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Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite


Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:34 pm

Route description: Slioch, near Kinlochewe

Munros included on this walk: Slioch

Date walked: 02/08/2012

Distance: 19 km

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Kath and I met through this site and found we had a number of things (apart from our names) in common - not least both owning 'rescue' labradors. My Jack and Kath's Charlie are both great natured dogs but they came with issues which have taken some working on. Kath suspects when Charlie was young he wasn't socialised with other dogs with the result that meeting a dog for the first time can make him very agitated. It's what the dog people call fear aggression. The first time we attempted a joint walk with the dogs we introduced Charlie to Tess (thinking a female would be less of a threat to him) but possibly because Charlie was on the lead he barked furiously and Tess was terrified. So we didn't attempt any joint dog walks after that until last Thursday when we were heading off to climb Slioch and Kath had no option but to bring Charlie.

We took separate cars to Incheril and as I drove I was thinking about the best way to handle the dog situation. Jack is not one to start a fight but if he or Tess is threatened he wouldn't hold back. :o Fur flying wasn't going to be the best accompaniment to the day so I was thinking if things got tense Kath and I would have to keep a good distance between us to keep the warring canines apart! We parked at opposite sides of the car park so they didn't see each other through glass which could get them worked up. I let my two out of the car and they were doing the usual checking out of a new place that dogs like to do. Then Kath let Charlie loose. He ran over to Jack who was more interested in his sniffing routine than bothering too much about a new dog. There was a bit of mutual sniffing and marking of territory but no raised hackles and no barking or growling. Tess jumped into the car with tail down but when she saw Jack wasn't bothered she became more confident. For the rest of the day there was peace in the camp, Tess pretty much ignoring Charlie but Jack and Charlie behaving like long lost brothers! :angel:

Slioch is probably the hill I've most looked at and admired over the years (with An Teallach a close second). Going on holiday to Gairloch when the kids were young it looked such an unassailable fortress on the far side of Loch Maree and in those days I thought climbing it would have to involve camping. But then as distances covered increased I realised there was nothing to stop me walking in and climbing it. But I waited a long time because I wanted perfect weather to enjoy the views at their best - views of the Torridons, the Fisherfields and down the length of the loch towards the coast.

Last Thursday MWIS was giving 90% for the north west and we decided this was the day. So I was slightly disappointed with the solid layer of cloud shrouding the tops as we drove over and as we set off there was cloud playing about on the top of Beinn Eighe and the overall impression was of greyness - not quite the weather I'd waited all this time for! :?

Beinn Eighe from Incheril
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There were sheep about so I kept Jack on lead as we followed the path towards Loch Maree. Some parts of the path were through high bracken and one or two places were water-logged but on the whole it was easy walking.

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Walking through a section of native woodland we got our first sighting of Slioch.
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For a while we followed the river until it flowed into Loch Maree.

Dark and brooding Loch Maree
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What concerned me was that cloud sitting up there on our hill! Was Slioch to be the 10% in cloud?
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We crossed the bridge over the Abhainn an Fhasaigh and took a right turn to begin the climb towards Gleann Brannasdail. We detoured slightly to see some of the waterfalls which were full and powerful after recent rain.

Waterfall on Abhainn an Fhasaigh
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The path steepened as we climbed towards the col west of Meall Each. We met a man with his grandson and border terrier who asked if we'd lost our car keys as he'd found a set. They weren't ours so he left them on top of a small cairn and after that we asked everyone we met if they'd lost their keys. By the time we came back down the keys had gone so hopefully the right people got them.

View back to Loch Maree from lip of corrie
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Dog whisperer
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Grassy bowl of Coire na Sleaghaich
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We stopped for food before following the path up to the ridge where the dogs had a swim in the first of the two lochans.

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The path climbs steeply in rocky zig zags from the first lochan
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The two lochans and to the south the Torridons in cloud
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We climbed steeply and found ourselves at the top of the 933 minor top with its tiny cairn, which for a moment struck as an insignificant cairn for a magnicent hill like Slioch. :eh: In our defence it was raining and visibility was reduced! We then walked down to a level grassy area which contained another small lochan.

Summit lochan and the northern top Sgurr an Tuill Bhain
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While looking over towards Sgurr an Tuill Bhain I noticed 5 goats standing in a row watching us
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We walked up to the trig point at 980 metres and didn't realise the true summit at 981 metres was another 5 minutes further on. :? It was raining at this point and there was cloud to the west so the summit cairn was possibly not visible to us. Kath did read out the bit in the WH guide about being blown away by the views to the north ( :lol: ) but she didn't see the bit about the trig point not being the summit so we just assumed we were there. We had talked about completing the round over Sgurr an Tuill Bhain but in the cloud and rain we weren't going to get the superb views of the Fisherfields so we decided to return by the way we came.

Kath and Charlie at trig point
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Loch Maree from trig point - not quite the picture perfect view but at least we could see it!
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The Torridon peaks were in cloud and the Fishefields were invisible so we didn't hang about and dropped down to bypass the minor top we went over on the way up.
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Then the cloud cleared enough to get a pic of the north ridge. :wink:

The north ridge and Sgurr an Tuill Bhain
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Turtle frog rock
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The descent
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What a difference a little sun makes! :D
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On the steep descent to the lochans the dogs walked in line behind Kath and whenever she stopped they waited patiently as if they knew this was no place to be fooling about.
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Torridons now clear
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The walk back to Incheril from the bridge seemed longer on the return. We didn't get the views we'd so long waited for and were a metre short of the highest point.... but it was still a good day. The dogs sheathed any potential spear and are now good buddies - what more could we ask? :D
Last edited by dogplodder on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:52 pm

I thought I'd lost this report so did it again (groan) then discovered I'd posted it before it was finished. What an idiot. :roll:

I've asked for the other one to be deleted so here's soulminer's comment which I didn't want deleted.

Glad you had some views from this one at least :) Pity you didn't carry on to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain it is a particularly pleasing walk as a loop 8), but you can look at my report and see what you missed :lol: I was surprised the goats were that far up :shock: there were about a dozen down by the river on my trip- big hairy/scarey beasties :lol: At least the weather didn't spoil your, and the dogs', enjoyment of the day :)
I lost the picture across to Beinn Eighe from the graveyard, what a place to spend eternity :clap: :lol:
Cheers.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:06 pm

In case of confusion Paul, this one is the correct version!
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:12 pm

Glad to see the dogs got along DP,still to climb Slioch,will be next year now at least for me,will make sure I pass the trig point and reach the cairn,your welcome to tag along when my time comes.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:25 pm

dogplodder wrote:I thought I'd lost this report so did it again (groan) then discovered I'd posted it before it was finished. What an idiot. :roll:

I've asked for the other one to be deleted so here's soulminer's comment which I didn't want deleted.

Glad you had some views from this one at least :) Pity you didn't carry on to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain it is a particularly pleasing walk as a loop 8), but you can look at my report and see what you missed :lol: I was surprised the goats were that far up :shock: there were about a dozen down by the river on my trip- big hairy/scarey beasties :lol: At least the weather didn't spoil your, and the dogs', enjoyment of the day :)
I lost the picture across to Beinn Eighe from the graveyard, what a place to spend eternity :clap: :lol:
Cheers.


I saw your report and was desperately trying to match your pics. Not a hope. :lol: The goats went up to the minor top and watched us walking down to the lochans. I guess life would be dull without walkers to stare at!
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:34 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Glad to see the dogs got along DP,still to climb Slioch,will be next year now at least for me,will make sure I pass the trig point and reach the cairn,your welcome to tag along when my time comes.


I would love to if the dates work out! :D When I realised I'd not been to the proper top I thought it was a hill I wouldn't mind doing again and hopefully do the round next time.

Mind you I'm counting it as "done"! :lol:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby rohan » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:41 pm

We met a man with his grandson and border terrier who asked if we'd lost our car keys as he'd found a set. They weren't ours so he left them on top of a small cairn and after that we asked everyone we met if they'd lost their keys. By the time we came back down the keys had gone so hopefully the right people got them.

I was with a compleation party on 28th July. One of the party lost their car keys... I wonder if these were them.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:47 pm

rohan wrote:
We met a man with his grandson and border terrier who asked if we'd lost our car keys as he'd found a set. They weren't ours so he left them on top of a small cairn and after that we asked everyone we met if they'd lost their keys. By the time we came back down the keys had gone so hopefully the right people got them.

I was with a compleation party on 28th July. One of the party lost their car keys... I wonder if these were them.


The keys had an Irish tag on them. Does that sound right? When we got back to the cairn they were left on they had gone so possibly someone took them down to hand in to police.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby rohan » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:49 pm

The keys had an Irish tag on them. Does that sound right? When we got back to the cairn they were left on they had gone so possibly someone took them down to hand in to police.

Dunno, I only found out that he had lost his keys after I got home. I am assuming he has now got to his spare set as he was a long way from home. There were 21 on the walk so he was well looked after. I hope it didn't put him off walking as this was his first Munro.
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby morag1 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:57 am

Hi Kathleen, wasnt sure which report to reply to so chose this one :lol:

Well done on another great walk with great photos to show for your day. Nice to see the dogs all getting on and enjoying themselves. Wonder if you will go back sometime to finish it off :think:

I dont really know this part of Scotland so will file your report away for when i eventually get myself there :thumbup:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:39 am

Such a shame about the weather :( Slioch has fantastic views north to Loch Maree and the Fisherfield hills. But even without seeing the panos, still a great mountain.

I guess not reaching the true summit will work in your favour - a good excuse to come back and do it again :lol: :lol:
It looks like many walkers are confused by the trig point on the lower top and assume it is the true summit. We did Slioch in May this year, when we were taking a break by the summit cairn we saw a group of walkers arrive by the trig point. They wandered around for five minutes, posed for some pictures and... started descending back the way they came. We were too far away to shout at them, they probably didn't realize they missed the true summit. To their excuse, the day wasn't great, snow showers and very cold as for May.

Anyway, I like your attitude, counting stuff as "done" if you were close enough :D Kevin keeps saying he did climb Beinn Dearg on Skye and should actually tick it off his list - he climbed the mountain but not the In Pinn, but it's just a few vertical metres so who cares :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby kath098 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:33 am

I have ticked it as 'done', too, but would love to climb it again and do the whole horseshoe ridge on a day when the promised magnificent views could be realised.

Thanks for another great day out! :clap:

PS Kind of you to fail to mention Charlie stealing your lunch! :wink:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:52 pm

rohan wrote:Dunno, I only found out that he had lost his keys after I got home. I am assuming he has now got to his spare set as he was a long way from home. There were 21 on the walk so he was well looked after. I hope it didn't put him off walking as this was his first Munro.


I've an almost irrational fear of getting back to the car to find I've lost my keys in some bog.... so feel for the guy. Shouldn't put him off walking though and a great one to do for his first. :clap:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:59 pm

morag1 wrote:Well done on another great walk with great photos to show for your day. Nice to see the dogs all getting on and enjoying themselves. Wonder if you will go back sometime to finish it off :think:

I dont really know this part of Scotland so will file your report away for when i eventually get myself there :thumbup:


Yes Jack and Charlie were like a pair of book ends. :angel: I'd like to go back and do it again - maybe with someone who's not been and I can show them the way! :roll: :lol:
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Re: Slioch - the end of the spear but not quite

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:52 pm

Oh this is lovely - its 13 years since I was on Slioch with 2 very different dogs and a lovely sunny day - so lots of people for the dogs to beg from when we stopped for lunch :crazy: :crazy:

Your photos are brilliant - love the goats (which I don't remember from that trip, but then at my age what can you expect of a memory :lol: :lol: ) and glad the dogs decided to be devoted members of the same pack :D :D

Wouldn't mind a return trip myself.
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