I first encountered the Quoich area 7 years ago, covering the hills there in very differing conditions. Heather had invited me along with Kerrie to join on a weekend of 3 Munros, who was I to refuse?
At pretty short notice, we agreed I would pick Heather up in Ballachulish and head up Friday evening to get a good parking spot for Saturday, Kerrie joining us later in the evening. Road problems on the M80 meant a bit of a delay but still made Ballachulish for 6:30pm and arrived at our car park at 8:30pm
There had been a landslip some time back to the North of the dam on Loch Quoich which had taken out a few pylons. A bypass of the powerlines had been setup lower down to hill to restore service but the whole area is awash with works and construction of the new line, this looks like a long term project but didn't impede our parking for the hills further up the road.
The construction teams had requisitioned pretty much any available laybys etc so no stopping or parking there. The parking options for Gairich are however, pretty thin on the ground now. The wee layby with the grit bin, just above the dam, is prob best. (we camped there back in 2014) My thoughts were, as there appeared to be no actual personnel or work going on at the weekend, reopen the laybys??
Heather, as navigator lead us to the start point which is handily enough, the overnight parking spot too. The car park is shrouded in trees and some of the amazing rhododendron bushes in the area, a serious amount of these. Midgies were a bit of an issue but we just kept the camper door shut as much as possible and donned the midgie nets for a wander up the road later that evening after getting our lunches and bags sorted for the off in the morning.
Kerrie arrived bang on 10:30, still light and time to get her organised and settled in, with a wee drinky before bed. The 3 of us cosied up in the camper, worked well with 2 top and tailing on the bed and one on the floor (sorry Heather )
Waking up we had cloud covered Munro tops all around but with the promise of this clearing up later in the morning. Another car had arrived with 3 heading off a short time before us. We had a leisurely breakfast before getting the van ready for a speedy escape later to secure a good spot for tonights camp.
Heading off around 9:20am, walking back up the road to the wee cairn marking the route up through the dark wee tunnel of rhodies then up and out onto the hillside. Great wee path zig zags up and under the pylons with views all around to the Sth, East and West.
The breeze was a bit chilly on the way up, but welcome enough as we gained height. Levelling off under Coire Mheil we took some time to take in the surroundings and views up to our first summit, which was pretty much now clear of its cloudy night cap. Across the loch, Gairich and Sgur Mor were also clearing their heads. The WH route guide mentions the boggy Coire Mheil but thankfully its been pretty dry with no real prolonged wet spells so there was very little bog and no having to negotiate mud etc at all.
Passing round the 614mtr top, Loch Fearna comes into view, initially this looks like a wee lochan on the map, but its actually a fairly large body of water. We could see the steep rocky slopes of Coire Glas above and just picked our way up and around the rocks towards the summit.
We could see what was probably the 3 who left before us coming off the summit down on to the ridge, another 2 people seemed to be further down the ridge too but not sure where they started from. Climbing up, there is a very obvious top out to the East which initially gives the impression of being the summit that you would head out too from the ridge. Moving on up a bit further, it becomes more obvious that this isn't the top as you quickly gain height above it. Soon after, we saw the cairn just up ahead and arrived around 12:10pm. Had a very pleasant half hour just soaking up the views but had layered up as it was still a chilly breeze, cooling down quickly on sitting still too.
Leaving, we headed West along and down the ridge, following the line of the corries to the North.
My memory of this walk was slightly skewed. We had done these in a clockwise direction and my recollection was of a nice undulating ridge walk between the summits,,,what I didn't recall, was the 300mtr drop into Fiar Bhealach before clawing back up another 300 and more to Creag Coire na Fiar Bhealaich, its funny how the brain wipes out some of these bits We met a group of 3 then 2 more as we crossed FB and another couple with a lovely big Airedale, Murdo, as we climbed higher. Stopped to chat to them all for a few minutes.
Almost at the top, we met another couple who had the same plans as us to move up the Glen tonight for another camp.
Still, we were having a wonderful day, Kerrie was getting an education in musicals of the 50s and a strange array of songs and tunes from Heather and myself,
Approaching the summit of Gleouraich, the sun was now fully beating down and my half arsed attempt at putting on suncream was now telling. I could feel my neck roasting with every step but as ever, couldn't be bothered stopping to get the cream out and slap it on. The breeze had also all but disappeared and the midgies were out in force, nets on, sun cream on again and headed off after a shorter break.
The path pretty much exists all the way round these two hills so no issues in such good conditions. Headed off and West before turning South West around the edge of Fraoch Choire and down Druim Seileach. This is a wonderful ridge, descending towards the zig zag off Sron a Chuilinn. Here you move under the ridge line and just continue down the zig zags towards the Allt Coire Peitireach where you can see the path clearly follow the line of the gully and down into the massive rhododendrons, looking like the garden of a big country house. We could see the cars in the trees and another in a layby slightly further along the road. The road and lower slopes are also littered with construction plant here and there but nothing moving around.
It was quite a relief to reach the burn as my feet were getting a bit hot and ouchy. Nice to remember this path appears literally at the carpark.
Fabulous wee singalong on the way off and back at the car around 4:55pm. Time to drop the bags and scoot off quickly to blag a decent camp spot for tonight. (parked just to the east of the bridge over Glen Quoich on a lovely wee spot with views, a midgie blocking breeze and a Lochside spot for a wash) Wee fire on the go, dinner, a few drinks and a lovely evening just soaking up the ambience.
Tomorrow, Sgurr a; Mhaoraich. Watch this space.
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