More bliss on Moruisg
by BlackPanther » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:38 pm
Route description: Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
Munros included on this walk: Moruisg
Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
Date walked: 31/03/2013
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 11.9 km
Ascent: 1035m2 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).
Two days on the hills in sunny weather left me on such a high that staying home for Easter Sunday was out of question, especially when I caught the forecast. So bags were packed and off we went again!
I wanted to go back to Knoydart, but the best conditions were a bit further east and north, so we searched mountain books and WH walks for something appropriate and not too long. We found a perfect pair of hills, only a short drive from home: Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. The latter one used to be a Munro but was downgraded to a Corbett after being re-measured as less than 3000 feet. It made no difference to us - a mountain is a mountain
This duo has a bad reputation for having a very wet approach. WH walk description classifies this route as "A swamp. Snorkel recommended." other sources also mention lots of boggy ground on the initial stage of the ascent to Moruisg. Therefore, tackling these hills in frosty conditions seemed a good move - and it was indeed. Needless to say, the swamp was frozen solid and I can highly recommend doing Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean duo on a cold day - really makes things easier!
When reading about our target hills the evening before, I came across this sentence in "The high mountains of Britain and Ireland", referring to the summit of Moruisg:
"As the views from the cairn are uninspiring, the return was usually a quick dash down the hill..."
It's not my intention to argue with the author, but what we experienced was far, far away from uninspiring. It was a magnificent panorama of surrounding hills - Moruisg is placed perfectly between Torridon and the remote peaks surrounding Loch Monar. Uninspiring? Definitely disagree!!!!!
The walk is a circular but most folks tackle it clockwise. This way, one makes most of the ascent in the first couple of hours, and the rest of the route is simply an enjoyable ridge traverse We followed the herd
There is a large layby just west of the bridge over the Allt Coire Crubaidh. A good path has been made tot he bridge, but past the railway crossing it's all bog feast (or it would be if temperature went higher):
The path to the bridge:
I was so glad to discover that the ground was frozen. We moved much faster without having to drag our feet out of the bog!
Very quickly, other hills entered the stage. Fuar Tholl was first to appear:
...and it was quickly joined by its brother Sgor Ruadh:
The angle of the climb wasn't too bad to start with, but the ground steepened as we pushed up. We aimed for the narrow "slice" of land between two gullies and although it looked very white higher up, we didn't worry, we had crampons packed in, in case the surface turned icy.
As long, as we walked in sunshine, it felt almost springlike...
...but at some point we entered the shadow zone and only the muscle workout kept us warm!
It was a steep, painstaking climb, but I knew that if I stopped I would very quickly lose all the heat, so I kept on going!
I was encouraged by the appearance of my fav hill on the horizon - welcome, Mr Eighe!
The angle is acute, yes, but the ground is grassy, some heather in places, so no technical problems, no scrambling, thankfully...
Higher up, there was some snow, but mostly very soft cover, and enough vegetation peeked through to make it easy to find the route:
The first taste of what was yet to come...
The gully to the right hand side (as one faces the summit) is an impressive, steep drop, decorated by some just as impressive icicles. Kevin moved closer to the edge to get a good picture and I almost panicked - I was worried he could slip and fall into the gully. An overprotective wife
The icy world:
The acute angle eased off at about 700m and all that's left now was a 200m ascent up the snow:
The snow was still soft enough to walk on it without crampons and as we were now back in the sun, it felt much warmer. We stopped for a few minutes to rehydrate and take a few photos...
That's the above mentioned uninspiring view
Close up to Fuar Tholl...
...Beinn Liath Mhor (which is a long, high ridge - this angle doesn't really show the true shape of this Munro)...
...Slioch and Letterewes...
...mighty An Teallach...
...so you can have all this for the price of some huffing and puffing Good deal, I must say.
The final ascent to the summit of Moruisg didn't take us a lot of time:
I'm not 100% sure which point of the summit plateau is the true Munro top, but as we traversed the mountain, it didn't matter. We must have walked over the highest point
But first, we arrived by a large summit cairn, where we dropped our rucksacks and spent about 20 minutes wandering about with cameras, even though it was cold and the wind picked up slightly. Forget the cold, how could we miss the opportunity to enjoy such a magnificent scenery?
I felt blood warming in my veins, the BLISS was definitely continuing, I was in the zone...
The hill we climbed the day before - Beinn Airigh Charr and Loch Maree:
Looking east to Carn Gorm and Cnoc na Moine:
But the true revelation was to the south - the remote Monar area:
There are three Munros situated "behind" Moruisg, across Gleann Fiodhaig, forming a long ridge:
...out of the three, Maoile Lunndaidh is the most impressive and the remotest. I've been thinking about this one for a while but considered it a bit too long a walk for me, but now, having seen it with my very eyes, I want to get up there!
Well, if I dream about finishing the Munros, it has to be climbed at some point. At the moment, I enjoyed conquering No. 96!
As I had mentioned before, we wanted to make sure we reached the true summit, so we traversed the plateau to the opposite end, where we found a smaller cairn - is this the top? Just in case, I took a picture here, too:
Looking west to Sgurr nan Ceannaichean from the western end of the plateau:
The Monar Twins, Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain. A complete traverse from Craig - about 20km. Definitely doable!
There are so many mountains in this area... Lots of hardly accessible, tricky hills... Plenty of peaks to meow on the summit
I couldn't take my eyes of Maoile Lunndaidh:
The Torridons again:
Ready for the ridge traverse - the icing on the cake of this circuit:
Close-up to Sgurr nan Ceannaichean:
It was very cold now so I swapped my thinner gloves for double-insulated winter ones, they keep me warm but make operating the camera a real challenge Beep-beep! Again, I pressed the wrong button
The traverse follows the ridge west, and the walk will take you along the steep drops to Coire Toll nam Bian:
Back to Moruisg:
The drop between the two hills is just about enough to make them both count as separate peaks - Sgurr nan Ceannaichean is a Corbett:
View from the col south to Monar hills:
Moruisg from the slopes of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean:
The final climb. Lots of soft snow but also ice underneath. We managed all right on the way up, but we knew that on descent we would need spikes:
Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, though only a Corbett now, is definitely the more interesting of the two tops, with its steep slopes - views are just as good from both hills.
To Gleann Fiodhaig, with Maoile Lunndaidh to the right:
The Monar Twins only a few steps away...
We were careful to stay away from the cornice on the eastern face of the Corbett - it looked impressive though:
Back to Moruisg:
Me and the northern panorama:
The white hills in the far distance must be the Strathconnon Corbetts:
There are two cairns on the top, the true summit is the one at the opposite end of the small plateau:
Kevin doesn't remember his count on Corbetts, but he must have done a few more than me, so possibly his No. 60 - I must check his lists:
We sat by the cairn for some time, drinking hot tea and discussing... the target hills for Monday I was obvious that the good spell was going to last at least one more day so we wanted to enjoy it to the full! The BLISS was there to stay for one more day!
Eventually, it was time to go home. Crampons went on the boots and it was a good move - it made us much quicker on the steep descent down Creag a' Chait.
One last glimpse back from the lower slopes to the summit of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean:
The Torridon - Fannichs panorama accompanied us for most of the descent:
The steep side of Moruisg:
Because we had crampons on, we found it easier to walk over Creag a' Chait (which was covered in snow and ice), but in summer conditions it would probably be better to avoid this craggy bit by descending further up into Coire Toll nam Bian. One way or another, the descent takes you down to the boggy path alongside the stream, Alltan na Feola:
Looking back up the burn:
The return path is again, said to be very boggy but we found it OK, a few muddy sections but not too bad:
Just before returning to the layby, we took this last photo, showing the two gullies which mark the ascent route to Moruisg:
In just under 6 hours we were back in the car and ready to go home
I'm so glad we decided to do this duo in winter conditions. On the other hand, now I can't get Maoile Lunndaidh out of my head! Meow!
One more TR still to come, and I can now reveal that we returned to Knoydart as it was planned
by dogplodder » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:48 pm
by PeteR » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:06 pm
Maoile Lunndaidh is a good walk too. Another of those hills that gets a bad press for some reason, but I enjoyed the walk and the views from it. Be warned though, the once you leave the landrover track for the base of the hill you are in for a fair old slog for quite a while until the angle finally eases near the top of Carn nam Fiaclan. From then it's just a grear stroll round to the summit I hope you both enjoy when you get there
by ballarat » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:53 pm
if WH had an award for consistant good pics/report you would be winner
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by BlackPanther » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:56 am
I was worried this TR would be overlooked, these hills have a bad reputation, but as our trip proves, they can be enjoyable.
dogplodder wrote:Wow BP those are impressive views compared to the ones I got when I did these two in rain and clag. Seeing your pics makes me want to go back up in sun and snow!
I can imagine the trudge up Moruisg in rainy weather . I kept this route for either a frosty or a very hot day, just to make the bog crossing easy. But as they are a relatively short walk and close to home, we'll certainly re-visit them at some point. We are already running out of "quickies in the neighbourhood" for short winter days
PeteR wrote:Maoile Lunndaidh is a good walk too. Another of those hills that gets a bad press for some reason, but I enjoyed the walk and the views from it. Be warned though, the once you leave the landrover track for the base of the hill you are in for a fair old slog for quite a while until the angle finally eases near the top of Carn nam Fiaclan. From then it's just a grear stroll round to the summit I hope you both enjoy when you get there
Thanks for the info - definitely ML is high on the list now. We're not afraid of long steep slopes, think after marching up Beinn Sgritheall there's nothing worse to tackle We considered cycling up the glen to the base of the mountain - saves a couple of hours. Anyway, that's a route for summertime. I'm sure we'll enjoy it, as long as I keep Kevin away from cheesecake and other dairy containing sweets...
ballarat wrote:if WH had an award for consistant good pics/report you would be winner
Actually, most of the photos are taken by my other half but he allows me to take all the credits.
I'm just doing my best to make TR's interesting, as I had said many times before, if I encourage 1 person to follow us and enjoy the walks we do - well, that makes me a winner. Good photos are usually a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time.
by The Rodmiester » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:45 pm
- Maoile Lunndaidh 2009
by rockhopper » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:49 pm
by BlackPanther » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:06 pm
The Rodmiester wrote:Thanks BP for posting, another superb report with wonderful photographs. Here's something to wet your appetite, a photograph from the top of your next Munro? ML summit looking over to the now Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, the one you have just climbed.
AAAAh! Are you trying to drive me crazy?
I'm only 3 away from my ton now, and by a sheer coincidence, Kevin is 3 away from 141 - his halfway point. So a perfect choice would be to do a biiig traverse: Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain, finish on Maoile Lunndaidh with a bottle of champaigne for a double celebration
Seriously, it would be lovely to climb any "triplet" of M's and have the 100/halfway party on the last one. See how weather develops.
rockhopper wrote:Enjoyed that - fairly brightened up my work lunchtime Interesting as ever - haven't got to these hills yet but have some overnight plans...maybe some time - cheers
So that's what you are doing at work? Reading reports on WH?
I guess, for tough multi-Munro walkers like you, all the 5 mountains around Gleann Fiodhaig could be climbed in one day, eh?
by SAVAGEALICE » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:14 pm
by johnkaysleftleg » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:17 pm