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Lockdown Rehab - Week 2: Loch Quoich Munros

Lockdown Rehab - Week 2: Loch Quoich Munros

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:45 am

Munros included on this walk: Gairich, Gleouraich, Sgùrr a' Mhaoraich, Spidean Mialach

Date walked: 25/04/2021

Distance: 66.5 km

Ascent: 3579m

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The first "proper" weekend we've had in many months. With a good weather forecast I was casting around for somewhere that would be pleasant, have some straightforward Munros for day walks and a place to camp. I initially was thinking somewhere in Perthshire or Glen Lyon, but a report from midweek showed that the snow wasn't going to be a problem up Loch Quoich way - decision made!

We drove up the A82 on Thursday night, having picked Allison up from work - yes - just like the good old days! Had a good look at the snow level going through Glencoe and beyond - not a great deal left, until you get to The Ben and the Aonachs/Grey Corries. It had been a beautiful day, and it was a lovely evening as we drove the windy road along Loch Quoich. I had planned to camp on a flat bit of ground just before the dam, but it's now surrounded by a building site...we continued on a couple of miles and stopped at a viewpoint, pitched and settled down to watch a glorious sunset over the Glen Dessarry hills. One of my favourite views. Not a sound all night, no passing traffic and a big, bright moon.

Image6BD31E55-DA87-421A-8826-D4CBED7902D6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBBC99494-956C-4623-A026-C333FE26510D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8619A2FE-B931-4578-8A2F-41E86817FCF0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image116AD5E6-179C-444B-84DA-23281030CBA8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image25007B1A-0780-48A0-8310-6D918351F3D6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Gleorach and Spidean Mialach were on the books for Friday - we were up at 7 and away by 8. Parked at the usual spot and headed up Gleorach first, the stalkers' path making effortless ascent possible. Or as near effortless as two unfit creatures could manage. A light haze sat over Sgurr na Ciche and friends - we could see the Knoydart hills peek out as we continued to climb. A bit of snow in the northern aspect of the worries, but none on the path to the summit. I was filled with a deep sense of calm and relaxation, something I haven't felt much of for many months. I attribute this to the surroundings - beauty, no other people milling around and gabbing like the busy hills around Loch Lomond/Arrochar last weekend, also the sense of being in new terrain and having to just adjust your step, not take everything for granted.

ImageDB8DF037-CE66-4103-821E-8E1458402114_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageEA5F2BF1-E944-43DB-AAFF-E941C14A4348_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF04E5431-86FA-4723-B7C4-CBBE62C814AE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1C5A3F32-E2C8-4CE2-B1FE-C1B9EDC83A87_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC2D6E081-8F97-477C-979E-17BC04303A09_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF6E6202D-FF29-4289-B009-097E5A1D3BD1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBF444E51-047D-4A64-AC90-D3DF707F2CB5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9A0155F0-4139-4797-B8FD-151272CE325C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFBF2CFB3-781C-43F7-A41F-94DC2DBDA4B7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr\\

Image69FFBAA3-0EE8-4801-AF5A-004EF28BF964_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageED1192D8-980A-4B93-BA45-715F6AB3DD2E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Going up Spidean Mialach we met the iconic Derek Wardlaw, outfitted in outrageously bright blue gear, with a couple of friends. We chatted for a bit, arranged to head to his completion event later in the year. We didn't meet anyone else. After reaching the summit we continued east to the Sim of Glac Raineach - this involved a pleasant wander along the ridge, then a tedious search for the highest outcrop. Eventually we headed down the dry grassy slopes toward the road, arriving just to the east of the crag-fall of three years or so ago and left with a sizeable trot back along the road in the hot sun. Did find a good six point antler along the way. A lady in a big white van pulled over to greet us like some long lost kin...maybe she recognised us from WH, or maybe she thought we were other people, but anyway she was lovely, as was her gorgeous collie Ziggy...an obvious "hill-head".

Image0B54F1B2-9C1B-42D4-8071-11BEABC3F0CC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC3C19CDB-1976-49B2-BDAC-CF70C4EE58B9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Down towards Glac Raineach
Image012D145A-D41D-4D55-8FAC-0F73027F1D98_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Spidean Mialach from the east
ImageA004B327-2F5B-4C89-95E1-B100CD73D989_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image19DA617F-C18A-4D72-A5C7-C6E3E749A0BD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB3A3507E-11A2-4073-BC44-9ED395FC64EC_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

We pitched the tent in the same spot we'd used the night before, but this now being Friday I suspected things would be busier. Right enough, when we were sitting down to our tea a camper arrived - but he was fine, never heard a peep from him. Quite a lot of cars passed heading further down the road. We went to bed quite early as a chill wind had got up. After 10 another van pulled up - 2 guys who just yakked until after three in the morning. Maybe you don't think people can hear you inside your tin contraption, but oh yes, they can. And another sound I've grown to hate is the slide-clunk of camper van doors opening or shutting. Especially when it goes on every 10 minutes or so. If folk want to talk all night long, then find a place to park where you are not going to keep other people awake in doing so. I wished I had a hex-spell that would have shrunk their heads like the unfortunate creature in Beetlejuice...

Irritated and with a headache due to lack of sleep we still got up at 7 and drove back towards the dam to set out for Garich. Parking at the dam is now restricted due to the work going on, although it didn't seem like there were any workies there at the weekend. There's a spot for 3 cars about 3/4 of a km before the dam on the east side. Another gorgeous morning with the loch still and reflective. Ground on this notoriously boggy section in was dry and easy going. Just before starting on the hill track we were caught by a guy who had recognised us from WH - he was of to do Sgurr an Fhurain from Glen Kingie. This brought back memories of slogging up there with full packs the first time we climbed the Glen Dessarry hills...oh it was a grim ascent that!

Image6A67870A-A550-4AC8-8A44-6AE2252DE01C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0D929F30-88DD-4DD2-A4B4-D3764C44755A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1B653A58-DABC-4B42-8FE6-C3C9996C5F27_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We took the much easier path up Garich. No snow in the way here either, just great views. We had an early lunch and decided to head down the western side of Garich, rather than return by the outward route. What I had really wanted to do was add Sgurr More onto Garich, but I had to face facts that we are not fit enough for that at present. The descent is easy, not least because of the fine zigzags that assist descent in the lower segment, coming off Garich Beag. We could see a transverse stalkers path going up Sgurr an Fhurain ahead of us - looked much easier than the lung-bursting route we'd taken. Anyhow, we took the good track down into Glen Kingie. Allison realised she'd dropped her cap and we had to go back - given how special her cap is to her, and she'd just repaired it...so that added about 3km onto the day.

ImageB0D263BC-2AF4-46E5-BDEF-22BF0C763500_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image746D852A-6817-469A-BAC9-5DC79CCC52CF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich
ImageA72951EC-7632-4944-A09E-4286A11A779D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr an Fhurain and Sgurr Mor
Image328C2559-E9BB-47E9-897C-FA076650C873_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The air kept getting hotter, sun beating down - this is April, right? The track reached the forest, and continued, seemingly endlessly. I couldn't remember it being as long going through the forest, when we'd returned from Sgurr na Ciche that first time..it was just a long long walk. Anyway we did reach the boggy path back to the start of the climb up Garich and were joined by our Corbetteer from earlier, Nick. We had a good talk on the way back to the car - he's a mere dozen left now.

Image994EA5AF-CED1-481A-A661-74CE45E3F457_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image745127D0-E2C9-42BA-A853-8D6B3F4BFD2E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We were feeling tired from the effects of the heat, and let's face it, from a longer day in the hills than we've had for a while. I was determined that wherever we camped was not going to be troubled by Yahoos in campervans tonight, and managed to find a good spot, away from the road by the river. We tried dipping our feet in the water, but it was so cold that anything longer than 5 seconds was intensely painful. After dinner we luxuriated in the peace and quiet, with just the sound of the river flowing by. Didn't sleep well tonight either, but just lay and relaxed, instead of gnashing impotent teeth against Yahoos.

Image517E9213-69BE-476B-AEF5-E80C7303FF30_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sunday morning - yet another perfect day. Sgurr a'Mhaoraich was our chosen hill for today - I remembered having done this and it's Munro top in under 3 hours, fuelled by grapefruit segments and tortilla chips back in the days when I was fitter. But at least we were both coping with the effects of successive hill days with less problems than last weekend. Driving down to the bridge, there were lots of tents and campervans dotted along the road. Another fine path up the hill, another fine view over to Knoydart, with Skye hazy in the distance. Again no snow to speak of reaching the summit. We continued down to the Munro Top where we sat and had lunch gazing down Loch Hourn, another of my favourite vistas.

ImageD0EDF09B-B212-45FE-AD88-C06173A26903_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The long back of Garich
ImageC2797C80-1DE2-47AC-8B9C-8B0A224F51A5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6244FE71-00BC-4060-A1C2-EEFD0622681B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAA6D73EE-5AE9-4D8A-8538-EEEB0462FC9D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

I'd realised that Sgurr Thionaill, to the north of us, was another Sim, and that if we descended by the Am Bathaich route, we'd be quite near to it...so we contoured round the northwest side of the mountain to near your goal. Lots of ups and downs over the ridge to reach the base of Sgurr Thionaill, then another 120m ascent. However it was a very rewarding Sim, with great views towards the south Kintail ridge. We tracked back to pick up the path over Am Bathaich and then down the grassy zigzags to the River Quoich. At times I felt I was on an Escher staircase and was never getting any lower, as the increments by which one descends on these zigzags are so small. Eventually we made it back to tarmac - lots of new Hydro works since we were first here in 2013.

Sgurr Thionaill
Image920CE2E8-5D5E-46AA-9853-0ECA8DC37FD3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image821C4099-1497-473F-86AD-7C9B08FFC100_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC4393345-952E-4D0D-A2BC-D1BA2DBF89D8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2282A085-74D1-4076-81FF-910282749E64_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

Back to the car just before 5pm, comfortably tired and ready for the drive back home. We stopped off at Aldi in Fort William for something to eat. As time was getting on, I hoped the A82 past Tarbet might be ok - the drive down through Glencoe etc had been fine, with even less snow now on the hills than when we'd gone up. But less than a mile south of Target traffic was at a standstill - I suspect more than half of the inhabitants of Weegiedom had been up Loch Lomondside today, so a swift U-turn and down the A814 for us.
Last edited by weaselmaster on Mon May 03, 2021 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posts: 1987
Munros:252   Corbetts:89
Grahams:82   Donalds:89
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Location: Greenock

Re: Lockdown Rehab - Week 2: Loch Quoich Munros

Postby rob114 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:35 am

Really enjoy the posts of your adventures. Are you aware that your last 3 reports are not on the Scotland forum page? I assume that you would wish to know as you've taken the trouble to write your reports. Thanks for your interesting and informative reports and wish you, and Alison, continued happy climbing.
Posts: 11
Munros:125   Corbetts:32
Grahams:5   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:6
Wainwrights:9   Islands:21
Joined: Mar 23, 2013

Re: Lockdown Rehab - Week 2: Loch Quoich Munros

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:38 pm

Thanks. The reports last week were just brief notes without any worthwhile photos. This weekend’s may or may not be against the rules for posts as overnight camping isn’t “legal” as far as I know yet, so don’t want to provoke outrage on WH😉
Last edited by weaselmaster on Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 1987
Munros:252   Corbetts:89
Grahams:82   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:383   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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