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Glendessary comparison

Glendessary comparison


Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:44 pm

Route description: Sgùrr na Cìche: 3 Munros from Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhòr, Sgùrr na Cìche, Sgùrr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Date walked: 25/07/2021

Time taken: 11.5 hours

Distance: 29.2 km

Ascent: 1972m

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Well where to start, firstly we were one down as George was washing his hair - only joking, he was determined to try and avoid a return visit to Glendessary so had arranged to do his Captain Pugwash impression (Parminder's words, not mine) and do a spot of sailing on the Firth of Clyde.
And then there were 2, Parminder had experienced the Loch Arkaig road as a passenger so he was nominated / volunteered to drive and I am sure it is an experience he won't forget in a hurry. I will explain - Parminder drives a BMW and the seating configuration mean he sits lower than Lewis Hamilton, great on main roads but far from ideal on the Loch Arkaig road which has umpteen blind single track humps, where you have to guess where the road might be heading.
As it was a Sunday I was anticipating the smallish car park to be busy so I arranged with Parminder to meet at 5am and start before the sun got to hot, I failed on that one.
We arrived at the car park at about 8am and were greeted by the locals - trillions of little black pests that want to annoy you and they are very good at that.

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The moon shortly before 5am, whilst waiting for Parminder

I thought it would be a good idea to show you the 2 sides to Glendessary, my 2016 visit after plenty of rainfall and the complete opposite, yesterday's visit no rain for what seems like months.

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As you start the long drive alongside Loch Arkaig, there is a parking place on the right hand side and this water feature makes for a great comparison to start with. This was 2021

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Here is the same photo from a slightly different angle, 5 years ago

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Part of the car park, we got the last space at 8am - 2021

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My car was the only one in the car park, maybe that should have warned me off - 2016

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Not far from the start of the walk, Strathan - 2021

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Same shot, just about, you can tell it was a couple of months earlier by the snow - 2016

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As you walk over the bridge and look north - 2021

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Same river, different angle - 2016

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Looking south - 2021

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2016

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The hills starting to appear and it would literally take a few minutes and any cloud would be gone - 2021

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Disappearing rapidly

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Some of the big hills starting to appear

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Bothy - well sheltered

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Upper Glendessary in the distance

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The track takes you downhill and into the trees

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Not a breath of wind - makes for cracking photo's with reflections

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Parminder going over the rickety bridge

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The same burn - 2016

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The track kind of follows the burn for a few KM. One thing for sure the bracken is thriving on the hot humid conditions

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Beautiful walk in dry conditions

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Looking back

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In 2016, there were puddles and part of the track was flooded so badly I had to take a detour through the forest

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Not a pleasant sight unless you like splashing in muddy puddles

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Beautiful reflections

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Parminder with his own rainbow

Towards the end of track through the forest we met 3 individual guys, all with huge packs and all having a rest. It transpired they were doing the Cape Wrath Trail and started in Fort William 3 days ago. All the guys were wearing kilts and had umpteen bites on their legs. One of the guys was really struggling and we offered him a lift back to the Central Belt if he wanted it, I told him if he was at the car park on our return we would take him with us. Funnily enough he wasn't there so he must have been persuaded to 'man up' and continue. They did admit they had under estimated how tough it would be, especially as they hoping/planning to complete the walk in 13 days, when the usual time is 15 days. Good luck guys and hope you made it.

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The way ahead, which takes you up to a flatter section before the real going up stuff begins

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Almost the same photo - 2016, I know which conditions I prefer

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One of the rare water pools, look how clear the water is, we couldn't resist sampling some

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Looking back down Glen Dessary

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Looking back down towards the wooded area - 2016, path was a river in parts

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Another shot looking back down Glen Dessary - 2016

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This is the only way you will ever see one of Parminder's photo's, give him your camera or phone

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Once you reach the top of the rise, the views to the west open out, Loch Nevis

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The access route up to Sgurr na Ciche is just on the other side of the big rock

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The way up the gully, it is steeper than the photo makes it look. You could make it scrambly if you want to utilise some of the rocky obstacles

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Parminder looking to rob a bank, but he would have a very long walk. As we were partly in the shade the midges were lying in wait for their lunch - Parminder

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Not far to the top

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Looking back down the gully - 2016, that water gushing down the rock was barely a trickle in 2021

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The top of the gully 2016

Once we reached the top of the gully we noticed a couple of rucksacks, so Parminder and I opted to leave ours near the wall too as it was a short hike up the final 150 metres or so. We met the owners of the rucksacks descending carefully down Sgurr na Ciche, great to meet you Malcolm Nash & your colleague (sorry don't know your name).
Whilst we were taking on plenty of fluid for the short hike a familiar face appeared having descended off Garbh Chioch Mhor. It took a few minutes and a bit of chat before we realised we knew each other, none other than Mr Walk Highlands himself, Paul Webster. We followed Paul up to the summit chatting as we were climbing and in what seemed like no time we were on the summit. It was great top catch up albeit very briefly and I hope you didn't keep Helen waiting too long at the car park (even though she had a chair).

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Loch Quoich, water level looks fairly low

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Looking across to our next 2 hills - follow the wall

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Summit photo taken by Mr Walkhighlands

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Loch Nevis without anybody in front of it

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Ben Aden, I was reliably informed - not a hill I plan to visit

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Paul opted to spend some time on the summit so we said our goodbyes and head down, action shot of Parminder

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A long way down

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Arty shot

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Parminder descending if you can spot him?

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The bealach, looking across to our next ascent

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The wall - 2016

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Another arty shot, close up of the wall with Loch Quoich in the background

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Sgurr na Ciche in all it's glory, fabulous hill

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Similar photo - 2016

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The way ahead

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Parminder approaching

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The way ahead to our 3rd and final summit - it looks along way away, with a bit of undulation

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Loch Quoich again

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Looking down on Glen Dessary from on high

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Looking back at Parminder head down and concentrating

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The way up to the final summit, no obvious path - turned out to be an easy path to follow

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Different angle, slightly

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The way up to the final summit, don't think I got views - 2016

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Looking back to summits 1 & 2, Sgurr na Ciche always looks pointy

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The start of the final descent

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Selfie time with Sgurr na Ciche in the distance

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We are heading down to the shade of the forest, the normal route takes you towards the lodge but we wanted to get out of the sun

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Not far now

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Parminder trying to hydrate himself, he had already drunk most of the water in the burn

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Determined to get every last drop of water

This was up there with the toughest days I have had on the hills, not only because it is a big day, but a big day under the hot Scottish sun. My one fear about walking in constant sunshine is getting burnt, as I don't tan and never sun bathe. I sprayed myself at least 4 times during the day and the factor 30 seemed to do it's job and protect me, even though it must have been affected by perspiration!
Looking back it was a fantastic day, but when out in the sun I wasn't thinking along those lines. After the second summit I was starting to really feel fatigued and was thinking about kicking the final hill into touch, but the thought of travelling for 3 hours in the car each way and then having to gain all the height again kicked that thought into touch.
Well done to Parminder for driving, I know it wasn't easy driving home, especially when cramp strikes. I have to confess I slept almost all the way on the journey south from Dalwhinnie to Perth and that is not like me.
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Glendessary comparison

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:40 pm

Great to see the comparisons, not just of water levels but the different colours too. It's a great area. I don't mind the road too much. I find the one to Kinloch Hourn more monotonous and it takes the bottom of my car by surprise more often too, though I doubt if Lewis Hamilton would be impressed by my jalopy.

All the best. :D
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Re: Glendessary comparison

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:41 am

Loved that FF - what an amazing contrast in conditions. I'd definitely prefer the 2021 option for these hills but maybe with the temperature turned down a notch or two...............
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