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Skye Trek part 5: Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach

Skye Trek part 5: Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach


Postby BlackPanther » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:19 pm

Route description: Glamaig and the northern Red Hills

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Dearg Mhor (Sligachan)

Date walked: 26/06/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 11.9 km

Ascent: 870m

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ISLE OF SKYE, 26 June 2012...
I jumped out of the tent at 7 am - and then jumped again, this time out of joy! Hooray! Clear sky!
For how long would the bright spell last, was another matter. I dragged my protesting husband out of his sleeping bag:
"Get up!!! Cloud gone!!! We are going UP THERE!!!"
"Baaaaa!" answered a sheep to the left.
"Baaaaa!" confirmed another one to the right.
"Yaaaaawn" said Kevin with only one eye open, but as soon as he saw the clear blue, he was fully awake.
We had a quick coffee cup and breakfast, packed our rucksacks and started off the campsite!
The previous evening we checked MetOffice's forecast and it suggested rain coming to Skye in the late afternoon. That was the main reason why we started so early - we wanted to grab the window of opportunity when it still lasted. We weren't blessed with a long spell of hot weather this year, so every little chance counted!
I kept looking at the Cuillin ridge, dreaming about Am Basteir, but my husband was more reasonable. Even the easiest of the three Nortern Cuillin Munros, Bruach na Frithe, was still a long walk from Sligachan, about 6-7 hours to return, and the cloud was still lingering up around the summits. With the bad weather front coming in the afternoon, maybe it would be better to stay closer to the campsite?...
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On the other hand, the Red Cuillin looked bright and clear, no cloud there whatsoever, and they invited us with open arms. The decision was taken then, we're off to do the Beinn Dearg Twins, also known as the Northern Red Hills...

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Kevin climbed the twins in 1994, early spring. The mountains were still covered in snow then and he managed to produce some nice photos (back in the times when film cameras were still in use). I will use a few of his old photos in this report - just as a comparison. Well, the hills haven't changed so much, but the snow cover always adds something to the views...
Back to the story - the route to the Twins from Sligachan is simple. We followed the main Loch Coruisk path for a short distance, then found a branch of the path that would lead us along the stream, across the moorland and up the shoulder of Druim na Ruaige. The ground, especially on the lower level, is quite wet (and full of sundews :D ), but the path is well visible all the way up.
At the moment, we wrer walking along the pleasant gorge with a whole chain of small waterfalls:
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Crossing the boggy stretch wasn't the best part of the day but having such lovely views around I could cope with the mud...
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Marsco:
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A winter photo from 1994:
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It wasn't much of a challenge to gain height on the steep slopes of Druim na Ruaige:
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Higher on the ridge, the panorama west to the Cuillin was simply stunning...
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Glamaig:
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The first top of the long ridge of Druim na Ruaige (marked on the map as Sron a Bhealain) has a small cairn. We took a short break here, I got my camcorder out of the bag and... discovered that the battery only had 10 min of recording power left!!!! S....t!!!! Double s.....t! I forgot to charge it after the Maidens!
Well, I had to save the precious 10 minutes to record views from the two summits :( To make myself feel better, I posed for a few "I'm the big hill bagger" type photos:
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Honestly, so far the Twins looked a piece of cake, an easy though steepish climb and then, a pleasant walk along the ridge:
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And with some great mountains in sight! Marsco (right), Blaven (middle) and Garb-bheinn (left):
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Further west - the Cuillin, still some cloud hanging about:
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To the north - Glamaig:
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The last 100 m of ascent to the upper ridge was steep and on stony ground, with a lot of small, loose rocks to slow the walker down. Luckily, the path is well-worn all the way up and soon we were standing by the big cairn, which, as I checked on the map, is NOT the true summit of Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach.
The stony slopes:
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Beinn Dearg Mhor still waiting...
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Looking back the way we came:
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Beinn Dearg Mhor and Glamaig ridge behind it, from the false summit:
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1994 version:
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The top may be "false" but the pictures are real :lol: :lol: :
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The true summit lies about 300 metres along the ridge to the southeast:
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And that's how it looked in winter conditions:
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We continued to the true summit, which is a superb viewpoint. I took off my rucksack and decided to take a longer break here. The weather still looked settled enough to risk a little delay...
Besides, who would resist recording all these unbelievable panos?...
Loch Ainort:
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Beinn Dearg Mhor and the sea...
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More distant but still in sight: the Broadford hills:
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Isle of Scalpay:
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Blaven, Garb-bheinn and Belig:
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Winter version:
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The Cuillin ridge has eventually cleared and I imagine that a few people must have tackled the In Pinn that day...
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Sgurr nan Gillean, another notorious peak on Skye:
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Panoramas from the summit of Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach:
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Having rested and enjoyed the first summit of the day, we moved on to tackle the higher hill. Beinn Dearg Mhor, at 731 m, is a Graham, and I must admit, a pretty steep one to climb...
We descended to the bealach between the two hills and I took a good look at the steep slope in front of me. Hmmm... There were a couple of other walkers going up, and at the moment they were maybe 1/3 way up and gaining height quite quickly. I decided to test myself - how fast and how efficient can I be on the steep ascent? Let's try!
I charged the slope with a big desperation :lol: and left my poor husband standing at the bealach, surprised :shock: He followed me soon, taking picture breaks from time to time...
Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach from the slopes of its twin:
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1994 - looking down to the bealach:
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Looking down to Loch Ainort:
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I kept going at my highest gear and in a weird way I enjoyed torturing my poor muscles. I almost managed to catch up with the guys in front of me and arrived on the summit only a couple of minutes after them. I was thirsty like hell but happy nevertheless :lol: :lol:
I found a rock to sit on and waited for Kevin. He turned up soon, with a question written all over his face :lol:
"What was that, a mountain madness?"
"No, just a cat on a hot tin roof, the Red Cuillin version!"
"Why were you in such a hurry?"
"Strange, but I just realised that Beinn Dearg Mhor was the only Skye Red Hill I haven't done yet, so I was racing to complete the Cuillin!"
Well, honestly, I completed the Cuillin! With a small addition... The Red ones :lol: :lol: Still an achievement!
The Red Cuillin cat:
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Our attention was now drawn to the views, and they were great. No comment needed here, just enjoy:
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Squeezing the last seconds of life from my camcorder battery... with the ridge of Glamaig in the background:
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Usually people think of Glamaig as a conicaly-shaped hill, but only from this angle one realises, it has a long S-W ridge (here in the 1994 photo)
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The Maidens were still visible, though the view was hazy:
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The view from Beinn Dearg Mor in winter:
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The summit area is very small as for a Red Hill, but there was enough place to pose for a summit photo:
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We had our lunch at the top of the mountain, enjoying both the short hours of good weather and my success :D Eventually, we got on going, descending from the summit of the Graham to Bealach na Sgairde:
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The descent here is very steep and on a lot of loose scree so care should be taken, especially on a wet day. It is of course possible to reverse our route and ascend this way:
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The return route continues down the steep slope and then along the less steep shoulder of Teanga Mhor:
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Many walkers add Sgurr Mhari, the main summit of Glamaig, to this walk, but we didn't have to as we had climbed Glamaig before (me once, Kevin twice) and I remembered the steep slopes of this Corbett as a very unpleasant experience... They don't look inviting:
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The descent path from the bealach:
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Walking down along Teanga Mhor:
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The Beinn Dearg Twins from the return path:
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The final part of the trek involved crossing some boggy ground, but I took advantage even of this unpleasant bit, by stealing Kevin's camera for a short time and photographing sundews (pics in Wildlife section). Soon, we were back by the stream and looking back to the majestic mountains we have just conquered...
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The return path:
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We took a final break to photograph the waterfalls...
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...and after 6 hours of fantastic Skye Trekking, we landed back in our tent, hungry as a whole pride of lions :lol: We only managed to cook some dinner, when the predicted bad front arrived. We spent the whole late afternoon and evening in the tent, listening to the heavy drops of rain falling from the sky... Knock-knock... It didn't stop for the whole night!
We were real lucky with the short window of opportunity and though we didn't tackle the Black Cuillin, I'm more than satisfied with the Beinn Deargs adventure. These hills are not as difficult as their Black neighbours, but they definitively deserve some advertising!
And as for me - I'm now officially The Red Cuillin Cat. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Skye Trek part 5: Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beinn Dearg Mheadho

Postby ChrisW » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:26 pm

Fantastic BP, so happy to see the sunshine on your holiday and you making the most of it. Love the comparison photo's from 1994 (and the new ones too) Congrats on completing the Cullins......the red ones at least :wink: :D
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ChrisW
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Re: Skye Trek part 5: Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beinn Dearg Mheadho

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:22 am

Looks a good outing, not sure I relish the slog up the Glamaig either
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johnkaysleftleg
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