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Slioch - no country for old men..

Slioch - no country for old men..

Postby 2manyYorkies » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:51 pm

Route description: Slioch, near Kinlochewe

Munros included on this walk: Slioch

Date walked: 02/11/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1000m

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No country for old men... actually it's brilliant country, and I'm only 53, it's just that this is the first Munro I've done in over 30 years. As a student at university in Scotland I did a fair few with the Mountaineering club, including the Ben, Beinn Alligin and Liathach in winter, the Aonach Eagach ridge (twice) and about 20 or so more, before being replanted south of the border.
Despite that, this is a fresh start and I was allowed three days end of October - early November to reacquaint myself with Torridon & Loch Maree, this most beautiful of areas. And the almost endless rain...
Skyfall over Loch Maree, end of a hailstorm

Rainbows in Torridon

Having toned up with shortish but drenching walks on the Thursday and Friday, Slioch was the prize for the Saturday.
I'd spent some very happy hours reading the reports on this excellent site (I particularly enjoy the musings and purrings of the Black Panther), and felt as prepared as I could be.
The day was forecast to be dry (yeah, right...), but overcast; the statuesque bulk of Beinn Eighe freed itself from the mist for me briefly on the long walk in from Incheril car park:
Beinn Eighe

I actually really enjoyed the walk in. It's varied and the path wriggles about enough to keep you interested, and the surroundings of the river and the Loch are peaceful (particularly when you're one of only seven to go up the hill that day).
Soggy trees

The loch has eaten my path....

Plenty of small streams to cross before the main waterfalls just before the climb:
Towards Loch Maree

I took the path immediately right after the footbridge, which is not the recommended route, but goes up the bank to get a good view of the falls. As this detour was less than intentional, I quickly cut across the moor to gain the stalkers path that goes up Gleann Bianasdail. After a few hundred metres the path up to Slioch forks left at a small cairn, and makes it's way up a reasonable gradient between Meall Each and Sgurr Dubh, picking around burn and bog - but you know all this from the route description. There's not a lot to see in front of you other than hill, but frequent stops are required to admire the ever improving view behind...

Entering Coire na Sleaghaich was like coming into a giant amphitheatre, the cloud had come down to flirt with the tops, forming a roof, and the stillness, quiet and gentle gradient within the bowl was a pleasure after the initial slog.
Coire na Sleaghaich - unlocking Slioch's secrets...

The path is easy to spot, although very boggy after all the rain. At the far side of the Coire the "tourist" path cuts back up to the ridge between Sgurr Dubh and Slioch's summit ridge, with the lochans sitting high and proud.
A lochan with Sgurr Dubh behind

The climb up the summit ridge is pretty steep by the standard of what's gone before, but holds no concerns. Well, it wouldn't have if the cloud hadn't come down to hide the views, and there hadn't been a dusting of snow to hide the path, and I had been a wee bit fitter... Nevertheless it was straightforward stuff to the initial tease of the trig point, and then on to the true summit a couple of hundred metres on.
"The summit of Slioch is renowned for the stunning views over Loch Maree and the Fisherfield Forest wilderness" :
And sure enough, there they are, somewhere just behind the cloud... :?
From the trig point:

... and from the high point (981 m).

It being misty, cold and windy, and me being on my own, I decided to descend by retracing my path, rather than via the summit of Sgurr an Tuill Bhain, save that for a sunny day I think.
On the way down, with loch an, Sgurr Dubh and Loch Maree

As I reached the bottom of the path from the lochans to the top of the Coire the weather closed in, and the heavy rain continued all the way back to the car park. But I didn't care. No, honestly. I was just so pleased to be back on the Scottish hills again, and to have had the privilege of climbing Slioch. :D
What a stunner. (Taken 2 days earlier)

All that remained was to have too much to drink in the bar of the Kinlochewe hotel (I'd recommend the An Teallach brewery beer), before getting up before dawn the next day for the long drive back home (the clue to location is in my forum name).
Out of necessity it will sadly be a few months before I can get back up north, so will make do with knocking off a few more Wainwright's, and enjoying the majestic gloom of the North Yorks Moors.

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Re: Slioch - no country for old men..

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:17 pm

Greta hill and report....yes that is a long walk out !! Remember it well :wink:
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Re: Slioch - no country for old men..

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:30 pm

Enjoyed that - some classy pics there. Shame about lack of view at the top.
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