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Over The Sea - Weasel Hols '23 Part 1

Over The Sea - Weasel Hols '23 Part 1

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 06, 2023 8:17 am

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frìthe, Sgùrr Dubh Mòr

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn Dearg Mhór (Sligachan), Beinn na Caillich (Kylerhea), Marsco, Sgùrr na Coinnich

Date walked: 04/06/2023

Distance: 59 km

Ascent: 4950m

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All good holidays should start, in my opinion, with some form of transportation away from the everyday - not just jumping in the car. So I decided that we should start this one with a voyage by sea - albeit a very short one on the Kylerhea Ferry. Hence the title song, a really cheesy number from the 80s...

Every year we get away for a fortnight, usually in May or June. Last year was a bit different - the Cape Wrath Trail: one mountain in two weeks. This year I decided we should use it to polish off the hills we needed on some of the islands, ones that are a bit more awkward to get to, like Harris and the Uists. We'd have a few days left at the end which could be used for whatever seemed most appropriate given the weather. I'd booked the Uig - Tarbert ferry for Tuesday 23 May and heading off to Skye seemed like a good place to begin. There were 8 R3 Grahams for me to do, plus I needed Sgurr Dubh Mor and a couple of Munro Tops. We've a guide booked for the end of June to do stuff on the Ridge, so it also made sense, if the weather played ball, for us to re-accustom ourselves to some gentle scrambling, we've done none for ages. Build up the confidence a little, hopefully.

We headed off on the Thursday night as usual, car laden with most of our requirements for the fortnight. Including helmets :roll: A smooth drive up to Glenelg and a camp by the beach was the aim. The spot we've used before was vacant and we pitched up for the night - quite chilly but dry. We could afford to have a late start the next day as the first ferry run isn't until 10am.

Although we've been on the turntable ferry on foot, never before with a car. There were a few other vehicles including a brand new atheroma van which loaded ahead of me, the owners taking multiple pictures. No dog, unfortunately - was looking forward to seeing Spot, grandson of Nak. It's quite an art getting the turntable lined up and the vehicle's weight properly distributed so that it can actually get off the boat - I had to drive really close behind the van to keep the balancing act going. Once onto the pier we drove up to the parking area by the hides and got ready for our first hills of the holiday.

ImageE69FCE0D-4404-454B-910F-3A3052AE3B51_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3E99E0D9-7384-473E-8D77-801572D00C88_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

As regular readers will be sick of hearing, I'm currently working on finishing R2 Grahams and also getting into R3 ones. I have refused to acknowledge the 12 new "pretendy" Grahams - although I've done all bar one of them, there is no way I'm doing 3 rounds of them. But would my nerve hold? This was the perfect opportunity to find out as I've already done Ben Aslak, the third of the Kylerhea hills, on two occasions - maybe I should just do it again and get it over with. But NO - I stood firm to my decision: we'd be doing Beinn na Caillich and Sgurr na Coinnich only.

kylerhea2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Decided to do them clockwise this time round, which I'd recommend if not doing Aslak. It means that you walk up the road first, gaining a good bit of height on tarmac before striking out for the slopes up Sgurr na Coinnich. We picked up either the path, such as it is, or a useful deer path and made the summit for around 1pm. Blowy and cloudy, but still dry. Across to Beinn na Caillich thereafter, which took a little less than an hour after which it was over the back of Beinn Bhuidhe and steeply down the hillside aiming for the car, which we could see from aloft.A good, gentle breaker-inner for the holiday.

Image77129AB1-8A28-4D7D-B068-F4A6FCF1D882_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0701C56A-DA76-4686-B05B-4E1A1D263874_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0C2309D8-3E5D-4CCA-89F7-77C48DEE72AB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image37569AFD-90E9-4B5B-985F-108752E36E99_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCC87D7AC-37C3-4FAE-8111-D0D28E851A32_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFFF0D37C-F916-4BF0-9E25-95F339CB14AF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

But we weren't finished for the day...I reckoned we should make a start on the next pair of hills and do some of the walk-in to Marsco. That would save us having to consider campsites for the time being and would gain a few kilometres on what is quite a long day, doing Marsco and Beinn Dearg Mhor. So we drove up towards Sligachan, got parked near the MRT building, loaded up our overnight packs and set off down Glen Sligachan, against the flow of other walkers heading back. The sky remained overcast and it was windy, a cold blast swirling around as we walked up into Coire nan Laogh. In better conditions we'd have considered pitching up high on the back of Marsco, but somewhere lower down would be necessary today. Much of the coire floor is too wet to pitch on, but we found the same spot we'd used when we were last here, which is just about serviceable, just a few steps off the path up to Marsco. We settled down for what was quite a blowy night with some un-predicted rain.

Marsco & BDM
Image6A8A8409-EDC7-4842-9856-381A9EC3C255_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image748181C5-6120-4FD2-8091-27386922CBE3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

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

In the morning we donned waterproofs, "just in case" and set off up Marsco, following the useful path. Although there was a cross-wind at the summit ridge it wasn't strong enough to use any undue concern - the summit was nabbed and we returned the same way, without the spectacular views this hill can provide on a better day. Back to the tent, which we packed up and stowed in our packs, then it was up the steep bouldery scree of Beinn Dearg, aiming for the bealach between Ciche na Beinne Deirge and Beinn Dearg. Just a bit time consuming, be easier in descent. From Beinn Dearg there's a big drop in height before the climb up to Beinn Dearg Mhor. We left our packs to the north of Beinn Dearg summit, having decided to exit the mountain using the marked path on the NW shoulder of Beinn Dearg this time which we (correctly) reckoned would be preferable to the path from the bealach between Beinn Dearg Mhor and Sgurr Mhairi, which we'd used last time. It did mean some extra re-asecnt up Beinn Dearg, but worth it.

ImageD2CDFED4-A6D7-49EE-B77F-91E229CA5837_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFAE60EF3-C818-4160-A25D-0314D6AB060E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0BC6065F-DDCB-44E4-B860-FE8BD2172DB6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0BBACBF6-185B-4BD3-B3F8-83ACED3850E9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We got back to Sligachan about 3.30. The forecast for Sunday was very good and it seemed a good opportunity to get Sgurr Dubh Mor done. With a bit of luck we might even be able to tag on the Top of Sgurr Sgumain which we both needed for R2 Tops. We should probably use a campsite then... I had fully intended to go to The Slig, which we used to frequent but haven't been back since It was refurbed, maybe 2018 the last year we were there. Advantages were 1. Mobile Reception and 2. hotel right beside it. It did mean that we'd have to drive to Glen Brittle in the morning but... I drove over towards the entrance, to find a couple of atheroma vans sitting waiting there and a sign up saying admittance 4-9pm. Although it was nearly 4pm, the sign really put me off, as well as the fact that the site now very clearly caters for vans rather than climbers in tents - there were only a few lonely tents amidst a wash of white vans. Bugger it, I thought - they can get stuffed with their fancy new rules - we'll go to Glen Brittle.

So we did. It's not changed much. Took our usual pitch beside the sea, cooked a meal that wasn't Huel for tea and got an early night - very little noise from the other campers, which was appreciated. We awoke to find the hills in clag - although the forecast was clear that it should burn off by late morning. We got away about 8, enjoying the long walk in to Coire a'Ghrunnda. I don't think we've ever seen the ground so wet before, or at least don't remember it. I was feeling semi-alright about the day ahead - having managed SDM twice before on my own I knew that I was capable of climbing it, but where was my "fear-factor" sitting? Time would tell.

2023-05-21_0801 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

As promised, by the time we had reached Loch Coir' a'Ghrunnda the mist was thinning and some sun beaming through. We headed up a bit towards Sgurr Du an Da Bheinn, looking at potential ways up to Caisteal a' Garbh-choire and stopped for some lunch. Who should come around the corner than Paul Tattersal, our guide for the end of June, with a client doing Eag, SDM and Alasdair. We had a good chat and it probably helped settle my nerves about June. Possibly a little :lol: Lunch finished, we set off over Sgurr Du an Da Bheinn and on our way towards SDM. The hills were busy, not surprising given the ideal weather and we could see a few folk on our target hill up ahead. We watched the way Paul and his client went up, then took a different route, the one we've used previously. Up over the slabs and onto the narrow summit crest. The views were jut wonderful, although clarity did mean that I got a good look at Sgurr Thearlaich, which is our starting point in June - I've been up it twice before but both times in clag...

Walk in
Image68A6EA2A-70F9-4467-AE28-BB408E9C6D5B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Misty Coir' a'Ghrunnda
Image39471E80-9A67-4580-8968-EEB9CD25888B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE0DA12B7-9E8D-475A-B0A4-08C17F5686E4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image81A188B5-F642-4D33-B1BB-10590A4BA2FE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBF15CF97-073D-4221-8B43-8872AD90EB0C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCD3EA7DC-E40C-4EAF-82C4-A11405F03AE2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Dubh Mhr
ImageCE02F258-9350-44C0-9207-60B548A95C42_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Alasdair & Therlaich
ImageEFC57D1D-5220-490D-8640-C0E7AD35C070_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image79F026F8-8F4B-4F92-A484-43A134F48574_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCE362786-E7F2-4805-B9BF-CEDDA7FD7411_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image597D6987-549C-4424-8617-9FC57101F44A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC9363977-6E05-4B7A-B619-61642C1E029D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image95E28F7F-1232-46D5-B3B0-1432BD71B862_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We exited SDM taking much the same route as we'd used going up and decided, since it was such a good day, that we'd head over to Sgumain too. A fair few folk were heading from SDM to Alasdair, which was the way we headed too. We'd climbed Sgumain previously as part of a two day MCofS scrambling course, back in 2013, gone up a rake with a rope and down the Sgumain Stone Chute. I looked at a couple of promising approaches up gullies towards the summit - but we also wondered if we could contour round from under Alasdair. Allison asked a ginger bearded guide heading past with a couple of young women what he'd advise. He was very helpful and we settled on the more straightforward of the two gullies I'd been looking at. It was a straightforward ascent, mostly over blocks with the inevitable paths going everywhere nearer the top. We got a good view of the TD Gap as we headed along, something I've only seen photos of before, never seen in the flesh. A couple of Aussies had just gone over it and were now loping their way towards Alasdair.

Image7BBD08F3-289D-468F-B6BC-F3329371A533_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

TD Gap
Image76FF529D-7193-44ED-AE81-290E710C1482_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF9B7B949-7CDE-419D-A36F-CF05E3F3E4DD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We enjoyed the views from up high - on a day like today it would be hard not to. We considered going down the chute, which would be quicker, but in the end we decided to return to Coire A'Ghrunnda - partly to save Allison's knees and partly as I wanted to see if we could find the right path on the way down from the coire - we usually end up going wrong somewhere. And today was no exception, although we got nearly to the valley floor before choosing a wrong turn :lol: Back at the campsite had a welcome shower and another quiet night.

The Cioch
ImageE906AC4E-1F66-4BB2-9472-A0BCBD6663FF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image80D81225-8C13-4458-880F-16E9371324CA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageADFC963C-F3B4-4F03-B3A4-F9FF7AE3FF0C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0B431010-3CAC-4220-8E10-4538B76AD414_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD558EB59-9C88-4921-8BEA-A76B77CEF0D5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD0EAF6C1-DC7A-45D0-B877-FF2EEDBCA034_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

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

Monday was supposed to be dry and bright, but was cooler and cloudier than the day before. We'd decided to do Bruach na Frithe using the Sgurr a'Bhasteir ridge then returning by the NW ridge and doing the Top of Sgurr a'Fhionn-Choire too. Drove back up to Sligachan and set off along the Allt Dearg Beag for Meall Odhar, which we'd done previously when climbing Sgurr a'Bhasteir. However, as we got to Meall Odhar the clag descended and the wind increased. Neither of us was especially keen to do the ridge in that kind of condition - we were supposed to be building up confidence, not challenging it, so we crossed over from Meall Odhar to the standard route up to Breathe na Frithe. Had a bit of fun with Fhionn-Choire - we couldn't remember which route we'd taken up previously and spent some time investigating options, before settling on the seam of brownish basalt that leads almost to the summit. From there it was over to the top of Bruach na Frithe and back out by the standard route. We enjoyed the many waterfalls along the course of the river as we returned to the car.

Image0B70B5BB-87D0-4DA2-908E-92CE8B3B11F3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image29C28441-DBF3-4644-A33B-421D1E105DD5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0CA5BB14-C084-49C7-B8CE-089B841698E5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image47D81A18-089B-44A6-A381-04A9D0EA0D72_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA75482C6-1A93-4829-AF73-95E699A096C7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image11F3E172-1D36-46F5-AEE7-B6FAD7C2D214_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6A8EEC10-38AF-48F5-AAA3-D7133947964B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Allison coming down the basalt ladder on Fhionn- Coire
Image60281FA6-6D7F-4171-A0AC-B5FB2549CA20_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3C2E22BE-FAFB-4792-9B9E-279CEC6D8D86_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA25F37E6-1517-458B-A598-F6278FEF7583_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAC44E464-74F0-44AA-83D7-850F0F507062_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFCDD45A3-4567-495F-BDEB-A2AC2ADB20F5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

I'd booked the morning ferry from Uig, so there wasn't really time to do much else on Skye. We called in at the Co-Op in Portree for some additional provisions for our week on Harris/Uists and decided to look for a place to camp somewhere near Uig, which we managed to find high up above the ferry terminal. There is a campsite there, which we did use once, but like the Slig, it was all vans. Had another fairly peaceful evening, and were down at the terminal queue for 8, keen to get back over to Harris and buoyed by the suggestion that the weather would be ok while we were there.
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Re: Over The Sea - Weasel Hols '23 Part 1

Postby zatapathique » Fri Aug 04, 2023 8:29 am

We considered going down the chute, which would be quicker, but in the end we decided to return to Coire A'Ghrunnda - partly to save Allison's knees and partly as I wanted to see if we could find the right path on the way down from the coire - we usually end up going wrong somewhere. And today was no exception, although we got nearly to the valley floor before choosing a wrong turn

This. And going up was no different for me, in fact, it compromised my attempt to clim Eag, Dubh Mòr and Alasdair. I will post the report of this epic failure during the weekend...

Wonderful report of yours and nice photos! Incredible that it was so much drier only a fortnight later. There was not much water when I was there...

That's the loch in Coire A'Ghrunnda on June 15th...

The basalt ladder on Fhionn-Coire definitely looks like something I want to do. :-)

The Kylerhea ferry is just wonderful and makes an engineer's heart beat higher. The dog was there when we went with it, and our car was indeed also packed very closely to the other cars and the railing. We went off Skye with it, and then enjoyed some hot beverages in the little café above the ferry, watching it come and go several times.
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