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Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)


Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:00 pm

Route description: Slioch, near Kinlochewe

Munros included on this walk: Slioch

Date walked: 31/05/2012

Time taken: 8.15 hours

Distance: 14.4 km

Ascent: 1117m

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Slioch


Slioch is a mountain which I saw first about 5 years ago. Even back then I wanted to climb it, but bad weather and inexperience stopped me. For different reasons, 5 years passed until I returned to the area.

With only rough plans my holiday was pretty much flexible and I had decided to move with the weather. Since I have climbed all the mountains I wanted in Assynt, I planned to head down further the coast, but with the weather being better further up north I had to make a decision.

Having spoken to some other hill walkers, Torridon was an area which was suggested and remembering my long aim to climb Slioch, the plan was made. Driving along Loch Maree showed Slioch in its full beauty and while gazing up the mountain I decided there and then how I would climb up it – a plan which was sheer madness, looking back at it :shock: :shock: :shock:
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ehm straight up ...seemed a rather logical move while driving and looking up...

I could have followed the long walk in and the ‘normal ‘ route, but then that’s what everyone does. What I have seen the day before was a route straight up from Loch Maree. Wishing I had a boat to cross Loch Maree was a unsuccessful dream, so I decided to cross the Kinlochewe river from Taagan, walk along Loch Maree until I reached an area which is described as Waterfall on the map and head up straight from there- easy?!

In reality the day looked like this….

As I was on holiday I had left my previous campsite at Badrallach (close to Ullapool) pretty late. Manly due to a latish night in the Bothy which I used to charge all my electronics and to write some of my trip reports at the same time….writing in a bothy in the light of a gas lamp – magic!!!


Having packed my tent I set off late morning and arrived at the free campsite across from Slioch (Ben Eige Campite at Taagan) at noon. Looking around I was the only one there and feeling like I owned the place I put my tent up in the middle of the field, bliss!
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The free campsite

Packing my bags for hiking yet again, I set off along the small path next to the farm buildings, towards the burn. Making my way along fields and through some bushes I arrived at the river about 15min later. Looking at the wide area I realized how lucky I was with the low water level, as at any other time the river might be far more difficult to cross.
I sat down to take my shoes and socks off and walked through and on the other side I reached the ‘normal path’ and continued it up the mountain.
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The gate to cross


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The area where you will have to cross the burn...shown from the other side after the crossing

The path soon reached a bridge which I crossed and after the bridge the path split and I kept to the left. The path was really pretty at that stage and led up and down small hills alongside of Loch Maree, making the whole walk a doddle….but not for long.

When the area flattened out to a big meadow the path seemed to disappear and I knew I was by my own from here onward. In the distance I saw a burn and a waterfall flowing down the hill and headed towards it. The path was pretty steep and the gentle walk was getting harder by the minute. Looking up I saw sheer cliff faces to my right and steep grassy slopes to the left…let the fun begin and walk where no one has walked before :shock:

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nearly a path at times


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Looking back


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and its up, up ,up from here


Sticking to the right hand site of the waterfall I tried to follow some deer tracks which nearly made a proper path at times, but then disappearing as quickly as they started. That way I made good progress and reached the top of the waterfall. Expecting to see another flat area I was disappointed because instead I saw an even steeper hillside. Looking up there were only 2 ways to go head to the left which would bring me up a way I did not wanted to follow or continue up to the cliff face….what can possible go wrong…

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yep it was steep- looking back down with Loch Maree in the distance


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the first loch up the hill comes into view...on the bottom right hand site the path up I took

Sweating buckets even in the cold wind I continued up the cliff face. Seeing some small tracks I used them, but the deer which has climbed that path must have been mad. By that time my walking poles were secured at the back of by rucksack and I used my hands to pull myself up rocks and boulders.

Why was it so much harder than anything I have done before I thought to myself and reluctantly moved on. Having reached the next point I saw the 3 tops of Slioch. Knowing that the 3rd top to my left was the Munro I headed towards it. Having a little break I looked around me and saw lovely views all around me. I tried to figure out on the map where I was exactly (was too lazy to look at the GPS which was switched off in my pocket) but could not really figure it out. I was confused as the map showed 2 lochs which should be to my right, but I guessed I had to climb further up to see them.
Feeling more confident I continued the climb up and it was getting harder and harder.

I think from all the straight up the mountain routes I took, that one was the hardest. The top which looked so close from the bottom, just seemed ages away and the climb took me so much longer than I thought.

Reaching another steep bit, I climbed up using hands and feet. A nearly vertical bit of grass and heather stopped me in my tracks and holding onto a big bush of heather branches above me, I pulled myself up, only to end up with half the bush in my hand and I began sliding downhill…. Throwing myself forward I stopped the slide and breathing heavily, I made the mental note…grabbing heather-bad idea!
I moved left and holding onto a rock managed to pull myself up feeling slightly shaky…bloody hell it was difficult

After over 2.5h from leaving the tent I saw the last bit of the climb and two possible routes – either scrambling up the rock or continuing the grassy steep slopes.

I opted for the scrambling as the rock was stable, but even that was hard going. I was rather tired at that time and the sheer drop behind me did not help very much, to make me feel more comfortable with the route. Telling myself off ‘for this wonderful idea’ to climb the mountain the mad way, I finally reached the top 3 hours later. Completely knackered! Sitting down at the cairn I had a much needed sandwich and opened my newly purchased jar of honey, as ever the past few days I had gotten fed up with cheese on toast. Eating the bread I looked around, but thick clouds stopped the distant views…but happy with my achievement I rested and planned the way down.
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The top


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Looking down


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looking north


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looking back



At the start of the walk I did not pay much attention of how I would get down again, but seeing Sgurr an Tuill Bhan, I decided it would be a great way to follow down the ridge. More that happy to follow a normal path again, I walked up to Sgurr an Tuill Bhan and from there just followed the normal path down the hill. Only from the bridge at the bottom I followed the route back I came at the start of the day.
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The walk down


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light and shadow


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The bridge


While wandering along the burn I looked over to the other side and suddenly saw a grey and blackish shape, which disappeared as soon as I saw it. Blinking rapidly I looked over again, but there was nothing until I saw a shape again and some huge horns??? Thinking at that time that I had lost the plot completely I stopped but the shape had disappeared again and stayed hidden.
Confused I walked on, looking over the water but nothing…mmmm…about 5min later I suddenly saw the strange creature and it turned out to be a group of feral goats…something you don’t see any day.

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Mystery solved...feral goats


That night, back at the campsite I did not have much time to think about the walk, as I met another girl who did the Cape Wrath trail. Sitting in my car sharing stories, while the midges tried to brake through the windscreen to get to us, the pains of the day were in the past.
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First midges of summer :-(

Waking up the next morning I made an effort to drive along the road to get a decent picture of Slioch and to see the route again I took.

Stopping at one of the car parks and seeing the mountain again the only thought which came into my head was‘bloody hell! I could not understand how I could have seen a route the previous day (memory might started to block it) lol
It was only then when I realized which way I took up the mountain and f…ing hell! It was steep! No wonder I was knackered at the end of it.
Deciding that not all ideas I have are good ones, I would not really suggest the same route to anyone. I did enjoy it at the time but would I walk it again – ehm no way!
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Mountainlove
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby dooterbang » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:14 pm

Madder than the mad sheep that made the mad paths :shock: :shock: :lol:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Clach Liath » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:20 pm

dooterbang wrote:Madder than the mad sheep that made the mad paths :shock: :shock: :lol:


Nowt else one can really say.... :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby davedanson28 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:22 pm

Bloody hell, well done you! :D :D
I love that area, drive through it a lot and need to get into them hills!
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby jimandandrea » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:42 pm

Sounded like a mini-adventure. The only way is up - straight up! :shock: :shock:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:50 pm

dooterbang wrote:Madder than the mad sheep that made the mad paths :shock: :shock: :lol:

Clach Liath wrote:
dooterbang wrote:Madder than the mad sheep that made the mad paths :shock: :shock: :lol:

Nowt else one can really say.... :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:


Somestimes one needs a certain degree of madness in her life :lol: :lol:

davedanson28 wrote:Bloody hell, well done you! :D :D
I love that area, drive through it a lot and need to get into them hills!


Thank you :-) It was fun thats for sure! Regarding the area, you are right- its so beautiful up there!

jimandandrea wrote:Sounded like a mini-adventure. The only way is up - straight up! :shock: :shock:

I agree! Although that was pretty hard going!! :shock:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby 147cjl » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:56 pm

very brave - gripping stuff :clap:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby skuk007 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:22 pm

Great report ML but I don't think I'll be borrowing your route when I come to do this one.
Well done for being brave and doing something different though. :)
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:53 am

147cjl wrote:very brave - gripping stuff :clap:

:D Thank you

skuk007 wrote:Great report ML but I don't think I'll be borrowing your route when I come to do this one.
Well done for being brave and doing something different though. :)


Uh no I would not recommend this route... :lol:only if you want to drive past Slioch and shake your head each time you see it after
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby jonny616 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:41 pm

I like a bit of 'off roading' myself, but i think i'll do this the trad way :lol: :lol: :lol:

Great weather you had for your time up north 8)
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby BobMcBob » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:29 pm

Holy **** :D I did Slioch 2 days ago by the "sane" route :D and looking over the edge I remember thinking to myself "you'd never get up it that way" :D. You seem to have proved me wrong :D I do love it when people take the unusual route up, there's a real sense of adventure about your report. :clap:
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby dunrig » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:07 am

mountainlove, a request- get yourself to the Cuillin-you definately don't need a guide-and give us some really exciting reports
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:33 am

jonny616 wrote:I like a bit of 'off roading' myself, but i think i'll do this the trad way :lol: :lol: :lol:
Great weather you had for your time up north 8)

Nice to hear that you like a bit of 'off roading' as well :clap: the waqy to go, but as you sadi...for Slioch the traditional route is indeed the best way up :D

BobMcBob wrote:Holy **** :D I did Slioch 2 days ago by the "sane" route :D and looking over the edge I remember thinking to myself "you'd never get up it that way" :D. You seem to have proved me wrong :D I do love it when people take the unusual route up, there's a real sense of adventure about your report. :clap:

Many thanks and I have to say...when I look down the routes I come up sometimes, I think the same :lol:

dunrig wrote:mountainlove, a request- get yourself to the Cuillin-you definately don't need a guide-and give us some really exciting reports

Now there is a great request...trust me when I will venture to the Cullins there will be no guides involved 8) :lol: 8)
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Rudolph » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:48 am

Mountainlove wrote: First midges of Summer!


Midges??? - I thought they were Geese

Brilliant report. To pinch an Ad slogan "You do these things so I don't have to"
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Re: Slioch – the mad way up (4/6)

Postby Graeme D » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:27 am

Hmmm, yeah, that first photo of Slioch from Grudie Bridge is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest views in Scotland. Still would never consider actually climbing it that way though! :shock:
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