From the Cairn Ban Archives... 

Ledgowan & the Rolling Raspberry Rockers

IanCollinson, 27 July 2004

For the 2nd weekend in a row the weather forecaster was absolutely pants and, fair to say, Heather did not let us down.

It has to be said that driving as far north as Torridon is a long and sometimes painful experience... the tell tale sounds’pssssshhhhhtttt!’ started about Stepps and Kenny and Douglas plied themselves with bottles of Rolling Rock and a punnet of Raspberrys. Thus the weekend of ‘The Rolling Raspberry Rockers’ commenced.

Suggested uses for the empties stacking up were many including using them as recepticles for the side effects of drinking too much beer, filling them to varying levels and having a set of Peruvian Pan Pipes… sigh... Certainly, ‘Ten Green Bottles’ would have been an apt tune.

Ledgowan Bunkhouse has not, unfortunately, been the subject of a Carol Smillie-Stylee makeover programme and was the same ‘wondrous’ howff it was last time round. The team collected and adjourned to the splendid leather sofas and roaring fire in the adjacent hotel.

The Team: Kenster Lowe, Al Forsyth, Douglas Collinson, Brian Fish, Brian McCallum (first timer), David Roadrage Gray and myself. A bottle of Port Wood finish 'Morangie served as a nightcap back at the Bunkhouse as did good old Tiger beer.

Saturday morning...

The patter of rain outside got heavier and heavier. En route to Achnashellach my car-load decided it was time to go home. 9 hours of trudging through driving rain and wind was not appealling.

The day’s original target of Maoile Lunndaidh was never seen, but totally enshrouded in mist, cloud and wind. Another day...

The bikes made short work of the return trip to Craig and the reward for our efforts was a shower back at the bunkhouse.

None of the Strathcarron hills have yielded easily to me and all have been misty, cloudy, wet, windy, snowy... you get the picture... talk of taking Lunndaidh by canoe / foot from Strathfarrar was a welcome thought rather than another ‘Return To Strathcarron’ and also a wee break from Ledgowan@Achnasheen until Carol Smillie waves her magic wand over the bunkhouse.

For Brian McCallum this was probably a right miserable start to Munroing but, hey, it makes the good days all the more enjoyable.

Douglas, Brian F and Dave G stayed for another night and bagged a round of Alligin on what was a gloriously sunny and warm Sunday. Lucky blighters!

Watch Out for the next trip folks!

There was some serious thought of adjourning the day’s festivities to take in the Skye Folk festival instead but we were here, the hills were here and, briefly, there was a respite in the precipitation. Thoughts of reaching distant Maoile Lunndaidh were cast aside and the twa skoors - Coinnich and Chaorain were targetted. The cycle up the Allt a’ Chonais is stiff and we were glad to leave the bikes behind near to to three rapidly submerging tents.

The team headed up towards the Bealach Bearnais in the pouring rain whilst I headed straight up the front face to the coll to take in Choarain on its own as I'd previousy visted Coinnich. After 5 minutes a burn in spate crossing proved costly as I fell into it... at least only Thor, God of Atrocious weather, was able to laugh...

On the ridge line the wind was extremely strong and visibility was negligible. At the summit of Chorain I chatted to some old boys happily clad in shorts (happy yes, but also turning purple with cold) who were on their way to Lunndaidh. Turned out it was their tents we had seen and they enquired if the tents were still there or if they had floated off to Loch Carron... I smiled, they were pretty close to the truth.