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Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe


by dogplodder » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:12 pm

Route description: Beinn Eighe (western summits)

Munros included on this walk: Ruadh-stac Mor (Beinn Eighe), Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe)

Date walked: 26/05/2012

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1184m

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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:19 am

Johnny Corbett wrote:This is without doubt one of the most stunning areas of Scotland and as you said deserves to be walked in fine weather. I too spend a lot of childhood summers at Gairloch in mum and dads caravan, didn't fully appreciate it at the time but it's probably what got me hooked on hillwalking :D


Great place to caravan. I'm sure our early experiences have a lot to do with it. :D

As you say it's a stunning area with the mountains, lochs and beaches - and if you get good weather as well nowhere in the world can beat it! :thumbup:
Last edited by dogplodder on Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:27 am

pollyh33 wrote:Brilliant report Kathleen-again!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Well done for taking your dog up on the hills, I find it difficult enough being responsible for me, never mind your faithful companion!!! :crazy: :crazy:


Oh thanks Pauline - you're always so encouraging! xx

I enjoy having the dogs with me and miss them when they're not there but, as you say, it's an added responsibility making sure they're safe and not rolling on or eating any nasties! :-P :shock: :lol:
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:35 am

BlackPanther wrote:What an adventure on my favourite mountain :clap: :clap: :clap: I'm sorry to hear that you had problems on the stone chute, and big apologies if my advice wasn't sufficient... But they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger :wink: Thank you for taking me back to my ever favourite hill... if only for a short while.
I'm just back from Liathach, falling asleep gazing at the computer screen :lol: :lol: This one is much worse than Beinn Eighe and much more scrambling involved, not to mention the exposure. I'm so glad I conquered this beast! Will be posting my story layer this week :D


BP your advice was excellent and my difficulties were entirely of my own making. :roll: Being a bit of a drama queen I've probably exaggerated and it wasn't actually THAT bad. It just wasn't a very elegant descent! :lol:

Well done you on conquering Liathach! Looking forward to seeing that report when you muster the energy!
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby shredder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:25 pm

doogz wrote:I'm not sure I would keep a dog up there void of water source for so long ,but it's your dog

Doogz


The dog looks happy to me and if you were carrying extra water I can't see a problem.

Looks a great ridge walk and equally great weather. :D
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:49 pm

Brilliant report and piccies - and thanks for the warning about the scree - not in my comfort zone either :? but hey split pants are a badge of honour :lol: :lol:
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:10 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Brilliant report and piccies - and thanks for the warning about the scree - not in my comfort zone either :? but hey split pants are a badge of honour :lol: :lol:


Been off line and off hills for past 6 weeks helping out with 3 new grandsons - but nice to get back to an encouraging comment about the last effort - split pants and all! :lol:
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby mrssanta » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:49 pm

Lovely to see you back dp, must confess been a bit worried about you but hoped it was grannying that had kept you away
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:57 am

shredder wrote:The dog looks happy to me and if you were carrying extra water I can't see a problem.

Looks a great ridge walk and equally great weather. :D


Thanks! Last night we went to hear Cameron McNeish at Eden Court and discovered we had met him up on the ridge. He was pointing out different hills and commenting we shouldn't believe the books.... but we didn't twig who it was. :lol:
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby dogplodder » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:03 am

mrssanta wrote:Lovely to see you back dp, must confess been a bit worried about you but hoped it was grannying that had kept you away


Oh that's kind. Yes I've been immersed in another world of night feeds, burping and nappy changing! :wink:

On Saturday had a fab day in the Cairngorms - must get round to posting something. :D
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby Curly Quartz » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:48 am

[quote="dogplodder"]For many years we used to head for the Gairloch area with our four kids for family holidays and Beinn Eighe became part of the legend of those times. I vividly remember doing the so called Beinn Eighe Mountain Track from the side of Loch Maree with our two boys aged about 10 and 8 and their faces when we reached the cairn at the top and the bit of scrambling we did on the way down - all great fun! On two occasions we walked up to Coire Mhic Fhearchair - revelling in the wildness of the landscape to the west, striking silly poses and paddling in the lochan. One time when we reached the river the stepping stones were submerged so we walked on round the foot of Liathach to see if we could find another way across. But in those days I wasn't bothered about reaching summits - that bug only infected me once I passed 50. So although I'd photographed Beinn Eighe from other hills and had fond memories of her from family holidays I'd never been up and walked along her ridge. :?

Kath and I were waiting for a good day because we felt Beinn Eighe deserved it and with MWIS proclaiming over 90% cloud free summits for the Saturday it seemed like the day had come. :D

I have been totally honest about the time it took us from leaving the car to getting back - 12 hours. The most generous estimate for this route on WH is 9 hours and we were a bit surprised ourselves it took us so much longer. There are a number of reasons. First I'd been unwell and the day before was doubled up in pain thinking I'd have to call it off. But the combination of the wonderful weather and not wanting to let Kath down made me do it. Second it was hot so we took it in easy stages and spent a lot of time on the way up looking for water to keep the dog cool. Third I bottled it coming down the stone chute and took half an hour longer than I should have! :o

We decided to get the road walk over first so parked at the Coire Mhic Fhearchair car park and walked the 2km to the start of the Coire an Laoigh path.

Exit path down the Allt a Choire Dhuibh Mhoir between Liathach and Sail Mhor
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Cairn at start of Coire an Laoigh path, our ascent route
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Liathach from start of path
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I knew it was going to be warm and that I would have to carry extra water for the dogs so made the decision to leave Jack as he's been having issues with his joints and being a yellow lab is more prone to sun burn. You're supposed to put sun screen on their noses but they lick it straight off! :roll: So I was carrying extra water for Tess.

We'd only been going half an hour when we met a lady coming down. I asked her if she'd finished the round already and she said no she was coming back down as it was too hot to be going up there. She then pointed at Tess and asked if I was sure I should take her up in this heat and went on to tell me about her lurcher that had nearly died after walking the Beinn Eighe ridge on a day like this. :shock:

I thanked her for her warning and said we'd go on, keeping a close eye on Tess and cooling her at every water source we could access. To say I was concerned was putting it mildly. Every time we heard water we made a beeline for it and tried to get the mutt in there and preferably lying down - but she wasn't having any of that nonsense so I had to resort to spashing water on her undercarriage and over her head. It was all a big game to her. :lol:

Tess at one of many watering points
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In our water quest we found this brilliant green moss contrasting with the dry grey quartzite further up
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Coire an Laoigh and path up headwall to ridge
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View west to Liathach at cairn before final steep climb on to ridge
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View east from cairn
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The path from this cairn to the ridge proper wends its way up through quartzite scree but involves nothing uncomfortable. When we reached the trig point on the main ridge we found a group of people already there, some minding bags dumped by others who had gone on east to climb Spidean Coire nan Clach. We could see several stick people up there so decided this was a good point for first lunch and we'd head up when it was less like Saturday on Sauchiehall Street! :? I made sure Tess got a good drink from the water I was carrying, which she obligingly lapped up. Then just below the SCC summit I found a patch of snow and made snow balls which I tossed to Tess and she swallowed - so felt reassured she was well hydrated.

Summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach from trig point on main ridge
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Walkers heading up Spidean Coire nan Clach
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After about 20 minutes our patience was rewarded and we got the first Munro summit of the day briefly to ourselves. :D

At summit cairn of Spidean Coire nan Clach - this one for grandson Ben born two days earlier :clap:
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Kath at top of SCC. Cairn at top of path up headwall can be seen below her right elbow.
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Loch Maree and summit of Ruadh-stac Mhor on far left
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View west from top of SCC
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Ridge going west
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Rest of ridge going west
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Liathach is so photogenic
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Kath did geology at uni and was a fund of interesting snippets about the rock underfoot changing from the relatively-speaking younger quartzite to the older Torridonian sandstone. We noticed in many places a stippled effect on the sandstone like a bad case of acne. This was due to worm holes which had been filled in by quartzite and then the surrounding sandstone had been worn away leaving the more durable quartzite raised above the surface. Well I think that's the explanation... maybe she'll correct me if I've got it wrong! :D

Looking back up ridge at the change in colour from darker sandstone to lighter quartzite
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Heading west for Ruadh-stac Mhor
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The ridge we walked
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On the way up Coinneach Mhor a couple walking the opposite way warned us to watch the dog when we reached the grassy part as there was a bird nesting close to the path and the nest could easily be stood on. I did think to myself that human boot-clad feet were more of a threat to the nest than sure-footed dainty Tess's feet but I did call her close when we reached the spot - where we saw a bird but no nest.

We walked on past the cairn on Coinneach Mhor and found a comfy spot in the sun to reapply sun screen, water the dog and have second lunch. Then I wandered off further west to have a look at the top of the Triple Buttresses. All in all we were in leisurely mood and maybe didn't fully appreciate how far we still had to go.

Tess trying to hypnotise Kath into sharing her lunch
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I felt unusually tired at this point and fleetingly considered suggesting Kath did Ruadh-stac Mhor while I waited at the bealach above the stone chute. But it was only fleeting and I enjoyed the climb up the rocky steps on the first part of the climb, although felt vaguely concerned about the stone chute which looked worryingly steep and which was to be our way down. A friendly chap we had met earlier and dubbed Mr Chatty because he stood and chatted to everyone he met (only had 6 left to do so it must work for him!) was retracing his steps to descend by his ascent route of Coire an Laoigh. When I asked why he wasn't going down the stone chute he said he didn't feel up to it. That worried me. :shock: I tried not to think too much about it until I had to and we reached the top of Ruadh-stac Mhor with no difficulty - although it was very crowded around the summit.

Summit cairn of Ruadh-stac Mhor, highest point on Beinn Eighe
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View west from Ruadh-stac Mhor
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View across horse-shoe to east side of Beinn Eighe
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We retraced our steps to the bealach at the top of the stone chute and I put my camera in my rucksack so I wouldn't be encumbered with any extra appendages. I was worried about the steepness and looseness of the next part. I don't mind steep if it's solid but I don't like when what I put my feet on moves under me. But there was no alternative and I did want to pay a return visit to Coire Mhic Fhearchair and its lochan - last visited with my kids some 16 years earlier. I was also keen to photograph the Triple Buttresses which is why we did the walk in an anticlockwise direction to catch the cliffs in the afternoon light. I'd earlier been in touch with Black Panther about the advisabilty of descending the stone chute as I noticed she had twice gone up it (and I generally cope better going up tricky bits than coming down them). She was very helpful and said her hubby had been down the chute and found it okay with care. She also agreed the Triple Buttresses would photograph better in the afternoon light. So I told myself to man up and take it slowly.

The first part was not too bad. I was very slow but by edging along by the rock face on the right side I managed not too badly. It was when the slope widened out into a steep mass of scree I lost it. I could see Kath away down to the left of where I was (she had run down - very brave and nuts!). With hindsight I should have disregarded where she was and kept well to the right where grass at the edge of the scree gave a firmer footing and where I watched others coming down after I'd done my inelegant descent slithering half the time on my rear-end on disconcertingly moving rocks that were large and angular. I was in the wrong place and was well out of my comfort zone. But I guess it's character-forming and I just had to get on with it.

Then Kath shouted to me to get over to the left where the stones were smaller so I traversed over the rocks which was marginally better than going down them and found a kind of moving path of smaller stones and gravel. I eventually reached Kath who was patiently waiting for me at the bottom of the scree.

Scree slope and boulder field where I bottled it
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It was only when I got home I discovered that my undignified descent had done a mischief to my breeks! Not only was the seam split but there was a tear in the seat as well. :roll: Oh well, it's a small cost for the privilege of being in this amazing and awesome place.

I think I've reached my quota of photos so will add the remaining ones in a post.

[/Hi. Amazing report and Fab pics. I have been to the Coire Mhic Fhearchair four times now and have walked further and further to the scree each time eyeing it up and imagining coming down so I think you are quite brave! One day I will pluck up the courage to get up there I hope. (I suffer from vertigo)
Anyway, Re the summit quartzite; How lucky you are to have your own personal Geologist Guide with you on your hikes. The sample in my pic (I carted this from Ben Suilven back to Lochinver) is pipe rock though my sample is a cross section. They are trace fossils; worm burrows that have been filled in by quartz grains. It shows that at the time this rock was laid down, the conditions were shallow and experienced tides because we see the same behaviour in these conditions today. You might have noticed up the Eighe mountain trail there is a cairn with the words "Trumpet rock" on it? That's the same stuff but is thought to form by a rapid exit of the worm during a very sudden rapid influx of sand. :)
Sorry if I have rambled.. :wink:
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Pipe Rock from base of Ben Suilven
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby Graeme D » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:37 pm

Certainly an eye catching title, and some eye catching photos too. Well done, and glad to see you made it down the chute with only trouser damage. :lol:
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Re: Death threat and split pants on Beinn Eighe

Postby Borderhugh » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:48 pm

Great report and lovely shots of Liathach :clap:
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