Saturday, 11 December 2010

Glencoe and the Pap

Without doubt, one of my favourite sea lochs for inflatable boating during the summer was Loch Leven. As I made my way up and down the loch, my eyes were constantly drawn to Sgorr na Ciche or as its more commonly called, The Pap of Glencoe. At only 2434 ft high, its certainly not the highest hill in the area but I often wondered what the bird’s eye view of the loch would be like from its summit.

It was early November before I finally got round to finding out. It was a beautiful clear day with a frost in the air when I parked just outside of Glencoe village. The top of the pap was bathed in sunshine.

Within minutes of starting the walk, the mountains on the Ardgour peninsula came into view. They looked very steep and spectacular framed by the foreground fir trees.

Not long after, enough height was gained to look over the various islands at the west end of Loch Leven. My mind drifted back to the visits to the burial grounds on Eilean Munde

It’s a steep path up the hillside and I was glad of the frost as it had frozen the ground making walking on the boggy parts very easy. With every step upwards, the westward view got better and better.

The path heads towards the bealach between the Pap and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh before it swings northwards to head for the knobbly top of the Pap

The rocky top looks quite formidable from this angle but by keeping to the path, it’s no more that a steep walk through the rocky outcrops.

That is when the views to the east start to open out. The steep ridge of Garbh Bheinn looks quite impressive from this angle. I have made a mental note to try it sometime in the near future.

Over on the west side again, the ridge of Beinn a Bheithir looks even more impressive.

Finally the summit was reached and I can see the whole of Loch Leven from the top. As my eyes wandered round the view, I recalled all the points of interest I had found in my inflatable boat.

The narrows and the campsite at Caolas na con looked quite different from the air and seemed to be directly below me.

Looking east, I could now see all the way to Kinlochleven. The air was very clear and a little snow topped the highest summits in the distance. The views made me long for the warmer weather to return so I can get the boat back on the water.

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