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Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!


Postby dogplodder » Fri May 04, 2012 12:01 am

Route description: Gairich, Loch Quoich

Munros included on this walk: Gairich

Date walked: 02/05/2012

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 960m

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With MWIS predicting 90% cloud free tops for the west we decided this was the day for Gairich. The April monsoons we've had gave pause for thought as Gairich has a bit of a reputation as a hill of squelch (at least in its approach) but yesterday we felt it didn't deserve it's three star bog factor rating.

We parked in the space on left of road just west of the dam. As I booted up I heard a howl of despair from Kath. :shock: Instead of putting a pair of boots in the car she had brought two left boots. :lol: So what to do? :? For a moment I thought that was us heading home but I'd underestimated this lady's determination. :wtf: Maybe she could do the hill in her trainers... but they were more gym shoes than trainers and wouldn't have offered any protection at all. Then she wondered if she could wear the two left boots and tried them on.

Could start a new trend maybe? :lol:
DSC02855-largec.jpg


By putting the larger boot on the wrong foot she said it was surprisingly comfortable. So we were in business. :thumbup: Next obstacle to overcome was getting large enthusiastic labrador Charlie over the dam wall gate which is about 5 feet high. I climbed over first and used a piece of bread to encourage Charlie to stand on his back legs trying to reach the bread. Then Kath heaved him up, I grabbed his collar and he was over.

Gairich from the dam
DSC02856-large.jpg


We crossed the dam and were relieved to find the gate at the south end could be opened and closed - very civilised. Then on to the lochside path which did have some muddy sections but they were easily avoided and nothing compared to the first section of the path to Am Faochagach which was a Scottish version of the mangrove swamps. :(

After a kilometre the path heads south away from Loch Quoich and skirts the south end of Lochan an-Fhigheadair
DSC02859-large.jpg


The path crosses the moor then drops to a section of forestry below the Bealach na Faire
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At this point it joins another path which goes through a gate but the way to Gairich turns right up a rough path beside the forestry fence and soon joins the stalkers path up from Glen Kingie. This path climbs Druim na Gaid Salaich in a series of zigzags for which in the heat of the sun I was grateful.

Above the zigzags the gradient eased and gave easier walking on the broad plateau of Bac Nam Foid.
DSC02866-large.jpg


View of Glen Kingie and to the south west
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It was wall to wall sunshine and we had both omitted to bring sun screen which was daft. :? So in damage limitation I kept my fleece on when I'd rather have had it off. Charlie kept his cool in time honoured labrador fashion wallowing in peaty pools. :D
DSC02871-large.jpg


A white teeshirt proved not to be a good combination with a friendly, muddy mutt who was liable to shake in close proximity to the rest of his pack! :lol:

Gairich is a satisfying hill to climb with its steep rocky nose approaching the summit.

DSC02872-large.jpg


The scramble isn't difficult but it's steep and I wondered how Charlie would cope with it and whether we'd have to coax him up with more bread. He was in the lead when we reached the foot of the rock face to be climbed. He stopped, had a look at it and then powered his way up, followed by the two of us. What a dog. :D

From there it's a short walk to the summit.

Sunbathing at summit cairn
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Loch Quoich bridge from Gairich summit
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Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
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South to Ben Nevis and a glimpse of Loch Arkaig
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We continued on west past the cairn and found an idyllic lunch spot with stunning views all around.

Did someone mention food? :D
DSC02877-large.jpg


Charlie had done so well getting up the scramble but we wondered how he'd manage going down. We knew an option was to descend the north side of the hill.

Kath and Charlie taking bearings for the descent
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The descent to the north was on steep grassy slopes which we zigzagged down.

Kath showing no sign of flagging in those two left boots!
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View back to the dam from north ridge
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There were crags to be avoided to the east
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So we traversed the slope below them
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Despite warnings to retain height as the going near the shore is boggy, I gravitated like a moth (or duck) to the water's edge. :D
DSC02897-large.jpg


Charlie wasn't complaining and we had a wee game of fetch
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Glen Quoich was at one time home to Clan MacDonnell of Glengarry and was well populated. But the Clearances reduced the population dramatically. Then in 1962 it was partially flooded as part of a hydro-electric scheme to bring electricity to the Highlands. In the process the level of Loch Quoich was raised by 100 feet and Glen Quoich Lodge (where Sir Edward Landseer and King Edward VII had been guests) was submerged.

The loch waters were low and many stumps of trees were visible and bleached in the sun. There was something poignant about seeing these remnants of a community submerged in the interests of progress. But bringing electricity to the Highlands does seem a more worthwhile cause than replacing people with sheep. :(

Huge root now upside down
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Forgotten forest
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In my usual optimistic fashion I'd imagined walking along the stony shoreline would be easy. In places it was, but other parts felt like negotiating a boulder field of large angular rocks. So we headed inland but that wasn't all that easy either as there was a lot of upping and downing over humps and bumps and no path to follow. It was a longer route than retracing our steps would have been but it was definitely more dog-friendly and we enjoyed it - even if we did feel a bit disheartened to see how far away the dam still was! :o

View back to Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
DSC02905-large.jpg


As we reached the end of the loch near to the outward path we heard a loud chirping which seemed to be coming from a sandy bank with holes in it. Kath wondered if there were sand martins nesting there and then we saw them. Apart from that and the plaintive mewing of a buzzard we didn't see any other wild life. Ironically we had to slow down for deer standing on the road near the first houses we came to on the way back to Invergarry. After all why be on the hills when there are richer pickings around where humans live? 8)

And what about the two left boots? Kath must be one of the most uncomplaining people I know. At the end of the walk she said the foot in the wrong boot felt better than the one in the correct boot. There is quite simply no answer to that! :lol:
Last edited by dogplodder on Fri May 04, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby soulminer » Fri May 04, 2012 7:24 am

Aye, definately a mud bath in worse weather. My mate Doogz did it,and Sgurr a' Mhaoraich the day before you- with Anne and her two dogs. They enjoyed the experience as much as you and Kath :lol:
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby quoman » Fri May 04, 2012 12:50 pm

Nice one dogplodder,

The picture's look amazing and for Kath to walk in two left boots had me laughing.
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Fri May 04, 2012 6:05 pm

soulminer wrote:My mate Doogz did it,and Sgurr a' Mhaoraich the day before you- with Anne and her two dogs.


That was some day to do both - and fantastic photos! :D
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Fri May 04, 2012 6:09 pm

quoman wrote:for Kath to walk in two left boots had me laughing.


She was a star - not one moan all day. :clap:

Reckons now she'll lose the nail off her big toe! :D
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby Tomsie » Fri May 04, 2012 6:31 pm

I love to see dogs out enjoying themselves on the hills, great weather with good photo's
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby Lenore » Fri May 04, 2012 7:57 pm

Great report and stunning pictures! Had me laugh :D The doggie must have smelled back in the car :lol:
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Sat May 05, 2012 9:23 am

Tomsie wrote:I love to see dogs out enjoying themselves on the hills


He enjoyed himself all right! :D
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Sat May 05, 2012 9:26 am

Lenore wrote:The doggie must have smelled back in the car :lol:


To be honest I smelled so bad myself I didn't notice the smell of the dog! :lol:
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby kath098 » Sat May 05, 2012 11:15 am

dogplodder wrote:
quoman wrote:for Kath to walk in two left boots had me laughing.


She was a star - not one moan all day. :clap:

Reckons now she'll lose the nail off her big toe! :D



I think most of the toenail will survive. I even managed two Strathfarrar Munros yesterday (in a pair of boots) :D
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Sat May 05, 2012 12:48 pm

kath098 wrote:[I think most of the toenail will survive. I even managed two Strathfarrar Munros yesterday (in a pair of boots) :D


That's far too conventional. :lol:

Well done on the Strathfarrars - which two?
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby kath098 » Sat May 05, 2012 3:41 pm

dogplodder wrote:
kath098 wrote:[I think most of the toenail will survive. I even managed two Strathfarrar Munros yesterday (in a pair of boots) :D


That's far too conventional. :lol:

Well done on the Strathfarrars - which two?


The two far-off ones (I forget their names).
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby morag1 » Sat May 05, 2012 7:31 pm

Great report Kathleen and really funny about the 2 left boots :lol:

Lovely photos and another great day in the hills :D
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Sun May 06, 2012 4:49 am

kath098 wrote:The two far-off ones (I forget their names).


Here's the top of Sgurr a Choire Ghlais looking west
Hillwalks 2006 019.jpg
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Re: Up Gairich and down north side with two left boots!

Postby dogplodder » Sun May 06, 2012 4:54 am

morag1 wrote:Great report Kathleen and really funny about the 2 left boots :lol:

Lovely photos and another great day in the hills :D


Thanks Morag. :D

I couldn't believe how well Kath did wearing the wrong boot!
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