On Monday I climbed Beinn Dorain (3530ft) from Bridge of Orchy. It was part of Alec Finlay’s The Road North project, so my narrative, poems and photos will be published on that site. I just want to mention a few things about the climb here.
First, the shape of the mountain close-up – the climber’s view – is completely different from that seen from the road. It’s not the simple green cone on the postcards. The pair of mountains – Beinn Dorain and Beinn An Dothaidh – form a single broad massif, with cliffs either side of the bealach which joins them. You climb up to the bealach, and then take the right-hand fork which leads to the summit of Dorain. The mountain itself is a series of steep uphill stretches punctuated by gentle shoulders, which give you time you ease tired muscles.
I didn’t see any deer on the mountain, so Duncan Ban MacIntyre’s epic Gaelic poem must remain in memory. I did find Norman MacCaig’s beloved frogs, and they are like little multi-coloured jewels
“jumping into the air – like
the huge concept of Ben Dorain”
(One of the Many Days).
I also met and enjoyed the company of a family of ravens on the upper crags – I love these birds – and on the skyline I spotted the outline of a mountain hare. See if you can make it out in the second photo.
Coming down from the bealach was very uncomfortable because of the erosion of the path. For much of it I was slipping and sliding down an unstable slope of loose stones. It’s painful on the feet and ankles, and jarring on these old arthritic knees of mine. However, I was very pleased that, getting very close to 68, I can still enjoy climbing Scotland’s mountains.