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Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early September

Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early September


Postby jaybee » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:32 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Quinag - Spidean Coinich

Date walked: 08/09/2013

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What a week of contrasts and what a beautiful part of Scotland / the UK.

This is the first time we had ventured north of Ullapool. I had done plenty of reading and planning using the WH website and we were not disappointed.

We stayed at Inverkirkaig which placed us in a good position to take advantage of any good weather days.
So when we woke up on Sunday and the sun was shining, decision made. We were heading for Quinag. I had read the trip reports on WH and the route seemed to be within our capabilities so we parked up at the car park that sneaks up on you as you get to the top of the hill and were away by 09.30. Not yet decided whether we would attempt one, two or all three of the Quinag tops. We would see how the day and the legs progressed.

It was a gorgeous early autumn day. We set off up the very nice (John Muir Trust) path through limestone pavements and peat. We were easily caught and passed by a couple of groups - one of older walkers and the other of young fit ones. We plodded on up the hill then settled on a spot with a view for breakfast / coffee before carrying on up and up and up.

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Not a bad place for breakfast

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Route for the day

Eventually reached the top of the first hill (loose rocks and boulders near the top) to drop down a little then up rather more steeply. This part of the climb was sandy with loose rocks and stones and would be slippy in the wet but we trudged up to reach the summit cairn of Spidean Coinich and views for miles around. All of the classic Assynt hills in view with distant views to the Torridan hills and over to Skye and the Outer Hebrides.

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We could see the way ahead and what looked like a fairly narrow ridge to continue the walk.

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Down we climbed – the ridge was narrow but easy, followed by a bit of a scramble but nothing too taxing. At the bottom of the scramble was the perfect lunch spot beside a lochan and protected from the wind but breezy enough for no midges (The mighty MIDGE was to be a recurring theme for the week)

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Another food stop with a view

After a decent lunch stop it was up again and over the innocent looking slope in front of us. From the top there was a great view to Lochinver and the coast. I think the views from here are even better than the views from the previous summit.

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Back towards Lochinver - Suilven looming in the distance

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The downside was the very steep and rocky scramble required to reach the bealach and the turnaround point. It would be easy to veer off too far to the left in poor visibility and find yourself on very steep and unstable slopes above Loch Assynt. We managed fine but were very pleased to reach the bealach where we took the decision to return to the car rather than continue to the other tops today.

The return route passes through some wet ground but is always easy to follow. It was a relief to meet the John Muir Trust path again and our speed increased with the good surface.

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View back up to the ridge where we had been

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Same view minutes later. Weather changing pretty fast.

We were back at the car for 15.00 and took some time to visit the ruined Ardvreck castle and provide a midge supper before heading back to Inverkirkaig.

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Ruined Ardvreck castle plus Quinag in the background

What a fantastic start to our week. :D :D :D

The weather turned after the Monday restricting the high level walks we could attempt but we did manage to circumnavigate Stac Pollaidh on the Monday, have a lingering lunch on the top and explored the various summits. (not the very craggy one!) It was much busier than Quinag as might be expected.

An attempt on Conival / Ben More Assynt on the Friday was abandoned when heavy rain (not forecast) and zero visibility arrived as we were about to strike out up the quartzite slopes on the final climb to Conival’s summit.
We will (have to) return to this beautiful part of Scotland now we know what’s waiting for us to discover and we have unfinished business with Conival and BMA.
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:14 pm

Fantastic pictures. :clap:

Really enjoyed those.
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby EvanandEarth » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:56 pm

Done in what looked like absolutely stunning weather jaybee!

Pity it turned poor later in the week but it makes those great hill days all the more special.

Nice one ;)
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:47 pm

Lovely :D
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby Torridon_snails » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:17 pm

Great photos these - thanks for posting. We're glad you had such a good day for it. All that area - Coigach, Assynt and further north, is amazing - we haven't been on Quinag yet, but Conival was incredible and we'd also highly recommend Ben Stack and Cnoc Gorm (near Fanagmore). And Cranstackie. The low-level walking/pottering is also fab, particularly if you do get views of all those clearly-defined, stand-alone, characteristic hills around... Knockan crag, Lochan Tuath, the bone caves, etc. And the coast is lovely too, plus the history. Do hope you can get back there and see more!

All the best

Daniel and Clare (Torridon_snails)
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby Peter913 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:24 pm

Very nice images there and just love those clouds in that sky and i would have composed that castle differentlly

looks a stunning place one on mine and Jim Ramsays hit list for 2014

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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby jaybee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Torridon_snails wrote:Great photos these - thanks for posting. We're glad you had such a good day for it. All that area - Coigach, Assynt and further north, is amazing - we haven't been on Quinag yet, but Conival was incredible and we'd also highly recommend Ben Stack and Cnoc Gorm (near Fanagmore). And Cranstackie. The low-level walking/pottering is also fab, particularly if you do get views of all those clearly-defined, stand-alone, characteristic hills around... Knockan crag, Lochan Tuath, the bone caves, etc. And the coast is lovely too, plus the history. Do hope you can get back there and see more!

All the best

Daniel and Clare (Torridon_snails)


Thanks for your comments. We will definitely go back as there is so much more we want to see / do in the area.
Will take your recommendations on board for our next visit.
Lovely to look back on those blue skies and sunshine. Perfect weather as not too hot for walking.

Julie
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby jaybee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:37 pm

Thanks to all of you for your comments. It was such a lovely holiday, despite the changing weather later in the week.
Agree with EvanandEarth that days like this do make up for the dampness, clag and no summit views we have also experienced since we moved to Scotland and started to walk in the mountains proper.
Enjoying both kind of days which is a bit weird. Satisfying but in different ways.

Hoping to get out again this weekend.
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby colgregg » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:17 pm

It's a fantastic area. A long way from my home but worth an 800 mile round trip. The mountains of the Assynt are second to none.
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Re: Quinag (Spidean Coinich) A week in Assynt in early Septe

Postby soulminer » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:17 pm

Could never tire of walking around these three hills- a gem of a walk, vistas a plenty and they take every ounce of energy from you for the pleasure gaining all the summits. What more could you ask for, well except some fine photographical images to take home as memories :lol:
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