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Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby dooterbang » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:42 pm

Route description: Sgùrr na Cìche: 3 Munros from Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhòr, Sgùrr na Cìche, Sgùrr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Date walked: 05/11/2011

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 24.5 km

Ascent: 1720m

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Months had passed since i was able to get out on a decent walk and it felt like i hadn't walked in years....never mind completed half the Munros :shock: This was due to a knee injury training for the Glasgow Half Marathon in September then shortly after getting keys to a new flat which i spent every spare hour of the day refurbishing for 6 weeks, on top of a demanding job. To say i was stressed would be an understatement. I needed a big walk to sort me out :)

This was all last minute stuff for me with 3 options. I chose to walk with MountainThyme as she was doing 3 near Loch Arkaig which i had still to do. The other 2 options i had walked this summer. I had visited Loch Arkaig at the start of May and it held lovely memories for me. I loved the remoteness of the area so a revisit and the chance to walk 3 Munros was a no brainer. The only problem was that MT was meeting her regular walking partner Saturday night (Michael - MGMT) as they would be doing the Aonach Eagach ridge Sunday. MGMT had offered his experience to support MT over AE as she was a tad scared. I would do it with them, it would also be good to catch up with MGMT who i last walked with in May doing the Forcan Ridge where he kindly led the way. This meant i had to camp at the Red Squirrel Campsite Glencoe Saturday night and share with MT. Now im not akin to sleeping with Strangers at the weekend, although i hear its a regular occurrence in Glasgow City Centre, but needs must. I brought wax ear plugs incase she snores, its not unheard of that the female species can grunt loudly :D .

I really didn't sleep much Friday night (again!) but i was ready and waiting at our agreed pick up time. We left Glasgow at 5.20am and headed North, the buzz and excitement was back flowing through me....not unlike a dodgy curry :lol:

At the start we discussed our options of route and decided that doing the route clockwise would mean a shorter walk out of only 8k and a walk in of 10k :shock: However this meant we would have to make sure we had some daylight for the steep descent of Sgurr nan Coireachan as we knew it would be difficult in darkness, we realized the last 2 hours of this walk would require a headtorch. We also chose to bypass the woodland altogether.

Our Route

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Loch Arkaig




The drive up had been ok and we started walking at 9am, hoping to finish by 7pm.

Head West 800m and take the path that leads NW - follow this for 9km till reaching the Gully that leads to Feadan na Ciche.



The path is very wet and extremely rocky, oh did i mention the bog - knee deep in places!!

The first Rainbow of our day

From a bright start the weather soon changed, it continued to fluctuate throughout the day.

Nearing the gully presents stunning views West to Loch Nevis

It had taken just over 3 hours to reach the gully

View from above

At the Gully we met a nice chap from Cambuslang who provided some interesting chat. We would walk together till the 2nd Munro.

At Feadan na Ciche and the views NE - i remember standing on Spidean Mailach in Glorious sunshine in May looking to Sgurr na Ciche knowing i would be standing on its summitt one day.

At the bealch we ditched our rucksacks and headed 500M NW to the summit of Sgurr na Ciche

At the top i just managed to get a photo of Loch Quioch before the clag set in from the south

We met a lovely group from the Lake District that had came in by boat via Loch Morar - how the other half live :)
It was then the first of many broken spectres appeared

This was the first time i had witnessed such a thing and felt privileged to do so. I now had been fortunate to witness a broken spectre, inversion and snow roller on my many walks. Before i started walking i probably couldnt tell you what any of these where, how them hills educate you.

It had taken 4.5hrs to summit Sgurr na Ciche so we wasted no time and headed the 1km SE that would take us to the summit of Garbh Choich Mhor....in clag.

Garbh Choich Mhor - and getting colder.

From here another broken spectre or 6 appeared.

It was now 2.5k to our 3rd and last munro of the day - Sgurr nan Coireachan
Follow the wall

Nice little ridge walk this with plenty of ups and downs....and another rainbow.

Looking back West along the ridge with Loch Nevis in the distance


MT found the last ascent to Munro no 3 tough but being her 270th Munro she had a smile on her face, her face sweating profusely :)






We had reached summit number 3 at 4pm. We had about 45 minutes to descend a steep boggy 2km south which would take us to the boggy path leaving 6k East to the end in darkness.

The descent from Sgurr nan Coireachan was horrendous and we both fell/slid on our backsides a dozen times. Luckily no injuries prevailed. We just managed to reach the path as darkness fell.

The last 6k back was dark and very boggy but we just got on with it. I was in my element and relishing being back out in the wilderness. The day had been fantastic and all the stresses of the previous months simply evaporated.


Reached the car at 7pm and it took us 90mins to get the boots off and drive to Glencoe. The single track leading out of Loch Arkaig requires due care.

I had been texting Mountainlove (Maja) as she was camping in Glen Etive and asked if she would like to join us tomorrow for the Aonach Eagach and perhaps show us her now not so secret recipe :wink:
I had walked a couple of months ago with Maja and she is great company with a passion for mountains - well she has visited base camp twice. ML had decided to take on the wee bookil on Sunday - im sure her trip reports will be fruity. She did Starav and Bien Mhor Saturday.

It was then we found out MGMT couldnt make it Sunday to assist MT across the AE :shock:
We would do it anyhow if dry as i had previously had a go in the wet and felt confident.

MT then tells me she has never pitched her new tent, WTF!!
It was only 10minutes however to get it up - it was freezing.

We showered, had pasta and a drink. Leffe Bruin for me 8)

We turned in around midnight. The tent was spacious but the temperatre had plummeted and i spent a very cold night on my 1st camping experience. I had 4 pair of socks on and still felt the cold :shock:

We both woke around 8.30am, not having slept well, and MT decided that she would leave AE for another day when feeling tip top as yesterdays exersions had caught up with her. Hopefully MGMT will assist her next time.

We headed back to Glasgow. Glencoe full of sunshine and clear views looked majestic.

It was fantastic to be back out and i will be doing it all again next week, and probably for weeks to come
.....bring on the snow :D
Last edited by dooterbang on Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby pigeon » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:09 pm

You had 4pairs of socks on and still felt the cold :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: great report Dooterbang,welcome back :thumbup:
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Bod » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:18 pm

Great report and an amazing experience to share! Love the area too and need to get back. Hope the knee is well...... :D
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby cheekykarma » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:24 pm

fantastic pics

and a great little walk - if a cold night spent :)

but really great pics captured - the stags are fantastic

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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Fudgie » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:34 pm

Some of those pictures are excellent. Particularly the one where you have your back to the sunset.
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:48 pm

Your hardy a bhalaich did that walk in July from Murlaggan dont envy you the descent from Sgurr nan Coireachan to the path in near darkness nor the trek back along through Deas Airidh ... broken spectre ? :)
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby jonny616 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:06 pm

Great report & a great way to get back in the hills after an enforced lay off


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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby soulminer » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:17 pm

Cats, dogs and buckets when I was camping on Coireachan, carried on in horizontal rain for other two- BAGGIN' :lol:
Majestic :thumbup:
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Torridon_snails » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:08 pm

Fabulous photos, particularly the stags, and some wonderful colours in the shots from the summits. And of course the brocken spectres - great stuff!

All the best,

Daniel and Clare
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby rockhopper » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:32 am

Nice to see you back with some great photos as ever :D Is that you hooked on camping ? I'm a bit of a convert now but no more until spring (too cold). That said, I never seem to sleep well in a tent....even with no-one else present :lol:
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Steve B » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:20 am

Well done. Been missing your epic reports. Did this the other way round a couple of weeks ago. The bogginess of the walk out, in my case, was beyond funny!!.
Nice pictures of the deer and the brocken spectre.
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:38 am

Fantastic pictures of the stags and the broken spectres! Looks like a great day out but a wee bit mad walking back in the dark 8) And well done on your first camping experience :-) Saturday night was extrem with the cold...my zip had frozen on my tent :lol: I guess your sleeping bag wasnt that warm...take a duvet on top of it next time (makes a huge differece) as for socks...try the 3.2tog ones you can buy...they are magic :-)
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby mrssanta » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:54 am

too many socks will make your feet cold by compressing them, unless they get bigger and bigger. try Heat Holders for in bed. they are really cosy. and get yourself a good mat to sleep on. karrimat type will give insulation but not v comfy but if you combine with a self inflating mat you get the best of both. if you put the karrimat type under the groundsheet it protects that as well. keep on camping!!!
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby kevsbald » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:19 am

Staggering report.
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Re: Rainbows, Broken Spectres & my 1st Camp!!

Postby paul2610 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:42 am

Great report - glad to see I was'nt the only visited by spector recently.

Have a daft question - that road down Loch Arkaig - can you really get the whole way down. For years have gone into this knoydart domain from kinloch lavan or glenfinnan - funny thing is that I went down that road alittle once to see the bridge neeilson got thrown off for rob roy but for some daft reason have never considered it for thos munro's - cheers for that infomation.
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