Day 4, TORRIDON ADVENTURES

Date: 22nd SEPTEMBER 2016.

Munro’s Completed: Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr a’ Chaorachain and Maoile Lunndaidh.

Distance walked: 31.6kms (ascent 2160mts).

 

An epic and excellent day. We’d spent the night before checking over the weather forecast for the next few days. MWIS as usual predicted an atrocious day of heavy and persistent rain. BBC weather predicted a cloudy day with light winds but little or no rain until 7.00pm. The days following were expected to get worse so we decided to head to CRAIGS on the A890 and walk the first two hills and if the weather held out then we’d possibly also head towards Maoile Lunndaidh. We drove the hour to CRAIGS and set off at 8.15am. The first 5kms was along a stalkers track which led to the wire bridge across the Allt a’Chonais. We considered the wire bridge but decided to just wade across the low waters (the bridge didn’t look safe). We then started off uphill gently at first towards the BEALACH BHEARNAIS. The path once again was good and only the occasional stretch of bog to navigate across. Once we reached the bealach we had a quick break for water and a bit to eat. The weather was as the BBC had stated overcast with cloud but no rain and light winds. Karen had done the first two of these Munro’s previously in Winter conditions and said she wasn’t bothered whether or not we managed to grab the third. I felt a bit guilty and decided that unless the weather really took a turn for the worse we were going for it. We reached the first summit (999mts) about 11.00am and got lucky as the sun decided to come out briefly.

Summit of Sgurr Choinnich

Summit of Sgurr Choinnich

We could see Sgurr a’Chaorachain and it looks so close and easy to reach. We set off downhill to the bealach at 840mts and then the fairly gentle approach up onto the summit. There were no issues and we reached the second summit (1053mts) within an hour of leaving the first. We had more to eat and drink and I had one of Karen’s sandwiches. I looked across towards Bidean an Eoin Deirg and for a brief moment thought it might have been the third Munro. I knew from the map that it should have been about 5 kms away and this seemed to be too close. I checked the map and when I looked out further I could just make out the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh in the distance, it seemed a long way off. We left Sgurr a’Chaorachain about 12.10pm and turned North then East towards the small Lochan Gaineamhash, The ground was dry and it was only when we reached the area around Drochaid Mhuilich that it got  a little boggier.

Summit of Sgurr a'Chaorachain

Summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain

The climb up to Carn nam Fiaclan was steep and going was slow but we eventually got to the top and the next 2kms to the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh was easy going. We especially enjoyed the view of the three small lochans in the corrie Fuar-Tholl-Mor and decided it would be difficult to see these from any where else. We reached the summit (1005mts) about 3.15pm and didn’t hang about as the summit itself was fairly ordinary. We turned to head down the North-West shoulder  and were heading for Glenuaig Lodge which we could see all the way down and aided our navigation. We’d heard that this area could be fairly boggy but again we managed to get across without to many problems. We reached the Lodge about 5.00pm and only the 9kms along the track left to do. We noticed there was a truck parked at the lodge and had a discussion as to whether accepting a lift back to the road would be cheating. We’d have a further encounter with this vehicle a little later.                                                                  img_9490_29266881853_o

We set off along the track in the knowledge that it was going to be a long way back. I had my earphones and music which are usually pretty useful in these circumstances but decided that it would be bad manners to use these when in company. We made good progress and reached the area near to Creag an Ardaich when we saw the truck approaching. Just by coincidence there was a locked gate across the track and we stopped to open the gate for the truck. We glanced at each other half expecting the driver to offer us a lift, not on your nelly, the driver just drove off with a dead deer in the back of his vehicle. I swore under my breath and then carried on as before. We reached the end of the track about 6.30pm (10hrs 15mins) after we had set off. After we got changed we were heading back to Annat when it began to rain for the first time that day. Well done BBC weather.

View of Sgurr a'Chaorachain from Carn nam Fiaclan

View of Sgurr a’Chaorachain from Carn nam Fiaclan

 

Three Lochans at Fuar-Tholl -Mor.

Three Lochans at Fuar-Tholl -Mor.

 

Day 3: TORRIDON ADVENTURES

Day 3: 21st SEPTEMBER 2016.

Munro’s completed:

Distance walked: 10.8kms (ascent 1294mts).

 

I’d been able to see these two munro’s from the Struan Cottage we were staying in whilst in Annat and they looked to be superb. At 8.00am we set off for the short drive to just West of Torridon and parked in the car park near to Torridon House. We were then off at 8.15am to an immediate steep start on the West side of the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. As with yesterday the path was excellent and together with the decent weather conditions we wouldn’t need to get our maps out of our backpacks. As we ascended we could see the view for miles in all directions, including the previous days walking from Coulags and the Pinnacles of Liathach. Before long we reached the deer fence and both climbed over the stile,

Me clambering over Deer stile

I had noticed another vehicle in the car park before we set off and as we entered the Coire nan Laogh we caught up with another walker who was enjoying a short stop. We had a quick chat and moved on. I love walking through Corries,  despite the steep going I was enjoying myself, stopping occasionally to let Karen catch me up and also absorb the atmosphere.

After reaching top of the Coire nan Laogh we headed North East and soon reached the summit of Munro Tom na Gruagaich. We had intended having a decent break here but the wind had picked up and it got cold pretty quickly. We moved on and could see our next objective Sgurr Mor and the impressive cleft in the mountain. We had a short scramble before again were walking on the decent path on the North side of the mountain and the wind was still blowing. We went around the cleft and less then 45 minutes after being on top of Tom na Gruagaich we were now on the summit of Sgurr Mor. We had another short stop and admired the Beinn Alligin horns, all three, each one slightly smaller then the previous. I have to admit I was concerned about walking across these in the high winds but we decided to push and see how things went. We descended over and reached the horns. We climbed over the horns and the scrambling was straight forward and no problems were encountered. We were surprised when we met another walker coming down from the first horn and he waited whilst we climbed up and beyond him. The horns were ascended and the wind had presented no problems.

Cleft of Sgurr Mor and the Horns beyond.

Cleft of Sgurr Mor and the Horns beyond.

We picked up the excellent path leading down towards the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. The going was steep and took its toll on my knees. We reached the river (Scottish Coire) and walked the last 2 kilometres down the Coire Mhic Nobail back to the car park. Back to the car for 2.20pm and drove to Gairloch for an evening meal and a quick pint.

 

 

 

Day 2: TORRIDON ADVENTURE.

Day 2: TUESDAY 20th SEPTEMBER 2016.

Munro’s Climbed: SPIDEAN A’CHOIRE LEITH and MULLACH AN RATHAIN.

Distance Walked: 9.8kms (Ascent 1390mts).

 

Looking at the distance above this would seem like a fairly easy day out, however this whole route involved either walking steeply up or steeply down and no flat bits. The two hills combined are known as ‘THE LIATHACH’ and its been something both me and Karen have been looking forward to for a while. We parked cars at either end of the route in order to save the final 3 kms along the A896. We then set off at .810am and the steep climb starts immediately. The path was dry and easy to follow and we made steady progress the views over the area improving each time I looked up. We reached the ridge at about 800mts and decided to not head off to Stuc a’Choire Dhuibh Bhig but turned West and on towards the first Munro, Spidean a’ Choire Leach. There was a little bit of scrambling on the way up but nothing difficult. As we reached the summit we looked across and saw the Pinnacles. The weather was sunny and little wind and clear summits so no excuses for not walking across the tops of the Pinnacles. We had a quick stop and then headed off. Could also see that several other cars had parked in the car park, we’d see some of the occupants later.

We reached the Pinnacles and scrambled over each one in turn. Karen did great, she was concerned about a couple of the down steps which were high but she managed. From the top of the Pinnacles saw a couple of other walkers who chose the ‘quicker’ path. The progress wasn’t quick but there was no rush today so enjoyed myself. On the way to Mullach an Raithain we stopped off on what we thought was the summit only to be set straight by a couple of other walkers who arrived shortly after we did. We got back up and only 10 minutes later we arrived at the summit properly.

It was time to head down. The path was obvious but the initial section was difficult due to the scree. Surprisingly nobody fell on their backside. We continued down and then down and then down some more. Lowe down there was a little section of water which we both managed to jump around and we arrived at the car at 3.30pm with dry feet.

A great day and plenty of decent scrambling, despite the rumours of these hills they didn’t create the difficulty that some others had written about and talked about.

 

Bagging Munro’s in September: Torridon Adventure.

Day 1: 19th September 2016.

Munro Competed: MAOL CHEAN-DEARG.

Distance: 16.6kms (Ascent 1284mts).

 

Had finished work at midnight and driven straight up to Scotland. Stopped briefly at a car park in Pitlochry for 40 winks and then continued up to meet Karen at Coulags arriving just before 10am. After getting to the correct location we set off at 10.25. Initially set off along a good track and before long met up with the workmen working on the hydroworks. The first 4 kilometres was along the Fionn-Abhainn, initially on the East side and then crossed the bridge onto the West side. The going so far had been reasonably flat so we turned West heading for the Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh, again a really good path and no problems. After reaching the bealach we had a quick stop and talked about plans for the rest of the day. Karen had mentioned about the possibility of bagging the Corbett An Ruadh Stac and we decided to see how things went on the first objective of Maol Chean-Dearg.

Weather was fine, split between clouds and sun with only a little breeze. We turned North heading to the top and got to the summit of Maol Chean-Dearg about 2.00pm. We didn’t wait around too long and turned around and retraced our steps back to the bealach, which we reached about 2.45pm. We decided to start off towards the Corbett but I was concerned about the time as I knew it would be getting dark about 7.00pm. We set off, but about 15 minutes later Karen suggested turning around, I didn’t argue and we set off back to the bealach and down. There was no misadventures on the way down, we met up with three men and a dog who were making repairs to the path lower down near the river Fionn-Abhainn. We managed to get back to the cars about 5.20pm and I realised that we probably would have managed the Corbett, never mind it’ll still be there for a future visit.

 

I followed Karen to first Lochcarron where we both picked up some groceries from the village shop before heading to the cottage at Arrat near Torridon.