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Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorachain

Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorachain


Postby Helen Bruce » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:47 pm

Route description: Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich

Date walked: 22/10/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1230m

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The second day of our Strathcarron holiday. Our holiday cottage was wonderful - but it was pretty remote. We had no TV or radio, no car radio reception and no smartphones, so getting a forecast was tricky. We Bruces are avid forecast-watchers, we were addicts suffering badly from the sudden and unexpected withdrawal of services. Fortunately our Munro-pal Tess was stuck at work in Edinburgh and (I hope) gaining some vicarious pleasure from hearing about our bagging adventures. She texted us the MWIS highlights every evening and for this day it looked good - over 90% cloud-free Munros! How often does that happen?

We'd climbed Maol Chean-dearg the day before and so decided to head to the other side of Strathcarron. The settled weather tempted us to really stretch ourselves and have a long day - but we were still feeling a bit tired, and in the end we settled for Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain. I had no great expectations of what these hills would be like, but, boy, what a great surprise they turned out to be!

We parked in the Forestry Commission car park at Craig and unloaded the bikes, setting off around 9.30am. It was a clear morning with a nip in the air, a crisp autumnal feel, and across the railway was a great track heading up the glen. Life was good! It's fairly steep and I must admit to pushing a few times, but the thought of the long downhill return kept me going. Views opened up behind us, what a stunning area this is!
Strathcarron Oct 12 037.jpg
Views back to Fuar Toll and Sgorr Ruadh.

After a gate the track deteriorates a bit but it's downhill or flat, lots of rocks dumped to help vehicles over boggy bits, but it's still pretty good. However, we got a bit muddled as to where our route headed off across the river and there was a bit of faffing about for a while - somehow we cycled right past the very obvious cairn at the side of the road and went too far. Anyway, eventually bikes were stowed at the side of the track and we crossed the river on foot, the water was pretty low and we didn't need the wire bridge fortunately. Then there was a gradual and very pleasant hike up to the Bealach Bhearnais. As we reached the top of the bealach it suddenly dawned on me that this was going to be a very special walk - as the Skye Cuillin popped into view. We had our first lunch at this point, contemplating the ridge up to the summit of Sgurr Choinnich behind.
Strathcarron Oct 12 043.jpg
Nice ridge up Sgurr Choinnich

The route was great, views getting better as we went until we reached the summit ridge. WOW! WOW! WOW! We stopped for ages as I snapped away. What could we see? An Teallach, the mountains of Assynt beyond, Fisherfields, Beinn Dearg, Fainnichs, all of Torridon, Skye, Rum, Eigg, the jumble of Kintail, snow on Carn Eige, the Mullardochs, Strathfarrars, and close by was the stunning outline of Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and lumpy Lurg Mhor. Can't wait to climb those two! And it was warm! I was still in my T-shirt in October!
Strathcarron Oct 12 070.jpg
Towards Torridon, Liathach on right

Strathcarron Oct 12 049.jpg
First summit - Sgurr Choinnich

Strathcarron Oct 12 061.jpg
Looking west - Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich foreground, Skye far right.


Finally we headed over towards Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Loch Monar coming into view, and had a second lunch on the top.
Strathcarron Oct 12 076.jpg
Heading to Sgurr a'Chaorachain, above Loch Monar

It did vaguely cross our minds that we could head over to Maoile Lunndaidh since the forestry track back was probably doable in the dark, but to tell the truth I want another reason to come into this glen! It would be great to camp here and head up Maoile Lunndaidh one day, then have a longer trip to Lurg Mhor over Beinn Tarsuinn the next. Something to think about for next summer. Now that I've done over 200 Munros I feel that I want to savour the remaining ones, and not bash on regardless! So finally we headed downhill, a steepish grassy descent but nothing too scary. It was a shame to leave the heights but I'd thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Strathcarron Oct 12 087.jpg
Maoile Lunndaidh and the upper reaches of Glen Fhiodaigh

Strathcarron Oct 12 090.jpg
Heading downhill from Sgurr a'Chaorachain

As we reached the glen there was a bit of a boggy route past some deer wallow holes, then we hopped across the Allt a'Chonais about a kilometre upstream from the wire bridge and headed back to our bikes. A great downhill ride ended a fabulous day - and with dry feet too, a bonus! Back to the car shortly after 4.30pm. Quality Hill Day!
Strathcarron Oct 12 094.jpg
Heading back to the bikes
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Helen Bruce
 
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Re: Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorach

Postby soulminer » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:19 pm

These two provide you with views across some of the finest scenery in Scotland- apart from Assynt 8)
We had a ball up there, along with Maoile Lunndaidh which we did first and came down the ridge you climbed first. I have some fine photos from here, as you must also have now :lol:
A enjoyable report which brought back equally enjoyable memories, cheers.
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soulminer
 
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Re: Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorach

Postby Helen Bruce » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:20 pm

Thanks Soulminder. If these 2 hills didn't involve a 6km walk/cycle in I'm sure they'd be really popular for their views and the really good approach (though I accept my views are a bit rose-coloured thanks to the fabulous weather and easy river crossing we had!)
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Helen Bruce
 
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Re: Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorach

Postby Helen Bruce » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:21 pm

Whoops, sorry, Soulminer, not Soulminder ...
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Helen Bruce
 
Posts: 96
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Two lovely surprises, Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a'Chaorach

Postby LeithySuburbs » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:20 pm

What a cracking report and photos to die for 8) ! I really enjoyed these two this sort of time last year as well :) .
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