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Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Postby Graeme D » Wed Sep 14, 2022 9:49 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgùrr na Feartaig

Date walked: 23/07/2022

Time taken: 5.7 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1030m

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Taken a while to churn this report out and now I can scarcely believe it's been nearly two months......... :crazy:

Having been out on the road/in the hills since the Monday, the Saturday was probably going to be my last day before heading home. Whether I headed home straight after Saturday's hills or camped somewhere and drove back south on the Sunday wasn't yet decided. There was always the option of breaking the journey home with a small hill walk somewhere but I always suspected that by the time Saturday evening rolled round, I would be ready for home (not to mention a good shower and a proper bed). The 90 minutes of purgatory between the Bealach Bearnais and Bearnais Bothy on the Friday late afternoon/early evening had gone a long way towards cementing this line of thinking, but what settled it was Luna. She had been fine on the Friday on the 10 hours it took to walk from Craig and loop round over the Munros of Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain before heading for Bearnais Bothy. In fact she had been fine all week - no sign of anything untoward during or after any of our walks. She had done a load of mileage and ascent and had clearly been very tired after each day, but had been sleeping well at night, eating normally, peeing and pooing normally e.t.c. But from the moment we reached the bothy she wasn't right. She was very out of sorts and was doing a lot of "coughing" without actually bringing anything up. She moped around for the whole evening while Kev and I emptied the bottle of champagne and polished off half a dozen beers. I wasn't unduly worried but was a little concerned. Apart from anything else, we were in a remote bothy, very remote, and whichever way we looked at it, we had a big walk on our hands to get back to the car at Craig. I had serious doubts about the wisdom of taking her over Cheesecake and Lurg Mhor tomorrow and then having to haul ourselves all the way back to Craig after that! I looked at the map, then looked at it again, and then looked at it a bit more. Like I said, whichever way and how many times I looked at it, we had a lengthy walk in store tomorrow and Luna was not at all on form! In the end I called it a night and Luna jumped up onto the sleeping platform and made herself comfortable by squeezing in between my legs. Can't say I was particularly comfortable but hey ho, there you go! We would see what the morning brought!

She seemed a bit more settled in the morning but I couldn't take the risk of walking away from the car over two of the remotest Munros in the land and only then start to think about getting back to the car. I'd happily have been up for that myself, but wasn't prepared to take the risk with Luna. I apologised to Kev for bailing and ruefully stood at the door and watched as he headed off towards the start of his ascent of Cheesecake, gradually becoming a smaller and fainter dot on the vast, remote landscape, before finally merging seamlessly into it.

I returned to the bothy, gathered the last of my gear together, gave the place the once over with the broom and gave Luna a rousing and motivational team talk. Then we headed out and around the back of the bothy and up the broad, heathery slopes to pick up the western end of the long summit ridge of Sgurr na Feartaig where it meanders eastwards from Baobh-bhacan Dubha. This was our chosen route home. The descent from the Bealach Bhearnais was still a vivid scar on my recent memory and the thought of repeating it but this time in reverse a little over 12 hours later did not even merit a second thought. By comparison, the route home over Sgurr na Feartaig looked a much more appealing prospect. More ascent and descent involved but more direct, undoubtedly more scenic and without a repeat of the horror show of yesterday afternoon in reverse.

Height was quickly gained and we were soon up onto flatter, stonier, easier ground with sweeping views southwards behind us. Luna appeared to be a lot happier this morning and was suffering no ill effects from her exertions so far.

South across Loch an Laoigh towards Beinn Dronaig and the Killilan Forest hills beyond - Bearnais Bothy visible in the foreground and Bendronaig Lodge just visible beyond the loch

Fuar Tholl and friends across Baobh-bhacan Dubha

Loch Carron and Skye across the Inner Sound

Some locals up ahead on the 805m spot

Slowly but surely I was leaving the bitter disappointment of earlier in the morning behind me. Reassured by a much happier looking Luna, and excited by the early glimpses of promise that the winding ridge of Sgurr na Feartaig was affording, I gave very few wistful glances back in the direction of Cheescake and Lurg Mhor. Like other missed targets before them, they remained a future prospect to be planned for anew and savoured when their time finally comes.

East of the 805m point, Sgurr na Feartaig really comes into her own and it was now clear that I was going to be ending my 6 day tour with a real belter. The ridge dips, twists and climbs through a narrow neck before making the final pull up the remarkably well preserved grassy track tp pass just north west of the summit.

East towards the summit with the Streangan nan Aon Pacan-deug ridge of Sgurr Coinnich beyond

Looking back west to the sandstone monoliths of the Coulin Forest

Luna is a fan of this route too!

Is she still wondering where Kev has got to?

The western arm of Beinn Tharsuinn and Loch an Laoigh across the scene of a recent horror show

Looking back across the head of Coire nan Each to the western part of the ridge

Eventually the final summit of the week (and my first Corbett of the week) was conquered. A bitterly disappointing day had turned into an excellent one and a fitting finale to my 6 days living my best life in the mountains of the NW Highlands.

Beinn Tharsuinn - The Transverse Hill

Across the Bealach Bhearnais to Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr na Conbhaire with the very western end of Loch Monar just about visible below Lurg Mhor

Sgurr nan Ceannaichean and Moruisg from the substantial summit cairn

Beinn Tharsuinn showing why it's The Transverse Hill with Cheescake lurking in the low cloud behind

Lurg Mhor now getting into the frame as well

Yesterday's Munros

And again with Maoile Lunndaidh showing to the left

Summit views enjoyed, it was time to drop north to regain the grassy track that leads down to Loch Sgurr na Feartaig, and regrettably (on my part at least), head for home.

Loch Sgurr na Feartaig

Coulin Forest and Torridon

Coinnich and Chaorachain across Loch Sgurr na Feartaig

Back to the Corbett summit

East between Sgurr nan Ceannaichean and Maoile Lunndaidh towards Glenuaig Lodge

Sgurr nan Ceannaichean and Moruisg bringing back fond memories of walking with Bruce and John - Beinn na Feusaige and Loch Sgamhain in the distance

Lunndaidh, Chaorachain and Coinnich

View east now right into Gleann Fhiodhaig

Beyond the broad flat area around the 819m point, the north ridge of Sgurr na Feartaig drops more steeply to rejoin the inward track near a little hydro dam on the Allt a'Chonais.

What a beautiful looking road home!

Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

Maoile Lunndaidh and Sgurr a'Chaorachain

Sgurr nan Ceannaichean and Maoile Lunndaidh

You cannae pass a bonnie wee lochan like this without taking a picture

Sgurr a'Chaorachain and the eastern cliffs of Sgurr na Feartaig from the lochan

Looking down to Pollan Buidhe and the steep western face of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

Across Glen Carron to the Coulin Forest and Torridonian peaks

Back to the eastern crags of Sgurr na Feartaig

The former Munro looking very fine

The twisting, descending path (which after 6 consecutive long hill days was creating merry hell in my knees!), soon spat me out by the little dam with the sign warning against any attempt to cross the dam. I sized up the prospect but decided that at this stage in proceedings I should probably do as advised and head the short distance upstream to the bridge, where a sign warns potential users of said bridge that they do so at their own risk. Well yes, quite. Danger of Death may have been a more suitable warning. It was definitely one of the more "interesting" structures designed for the crossing of water courses that I have experienced. And once safely over, the tight squeeze between the two tree trunks forming the bridge support is not one that you'd want to take on after a session on the pies! :shock:

Luna is well up for crossing here

The Bridge of Doom!

Do not attempt a crossing here after consuming large quantities of pies!

Once safely across and squeezed through the tight gap between the trees, I picked my way up rough ground and onto the track that led us back to the car at Craig. That last few kilometres of weary, leg-sore tramping along a track in the knowledge that you are in the dying moments of a 6 day hill pass is always a bitter sweet experience - the freedom of the previous week is almost over but the prospect of a warm shower, a proper bed and a truly cold beer goes a long way to offsetting that.

Back at the car, Luna inhaled her dinner while I contacted base camp to report I was coming in. Another summer holiday tour was all over bar the shouting. The disappointment of missing out on Cheescake and Lurg Mhor had been all but forgotten about. I had doubled my Munro count for the year and taken my annual count to a level that I had not come close to for many a year. The target I had set of 22 new Munros in 2022 still seemed improbable, especially given my unexpected change of plans today, but it's just an arbitrary target within an arbitrary timeframe. Who cares!? Not me. I'm just loving the journey through the hills, those of all classifications and those of none. Long may the journey continue. :D

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Graeme D
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Re: Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Sep 15, 2022 8:46 pm

Looking forward to finally meeting Luna this weekend
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Re: Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Sep 18, 2022 10:00 am

Great ending for a day like that, but much better decision considering Luna! Something you will look back to when you climb Cheesecake in the future :D
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Re: Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Postby kevsbald » Sat Sep 24, 2022 10:10 pm

Great decision; health is always more important, particularly for our best friends, 4- or 2-legged!
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Re: Summer of 22 (Chapter 6) - Cheesecake's aff!

Postby past my sell by date » Sun Sep 25, 2022 4:06 pm

I did Lurgi and Cheesescake from the Bearnais bothy. We had an early dinner at Strathcarron , walked the easy path to the bothy 2.5hrs or so in the evening without any cooking equipment, and set out next morning before 7. we carried on beyond Lurgi before descending - when it would have been better to have retraced our steps back West - and had a very long hot walk back to Achintee (about 18k I think. :( ) However I can thoroughly recommend the route and the lightweight approach
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