Blown away on Moruisg
by PeteR » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:21 pm
Route description: Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
Munros included on this walk: Moruisg
Date walked: 10/02/20131 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
With the weather being what is has been lately I had a number of options lined up, taking in the east and the west. The eventual destination was Moruisg on the Sunday – a long drive, but if the Met Office was right I had the expectation of some reasonable conditions. Might even see the sun
Rather than bag this Munro by the standard ‘baggers’ route I had hatched a plan for an alternative, and longer, approach via Gleann Fhoidhaig, climbing a stalkers path that zigs and zags its way up a spur close to Glenuaig lodge. Depending on fitness and conditions I was then considering tacking on the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. Well I can tell you now that both fitness and conditions dictated that I would not be tacking on the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean on this particular trip One for a return trip
Despite being a long walk in the track that took me all the way to Glenuaig lodge is a pretty good one. Having satisfied myself that I had the necessary permission from Railtrack I made my way over the railway and started the walk along the track. The initial stages are a bit grim, as the track makes a gradual, but persistently steep enough rise up to a gated fence just before reaching the crest at the foot of the craggy face of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. The good thing though is that it gave the opportunity to take a rest and enough the views back to Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor
As the track bears right to drop down toward the Allt a’Chonais and then the Pollan Buidhe it becomes a bit rougher and on this occasion the further I headed into the Gleann the quantity of snow and ice on the track increased. It was never that bad, but as my recent experience has shown me, a bit of care is always required
But I was able to enjoy the great views ahead of Sgurr Chonnich, Sgurr a’Chorachain, Sgurr na Feartaig and finally Maoile Lunndaidh as my made my further into the Gleann. All looking sweet in their covering of snow
Walking into Gleann Fhoidhaig the weather was pretty much as the Met Office had suggested, but I could see dark clouds a-gathering to the east and they were spilling over Sgurr Chonnich, Sgurr a’Chorachain to the south of the Gleann as well. The Met Office seemed to have it spot on and thoughts of the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean were looking forlorn I’d rather enjoy my time bagging the one hill than trying to force the pace and bag the two. As is often said on this site, the hills will still be there tomorrow
I was surprised at the strength of the wind, even at this lower level, which was buffeting me a fair bit at times. It had induced a fleeting temptation to quit, but I’d travelled a long way and it was too early yet to throw in the towel. So onward I went.
Stopped at the small shelter by the lodge at Glenuaig for a quick rest and sustenance before girding my loins to tackle the small matter of the stalkers path Suddenly it all looked very steep from such close quarters As I was getting ready to leave the shelter I’d given myself a target time – see where I was by then and then decide whether to continue or head back down. The cloud was definitely winning the day, and so discretion and common sense were my watchwords.
Having said it looked steep, the initial section was ok as I made my way up over rocks and grass before locating the path proper a little higher up. Then it got a good bit steeper. I wouldn’t say that the path was clogged with snow, but there was enough. Progress was easiest made by walking along the outer edge where there was less snow. There were some places where the drifts were enough to temporarily halt my progress and lead me to scramble up and over snowy ribs in order to bypass the worst of it.
At about the 520 meter mark I hit the worst of the drifts, at a point where the path dropped down to cross a small burn. There was clearly no way I was ploughing through that!!!! The first couple of attempts soon made me realise that as I not only sank into the deep snow, but knew I would risk sliding down a fairly steep drop if the snow gave way This did induce another fleeting temptation to quit, but as I said before, I’d driven a long way for this walk and I wasn’t wanting the throw in the towel just yet. So I spied a route up a snowy, grassy, rake in order to bypass the worst of the snow.
At about the 600 meter point my route skirted back close by the stalkers path, so I was able to make the short detour to get back onto it. Still the same issue with snow drifts in places and I was still walking on the edge to avoid the deeper snow, but from this point on there were no difficulties and no more fleeting temptations to quit.
Eventually the stalkers path came to an end at the 750 meter mark. From here I could see the summit dome of Moruisg ahead of me. I could also see a nasty black cloud a-headed my way, so despite the natural contour of the ridge leading round Coire Beithe to point 872 I made a direct route ahead to Moruisg as fast as I could get my legs to work – which wasn’t very (fast that is ). This direct route entailed a slight drop down initially before the pull up onto the summit itself, but eventually I had made it.
The wind, which had been pretty keen on the approach into Gleann Fhoidhaig was now extremely keen By the time I hit the summit it was fair blowing a gale and doing its level best to knock me off my feet. This it managed to some effect a few moments after touching the true summit cairn, as I made my way to the other cairn on the summit just a few yards away Try as I might to avoid the large patches of ice on the summit there seemed to be an inevitability to the wind pushing me toward the ice A quick slip and then a hefty thud and I was down The ground was hard as iron, so sadly the only thing that could give was my knee I think round these parts they would call it a sore yun And it still is
Thankfully it was no more that a good crack to the knee, rather than anything more serious. Before beating a hasty retreat off the summit I took a short video clip especially to show MrsR just how windy it was Oh how she appreciated that little gesture Here it is for your delectation too
Oh yeah, as well as blowing quite a gale on the summit it was absolutely freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing I’d discovered earlier that I’d not packed by buff, which usually provides a bit of protection to the face when the wind is up. So the face was open to the elements and feeling the chill. The beard didn’t make much difference either and at times simply breathing was a challenge, as my lungs were chocked by the force of the wind blowing in my face And then there was the sandblasting that the face was taking too as I was bombarded by a myriad of tiny, icy flakes
The descent off the hill by via the same route up, with the wind relenting as I lost height. Much as I would have liked to tackle the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean the weather was definitely on the turn and so common sense had to prevail. With the weather closing in that would not have been a pleasant experience I don’t think
Thankfully for me this meant no further dramas and it was a relatively quick and easy drop back down through snow showers to Glenuaig Lodge and shelter. Had a further short stop at the shelter before getting myself ready for the long walk back. Struggled a bit to get my rhythm going, but then by now the three weeks off the hills was starting to show.
The walk back was accompanied by fairly constant snow flurries, but never anything too bad. There were quite a few deer about and I was noticing a reluctance on their part to scarper as I approached. As a result I don’t think I have ever stood so close to a group of young stags as I had today Quite impressive and they even posed nicely for a photo or two
It was some relief to finally be back at the car. All in all though this was a good day on the hills, in an area I have come to really enjoy since my first visit just over a year ago. It’s just a case now of two Munro’s and three Corbett’s I think and then this little group of hills should be done
And that was Moruisg I’d had to dig this one out a bit, but despite a couple of moments of temptation when thoughts of quitting had entered my head I was pleased to have this red balloon turned to blue on my map
by rockhopper » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:25 am
by ChrisW » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:05 am
Congratulations on keeping your camera steady in that windy summit vid, by the sound of it you could have been blown over
by kevsbald » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:44 am
that's a great effort. Those hills over towards Fuar Thol look great in your shots.
I'm hopeful I'll get something done in this area soon. Awkward drive for us WoScotlanders.
by weaselmaster » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:12 pm
Well done for getting round, despite having to leave the sad munro-that-isn't-any-longer unclimbed.
I'll be up that way for a week in the summer, so am putting together a list of possible ones to do - should be less chilly by then
by ed_hill » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:16 pm
by Silverhill » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:50 pm
Well done for persisting!
by pigeon » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:07 pm
by soapy27 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:17 pm
by gammy leg walker » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:43 pm