This year’s Torridon Walking Festival was a resounding success. Although it is an annual event, this time we changed the walks on the programme with the three big ones – Liathach (Saturday), Beinn Eighe (Sunday) and Beinn Alligin (Monday) – being joined by two new mountain walks and a full mountaineering day.
The first mountain on the list was Slioch on Saturday. This walk was done by two methods: kayaking first or walking in. The kayak in is by far the easiest way to reach the hill as it cuts the 1.30 – 2 hour walk to just a few minutes.
As a result, the kayaking team were already on the hill as the walking team were still only about halfway along the track. However the walk-in group did have some great views along the way.
As the groups ascended the hill, the wind started to pick up and we began to wonder how best to tackle the top – whether to do the full horseshoe or to go deep into the Coire and nip onto the top from there. We went round the horseshoe and thankfully the wind dropped enough to enjoy our walk and lunch.
As we left the summit, the cloud began to lift and we were provided with fantastic views out over the Fisherfield Munros. Then as we dropped off the hill back into the Coire, the kayaking group gave a shout over the radio to let us know they were on their way back in boats. Finally the walking group headed down to the cars and on to The Stables and a well-deserved ale.
Saturday night’s entertainment was the Lochcarron session band who played a great range of music and created a fantastic atmosphere in the Inn. They began playing at 8pm and finished around 10.30 – 11pm when the shuttle bus delivered the guests back to their beds in time for next day’s walking.
Sunday saw our walkers going out into Beinn Eighe, Maol Chean Dearg and a day’s mountaineering skills. The Maol Chean Dearg groups headed up the hill from the Torridon side thus cutting down on the transport. The groups managed to get views from each summit offering great photo opportunities all round. The day’s mountaineering skills worked really well with the group learning rope-work as well as climbing and scrambling.
Sunday’s evening entertainment comprised a pub quiz, raising money for the Torridon and Kinlochewe mountain rescue team. Prizes included Tiso vouchers and a Scottish Youth Hostel Association voucher. In the end the quiz raised £70 for the team and the winners kindly donated their vouchers to the mountain rescue team, raising the total further.
We were all looking forward to getting up onto Beinn Alligin on Monday as the previous year had been too windy. This time it was nowhere near as wild. The groups went over the horns to start with and then proceeded to the two Munros. Both groups decided to lunch on the second top and both ended up under group shelters as the rain started then turned to sleet. Once in the shelter, the temperature rose and we had a comfortable lunch with the weather improving as we left. Once onto the second top we managed to take a few good photos but the views mostly stayed hidden until we were half-way down.
As one challenge finishes, another one starts. We are now looking forward to the Winter Walking Festival, beginning Saturday 2 March 2013.