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Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor

Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor


Postby Helen Bruce » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:57 pm

Route description: Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarain, Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich)

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr an Fhuarain

Date walked: 26/08/2012

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 24 km

Ascent: 1510m

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So here we were, four gals loose on the West Highlands for a long weekend. My pals Sarah and Ruth had come up from Brighton for their summer break, Tess and I both live in Edinburgh. We're the Munro-obsessives, but luckily Sarah and Ruth are more than happy to tag along. We watched the forecast all week - it was obviously not going to be a long spell of settled weather but would it be too bad? Hopes were high of some good days out on the hills - and a few more Munros climbed - rather than a tour of the fleshpots of Fort William in the rain.

On the way north on Thursday, we stopped off at Kinlochleven and had a drizzly afternoon ascent of Na Gruagaichean, with the cloud lifting as we reached the summit (result!) so we had great views of the Grey Corries and Glen Nevis, etc. On Friday morning we woke to heavy rain but MWIS said it would be clearing. It was a bit of a leap of faith to get out of the car by Loch Quoich, but as we reached the summit ridge of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich the rain stopped and cloud lifted a bit so at least we could see which mountain we were on! On Saturday we slogged up the front of Gulvain in thick clag but yet again we got lucky. The summit was in thick mist but as we returned along the ridge the clouds began to lift and within minutes we had expansive, clear views all around for the rest of the afternoon. So, things could have been a lot worse but 3 days of relentless climbs in sweaty waterproofs and humid drizzle from within a cloudy bubble wasn't a great way to spend a holiday.

Finally on Sunday we awoke to clear blue skies. Hoorah!! The forecast was 90% cloud-free Munros so we knew it had to be a big walk and decided Sgurr Mor would fit the bill. I'd never been to Glen Dessary before but had looked across to those Rough Bounds of Knoydart from the surrounding hills and was dying to go there myself. I'd heard long tales from old hill rats (ie, husband and his brother) of wild bothy nights in Pean and Sourlies 30 years ago; it felt like these hills are the real rite of passage for a Munro-bagger!

The drive in from Roy Bridge campsite was idyllic, but long! Loch Arkaig looked fabulous and Tess drove really slowly so that those in the back of the car kept their breakfasts down.
August trip 2012 023.jpg
Finally we reach the end of Loch Arkaig

We set off from the car at 10.00, past the slightly obfuscatory stalking sign telling us that stalking was taking place on that day (on a Sunday? Hmm). Spirits were high as we walked along to Glen Dessary lodge then turned up a small path just past the bridge to climb up and over a wide bealach. It was a bit boggy but not too bad going and we soon had great views over our target, Sgurr Mor. The Corbett, Sgurr an Fhuarain, wasn't part of the original plan but once we saw how straightforward it looked Tess talked us into going for it. Just in case we decided to go for the Corbetts once all the Munros are done, she reckoned it would be good insurance to climb it now.
August trip 2012 033.jpg
Tess having elevenses, Sgurr Mor in the background

We had a quick break for elevenses then down over rough ground to cross the burn in Glen Kingie, an amazingly remote and beautiful glen. Then a steep 500m slog up the grassy side of Sgurr Mor to the ridge separating the two summits. At least it wasn't raining and we had great views to keep us going. Lunch on the ridge at 2pm, then we left our bags by a rock to go out and back to Sgurr an Fhuarain (took about 35 mins including photo taking), then along the ridge and a final climb to the summit of Sgurr Mor.
August trip 2012 052.jpg
Summit cairn of Sgurr an Fhuarain, Gairich and Glen Kingie behind

August trip 2012 055.jpg
Along the ridge to Sgurr Mor

It had clouded over by now but the base was still above Ben Nevis and the views were fabulous, the whole of the West Highlands were spread out around us. It's days like this when you know exactly why you slog up all these mountains, it's such a privilege to be able to look down on such a beautiful part of the world. We saw Ben More on Mull, Eigg, Rum, the Skye Cuillin, Torridon sparkling in the distance, the Shiel Ridge, Ben Nevis and the Mamores, stunning Sgurr na Ciche and so many more. It was the kind of light that doesn't make a great photo, but it was really clear and we spent ages on the summit taking it all in.
August trip 2012 059.jpg
That would be me on the top

It had been such a steep climb up from Glen Kingie that I wasn't really looking forward to the return, fearing for my knees, but in fact the path is great - a zig-zag stalkers' path down via Sgurr Beag to Glen Kingie. Makes it so much easier going! We crossed the burn fairly high up and contoured round so we managed not to lose any height, then back over the bealach to Glen Dessary. By this time my feet were getting a bit sore - it had been a long day and we had a fair way to go still. The path from Glen Dessary lodge to the car seemed to go on forever, but we finally got there at 8.00pm, just 10 hours after starting off. We met 4 other people all day, not bad for a sunny summer weekend! It felt like we had the mountain to ourselves. The others were all doing the route the opposite way around to us, I guess it's all swings and roundabouts. Their ascent would have been much less of a slog than ours, using the stalkers' path, but then they would have had a long crunching downhill from Sgurr Mor to Glen Kingie followed by a short ascent back to the bealach. I probably wouldn't have been persuaded to do the Corbett if we were walking the other way around, might have been more keen to get home!
August trip 2012 071.jpg
Evening at Glen Dessary, Gulvain in the background

So, a long day but a great first forray into those Rough Bounds. We got back to the campsite at 9.30 and made the quickest pasta dinner you can imagine, tasted absolutely fantastic! Next morning it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale, so no hesitation in packing up and going back to Edinburgh. Can't wait to be back to go up Sgurr na Ciche and its neighbours!
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Helen Bruce
 
Posts: 96
Munros:103   Corbetts:57
Donalds:4
Islands:37
Joined: Jul 17, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor

Postby pigeon » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:18 pm

Great stuff Helen,hoping to get this kind of weather when i get round to Sgurr Mor .Done Sgurr na Ciche and the others recently in rubbish weather and seen nothing so i'll bide my time for Sgurr Mor,could be waiting a while though :crazy: A great end to your trip and made good sense to bag the Corbett as well :thumbup:
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pigeon
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1356
Munros:282   Corbetts:92
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Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:2
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Joined: Apr 29, 2010
Location: Linlithgow

Re: Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor

Postby dooterbang » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:34 am

Oh i wish i had taken insurance out and climbed more Corbetts.

Glad you got the weather.

Lovely area around Quioch and Dessary.

I think i'm doing this route in a few weeks.

Cheers.
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dooterbang
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1824
Munros:255   Corbetts:57
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Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:18
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Joined: Oct 27, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor

Postby dogplodder » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:38 am

Reading this report made me want to go straight out and do it! :D
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3445
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Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Four have a jolly nice time on Sgurr Mor

Postby Helen Bruce » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:04 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments. Yes, definitely worth waiting for good weather as this is a long day out and you probably won't be back in this corner of Scotland for a while, given the long road along Loch Arkaig and the long walk in.

I'm looking for a nice, dry and sunny period of settled weather for Sgurr na Ciche!

Re Corbetts, I was surprised how few I've done now that I've counted them up. I had thought that I'd probaby walked across quite a few over the years on the way to a Munro but, funnily enough, most of them are mountains in their own right!
User avatar
Helen Bruce
 
Posts: 96
Munros:103   Corbetts:57
Donalds:4
Islands:37
Joined: Jul 17, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

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