2017 was a bumper year for us when it came to getting out on Scotland’s hills. We bagged 2 corbetts and 30 munros together, shared a good few laughs along the way, many a bag of sweets, the odd tear but made a lot of fun memories as a family.
One of our proudest moments was climbing 22 munros over 4 weeks during the summer with our then 5yo son, walking 104km with over 7500m of ascent, raising over £1200 for Tommy’s to help fund their research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature births. This was a challenging time both physically and emotionally, as our due date was in the middle of those 4 weeks. However, getting out there and doing something positive really helped us both come to terms with our miscarriage. Our son blew our minds with his positivity and determination to get out there each day and do something he enjoys to “help poorly babies”.
It’s not just all been mountain days though. We’ve tried to spend as much time as possible outdoors together as a family. We’ve converted our campervan which has helped us get out and explore for longer trips; we went looking for caves, we tried to get the hang of stand up paddle boarding and slack lining (balance is not our strong point apparently!), walked behind waterfalls in Fife, went fossil hunting in Assynt, went wildcamping in the snow, found gorgeous empty beaches, was chased up smaller hills by our son and recently our son has tried skiing and is loving it!
I think though, it’s safe to say that our hearts belong to the mountains. Here are a few pictures from each of our mountain days in 2017:
Geal Charn (917m) – A moody walk in the Drummochter hills at the start of the year.
Tolmount (958m), Tom Buidhe (957m) & Mayar (928m) – An incredible two-day walk and wildcamp, with a highcamp just below Mayar. Plenty of opportunity for sledging (we didn’t need our waterproof trousers anyway!) and the weather was fab, as was the sunset! The featured image was from this walk as well, heading towards the first summit of the day.
Carn a’Gheoidh (975m) – We headed out on a still sunny day, and after reaching the summit, spent a while sledging, as you do when the weather’s that good and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.
Ben Gulabin (453m) – We were wary of having too many ‘big’ days out before our summer challenge as we didn’t want our son to be fed up of the hills before we’d even started! We chose this local corbett, taking our time and enjoying the views.
Loch Wharral Corbett – The weather was moody and dismal, but we were desperate to get out. We chose a wee corbett near Glen Clova, using it as a chance to refresh our navigation skills in the low cloud and not give our son too much uphill with our summer challenge looming.
Creag Leacach (987m) & Glas Maol (1068m) – We started our 4 week fundraising challenge by bagging these two by Glenshee, a good set to start with and ease our legs in to it. And there was time for our son to grab an icecream from Braemar before we made our way to Lochnagar.
Lochanagar (1155m) Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach (1110m), Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (1047m), Cairn Bannoch (1012m), Broad Cairn (998m) – This was an epic beast! We biked in to Glas Allt Bothy, locked our bikes and trundled up towards the first summit. We were about 10 minutes from it when the cloud came in and the rain started. It then didn’t stop until the following morning, so out of 5 summits, we got the last one with views!! It was a bit damp, and our son renamed it Frognagar because of all the frogs we kept dodging!
Sgairneach Mhor (991m), Beinn Udlamain (1011m), A’Mharconaich (975m), Geal Charn (917m) – These munros at Drummochter have been on our to-do list for a while. Sure, they’re near the A9, but you start high which always helps on our family days out! We decided on a high wildcamp mid-way round as the weather was looking good, the views were incredible and it remains one of my favourite trips. They have a reputation for being boring, but these rounded hills were perfect for our son to burn off energy (he has unlimited amounts!!)
Meall Corranaich (1069m) & Meall a’Choire Leith (926m) – These rounded munros near Loch Tay will always be memorable, not only for the boggy start across the peatbogs, but for the moment I slipped on some boulders crossing a knee-deep river about 10 minutes away from the car, and just sat there, exhausted, drenched, with Keith and our son in absolute hysterics. Well, now I can see the funny side…..
Mount Keen (939m) – We biked in a good portion of this walk (around 6km each way), to make sure we could do it in a day with our son. It was a fun day, taking it slow and I remember how much we laughed, though I couldn’t tell you what about! Love days like that. It was cloudy at the top, then the rain started so we didn’t hang around. I’m sure the views from the top of Scotland’s most easterly munro might be good though…
Driesh (947m) & Mayar (928m) – Both Keith and myself have done these two a few times and our son has done Mayar, but we were looking at different options for heading up and saw the Scorrie Path. We couldn’t find much info about it, but from the pictures we saw and looking at the map it didn’t look too bad. It still didn’t when we were at the path split between going up the big path or straight up the Scorrie Path. On the ground it was a different matter! Very steep in places which set off my vertigo but both Keith and our son had no problems with it! I remember looking up at them, seeing my son’s lips were purple and beginning to worry, asking him if he was warm enough, feeling ok, trying to figure out if we needed to call Mountain Rescue…… then he gave me the cheekiest grin ever and said “Mum, you’ve got to try the braeberries, there’s so many of them!!!!!” Panic over, sweet snack fix had and we carried on our way, bagging the two before coming down Corrie Fee.
Stob Dubh (956m), Stob Coire Raineach (925m) – One of the sunniest days we’ve had on the hills, bagging these iconic duo at Glen Coe.
The Cairnwell (933m) & Carn a’Gheoidh (975m) – Our son was really beginning to feel the challenge now, so we opted for a few of the local Glenshee ones, perfect for starting high and taking our time.
Beinn Bhreac (931m) – Before we started the challenge, we asked our son if there was something he’s particularly like to do a lot of during it, to make sure he felt like it was his challenge too; summit wildcamps? Plenty of rest days at the beach? Straight away he asked to see the sunrise from a summit, so we wildcamped by Derry Lodge, set the alarm for 2am and were under way not long after then, reaching the summit of Beinn Bhreac just in time to see some gorgeous colours.
Carn Aosda (917m) – We saved the easiest munro for last, a short little ramble up Glenshee’s easiest munro. As this was the last day of our challenge, a few of our son’s friends joined in and ceebrated with a bit of cake at the top. It was a great ending to an epic summer!
Meall nan Tarmachan (1044m) – The Ben Lawers munros have always packed a punch for me and I’ve never felt them to be an easy bunch to do that’s for sure! It had felt like an age since we’d been out on the hills, so we went away in the campervan and bagged this one on a calm weekend, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the challenge.
Meall Buidhe (932m) – We bagged this munro the day after Meall nan Tarmachan. It was our son’s 40th unique munro that he’s bagged and he was in the mood to celebrate on that day, telling anyone and everyone that we saw about his achievement and going so far as ti give advice to fellow walkers at the summit about bagging Ben Macdui. It was good advice too!
Snowy Gael Charn – What a fantastic way to end the year!! The conditions looked too good for us not to try to bag both our son’s and my first winter munro (Keith usually has a few winter mountain days and has gotten in to ski touring the last few years so he’s well in to it!) It was perfect! We’ve done this munro a few times before, but it’s fair to say we’re both still buzzing from it.