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Scrambled Eag ..... and Mor!

Scrambled Eag ..... and Mor!

Postby JimboJim » Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:48 pm

Route description: Southern Cuillin and Coire Ghrunnda

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Dubh Mòr, Sgùrr nan Eag

Date walked: 14/10/2020

Time taken: 9.25 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1159m

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Usual quick report, only for the dedicated, or needing medicated :lol:

Saw an opportunity to bag a trip on the Cuillin with a guide for a couple of days. Might be worth a try I thought. I had made a couple of forays to Skye with my buddy, Steve, but really didn’t think I was up to backing him up on the difficult, exposed climbs. I thought I would check out if I could get accommodation and if so, throw my hat in the ring for the available space. By the time I threw my hat in the ring, I was too late. Someone had thrown their hat in the ring first :lol: Lesson learned ..... but, my two nights were booked. What to do?

To add to my dilemma ........ and embarrassment, I then got a message from Steve, a few days later, asking if I fancied a trip to Skye? One of the days he wanted to go, overlapped with one of my days! Merde! What do I say? I felt bad having not given him a shout, but would feel even worse if I bumped into him in Sligachan, or Glen Brittle :shock: Bit, the bullet and phoned to explain how I felt. Steve, being a gentleman was fully understanding, but keen to offer his support, if I felt like having another go at Sgurr nan Gillean?

Eag Gillean 020_996_768.JPG
Stuart and Gavin, couple of lads I was to meet up with, show route up by waterfall to Coire Ghrundda.

Ok, sounded like a plan which offered me a way out of my dilemma. I could have a go at Sgurr nan Eag myself, maybe have a look at Sgurr Dubh Mor, then join Steve next day for SnG. The forecast for my journey up was awful windy, so I decided to abandon any thoughts of getting up there early and having a recce of An Dorus, especially when I was seeing times for doing the southern pair. Around about 10 hours seemed commonplace, so I didn’t want to overdo it, with the prospect of heading for Sgurr nan Gillean on the third day.

Had a nice, leisurely drive up other than one youngster with suicidal intent, near causing a head-on at Morvich. Anyway, was a nice and pleasant day when I arrived at the Sligachan Inn. Even had a decent view of the hills from my wee bedroom. Enjoyed tea and a pint in my bedroom. Damn this Covid! :lol: Lovely breakfast at half seven, then set off for Glen Brittle.

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Out to Rum.
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Chance of some ship spotting. Ferry leaving Lochboisdale?

Was a bit surprised how breezy it was, immediately thinking that is Sgurr Dubh Mor bombed out :) Enjoyed the walk out to the opening of lower Coire Ghrunnda, which soon starts to rise more steeply into an impressive array of huge slabs and boulders. The track was reasonably easy to follow high on the left hand side, with an occasional cairn here and there.

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Eag SE face across lower Coire Ghrunnda. Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Caisteal a' Garbh Coire poking through at the back.

Caisteal a Garbh Choire and Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, begin to take form impressively as one ascends. Saw a couple of climbers higher up, negotiating the climb to the left of the waterfall. Relatively easy scrambling, but it helps when visibility is so good. They had helmets on, so I thought time for me, also.

Eag Gillean 043_1024_768.JPG
Bla Bheinn, beyond Loch Coruisk.

From there it wasn’t far into the majestic setting of Coire Ghrunnda, with high cliffs and massive boulders bathed in mist, surrounding the lochan. Had a good look at the options to get up onto the ridge. Wasn’t too sure about the primary route mentioned in WH’s. The secondary option, to climb the boulders up to the left of Caisteal a Garbh Choir looked tempting, as I wasn’t too sure about the way up towards Eag. Was baffled and somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t see any sign of the pair who had been not far in front of me. Where had they gone? (They actually were heading for SnE, but said they had went a bit off track, so shows it can happen even in good vis.)

Eag Gillean 044_1024_768.JPG
Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Sgurr Dubh Mor. I didn't think it looked as hard as reports suggested it was. How wrong I was to be :)

Eventually decided to try the direct route, which has a fair amount of tracks, but still not easy for a novice like me to be sure I wasn’t heading into trouble. Enjoyed the scrambling and views back down to the lochan, although it remained very windy. Indeed, I was blown off balance a couple of times, which made me wonder if I would even make the summit of this one.

Eag Gillean 055_1024_768.JPG
Across to Sgurr Alasdair, highest of the Cuillin.

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What awaits on the "other side."

Eventually reached a spot high up, which I knew I wasn’t going to try to climb, but must be near the “edge.” Sure enough, a wee diversion opened up the views over An Garbh Coire, to Loch Coruisk, Bla Bheinn and much of the Cuillin. Superb! Detoured round said obstruction and did my best to keep to scramble along the ridge, without getting too close to anything too hairy, of which there was more than enough for my liking :shock: Soon spotted the two who I’d seen lower down just leaving the summit and had a wee natter with them. Felt pleased to know they were also heading for Sgurr Dubh Mor and might be useful company.

Eag Gillean 060_1024_768.JPG
Summit, Sgurr nan Eag, 924m.
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Plenty of Munros and other summits to the north of SnE.
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Sgurr a' Choire Bhig out to Gars-bheinn.

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Pano NE or, thereabouts.

Enjoyed the stunning views from the summit. Couldn’t help but reflect on emotions - I hate these hills, but I love them.... if you know what I mean :lol: Took usual umpteen photo’s and had some grub, soaking in the stupendous views. Deliberated briefly about going out to Gars-bheinn, at the end of the ridge. Probably trying to avoid heading for Sgurr Dubh Mor :D No, it doesn’t look too horrendous from here, stick to plan and at least go for a closer look!

Eag Gillean 087_1024_768.JPG
Ridge off SnE on descent. Was fun .... for a while :)
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Pano of many peaks on the ridge.

Again tried to stick to the ridge as best I could on descent to try to get more relaxed with exposure. Thought I did pretty well, but eventually got the heebie-jeebie’s and decided to head for easier ground. That proved trickier than just a click of the fingers, but I eventually struggled down some serious boulders, back on track, enjoying the scrambling, before working my way round the right hand side of the castle which is almost invisible against the background of Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn.

Eag Gillean 091_1024_768.JPG
Looking for a route to Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, SDM, just rising off to the right. Such is the camouflage, that one can barely make out the mass of Caisteal a Garbh Choire blocking the ridge and is generally by-passed to the right.
Eag Gillean 099_1024_768.JPG
Coire Ghrundda. I was recently at Coire Ghranda, Ullapool, but I'm not sure which is grander, Ghrundda, or Ghranda? :)

Climbing Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn was good fun, with some tricky scrambling but again I was appreciative of the visibility, to change routes when heading into trouble. I had hoped to be closer to the two lads, but they were well along the ridge to SDM, almost at its base. Damn! Still, didn’t think it looked insurmountable, even for me.

Eag Gillean 101_1024_717.JPG
Couple of climbers at the top of the Great Stone Chute.
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Climbers on the Pin and Sgurr Mhic Choinnich.

First move off SDnDB, was just a bit tricky, then more comfortable down the right side to the bealach, but it was here my difficulties started to ratchet up, markedly. The guys seemed to have climbed over massive rock, yet I could see no way. I dropped down, round to the right, then further round and down, searching for the way up. The track seemed worn, but that means little about these parts. Eventually came to a sort of gully, which I opted to go up. Was very tricky and probably not the way to go.

Eag Gillean 112_1024_691.JPG
Some folk on Sgurr Mhic Choinnich and In Pin.

Struggled to make the last climb out the gully/cleft to get back on track, where I met a chap descending. I said that was enough for me, but he said the lads were managing and I would too, but it was up to me. Mmmmmhhh? :?: Ok, check things out a bit further. These guys might be able to help if I need them? Exposure steadily clicks up. Had pic of route, but couldn’t make it match up with what I was seeing. Saw the lads out to my left so went over to join them.

Eag Gillean 113_1024_768.JPG
Met a couple of fine lads, Stuart and Gavin, who helped me make it to the top of Sgurr Dubh Mor. Couldn't have made it without them. Here is Gavin, surveying way back down, or just wondering how we got up :)
Eag Gillean 113a_576_768.jpg

They had also become a bit unsure and were surveying options, both of which looked way too tricky for me :shock: We weren’t stuck for going down, but up seemed a no go. I hoped someone might be coming along behind us, but in fact the next voices we heard were from folk descending. We soon scurried back along the ledge to see where they had come from and the lady was only too happy to give us a few pointers where to head. Seems they had come right over the top .... and were carrying a dog :eh:

Still was no stroll to the top with some difficult scrambling, but I was just relieved to follow the lads till we got over the last slab, onto the summit. Thank you guys! Time to get to know you. Stuart and Gavin, from the Far East, well, Edinburgh/Perth :) They had been supposed to go out with the guide I had been trying to fix up, the day previously, but it was too windy. They were next heading for Sgurr Alasdair. Thought about it briefly, but decided to stick to plan, remembering my previous experiance descending the Great Stone Chute - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=87739

Not sure Gavin and Stuart would agree, but contrary to custom, I found the descent much less troublesome, though perhaps my memory is just blanking the trauma out :) Then coincidence upon coincidence, as we bumped into the guide they should have been with the day before, who was also the guide I had tried to fix up for today. He gave the lads some on the spot guidance for the rest of their day, for which they were most appreciative. We then traversed the ridge back to SDnDB on the north side with a bit of clambering over and around things without too much bother.

Eag Gillean 114a_1024_768.jpg
Couple heading off Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, for SDM. Probably our "non guide." :)
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Back down at the lochan. Caisteal a Garbh Choire, left. Route up SnE, perhaps more evident from here, but less so when mist down and close up.
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Yours truly in Coire Ghrunnda, below Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, having dropped down by the left hand side of Caisteal a Garbh Coire. One can just make out the "hole" in the rocks where I squeezed through...... if you're wearing your best specs!

Eag Gillean 139_1024_709.JPG
Coire Lagan sun. Job near done.

We parted company and I descended Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn once again, feeling well chuffed with my efforts, although the squeeze through the “window” in the boulders at Caisteal a Garbh Coire and descent down to Loch Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda took some of the wind from my sails :lol: From there it was an enjoyable, but long hike back round to Loch Brittle, but the views of Coire Lagan and Rum helped pass the journey, with thoughts of what might lie ahead on Surr nan Gillean tomorrow, but that as they say, is another story :-x
Last edited by JimboJim on Fri May 07, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scrambled Eag ..... and Mor!

Postby JimboJim » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:00 pm

And, a few ,more pics :)
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Wee stroll after dinner first night. Sligachan Lodge.
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Red Cuillin.
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The north ridge off Eag. Was quite chuffed how much I managed to stick to it, though eventually bailed out :)
Eag Gillean 056_1024_768.JPG
Across Loch Brittle, to Outer Hebrides.
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Yours truly. SnE summit.
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The ledges begin to look a bit narrow now. Picking your way up is not easy. In fact, for me, just getting there was not easy!
Eag Gillean 093_1024_768.JPG
An Garbh-choire
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Chap heading up Sgurr Dubh Mor. Not sure if that is line we followed, or not?
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A few folk on the In Pin. Doesn't look too hard =D
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Climbers on Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. Another brute.
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Sgurr nan Eag, from SDnDB, I think.
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Back across to Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn, from SDM.
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Shadow of Sgurr Dubh Mor, on opposite slopes.
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Back to the relative safety of SDnDB.
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Exit hole from the ridge down to the lochan. Other options are available :)
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Lower Coire Ghrundda. Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Caisteal a Garbh Choire at the back.
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View over Coire Ghrundda, to Rum.
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Better view of the Cioche, as the sun goes down :)
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Loch Brittle.
Eag Gillean 145_1024_768.JPG
Coire na Banachdich, as the sun goes down.
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