I enjoyed reading your piece, Dan. My experience of those hills was rather different. I once dared a work colleague to visit Ben Alder during February for a backpacking trip, and to my surprise, he agreed. With heavy winter sacks we left the car near Dalwhinnie and legged it across the railway line, heading for the snowy Loch Ericht track. After a mile or two, a JCB drove up and gave us a lift in its front bucket as far as Ben Alder Lodge. We left the Loch Pattack track and crossed hard-frozen ground to make camp opposite Culra Bothy. The next few days were spent on Carn Dearg, the Lancet Edge to Geal Charn and Aonach Beag, and best of all, the Long Leachas onto Ben Alder's vast frozen plateau - no doubt it's a simple scramble in summer, but in winter it felt like alpine mountaineering - and a descent via Beinn Bheoil. I slept each night in full Paramo gear, with overnight temperatures of minus 11C and some heavy snowfall. And plodding back beside Loch Ericht we got a lift in the back of an estate pick-up. Good times!
Calling Beinn na Lap 'magnificent' might be a bit of a stretch. Strong candidate for the 282nd most magnificent Munro... Long Leachas is indeed not demanding in summer (Grade 1, low in the grade) but still very worth seeking out. And if getting off train at Corrour is a weird moment, much more is waiting for it on a December evening in starlight and hard, hard frost, seeing the lights approach above Loch Treig and hoping it's going to stop and then stepping into the bright, warm urban-smelling carriage. A truly liminal moment.
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