My first week in Torridon has been exciting, interesting and above all beautiful. There really is nowhere else in the UK that has the incredible wildness and variety as the North West Highlands.
We took an opportunity of clear blue skies to climb Access Gully and traverse Liathach via the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles (see photo above). In classic ‘spring’ condition we had bullet hard snow ice called neve on the gully then clear rock on the pinnacles, some of the summit ridge involved sun softened snow with big exposure; thrilling. These conditions required good decision making and quite a few stops to switch to crampons.
Starting work involved plenty of paperwork and reading through procedures. It hasn’t all been office based though. We’ve had a go at clay pigeon shooting, archery, sea kayaking, and sorted out a tree to climb.
The sea kayaking was a particular highlight. “super” spring tides meant a little further to carry the boats but also that there was a huge amount of wildlife exposed in rock pools among the kelp that would normally be underwater. This included urchins, crabs, unusual looking fish, shrimps, sea snails, razor clams and more. Further on we accidental interrupted a family of seals who preceded to follow us and coming within a few meters. While we were watched by the seals a white tailed eagle wheeled over head, unmistakable with its giant wing span and tail glinting in the sun.
Our days off were filled with entertainment as well – a grade two scramble up the south west ridge of Ben Dearg and a canoe across Loch Maree to the islands in tricky and cold conditions.
Since then fresh snow has been falling and it feels like winter is not giving in to spring very easily. A few glimpses of sun have poked through though enabling some after work bouldering in the Celtic Jumble of boulders just outside Torridon itself. Full of aretes, cracks and slabs, I’d recommend anyone who enjoys climbing pay it a visit. I’ve never bouldered anywhere as good except perhaps in Fontainebleau.