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Last-minute Applecross

Last-minute Applecross


Postby 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: 367m

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We woke up on Tuesday morning to find the landscape outside transformed by a dump of snow. The fine details of the Applecross crags across Loch Kishorn were now visible thanks to the dusting of snow - really quite impressive corries. Our plan today was to head up Maoile Lunndaidh from Craig, using bikes to get to Glenuaig Lodge.

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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.


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Fuar Tholl from the early crossing of the Allt a' Chonais

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Fuar Tholl from higher up

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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.

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Back towards the Achnashellach hills

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Creag an Ardaich from the track

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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.

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Looking back down the pass towards Loch Kishorn

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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!

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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.


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Towards the Achnashellach hills

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Looking SE

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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.

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A'Chioch and Beinn Bhan

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Skye and Rum over Meall Gorm

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Looking towards the summit

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Down towards Kishorn - the reverse of the morning's view

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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.

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Towards the Affric-Mullardoch lot

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The Achnashellach lot from the summit

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A'Chioch

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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.
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joenorris
 
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby jimandandrea » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Stunning. Your views were sublime. Cheers. :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby dogplodder » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:19 pm

Your photographs are out of this world. Thanks for sharing them! :D
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby kevsbald » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:31 pm

Haven't seen much of this area even though I drove over the bealach-na-ba last year. Cracking.
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kevsbald
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby monty » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:31 am

Superb set of photos Joe. :D
monty
 

Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby RicKamila » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:46 am

monty wrote:Superb set of photos Joe. :D


I totally agree with Monty :thumbup:
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby PeteR » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:23 pm

Simply agree with everyone else. Superb photos joenorris :D
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby joenorris » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:46 am

Cheers for the comments guys. I think the quality of the photos is more the result of the great views we had rather than any degree of photography skill. (Point-and-shoot they call it.)
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Re: Last-minute Applecross

Postby dooterbang » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:33 pm

wow!! Superb views...what a day to be out wandering the hills.

Thanks for posting.
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Location: Isle of Skye from Feb 2019 (Originally Glasgow)

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