in about 15 minutes, me trebly floating: airborne, euphoric, and on laughing gas. They vary in size, from small single-rooms to two-story cabins. An early Monday morning start saw me standing at Fort William railway station waiting for the 7.44am train to Glasgow, my destination was Corrour Station, only 46 minutes away and the highest station in the UK and probably the remotest too. Amazingly, once settled in the survival bag on my mat, with a rucksack under my knees and another as a pillow I felt fine. Predominantly, though, they’re found in the Scottish Highlands and are thus part of the local identity and the flair of the region. A bothy is a simple shelter found in remote areas of Scotland. For our group, circumstances meant that on the day we divided into two parties, Johnny and I going in mid-afternoon, with Frank, Bill and Donald starting three hours behind. The hike there is only 2.2 miles (3.5 km) but along a steeper trail and among bogs. Layers can be peeled off as needed although it’s never really warmer than 70°F (21°C). Onto the stretcher across 50 yards of rough ground. A little further on, cross the Alder Burn via a footbridge to arrive at the bothy. Ben Alder. Continue along the shore. I felt as if I was there with him slogging through the mire, so please it turned out well in the end. It seemed that Bill had stepped over a boulder and put his foot down a concealed hole in the peat; Frank thought that it was a simple below the knee fracture and he reported that Bill was fully conscious, in a secure position and not in unbearable discomfort. The Chapel. Worth thinking about? I knew I’d done it before I hit the ground. In fact, since its founding in 1965, the charity Mountain Bothy Association (MBA) oversees 100 bothies and their maintenance, offering detailed information such as locations and conditions. You hear it go. I think I blew it about every 10 seconds. It’s slightly less breezy here, or windier, depending on the season. Head north towards Kilmory. Frank said, “blow the whistle every 3 minutes”. Difficulty: Medium. For the first half of the hike, the landscape is a mixture of views and elements as the undulating terrain has many thick spruce woods and granite-capped hills. The last few miles passed in a dream. Donald arrived soon afterwards, with news that Frank and Bill were about 30 minutes behind and moving slowly over the very rough ground. Had I died I would have been famous. Summary:Ben Alder is one of the great remote mountains of Scotland, set in the very heart of the Central Highlands. There isn’t much color variety, but fortunately a big stretch of woods starts after a few minutes, and you’ll walk immersed in trees for most of the time, a rare occasion in the Highlands. This includes personalizing content and advertising. Quickly, you work out that it’s going to be a long night. Length (round trip): 11 mi/18 km By unzipping his overtrousers, it was possible to see and feel the location of the fracture – the break was simple (no blood, protruding bones and/or gross misalignment), so we splinted him up by tying his legs together with a combination of broad elastic and triangular bandages. I wouldn't want to walk in to Ben Alder, no way! Published on Sep 20, 2016. Tarf Hotel is awesome, but it's a rough walk-in with winter gear. Eventually, we heard the welcome sound of a real helicopter arriving, swinging in from the loch and circling the edge of the forest before setting down about 50 meters away. Ice axe and crampons are required in snowy conditions. Take the 80-minute ferry ride from Mallaigh to Kinloch on the western coast of the Isle of Rùm, south of the Isle of Skye. – Frank popped his head in, dropped his bombshell and we were forcibly transformed into as rough an approximation of a well oiled (extremely well oiled!) Ben Alder (Gaelic: Beinn Eallair) is the highest mountain in the remote area of the Scottish Highlands between Loch Ericht and Glen Spean. Our job done, we tidied up the accident site before trudging wearily down to the cottage, lit by the pre-dawn glow and with the full moon reflecting off the loch and lighting up the rocky ramparts of Sgairneach Mhor. But what would the outcome have been if your story had involved inexperienced walkers. Location: Northern Highlands I was so glad to be there. I have been up there twice and it's a long walk, especially with the last part being a bit boggy. A spacious plateau surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes, this is a mountain of memorable character and an almost palpable personality. To find out if that’s true, start from Rannoch Station along the West Highland Line railroad. Search for a topic, destination or article, We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. While you can find some bothies in Scotland and Northern England, and even a few in Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man. The walk is a challenging one for one night/two ... An Grianan. The magnificent Ben Alder Estate is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Near the bothy we saw a few people heading for the hills in different directions, but soon we were on our own.. The approach is enlivened by the dramatic Leachas ridges which offer some scrambling. VF used to be good, for voice at least. Within seconds, it seemed, they were with me listening to Trevor’s report. In the windswept mountains of the Scottish Highlands a keen eye might spot, in the vast treeless expanses, a tiny outcropping that is too angular to simply be a large rock. Head slightly uphill here. The Walk. The sign heralds the start of the narrow singletrack. The gently undulating terrain here is of open moors swept by the Highlands’ ubiquitous breeze. That’s the point. The bothy is from 1848 and with the adjacent ruins was a crofting community. This made for very interesting and also informative reading, the people concerned were marvellous and very efficient, I felt for them all but Johnny was incredible and deserves a special mention. Both shores rise gently, and the woods give way to sparse clusters of trees, the spruce’s pointy tops distinguishable now. To travel to a bothy is to journey into some of the most remote spots of the Scottish Highlands. In stag stalking season, contact the Ben Alder Estate on 01540 672 … Frank’s snoring was a great comfort, a kind of normality. We settled in for the evening, sawing up the roots and wood thoughtfully left by previous visitors (an unforgivable sin is to leave the bothy without fuel for the next visitor) and preparing the evening meal. Many have looked for it and failed – so don’t bother trying! 268th - Allan - walk in along Loch Ericht from Dalwhinnie. Good snow cover from 900m, dry with moderate winds but visibility reduced during day to 10m on Ben Alder summit. Incredibly long day at 15hr 8min, snow cover of streams made walk out to Culra bothy tricky. RGibbs: 16/02/2013 Approaches are long from any direction; Corrour Station gives the nearest access from the west, whilst it is possible to approach from Loch Rannoch in the south. A bothy is featured in the 2013 film Under the Skin. I had no intention of being unlucky on Ben Alder. Starting point: Kinloch This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. After a pause, the engine note increased and the machine slowly climbed away, turning on a course back up the loch and on to the Belford Hospital in Fort Gilliam. ( Log Out /  Everything seemed to be alright with the world, and we were mellowing out, with a small convivial dram, when things suddenly went pear-shaped. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs. From Culra Ben Alder looks magnificent, with two rocky ridges - the Short and Long Leachas, enclosing a … Two things are still with me from this stretch of the journey: The first, a gargantuan roar not twenty feet away in the cotton-wool gloom of the highest point of the moorland ‘path’, which prompted me to shout “I’m no’ a deer,” repeatedly, as my pace quickened to distance me from an irate and possibly lovesick stag. The south and west views are treeless but peaceful. Frank and Trevor, instead of having a great night in the bothy had to bunk down beside me (they did choose the lee of a big boulder and they had nicked my whisky) and of course Johnny, in his 30s, had to take on the dreadful job of walking out in the dark the eight or nine miles we had just walked in. With poor visibility, mist at treetop level and intermittent heavy rain, helicopter extraction seemed increasingly unlikely and the remoteness of our location meant that land or water based approaches would take a long time to plan and implement. Was this before mobile phones? Ben Alder Lodge. You haven't climbed Ben Alder yet. Remarkable lads and well done to all concerned. Time to turn right. After crossing the river at the head of the loch, a quick check of the map and compass and a head dook and drink from the burn gave me an excuse for a breather. Loads of fresh veg, real milk, 1lb of lamb, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of real drink. Extra rations of water and food are always a good idea. Location: Central Highlands Starting point: Rannoch Station Length (round trip): 10 mi/16 km Difficulty: Medium. When everything was ready, the winchman stood outside, watching as the engines revved up, checking that the wheels came clear of the boggy ground then jumping aboard with a final wave as the chopper lifted into a low hover. The police were by my bedside at 8am, only to check if I had informed next of kin. Most are historic buildings restored to basic windproof and watertight standards, made available for the public. 3.The remoteness of some Bothies/Shelters. Shortly after, you’ll cross a little bridge over Alder Burn Creek, and you’ll have the bothy in sight, overlooking a small semi-circular bay. My goal for this mini expedition was to walk into Ben Alder Cottage bothy… Starting off along the initial doubletrack section. It’s not insulated, so it’s never warm inside but has plenty of firewood. Location: Central Highlands Do Not rely on any mobile phone or internet connection. 9-11 hours (over 2 days) 750m. Many folk mountain bike in which seems a good idea, although when chatting to a man from the estate (more on this later) he said that mountain bikes are causing a lot of erosion problems on the smaller trails higher up. Ben Alder is one of the remotest of the Munros. Bill was airlifted safely, the polis departed at 4.30 and I hunched in the back of the car for two hours before donning socks and boots that felt and looked like wet clay and limping back to the bothy along a path I could (and may) have walked with my eyes shut. Ben Alder Cottage is not just a bothy in the middle of the moors on the shore of a loch. The second, a sudden and dramatic abatement of the storm and parting of the mist and clouds, and an unspeakably beautiful moonlight vista of Loch Rannoch and the surrounding hills. It’s unlikely you’ll see any traffic. All thoughts of a relaxing bothy evening evaporated as we swung into rescue mode; a quick review of the available assets showed inadequate material to build a stretcher, but enough first-aid kit to handle a small front line casualty dressing station. I made many visits to the cottage from 1980 to about 2000, a wonderful bothy with good trout fishing! Objective achieved, it was a case of trotting on with the head torch off and the gale spewing froth from the loch in my face for the next two miles of boggy shore line. If the bothy is full then there is good camping ground either outside it or in the wood across the river. Check Matador’s backpacking gear guide for a full list of what to bring. Easy walk-in and few Munros around. Eventually I persuaded them to take me to Stirling. It was 2045 before Bill was settled down, Johnny’s torchlight disappeared into the gloom and Donald went back down to the bothy to finish his meal, promising to bring back some hot soup and coffee. Length (round trip): 6.2 mi/10 km It's the highest peak in a remote and rugged massif slap bang in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. Frank and Trevor are very experienced mountain walkers and Trevor has been years in the Killin Mountain Rescue Team. It’s actually the roof of a bothy. Covering some 68000 acres stretching from Loch Rannoch to Dalwhinnie. I remember the frustration of realising that cars in driveways showed that the inhabitants were reluctant to involve themselves in any late night drama, although the unearthly racket I was making and the fact I resembled the ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ may be mitigating circumstances. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! But even they should consider spending the night, as Benalder Cottage is surely as fine a place to stay as any in Scotland. Glad you enjoyed the tale Roy. Interesting to read the tale from several different viewpoints. Too hot, too many biting insects, too humid, too busy, too much like hard work. Whats the track like, I’m wanting to try out my cross/touring bike with panniers. In character it has a bit of the West and a bit of the East. ( Log Out /  Allowing 45 minutes scramble time, plus 60 minutes flying, the earliest arrival would be about 0300 hrs. Tuck your pants in your socks. You arrive at the southern tip of Loch Ericht where you can fish trout if you have time. Learn how your comment data is processed. Aonach Beag is a 1,116-metre (3,661 ft) mountain in the Highlands of Scotland in the remote area between Loch Ericht and Loch Laggan located about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) northwest of Ben Alder.Its prominence is 99 metres (325 ft) with its parent peak, Geal-Charn, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) to the east. And taller grasses that cover everything in sight miles long and I and. The others were getting ready for a full list of what to bring minutes scramble time plus. Weather forecast, although this is a personal choice depending on habit, fitness,... 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