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Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby Ian Johnston » Mon May 16, 2011 9:29 pm

Route description: Cruach Innse and Sgùrr Innse

Corbetts included on this walk: Cruach Innse, Sgùrr Innse

Date walked: 11/05/2011

Time taken: 3 hours

Ascent: 890m

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Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse from the bothy in the Lairig Leachach. The timings are from the bothy.

A vehicle can be taken up a track from Corriechoille to NN253776, but the track is rough and has several gates on it. I'd come to walk, not drive so I parked at the bridge over The Cour at NN249810. There's parking either side of the bridge and parking here adds just 15 minutes walking each way.


The track goes up through Ash woods then over more open ground with stands of Willow, Birch and conifers. Ahead, the dome of Cruach Innse is very prominent.


The old drove road is now an estate track; part of the right of way through to Kinlochleven. Alongside the track clumps of Birdsfoot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) made a bright splash.


Coming around a bend, this sculpture came as a bit of a surprise! Known as the Wee Minister, he's carved from wood using a chainsaw and replaces a stone statue which stood near here from the early 20th century until it was broken by a landowner in the 1970's to prevent folk crossing his land to see it. There's some debate as to which Free Kirk minister it represents, but the plaque offers good fortune to all who pass. I imagine this would give you quite a scare on a dark night!....


As the track climbed into the Lairig Leacach the first of the forecast showers was raking across the summit of Stob Coire na Ceannain, the easternmost Top of the Grey Corries ridge


In the highest part of the Lairig there's the remains of a shieling - a bright sward of green among the more heathery ground. Perhaps the flats here gave rise to the names of these hills (Peak of the meadow and Hill of the meadow)


A little over two hours is needed to walk to the Lairig Leacach bothy. An MBA bothy, it's dry and in good order. A warning however; of all the bothies I've stayed in this was the most mouse-ridden! At one time during the night I counted 6 mice scurrying about and I had to hang not only my food but also all my clothes and everything else on a clothes line to keep the little buggers out. Sleekit, Cowerin' and Timorous they were most certainly not!


I dropped my overnight kit at the bothy and set off towards Sgurr Innse. From the shoulder below the southwest side of the summit cone the hill looks a tough nut. The ascent route is on the opposite side so I contoured below the crags and boulderfield debris.


Dwarf Cornel (Cornus suecica) was in flower amongst the boulders, quite early for this uncommon herb and nice to see.


The way up Sgurr Innse looks quite intimidating but as is so often the case, the route is actually fairly simple. A detached block marks the start of a slanting rocky shelf which leads to the small summit area with occasional mild (and mostly avoidable) scrambling. The hill is pretty much inbetween the Grey corries and the Loch Treig Munros and has a good view of both - this is looking across to Stob Coire Easain and Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin.


The key to a safe descent back to the bealach is to retrace your ascent route. Faint paths appear to lead to descent routes, but the summit area is surrounded by crags and loose gullies - the shelf is the best route back. As I reached the bealach, the sky to the west darkened an a torrent of rain started. I sheltered behind one of the boulders, hoping that it would pass quickly. After 20 minutes I was beginning to get quite chilled and decided to head off as soon as there was any easing in the rain.

Battening down, I started out toward Cruach Innse - just as the rain intensified to a real cloudburst. I can recall being in heavier rain on the hill only once in 30 years - it was absolutely lashing down.


Then, as soon as it had started, the rain stopped and visibility began to return


Loking back to Sgurr Innse, the line of the ascent route can be clearly seen slanting right to left


The colours seemed much more vibrant after the rain; looking over Sgurr Innse to the Loch Treig hills. Although close together and linked by a bealach, the two hills are completely different in character. The Sgurr is schisty, craggy and shapely while the Cruach is a spacious dome of clipped heather on quartzite of every colour from dazzling white to pink and grey.


Thre's a long view from the Cruach up Glen Spean to Loch laggan and Badenoch. The cloud banner which had brought the rain stretched over Creag Meagaidh and onwards - at least 60 kilometres long - no wonder it was a heavy shower!

A great route; if doing this in one day you could use a mountain bike to the highest part of the lairig, which would give a quick run back to Corriechoille - don't forget to pay your respects to the Wee Minister!

Ian Johnston
Posts: 114
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Joined: May 9, 2011
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby rockhopper » Tue May 17, 2011 12:07 am

Very nice Ian - enjoyed reading your report. :D Looks an interesting walk with some good views and I see what you mean about the minister on a dark night 8)
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Re: Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby Graeme D » Tue May 17, 2011 1:07 pm

Ian Johnston wrote:Sleekit, Cowerin' and Timorous they were most certainly not!

Same could be said about these Corbetts Ian, especially the Sgurr. Cracking hills, made all the more so by their location. Great report. :D
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Graeme D
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Re: Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby Jockstar » Tue May 17, 2011 2:23 pm

Very interesting and well written piece, helped by the photos. Looks stunning. No cat about then for the wee beasties in the bothy ? :lol: Also very educational about the flora ...... :D
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Re: Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby monty » Tue May 17, 2011 9:43 pm

They look like an interesting couple of Corbetts ian. Nice walk. Good set of photos. No photos of the mice? :lol:

Re: Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse

Postby Ian Johnston » Tue May 17, 2011 9:53 pm

Thanks Rockhopper, Graeme, Jockstar and Monty

Fine hills, and it was nice to take the extra time by staying at the bothy. I'd planned to go up Glen Roy the next day, but the weather was, frankly, pish.

The Dwarf Cornel seems to be flowering early than usual. It's an interesting plant - the white "petals" are actually bracts with the true flowers being the cluster of tiny dark blooms at the centre. These form a cluster of red berries which were apparently once used to stimulate the appetite.

Bothy Mice - wee buggers! I have a theory that they're evolving into a separate subspecies with crampons for claws and titanium tipped teeth.... I knew how many there were by counting the eyes in the headtorch, apart from the one which was perched a couple of inches from my head!

Kind regards


Ian Johnston
Posts: 114
Munros:282   Corbetts:70
Grahams:20   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:27   Hewitts:128
Wainwrights:118   Islands:63
Joined: May 9, 2011
Location: Aberdeenshire

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