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Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Oh, oh, Sli-och!


Postby BlackPanther » Mon May 21, 2012 1:32 pm

Route description: Slioch, near Kinlochewe

Munros included on this walk: Slioch

Date walked: 19/05/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 19.2 km

Ascent: 1242m

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I had a moment of frustration last Friday, after driving all the way down from Inverness to Edinburgh (and back of course) just to sign a few documents. Unfortunately it was a trip we couldn't avoid. Oh how I hate all the bureaucracy :evil: !!!
Kevin knew how I felt and he suggested the best possible medication for my depression. Let's climb a hill, let's "puff the anger out". Great idea! I was more than happy to agree! Not to mention that I had bought a new pair of walking boots the week before and had no opportunity to test them yet.
Forecast was questionable and I wasn't sure which direction would be the best to avoid clouds. We chose Torridon eventually, with two options in mind. One was Slioch, the other - a less popular Corbett, Beinn an Eoin. The final decision would be taken "in situ", depending on cloud level.
It's only about an hour drive from Beauly to Kinlochewe and as we arrived, the top of Slioch was almost cloud free, whereas the western side of Torridon looked more gloomy. We decided to climb the Munro then, leaving the Corbett for another day.
Beinn Eighe and Meall a'Ghiubhais (left) from Kinlochewe:
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Luckily there was still space on the car park, if only just about enough to squeeze one car :lol: The hill must be busy, I thought.
There is only one obvious route to climb Slioch, starting with a long walk-in along Kinlochewe river:

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The path is well marked and the initial stage of this walk would be a nice afternoon stroll by itself:
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...especially with fantastic views across the glen to the big bulk of Beinn Eighe... A moody mountain this time:
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Apart from a few boggy bits there are no problems whatsoever on the walk-in route:
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Weather improved, if only temporarily...
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...and I was glad to see the summit of Slioch clear. Some blue sky in the background as well, it looked good at that point!
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We reached the footbridge over Abhainn an Fhasaigh, spent a couple of minutes taking pics...
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...admiring the dark, vertical slopes of Bonaid Dhonn...
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...and charged up the slope without hesitation. The path was boggy in places - a good chance to test my boots properly! Higher up the ground is rockier and quite steep. Gazing up towards Sgurr Dubh, I was glad that this particular top can be avoided...
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As we gained height, my attention was drawn to the fantastic panorama behind me...
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There's no mountain like Beinn Eighe... It looks incredible from every angle!
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The path was still steep and quite wet as it had rained the previous day (and night probably). Here, my new boots were tested for grip quality. Thankfully, they grip well! Good news, we're going to Isle of Skye next month so well gripping booties will be necessary for the Cuillin :D :D
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View back to Gleann Bianasdail:
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From the southern side, it looked like there wasn't much snow left on Slioch, but only when we approached Coire na Sleaghaich, we saw how white the main ridge was:
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More views revealed, like the Fannichs:
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Fionn Bheinn:
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Sgurr Dubh - good for filming from below, certainly not as good to climb :lol: :lol:
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Sadly, weather was turning gray :( but I was so much in the zone that it didn't bother me at all. I marched across the muddy bowl of Coire na Sleaghaich with a big smile:
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The final push looked painfully steep:
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Kevin suggested taking a break at the bottom of the steep path. He guessed correctly, that the very summit will be cold and probably windy, so eating lunch by the cairn wouldn't be much of a pleasure :?
A sandwich and a cuppa later, we tackled the rocky path and soon we were standing at a small plateau with two lochans:
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Somewhere... beyond the sea...
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Looking back to Sgurr Dubh:
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A big, black raven circled around, watching us with interest. Kevin tried to take a photo, but all he managed to capture was a dark "UFO" point:
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A nice place to take another break, but we didn't waste more time and rushed up the next steep slope. I'm not sure whether one should call it a scramble, but certainly some parts of the ascent were scramble-ish:
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It was worth to look behind though... What a view!
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Higher up, the path was slightly easier:
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...and the panorama behind me couldn't be any better!
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We entered the snow-zone eventually. The temperature must have been above zero 'cause the snow on the path was melting, turning the final push into a wet-squashy experience :?
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The wind picked up and I noticed that a nasty shower was chasing us:
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We managed to get to the minor top (933m) before the snow shower closed in, and spent a few minutes taking photies and videos, as long as conditions allowed:
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I had a good look at the narrow ridge between the summit of Slioch and Sgurr an Tuill Bhain. Hmmm... Interesting, indeed!
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Fisherfield hills:
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What-a-busy-mountain! A crowd of walkers on the top:
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Last glimpse back to Beinn Eighe & friends:
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Beinn Alligin and Torridon Corbetts:
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The summit was now only a stroll away, past a small dip with a lochan:
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We knew that the trig point was not the main summit, but we couldn't resist posing here... Especially with such an unusual company:
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Loch Maree and its multiple islands:
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The eastern ridge. I wasn't sure how difficult it would be in snowy conditions:
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...but when I saw other walkers tackling it, my faith was restored:
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From the trig point we walked to the main summit cairn. Even with weather playing tricks, it was still a magnificent spot...
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The cliffs drop all the way to sea level :shock:
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Another group of walkers arrived by the trig point. I bet they posed with the snowman as well :lol: :lol: :lol:
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With the corner of my eye, I noticed something moving on the snow. I turned and... there it was, only a few metres away, gazing at me:
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I think it was the same raven we saw earlier on. It stayed with us for a couple of minutes and eventually left, flew to the trig point area where the other group of walkers were standing by the trig point. "It's probably used to people on the hills" Kevin said "Clever beast, it knows that people equals scraps of food."
Another shower approached from Fisherfield side:
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It was getting cold and snow flurries danced in the air so we decided to quickly finish our traverse and we headed for the eastern ridge. From this angle, it looked easy:
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Lochan Fada, despite being called "a lochan" is quite a big loch:
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Looking down to the bowl-shaped bottom of Coire na Sleaghaich:
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I didn't expect the ridge to be too exposed, but soon I found myself on a narrow passage, maybe one metre wide, slippery from snow and wet rocks.The business was getting serious!
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Oh, oh! What the *** am I doing??? Five years ago I would have run away from a traverse like this one, shouting and screaming!
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Today, I walked along the ridge with my head held high :D :D Hard to believe how much I have progressed. No more vertigo, no more panic attacks, ha ha! Beware Skye Cuillin!!!
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Pictures don't really give the right impression of the true exposure. In summer conditions it wouldn't be too bad, but snow makes this ridge a bit tricky. I'm so happy I can do things like that now. Meoooow! There is a cat on the loose! :lol: :lol:
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After a short stop on the summit of Sgurr an Tuill Bhain (which would be an excellent viewpoint but for the fact that we were in the middle of snow shower again!) it was time to head down the slope back to the corrie. No technical difficulties here, apart from the path being steep and boggy in places - nothing unusual as for Scottish hills :lol: :lol:
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We left the snow shower behind and for a short time enjoyed better weather:
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Just as we were leaving Coire na Sleaghaich, another shower arrived, rain this time. It was rainy all the way back to Kinlochewe but I was so excited about having walked a narrow snowy ridge, that the rain was my last worry.
It wasn't a perfect day weather-wise, but other than that, what an adventure! Slioch is simply a stunner and I will climb it again for sure, preferably with some sunshine :D :D I'm a cat on the loose now, so expect more meowing on WH forum :lol: :lol:
There is one more story to tell, 'cause on Sunday we set off for Assynt... But this is a subject for another trip report. It will come soon. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby xslawekx » Mon May 21, 2012 2:10 pm

It is a really amazing thing how therapeutic an effect a day out in the hills can have, eh? :) When I was doing Slioch it'd started off as a sunny day only to turn in to a whiteout when I reached the summit plateau.. I'd agree with you that the east ridge is a bit scary in winter, especially when you can only see some 20 meters ahead and you're not even sure whether you've got solid ground underfoot or only a cornice! That's the sort of conditions I had when walking Slioch and I have to confess it'd unnerved me so that I dropped from the ridge just before reaching the E top :lol:
PS: always like your photographs. I wonder what camera do you use? I've got a Sony alpha a-55, but at times decide to travel lightweight and could do with something compact :-)

Thanks and it's a thumb up from me.
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon May 21, 2012 2:28 pm

Another quality report of one of the iconic Munros :D A few years ago before i was a hillwalker i cycled along the initial track, it was that cycle that got me thinking, why don't i start climbing the mountains :D
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby skuk007 » Mon May 21, 2012 3:29 pm

Another great report BP, best way to relieve the stresses of day to day stuff.
Hope the new boots didn't give you any trouble, quite a big walk to christen them on. :)

Been to Loch Maree once and nearly got eaten alive by the midges. Hope they've gone when I return to do this one.
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby BlackPanther » Mon May 21, 2012 6:08 pm

Thanks, everybody! :D :D :D

xslawekx wrote:It is a really amazing thing how therapeutic an effect a day out in the hills can have, eh? :) When I was doing Slioch it'd started off as a sunny day only to turn in to a whiteout when I reached the summit plateau.. I'd agree with you that the east ridge is a bit scary in winter, especially when you can only see some 20 meters ahead and you're not even sure whether you've got solid ground underfoot or only a cornice! That's the sort of conditions I had when walking Slioch and I have to confess it'd unnerved me so that I dropped from the ridge just before reaching the E top :lol:
PS: always like your photographs. I wonder what camera do you use? I've got a Sony alpha a-55, but at times decide to travel lightweight and could do with something compact :-)


The best possible therapy for depression - climb a hill or two! :D :D
That ridge is scary in winter conditions :shock: Luckily for me, I saw a group of walkers crossing it in front of us, so I told myself - ha, if they can do it, so can you!
Our camera is a bridge FujiFilm Finepix HS10, it's NOT a compact, unfortunately. Quite bulky, but the quality of photies makes up for the additional weight :lol: :lol:

Johnny Corbett wrote:Another quality report of one of the iconic Munros :D A few years ago before i was a hillwalker i cycled along the initial track, it was that cycle that got me thinking, why don't i start climbing the mountains :D

I drove along Loch Maree many times, and each time I looked across the loch to Slioch, I thought - damn, at some point I must get to the summit of this incredible mountain! it does, indeed, draw attention...

skuk007 wrote:Another great report BP, best way to relieve the stresses of day to day stuff.
Hope the new boots didn't give you any trouble, quite a big walk to christen them on. :)

Been to Loch Maree once and nearly got eaten alive by the midges. Hope they've gone when I return to do this one.


Boots worked well in the end, they don't rub and don't give me blisters. hooray!
The campsite in Kinlochewe has a bad reputation, it's known as the most midgy place in Scotland! Kevin camped there once (before he moved to Scotland). He told me, it was so bad that when he touched the inside of the tent material, midges would get attracted and form a hand-shaped black print on the outer side of the tent! Hard to believe! Thankfully, it's still to early for them now :D :D
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 22, 2012 12:46 am

Another real beauty BP, fantastic photos throughout that really capture Scotland and its moods, have a great time on Skye :D
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby Fcfraser » Tue May 22, 2012 6:55 am

Fab photos..... Loved the wee snowman pic! Now it's May it would be nice to do some snow free walking though!
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Re: Oh, oh, Sli-och!

Postby dooterbang » Tue May 22, 2012 11:44 am

Fab report BP...Kev and yourself are very lucky being an hours drive away from such a stunning area.

I was in the Fisherfields the whole weekend. We camped at Lochan Fada (the big loch) after doing our 4th Munro.

Weather was dodgy Saturday but improved Sunday.

Its great to see you more assured of scary ridges...i still have the odd moment but really enjoy it.

....i've still to tackle the Cuillins :shock: :D
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