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Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2


Postby Clach Liath » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ladhar Bheinn

Date walked: 21/10/2012

Time taken: 15.25 hours

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The TR on day 1 of this trip can be found here:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=26498

Day 2 - 21 October 2012

I finally woke up at around 6.30am. Outside it was still dark. I let Jet out of the tent for a sniff etc and set about breakfast. Having mixed the porridge with the bit of milk I was carrying, disaster! The ciggy lighter would not work. So not only did Jet have his biscuits but he also lapped up the porridge flakes and milk with relish. I was left with cold water and more flapjack!

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Luinne Bheinn at sunrise from the eyrie


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Ladhair Bheinn from the eyrie


I did not want to start out before it was light enough to walk with a head torch. The coire is very rough with steep slabs and cliffs. Especially with the heavier pack I needed full visibility. The plan was to descend further to the junction of the Allt nan Coireachan Leacach and then see if was possible to traverse the lower slopes of Luinne Bheinn back towards the Mam Barisdale. In the initial descent it was easy to dodge the slabs. Near the bottom, however, I managed to find myself tangled up in slabs. That required some careful down scrambling through oozing grassy steps and wet rock. Jet's claws skittered on the rock, but we were down. I refilled the water bottle at the stream junction and had more to drink. I still felt thirsty.

IMG_5043.JPG
Looking back to the coire on Meall Bhuidhe where I camped


I crossed the streams and followed wet deer tracks most of the way across the 2k to the Mam Barrisdale path at around the 400m contour. We saw several groups of deer - Jet was fascinated. He normally runs a mile when he sees cattle or horses. Here he just stared and sniffed the air. Going around one small crag we came face to face with a solo stag. He promptly turned and trotted away. We followed but he soon disappeared from view.

It was 10am by the time we reached the cairn at the top of Mam Barrisdale. We had been at the same point 20 hours earlier. I did have the choice now of descending to Barisdale and walking out – perhaps 5 hours to Kinloch Hourn. That was not such a silly idea. I was due back at work in Yorkshire for meetings the following morning. But such a decision was never really on. It was such a fine day. How many such days do you get in October in Knoydart?

IMG_5044.JPG
Loch an Dubh-Lochan from the Mam Barrisdale path


IMG_5045.JPG
Back to Meall Bhuidhe


IMG_5046.JPG
The way to Ladhar Bheinn - the route to the ridge takes the line just to the left of the main point on the right


So after a further brief refreshment stop, we headed north west around a few humps en route for Coire a'Phuil. Stob a'Chearcaill has steep, broken ground on most sides. However, it is possible to make a grassy ascent beside a stream to the 805m col between points 840 and 849. This is what I was aiming for. We stopped for lunch at the foot of the climb. Deer milled around in the depths of the coire below seemingly oblivious to our presence. It was pleasant in the sun. The sun still held some warmth but the air held the signs of winter.

Although I was trying to keep fluid intake up, I still felt thirsty even after downing ½l of water. And in a sign that was not good, I was not feeling that hungry.

After ½ hour we moved on. The climb up to the 805m col I found to be hard work. By the end I was having to stop to rest every couple of minutes. Jet looked back at me wondering why I was not following. But eventually the col arrived and with it some stupendous views. Wow!

IMG_5053.JPG
Beinn Sgritheall comes into view - from the col at 805m


A short easy angled climb brought us to point 849.

IMG_5059.JPG
The Corbett, Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, to the south west


IMG_5060.JPG
The classic view of Ladhar Bheinn from point 849m


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The Saddle, Sgurr Fhuaran etc


The ridge ahead to Ladhair Bheinn is over 2k in length and there are some significant ups and downs leading to a further 340m or so of ascent. I had previously done this route in reverse. I remembered the ups and downs but not the scrambling. A word of warning for those with dogs – there are a few tricky places where a dog is likely to require help to get over or around obstacles. Jet is quite adept at this but there were three places where he needed help and two where he looked decidedly unhappy.

The route is airy and brilliant. Views either side to Loch Hourn to the north and the southern Knoydart peninsula and the sea on the other side were stunning. Poor old Skye and Rum were enveloped in cloud as were Sgurr nan Ciche and Sgurr Mor from time to time. As is often the case the seaboard seemed to be having the best of the weather.

I had greedily hoped to have the mountain to myself. But from the col just beyond point 858 I made out a figure at the point where the ridge from Stob a'Choire Odhair joins. By the time I reached that point it was 2.15pm. The figure had disappeared from view, but as I reached the cairned summit I saw in fact two people at or approaching the trig point further along the ridge.

The previous time I had been to the top of Ladhair Bheinn the top had also been clear and I had gone to the trig point – which is probably the better viewpoint. I was too tired to bother this time. I flopped next to the cairn and took off the heavy pack. Jet usually stops at cairns to wait for me. I like to think he is just waiting for me to catch up, but I suspect he knows that the area around cairns is a good spot to scavenge for food.

IMG_5069.JPG
Jet on the east top of the summit ridge


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View down the ridge to Stob a'Choire Odhair


IMG_5071.JPG
Ridge to the trig point


IMG_5073.JPG
Jet on summit


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Sgurr Coire Choinnichean


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Beinn Sgritheall


Having made the effort to reach this point, I was reluctant to move on quickly. But I was also conscious that I was still a long way from the road head and even further from Yorkshire. I tried to work out some timings – 6 hours to Kinloch Hourn, 1 hour to Invergarry, ½ hour to Fort William, 5½ hours home. OK that would give me about 4 hours sleep at home perhaps. I could survive on that.

I did not eat much but I drank to ease the thirst. I just sat and sat wondering at the views. The twosome had disappeared. I had the mountain to myself. I imagined that I was here alone with not a soul within miles or hours of where I was sitting. The sun shone. The breeze was chill. I needed to go. After 30 minutes on the summit, I left at 2.45pm and turned north down the ridge to Stob a'Choire Odhair. It is pleasingly narrow, a bit loose in places with a few small steps to navigate. The ridge rears up to the Munro top. A few large rocks had me groaning (and moaning) with the effort to surmount them. Had this been the beginning of the day I am sure that I would have skipped up them. After this top the ridge then begins its long, long drop.

IMG_5080.JPG
Summit ridge from Stob a'Choire Odhair


IMG_5081.JPG
Coire Dhorrcail cliffs


There is a path. At the 700m contour ring the path changes direction and goes east. I wearily made my way down.

IMG_5082.JPG
Upper Loch Hourn


Soon after this point, as the hillside steepens, the path becomes indistinct. If it carries on, then I lost it.

By now I could see the end of the stalker's path into Coire Dhorracail. But the ground was tussocky and uneven and wet. At one point a foot slipped and I fell but the pack on my back cushioned the impact (one advantage I guess!). I splashed my way across the coire in a bee line towards the end of the stalker's path. The river was not difficult to cross. As I had run out of water I refilled my bottle and had another long drink. I could not seem to get rid of that thirst.

To begin with the path was disappointingly wet. But it improved fairly quickly. And the walk through birch and alder was beautiful. The sun was now low in the sky, highlighting the autumnal colours. The path passes above a gorge before rising and swinging over the end of Creag Bheithe.

IMG_5089.JPG
Sun setting on Beinn Sgritheall


The path then deteriorates (possibly because it is now back on Barisdale Estate land?) before descending a series of switch backs. This section was heavily overgrown with bracken which both made seeing where to go difficult and tangled around my ankles – which did not help my humour at that time.

The path then swings away from what appears to be the right direction. But it leads to a crossing point over a stream near a sheepfold. The crossing was easy but made for an excuse for another brief stop for a drink. At low tide (which it was when I was there) it is possible apparently to cross the sand at the head of the Bay as a short cut, provided the rivers are low enough. I was not going to risk that. From that point the path continues south eastwards across marshy land but, as there is evidence vehicular use, the way is relatively firm. I proceeded with grim determination back to the bridge over the River Barrisdale and turned left over the bridge, past the Bothy and stalker's cottage and the long mile past the Lodge to the junction with the coastal path.

It was now almost dark. I took off my pack and sat on it. The day was perfectly still. There was barely a breath of wind. More cries of waterfowl occasionally echoed; stags continued to roar. The Loch was flat. The silhouette of Ladhar Bheinn rose up to my left, the ups and downs of the ridge we had been on earlier etched against the dark blue of the sky. Stars twinkled and the moon was rising over Luinne Bheinn. Some lingering orange light from the sun was reflected on the water away ahead of me. It was stunning, but I found it difficult to enjoy.

IMG_5090.jpg
Ladhar Bheinn summit ridge silhouetted against the evening sky


IMG_5092.JPG
Moon rise over Luinne Bheinn


I was b#@@*¬*d and not looking forward to the walk to Kinloch Hourn in the dark. And then Jet came bounding up to me with a stick in his mouth and dropped it at my feet. "Please throw it for me". I almost cried.
I put on my head torch. There is little that I can say about the return along the Loch. It was interminable after such a long day. My legs were dead, my feet sore, my mouth parched. I felt rather than saw the presence of the Loch. The ups and downs seemed longer, the loose stones on the path treacherous, the brief level sections a relief. I eventually reached my car at 11.05pm – probably 2 hours later than I had estimated at the top of Ladhar Bheinn. All I had to do now was to get to work for 9.00am – was that going to be possible?

Post Script

Well done and thank you if you have made it this far! I've gone on a bit.

I had forgotten exactly how rough the ground in Knoydart is, so underestimated the time taken to achieve certain objectives on occasion, not helped by the heavier than usual weight being carried (including all those dog biscuits!).

I obviously got myself dehydrated on the first day, but still do not fully understand why I was unable to rehydrate properly.

The circuit would have been better with another part day, either for the walk in or the walk out, but I did not have the luxury of that time as it happened.

I made my 9.30am meeting having been home to shower and change!
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Last edited by Clach Liath on Tue May 14, 2013 3:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Clach Liath
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby mrssanta » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:22 pm

that's a huge trip to do in one weekend from Yorkshire - I'm very impressed, I do hope you have recovered fully.
We always carry 3 or 4 boxes of matches as well as a lighter as it's awful if you cant light the stove!
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby monty » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:40 pm

That's a long day on the hills. Not the kind of hills to be walking in the dark though :lol: Again they are more demanding than I gave them credit for. That meeting must have been terribly important or else your a nutter :lol: :lol:
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:45 pm

Wonderfull TR,CL,looks a stunning place & best of all,a great friend to walk with you,does not get much better.
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby dawnfoth » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:23 pm

Hi, absolutely brilliant report! Well Done on travelling so far for that awesome epic adventure! :D Nice pics too

It sounds like you were dehydrated before you started out and your body is using and losing water all the time, whatever you drank would not make up for it. I recommend a Platypus or similar waterbottle with a hose which means you do not have to stop, or you can stop but don't have to take your pack off every 5 minutes! :roll: I use a 3l one and swear by it - in fact a couple of months ago I forgot it and had to use containers of water in my pack. I missed the thing terribly and endeavour never to leave it behind again! I drink around 2-3l per day trip and if I know its going to be a stonking hot day, then I take an empty container for stream water just in case. Oh and water weight 1l = 1kg...

Have you tried the dehydrated meals or indeed the ready made ones? The dehydrated ones are good, but the only downside is you require extra water to make one....

The ready made ones are very good for several reasons. If you forget your matches or your gas doesn't want to ignite, then at least you will have a meal (though its not hot its still filled with all that goodness). Glad you had Jet to clean up your mess :lol:

Invest in a wee Leatherman - scissors and a knife and for those rainy nights, you can even file your nails :D

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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby ChrisW » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:12 pm

wow- what an enjoyable read CL, combined with part one this makes for a wonderful weekend report :clap: I'm not sure about the rehydration (or lack of) but it may be directly connected to humidity levels, I really suffer out here in Calgary with incredibly low humidity. If I continue drinking even when not thirsty I can stay on top of it, but if I wait for the thirst I seem to be chasing it all day (I've even made myself sick with drinking too much :roll: ) Though I'm not sure how you would get a drop in humidity overnight after a rainy day :?

Anyway, great report, I'm so glad the weather picked up for day two as you deserve it for the effort. Well done on getting back for your meeting too...just. :lol:

Lastly, what a beautiful dog :D
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby rockhopper » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:16 pm

Have just read through parts 1 and 2 - really enjoyed your account of a cracking trip :thumbup: Am hoping to get up here next year and will refer back to your WR for info - cheers :)
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:47 pm

Three cracking reports of one of the best areas i've been to. Think i'll give them a go from Barrisdale if i ever return to do them. :D
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Bod » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:29 am

Aye Clach Liath, wonderful stuff......I can't wait to get organised to go walking in Knoydart again :D :D :clap:
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:17 am

mrssanta wrote:that's a huge trip to do in one weekend from Yorkshire - I'm very impressed, I do hope you have recovered fully.
We always carry 3 or 4 boxes of matches as well as a lighter as it's awful if you cant light the stove!


Yes - a big trip. But I am on a bit of a mission at the moment. I have recovered physically thanks - Mrs CL doubts my sanity though (see Monty comment above). :wink: :lol:
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:19 am

monty wrote:That's a long day on the hills. Not the kind of hills to be walking in the dark though :lol: Again they are more demanding than I gave them credit for. That meeting must have been terribly important or else your a nutter :lol: :lol:


Fortunately most of the walking in the dark was on the coastal path. As for the final sentence of your comment, "pot", kettle" and "black" come to mind... :wink: :wink: You will have to make up your own mind if we ever meet :lol: :lol:
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:21 am

gammy leg walker wrote:Wonderfull TR,CL,looks a stunning place & best of all,a great friend to walk with you,does not get much better.


Too true, too true....
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:28 am

Thanks Dawn. Yeh - I should have known a bit better, but it was a bit of a lst minute decision to go (well that's the best excuse I can come up with for the moment). I have never really taken to platypuses and I'm a bit too scrooge like to buy the boil in the bag meals. I'll think about a Leatherman or equivalent.... Xmas is coming up so perhaps Santa might assist. :D Not sure about that nail comment though :lol:
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:31 am

ChrisW wrote:wow- what an enjoyable read CL, combined with part one this makes for a wonderful weekend report :clap:

Anyway, great report, I'm so glad the weather picked up for day two as you deserve it for the effort. Well done on getting back for your meeting too...just. :lol:


Thanks Chris - it was a great experience, particularly in retrospect :lol:

ChrisW wrote:Lastly, what a beautiful dog :D


And a faithful companion. I just cannot tire him out.
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Re: Jet 'n me and the Knoydart 3 - pt 2

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:32 am

rockhopper wrote:Have just read through parts 1 and 2 - really enjoyed your account of a cracking trip :thumbup: Am hoping to get up here next year and will refer back to your WR for info - cheers :)


My pleasure :)
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