Does anyone climb this hill?
by Clach Liath » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:09 pm
Route description: Gairich, Loch Quoich
Munros included on this walk: Gairich
Date walked: 06/11/2011
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After a bit of fiddling around rucksack on back, camera at the ready and Jet on the lead we were ready for the off.
I should have read the few previous trip reports on WH. About 45 seconds later we were confronted with the locked 5ft high gate at the end of the dam - I could not remeber this from my last visit. So, off with camera and rucksack and the small matter of getting a dog over the gate. Well I managed it and then I followed. There are plenty of notices warning of the risks of drowning but I guess you would have to be very determined to achieve this as the path across the dam has 4.5ft walls either side.
I suppose it was not surprising that after weeks of rain the normally wet ground between the dam and the foot of the Druim na Geid Salaich were well, wet. Actually very wet. Within a couple of hundred yards I was slipping and sliding like an uncoordinated break dancer and within a mile my left leg had disappeared twice into the goo. To be fair, the path does get a bit better half way along but it lays traps for the unsuspecting with pools lying across its sinuous way – each one requiring careful prodding with a walking pole to determine whether or not the ground was firm or a bottomless pitch of black squelch.
Eventually the hazards were passed and we dropped down to a stream and a broken gate at an old (wet) grass track. That is followed to the left for 60 yds or so before a path breaks off to the right partly hidden by bracken.
The path lifts you nicely up on to the ridge. And we had our first nearer view of Gairich. Looking back at the way we had come I could see no sign of anyone following.
The path as shown on the map stops at the 470m contour. It does. After then it degenerates into a quagmire. For the next mile along the ridge beyond Bac nam Foid I looked for any sign a fresh footprints. I had thought that given that the previous few days had been good weatherwise the place would have been swarming with WH’ers. But no, the few prints that were seen were obviously quite old.
The cloud had lifted of the tops and before the final pull to the summit we paused to take in some calories. There were views to Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach and back along the ridge towards Ben Tee.
Suitably refreshed we started up the 900ft or so to the summit. With the steeper ground the path became much dryer, though in places deeply cut into the ground. There were a couple of scrambly places, at one of which I had to haul Jet up. The light became darker and sod’s law determined that I was not to have a view from the top. The final views were back to the dam…
and down to a silvery River Kingie.
Well we reached the top and stopped for 30mins in the hope that perhaps the cloud would clear and we might see Brocken Spectres like others were elsewhere in the hills that day.
But the cloud stayed determinedly down.
So back on down. Only a couple of hundred feet from the top we popped out of the cloud to some glowing autumn light.
To start with I kept further to the north side of the ridge. The ground was a bit better over there and Loch Quoich was kept in view. Eventually though it was necessary to swing across the squelch to find the top of the (proper) path. It was then a straightforward stroll back to the broken gate where I geared myself for the final assault of the bogs.
I still had not seen anyone all day. I was surprised because once up on the heights there are wide views. I speculated that, perhaps, others had not been so lucky and had been consumed by the bog before they could reach the hill. I kept an eye out for signs of walkers flailing their arms for help. I saw none. Somehow the return did not seem quite as bad, though this time my right leg disappeared twice.
Approaching the Loch I decided that the dog needed to return to his proper colour. A quick swim should see him clean. So I lobbed a few sticks into the water and Jet duly obliged and fetched them back for me.
The sun was setting behind the hills by now, though it was still before 4pm.
I kept to the Loch side as long as I could before braving the last couple of hundred yards to the dam. There was then the matter of scaling the gate again…
… and the long drive home to Yorkshire with work the following day.
by skuk007 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:34 pm
by tamw51 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:53 pm
by AlisonFox66 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:44 pm
got to the Dam gate and postbus driver helped me get my rucksack accross. I am barely 5ft tall and she a little bit smaller
so a big effort .
by soulminer » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:28 pm
On a good day the views are tremendous, so I have been informed
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by Graeme D » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:29 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:13 am
by gaffr » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:59 pm
by Clach Liath » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:24 pm
RTC wrote:I see you're from Yorkshire, Clach Liath. I did this hill in July 1995 with a fellow from Leeds whom I met on the way up. It poured for the whole walk. I remember an interesting steep bit just before the top but remember very little about the rest of the walk apart from feeling miserable.
Now was the cause of the misery the conditions, or the companion?
by Clach Liath » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:27 pm
Johnny Corbett wrote:Brilliant hill this one, loved it when i climbed even though very boogy at the start. The views from the summit are some of the best i've had, would also recommend it as a final Munro. Here's my day on it.
You are right JC. I guess the question I pose is largely rhetorical. I was surprised I did not see anyone that day given the weather, the number of cars going Quoich way and, in retrospect, the number of TRs being posted.
On my previous visit to the hill the summit views were obscured by cloud. I've had very mixed experiences in this area! But mainly wet ones
by PeteR » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:09 am
by kevsbald » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:39 am