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Torridon - the place in the sun
by BlackPanther » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Route description: Beinn Liath Mhor, Achnashellach
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Liath Mhor
Date walked: 22/09/2012
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 14.5 km
Ascent: 1076m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We had been waiting patiently for the perfect autumn day to come - and it came eventually, with the bluest sky for months! Why didn't we have more days like that during the summer??? I know, I know, blame the jet stream
Two days earlier we successfully conquered the hills of Cromdale and I was into hillwalking mood up to my ears The good weather was predicted for most of the country, including the north-west, so Torridon mountains immediately appeared in my mind, tempting and teasing. Hey, I was all for it!!!
Beinn Liath Mhor was the last Torridon Munro on my to-do list (Kevin has done them all, most of them more than once). Since we started climbing together, we were always unlucky with weather in Achnashellach-Lochcarron. My other half called it "The Curse of Glen Carron" Every single time we wandered into this area, we ended up in cloud...
January 2011 - Sgor Ruadh in cloud and snow, not much of a view
July 2011 - Maol Chean-Dearg, cloudy summit, no views
November 2011 - Fuar Tholl, cloudy summit, no views
The curse was finally broken this year in late May, during the famous scorchio weekend, when we climbed An-Ruadh Stac in absolutely agonizing heat - but we had the hill all to ourselves and I managed to see the panoramas for the first time!
Now it was time to take advantage of another splendid day and finally walk up Coire Lair with no cloud obstructing the views!
Most hillwalkers take two in one go, combining Beinn Liath Mhor with Sgor Ruadh but as we had done the latter one before, we could concentrate on one Munro only, walk at a slower pace and enjoy the day. We did this route anticlockwise - it is steeper on the way up but one gets the best views much earlier during the walk:
The walk starts from the car park by Achnashellach Station (almost full, we were the last car to find space to park) and goes past the railway line, through the forest. Soon we were greeted with the familiar view - the crags of Fuar Tholl:
Carn Eite and Creagan Dearg:
The access path to Coire Lair branches off the main track (marked with a small cairn):
After a short, nice walk along the river, we started the first stage of the ascent:
The path is excellent at this point and I felt like I had wings, I basically run up to the more even ground, the entrance to Coire Lair with all its treats. Our target hill was right in front of us:
Sgorr Ruadh looking very dangerous
We turned right (north-east) and followed the path to the bottom of Beinn Liath Mhor. Gazing up, I found the ascent route quite steep but it didn't scare me - I had done worse:
The first taste of the great panos still to come - The Fannichs:
Looking south, Glencarron Munros:
The first 150m of the climb is steep indeed and the path is eroded, but nothing too tackling. Half way up, the angle eases off a bit and one can fully appreciate the beauty of this mountain:
Fuar Tholl, with Wellington's Nose visible at last:
The final push to the first top is on broken rocks but the path can be followed:
...and I found it hard not to stop every five minutes to take a glimpse behind:
Some more great views were now emerging, and I assumed, the walk along the ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor would be a real treat!
Strathconnon hills in the distance:
We reached the cairn of the first top (876m, unnamed on map). I dropped my rucksack on the ground and simply stood there with my mouth wide open It must be one of the best viewpoints in this part of Scotland!!! I pinched myself with disbelief...
Now it's time to show you what we saw...
The Achnashellach twins, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor plus the ridge still to walk... In between them, peeking out, Beinn Damh:
Close up to the Corbett:
Mighty Liathach, proudly presenting its long, rocky ridge:
Further away, Fisherfield mountains plus An Teallach:
...but then my eyes rested on the familiar white shape of Beinn Eighe...
Close up to the part of Beinn Eighe ridge enclosing Coire Mhic Fearchair, the pointy top in the middle being the higher Munro of this mountain, Ruadh Stac Mor:
In front of Beinn Eighe, more modest but also interesting hill, Sgurr Dubh (782m), one of the 5 Corbetts in Torridon area we still haven't done. Now, it's just a matter of time before we scramble to the summit of this one
Posing with Beinn Eighe, all happy and meowing!
We took our first break on this top, the usual tea-and-gingernut-cookies business, we sipped the hot drink and let the views sink in... It was a bit cold, all right, but pleasant enough for a picnic
Eventually we set off to continue to the main summit. Kevin has climbed this mountain once, the usual way, by combining it with Sgorr Ruadh, and he approached the summit from the other side - so he never walked the whole length of the ridge. Now it was time to correct the error
Stunned and enchanted...
I must say, this is the best way to do Beinn Liath Mhor! Especially on a good day, even views aside, this rocky ridge is a delight. No real scrambling involved, there is only one place where hands are needed, most of the time it's just fun!
Looking back to the first top:
The ground on the ridge is stony, a lot of white quartzite rocks:
Shurr Dubh again, with its twin brother Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Beinn Eighe in the background:
Another look at Liathach ridge, this time with Lochan Uaine taking the centre stage:
From another angle:
Back to Fuar Tholl and Loch Coire Lair:
The summit from the middle top (887m):
Some very impressive drops here:
View back to the descent from the middle peak. The scramble-ish section is in the middle of this picture, half way down the slope:
Loch Torridon now clearly visible:
Liathach one more time:
It's a kinda magic...
Back to the Fannichs:
The final climb to the summit is straightforward and the rocky ridge finally culminates high above Loch Torridon, with a big cairn and even bigger views to match it:
Maol-Chean Dearg and An Ruadh Stac:
The ridge we walked:
The summit cairn:
A perfect postcard: Loch Torridon, Beinn Damh to the left, Beinn Alligin to the right...
Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and its lochans:
A couple of panoramas:
It was time now for lunch and we sat by the cairn for ages, could hardly believe we were so lucky with the weather and the views...
On the return route, we descended the NW slope:
Looking along the ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor on the way down:
There is one awkward section on the descent, where the path is very steep and tumbling, hands needed for support - but it is manageable:
Working my way down the tumbling slope:
Looking back to the way we descended, it doesn't seem very walker-friendly:
The path from here goes further NW to join the one descending from Sgorr Ruadh, but as we didn't plan to tackle the other Munro, we cut the corners by walking straight down the slope from the little lochan. The ground is a wee bit wet here but we managed all right:
Down in Coire Lair by the river:
Me on the rock, Beinn Liath Mhor in the background - and one of the best days of hillwalking this year!
We walked all the way along Coire Lair, in the shadow of Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl...
...and returned to the car after 6 hours of fantastic mountain adventures!
One final word... As my chum admitted after doing Beinn Liath Mhor in two different ways, this hill tastes much better when the whole ridgewalk is included. I guess this area doesn't need much advertising from me, it advertises itself Meow!
On Sunday weather was still good (though a bit windier) so we headed for the Fannichs and successfully bagged 3 more Munros. My TR will follow soon
by Graeme D » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:33 pm
"For serious walkers, Wester Ross is heaven". So says a Lonely Planet Walking in Scotland book that sits on our bookshelves, and your report proves what didn't need proved anyway......
Stunning! I can't believe a third year has all but come and gone since I last set foot in Torridon. I feel the clarion call......
by quoman » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:29 pm
by Gordie12 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:30 pm
by wilkiemurray » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:36 pm
Great pics and report
- Posts: 1332
- Joined: Jan 26, 2012
- Location: Perthshire
by PeteR » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:03 pm
by Paula Hubens » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:19 pm
- Posts: 272
- Joined: May 23, 2011
by denfinella » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:41 pm
It really was stunning weather that day. Not even any midges about. I wonder whether you can see yourself in the third photo?
- Fuar Tholl
- Sgorr Ruadh
- Beinn Liath Mhor
- Unbroken sunshine
by skuk007 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:35 pm
by rockhopper » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:26 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:35 am
denfinella wrote:by the way, did you remember seeing a coach parked sideways in the car park, taking up about half the spaces / blocking all the other cars in?
Sure, I do remember this bus, we actually overtook a large group of people on the final stage of the descent (just before the path joins the river side). I assumed the bus was waiting for them There was also a party of mountain bikers on the Coullin path... It was a busy day in Achnashellach indeed... I wondered if there were any other walkhighlanders walking in the same area. Maybe I should start asking every person run into, if they heard about a certain meowing hillmaniac from WH
Torridon is the best hillwalking area in Scotland, maybe apart from Skye. It's where I fell in love in Scottish mountains. I can't imagine a season without visiting this amazing place. Can't wait for the true winter to see the giants in white again!
by dogplodder » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:52 pm
by michaelmcp » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:11 am
Never been walking in the North-west never mind Torridon but my hope was to get up and do An Teallach and Liathach this year - not sure that will happen now with short days now. But next year for sure.
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