We met at 9am, and after some car shuffling to avoid a tedious road walk at the end of the day, we set off up the excellent path towards the bealach before Stuc a'Choire Dhuidh Bhig. The cloud lifted as we ascended, along with our spirits. At the bealach we were treated to views of Beinn Eighe to the east, Beinn Dearg to the north, and of course Baosbheinn to the north-north east, (which I have still to climb, NB!).
Turning west, we made short work of the airy ridge and undulations before our first munro, only pausing to remove layers and to let a gentleman fell-runner of rather distinguished age whizz by, (he was 'the talk of the steamie' in the Torridon Inn that evening I can tell you, where much younger running folk were mightily impressed ). At the summit of Bidean a'Choire Leith we paused as the cloud cleared, revealing our main course of the day, the Am Fasarinen pinnacles, resplendent in the strengthening sunshine. We also had 360 degree views of the Coulin hills, An Teallach in the distance, the Fannichs, the Monar hills and many more.
After the bouldery and awkward quartzite descent of Bidean, we were pleased to arrive at the first sandstone narrowing on the ridge. The bypass path headed off to our left lower down, but that wasn't for us today. George and Fergus dispatched the exposed neck of rock with aplomb, and the scene was set for some great scrambling. Pinnacle after pinnacle came and went, some taken direct, some ascended or descended using shallow gullies or chimneys depending on steepness. The rock is grippy, being Torridonian sandstone 4 billion years old, eroded by wind and water into so many giant rocky stacks of pancakes.
When we got to the final descent, we were so enjoying ourselves we went back up a steeper corner feature for good measure. It wasn't a day for hurrying.
All too soon the scrambling was over, and after another pause to take in the views, we walked onwards and upwards to the final munro, Mullach an Rathain. From here you can look back over the pinnacles, and westwards to Beinn Alligin and the sea. By now it was calm and warm, and we soaked up the atmosphere fully before getting out the poles again for the descent. The erosion in the scree -filled coire that is the descent route is slowly being improved by the NTS, and the lower reaches are on a good path now. That doesn't detract from its steepness however, and it is always a tough one on the knees!
It is always a shame to plan a day on such a great mountain, only to be forced into taking the bypass paths by wind, rain, snow or all three. Today we were treated to a Red Letter day of perfect weather, and even the midges were having a lazy day. It makes all the dreich days worthwhile, as 'you've got to be in it to win it'! Thanks to George and Fergus for great company on a cracking day.