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Two Horny Monsters...

Two Horny Monsters...

Postby andrewdoggett » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:00 am

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Mòr (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 02/10/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 10.7 km

Ascent: 1200m

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A week away in Torridon with the family plus my good friend Scraggles and his black labrador Rocco began on October 01 with a stunning sunset as we arrived at our home from home for the week. Colour filled the sky as the sun sank beneath the horizon; and I got to thinking; red sky at night; shepherds delight... The old saying hopefully bringing clear weather from the west... For now though; wine; a birthday meal (35, boo!!) and the perfect start to a perfect week...

Beinn Alligin 1.jpg
Sunset over Diabaig...

To the morning; well mid morning after a wee lie in and the weather was fantastic... Looking out over the bay enjoying breakfast; the worlds wrongs were instantly put to right...

Beinn Alligin 2.jpg
Breakfast View...

A bit of discussion on the route for the day; I'd been up Liathach earlier in the year; so it was a simple choice on a day like this between The Horns of Alligin and the massif of Beinn Eighe... The Horns won... We'd told the Monsters about them and they were excited about a good scramble...

The route starts from a decent car park hidden in the trees a couple of miles west of Torridon; and as you cross the road and take to the hillside it doesn't take long to realise you're in for a special day...

Beinn Alligin 3.jpg
The start of the walk; instantly gorgeous...

The initial ascent up Tom na Gruagaich is straightforward and follows gentle slopes with the views becoming ever more expansive as you gain height... It was hot going for October!! And the Monsters were angling after a 'pit stop' which equals sweets and drink to you and me...

Beinn Alligin 4.jpg
Looking up Tom na Gruagaich...

As Scraggles was with us on tour we took the opportunity at the pit stop for a family portrait... So my gorgeous lady; and my gorgeous Monsters...

Beinn Alligin 5.jpg
Jack Flap; Fanny Flap; and the Monsters...

The views toward Beinn Eighe looking up the Glen on the northern (non tourist) side of Liathach were stunning and I couldn't help but hoping I'd get the chance to notch that one up in similar conditions later in the week...

Beinn Alligin 6.jpg
The view to Beinn Eighe...

The views toward the Horns of Alligin were by now stunning and it was impossible to not look forward to them knowing they were on the route for later in the day. I'd researched the route a little and I wasn't too bothered about taking the monsters over them; they're good kids with a good head for heights; and they like a good scramble; it's fun and exciting to them... If anything, they're too fearless...

Beinn Alligin 7.jpg
The Horns...

Looking across to Liathach on the ascent of Tom na Gruagaich brought back many memories of my ascent in May when the mountain was on fire... It's a stunning part of the country; possibly the most beautiful part of the UK; the world even... We all have our favourite places...

Beinn Alligin 8.jpg
Looking at Liathach on the ascent of Tom na Gruagaich

Arriving at the summit of Tom na Gruagaich goes a little something like this... It's not rubbish...


The panoramic north and east from the summit of Tom na Gruagaich in a clockwise direction is a splendid vista taking in Sgurr Mor, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Eighe, and Liathach. You'll find you can't stop staring at it; absorbing every detail; and just marvelling at what is a truly sensational sight...

Beinn Alligin 9.jpg
Panoramic from the summit of Tom na Gruagaich

Even Rocco seemed taken with the place; and felt the need to pose; as if he were guarding his kingdom...

Beinn Alligin 10.jpg
Rocco cuts a handsome looking woofer...

The cloud came and went swiftly whilst we were on the summit briefly plunging us into mist; but as quickly as the clouds came they left and the view was restored... Scraggles and Samba take time for a synchronised shot...

Beinn Alligin 11.jpg
Scraggles and Samba on the summit of Tom na Gruagaich

On a day like today the summit is a hard place to leave; even when you know what's ahead of you is so breathtaking that you can't wait to be there. But having a place like this to yourself creates it's own kind of magic; memories that will last a lifetime... :D :D

Beinn Alligin 12.jpg
The view to Sgurr Mor and the Horns...

There's nothing especially awkward on the descent to the bealach toward Sgurr Mor; the drops to the east are sheer and significant; good looking at the same time; so in my view its best to follow the line of the ridge down and enjoy the most spectacular views... And don't forget to look back; the corrie wall of Tom na Gruagaich is stunning!

I'm a little surprised by the number of people returning over Tom na Gruagaich rather than traversing the horns, still better to be safe if in doubt, and exposure / scrambling isn't for everyone...

I pass one man who asks how old Samba is, before shaking his head in disbelief when he finds out he's just 6... Yes, I'm proud of my boy and sporting a huge paternal grin as he wishes us a good day :) :)

Beinn Alligin 13.jpg
Samba cuts a pose on the descent of Tom na Gruagaich...

It's then a gentle walk over a small rise to the ascent of Sgurr Mor. All the while the views to the east in particular roll out before you...

Beinn Alligin 14.jpg
Liathach's Back Garden...

It's only a short pull to the summit of Sgurr Mor; and as we arrive the cloud comes and goes intermittently which simply serves to unravel the view again and again and again... I'm thinking it's almost more special this way than to have it constantly on display; you appreciate it more when its there...

This is also our lunch stop so it's out with the usual mountain diet of meat; strongbow and some crisps and small snacks to follow...

What's with the Pastrami tongues...??? This goes back to 2010 and a climb up Ben Starav with Scraggles and our two dogs, Rocco, and my late chocolate labrador, Whiskey... A long day in the hills on a hot day and the dogs were tired... They went crazy for the pastrami jumping up for it out of our mouths as we were eating it. Whiskey in particular always had a 'big flappin tongue' and ever since in the mountains it brings a smile / laugh as our pastrami tongues flap in the wind just like hers did when she was tired... So no great story; just a personal one... And yes we eat it... :D

Beinn Alligin 15.jpg
Pastrami Tongues on Sgurr Mor...

And all the while the cloud continues to come and go... We're firmly focussed on the horns; the ascent for the first one is looking decently steep and exciting, and if that's not enough we can't even see the descent off Sgurr Mor...

Beinn Alligin 16.jpg
The Horns from Sgur Mor with Beinn Dearg behind...

The kids are seriously excited, and can't wait to get going... I love seeing them in the hills on a day like this scrambling about without a care in the world... Just what being a kid should be like I think...

Beinn Alligin 17.jpg
Scraggles and Megan excited about the Horns...

It's getting a touch chilly at the summit and time to move on... Samba's bearing the brunt of it in his shorts, so it's time to zip on the bottom of his trousers... And then the coloured dots (if you look closely) of Scraggles, Megan, and Mum can be seen descending toward the Horns...

Beinn Alligin 18.jpg
Scraggles, Megan, and Fanny make for the horns...

The views toward Gairloch are now also gorgeous with the twin summits of Sgurr Dubh and Ceann Beag fronted by Loch a'Bhealaich providing the main interest...

Beinn Alligin 19.jpg
Sgurr Dubh and Ceann Beag

But back to the serious business; we're fast approaching the ascent of the first horn... Scraggles is looking after Megan; me the boy; but I don't need to worry too much; he's comfortable in the hills and he'll wander along carefree. Victoria and I often wonder about what he thinks about when he's walking alone this... Lost in his own thoughts; or making a Christmas list; who knows... I like to think he isn't thinking about anything at all...

Beinn Alligin 20.jpg
Samba doing his best to look like the cutest monster in the world ambling along to the Horns...

We make fairly short work of the first horn; in what seems like no time at all we're aloft the biggest horn making our own horny impressions befitting of the location... There was nothing particularly difficult on the ascent; most of it is walkable, with just some short sections requiring a scramble; but even then the handholds are plentiful... Be sure to test the rock you're holding onto is secure and not loose though... But so long as you're careful you'll be fine and there's nothing here to trouble you on a day like today... I should imagine it's a somewhat different story in winter conditions though!!

Beinn Alligin 21.jpg

It makes a nice airy perch on top of the horns and you'll want to sit here for as long as you reasonably can before continuing on with the traverse...

Beinn Alligin 22.jpg
The summit of the first horn; looking toward Sgurr Dubh and Ceann Beag

Scraggles and the Monsters begin the traverse with me shouting at them to turn around for a photo... Arms aloft... I'ts a wide ridge along the top of the horns and you'll fairly run along here; your only wish being that it would go on for longer...

Beinn Alligin 23.jpg
On Top of the Horns; Easy...

The views behind toward Sgur Mor get better and better as you traverse the horns so don't forget to turn around and take them in... It looks a pretty steep descent from Sgurr Mor, but as is so often the case it isn't as steep or as frightening as it looks from a distance...

Beinn Alligin 24.jpg
Looking back to Sgurr Mor from the Horns

And before you know it you'll be on the second horn... Monster Sam can't help but climb the cairn at the end of the horn and as he sits there sporting a huge cheshire cat grin...

Beinn Alligin 25.jpg
Samba looking pleased with himself; conqueror of the horns...

From there, it's across or bypass horn 3 and then an ever steepening descent will take you to a very well constructed path that returns you to your car... As you stroll along that it's a good time to reflect on a stunning day in Torridon... And if you've never been here before then hopefully this gives you a taster of what it's like to walk one of Scotland's true epics...

Beinn Alligin... :thumbup:
Last edited by andrewdoggett on Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:04 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:02 am

well done and well done on getting the kids up there. whats with the pastrami ? do you all eat it ? or is it just for photos ?
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby ChrisW » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:00 am

Fantastic report Andrew, a beautiful family day out with stunning photography to tell the tale. The kids look so happy out there and the pastrami tongues made me laugh too. Great to have a summit to yourselves and in those conditions I can understand why it would be difficult to leave (even early on in the walk) - brilliant :clap: :D
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby monty » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:53 pm

Great sunset and great set of pictures Andrew. Good report written in your normal humorous prose. A superb read. 10 out of 10 to the young monsters for scrambling over the horns. Did they scamble over the third horn? Great weather too. Lucky buggers :lol: :lol:

"Whats that coming over the horns is it a monster" :lol: :lol:

Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby littlemrs29 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:41 pm

That first picture literally took my breath away - it is astounding! You clearly have a better camera than me! (or know how to use it properly :lol: )

It's fantastic when you get your kids to go with you - I always enjoy taking mine.
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby rocket-ron » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:03 pm

fantastic report and photos as always andrew
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby Valerie » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:30 pm

Great report Andrew and well done to the wee monsters for tackling those horns too :clap: they always look so happy on the hills :D
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby kev_russ » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:33 pm

Superb pics Andy. Great effort from the wee ones tae :)
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby incompleat » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:20 pm

Fantastic! That's the day we were on Beinn Eighe. It was a belter, wasn't it?
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby victoriajarrett » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:42 pm

The monsters did love this mountain... but wait until you read the report on Fionn beinn, different story that one... awful, awful weather and the shittiest hill... smiles at the bottom though :-)
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby Lackadaisy » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:23 pm

Great report - really enjoyable read and fantastic pictures! :)
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby Bod » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:36 pm

Yes Andrew, a truly fantastic set of mountains. Agree with you completely about this being one of the most beautiful spots on the planet! Many years since I was up these two, will need to return, and might try the reverse route?.......Great report, thank you :D
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby Stretch » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:40 am

Fearless youngsters! Enjoyed the report and pics Andrew, stunning stuff.
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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby nathan79 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:50 pm

Fantastic report of a fantastic day out. Definitely one of those times where i look at a report and think "i wish i was there"

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Re: Two Horny Monsters...

Postby mamoset » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:01 pm

Great report and pics. Top marks to you and the kids, good to see kids really enjoying themselves, better than X-Box i bet :lol:

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