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Knoydart - better than Surgery

Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 22, 2022 1:02 am

Munros included on this walk: Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart)

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgùrr a' Choire-bheithe, Sgùrr nan Eugallt

Fionas included on this walk: Meall nan Eun, Slat Bheinn

Date walked: 20/03/2022

Distance: 62 km

Ascent: 4404m

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I wasn't supposed to be out on the hills this week...back just before Xmas I had a biopsy of a suspicious lesion on the knuckle of my thumb (the perils of sun-exposure) and found out in February that it was pre-cancerous...my consultant told me she'd have me in for surgery on March 16th, which would mean no hills for at least several weeks. However, the appointed date came and went with not a whisper from the hospital. So I was free to make plans...

What a weekend it would have been to be stuck in the house recuperating. As soon as I saw the forecast was for settled, sunny (if windy) weather, my antennae pricked up...head west...It could be either Glen Dessarry (probably too much wind for the big ridge and high camping) or Knoydart...well Knoydart would be fine - I need everything in there, so we could pick and choose between Munros/Corbetts/Grahams depending on what the weather was like and what we felt like doing.

It would be good to have another "Cape Wrath Trail" prep weekend actually coinciding with CWT terrain. It's not long now til early May, when we're hoping to get going. Have been doing some planning and weighing and came to a conclusion that will be obvious to many backpackers - don't carry extra water. Normally we have a water bladder each with ~1.5 litres. Which is, of course, 1.5kg plus the weight of the bladder itself. As we are hoping to carry all our food, without re-supply, that weight is important. It's not like there's a shortage of water sources along the CWT - just need to carry a few bottles and drink when you pass a suitable stream, making sure you have enough for lunchtime coffee and evening meal etc. Simple. The other thing we were trying out this weekend was the delight of couscous for lunch - it's one of the lightest foods to carry...

2022-03-18_0900 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Anyway, back to this weekend. We headed up on Thursday night in some fairly atrocious weather at times, relieved only by the promise of sunshine for the next 3 days. There seemed rather a lot of snow on the hills going up by Tyndrum/Glencoe, more than we were expecting, and even driving the long, winding road by Loh Quoich we could see the surrounding tops white in the moonlight (well when we could glimpse them at all through the sleet and driving rain). We parked up at Coireshubh, where we've often camped before and got the tent out - the weather kindly allowing us a dry armistice to pitch. Many corvine eyes watched us from the surrounding hillside. The night was cold but mostly dry.

ImageDE026EF7-29CA-496A-B2D2-90FEEB3FD3CF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

This is actually a night shot
ImageD7BCCA2F-13AB-4E8E-813A-9A2C0571F5B6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our agenda for the weekend wasn't set - as we need basically all the hills in Knoydart, we could head for whatever seemed appropriate in the weather and took our fancy. High winds forecast for Friday and the presence of more snow than we'd thought suggested that starting lower might be wise. So we decided to head up over Sgurr nan Eugallt onto Meall nan Eun then down to Slat Bheinn for today. The stalkers path up Eugallt is excellent and takes one up fairly effortlessly. We saw that last night's deer were still around on the hillside, paying us little attention as we packed up the tent and set off up the track. Reaching the fence line we began to encounter some snow, and the final steep section before the trig column benefitted from having axes out. The views. of course, were stunning. It's a long time since we've been in Knoydart but you never really forget how good the landscape looks here. We continued on to the summit, bracing ourselves in the stiff breeze then headed west towards Coire Sgiath Airigh where we found a semi-sheltered spot for lunch. The wind was playing havoc with the flame of my jetboil, causing various oaths to be produced.

ImageB25E85D7-71E6-4EAC-B845-7E39B48F9ED5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image25ACE5F8-6F64-4544-8AF8-59B2ED441A91_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Winter clinging on
ImageB738C71F-CB26-47A9-AD17-74A7D96375E9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Loch Quoich
ImageE025C1CB-512C-40D5-AE48-0AF699255D08_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Loch Hourn
Image9045F8A3-3C68-4F3F-B509-73FD191441ED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

After lunch we headed down steeply towards the coire, to the high bealach with neighbouring Meall nan Eun. Given how steep Meall nan Eun is if you approach from Glen Barrisdale, it is worth adding this on to Eugallt. An easy pull up to the first top then a half km or so to the summit proper, lovely views out towards Skye and Rùm. The descent was steep, but not as bad as Allison had been fearing - we followed deer tracks down into the valley. My plan had been to climb Slat Bheinn then come off it to the SW to the bealach with Sgurr a'Coire-bheithe, finding somewhere to camp there. However, we could see a fair bit of snow on the rocky approach to the summit of Coire-bheithe and this caused a rethink. Added to which there were plentiful fine looking places to camp at the side of the River Barrisdale. So the plan was revised to pitch at the foot of the hill, an up and down then do something else tomorrow.

Meall nan Eun
Image102B34AA-B63A-4C2B-B2EA-1B0001901F45_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

South Sheil Hills
Image25BEEDD3-31FF-42FC-A438-6A2CA9BAC8CD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Descent to Glen Barrisdale
Image9C0EC5D1-B08F-45AD-9CF5-146DA52AAA24_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Last time we'd climbed Slat Bheinn up the NW shoulder, but our approach today was considerably easier. It is obviously a popular one, as we found some cairn markers along the route. We were shielded from the wind until the very summit, from which we could look down and see the tent. We retraced our steps and arrived at the tent just in time to get the dinner on. We dined sitting by the riverbank, enjoying the tranquility of our surroundings.

The easy way up Slat Bheinn
ImageFDEAFE69-2554-453B-8174-D0BB9B5567EE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD80E6B4B-F269-42C1-A844-38B10BD1A986_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Ladhar Bheinn
Image5B3AD38D-3CD5-4551-9899-776AEBE7ACD6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image00BE24CE-9513-4EB6-A59A-4753E4FA7FA8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We formulated the plan to head for Munros tomorrow - we'd seen that the summit crest of Ladhar Bheinn was still pretty white, and since we were planning on adding the Top of Stob a'Choire Odhair which has quite a narrow section, we felt that should be left for another day - although we had axes and walking crampons, Allison's boots were far from stiff enough for her to feel confident on proper snowy conditions - she's been having pain in her metatarsals and doing a long walk in winter boots is out at the moment. So we thought the Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn would be a manageable combo.heading down the track towards Barrisdale we noted that it's been upgraded fairly recently to allow bigger vehicular access...hydro plans? Gorgeous groups of Caledonian pines straddling gushing waterfalls; plunge pools of enticing blue/green...We reached the junction with the track at Barrisdale and set off up to Mam Barrisdale.

Glen Barrisdale
ImageB68AC4C1-EB3C-435B-B015-DE9A080549CC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4049FDC2-C529-429B-AA2B-FB1EAF3B446A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1EF1092E-E6B1-4E40-8EEB-A06BC69F7DAE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image51D90537-D051-48F4-91E7-724612212679_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageEEB111D1-F258-48E7-95B4-C7D2205D5646_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC101940E-54B7-43B0-AFC9-FA035C8CBB2D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB8E4E061-9D26-45B1-ABCD-4C5ADB593D9C by Al, on Flickr

ImageF72A677B-2C81-4274-9F0C-6935B19B8E10_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFC44F8C8-74BC-4B70-B747-903C737A0784_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

From the top of the pass we could see that there was still a bit of snow on the north side of the summit of Meall Buidhe. It's a rough and craggy mountain and we decided it was possibly easier to pick a way up in ascent rather than descent. So we'd do that hill first. I remembered, from our first time up these two, the long and rough walk back from Meall Buidhe, so neither of us was especially looking forward to getting there. The first section was fine, if a bit boggy, along by the fence line. Then it's contour around the western flanks of Luinne Bheinn, making for the "two lochans". Some dropping down to skirt round crags was needed and it took us about 90 minutes from Mam Barrisdale to the first of the lochans, where we found a windy spot for lunch. Allison was for picking a way up to Bealach Ile Coire, where my planning had taken a line nearer Creag Dearg. We went with the latter, in case we found ourselves stuck at a crag. There was still a fair bit of ground to cover, with some irritating loss of height, before we reached the start of a broad grassy rake up towards the summit. The top section - maybe 100 metres - was glazed snow and crampons and axes were used. Always good to get some use out of the things you lug along with you.

Meall Buidhe
ImageED590972-84AC-4431-8F4A-463650021C42_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4A961790-5454-43C7-B3B0-0465DBC71B31_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8E13E59E-22C8-49C5-99F3-FBF791487C7B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0AFCCA76-2702-450B-85CF-A97C52BC5D28_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image99FE8F5F-9AB7-48C5-9A69-845AC7100CDD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A little snow still on Skye
ImageB1FD68F4-39ED-45C2-8199-B2A5FC2F267A by Al, on Flickr

Dessarry Hills
Image3FE48E2F-AC32-4AB1-B999-D612D3D28A0B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit Meall Buidhe
Image1FA7A43B-30CB-4FC0-85A6-2759D38D57B7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The summit views were special, with the islands floating in a serene sea. And now we had a path to follow! It's a long way from here to Luinne Bheinn - each time we have done it I always think that, as if somehow I forget the effort. Steeply down from the eastern top, fortunately hardly any snow blocking our way here which could have been awkward, then up and down to the Hill of the Coire of the East Wind- and boy! was it windy! The forecast we'd seen yesterday had suggested winds on the low 30s today, but we were really being buffeted now. That didn't stop the usual drool over Sgurr na Ciche and Beinn Aden as we continued on our way to Luinne Bheinn.

Image7B1F5FF3-6367-4B37-A219-6CD9507D5AAB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image821FDC6C-5F1E-4D0C-B16F-DC6E829D5507_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1830EED6-01E3-46ED-A041-08017F436998_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Aden
ImageB86D5658-26C9-490E-9E67-9122D9EBBA8B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image38B036A5-E1A9-4240-BF57-3198A29F4A52_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We could see that the way up Luinne Bheinn was largely snow free.There were still some patches however, including a rather challenging pile of granulated snow at the steep section just before the 936 top - made more challenging by the presence of winds in excess of 50mph. But we made it up, then long to the summit. The view along Loch Hourn was fantastic, as the sun slowly slid down in the sky. The descent off Luinne Bheinn was longer than I imagined - we'd ascended here the first time, then come off the East to the River Carnach the second, so it was a new experience. At least we got to see the sun beginning to set as we descended, reaching Mam Barrisdale at 6.30, half an hour late than I'd thought. I blame the wind. Whilst we could still get signal I checked the forecast - still full sunshine (for the next 4 days) but Sunday's winds, which were to have been in the teens, were uprated to 50-60mph. Oh well, no Ladhar Bheinn tomorrow, despite much of the snow having melted.

Image7BE284E4-A0DE-4DB8-AFCC-48A7BC397660_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image708BE41E-34D4-488D-A313-97D87818EA97_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Luinne Bheinn
ImageF9DA7BCE-8BA4-43BC-8FAA-29BC482396A7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image85E00504-9507-43F8-B348-3DAC3A593D92_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image69055C4D-8C27-42D3-8A17-C6D92822F39E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8BA6FF83-80C4-402B-B276-22E80C3B2421_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA8435736-824F-4FF6-83B6-497725722203_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We walked slowly down to Barrisdale in the twilight, reaching the spot by an old ruin that we had decided to camp on. It was pretty windy at ground level too and we used the building as a kind of windbreak - although having gaping window sockets which let most of the wind reach us didn't really help. A stag sauntered by as we were pitching and several sets of sheep-eyes suddenly materialised into a whole flock of spectral sheep, a grey/white mass at the periphery of our headtorch beams which suddenly moved towards us...Strangely we hadn't seen any sheep in the valley when we'd passed by earlier in the day. I cooked our meal inside the ruin, which was the least windy spot, having secured the tent lines with several large stones from a surrounding pile. The stars were all out - Orion standing guard over the pass of Mam Barrisdale. Despite the long - over 11 hours walking - day, neither of us slept well. I had plans to get up at 6ish the net morning, but needless to say, sleep came shortly before it was time to get up and we didn't get out of bed til 7.30.

ImageBE7EFEBA-2883-4FA6-B948-39B037FA848D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image75F0100D-506F-49B3-969D-154D9D185707_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7278E289-33B1-460E-A14D-CD2108E62DA5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageDFFF4220-1D48-4BBE-9786-70656D81DE33_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageDDCBECA0-F45E-4D4D-94C1-9C79EA860DE0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Another fine morning - today's plan was to head up Sgurr a'Choire-Bheithe. We could either leave the tent pitched and summit the hill, returning the same way and walk out along the shoreline of Loch Hourn or traverse the whole of Sgurr a'Choire-Bheithe and follow the "path"round the end of Loch Quoich back to the road and to the car - probably shorter in distance but rougher, and we remembered a couple of sections descending from the pinnacles of Sgurr a'Choire-Bheithe that were awkward in descent with a big pack. So the up-and-down route it was. As we set along the path we met a lassie with a big pack - she was he first, and indeed only person we met the entire weekend. She was doing part of the CWT to get fit, and didn't have any particular agenda for how long she was out for. She was delighted to hear of the good forecast for the rest of the week.

We left the track as it enters the pines and kept to the border of the fence line, where there's a faint footpath, or deer track maybe. Although Coire-Bheithe looks a steep creature, this way up is surprisingly easy, following the long back of the mountain. We quickly discovered one of the disadvantages of not having water bladders - we'd forgotten to take a bottle of water with us and there were no streams we crossed going up the spine of the mountain. We did sample some water from a pool near the summit (filtered) but preferred the taste of icy snow. Although that did hurt the teeth a little. Lovely views down the length if Loch Hourn from the top. We returned the way we'd come up and were back at the tent for about 12.30, time to sample some of our "couscous experimental" lunch, which was actually pretty good. A bit more seasoning needed, maybe, but not bad.

ImageE977C935-2A91-42DA-AF94-E95E2EA5ED81 by Al, on Flickr

Image84A82E1C-B514-4643-9A2A-2CF60E55EABC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCD725D63-F813-4B61-9B10-1B1EBC25D55E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB1372DD1-88A7-4B50-ACF5-6C5902EBFB74_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image602C2B1B-934C-42C0-951F-5DB3D4F80CA4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD725F70E-8498-4BF2-B4B0-0F1DBE11C16B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We packed up the tent and started the walk out, past the campsite (empty) although the bothy is open and I guess we could have stayed there in the winds of last night. Still no sign of the spectral sheep in daylight... The tide was far out, the golden glow from the sun on the sand filled our eyes. The path along the loch side is getting quite overgrown with heather - needs a man with a pair of shears to come and give it a hair cut. The cafe that used to be here (but was always closed when we passed by) seems to have shut down entirely now, boarded up. The journey through the kingdom of rhododendron was a challenge. We came out into the metropolis of Kinlochhourn, noting that the farmhouse/B&B has been done up and extended. We still had a bit of a way to go back to Coireshubh - just over a mile, but all uphill and after a hard weekend it felt longer! We reached the car at about 5.30 and had our last remaining sandwich and a coffee before the long drive back. I was a bit worried about the roadworks in Glencoe, which close the A82 from 8pm - we reached the start of them at 8.00 exactly and were waved through- better than having to wait an hour til the first amnesty. A really good weekend, whetting our appetites for the CWT, which hopefully will have some weather of this sort for us.

Image019D75F3-A9AE-4A0B-8E52-47F7075E653B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBB1CFC15-4729-465A-87A1-4F335F794319_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image623D4885-7F61-42FF-B94E-31A3EDADDE31 by Al, on Flickr

Image623D4194-30C8-4717-BBFF-806D1CDC9252_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Last edited by weaselmaster on Tue Mar 29, 2022 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby rockhopper » Tue Mar 22, 2022 10:13 am

Stunning :clap: Bet you're glad you didn't get the hospital call last week. Hope it goes well when you do - cheers :)
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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Mar 22, 2022 11:16 am

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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Mar 22, 2022 12:49 pm

Is it just me, or are Lochs Quoich and Hourn the same loch with different clouds? Doubling the bit parts :D

Some stunning views, though. I like the kind of hobbit house - is that where the machine lives?
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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 22, 2022 1:13 pm

nigheandonn wrote:Is it just me, or are Lochs Quoich and Hourn the same loch with different clouds? Doubling the bit parts :D

Some stunning views, though. I like the kind of hobbit house - is that where the machine lives?

Maybe the lochs do double up🤣. I took so many pics I was starting to doubt which was which, but I think they’re right. Yes, the machine lives in the very well landscaped little house. No idea what it does, possibly Hydro, or creates spectral sheep😅
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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 22, 2022 1:14 pm

rockhopper wrote:Stunning :clap: Bet you're glad you didn't get the hospital call last week. Hope it goes well when you do - cheers :)

Cheers RH. I’ll be putting any surgery on hold til the end of the year now - the good weather months are way more important to me
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Re: Knoydart - better than Surgery

Postby Verylatestarter » Sat Mar 26, 2022 9:43 pm

Mountain Walker
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Location: East Anglia (South Norfolk)

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