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Beinn Alligin

Beinn Alligin

Postby JLamont86 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:54 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Mòr (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 14/04/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1402m

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Taken from http://mountaineeringscotland.blogspot.co.uk/

It is my belief that Beinn Alligin should be in every mountaineers list if top 10 Munro's. It's position on the north west coast of Scotland along with it's beautiful surroundings and unusual rock formations make 'the jewelled mountain' easily one of my favourite Munro's to date.
I woke up in the Mol Mor hut in Torridon on Saturday morning eager to see the view from the big door shaped window in the communal area of the hut. After the usual 10 minute wake up, then re-wake up ritual i finally found myself taking in the phenomenal view of Beinn Alligin from the hut. The sun was shining and catching the patches of snow that laced Tom Na Gruagaich’s upper reaches.
As a snow shower drifted in and temporarily shrouded the mountain suggestions were passed around the hut about which hills people would be off to climb. A wide selection came out; Maol Cheann Dearg, Slioch and Beinn Bhan amongst them but i had opted to go for Beinn Alligin alone. So I kitted up, packed my rations and headed off to the bridge crossing the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. It was just before 9:30 and only 2 other parties were there, unusual to say it was a lovely Saturday morning. The track I took is the un-signposted one on the left hand side of the bridge. The path on the right will do fine if doing this route in reverse. The track is clearly worn and works its way up over some rocky bare land toward the gable ends of Coir nan Laogh; all the while the views opened up further and further with each step I took. To my right was the great glaciated valley with Beinn Eighe standing at its head, whilst behind me Loch Torridon, Loch Daimh and down toward Glen Carron gradually opened up also. My eyes were fixated on the beautiful steep corrie that I was entering though, with the fantastic bands of sandstone terraces stacked one on top of the other. The mountains here are some of the oldest in Scotland, dating back to the days of Scotland’s desert
I gained height fairly quickly with the steep but well constructed track that runs right up the centre of the corrie and arrives a short distance from the summit. There is a lot of regeneration work going on at the moment along the track so piles and spades and buckets are not an uncommon sight. Also little piles of graupel; super cooled droplets of water that have frozen onto falling snow, lay along the track adding definition to the corrie.
Graupel resembles hail stones and can be dangerous earlier in the season when snow is lying. Anyway, 2 hours after setting off from the car I reached the summit of Tom Na Gruagaich and got my first glimpse of the route ahead. The summit is a fantastic viewpoint perched over 2000ft above the floor of the great bowl like corrie that sits between the 2 Munro’s. A fall here would certainly hurt! It was also my first glimpse at the horns of Alligin which I had intended to go over. Another party at the summit told me that they weren’t going over the horns and instead would return via the same route which cast a little doubt in my mind about the difficulty of the horns.
The walk to the second Munro, Sgurr Mor, is pleasant and straight forward. The highlight being when the track passes over the top of the great scar that is Eag Dubh or Black Notch. However, to give the feature its proper title it is Eag Dubh na h-Eigheachd which means the deep gash of the wailing. According to author Ian Mitchell local legend has it that shepherds used to hear crying or wailing from the cleft which only ended when someone that had descended to investigate fell to their death. It also happens to be the site of the largest rock avalanche in Britain. The event happened around 3500 years ago according the geologists and the scar that it has left is a fantastic site. A little snow was lying in the groove which from the top looks deceitfully short however when seen from a distance you’ll see that this cleft runs almost the entire height of the mountain. Sitting on top of Sgurr Mor with the Horns of Alligin ever closer the same party arrived at the top again. I sat in the freezing cold (about -5) drinking warm pineapple juice, eating a frozen tuna pasta salad and eyeing up the route over the horns whilst the other couple explained that they had attempted Beinn Alligin the week before in poor weather and gave up. They also reassured me that they were not going over the horns. We bidded each other a safe return trip and parted ways with me heading for the first of the 3 horns. I had read that the first one is the trickiest; it is certainly the biggest. I had also read that all 3 of the horns are a simple scramble but very “airy”. Now when someone describes a mountain route as “airy” an image of hanging off the side of it with no ground for a good distance below you is conjured up…..the reality is that the horns are actually quite an easy scramble. There are paths that will take you around the side of all 3 but I would recommend going up and over whenever possible as a slip on the by-pass path won’t end too well! There are 2 tricky manoeuvres to make on the first horn but not difficult, just really requiring a bit of care. The top of the horns are also quite wide; surprising given that from the top of the first Munro they look like a knife edge. My biggest concern was the snow shower that was rolling in from the Atlantic and how slippery that may have made the rock. Fortunately though I was over and off the horns well before the snow hit.
In many ways I found the descent after the horns and down to the glen floor more tricky than anything on the hill proper. The path is loose in places and the constant reaching down and relentless pounding on my knees became a bit tiresome after a while and I was certainly glad to reach the feint path that heads out down the Allt a Bhealaich.
The final 2km of this walk is easy going and simply beautiful; a photographers dream in fact. The cascading waterfalls, giant mountains and the backdrop onto Loch Torridon made it the most beautiful 2km I think I’ve ever walked; of course the weather helped too!
And so, 6 hours after setting off I reached the car. I could have been back sooner had I not continued to stop to get the camera out but all in all a fairly short route, 2 Munro’s bagged and a reasonable level of challenge made this a mountain that is definitely in my top 10.
Beinn Alligin from the Horns
Coir nan Laogh
Sunset over Loch Torridon
Waterfall on walk out
The Horns of Alligin
Tom Na Gruagaich
Loch Torridon on the ascent
Sgurr Mor & The Horns
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Joined: Feb 20, 2012

Re: Beinn Alligin

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:58 am

I'd agree it would be in most peoples top 10. I'm half thinking of saving it for my last one but i don't think i can wait that long. Lovely photos :D
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Re: Beinn Alligin

Postby Jock McJock » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:14 am

I could look at pics of this hill all day. Can't wait to get up there. Thanks for posting :D
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Re: Beinn Alligin

Postby jimandandrea » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Loved this one. You had a brilliant day to enjoy them. Cheers.
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Re: Beinn Alligin

Postby monty » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:11 pm

Nice report Mr Lamont. I hope to do these soon so it has come along at the right time. The views look superb and the hills themselves awesome. :D

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