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Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan


Postby Graeme D » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:08 pm

Route description: Liathach, Glen Torridon

Munros included on this walk: Mullach an Rathain (Liathach), Spidean a'Choire Leith (Liathach)

Date walked: 06/08/2009

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 1530m

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I apologise firstly for the large number of photos included in this report, but it was an ordeal whittling them down even to this amount! :? Anyway, Liathach is a beast to which words can really not do justice.

Thursday 6th August 2009
Day 5 in the Bog Brother House in Kinlochewe - Liathach!!!!!

Day 1 had been spent easing ourselves in gently with a cheeky wee coastal walk from Rubha Reidh lighthouse.
Day 2 had seen us taking the bull by the Horns on the traverse of Alligin.
Day 3 had been spent on the little gem that is Fionn Bheinn.
Day 4 had been a "day off" visiting Ullapool, although I prefer to think of it as a scouting trip for potential future holiday locations :D . Beyond the Garve Junction, this was new territory to us and it was a beautiful day for a drive in this kind of scenery. Although I was looking forward to a day of casual pottering around in Ullapool and the environs, I must admit to an enormous feeling of sadness and a certain amount of self-loathing as we drove past the Ben Wyvis car park sign, and I almost took leave of my senses and indulged in a spot of impromptu off-roading when I caught that first view of An Teallach off in the distance! Mental note made for 2010! :lol:

Anyway, enough of this. To Liathach. It was decided to leave Lucy on the bench for this difficult away fixture. Liathach is no place for Chocolate Labradors - there are indeed some people who might say that (in places at least) it is no place for humans. Besides, she was still recovering from her Hor(n)iffic experiences on Alligin so she got to spend the day curled up in her bed in the chalet (or more likely lying about on someone elses furniture). :evil: We made an early start and were the first vehicle in the parking area just east of Glen Cottage. By 8.45 we were off and running (well, not quite, have you seen how steep that thing is?)

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Liathach looking mean from the parking area!


The path is very well trodden and well constructed but as it says in the route description, it is "relentlessly steep". The views behind soon open up with the Coulin Forest peaks beginning to show and Seana Mheallan beginning to look more and more like an insignificant bump on the landscape on the other side of Glen Torridon.

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Maol Chean Dearg rears a baldy red slaphead!


Spidean a' Choire Leith soon begins to loom large away to the left, and it is a relief when the ridge is finally achieved, with a good view west over the two intervening tops towards the first Munro summit of the day.

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Over a couple of tops to Spidean....


At this point we dumped the packs and took a little detour eastwards to the summit of Stuc a' Choire Dhuibh Bhig for the views down into Coire Dubh Mor and over to the white scree-covered mass of Beinn Eighe. If nothing else, it was nice to get a wander without the packs and to get a bit of a breeze about our backs. 8) Back at the col, we picked the packs up and started the traverse of the two tops towards Spidean. We had seen a second car in the parking area as we had come up and at times had seen the presumed owners making their way up below us, but they were nowhere in sight now. As we approached the summit of Spidean however, they could clearly be seen on one of the tops behind us.

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Near the summit, looking back. You can just make out people on the nearest Top.


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Debbie on the final haul up to the summit of Spidean.


The immediate panorama from the summit of Spidean is breath-taking.... back over the tops towards Beinn Eighe, out into the void of Coire na Caim and beyond over the Great Wilderness, over the numerous peaks of the Coulin Forest to the south, all jostling for some attention amongst such intimidating neighbours, over to the second Munro of the day, Mullach an Rathain, beyond that to Beinn Alligin and even further out to sea, and of course, perhaps most eyewatering of all, down below to the left..... the Am Fasarinen ridge.

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Over to Mullach an Rathain with Tom na Gruagaich in the background.


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First sighting of Am Fasarinen!


As suspected, the Am Fasarinen ridge was indeed no place for the dog, and we were finding it a tricky proposition in places. For me, getting across this particular sloping rock left my stomach doing some turns - I'd say definitely the most uncomfortable I've ever felt on a mountain :? . Judging by the picture, my wife was also feeling less than 100% sure about it. I'm just glad I was over first and had the camera....... :lol:

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The joys of bumming around on mountain ridges!


A week on from the event, and having looked back at the pictures and reminisced about it umpteen times, I can say that crossing the Pinnacles is everything it is cracked up to be - it's perfectly do-able if you're fine with a bit of airy, hands-on scrambling, but it's a serious ride in places.

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BYO ladder!


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Come here often?


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Coire na Caime - into the void.


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If my mother ever sees this, I'll get a clip round the ear!


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The car's been nicked! I'm sure I left it down there earlier!


Lunch was had in the middle of the path (not too many other places for it!) on a relatively sheltered section. As I was brewing up, two guided groups came through resplendent in helmets with ropes slung over shoulders. We felt somewhat naked by comparison :D . As the guide bringing up the rear of the second group picked his way through the scattered pieces of my near to boiling trangia, he commented that it was like walking through somebodys kitchen. I smiled and politely told him he could forget any ideas about a tour of the upstairs bedrooms :lol:

Eventually the Pinnacles end and a path can quite clearly be seen hugging the cliff edge and stretching across the flat ridge before climbing up towards Mullach an Rathain.

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Scary bit over, now up to Mullach an Rathain.


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Looking back over Am Fasarinen ridge to Spidean.


The second Munro summit of the day is another fantastic viewpoint, with great views along the length of Loch Torridon and out to sea and the islands beyond.

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I say, you down there, get up here now and take our photo!


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Smile! Munro #2 of the day with Alligin for a backdrop.


The guy in the second last photo reached the summit shortly after us and after the obligatory photo opportunites, we chatted for a while. He had come in from the north over Meall Dearg. He said he had also been up here three days previously and had ventured out onto the first few sections of the Am Fasarinen ridge...."just to say I've been on it". Why not indeed!

From here, we followed the prescribed route down through Toll Ban and along the side of the burn. The initial section was very loose and involved a fair amount of scree surfing - I'd deliberately left my poles in the car today but could have done with them for a bit of leg support here. Further down, while enjoying a breather, the guide from the group who have been behind us all day flies past, and further down still, it is our turn to pass him while he takes time out. Eventually, almost 9 hours after leaving the car, we are back down on the road, with only the slight matter of getting the several kilometres back along to the car. It is decided that Debbie will sit in the sun with the packs while I hike back to get the car. So, making sure I have remembered to take the keys off the hook in my lid pocket :lol: I take a deep breath and start walking. The sun is really beating down now and I can feel the back of my neck getting it. This doesn't seem right - after a classic like today, yours truly has to end it with a lengthy hike back along a road??? My nagging concerns were soon alleviated however, when a white minibus pulled alongside and the driver offered me a lift. It was the guide from earlier who had got down not long behind us. It turned out he was an Instructor from Glenmore Lodge, a few of whom were delivering a week long course to some people and today they had been doing Liathach. Thanks Glenmore Lodge guy!!! :D

All that remained to be done now was to remember to go back to get my wife and the packs :oops: , then drive back to the chalet to check for warm patches on the furniture, grab a cold one from the fridge and fire up the barbie! 8)


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Last edited by Graeme D on Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby HighlandSC » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:36 pm

Excellent report graeme, and amazing pics. I presume you're one of the lucky one's who doesn't need to earn a "pass" from the wife to get out into the hills :lol:
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby Michelle » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:37 pm

The large number of photos is well warranted Graeme, I was drooling over this report! What an awesome day- fine weather, fine hill :D
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby fatdogwalks » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:35 pm

Never having walked without the Fatdog I find the concept of scary ridges totally alien. After seeing your most excellent photos I may continue to keep them alien for some time to come. Great stuff...well done on keeping your eyes open long enough to take the photos :D :wink:
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby Paul Webster » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:32 am

fatdogwalks wrote:well done on keeping your eyes open long enough to take the photos


It'd be even harder with your eyes closed :shock: :lol:

Fantastic report and pics. Time for me to 'fess up - I've only done the bypass path, got stuck trying the pinnacles and retreated back down to it.
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby cjwaugh » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:38 am

Well done stunning photos and report :D
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby kevsbald » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:16 am

You lucky bar-steward - looks a magnificent day and one that'll live long in the memory.
Hmmmph. Stuck in here in an office..... :(
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby Graeme D » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:43 am

HighlandSC wrote:Excellent report graeme, and amazing pics. I presume you're one of the lucky one's who doesn't need to earn a "pass" from the wife to get out into the hills :lol:


Erm,..... no comment :lol:

Thanks for the comments folks - much appreciated. You're right Kev, we struck lucky with the weather and the day will live long. In fact the whole week will. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself, wind all the clocks in the office forward to 5 o'clock and tell them the weekend starts now and you're heading for the hills :lol: . Shame about the forecast though..... :(
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby Wanderlust » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:07 pm

Great report, brings it all back to me from my time up there in May. I gave that sloping boulder a body-swerve though :lol:
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby foggieclimber » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:15 pm

Terrific report and pictures of a cracking hill.
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby mountainman » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:49 pm

Torridon here I come!!. Great pics...and report.
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby yokehead » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:48 pm

Cracking report, marvellous photos along the ridge especially showing what's involved across the pinnacles, cheers! 8)
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby mountain coward » Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:14 am

Paul Webster wrote:It'd be even harder with your eyes closed :shock: :lol:

Fantastic report and pics. Time for me to 'fess up - I've only done the bypass path, got stuck trying the pinnacles and retreated back down to it.


Think I need all your pics and a full description of the bypass route - there's no way I'm doing the rock-climbing on that!! :o

Am I right in understanding there's now a path all the way up to the ridge on the Eastern end? Is there still a route which takes you up to the point just before the climb to the first Munro without doing the 2 intervening tops? I've seen one mentioned before... is that worse?
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby monty » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:58 am

What a fantastic report. The pictures are tremendous and you and your wife are fearless :D
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Re: Lucy-less on Liathach the Leviathan

Postby Tenbob » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:37 am

Congrats on winning the walk report of the month. Well deserved, especially after the sloping rock :shock:

Gave me the heebie geebies just looking at it!
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