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Trans-Knoydart trek, part 1

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:42 pm
by al78
This was a plan to roughly follow the Cape Wrath trail starting at Glenfinnan and finishing at Shiel Bridge, with the addition of climbing Munros en-route. This didn't go according to plan and some re-routing was necessary.

On Saturday 29th May I flew to Glasgow, got a bus to Fort William, had an evening meal and got a taxi to Glenfinnan visitor centre (because I couldn't be bothered waiting over an hour for a train). Walked from there in pleasant temperatures and sunshine to Corryhully bothy where I planned to stay the night. Glen Finnan is a pleasant glen, quiet when you get beyond the viaduct with just the noise of the river to keep you company. Only a couple of miles walking to the bothy, and as I approached there was smoke coming out of the chimney. Had a look inside to see five people in residence with the only sleeping space being on the floor, so decided to pitch my tent on the flat grassy area a few meters beyond. Managed to get a reasonable nights sleep.

My plan on Sunday was to pack up and climb up to Sgurr nan Coireachan and along the ridge to Sgurr Thuilm, dropping down the NE ridge to Strathan, then decide whether to camp near there or go on to Kinbreack. The climb out of the glen is fairly gentle to start with but the sun was out and there was no shade. Despite pacing myself I kept having to stop and take the pack off to cool down. As I got higher, I lost the path and took a direct route uphill on steep grassy slopes with occasional small crags, which I found very hard going. As I got higher I could feel my energy levels dropping and when I got past the 852m outlying summit at the top of Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich, I could see the final climb which looked formiddable (although probably looked worse than it is), and a full view of the three mile ridge to the second munro complete with another significant climb. After some consideration and because I was unsure of the availability of water on the ridge I decided I wasn't up to it, turned round and walked back to Corryhully. Coming back downhill I managed to stay with the path which is much easier than trying a brute force direct route.

During the evening I had a think about alternative plans, because there was no way I was going over ridges and summits with a 15 kg backpack in blazing sunshine with no shade. I decided to go back to Fort William, stay the night there and come up with an alternative plan.

Once at Fort William I found somewhere to stay for the night very quickly. I briefly considered throwing the towel in and coming back home, but then I thought there is another way into Knoydart, and it would be a shame to miss out on this spectacular weather after the foul spring we've had, so I booked a ticket on the Mallaig to Inverie afternoon ferry for the next day (Tuesday) and got the train which conveniently connects well with the ferry. This allows me to experience the interior of Knoydart whilst rejoining my original route plan and staying in the accomodation I had already booked.