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Glen Affric – August 25th – 28th 2017

The youth hostel near the head of Glen Affric is the most remote in the UK.  The shortest walk in is roughly six miles using a boggy path from the Cluanie Inn to the west.  The alternative approach, from the east, is from the roadhead ten miles beyond the village of Cannich. This follows a reasonable path of about eight miles, which is negotiable by Landrover or by skilled riders on mountain bikes (less skilled cyclists have to resort to long sections of pushing).

Adventure Out spent three nights at the hostel over the English bank holiday weekend. Ten of us met at the Forestry Commission car park east of Glen Affric with heavy backpacks containing all our food plus sleeping bags and clothing for the duration of our stay.

The eight-mile walk in took us roughly four hours. Although we started out in sunshine it was raining heavily on our final approach to the hostel. Thankfully the warden had tea and scones ready for our arrival, which was a pleasant surprise.

Saturday.  We climbed two of the most remote hills in the UK, both highly prized by Munro baggers. Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan - ‘peak of the quarters’ - is so called because it divides the land with its multiple ridges.  Mullach na Dheiragain (summit of the hawk) lies 4km to the north and is really the terminus of an outlying spur of Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan.  To climb these two hills, even from the convenience of the hostel, is a long walk and it was late afternoon before we got back.  A communal meal - a wonderfully prepared puttanesca - had been organised by Chris W.

Sunday. We visited Camban Bothy.  This would have been a remote farmstead in times gone by and the dry stane dkyes (dry stone walls) dividing the pastures that the past residents would have tended are still visible.  It is now  managed by the Mountain Bothies Association and has a sound roof, plus sleeping shelves, table and chairs and is a pleasant stop to eat sandwiches out of the rain or/and midges.  The party split here, with one group visiting the waterfalls at Allt Grannda, and the rest climbing Beinn Fhada (long Mountain) – a sprawling massif to the west of the hostel.  The ascent from the hostel is seldom used, so is trackless for the most part but takes an otherwise pleasant ridge line.

Monday. Walk out day.  Some of us had cars at the car park so headed back by the way we had walked in, while others headed to the Cluanie Inn to catch the bus to Inverness for trains or flights home. Altogether a memorable trip to this wonderful hostel.

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