The North West Highlands has lots of fantastic winter climbing to be had but we had our eye on the four star classic, Penguin gully. This 350m grade III,4 is a master piece which weaves it’s way up a hidden gully line to near the summit of Beinn Dearg.
First climbed in 1964 this historic climb this gem is set at the back of the corrie which leaves it hidden from view on the approach. And what an approach it is, after 3 km of walking up a forest track the path then begins to wind up the valley. Soon the snow line approaches and due to the high snow fall and the bowl of the corrie we were often sinking up to our knees in soft snow, thinking maybe snow shoes or skis would have been a preferable method of approach. Finally turning the corner we were glad to see thick ice dripping from the bottom pitch. Firm snow interspersed with nice ice gave the climb a great feel. With the only disadvantage being the lack of rock belays of which I had to dig out a couple.
This vale of mist opened up to reveal Ben Mor Coigach and Ullapool on it’s spit of land creeping into loch broom. The situation was truly magical and we were glad to have such a fantastic day.