With the warm sun of a wonderful ‘Indian summer’ bathing the Highlands with wonderful light, the urge to seek out high places came over me once again. This time, I chose a circular traverse to tackle three more of the Monadhliath mountains, this time a little closer to home near Newtonmore.
The walk starts with an ascent up A’ Chailleach (The Old Woman) which finds you up on a plateau of tops which can them be traversed in a long loop round to the north and to the west taking in Carn Sgùlain and eventually Carn Dearg.
To start the climb up Carn Sgùlain from A’ Chailleach, a deep gully called Allt Cùil na Caillach has to be crossed.
Once over it and climbing again, the summit is reached by traversing slopes over long stretches of dead ground with peat bogs. The summit of Carn Sgùlain is nothing to get excited about – rounded with the minutest of cairns – I spent enough time on it for photographs before heading west towards tops called Meall a’ Bhothain, Carn Ballach and Carn Bàn.
However, from here the circuit consists of a lovely high-level walk over long stretches of grass and rock with the odd peat bog to traverse, taking in various tops on the way.
The ground became much more strewn with rocks and boulders as the walk progressed towards Carn Bàn and Carn Dearg.
My route turns south to take in the ridge walk over Carn Bàn and eventually up Carn Dearg, a more classic crag and tail shaped mountain.
Lengthening shadows indicates that it was time to finish the long walk out in the Newtonmore direction along the River Calder. As good a day to spend in the mountains as you could wish for at the beginning of October when the weather in the Scottish Highlands can be truly glorious.