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Beinn Sgulaird, a different route

Beinn Sgulaird, a different route

Postby yokehead » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:13 pm

Route description: Beinn Sgulaird

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Sgulaird

Date walked: 12/02/2010

Distance: 9.8 km

Ascent: 945m

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I was interested to read jonny616's report of his walk since I was just getting ready to post my own, although I was there a month ago. Seems like we both had a brilliant time!

It was the last day of my 2 weeks so where to go with all this choice? I’d originally thought of going back to the Mamores but since the weather forecast was for cloud increasing that way I headed south a bit instead.

It’s a great drive along the coast south from Ballachulish, then into Glen Creran where I parked at the end of the road. With a look at the map I’d decided to climb from the north, a steeper route perhaps but with more unknown potential than the descriptions I’d read.
Beinn Sgulaird awaits, my route goes left to right

I followed the road to Glenure Lodge in its superb setting in this quiet spot below the mountain, then headed along the track into Glen Ure. This was a great start to the day, a walk of about 1.5km to the point where my climb would begin. My plan was to head up into the high corrie between Stob Gaibhre and the Sgulaird massif, to the small lochan, then decide upon the detail of the onward route from there.
charming burn behind Glenure Lodge

track in Glen Ure

I started out up the steep ground, picking my way up grassy rakes between rocky sections and sparse trees. I could have chosen to bear left onto the ridge crest at many points but decided instead to keep to the corrie, so stayed quite close to the stream gully. Although the terrain was steep, today I felt in the best form of my trip to date, shame it was my last day! The nick on the skyline drew me on, I kept to the left of the corrie as I made the final ascent to the bealach, blue sky and sun the reward ahead.
start of the ascent

nearing the corrie head

The little frozen lochan was a glorious sight, as were the views around and seeing what the mountain had to offer next.
onto the bealach, frozen lochan & sun

I made my way around the lochan to the bump just beyond where I found a great spot for an early lunch. Having started with views to the north I could now also see to the south. I stayed here for ages, absorbed by everything around me. I could see small showers in the south, there was a light snow flurry for a couple of minutes.
looking north

From here there is another corrie to the west and a choice of routes; on the straight rocky ridge to the left (south) of the corrie, up the corrie itself which I could see was ice covered and interesting with a choice of routes at the head, or over the knobbly north ridge.
choice of routes ahead

Spoiled for choice I went for the latter, sometimes around and sometimes over the scrambling terrain, steep in places. There are so many possibilities here, it would repay a half day of exploring I’m sure. This was another brilliant climbing section with superb variety, I had a great time.
view back down whilst ascending the scrambly ridge

south to the other ridge

Plenty of stops to admire all around and to take photos. I reached the top of the ridge and stunning views now to the west.
cracking view west

I could see the summit cairn now but there was still some more fun to come first. Along the rest of this ridge, then there is a rocky top at the corrie head that you could scramble over, I chose to miss it out today so traversed around.
summit near

south to Ben Cruachan

There’s a small descent to a bealach then the last, steep scramble to the large cairn, a fitting way to summit this mountain.
last slope to the summit

summit cairn

There was no-one else about, just some footprints in the snow. Stunning views in all directions. What a way to end my trip, one of my best mountain days!
footprints show the route from the west

to the east

Not over yet though, still to get down. I chose to go on a route straight to Glenure Lodge. Down snow slopes at first, following gullies where I could, this was another steep descent through rocky sections, only truly appreciated when looking back up. I crossed the burn in its ravine at the first convenient point, it was deeply banked out with snow in a few places. After about 1km the terrain levels out before a final steep descent through trees to the track just east of the lodge.
on the descent, Glenure looks vertically below the steep slope

On the walk out I stopped to chat with a farm worker, he was burning the tall grass and reeds along the line of the fence, easier than strimming. He told me that Cameron McNeish’s Munro book describes an ascent of the corrie I climbed; he then looked up at the corrie and said ‘it’s suicidal’. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that’s the way I’d gone! It does look a bit extreme in this photo I took just a bit further on, reality is different though.
looking back to suicidal corrie

This was a great route today. Imagine: a steep climb to 600m with views opening up to the north, into the sun with the sight of the little lochan, views to the south and the next corrie with its options, then a scrambling climb to the west where more views appear. Constantly building on the pleasures as the day progresses. It shows that the direct route to a summit may not be the best, unless you’re just bagging of course. For me, as I accumulate time in the mountains, it’s about shape, form, character and atmosphere. Route finding, doing a bit of climbing and of course being in the snow where I feel most at home. I will still go for Munros, Corbetts and the like but not I think if they’re uninspiring. There’s just so much available!

I will most certainly return to this gem of a mountain, following much the same route with a few variations but, from the summit, continuing along the ridge to the west to give a longer circuit.

On the drive back I stopped to photograph the sunset, shame by this time tomorrow I’ll be back in the flatlands!
sunset to round off the day
Last edited by yokehead on Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn Sgulaird, a different route

Postby kevsbald » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:14 pm

Enjoyed that Yokehead. Very different plan of attack - nice when you're trying out a less travelled route.
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Re: Beinn Sgulaird, a different route

Postby gusmacdonald » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:55 pm

Tried this route, day before yesterday. I found the ascent from the road into the Coire too steep and dangerous. Lots of slippery, craggy rock slabs. I chickened out about half way up as going was very slow and was running out of daylight to get back down. I agree with the grass burner!!!
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Re: Beinn Sgulaird, a different route

Postby basscadet » Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:47 am

I have done this route twice, but only the latter time did I realise that it was not the usual baggers route :lol:
Last time I met a large flock of rather large stinky goats :shock:
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