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Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)


Postby scottishkennyg » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:39 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich)

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr an Fhuarain

Date walked: 01/03/2014

Time taken: 9 hours

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(Photos uploaded via flckr so can be double clicked to enlarge for detail)

Online forecasts suggested it was worth a gamble to head out into the hills of Lochaber this weekend to enjoy another hill and get down to single figures for this round. (70% of cloud free summits). I set off at 0600 from the Black isle and drove the 89 miles to the end of the road at loch Arkaig. The final 14 miles were limited to a sensible 30mph due to many ups and downs and blind summits. Not the ideal road for a sports car or the “top gear” *****.
Image
SgurrMorMar13 002 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I arrived at the new car park at 0820 (no money grabbing parking meters yet!!!) to be welcomed by a herd of local deer. I also noticed the first signs of water on the ground.
Image
SgurrMorMar13 006 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Couple of stags clocking me..
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SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Out the traps and off at 0830 with full winter gear as the snowline was low. First view over Strathan.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I travelled along the sound track and forked to the right before reaching the first wooden bridge short of the farm.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
View back to car park
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Junction sign..only 8 miles to Oban?
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Turned right at this bridge and headed up the wet and bogging ground following the alt na feithe to the pass.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Not the best terrain to walk and would infinitely have preferred a heavy ground frost.
Nice view up to lodge.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

At the top of the pass the views back down the glen and toward Lochaber were compensatory.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Alas the view toward Sgurr Mor was not so good but I did manage to catch a distant shot of a massive bird. (tiny in this image)
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

There was a powder coating of snow on the ground which helped to conceal the saturated ground and test the Mammut boots.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

At the end of the pass there was a gradual 150m slide down the slippery slope into Glen Kindie.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I aimed for a big boulder to seek a shorter crossing over the river Kindie which was in spate (no joking Sherlock). I took a leap of faith and managed a partial landing resulting in wet trousers above the gator line.
Image
SgurrMorMar13 037 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Over a wee fence then a direct bearing up to the ridge and the snow.
A view up to Sgurr Beag and a rare blue sky.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

An hour and a bit later I was into the soft snow which was slightly better than the spongy wet ground.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

A wee while later I was on the ridge and the snow seemed to be more consolidated.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I calculated timings and gambled to head out to Sgurr an Fhuarain. I anchored the rucksack and walked along the ridge sticking to the tips of the protruding rocks for safety.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I reached the round trig point adorned in rime and the tidy snow clad cairn at 1230.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I returned to source the rucksack that seemed a bit too close to a cornice.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
View back down to Glen dessary with dodgy clouds forming..
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
View Westwards
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Across to Glendessary and pass
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
View upwards with SgurrBeag visible with corniced edges
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
View across to Loch cuaich
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I decided to carry the rucksack up with all the gear just in case. The weather began to deteriorate with cold icy winds blowing spindrift to impede visibility.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The climb was steep and alert to the presence of the “white edge” I opted to put the crampons on. Perfect timing as the ground became firmer with slabs of ice under thin coverings of snow. On the west flank the drop appeared very steep compared to the east edge which was pure white and at times a little too close for comfort.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
I proceeded upwards recalling the false summit from memory then westwards to locate the large cairn at 1412. It was very cold up top verified by the frozen juice in the bottles. I did a quick check of the map and Garmin to confirm location.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Then it was time to get safely off the summit and back down to the Glen Kindie water world. I kept the crampons on for reassurance and they came in handy to stop me snowballing as I fell over a few blind snow drifts on at least three occasions. I followed the snow down to find the exposed hillside. I attempted to use the crampons on the wet slippery slopes for grip but they just balled up with moss, so it was freestyle all the way down to the glen.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Crossed the river further up and just got the head down and traipsed up the rain drenched slopes to the pass.
Chance view back to Sgurr Mor
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
The wind was stronger now but it did not lift the clouds from the summit of SM or SnF to allow a photo or two.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
After some more land drifting across the wet plain I reached the final section down to Glen dessary
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

and a return to the car park at 1720.
I managed to get some final views up toward Sgurr Thuilm and Streap.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I noticed that more cars had appeared, so I was not the only eejit out in the wilds today.
Image
SgurrMor1March2014 by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

This seemed a long demanding day in a truly remote area which reminded me of the Letterewe wilderness, although the ground was nowhere near as wet as this area was today. I laughed as I was contemplating canoeing in from the loch Cuaich side, suspect it would have been drier…
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby Scotjamie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:11 am

A real adventure with a great report, Kenny.
Well done on a hard day on all forms of water.
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:22 am

Nice one, Kenny
You might just have whetted my appetite for this weekend :D
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:46 am

Yeh a long hard drive along the Loch followed by a long day in the hills, i remember it well though we camped and did the 3 Munros the first day then your 2. Cracking area though and although not looking forward to the drive i look forward to returning for the Corbetts in this area. :roll:
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby pigeon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:11 pm

Good effort in those conditions Kenny g :wink:
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:35 pm

Aye the ground is saturated in Lochaber :(

At least you got out ,well done :clap:
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:33 pm

Scotjamie wrote:A real adventure with a great report, Kenny.
Well done on a hard day on all forms of water.

Cheers Scotjamie...we must be due a dry period soon so we can all get out and enjoy it..
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:34 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Nice one, Kenny
You might just have whetted my appetite for this weekend :D

Cheers Al..liked that pun...hope it is drier for you or you will need a big lilo for the tent..
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:37 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Yeh a long hard drive along the Loch followed by a long day in the hills, i remember it well though we camped and did the 3 Munros the first day then your 2. Cracking area though and although not looking forward to the drive i look forward to returning for the Corbetts in this area. :roll:

Thanks JC..yes I took a video of the road drive but did not know how to upload for a laugh ...lots of deer, bends twists, pot holes.. and the humps!!! I'll be back soon... :o
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:38 pm

pigeon wrote:Good effort in those conditions Kenny g :wink:

Cheers Pigeon...hopefully we are all in for some high pressure and a good dry spell..
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:40 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Aye the ground is saturated in Lochaber :(

At least you got out ,well done :clap:


Cheers CC...it will dry out :crazy: soon...
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:10 pm

scottishkennyg wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:Nice one, Kenny
You might just have whetted my appetite for this weekend :D

Cheers Al..liked that pun...hope it is drier for you or you will need a big lilo for the tent..


Unfortunately the forecast has made it a no-go for this weekend, but soon...
Can't be worse conditons than camping at the Skye WH meet where we were actually floating inside the tent :lol:
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Re: Early T"ides of March" on Sgurr Mor (Arkaig Side)

Postby scottishkennyg » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:48 am

weaselmaster wrote:
scottishkennyg wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:Nice one, Kenny
You might just have whetted my appetite for this weekend :D

Cheers Al..liked that pun...hope it is drier for you or you will need a big lilo for the tent..


Unfortunately the forecast has made it a no-go for this weekend, but soon...
Can't be worse conditons than camping at the Skye WH meet where we were actually floating inside the tent :lol:

Aye cheers Al..absolutely, forgot about that one..I remember your pictures of the campsite at the Slig, that was wet... :clap:
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