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A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

A Panther who took the bull by the Horns


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:32 pm

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 29/09/2013

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1110m

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Once I heard someone say, that mountains are like Marmite: you love them or hate them, but you will never forget them. :D As for me, I love both: mountains and Marmite :wink:

Torridon is the place most of us will love rather than hate, and in the heart of Torridon, the big trio of leviathans: Liathach - the Beast of the Northwest, Beinn Eighe - the White Starfish and Beinn Alligin - the Jewel in the Crown.
I have always argued with Kevin, which of them is the best, and we never agreed, this being perhaps the only subject on which we can't come to a compromise :lol: :lol: It's always been Beinn Eighe for me, Beinn Alligin for Kevin, and as for the Grey One, it scares us both :shock:
Beinn Alligin was my second Munro walk, back in 2008. We started clockwise, up Coir nan Laogh, bagged both Munros and even encountered my first Brocken spectre on the summit of Sgurr Mor. But because it was getting late and I wasn't very keen on scrambling, we decided to retrace our steps back the way we came.
Kevin, who did this hill at least half a dozen times, kept telling me that we missed the best part of the traverse, the famous Horns of Alligin and I must admit I felt guilty for chickening :( And eventually, five years later (almost to a day) the big moment has arrived!
I wasn't really sure what to expect on the Horns, how hard is the scrambling section, and some of Kevin's big photo collection looked daunting to say the least. But I wasn't going to chicken this time. Kevin kept saying that it's easier than Forcan Ridge and I had no problem at all on the latter.
Scrambling doubts aside, Beinn Alligin is a hill to come back to and I can understand my husband why he has a special place in his heart for the Mountain of Beauty. Beinn Eighe's ridge is longer and it has more magical corners to discover, but there is SOMETHING about Alligin's ridge. The simplicity of the line. In comparison to the other Torridon giants, this one is... light, gentle, almost feminine. Another "she" mountain. Ahhh, I think I'm jealous :lol:

We planned the traverse for Sunday and weather didn't disappoint us - it looked like we were going to have a cracking day!
Starting, as usual, from the car park on west bank of Abhain Coire Mhic Nobuil, we had a quick look at the river from the bridge:
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We chose to do the traverse anticlockwise, this time, tackling the Horns first.
Our route:

Track_BEINN ALLIGIN 29-9-13.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The day was great and much quieter than predicted, it almost felt like summer:
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The Coire Mhic Nobuil path traverses below the main bulk of the mountain. In front of us loomed Beinn Dearg, "the F*** Corbett behind Liathach" as Kevin said once, referring to this one being more difficult than many Munros. It is the next one on my list of Torridon walks:
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... but at the moment, I was more interested in the Horns themselves:
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We reached the bridge, where I posed for some "proud to be here" photos:
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Just past the bridge, the path splits, we turned left towards Beinn Alligin - we now faced the Horns:
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Beinn Dearg and Allt a'Bhealaich:
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The path is obvious all the time and one can make out the line of it up the steep slope:
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A glimpse back, to Loch Torridon and the ridge of Beinn Damph:
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Gulp! One day I will haul my bum up this one, too!
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The slope becomes painfully steep and I had to take a short break just to regain strength in my muscles:
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Eee.... The way up... Eeee..
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It may look horrible but we followed the well-worn path and didn't really have a problem climbing. Yes, there are a few places where hands are needed, but it's very mild scrambling, something that anybody with average level of fitness can do. And as one gains height very quickly, rewards come...in views :D
The Cuillin of Skye:
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My big fat ass making its way up :lol: :lol:
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At the height of about 500m the angle eases for a short distance - we took a short hydration break and admired the landscape around. I posed with Tom na Gruagaich:
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To reach the Horns, we faced another steep section, but this one turned up to be easier, no scrambling, just a tumbling path:
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We studied Beinn Dearg , wondering how to tackle it in the future, and then we noticed two tiny figures moving up just below the first top. You can't see them in this photo, but believe me, they are there somewhere :D It looks like the way to Beinn Dearg goes up its western end:
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One closer look:
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Behind us, The Beast of Torridon presented its long ridge and dangerous pinnacles:
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Having reached the more even ground again, we faced the first scramble on the Horns. So far, it looked piece of cake:
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Sgorr Mor, so steep...
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Views to the north and west were now opening. The remote country of Fisherfields, with An Teallach's ridge just peeking out from behind Beinn an Eoin:
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Baosbheinn and Loch a'Bhealaich:
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Are you ready to scramble steady? :lol: :lol:
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The first Horn didn't present much of a challenge on the way up. In general, when walking this ridge anticlockwise, all the trickiest scrambling bits are on descent parts of the horns and I'd rather call them bum-shuffling stages :lol:
One has to find their way down this wall. I struggled to get a good picture as the sun was right behind it, so for this report I'll use a better photo from one of Kevin's solo traverses:
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Up the second Horn, it's easy most of the way. The bigger boulders seen above me here offer only mild scrambling:
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Looking back to the bum-shuffling part. There is a bypass path below the Horns, but I didn't even give it a thought :lol:
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On the top of the second Horn:
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Zoom to An Teallach:
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Baosbheinn in all its rough beauty:
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Looking south-east, Beinn Damph, Maol Chean-dearg and An Ruadh-Stac:
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We crossed the gap between Horn No. 2 and 3 in next to no time. There were a few boulders to negotiate on the way down, but nothing more than bum-shuffling again:
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The rocks reminded me of giant Lego blocks, they had plenty of cracks and holes to put your feet in, I was having fun and not a single moment of vertigo. Ha -ha!
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On the summit of the third Horn, and the appropriate pose :lol: :lol: :
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What a view... With sheer drops around, I felt like looking down from a plane:
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Back to the rocky traverse:
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Kevin and his fav hill, now only a few hundred metres away from the summit of Sgurr Mor!
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The descent from the last pinnacle again requires some bum-shuffling, but by now I was amused more than scared. It didn't take us long to get down to the bealach.
The last pinnacle from the bealach:
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Up the shoulder of Sgurr Mor... It looked very steep but having scrambled and tumbled up and down the Horns, I was not to be intimidated :lol: :lol: :lol:
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There are a few boulders to step over, but nothing even remotely resembling scrambling:
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The Horns from high up the slope of Sgurr Mor:
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View north, Slioch in the middle:
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Beinn Eighe:
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Liathach:
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Baosbheinn again:
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An Teallach:
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Isle of Skye, the Cuillin ridge:
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Haaaaa! I've done it!
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The summit cairn of Sgurr Mor, with a superb atmosphere of being right up in heaven :D
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Skye and the outline of the Outer Hebrides visible on the western horizon... One couldn't wish for a better day for a triumphant Alligin return!
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The summit soon became very crowded, most walkers doing the ridge clockwise. We touched the cairn, said hello to the group on the top and decided to find a spot for lunch lower down on the ridge between the two Munro tops:
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Of course, we couldn't resist stopping by the GAP - Eag Dubh:
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Soon I found a purrr-fect place for a picnic!
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Ha ha ha! The view down from the edge of the cliff . If you have bad head for heights, close your eyes :shock:
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I noticed that a small part of the vertical wall must have collapsed recently - the rock in the middle looks "fresh":
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We lazed on the slope for over half an hour, we knew we had plenty of time and weather was surprisingly good, if a wee bit windy. One simply would not want to leave such views behind. Now I could fully understand Kevin's fascination with this lady. She's some beauty!
Eventually, we continued along the ridge to the second Munro, leaving Sgurr Mor behind:
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I remembered that during my first visit to Beinn Alligin, I struggled up the slope of Tom na Gruagaich. I had to avoid the bigger boulders, as I couldn't haul my big ass up them :lol: :lol: This time, I took basically a straight line up. Muscles stronger, more confidence, better fitness, I can do it with my eyes closed! :D
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On the summit, ready to utter another Meow!
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Sgurr Mor from Tom na Gruagaich:
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Beinn Eighe:
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Liathach:
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Achnashellach hills:
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On the edge with Monsters behind me :wink:
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The classic view from Tom na Gruagaich - the Horns of Alligin, Beinn Dearg just behind and Slioch on the horizon:
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Which time on this one, Kevin? He stopped counting a long time ago... OK, I forgive you your sentiment for this lady :D
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We decided to visit this lower top on the way down:
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The ridge from the lower top:
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The descent from Tom na Gruagaich is steep and my knees didn't appreciate it, but we still enjoyed it... thinking that this time we had enough time to finish the traverse in daylight. Five years ago, we lingered on the ridge for too long and had to descend the last 200m in the dark :lol: :lol:
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...and descending in darkness we missed the final moments with Liathach... Now bathing in afternoon sun, looking rather timid... especially in comparison to the wild, meowing Panther :lol: :lol:
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The Horns and Beinn Dearg from lower slopes of Coir nan Laogh:
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Coir nan Laogh behind us:
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Sgorr Mor one last time, presenting its impressive Black Cleft:
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Up to the last steps, there are views to savour here...
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...and this lady is more than just a hill. I know that mr Eighe can't be beaten, but this gentle girl with contrasting horns will always have a special place in my heart. The Mountain of Beauty, thank you for this special day! :D
The full traverse took us 7 hours, but to our excuse we spent lots of time exploring, admiring, photographing, lurking, simply BREATHING IN the mountain's atmosphere. This lady is not one to run up and down. She deserves some attention :D If you treat her with respect, she will reward you with an adventure like never before. Meow :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:23 pm

BP, I now know that I cannot even contemplate going up a hill that you have not already climbed and on which you have posted a report. Yours are the most interesting and informative (both verbally and pictorially) of all - especially for someone like me who is a rookie! Thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort to illustrate the details. :clap: :clap:

I'm pretty sure I will do an out-and-back for my visit to this hill - better safe than dead (oops, I mean 'sorry') :crazy:

I was on Beinn Liath Mhor/Sgorr Ruadh at the same time but didn't spot you even with the good visibility :lol: :lol:

Thanks again!
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:09 pm

You got a cracking day for it.
Great photos as usual
Hoping to be up to Torridon for Alligin & Eighe weekend after next - if it's claggy for me (as it probably will be) at least I now know what it should look like :D
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby basscadet » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:22 pm

Oh how lucky are you? :wink: :D
Amazing photos.. I did it on a braw day too, but never got anything so nice on film (or should that be SD? :lol: ) :clap: I did get attacked by an angry ptarmigan though :shock: Glad she wasn't about to upset your day :)
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby Jabber » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:25 pm

Nice one BP. We passed going in the opposite direction. ( just before the summit of Tom na Gruagaich) The girls found the ascent steep so I can understand the pain for your knees. I thought the sound of the stags when we got passed the horns enthralling as I had only ever heard this on Tv before. When we got back to the car the car park was empty although it was just before sunset.
70.5.jpg


Thought this was my phot of the day as the sun was backing off behind Tom whilst we were on the horns. Showing the Cuillins in the background.
Great report :clap:
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby rockhopper » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:53 pm

Excellent - what a great day for it ! Would agree that they look more intimidating than they actually are when you're on the horns. Should've taken binoculars with me - think I could've just about made you out in the distance - cheers :)
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby dogplodder » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:02 am

Once again BP some superb photos here. Glad you got such a good day for it. I didn't go over the horns as had the dogs with me but would love to go back and do them after reading your report! :D
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:25 pm

Thanks a lot for all the comments :D

AnnieMacD wrote:BP, I now know that I cannot even contemplate going up a hill that you have not already climbed and on which you have posted a report. Yours are the most interesting and informative (both verbally and pictorially) of all - especially for someone like me who is a rookie! Thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort to illustrate the details. :clap: :clap:
I'm pretty sure I will do an out-and-back for my visit to this hill - better safe than dead (oops, I mean 'sorry') :crazy:
I was on Beinn Liath Mhor/Sgorr Ruadh at the same time but didn't spot you even with the good visibility :lol: :lol:


:oops: Thank you... I'm just trying to do my best to encourage other walkers to enjoy the hills... If my TR convinces one person to follow, that's my prize :D
BLM and SR are crackers, too, did them in two separate outings (SR in winter conditions) and will definitely return to visit them again.
And to be honest, I still don't see myself as an experienced mountaineer... Somewhere halfway between rookie and average :wink:

weaselmaster wrote:You got a cracking day for it.
Great photos as usual
Hoping to be up to Torridon for Alligin & Eighe weekend after next - if it's claggy for me (as it probably will be) at least I now know what it should look like :D


Will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you, so weather is good. Eighe is the best mountain ever and it would be a shame if you had to do it in clag.

basscadet wrote:Oh how lucky are you? :wink: :D
Amazing photos.. I did it on a braw day too, but never got anything so nice on film (or should that be SD? :lol: ) :clap: I did get attacked by an angry ptarmigan though :shock: Glad she wasn't about to upset your day :)


Aaah, I admit, I was lucky :lol: :lol:
An angry ptarmigan??? I had experiences with angry midges, clegs, wasps, even an angry dog once, but never a ptarmigan... :shock: :lol: :lol: I guess you never know what may occur up there...

Jabber wrote:Nice one BP. We passed going in the opposite direction. ( just before the summit of Tom na Gruagaich) The girls found the ascent steep so I can understand the pain for your knees. I thought the sound of the stags when we got passed the horns enthralling as I had only ever heard this on Tv before. When we got back to the car the car park was empty although it was just before sunset.


Oh, hi again! I wondered how you managed the horns, glad to hear you enjoyed them :D It always lifts my spirit to see the young generation on the hills - sadly so many of the young 'uns prefer the lifestyle of a coach potato :(
The stags were pretty noisy, we heard them from the top of Sgurr Mor. They are usually very loud in Torridon in late autumn. You can hear'em but can't se'em :lol: :lol: :lol:
As for the knees, I had a knee injury in 2011, took me a few months to recover and I'm terribly scared it may come back again :(

rockhopper wrote:Excellent - what a great day for it ! Would agree that they look more intimidating than they actually are when you're on the horns. Should've taken binoculars with me - think I could've just about made you out in the distance - cheers :)


I found the horns easier than expected. Most of the scrambling is just hauling up big boulders or shuffling down them :lol: But I must say, five years ago I wouldn't have done it. Just as well I waited a while to return to Alligin - it was worth it :D

dogplodder wrote:Once again BP some superb photos here. Glad you got such a good day for it. I didn't go over the horns as had the dogs with me but would love to go back and do them after reading your report! :D


I'm not sure dogs would manage on the Horns, unless you lift them up every big boulder. But this is a mountain to return to, just like any hill in Torridon. We're lucky to live only a short drive away :D
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby PeteR » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:05 pm

Superb report and photos again BP :D :clap:

I still harbour thoughts of visiting Alligin this year, but will just have to wait and see. If I get a day half as good as you had then I'll be happy
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby dooterbang » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:32 pm

Doesn't get much better than that :)

Some stunning scenery and brilliantly captured.

I can't wait to see those views (was low cloud when i did these)!

Well done guys.
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Re: A Panther who took the bull by the Horns

Postby ballarat » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:05 pm

:clap: brilliant report/pics another masterpiece from the camera/keyboard of the B B P :)

beauly black panther :) :)
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