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Ben Eighe Complete Ridge

Ben Eighe Complete Ridge


Postby Christopher Pulman » Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:51 pm

Route description: Beinn Eighe (western summits)

Munros included on this walk: Ruadh-stac Mòr (Beinn Eighe), Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe)

Date walked: 27/08/2021

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 1550m

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This is my first walk report. I suspect it will be obvious from the photos why I chose this outing. It is one of the best scrambling routes I have completed.

27 August 2021: probably the sunniest day of the year. The plan for the day was to walk over the entire Beinn Eighe ridge, starting by climbing Sail Mhor via Lawson Ling and Glover's route, continuing over Coinneach Mhor before diverted out to Ruadh-stac Mor and back, crossing Spidean Coire nan Clach, Sgurr Ban and Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, before descending the Black Carls and walking down via Creag Dhubh.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



I usually walk alone, but this week I was visiting with an old friend (Pete).

We had two vehicles, parked one at the end of the walk, and drove the other to park at the bottom of the (good-quality) path to Coire Mhic Fhearchair. We set off walking around 9 am. The weather was superb, and there was still some morning coolness in the air.

Pete in front of Liathach.jpg
Pete, with Liathach behind


We made good progress to Coire Mhic Fhearchair and stopped for the obligatory photos of the lake and the triple buttress.

The triple buttress.jpg
The triple buttress, blurry in the sunshine


Then it was time to tackle Lawson Ling and Glover's route. The start is up a pile of scree falling from a gully in the side of Sail Mhor. The scree is loose and very steep, but for that reason there is no choice but to move slowly and so I found it a relatively easy clamber. After the cone of scree, there is some degree of choice. It is possible to strike off immediately to the right up the short craggy shelves on top of the ridge. Alternatively, the route can continue up the gully before ascending the outcrops on the right hand side part way up (which is what we did). The rock in the gully is greasy, but generally firm. And once out of the gully on the main ridge, the scrambling is superb, on firm rock with good holds. I've tried to give some idea of the route and its general difficulty in the following pictures. Note, however, that it deserves its grade 2 rating, although there is a large amount of choice as to which line to take and how much difficulty to undertake.

The route:
Start of Lawson Ling and Glover.jpg
The start of Lawson Ling and Glover's route

The gully.jpg
The gully

The ridge 1.jpg
Me, climbing the ridge

The ridge 2.jpg
Pete, climbing the ridge


There's a platform on a tower at the top of the gully, with dizzying views down to Coire Mhic Fhearchair, and over the ridge of Ruadh-stac Mor towards Slioch and Fisherfield. I snapped a picture of Pete standing on the edge.

The tower.jpg
The top of the tower. Ben Lair, A'Mhaghdean and An Teallach in the background.


On a clear day the top of Sail Mhor must be one of the best viewpoints in the highlands. It's also extremely sharp and rocky; the sandstone outcrops on the way up the ridge give way to bright white quartzite at the top.

Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin.jpg
Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin

Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin.jpg
Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin

Slioch.jpg
Slioch and the far north

Liathach.jpg
Liathach


There is some further scrambling to get up to the next top (Coinneach Mhor), but it is easier than it looks, at least when tackled in ascent.

Coinneach Mhor.jpg
The route to the next top


Once on top of Coinneach Mhor, we were on the standard western Beinn Eighe summits route. The ridge walking is relatively easy, at least as regards the gradient (compared, for example, to the Glen Shiel Ridges), but the terrain is tricky, particularly on the eastern part of the mountain. The ridge is covered in small quartzite rocks, which makes the mountain look almost unreal, as if it had been transplanted from the moon.

Looking east from Ruadh-stac Mor.jpg
Looking east from Ruadh-stac Mor

Spidean Coire nan Clach.jpg
Summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach

Ruadh-stac Mor.jpg
Looking back west at Ruadh-stac Mor

Ruadh-stac Mor 2.jpg
Looking west again

Ruadh-stac Beag.jpg
Ruach-stac Beag

Me on the ridge.jpg
Me on the ridge


As a clear highlight of the day, we bumped into Walkhighlands Weasels on the way up Spidean.

Finally comes the Black Carls and the descent. The scrambling over the Carls is easier than the route up Sail Mhor, but a lot of the rock is unpleasantly loose, particularly when descending. There were several times when, rather than securing a handhold, I found I simply pulled a large boulder out of the mountainside. But the scrambling is not especially exposed, and there are enough ledges to allow one to select a firm hold.

Black Carls 1.jpg

Black Carls 2.jpg

Black Carls 3.jpg

Black Carls 4.jpg


The path down is obvious at the top of Creag Dhubh, but it is steep and covered in scree. Around half way down the flank of the mountain, above a cliff face, we lost the path. It veered left and we veered right, seemingly still on a path, but one that soon became so steep that we were in danger of sliding. But a slightly unpleasant traverse over some boulders underneath the cliff got us back on track, and the path along the river at the bottom was obvious, easy, and increasingly shaded from the evening sun.

Descent.jpg
The descent. The top of the cliffed section where we accidentally went right instead of left is visible.


We wound up back at the other vehicle (a camper van) around 7 pm to find that an internal light had been left on and the battery was flat. After some unsuccessful attempts to flag down a few passing drivers (to hell with all them), a lady who lived locally stopped and produced jumper cables. Unfortunately I didn't catch her name, but if anyone knows who owns a dark Range Rover (I think) with a yellow light on the top and who lives in Kinlochewe, please let me know.
Christopher Pulman
Scrambler
 
Posts: 12
Munros:60   Corbetts:5
Grahams:2   
Joined: May 17, 2019
Location: London

Re: Ben Eighe Complete Ridge

Postby Verylatestarter » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:22 pm

Christopher

A superb route which I've had on my to-do list since tackling Beinn Eighe in clag three years ago. I was a little wary of the Lawson, Ling & Glover route but I think you have cleared my doubts up.

Well done

John
Verylatestarter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 69
Munros:26   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   
Islands:4
Joined: Oct 14, 2020
Location: East Anglia

Re: Ben Eighe Complete Ridge

Postby Christopher Pulman » Thu Nov 25, 2021 3:01 pm

Verylatestarter wrote:Christopher

A superb route which I've had on my to-do list since tackling Beinn Eighe in clag three years ago. I was a little wary of the Lawson, Ling & Glover route but I think you have cleared my doubts up.

Well done

John


Thank you. It was certainly nice to do an unfamiliar route with a companion. I suspect it would be much less pleasant in the wet. It had been very dry when we climbed it. In case they are relevant, I have some other pictures of the route, although they are not as good.

View from the tower.jpg
View from the tower (bottom of the gully visible below)

Tower at the end of the gully.jpg
The tower at the end of the gully

Scramble to the tower.jpg
The scramble up to the tower

The ridge up to the tower.jpg
The ridge to the tower

Looking sideways from the ridge to the next ridge.jpg
Sideways view to the next ridge
Christopher Pulman
Scrambler
 
Posts: 12
Munros:60   Corbetts:5
Grahams:2   
Joined: May 17, 2019
Location: London

Re: Ben Eighe Complete Ridge

Postby Verylatestarter » Thu Nov 25, 2021 6:28 pm

Thank you very much.

John
Verylatestarter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 69
Munros:26   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   
Islands:4
Joined: Oct 14, 2020
Location: East Anglia

Re: Ben Eighe Complete Ridge

Postby scottnairn » Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:45 pm

Fantastic!! Another one on the list - might include that Lawson, Ling & Glover scrambling route as it looks absolutely incredible from your report!

Surely not too early to do a dance in the hope of summoning some glorious, dry sunny weather for 2022...!
User avatar
scottnairn
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 49
Munros:66   Corbetts:32
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:3
Joined: Jun 25, 2015
Location: Nurn

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