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"Scunnered" on Sgurr a Choire-bheithe

"Scunnered" on Sgurr a Choire-bheithe

Postby JOHNGG » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:02 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr a' Choire-bheithe

Date walked: 24/03/2012

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 31 km

Ascent: 1250m

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I think the moral of this story is "don't bite off more than you can chew"

Saturday 24th and the weather forecast for the West is fantastic. Having been in hibernation (i.e. living in Canada) for 3 months I was itching to climb a few more Corbetts. With only 10 left unclimbed, the choices are few and far away, so I plumped for Sgurr a Choire-bheithe. Leaving Dundee at 7 am I thought would give me loads of time, but the road through to Spean Bridge and then down to Kinloch Hourn is a windy one, and finding a parking spot wasn't easy, so it was about 10.40 am before I set off. Heading round the lochside I arrived at the infamous Abhainn Chosaidh river, but crossing was easy and I headed up the eastern slopes of Druim Choisaidh.

After about 40 minutes I got high enough to see the summit - it looked miles away. I realised that was because it was still miles away ! (The summit is the tiny wee point behind the main ridge)


Trying to keep a decent pace was difficult as I have never in all my life experienced a worse ridge than this one in terms of ackward crags, gaining and then losing height all the time, and generally being a real "scunner" to walk along . Even the fantastic scenery all round me was taking second place to my increasing annoyance at the lack of any sort of direct route along this ridge.


But I perservered , and finally the summit was in sight (hurrah!) Just a bit more height to lose, and two craggy wee tops in the way to scramble aroud and I was there. Sitting in the middle of a fantastic wilderness, with the most amazing views, and less than 4 hours after leaving my car. Only one slight problem. It was 3 pm , it gets dark before 7 pm , and I'm blooming miles from anywhere ..... oops !!!


Didnt' fancy the ridge back or retracing my steps, and didn't fancy trying to find an alternative round to the Loch, so I decided that I could walk out in the dark on the Kinloch Hourn road if I had to, so I packed up and headed west from the Summit of Sgurr a Choire-bheithe down the ridge and into Barrisdale Bay planning to take the coastal path back to Kinloch Hourn. Barrisdale Bay in the evening sunlight was beautiful and I had great views into Ladhar Bheinn but it was small compensation for the long trudge I had ahead of me.


I made the road as it started to get dark about 7 pm, 4 hours after leaving the summit, and then had a 90 minute walk in the dark along the road until I found my car. Quite surreal with no lighting of any kind and made me glad we don't have wolves in Scotland anymore.

If I have any advice to offer (apart from never ask me for directions or go walking with me) it would be to try and do this hill from Barrisdale Bay side, know what time it gets dark, or better still just leave hills like this for a nice long summer day .....
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Re: "Scunnered" on Sgurr a Choire-bheithe

Postby malky_c » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:03 pm

A favourite hill of mine this :) . Looks like a great day to be out on the edge of Knoydart too.

I really enjoyed the eastern ridge of this hill, but it isn't one to be taken lightly! I did it in the opposite direction to you, and was cursing some of the up and down towards the end. You took a pretty long route back to avoid it :o
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Re: "Scunnered" on Sgurr a Choire-bheithe

Postby gaffr » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:31 pm

It is an early start this one! :) And I thought that I would be able to get Ben Aden on the same day. :lol: I too enjoyed that summit ridge and can remember wee bits of scrambling in the early stages. On the way back, after reaching out and almost touching Aden, I dropped very soon, down into the Glenn Cosaidh, steepish at first, to return to the motor close to the big loch. There is nought much easy when seeking out the wee ronnies....then that is the pleasure :)
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