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Ronnie's coming home! - to 111 and beyond!

Ronnie's coming home! - to 111 and beyond!

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:05 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgòrr Craobh a' Chaorainn, Sgùrr Ghiubhsachain

Date walked: 11/07/2021

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1400m

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After my maiden Knoydart experience on Friday with Kev, I had had a quiet day yesterday, walking out from our overnight camping spot near the Mam Barrisdale back to Inverie where we spent a couple of hours relaxing on the grass in front of the Old Forge while we waited for opening time. After a spot of lunch washed down by a pint of Remoteness, it was off to the Knoydart Brewery where the owner, a lovely lady, was happy to open up the converted chapel in which the magic takes place and give us a wee bit of history about the brewery. And of course she was also happy to sell us four bottles of beer each, at considerably less cost than the shop was selling them!

I had opted to accompany Kev back on the 3pm Saturday sailing. We had made tentative plans to return via the walk in from Kinloch Hourn at some point later in the year or into the early part of next year to do Ladhar Bheinn and probably to make a return trip by boat at some point to take care of the Corbetts. I was happy to spend the remaining 3 days of my pass around Glenfinnan hoovering up some of the numerous red Corbetts that I still have in that neck of the woods.

If the sailing the previous morning had been practically empty, the return trip was rammed and we were all treated to a wonderful show of nature as a school of dolphins escorted us into Mallaig harbour from quite some distance out into the Sound of Sleat. :D

I had headed back along the A830. First stop was the parking area at Callop just east of Glenfinnan. It would make an excellent base for the round of Corbetts to the south as well as for Sgurr an Utha to the north. I crossed the bridge and pulled into the main parking area. Just like on Friday evening, it was busy and I recognised many of the same vehicles that had been parked there then, including an old army truck type thing with khaki awning that looked like something straight off the set of M.A.S.H! :lol: After getting out and doing a quick inspection on foot, I found an ideal spot for putting up the tent amongst the trees on the thin strip of grass between the river and the tarmac drive leading up to the power station and the cottages. The midge were once again being a minor nuisance but not enough to prevent me enjoying dinner and a couple of beers sitting on the exposed bank of stones in the middle of the river. Then it was off to bed ahead of a day on the Callop Corbetts.

Sunday dawned another fine looking day. The day of the Euro 2021 (or 2020 if you still insist on calling it that!) final. England v. Italy. The tension. But that could wait. I had hills to climb first and the half way point to reach on my Corbett journey. If all went to plan, it would certainly be a historic day! :D

I had studied these hills on various occasions, reading TRs, referring to guide books and poring over OS sheets. Everything that I had seen and read suggested that by far the best way to go was up the long northern ridge of Sgurr Ghiubhsachan and from there onto either Druim Tarsuinn or Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn. And so after breakfast I set off along the wide track heading north west towards the northern end of Loch Shiel. Other than the fact it is short of a top layer of tarmac, there isn't a vast difference between the track and the A830 road a short distance to the north. If anything, the track may even be wider! :shock:

These logs weren't left here yesterday!

At the point where the track swings south west and begins to hug the southern shore of Loch Shiel, I followed a narrow path off to my right where a sign indicated a hilltop view, presumably of Glenfinnan and the northern end of the loch, probably also the BPC monument and maybe even the now world famous viaduct. I could hear the Hogwarts Express as I climbed up the gentle gradient of the path but there was no sign of the viaduct that it was either about to cross or that it had just crossed. In fact there was very little that could be said to be either a hilltop or a view, so I turned left at the next junction and returned to the motorway.

Back on the motorway, hugging Loch Shiel and looking across to the Moidart hills

Looking back to the head of the loch with the monument and the viaduct now visible

First sighting of Sgurr Ghiubhsachan and the ascent route climbing over Meall a'Choire Chruinn

Fraoch-bheinn and Beinn an Tuim either side of lower Glen Finnan beyond the head of Loch Shiel

Progress was swift along the track although it was punctuated by a number of enforced visits down to the loch side to entertain Luna with the throwing of sticks (or at least what rather measly specimens I could find) into the water. Given that it was July this involved some hazardous bushwhacking through waist high bracken and doubtless involved us picking up some unwelcome traveling companions! :roll: On one waterside visit I even had to remove my right boot and apply a compeed to the back of my heel. I can't remember the last time I got a blister, even walking for the first time in new boots. In fact I reckon I've probably changed a nappy more recently than applied a compeed! :shock: I was feeling the new Asolo boots nipping a bit in Knoydart on Friday, even although I'd worn them for the first time on Mam na Gualainn in May with no adverse effects. Kev suggested it was just the extreme heat making my feet swell up more than would be normal but I suspect it was more to do with me having forgotten to bring any of my usual walking socks and the fact that I was wearing new socks that I had never hill walked in before. In any case, the compeed did its magic and the sporadic sharp searing pain subsided, even if Luna continued to expect something t :lol: o be launched into Loch Shiel every 20 seconds or so!

Getting darker over Ronnie 111

If you're gonna carry that pack with a can of beer in it up to the top of that hill then I'm carrying this stone!

It was a thought to have to leave the track at Guesachan, which despite the slightly sinister feel about it appears to be little more than a fish farming operation, and take to the obvious nose of the hill. I'd heard a few sources, most recently Kev just yesterday, that it can be very scrambly by this ascent route but it was pretty straightforward, even for my creaky old knees and especially for Luna who after Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn on Friday is now a dab hand at this sort of malarkey. 8)

Following the Allt Choire Ghiubhsachain for the start of the climb

Looking back down to the sinister looking fish farm and the head of Loch Shiel

Gaining height quickly

Ascending the broad nose of Meall a'Choire Chruinn

Come on you, put some effort into it!

What effort I was putting into the ascent was being rewarded with stunning views the length of Loch Shiel and across to Moidart. It was easy to imagine the time before the Hogwarts Express or the sinister looking fish farm operation and to the day in August 1745 when Charles Edward Stuart rowed up the loch and came ashore at Glenfinnan. But enough of that piece of history and on with the business of making my own hill walking history in the here and now.

Across Loch Shiel to the Bienn Odhars - Bheag and Mhor

Most of the walk in so far

The ascent briefly eased in gradient as we approached the summit of Meall a'Choire Chruinn, Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn poked her head up to the east and Luna was once again able to resume her love affair with water. :lol:

First of many dooking opportunities

Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn

The summit of SG and a less than inviting looking dooking opportunity!


With Meall a'Choire Chruinn now behind us, the gradient ramped up again for the pull up to the Corbett summit and the threat of a spot of rain seemed to ramp up at the same time, although it came to nought.

Wisps of the white stuff billowing across the summit of SG


Looking back down over Meall a'Choire Chruinn

Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn with the Grahams of Meall nan Damh and Glas Bheinn beyond

I don't think it's the same stone but you never know!

With a final pull up rocky slopes I was finally there - the halfway Corbett. The turning point in a journey that started in earnest about 11 years ago and will end in goodness knows how many more years, should me and my old knees be spared that long! :shock:

West from the summit to the long ridge of Sgorr an Tarmachain and the far southern/western end of Loch Shiel

Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn and the two Grahams

Ronnie 111

After a spot of lunch and a celebratory sherbet, it was off down into the broad bealach to the east that separated the two halves of my Corbett journey with just the merest hint of a spot of rain in the air.

Descending towards Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn with Cona Glen stretching away to the east

Ominous skies above the hill of the rowan tree

Peat haggy

The Grahams of Meall nan Damh and Stob Mhic Bheathain either side of Cona Glen

Looking back to Sgurr Ghiubhsachain

And again

And again again

The rowan tree peak - another great hill for open water swimmers

Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn - the journey's coming home

End of the first half from the start of the second half

Now it was just a case of getting myself home (or back to the tent at least) in time for dinner and a few settlers ahead of an evening of following the game via DAB and online and discovering the nationalities of the various people residing in the main parking area based on exactly when they cheered! :lol:

Descending towards Meall na Cuartaige

Back up to Meall na Cuartaige shortly before picking up the path back to Callop

Another good track for the journey home

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Graeme D
Posts: 3704
Munros:230   Corbetts:114
Grahams:67   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:57   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Ronnie's coming home! - to 111 and beyond!

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:02 pm

Congrats on 111 Graeme but just out of curiosity, what is sininster about a fish farm :? :? :?
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Posts: 2014
Munros:114   Corbetts:64
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Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:30
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: Ronnie's coming home! - to 111 and beyond!

Postby Graeme D » Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:12 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Congrats on 111 Graeme but just out of curiosity, what is sininster about a fish farm :? :? :?

Dunno, it just felt a bit sinister! Maybe I've been watching too many crime dramas on Netflix and one of them featured an unassuming fish farm that was actually the base for a global people smuggling network or something like that. It just felt sinister! :lol:
User avatar
Graeme D
Posts: 3704
Munros:230   Corbetts:114
Grahams:67   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:57   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

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