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Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!


Postby PeteR » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:43 pm

Route description: Sgurr na Ciche: 3 Munros from Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Date walked: 06/08/2011

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....... or A Couple of SnaCs with a filling of Garbh Chiochs :D

This had been on the list for a long time. I'd seen the pictures and read the reports and was champing at the bit to get out and tackle these three remote munros. But Scottish summer time had so far put paid to any plans, as I really wanted these hills on a good day :D Sunday's my walking day normally, and all too often Sunday has been a wet one this year :lol:

So, getting home from work on the Friday and just about to crack open a few beers and Mrs R starts sucking up to me......"Honey"......she starts. She's wanting something me thinks :lol: Turns out she had agreed to spend the Saturday with her sisters, so I'd be left to my own devices. "You can go a wee walk" she says......

Drives a hard bargain does Mrs R :lol: ......but I reluctantly I agreed :lol: And put the beers on hold for another day.

Not sure a trip along Loch Arkaig and a walk deep into Glen Dessary could be classed as a wee walk though :lol: But the forecast looked good, so there would be no stopping me.

The drive was a long one. Especially the trip alongside Loch Arkaig. Hadn't been down there for years and years and the only time I had been it had been drizzle all the way. Today though the weather was looking good and the loch was as still as a mill pond. Wish I'd taken a picture, but time was pressing and I was wanting to get parked up and away. When I eventually did arrive there were already a fair few cars parked up, but I only met two people all day (and it was a long, long day :lol: ).

Stepping out the car and it seemed the entire population of midges launched a co-ordinated attack on me :lol: Little sods :evil:

Looked to see if stalking was planned for the day, but it wasn't so that was a result. At least my only worry was midge bits and not gun shot wounds.

Setting off and immediately the views are just there.
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Looking into Glen Pean

If this was a taste of things to come, then I was in for a cracking walk :D

The track past Glendessary and the lodge was easy and I soon found myself at upper glendessary, where the path leaves the landrover track and heads off over a stile (which I almost missed). At this point it becomes a bit boggy in places (very boggy on the return leg by the time the rain had arrived :lol: ), but it's a good path all the way. On crossing the Allt Coire nan Uth the track up the ridge of Sgurr nan Coireachan (SnaC) comes along almost immediately. It's marked with a small cairn, but could be easily missed if you don't have your wits about you.
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Start of path up SnaC

Assuming you find the path up the ridge the climb isn't a bad one.......just a bit steep and it seems to go on forever :lol: I struggled a fair bit up this path, on account of some sore ribs, causing me a bit of difficulty breathing - which as I write it doesn't sound like a good advert for either hill walking or my general health and fitness :lol: Still, it gave me plenty of excuses for the odd photo stop of five. Struggling for breath was to be a repeated theme on all the ascents on this route, but difficulties seemed to ease as the day went on :)
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View on the way up SnaC

All the way the views seemed to get better and better. Particularly enjoyed the view back toward Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh and Druim a Chuirn.
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The view back

The view of the route ahead didn't disappoint either 8)
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Looking toward Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr na Ciche

Reports suggested the descent down off SnaC to the bealach with the Garbh Chiochs was steep and little unnerving. Sure, it was steep, but I didn't think it was that bad at all. Soon enough I was at the bealach and confronted by the incredible dry stone wall that winds its way up over the Garbh Chiochs. As with everyone who does this route no doubt I just stood a moment and marvelled at the people who would have contructed a wall in such a remote area.
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Dry stane wall up Garbh Chioch Beag

I'll leave you to judge if the descent of SnaC looks unnerving or not :lol:
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Back toward SnaC on ascent up Garbh Chioch Beag

As for all of this walk the path up the hill and along toward the second munro of the day is pretty good. Views all around are just amazing - it's difficult to know which ones to upload :? All in all it's a tough old walk and by now I was well and truly feeling it. The views make it tough too, as you just want to stop all the time and soak it all in. So I did.....and kept the camera busy too :lol:
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Looking back on Garbh Chioch Beag

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Garbh Chioch Mhor and SnaC2

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Arty view of route ahead

One of the views that had been developing all through the walk was toward the back of Sgurr Thuilm and the other SnaC. This was a route I had done last year and really enjoyed. Another tough one as well :lol:
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The Glenfinnan Two

Started that trip in blue sky and sunshine and hit SnaC just as the snow hit, which then turned to rain accompanied with strong winds as I headed down and along the long route out. Happy days :lol: 8) :D

The view back along the ridge just got better and better too :D
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SnaC

As did the view toward Sgurr Mor - which I now have planned for another day 8)
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Sgurr Mor

All along the route there were little sections of scrambing opportunities. Nothing too serious, but enough for me to get a bit of that buzz :lol: A section coming down off Garbh Chioch Mhor took me by surprise though, but it's easy enough really.
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Little scrambly section

Views toward Loch Quoich and the hills around that area weren't bad either.
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Loch Quoich and friends

One view which had been with me all day was looking toward Loch Nevis, with Eigg and Rhum in full view. It was fantastic :D
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Loch Nevis

The descent down off Garbh Chioch Mhor seemed no worse to me than that off SnaC. Got great views of the final destination, Sgurr na Ciche SnaC2) :D :D :D :D :D
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Sgurr na Ciche

I'd thought the path up was on the left of the large block centre bottom, but on arrival it's actually centre left and up over the top of the scree slope you can see.
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Path up SnaC2

It's easy all the way though and I was soon on a small levelling before the final short stroll to the summit. Suddenly I was confronted by Knoydart and all its savage beauty :D 8)
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Luinne Bheinn and Ladhar Bheinn

I was in heaven :D 8)
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SnaC2 summit view

And I had it all to myself.

This is why I get up at all hours at the weekend (and any other time I can) and drive for miles. This is why I can take the wind, rain, snow and mist, as well as missing out on the views at times. This is why I can suffer those soddin' midges as well.

I really could have stayed here for hours :D but sadly I didn't have hours to spare :(
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Loch Nevis and out to sea

By this point I may have been knackered, but I didn't care. These were views I had only imagined until now, and now I was living them.
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Meall Buidhe

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Back along the ridge

All around the views were great, although I was aware that the rain was a comin' and I was due a soakin' :lol:
Just the small matter of the famous Feadan na Ciche in order to get to the toute back :lol:

Yeah, it's a bit steep and I was taking it carefully, but the spots of rain had started and it's a long walk back. A looooonnnnggg walk back :lol:
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Feadan na Ciche

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Eigg from bottom of Feadan na Ciche

Getting down the bottom of the gully and I was presented with the full force of the rain that I had watched heading my way :lol: :lol: It didn't stop pretty much all the way back to the car. I'd read it was a long walk back and a bit of a killer after doing the hills. Pretty much a correct assessment of the trip back :lol: What with the rain coming down I just put my head down and kept on going.

Eventually I was back at the car where midges seemed to have been waiting for me, as they pounced immediately :lol: :( Didn't care, nothing could upset me as I had just had a great day in a real wilderness. Not even the police pulling me over on the way home for a 'routine check' were going to dampen my spirits after this one. Seems I had 'cleaned' a handful of cats eyes (a public service in my book :lol: :lol: ) and they seemed to think I may have been under the influence of an alcoholic substance. They went away disappointed :lol: I went home for a well earned sleep.
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby GraemeMac » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:54 pm

Great report, doesnt it just make those bad hill days worth it when you get a day like you did there. Love the pics of loch Nevis
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Heaven indeed Pete!!

You just don't do short, easy walks do you??? :lol:

Another brilliant report. Although I must admit I looked at some of your photos with my hand over my mouth!!! Scary stuff when those rocks were dry, would you have had a rethink if it was raining?? :shock:
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby PeteR » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:08 am

pollyh33 wrote:Scary stuff when those rocks were dry, would you have had a rethink if it was raining?? :shock:


Thanks Polly33. The path really is excellent all the way up to the ridge and all along. Much better than I had expected and any steepness is manageable. I'd do this route in the rain too no problem, but I was hell bent on waiting for the right weather. My point and click camera can't really capture the true magic of this area.

Next thing is to get into wild camping so I can head off into the heart of Knoydart :lol: Mrs R isn't convinced though :lol: :lol:
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:14 am

PeteR wrote:
pollyh33 wrote:Scary stuff when those rocks were dry, would you have had a rethink if it was raining?? :shock:


Thanks Polly33. The path really is excellent all the way up to the ridge and all along. Much better than I had expected and any steepness is manageable. I'd do this route in the rain too no problem, but I was hell bent on waiting for the right weather. My point and click camera can't really capture the true magic of this area.

Next thing is to get into wild camping so I can head off into the heart of Knoydart :lol: Mrs R isn't convinced though :lol: :lol:

Well done Mrs R!!! Sleep deprivation is for masochists!!! :lol:
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby rockhopper » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:00 pm

That's a cracker pete - long drive but well worth it :thumbup: Not been up here...yet...but looks great and whets the appetite :D
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby malky_c » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:26 pm

8)

Never tire of seeing these hills. I can imagine your main problem when writing the report was how to get the photo count down to 25...

Was looking over to Sgurr na Ciche from the Monadhliath on Saturday. It seemed to get the rain a bit earlier than I did.
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby clivew » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:57 pm

Great report and great pics Pete; I've been walking the Cairgorms for the past few weekends and I can't wait to get back into the rocky summits over in the west.
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby lomondwalkers » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:27 pm

Cracking stuff Peter, what a stunning part of the world. You soon forget about all those days in the clouds seeing nothing when you get views like those 8)
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby davetherave » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:53 am

Superb Pete, enjoyed that.

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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby kevsbald » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:21 am

Super stuff Pete. I must get up there and do these 3 - would ideally like to do them with a covering of snow but micht never get back alang the road.
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby macq23 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:51 pm

Great report! Was there a few years back but the weather was awful, so we stuck to the bottom of the valley. The ground conditions were boggly dreadful!! :shock: The drive alongside Loch Arkaig indeed seemed neverending!! :lol:
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby mountain-ju-drop » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:27 pm

Great report - never been anywhere round there, but looking forward to the chance now - for the views anyway! Makes you want to linger forever. :D
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby Steve B » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:48 pm

Good report PeteR. Timely too as I have these marked down to do with Sgurr Mor and an overnight the week after next, so long as the weather plays it's part.
I was planning to do Sgurr mor first then bivvy at the bealach after SnC as it looks like there should be water not far from that point. Do you have any other pictures or what was your impression of that spot?
Great pictures by the way. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Glen Dessary 3 - possibly the best walk yet!

Postby soulminer » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:54 pm

Fine report and photos.
Did these three near the end of my compleation, sunny and warm :) till 0230 and lightning with torrential rain battering my Bivvi. Packed up at 0430 and said 'Sod it- I'll finish' and did -SATURATED, only 4 photos from the trip :shock:
You have now given me the incentive to return,but only in finer weather.
Cheers.
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