I wasn't planning to go walking today. However, after checking the forecast and Traffic Scotland Live Eye views this morning, I thought the weather forecast looked pretty-good out West. After throwing a few things in a rucksack, I managed to get away by 7.30am.

The drive to Inverness was slow progress. The temperature gauge was at its' lowest just outside Keith – a bitterly cold -16C.

I had a couple of easy hills in mind, as I currently have a stinking cold (man-flu) .

The minor road from the A82 to the start at Ladycairn was 'interesting'. On setting off from Ladycairn, just after 10.00am, the temperature had risen to a sweltering -9C. Once suited and booted, down jacket and fleece on, I was off.

Hill: Carn a'Bhodaich
Date: Saturday 18th December 2010
Company: Just me
Time: 1Hr 40Mins
Dog friendly: Yes

I parked on a verge at Ladycairn and then set off along the track.

Track from Ladycairn:

I didn't have a map with me today but knew the summit grid reference and that the summit was at the trig point.

I followed the track for circa 400m until it veered off into a forest. At this point I decided to go 'cross-country' heading directly for the summit. I met the track again a few hundred metres further on.

Carn a'Bhodaich:

The weather was a bit disappointing but the forecast did suggest that the weather would improve as the day went on. Fingers crossed!

Ascending Carn a'Bhodaich:

Icicles on crag:

The views from the summit were non-existent as I arrived there at the same time as a snow shower.

Summit of Carn a'Bhodaich:

As I descended from the summit, the weather started to improve.

Looking back to Carn a'Bhodaich:

I didn't particularly enjoy this hill. Perhaps it would be better with views and when a bit less wet underfoot.

I next made for Beauly and then on to Garve for an ascent of Carn Faire nan Con.

Hill: Carn Faire nan Con
Date: Saturday 18th December 2010
Company: Just me
Time: 1Hr 30Mins
Dog friendly: Yes

I parked in a lay-by, at the outskirts of Garve, where there is room for several cars.

Lay-by just outside Garve:

I then walked back along the A835 to the start of the track up the hill. I was pleasantly surprised at the minimal depth of snow compared with back home.

Start of track up Carn Faire nan Con:

The initial ascent was alongside a number of electricity pylons. The first nice view was looking back to a frozen Loch Garve.

Loch Garve:

As I gained height, I became more and more impressed with the views from Carn Faire nan Con.

Loch Luichart:

Loch Luichart (zoomed):

Carn Faire Nan Con:

Looking across to Meall Ruighe an Fhirich and Little Wyvis:

Meall Ruighe an Fhirich and Little Wyvis (zoomed):

Sgurr Marcasaidh looks a really nice Marilyn - now bumped-up my to do list.

Sgurr Marcasaidh:

The air clarity today was pretty-good. Views out West towards the Fannaichs and Beinn Dearg hills were stunning.


At the high-point of the track, I made my way across snow-covered heather towards the summit stopping several times en-route to admire the views and take photos.

Carn Faire Nan Con:

Sgurr Marcasaidh and Loch Luichart:

Fannaichs and Beinn Dearg group:

Beinn Dearg and Cona Mheall (16x zoom):

Loch Luichart:

View from summit cairn:

View from cairn just beyond summit:

From the summit, I returned to the car via the same route.

Hoping to ascend five more Marilyns by the end of the year but 2011 focus will be back on Corbetts .