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Lady Grinning Soul

Lady Grinning Soul

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Apr 23, 2023 10:35 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhan, Sgùrr a' Chaorachain

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn a' Chlachain, Sgùrr a'Gharaidh

Date walked: 23/04/2023

Distance: 61 km

Ascent: 3051m

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Did you know it was 50 years ago this week that Bowie released Aladdin Sane? I heard a clip of this tune on the radio and chose it as my title. Reasons? Absolutely none other than I've always loved it.

It has been a spectacularly good weather week and I was more than chuffed that the sunshine was forecast to continue til Sunday. Of course that meant heading somewhere suitable for making the most of the sunshine, which meant somewhere far away, but make the most of it, something I'm learning. Torridon was exerting its influence and drawing me back, after a good weather weekend there a fortnight ago. I still have lots to do there, but quite fancied a few hills around Applecross/Lochcarron.
Beinn Bhan & Sgurr a'Chaorachain on Friday, Beinn a'Chlachain Saturday and Sgurr a'Gharaidh Sunday was my plan. Allison was, of course, on board as Torridon was involved, even when I told her I had a Malky route in mind for Beinn a'Chlachain.

We had a smooth drive up on Thursday night - noted that the toilets at Ballachulich are closed "due to vandalism" if you plan to use the facilities...thise at Lochcarron are fine but it's a long way :lol: Anyway we arrived when it was still light enough to see where we were pitching the tent - I love the lighter evenings for the most part. There was a fair amount of road noise, especially from about 6am, seemed mostly traffic going to Kishorn dry dock. It has undergone an expansion, seemingly related to offshore wind generation. Think it looked pretty dead when we were here last some years ago - not the case now.

2023-04-21_0831.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Anyway, Friday started as a beautiful morning and remained that way all day - the sky a bit hazy being my only complaint. I'd been looking at possible routes for these two fine mountains and noticed one by "Mountain Dog" which seemed to fit the bill of incorporating the Simm of Sron Coire nam Fhanhair as well as a circular route for the two Corbetts. I haven't plucked up the courage to do the A'Chioch route yet, and probably never will, so this is a good second best. We had parked at the bridge at Tornapress and took the footpath that goes north from there. This skirts round the imposing cliffs of Beinn Bhan, gradually gaining height and we followed it all the way to Loch Gaineamhach, marvelling at the successive faces of the mountain that were revealed as we walked round. From the loch we followed deer tracks up into Coire an Fhamhair (Coire of the Giants) then climbed up the sron following a sketchy path - nothing difficult in here unless you choose to make it so. Eyes kept being drawn over to the buttresses, a'Phoit and a'Chioch. Eventually we topped out onto the plateau, made our way over to the Simm then headed across to the summit of Beinn Bhan. Another walker arrived just after we did, having come up the long SE shoulder.

Beinn Damh
ImageA5AD4B29-F882-4A8D-BDDB-D947B89CBC9C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Walking into Beinn Bhan
Image1A9F9773-8A07-4548-A86B-06E62C1F3058_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8051BB12-14AC-4B21-B15D-9CE1554CAF60_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image104B5A17-0790-4BAF-BB40-9A05A92FF2C2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image01CDE4A2-BEA0-4D8E-8D56-CC5CBEFF9024_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBF8CCA53-5C61-4E27-9F99-E4E0921FE0F3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image491C71C6-E457-42A4-BB29-337A5D61E64A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A'Phoit & A'Chioch
Image49C07DD6-1D26-46C8-A313-3529984C1B91_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1DE19ABF-BF91-4176-B0D8-88E68D7D3F2E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC1E458AB-0F40-4EA7-BB88-C4D1998D1220_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBDEA7AAD-7DEB-4559-A671-CEEA2C0E04E4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4894197B-D9AC-45C6-A6DD-B363C1F65A68_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We were bound for Sgurr a'Chaorachain however, and I could remember that it is quite a long way between the two summits. Today was by far the best weather I'd done the hills in and I was enjoying the views, although felt pretty tired - perhaps the long drive and not a great sleep the night before, perhaps the relentless sun. I was wearing shorts but neither of us had thought to pack sun cream - oops :( I could feel my knees getting warm, as well as the various scrapes on my shins from the rough terrain. Down to Bealach nan Arr then the slow climb back up towards the transmitter mast. We stopped at one point to cool our feet in a rock pool, which was very pleasant, the clear, cool water refreshing the tired feet. Eventually we got to the mast and had a look at the descent route into Coire a'Chaorachain which from here looked pretty fierce, no matter what route you selected. I had a quick re-read of the walk report we were following, but no particular mention was made of the descent being problematic.

Image22CFE3FF-3570-45F2-8ACA-8043E109274E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Coire an Arr
Image42F35D8E-027D-4F88-A39D-F752E00E5332_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Showing decent route into Coire nan Chaorachain
Image4FB258FA-C38A-4204-817B-7C79884CFEB5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Kishorn dry dock
Image18C2F672-5208-40E4-BB30-852BFA3D8F01_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We continued round the head of the coire, over the small tower then finally up to the summit. The haziness was still there, but even so the views were superb, this might make a pretty special high camp (assuming one could get pegs in on the stony ground). We had a snack to console our grumbling tums then started back to the suggested descent point into the coire, which is in fact marked with a small cairn. The descent here is alright - there are no crags on the line we took, just steep scree and heather which delivers you more or less intact at the little lochan. The round along the valley floor is very wet indeed, even after so many dry days, so it was something of a squelch along the Allt Coire nan Caorach. I decided to keep high along the west side of Loch Coire nan Arr, using deer paths to take us to the south end of the loch where we picked up a construction track. I'd thought this might be a good place for a camp, but it isn't really unless you like industrial things all around. Then we hit the road and walked the last couple of miles back to the car. Fortunately the road was quiet at that time of the early evening. More than could be said for my stomach, and I got the tea on whilst Allison sorted out the bedding after we'd re-pitched the tent.

ImageBEDBE6F5-07F6-44A1-B591-1D7BA2418101_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image71B4D9F7-5903-44A4-9ABB-7D3657E3742B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4EBFE7B9-5135-4230-A896-6EB03EE8C934_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8F5EE3C9-9FB5-4F61-801B-A2F27F31134A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB3194B58-411E-4214-8A88-C319CDB5314B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Loch Coire nan Arr
Image7AE200EA-ED57-41F6-8D4E-DBB67A261B7E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3A8A631D-B3EB-4D4F-898C-4D3C409FCD71_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image17D933AD-F745-4C4B-ABAE-B02210F8B9F5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC4CD0F44-8851-4381-83D6-BF658F794875_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageDC27369E-59D3-4EDD-B6A6-C30C3164E677_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0DD6E101-AD7C-44EF-9927-9A6E1E352A49_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We both slept well on Friday night - shows what having a long day can do for you... There was much less morning traffic, being a Saturday, so we had owls and snipe and another bird which sounded like a squeaky wheel, or maybe a rusty sign blowing in the wind. Saturday was a repeat, weather wise of Friday without the haze and with a bit extra warmth. Beinn a;Chlachain was our target today - something that would have been easily and quickly done from Applecross, like we did last time. I'd been looking for alternate routes and found an intriguing one by Malky which went in from Inverbain, using an old right of way to Applecross. Seemed worth a try. Malky had poor weather when he did it, we'd be luckier today.

2023-04-22_0945.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We drove the few miles up to Inverbain, just south of Kenmore (you could also go in using the footpath from Kenmore, which might be of better quality than that from Inverbain). Malky had parked by the bridge, where there's now a "No Parking" sign, but there's verge parking for 3 or 4 cars a little further on where the track begins. It creeps up someone's driveway and round behind their house before crossing a field and heading through some birch trees. A bit rough underfoot, but alright for walking - be a bit bumpy on a bike. The views back to Torridon across Loch Sheildaig are superb, and Beinn a'Chlachain can be seen way off ahead. The path follows the Allt an Strathan, passing some lively falls, before disappearing for a time as it heads up to higher ground under Craic-Bheinn. There is a cairn at the top of the pass to make for, and after this the quality of the path improves considerably. Eyes turned from Torridon hills behind to the glories of Skye ahead.

Image363A2424-FA35-441F-8623-1C83C90B713F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE0C7981C-767B-4EE2-B933-1D680E12D0AE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC4BCA137-E7D2-4D48-AB32-829AC5C60030_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6E05E832-BB55-47C9-8543-35DAF71C26B1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A general warning?
Image9CC933C6-89BB-48CB-AA5F-CA27F6AED29F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image48D5481A-EC53-4810-8EBA-CFD47C49C766_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4E4D24E1-20EA-47BC-8340-0BDAC09B53A9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7B173761-25BA-43CB-A737-BAED71E204AA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meall Arachnaidh
Image235D3097-3B57-4307-AC45-E8BE10AC1FE0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The path joins with that from Kenmore. We continued to a footbridge, then headed up Meall Arachnaidh, which I decided was the rounded hill of the spiders. Then the fun started. Malky had taken a line towards Meall an Doireachain, losing height willy nilly - I decided I'd make for the south end of An Dubh-Loch meaning less loss of altitude. It produced a steeper route up Meall an Doireachain, prompting Allison to say she thought my routes were worse than Malky's. I too that as a compliment :lol: After some heather and tussock battling we got to the summit of Doireachain, wended round the lochans and crags and made our way over to Beinn a'Chlachain. What a glorious view today! Skye looked gorgeous. We had a discussion about what way to return. Malky had, typically, gone off over another peak and forsaken footpaths for shorter "off piste" hillside lines. We decided to make more use of the tracks, so more or less followed our outward route. We were both hot and hungry and it seemed to take a long time to get the return leg done. Malky's time had been 6 hours - we had taken 9.5 (although hadn't stuck to the same route exactly and had done a few more kilometres) so that was quite sobering - we're almost half-Malky speed...

Applecross & Skye
Image9F18378C-C286-4040-A67E-D846ADA38C3C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Finally! Approaching Beinn a'Chlachain
ImageAB7C634E-0ADB-43BF-B67F-9E3BE25E7ACC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Bhan & A'Chaorachain
Image0EAF49E6-16E0-493C-9400-7BD77F9E5BC2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image137CC885-5D61-46FB-BAC8-046FB343C073_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image65940CD3-7C8C-479F-8704-3FE9BD31112D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Crocodile rock
Image56A4823E-BEFB-4A2F-ABFB-237B790C848A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1D77181C-15AE-47EC-8386-F52428D03533_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image43D9B3E0-76A8-43BE-A5F2-EE8B56F49839_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD3581DCC-A1CA-4DE9-B4A4-787D4523C424_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

It was still glorious sunshine when we got back to the car and we drove back to the pitch we'd used for the last two nights, having failed to spot anything better down the shore of Loch Sheildaig. Another late meal and tired limbs.

2023-04-23_0848.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Sunday was forecast to be cloudy and windy - indeed it had rained a bit overnight, though the wind had dried the tent off by the time we got up. I'd plotted a different route for Sgurr a'Gharaidh, having noticed a track running most of the way up the hill from the sheep wash on the planner on WH that doesn't appear on the OS maps. Not wanting to irritate any farmers we parked in the large lay-by about half a mile from the start of the walk (which seems to be occupied by travellers at the moment). Lots of newly born lambs in the enclosures, looking askance at the new and scary world. The track is pretty decent, bulldozed farm track heading from the sheep pens and wending around Cnoc nam Broc and into the interior of this rugged mountain.

ImageCD72DBEE-0023-442E-B6C0-818B4CFED69F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image544BB6FE-1A4A-4C25-81CC-C5BEDDD5B653_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7266B230-2BC1-4686-9957-7E08F29200C6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB61F2875-D0AE-4DF4-9771-CF940291BA9F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image397AFDB9-E994-4512-B0EB-438584633F7C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Lots of weathered exposed limestone on the way up, good vantage point for Beinn Bhan and Beinn Damh, both looking more serious today with the addition of some dark clouds. The path rounds a lochan (where we lost it on the way in) then heads towards Gharaidh, which is eventually revealed once you round the 597m hill. We headed up the western shoulder to the summit, once again rewarded with fine (if slightly cloudy) views. A return by the same route and down the road before 7pm

Image42B3BF90-05DE-4929-AF60-03CE10EDC37F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA331075A-6B21-4C71-9DB7-475183BD21D3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image956C7BC3-FAAA-4F24-8FAD-2BB389396D5C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF567702B-509B-4435-9FEA-2350E8B5DF1E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5E720553-461B-4E03-9D5F-B481B1B5C6CE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image69F6C1ED-4BEA-4D96-A348-7CAF7EC5101F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr
Posts: 2455
Munros:277   Corbetts:220
Fionas:217   Donalds:75+31
Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:15   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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