walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Loch Quoich Threesome

Loch Quoich Threesome


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:53 pm

Munros included on this walk: Gleouraich, Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, Spidean Mialach

Date walked: 24/11/2013

Time taken: 13.3 hours

Distance: 28.2 km

Ascent: 2401m

2 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).

I’d kinda resigned myself to a winter of doing repeats to allow Sick Kid to catch up on her hills and didn’t expect to get any “new” hills for myself until the daylight hours started to lengthen again but the promise of reasonable weather for the weekend got my thinking cap on…due to the state of Sick Kid’s knees we needed shortish routes, where could we venture to? Loch Quoich appeared a possibility – to cover Spidean Mialach and Gleouriach one day and Sgurr a’Mhaoraich the next, both under 15km each – sounds like a plan. Up we headed on Friday evening. I was a bit apprehensive about driving along the single track road to Quoich dam in the dark, but it was a better surface than I had anticipated with the only challenging part being to keep sight of the road amidst swathes of low-lying mist. Spotted the square edge of the dam looming out of the foggy darkness and parked just beyond, a flattish area of grass by the roadside serving as a makeshift pitch for the night. Somewhere on the hillside above, a stag made sure that we didn’t get too much sleep, with bellows now closer, now further off.

After a warmer night than expected a leisurely start saw us getting going for 10ish. It is always interesting to arrive somewhere at night and have no knowledge of what your surroundings are like til you wake in the morning. To the west lay the waters of Loch Quoich, low cloud sitting on the mountain tops. Back eastward fog lay in the dips in the land, creating a fluffy dreamscape. Weather not as bright as I’d hoped for…

Image
P1050281 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050283 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It was a short drive of 4km along to a parking spot for the walk up to Spidean. Lots of works going on – pipelines, diggers, earth movers and general desecration of the landscape. We’d decided to do the route anticlockwise, and were soon tramping through boggy terrain. Snowline was at around 350m and the path wove in and out of sight. Lots of thick, soft, wet snow that congealed around your boots to contend with. Up ahead we could see the faint outline of the ridge surrounding coire dubh, white snow in white clag. Pressing on through the snow we got to the top, where a chill wind was blowing. Peak of the Animals – well the only animal I saw was an earwig on the summit cairn as we stopped for a bite to eat. An earwig in snow at 996m – go figure!


Image
P1050287 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Spidean Mialach
Image
P1050289 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050290 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Onwards to Gleouraich next – following the ridge around the Garbh coires, down to the bealach then up again to 1006m Creag Coire na Fiar Bhelaich. At times it looked as though the sun might come through but twas not to be. Smirry rain and clag continued. We sometimes got a glimpse back southwards to Loch Quoich, but the South Glenshiel ridge just to our north remained shrouded. Finally the cairn of Gleouriach appeared ahead and we’d made it – this marked my 200th Munro of this year, which gave cause for a mini-celebration.

Glimpses of the northern coire from SM
Image
P1050293 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up to CCnFB
Image
P1050298 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back along the ridge edge
Image
P1050299 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Quoich
Image
P1050300 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Number 200 for the year
Image
P1050306 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stumbling through the snowy bogs we picked up a great stalkers path that took us fairly painlessly down the shoulder of the mountain. As we descended, views to the south and west opened up – the bridge over the northern finger of Loch Quoich and tomorrow’s intended target beyond. Back down at the car, feet soaked but happy after just over 6 hours walking.

Beginning the descent
Image
P1050308 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Rose tinted hills
Image
P1050309 by 23weasels, on Flickr

West along Loch Quoich
Image
P1050313 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A moody Gairich
Image
P1050316 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050317 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Before the light completely failed we drove along to the bridge and cast around for a suitable pitching spot. There’s a little flat area just beyond the parking area for Mhaoraich which we made good use of. Happily, I’d brought some veg chilli for tea tonight, so there was more of a feast than the usual noodles. Great what a bit of good spicy food can do when you’re cold and tired.

Next morning dawned clear and still. We headed off down the road towards the start of the walk. Loch Quoich was tranquil with the south shore hills reflected mirror-like in the surface of the water. Near the beginning of the path our way was blocked by a stag, who eventually moved to higher ground and stood watching us as we set foot on the stalker’s path. Ahead was another and to our left a group of 4 stags. Obviously Sunday morning get together for the beasts.

Campsite
Image
P1050318 by 23weasels, on Flickr

East along L Quoich
Image
P1050320 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Knoydart (with stag)
Image
P1050324 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Watchin' you...
Image
P1050326 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mirror pool
Image
P1050330 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050332 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path was another good one and took us fairly effortlessly to 600m. My eyes were continually being drawn back south to the Loch Arkaig hills…Soon we could see the hump of Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach ahead, with the imposing Sgurr a’Mhaoraich beyond. We were following the footsteps of walkers from the day before which helped rather than having to break trail. Despite the sunlight and the warmth of the day, the snow was crunchy and became increasingly glazed as we gained height. To our right lay Gleouraich, resplendent, ahead to the north the great curve of the south Shiel ridge. We could see the sunlight playing on the pointy peak of The Saddle.

First sight of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich
Image
P1050336 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Drinking in the scenery...
Image
P1050339 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Gleouraich
Image
P1050342 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View south over L Quoich
Image
P1050346 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050349 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Final steep section
Image
P1050350 by 23weasels, on Flickr


In the last section up towards the summit we required to negotiate a couple of boulder crags which were made a little tricky by a layer of ice on the surface. Time for crampons and axe to be deployed. Then a steep slope up to the summit proper, on frozen snow. On the flattish top the view astounded. Sgritheall, Ladhar Beinn, Forcan Ridge, Sisters, Ciste Dubh, A’Chralaig, even my personal nemesis hill Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (yet to be climbed) stood out bold and white against a blue sky. Snow delineated the sharp edges of the mountains and gave testament to the awesome forces of nature responsible for wresting this lot out of the ground. The air was warm, there was still not a breath of air and I would have willingly suspended time to stay here and gawp.

Image
P1050351 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Half a Sick Kid and the Saddle behind
Image
P1050354 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit panorama
Image
P1050357_Panorama by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050361 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050362 by 23weasels, on Flickr

However, it was time to press on as the thought of a long drive back in the dark was still nagging away at the back of my mind. Yesterday’s crew had returned the way they’d come, but we decided to complete the route round the northern edge of Coire a’Chaorainn which meant a steep rocky descent to Bhealach Coire a’Chaorainn then an equally steep climb up 150m or so to Am Bathaich. Sick Kid was definitely not impressed as some of the moves involved a bit of knee work, but we made it. We did pass a strange circular ice hole which appeared the wintry equivalent of a crop circle. Allison dared me to stand in it, but I thought it likely to be a portal to some icy hell or other, so left it untouched.

Descent from SaM
Image
P1050365 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Gleouraich
Image
P1050368 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Way ahead to Am Bathaich
Image
P1050369 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050371 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ice vortex
Image
P1050374 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Am Bathaich
Image
P1050376 by 23weasels, on Flickr


The route now took us over a series of descending tops until we reached the eastern shoulder. Another steep descent through deepish snow with the occasional boulder and plunge pit then onto the geometry…On our ascent we’d noted a perfectly chiselled pattern of zigzags as the path descended and we followed these down the remainder of the way until we reached the flat – and boggy – land alongside Allt Coire a’Chaorainn. Another river to cross, a drink of water to replenish parched throats (Sick Kid not too keen on the water animal swimming at the bottom of her cup) and a pleasant walk alongside the River Quoich through trees in the fading light. The walk had taken longer, and more effort than I’d have guessed and it was with no small relief that we hit the vehicle track for the last 3 km back to the car. A fantastic day out in the hills.

Descent path
Image
P1050377 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050379 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Pastel coloured Ben in the distance
Image
P1050380 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050382 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Coire a'Chaorainn
Image
P1050384 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050385 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Gleouraich
Image
P1050386 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Gairich
Image
P1050387 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050388 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050389 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1050391 by 23weasels, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1913
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:367   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby Scotjamie » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:10 am

Fabulous Al... Just a great report. Did the 1st two in stair-rods of rain, so nice to see good pics :D
User avatar
Scotjamie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1168
Munros:148   
Joined: Jul 27, 2009
Location: north berwick

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby mrssanta » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:14 am

That was gorgeous, I'm more than a little jealous. I reckon the icy portal has a lochan underneath, but equally could be the way to somewhere weird!
User avatar
mrssanta
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3048
Munros:252   Corbetts:11
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:44
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby basscadet » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:22 am

200th this year? :crazy: Thats dedication for you :clap:

Brilliant hills these, had the most amazing time on them and glad you did too :D
User avatar
basscadet
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2779
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Grahams:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:34   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby ceaser » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:46 pm

200 for the year ....so far , well done :clap: pitty you didn't get the same weather on day 1 as you did on the 2nd ,the views are tremendous up there , loved my walk on those hills :D
User avatar
ceaser
Walker
 
Posts: 404
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:7
Joined: Apr 18, 2012
Location: dunfermline

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:04 pm

ceaser wrote:200 for the year ....so far , well done :clap: pitty you didn't get the same weather on day 1 as you did on the 2nd ,the views are tremendous up there , loved my walk on those hills :D


Aye Sunday was just perfect.
No way I'd have managed to fit in Gairich as well though - was puggled after Sgurr a'Mhaoraich - must be worn out :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1913
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:367   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:25 pm

Well done WM on reaching the double century...and good job SK as those descents are punishing on the knees.. :clap:
User avatar
scottishkennyg
 
Posts: 644
Munros:282   
Joined: Jan 2, 2013

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby jonny616 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:46 am

Glad you had some good weather. It was Gammy, Alan S and I waving at you from the car as you were coming out of your tent on Saturday morning.
User avatar
jonny616
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1572
Munros:280   Corbetts:13
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:17
Wainwrights:8   Islands:7
Joined: Aug 19, 2009

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby Graeme D » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:42 pm

Superb stuff guys. I am vaguely considering the double for this weekend. If I head up Friday night your campsite may be used again.
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3619
Munros:225   Corbetts:107
Grahams:65   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby goth_angel » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:55 am

200 in a year? How? :shock: That's 4 a weekend walking every weekend :shock:

Nice report - some cracking pictures on day 2. Out of these only done Gleouraich due to an epic fail from MWIS (promised 90% cloud free & dry turned into clag and pouring rain) and bailed after hill 1.

The paths are cracking.
User avatar
goth_angel
 
Posts: 315
Munros:101   Corbetts:9
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:70
Wainwrights:146   
Joined: May 13, 2008
Location: Too far awav from Scotland (Kent)

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:39 pm

goth_angel wrote:200 in a year? How? :shock: That's 4 a weekend walking every weekend :shock:


Yep - I don't have much of a life :lol:
There's been maybe 3 week long excursions as well over the year that have managed to keep the numbers topped up.
Biggest helpful factor is taking a tent so that you can make the most of the weekends
And, of course, developing obsessional hill-related behaviours 8)
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1913
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:367   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby anxious-ambler » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:35 pm

Amazing report, and the photos are stunning!!

Congrats on your 200th of the year :)
User avatar
anxious-ambler
 
Posts: 14
Munros:36   Corbetts:2
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:8   
Joined: Sep 8, 2011
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Loch Quoich Threesome

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:24 am

Grand hills and one of the best areas in the Gaidhealtachd .

Enjoyed that :D :clap:
User avatar
Collaciotach
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1793
Munros:282   Corbetts:145
Grahams:31   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:23   
Islands:28
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

2 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Anne C, jimbell21 and 54 guests