Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
30th March 2013
A good warm-up on Sgurr an Utha (peak of the udder).
Allowing for the fact that I had not been out too much over the winter and the time of my arrival in Fort William after the drive over from Aberdeen I was looking for a relatively short day in the hills. Behind and slightly west of the Glenfinnan viaduct lies Fraoch-bheinn and its summit top Sgurr an Utha. Like many of the hills in this area it is steep sided and choice of approach is fairly limited. I decided on the most straight forward and so after parking the van just west of the bridge over Alt an Utha I took the track leading into a small plantation and climbed over the locked gate just a few paces from the road. The trees where soon left behind clearing the views back towards Ben Nevis. The path winds its way up into Coire an Utha and onto the shoulder of Druim na Brein-choille.
Coire an Utha
Large icicles hung from ledges created during track cuttings and gave an indication of the recent sub-zero evening temperatures.
The broad south west ridge of Fraoch-bheinn would provide a good test of navigational skills in poor visibility but the clear day allowed me to pick out a reasonable route, a rising grassy ledge on the east side.
Sgurr an Utha & Fraoch Bheinn
Despite not needing map and compass (or maybe because of it) the complex ground still led me onto the slightly lower of two summit knolls. The ground drops away steeply to the north before rising in the form of the Glenfinnan horseshoe and the peaks Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm, while across Glen Finnan to the east lies the extended ridge line of Streap.
Streap from Fraoch Bheinn
The well defined top of Sgurr an Utha now lay just a km to the west and the firm snow cover provided pleasant going and I was soon approaching the rocky summit.
Sgurr an Utha from Fraoch Bheinn
The glorious weather had held and I sat down for a bite to eat under blue skies and light winds to enjoy the views.
Fraoch Bheinn from Sgurr na Utha
After a leisurely lunch I decided to continue west and follow the ridge to Sidhean Mor with the idea of then turning south east into Coire an Utha.
Sgurr an Utha from the west
Instead of turning I followed a line of the fence posts which lead, steeply at times, through many crags but safely down to Allt Feith a’ Chartha. A vague path traced the line of the burn back to a footbridge fording Allt an Utha and onto the plantation track of my outward journey.
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