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Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 29, 2022 10:03 am

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

Corbetts included on this walk: Bidein a' Chabair, Càrn Mòr (Glen Dessarry), Fraoch Bheinn, Sgùrr an Fhuarain, Sgùrr Cos na Breachd-laoidh, Sgùrr Mhurlagain

Date walked: 28/03/2022

Distance: 69 km

Ascent: 5325m

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After our trip to Knoydart last week I wasn't expecting anything great from this weekend. Forecast cloudy but dry, no strong winds. Well OK. Then Allison lets me know on Wednesday that she's got the Monday off. Hmm - 4 days. I might have been tempted to head up to the Mullardochs had I known what the snow was like in that area - probably more hanging about than out west. But I was sure I could come up with something suitable in and around Glen Dessarry...I did get a little carried away drawing up plans, including a big walk in from the dam at Loch Quoich, taking in Sgurr na Ciche ridge then rounding up Ladhar Bheinn and all the Knoydart Corbetts - I stopped when the distance had gone over 40 miles and I was only half way :lol:
I did manage to come up with a nice looking circuit of 4 Munros and 6 Corbetts and settled for that.

2022-03-25_0844 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We headed up Thursday night and camped once more near the top of Loch Arkaig. When we got up, after a peaceful night, the cloud was down, but there were some spots of drizzle as we neared the head of the loch. Rain wasn't in the forecast! We pulled in to a very busy parking area at Murlaggan and got out the bags in the drizzly rain. I decided not to pack my sunglasses or shorts because of the weather - big mistake...We thought it prudent to pack the axes "just in case" but left crampons behind and set off along the track to Glendessary Lodge.

Our plan was to head north along the Allt na Feithe to reach Glen Kingie, make it up to the bealach between Sgurr an Fhurain and Sgurr Mor, do the Corbett then head along the Sgurr Mor ridge, nipping over to get Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoidh, camping high somewhere along there, depending how far we got. We'd done this previously (with the exception of Sgurr Cos) and knew it was a bit of a slog up to the bealach but otherwise it was a nice wee wander. The first section passed easily enough and the weather was beginning to improve bu the time we hit Glen Kingie. A deep breath then a long walk up the slope, about 550m. Not that it was tough underfoot. We reached the bealach, left our packs and skipped along to Sgurr an Fhurain, rejoicing in the presence of a nice path. Back to our packs then up to the summit of Sgurr Mor, still enclosed in clouds. We followed the path down to Sgurr Beag, singing various songs and enjoying the ever improving weather. It was good to be up high and not be blasted by 50mph winds for a change.

Image1050537B-EEA2-4909-863A-EA255431CDAB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr an Fhuarain - winter must be gone - the Tilley hat is back!
Image8A077F8E-4561-41FB-907E-0F632EAB221C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE9D58E43-2CAF-4642-99D7-7C160BF62DFA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Reaching the bealach with An Eag we passed numerous suitable spots to camp, but I wanted to get the second Corbett done today. We doubted if there would be anywhere to camp at the bealach between An Eag and Sgurr Cos, and in the end settled for a reasonable spot just shy of the summit of An Eag, which had some protection from any western winds should they blow up overnight. We set up the tent then headed off to do the Corbett. This is definitely worth taking in if you're walking along the ridge as it only costs you about 200m ascent each way, with a fence line to follow to boot. From the top of Sgurr Cos we had the privilege of watching a glorious yellow sunset over Bidean a'Chabhair, then, as we headed back up An Eag, seeing the western faces of the hills glow red as the sun set.

Bidean a'Chabhair
ImageAA93B680-5CD7-47D7-A6D9-D2AD9EC3657D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image471BCF0E-4A8C-4D42-BCD2-6C7444EAE46C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5AD10EB2-E20B-46F5-91AB-9D72DB2A2356_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1091FB5A-C5B8-49C3-AE92-6207D87D9528_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9734DCD0-EE12-46DE-88A5-5CC7385FF1AC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1FA3F399-386B-425D-9F52-BC2FF7A34AA8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our pitch for the night
Image08D7586B-4E63-4708-8C04-599A950E31C7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A starry night followed, with a bit of frost on the grass. Wakened early and watched the sun rise over Glen Garry. Blue sky soon turned cloudy again, which was a bit surprising. Today's agenda was simply the three Munros to Sgurr na Ciche, with no specific plans for where we'd camp. I was pleased with yesterday's progress - 20k and 2000m ascent which is a big day by our current standards.

ImageEEF184E7-FE6F-4C50-9748-334F1DFD3045_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF8287F8D-5522-4815-A414-FF69686AC2E8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We headed down then up to Sgurr nan Coireachan, reflecting that there really aren't any good spots to camp at the bealach with An Eag. Some snow still lingering around the summit of Coireachan. Then the long drop down towards Garbh Chioch Mhòr, where we met a woman with a big pack and a staffie coming towards us, our first person of the trip. Garbh Chioch Mhòr is such a rough and craggy mountain - we forget that, despite coming this way three times now. Patches of snow needing crossing on here, but mostly soft and granular.

ImageA0F90DE7-E92E-48B2-BBDB-95F85899EFFB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image72A85CB9-D5DD-4F95-9188-8F42B3650D44_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Ciche
ImageFED5747F-E97C-4923-9357-EF1F5A29C6CE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit Coireachan
ImageA74CB5E2-D5FF-400E-BA25-185BE9AD4980_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6C6AD618-92BE-458C-91F6-9D320174A5AC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA98FBD94-369B-4702-9833-5B8381FB798F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC2016796-F3B1-4D17-9D51-57AAFDAC7EED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Choice Mhor
ImageE8D23BF2-A455-4239-B5D2-F18C4BE504E4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Having made the summit, we descended to the bealach with Sgurr na Ciche where we stopped for lunch and watch two lads come down from the summit of Sgurr na Ciche. We chatted to them as we sat drinking our coffee. Then it was our turn. We took our packs with us (CWT practice and all that) and had only one low down patch of snow to navigate. The weather was still cloudy, which impaired the views a bit, but was set to improve after three o'clock. Not that that was much good to us... We dropped back down to the bealach, spotting four guys with big packs hanging around by the wall. we started down the NW gully, remarking that we've never come off the mountain this way. Near the top we bumped into Dave "Kaiser" Stein and two pals who were planning to head off Sgurr na Ciche to Ben Aden. We chatted for a while - it's years since we've seen Dave. I was quite envious, quite anxious about their plan - Ben Aden from Sgurr na Ciche has been a long time wanna do of mine, but somehow I've never really got it together to try, not to convince Allison that it's a safe route. We wished the lads well.

Image1B76C22A-6439-47DD-92C0-F9BFECCB5117_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our route took us down into Coire na Ciche and over Druim na Uadhag, making for Bidean a'Chabhair. We watched an edge glide and circle round the forest looking for snacks. It was really hot and sunny by this time and we reckoned we'd climb up Chabhair and high camp. However the combination of the heat and yesterday's ascent had taken it out of both of us. We struggled up Meall na Sroine, following a fence line. We ended up camping earlier than intended and voted not to go out to summit Chabhair tonight - a unanimous vote. We'd managed a measly 12k, 1100m ascent today which was not impressive by yesterday's standards. We did enjoy another cracking sunset over Loch Nevis however and more stars in the clear sky. Not quite as cold, but still a bit of frost/condensation. We probably hadn't taken enough fluids, as I could feel a headache coming on overnight, which was remedied by some water the next day. A stag barked nearby, several times - probably disgruntled at humans being on his mountain.

ImageC392EAC2-78F4-4EFF-9A1E-1DFE228ECCB3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Ciche with sun
ImageFC87C3C1-3465-49F3-BA77-C261E7FCA747_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Bidean a'Chabhair
Image950ABF42-DE0B-4C9C-A462-64E9D96199D1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFCF0C476-4FBF-4EDC-A163-84E65C10B359_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageEE55A9F5-7DB2-4A4E-A532-EAF40C0E0F5A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6FE848A8-E8C5-4143-A8BE-F53D33D9DAB2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Another glorious day...We left the tent pitched and headed across to the summit of Chabhair. It's a bit of a maze, with crags and hags to negotiate and the four or so kilometres there and back seemed to take an eternity. It does have a striking summit excrescence which involves very minor scrambling to reach the top of. The day was scorching already - and this is still March? Back to the tent, pack up and off we head for Carn Mor. I'd originally routed us down from the central lochan on Chabhair, but decided against this - it's a very craggy/slabby sided mountain on the south/east flank and easier to ascend than descend from. In the end we went down a broad gully east from Meall na Sroine, which posed no difficulties. Taking the deer fence line around An Cumhann, we stopped when we reached the stream; for water, for lunch and to bathe roasted feet in the cool waters.

Image716FD9D9-66F5-4AF0-A682-2B297A639B18_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2CE536F0-8DE3-4CE8-BD00-DD36813A5A29_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image58B1D7D8-E10E-4D16-97CF-10337F62A302_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD99043C9-B5AC-4B5E-BEA6-A10F51C832BD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1F8A460B-C1D9-4010-BEF0-BF1A5A8B8CE4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The rough side of Chabhair
ImageC9F7B6EA-8269-4780-891A-DCF4F154F3D5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our route now took us up Carn Mor. We've descended in this general direction twice before but never ascended. Let me tell you - ascending is harder :lol: Our pace was funereal as we sweated in the heat. We found a fence line to follow - didn't matter that it was going in a different direction from my route and taking us up to Druim a'Choire Odhair rather than the easier line to the east. It was a more interesting way to ascend, even if it was steep in places. But that old fence line/wall combo kept us right. I remarked to Allison how strange it would seem for the makers of these fences to learn that their efforts are now appreciated by hillwalkers, having no longer any function in constraining livestock.

ImageC1AEE44A-D5F9-422D-B452-933AFF136D66_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Eventually we made it to the summit. We confabbed about what to do next - I'd intended to drop down to A'Chuil and camp somewhere around there, but Allison was keen on another high camp and the weather was perfect for it, sun and very little wind. So we headed over past the 616m top and pitched the tent on the last high lump before the ridge drops down to the glen. Other than spilling the Huel there were no particular problems or occurrences overnight - milder, but still starry.

Image466243DD-E400-4BD6-B0C2-B9E0CB132D8C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAEABAD97-457D-4EEF-AA54-144CB0881643_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Monday's plans were to get the two Corbetts over by Murlaggan done and head home. We packed up, a bit later than I'd hoped, but with clocks going forward and all, it's hard to keep track. We descended to Glen Dessarry on wet grass then hit the track. Allison found two cast antlers, which she determined to clean off and take home (I've warned her that she won't be taking any found antlers on the CWT). We discovered the linking path between the two sides of the glen and walked past Upper Glendessarry and then the Lodge, meeting a couple of guys who were heading in to Sourlies to pick up a group and lead them back out. Setting up the track towards Fraoch Bheinn we were still roasted (why, oh why hadn't I worn my light summer walking trousers?) but we made sure to have enough fluids. The peaceful atmosphere of the mountains was shattered by jet-noise - three Eurofighters had come up Loch Arkaig at low level and roared up the valley between Streap and Thuilm like noisy Nazgûl. They soared and flipped as they passed over the summit of Streap like angels of death. We got to the bealach between Fraoch and Mhurlagain, paused for lunch and decided to leave the packs while we went up Fraoch Bheinn. Stuff CWT prep - it was so much easier going up the 350 steep metres to the summit without being laden down. Hell, it was almost enjoyable :wink:

ImageA8B168D0-7C8D-4E7F-90C3-E6CB05A28634_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1CF82EA8-469B-40DD-A6C4-33D3976C7B7B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A spot of antler washing
Image8B6D2329-A2F6-470A-9E64-EBEBC9BFB79C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image84C87388-0046-4C02-8BCD-2C9E05C3BA70_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image05C40D19-DAB3-4296-B14C-E513628E2CF8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE3BC46BD-A1AF-4352-999F-C4622AC403CE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We didn't hang about up there - one more hill to go...Back to the packs, a weighty trudge for all of three quarters of a km til we got onto Mhurlagain and could leave them once again. This mountain is much easier than its neighbour, being a more gentle ascent even if it is a bit higher. Still a fair bit of snow in the northern coire. The Eurofighters came back from wherever they'd been, doing a reverse of their earlier manoeuvres whilst we returned to our packs at a more sedate pace and headed down to the car park. We took an alternative track down rather than the WH route which uses the outward path to return by - it took a little finding but was a little quicker. Still sunny when we made it back to the car at 5.30pm, a bag of crisps and an apple standing in for tea whilst we drove back home.

Image1EE7D607-3C32-4841-AF31-799B6DF2A432_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

"Resting" in the heather
ImageB3069C69-2316-42A5-8F36-169C42D8DB85_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Looking back on Fraoch Bheinn
Image7479BC45-3A72-47CB-8E24-AAB3D60C8279_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Loch Arkaig
Image03D3F3A6-448D-4FCA-B797-B88898B3C31A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image56383BE7-FDA8-48AD-994A-189B94DEE6DB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2797B88C-870C-425E-A156-FF485E0F8F96_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC114598C-51F1-446F-9FE4-B26DC9136FB5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE64961A2-3FAC-41B2-B043-5F6CA823727B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr.
Posts: 2463
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Re: Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Postby Graeme D » Tue Mar 29, 2022 2:54 pm

A rare sighting of the Lesser Spotted Kaiserstein and a nice set of photos! Timely - I am trying to find a window of opportunity to get those Munros done this coming weekend if possible and if the weather plays fair. Nice to see current conditions. :thumbup:
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Graeme D
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Re: Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 29, 2022 4:50 pm

Graeme D wrote:A rare sighting of the Lesser Spotted Kaiserstein and a nice set of photos! Timely - I am trying to find a window of opportunity to get those Munros done this coming weekend if possible and if the weather plays fair. Nice to see current conditions. :thumbup:

I note forecast for heavy snow this weekend 😂. Typical
Posts: 2463
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Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
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Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Postby kaiserstein » Tue Mar 29, 2022 7:03 pm

Nice trip! I was wondering where you camped. Was great to bump into you both on the hill. I can now add weaselmaster and sick kid to my list of random encounters on the hills which also includes black panther and mountain love. Maybe i should start a new list of Well Kent Faces of Walk Highlands :lol: . We made it to aden that day / evening but did mean a walk back to tents in dark. I also regretted opting for winter trousers on the trip :oops:
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Re: Camping it up around Glen Dessarry

Postby rockhopper » Wed Mar 30, 2022 11:03 pm

Nice route - so many options to mix and match in this area. Enjoyed reading it - cheers :)
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