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Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine


Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:31 pm

Route description: Beinn Sgritheall

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Sgritheall

Date walked: 25/08/2012

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I often think how privileged I am to live in the Highlands with a life flexible enough to follow the weather and climb hills where the odds are on for views from the top. It's not like that for everyone. Penny had to book her holidays in advance and fly up from Oxford and the day after she arrived the previously settled weather was threatened by a low rolling in from the Atlantic. :(

Knowing how much she'd looked forward to this holiday I scoured the weather web sites searching for the least dismal outlook for a hill on Saturday. I considered Lochaber and Glencoe but was eventually drawn to Beinn Sgritheall on the west coast which looked to me to be the Munro with the best chance of good visibility and sun and smallest chance of low cloud and rain. :wink:

We left Inverness shrouded in mist and rain and drove west. Loch Ness was low cloud and rain. Loch Cluanie was low cloud and rain. Kintail was low cloud and rain. We drove through 90 miles of low cloud and rain to Arnisdale and to my amazement (oh ye of little faith) the cloud was lifting and there was no rain! :thumbup:

Loch Hourn at Arnisdale
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We parked in the village and walked back to the signpost marked Beinn Sgritheall which pointed up a muddy path through knee high grass and bracken.

Arnisdale still with cloud about - but it wasn't raining
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We'd been warned this hill was steep from sea level - and that's how it turned out to be!
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We crossed a couple of burns and each time the path seemed to steepen. Part of the way followed an old wire fence which I found useful for hauling myself up. Eventually we reached a grassy hollow which dipped down and over the burn before climbing steeply again. I'd read in someone's report there was an area of respite and kept asking "Do you think this is the respite?". Maybe that was the respite - but if it was it was so short we didn't notice! :lol:

Kath and Penny
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It was humid and sticky but the voracious west coast midge was in business so there was little temptation to take a break. We just kept plodding on - up, up and up... and then we turned round and were rewarded by this.

View over north end of Knoydart to Sleat peninsula and island of Rhum - and blue sky! :D
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We knew the steepest climb was still to come up the scree to the 906 metre top. At the bealach there was a pleasant breeze that gave some midge relief so we sat down for a little energy boosting calorie intake.

Penny with chocolate, which she shared, Jack with a carrot, which he ate all himself.
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WH warned of a turf-clutching crawl and the importance of finding the fingers of grass extending down through the scree. We tried to find the longest finger but maybe we missed it and didn't have so much a turf-clutching crawl as a moving-stone-clutching crawl. :wtf: Not my favourite kind of terrain but it didn't go on for ever and yes it was a relief to reach the cairn at the top of this 'top'!

Beinn na h-Eaglaise from half way up scree
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Jack surveying the way ahead (Kath's pic)
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Kath and Penny in sunshine on 906 metre top with Kintail hills still under cloud
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View south east to Barrisdale Bay and Ladhar Bheinn
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Beinn Sgritheall summit ahead
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Look at that sky! :D
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Over Knoydart to flat-topped island of Eigg
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South over Knoydart to glimpse of Loch Nevis and beyond
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Beinn Sgritheall summit
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Lunch at the summit looking north. Kath is a soft touch with dogs - and they know it. :lol:
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The Sisters and Saddle from Sgritheall
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The way down
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It was steep - right down to the road! :shock:
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Sound of Sleat towards Kylerhea ferry crossing
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The west ridge is steep and rocky
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As we clambered down a knobbly bit I said (unhelpfully as it turned out) "Need to be careful - it's going down that accidents happen" and Penny promptly slipped and fell. She was okay and maintained it was a psychological fall because of what I'd said! :lol:

Penny looking at Skye from start of the descent
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Beinn Sgritheall's west ridge
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Somewhere around here we were overtaken by a young man running. Well to be accurate I spotted someone coming down behind us and going faster than we were going so I got into a layby to let him past but he was very polite and said no it was fine. I hate to think how frustrated he would have been if he'd had to slow down to my geriatric pace! :lol: Anyway we stopped and had a wee blether as you do and I asked if he ever posted on Walkhighlands. I just had a feeling he might be one of the names I know on here. 8) He said he was DavyB who sometimes walks with Dooterbang - and a very nice chap he was too. He had his bike stashed somewhere on the road and we passed him on it later. Cheers DavyB if you read this and hope you had a midge free night camping! :D

Beinn Sgritheall's summit on west side
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A clear path continues down the west ridge to a small lochan where you take a left turn.
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This path down to the road becomes progressively steeper until it disappears into a jungle of birch, rowan and bracken. At times you feel you need a machete as it's difficult to see where to put your next step. :? At one point I took a tumble and grabbed a sapling to stop me rolling down the steep hillside. :shock: The other two were ahead as I stumbled on with jelly legs finding the going more and more unpleasant with insects (midge and flies) buzzing around and parts of the path a quagmire but so overgrown it was difficult to get off it. :? In a group situation the dogs tend to stick wth whoever's in the lead but just when I was feeling fed up and wondering why I do this Jack came back up the path looking for me. It was so good to see him. :D He stayed close to me after that :angel: and gave me a new burst of energy to get down off that steep hillside on to the road for the 3k walk back to the car.

Once on the road it was easy walking back towards Arnisdale. I have a few photos from that part of the walk which I will add in a post.

On the journey home we were back into cloud and drizzle by the time we reached Shiel Bridge. We stopped for a drink at the Cluanie Inn and from the window Ciste Dubh was invisible under thick cloud. So it seemed all my anorak searching of weather web sites had paid off and we had found a Munro not only with a cloud free summit but which had no rain all day and was for most of the time wreathed in sunshine. :D

So a big thank you to the weather men for getting it right on Saturday! :clap: :clap:
Last edited by dogplodder on Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 90 miles through rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:36 pm

Sun still shining out west
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Loch Hourn in late afternoon sun
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Loch Hourn looking west
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Rainbow near Glenelg
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Interesting sky
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby Ranger » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:02 pm

Thanks for posting :D

This one's on my list, might keep it for my last, views look amazing 8)
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:15 pm

Lively, entertaining report Kathleen :clap:

I must say I could look at your photographs all day, they are magnificent :clap: :clap:


As for scree....... :( :(
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby soulminer » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:24 pm

I knew the views were good, but.......... 8)
We saw bu**er all from this mountain, rain drops the size of bloody marbles 3/4 of the way up and down :shock: soup under foot, and saturation point before the steepest of the walk. Brilliant sunshine a Kilometre from the car, people strolling about in Hawaii shirts, shorts,shades and ice-creams :lol: :lol: and we went through misery. Has it stopped us - no As I told a gentleman and his wife once, after passing them- in full hilarity mode, and meeting them on their way up as we were descending- 'It is the Tories fault, Thatcher shut the Asylums and we had no where left to go' :lol:
We will have to revisit for Doogz to tick it off our 'seen bu**er all from' list, hope it is as fine a day as you had.
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:10 pm

Ranger wrote:

This one's on my list, might keep it for my last, views look amazing 8)


Would be a fine one for last! :D

Glenelg Inn is meant to be good for apres climb - but we went on to Cluanie.
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:39 pm

Another great report and stunning photos :D :D
We climbed this hill in the 80s, years before we started counting the munros, so according to our own rules we need to pay it a return visit. On our first visit we had the same conditions as you did so we're saving it for a day when the weather gods are in a good mood. It's a beautiful hill. :D l :D
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby Clach Liath » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:24 pm

dogplodder wrote:Eventually we reached a grassy hollow which dipped down and over the burn before climbing steeply again. I'd read in someone's report there was an area of respite and kept asking "Do you think this is the respite?". Maybe that was the respite - but if it was it was so short we didn't notice! :lol:


Mea culpa! :(

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24605

But in my defence I did say it was "brief"! And it is, and we did not have the midges to fend off either.

dogplodder wrote:
Ranger wrote:

This one's on my list, might keep it for my last, views look amazing 8)


Would be a fine one for last! :D

Glenelg Inn is meant to be good for apres climb - but we went on to Cluanie.


I agree it would be good hill for a compleation. And as you will see from the report above, we resorted to the Glenelg Inn afterwards. :) :)

It looks like the weather you had was the same as that we had on our first ascent all those years ago. :D
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:51 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Lively, entertaining report Kathleen :clap:

I must say I could look at your photographs all day, they are magnificent :clap: :clap:


As for scree....... :( :(


Thanks Pauline - you're such a great encourager! :clap:
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby monty » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:39 pm

Lovely report DP. The photos are excellent. It is a tough relentless ascent from the off. But you know that now :lol:
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:09 pm

When i did this walk it was in rain, wind and clag and have since been told on a few occasions of the stunning views from it. Now i see them, cheers :D
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby quoman » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:33 pm

Stunning picture's dogplodder and it sure does look step
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:57 pm

soulminer wrote:As I told a gentleman and his wife once, after passing them- in full hilarity mode, and meeting them on their way up as we were descending- 'It is the Tories fault, Thatcher shut the Asylums and we had no where left to go' :lol:


:lol:
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:01 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:
We climbed this hill in the 80s, years before we started counting the munros, so according to our own rules we need to pay it a return visit. On our first visit we had the same conditions as you did so we're saving it for a day when the weather gods are in a good mood. It's a beautiful hill. :D


It's a stunning hill but you certainly earn those views with the steepness up and down! :wink: :D
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Re: Through 90 miles of rain to Beinn Sgritheall sunshine

Postby kath098 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 pm

Thanks for another great day in the hills. Looking for a walking buddy on WalkHighlands (and finding you!) was the best thing I ever did! :clap: Lovely to meet Penny, also! :D
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