by joenorris » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:38 am
Route description: Sgurr a' Chaorachain, Bealach na Ba
Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr a' Chaorachain
Date walked: 03/04/2012
Time taken: 2 hours
Distance: 5.6 km
Ascent: 367m8 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Sgurr a'Chaorachain across Loch Kishorn in the morning
Little did we know that later in the day we were going to be up there looking back down at Loch Kishorn.
So we stuck with the original plan and set off from Craig along the track towards Glenuaig Lodge. The track was initially easygoing, but it soon steepened and when we reached the snow line the going got very tough. We met two folk from the estate who were trying to get through to the lodge in a 4x4 - they had to give up and turn around as the car couldn't handle the snowy and icy conditions on the track. However, we persevered. The views back towards the Achnashellach hills were continually improving - Fuar Tholl being the most immediately obvious.
Fuar Tholl from the early crossing of the Allt a' Chonais
Fuar Tholl from higher up
Towards Sgurr nan Ceannichean from low down on the track
As we reached the high point of the pass we got our clearest view yet into the group of hills that we were heading for. The conditions didn't look good - a mass of swirling white was shrouding the hills from very low. The gales wouldn't have provided the most favourable conditions up there. This disappointing view of the hills, the very difficult cycling conditions and the stunning weather to the north and west convinced us that today was not the day to be stuck in a whiteout, and we bombed back down the track with the aim of heading to Applecross and perhaps tackling some of the hills from the Bealach na Ba.
Back towards the Achnashellach hills
Creag an Ardaich from the track
Into the swirling mass
It was disappointing to leave Maoile Lunndaidh behind, but it would have been a pretty miserable walk in those conditions and we would have been cutting it short with the time - we didn't leave the car until almost 11am. Anyway, as it turned out, there would be absolutely no regrets for our change of plans.
The drive up the Applecross pass (which I hadn't been up since I was a toddler) has to be one of the most stunning car journeys in the country - huge crags surrounding the road which effectively cuts through steep scree slopes. The views were impressive even before we reached the bealach.
Looking back down the pass towards Loch Kishorn
The crags of Meall Gorm
The arrival at the bealach provided the most incredible of vistas though. The entire Rum and Skye Cuillins were visible in front of us - quite an astonishing sight. Fortunately the hills around Maoile Lunndaidh were still hugging a mass of cloud, we knew now that we had made a good decision!
We decided to pop up Sgurr a'Chaorachain from the carpark - not a very big walk, but a light day's walking was probably in order after a long day on An Ruadh Stac and Maol Chean-Dearg the previous day, and with plans for an early start and a decent-sized walk from Achnashellach the following day.
(See WR - http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19977)
So we headed up with as many layers on as we could muster to defend ourselves from the freezing wind. We reached the mast quickly and, after a quick check of the map, discovered that the true summit was the point further round the SE ridge.
Towards the Achnashellach hills
Towards the true summit
The walk to the true summit was a lot more interesting than any of us anticipated - the fresh snow providing some moments of interest on the various ups and downs of the ridge. All the time we were getting a better view of the A'Chioch ridge as we rounded the head of the corrie.
A'Chioch and Beinn Bhan
Skye and Rum over Meall Gorm
Looking towards the summit
Down towards Kishorn - the reverse of the morning's view
Back along the ridge
On reaching the summit we all concluded that we had made the right decision earlier in the day - no one could argue with the stunning panorama set out before us.
Towards the Affric-Mullardoch lot
The Achnashellach lot from the summit
One last look at Skye
We traversed back across some serious bog to the bealach rather than going via the mast. As we arrived back at the car, we felt a few snowflakes in the air and, lo and behold, within ten minutes Beinn Bhan was shrouded in a horrendous looking snowstorm. Now it was time for the obligatory drive down to the Applecross Inn for a nice wee pub meal.
All-in-all we were all glad about the change of plans - the fairly light day meant we were set up for a big walk the following day and none of us would have preferred a slog through a white-out to the stunning (but chilly) experience we had in Applecross.
by jimandandrea » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:43 pm
by dogplodder » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:19 pm
by kevsbald » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:31 pm
by RicKamila » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:46 am
monty wrote:Superb set of photos Joe.
I totally agree with Monty
by PeteR » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:23 pm
by joenorris » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:46 am
by dooterbang » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:33 pm
Thanks for posting.