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Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran


Postby malky_c » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:24 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn na Nathrach, Stob Coire a'Chearcaill

Grahams included on this walk: Druim na Sgriodain, Stob Mhic Bheathain

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: A'Bheinn Bhan, Meall an t-Slamain

Date walked: 01/06/2014

Time taken: 18 hours

Distance: 48 km

Ascent: 3545m

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Almost June and barely any new hills done. I gave Gill an ultimatum - I wouldn't take the car if she let me go away for an overnight trip this weekend :wink: . As a consequence, I found myself cycling down to the bus station in time to catch the 5:30am to Fort William on Saturday morning. Managed to catch a bit of a nap on the bus, as it was being driven unusually steadily. Still, it made good time and I was in Fort William for 7:20am.

Saturday

Corbetts: Stob Choire a' Chearcaill, Carn na Nathrach.
Grahams: Stob Mhic Bheathain.
Sub 2000 Marilyns: Meall an t-Slamain.
Date: 31/05/2014.
Distance: 29km
Ascent: 2460m
Time taken: 11 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Warm, sunny, calm. Some haze and overcast spells.

The outline of this route has been with me for a few years now, but as I have chipped away at the Ardgour hills from other directions, the precise line wasn't settled until the previous night. Even then I had a couple of options. The key was to get the early ferry over to Camasnagaul, allowing me a full day of walking on the other side.

Ardgour day 1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Ferry on it moorings at the Crannog:
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What a fine way to start a walk! The dirt of Fort William is left behind immediately, and within 10 minutes of arriving at the Crannog restaurant and pier, I was walking down the road at Camasnagaul. By 8am, I was making my way through mixed woodland and over a deer fence (there was a gate that I spotted afterwards :roll: ), and up onto the open hillside a couple of scrambly moves took me onto the ridge line and up to the radio mast.

Camusnagaul:
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Ferry terminal:
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Fort William and the Ben, ferry heading back:
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Beinn na Gucaig and Loch Linnhe:
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Corpach and Druim Fada:
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Loch Eil and Gulvain:
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The walking from the mast onwards was pretty easy, over gradually rising ground. Great views the whole time, although sometimes in this kind of sunny, slightly hazy weather, a bit of the drama can be lost. I'm reasonably satisfied with the photos as I'd borrowed an old camera from work, and didn't know how good it was. It has played havoc with the sky colour in places though, which is a bit annoying. I won't be buying a Fujifilm camera when I get around to finding a replacement for my broken one!

Loch Linnhe again, Beinn a’ Bheithir appearing in background:
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As indicated by others, Meall an t-Slamain is a great viewpoint. Probably worth visiting in the afternoon for the best views to the Ben though. I sat down for a drink briefly, but the midges soon found me and had me dancing.

North up the Great Glen:
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Stob Choire a’ Chearcaill from Meall an t-Slamain:
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Bit of a drop and re-ascent, and a long, soft ridge to Stob Choire a' Chearcaill. This is out of character with the rest of Ardgour, and my mind switched off for a bit, until I almost stood on an adder. Oops! Luckily it just hissed and slithered away.

Bheinn a’ Bheithir:
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One hitting the 600m contour, the grass shortened and the final rise to the summit looked more interesting than the ascent so far.

The Ben and Glen Sron a’ Chreagain:
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Approaching the summit of Stob Choire a’ Chearcaill:
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Summit buttress:
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A quick look over the edge of the cliffs, and I stopped again until the midges reached out for a second attack. The main peaks of Ardgour were now in view, Garbh Bheinn as usual looking the most impressive.

Towards Glen Coe:
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Garbh Bheinn:
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The best of Ardgour: Garbh Bheinn, to Sgurr Dhomhnuill, with Carn na Nathrach and Stob Mhic Bheathain too:
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Then it was another long, soft descent across Sgurr an Iubhair into Cona Glen. There was plenty of birdlife up here, and it seemed to be reflecting the conditions - wittery skylark for when the sun was out, mournful plover for when it disappeared behind a cloud. A few deer about too.

East down Cona Glen:
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The bleakness subsided as I approached Corrlarach and the stalkers path over to Duisky, where there were some pleasant stands of woodland. I missed the path and descended steep slopes (as usual).

Stob Mhic Bheathain:
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Stob Ban down Cona Glen:
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I hadn't thought the weather to be that dry on the run-up to the weekend, but maybe the west coast has had it better, as almost all of the burns were empty. I had to descend to the main Cona river to get some more water. Now that it had warmed up, the midges had cleared off so I enjoyed a longer break here.

A mile or so further up the glen, it was time to do some steep ascent for a change. Looking for somewhere to cross the river, I spotted some interesting looking slabs, waterfalls and potholes. There were a couple of slimy patches, but with the river low, it was possible to cross the main channel on a natural bridge of rock. I love stumbling unexpectedly over these sort of places :) .

Great waterfalls and slabs:
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Then up. A mixture of heather, grass and rock, but not too hard going at all. The summit of Stob Mhic Bheathain is where I really started enjoying myself, although I was beginning to tire a bit. The sun came out and the views over Ardgour were improving all the time. Also I was finally in amongst the sort of terrain I like the most.

NE ridge of Stob Mhic Bheathain:
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Back to Stob Choire a’ Chearcaill:
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I decided to traverse all 3 tops - lovely slabs of rock and little pools. I almost wanted to get the tent out right here, but it was only 3pm.

Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Carn na Nathrach:
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As I progressed along the ridge, Lochan Dubh and Carn na Nathrach became more impressive with every step. I was feeling torn now. Camp on the summit of Carn na Nathrach or the shores of the loch?

Carn na Nathrach and Lochan Dubh:
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Summit of Stob Mhic Bheathain:
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Carn na Nathrach and Glen Hurich:
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Carn na Nathrach and Lochan Dubh:
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Druim Tarsuinn:
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The route down to the loch was steep but easy - I'd luckily chosen to head down where there was a continuous run of grass down into the glen. If I'd dropped off the first summit, I would have had to contend with slabs and crags.

Descending to the loch:
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At this time of the afternoon, the loch shores were really appealing as a camp for the evening. Not quite Loch an Nid, Lochan nam Breac, or other prized wild camping spots, but much nicer than I had expected. I changed my mind about half a dozen times, as I knew the midges would be bad later on, but in the end the ascent of Carn na Nathrach without a heavy bag won out, and I found a flattish spot towards the western end.

Shores of Lochan Dubh:
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An hour of pitching and general buggering about, and I set off up Carn na Nathrach from the east end of the loch. A nice rocky ascent with plenty of optional scrambling.

On the way up Carn na Nathrach:
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Great views from the summit, although it had become much more overcast by now. Binnein Beag in the Mamores managed to hold the sunshine throughout. Despite that, this would be one of my favourite Ardgour summits if it wasn't for Garbh Bheinn...or Sgurr Dhomhnuill...or Sgurr Ghiubhsachain...or Ben Resipol. That's the trouble with this area - so great, and just not enough time to walk over all of it :lol: .

East down Glen Scaddle:
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West to Loch Shiel and Ben Resipol:
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Bidean:
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The Ben and Mamores:
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I sat around for a bit. This would have made a fine campsite, but it didn't look like there would be any impressive sunset on display, so I didn't mind camping where I was. Back down the eastern ridge, which had lovely walking, then off down the northern flank back to the tent.

On Carn na Nathrach:
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Descending back to Lochan Dubh:
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The midges were still at bay, so I had a leisurely dinner. Shortly after 8pm, I got a few bites, and headed into the tent at that point. Sadly that was it for the night - I didn't emerge again. Still, managed a good 12 hours of sleep!

Dinner:
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday

Grahams: Druim na Sgriodan.
Sub 2000 Marilyns: A' Bheinn Bhan.
Date: 01/06/2014.
Distance: 19km
Ascent: 1085m
Time taken: 6 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Overcast, in/out of cloud, some showers. Very humid.

Awake early and I could hear what sounded like rain on the tent. I had a feeling it wasn't though, and opening my eyes confirmed that.

Evil bastards:
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Luckily I had managed to keep the midges out of the inner tent (have been less successful with that in the past), so I started packing up from inside, intending to have a minimal amount to do outside before setting off.

At one point, I had planned to make a long diversion to Sgurr nan Cnamh, but this no longer appealed, and didn't fit into the flow of the route well, so I decided to leave it. I went back to sleep for another hour instead, knowing I didn't need to rush now.

Ardgour day 2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


I got out during a brief light shower, hoping this would dampen the midge appetite. It didn't, and some rather hasty packing ensued. Fortunately there was some breeze about a mile down the Gleann an Duibh Lochain, so I stopped again for some coffee and breakfast.

Breakfast stop away from evil bastards:
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The path down the glen was a little sketchy, picking up as I passed some nice waterfalls and a barn. Soon it was a full vehicle track, but I left it at Tighnacomaire to cross the river and work my way up onto A Bheinn Bhan. The weather was disappointingly grey and there was the occasional spit of rain.

Carn na Nathrach from Glen Scaddle:
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I traversed upwards across slopes to the west of the forestry plantation, but probably should have aimed a little higher as the going was rough. Once at the col the going got easier, and after a couple of false tops I was on the summit. The hill has some interesting quartz-riven slabs on the south side, but I couldn't see them from here.

A Bheinn Bhan:
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Lochan na Beinne Baine and Beinn na h-Uamha:
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The route on to Druim na Sgriodan looked dauntingly bobbly, but turned out to be fine, crossing the little bump of Tom Uaine. Higher up on Druim na Sgriodan, the grass was short and there were nice rocks to walk over - I'd quite like to do this route again in better conditions.

Druim na Sgriodan:
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Beinn na h-Uamha:
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I wasn't sure where the summit was as there was no spot height on my map, however I arrived right at it with no problems. Little to see, but when it almost blew clear, there was a nice array of rocks and lochans. Not sure why the SMC Corbett guide dismisses this as not worth visiting (it has a route to the neighbouring Sgur na Eanchainne).

Then on to Sgurr na Eanchainne via a bearing. Lower down the mist cleared and there were impressive views down Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe.

Loch Leven and Glencoe:
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Sadly the summit was mostly in the cloud, and just as I stopped to wait for a clearing, I was hit with a heavy shower of rain. That had me scuttling downwards for shelter.

From the summit of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne:
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Kettle hole lochans at Ardgour:
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Corran Ferry:
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Down Loch Linnhe:
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I may have missed out on the views, but I descended into an attractive corrie past the Tubhailt Mhic ic Eoghainn waterfalls. The larger falls were concealed in leafy gorges, but the water flowed over some lovely slabs in between.

Waterfalls:
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Then down to the transmitter mast and the track to Ardgour House. The woodland was thick rhododendron higher up, but more attractive around the house.

Approaching Ardgour House:
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Ardgour House:
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Following the drive, I took a detour to see one of the lochans close up. Nice bluebells around here, plus the first people I'd seen since leaving the ferry yesterday morning.

Lochan Eoin Mhic Alastair, one of the kettlehole lochans:
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Bluebells:
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Towards Fort William:
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Then a pleasant walk down the road, so quiet compared to the A82 across the loch.

Sgurr na h-Eanchainne:
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I stopped in for a pint at the Ardgour Inn. As they weren't serving full meals for another hour, I decided to head over the ferry to the Corran Inn.

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The pub:
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Big mistake! Not only had the Corran Inn been closed, it had been completely bulldozed to the ground! Not sure how I managed to miss this passing by on previous journeys. In retrospect I probably could have walked to the next pub in Inchree, but as I only had an hour before my bus, I headed for the beach instead. I got out my stove and cooked up a packet of savoury rice that I hadn't got around to eating. Not quite the ending I had planned to a great weekend but OK I suppose!
Last edited by malky_c on Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:18 pm

Nice one Malky and a good route you chose taking in some very under estimated hills , especially good in Autumn /Winter .

The midges have arrived in droves about 2-3 weeks early this year they are desperate :(

Sgurr a Cnaimh is a good wee hill ,combined with her larger neighbours or up through the Bealach ...great country :D :D
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby Norman_Grieve » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:40 pm

Very similar time to my trek fae Glenfinnan to Corran, including 13hr day after biding at the excellent but underused Resourie bothy - best stove I've come across & saved carrying a lot o' weight. I also encountered a fine specimen o' le venomous serpent, although naebody could spot it in ma photie. Congratulations on beating moi tae la TROM. :roll:
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby pigeon » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:42 pm

Great trip Malcky,still to get to Ardgour myself so i'll refer to your report again.Your pics look pretty good to me,nowt wrong wi that camera :lol:
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:20 pm

Enjoyed reading the TR Malky, and camera is doing a good job too..
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby malky_c » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:02 pm

Cheers all :D

Collaciotach wrote:Sgurr a Cnaimh is a good wee hill ,combined with her larger neighbours or up through the Bealach ...great country :D :D

Looking forward to it...much better from the south than trying to get to it from Lochan Dubh.

Norman_Grieve wrote:Very similar time to my trek fae Glenfinnan to Corran, including 13hr day after biding at the excellent but underused Resourie bothy - best stove I've come across & saved carrying a lot o' weight. I also encountered a fine specimen o' le venomous serpent, although naebody could spot it in ma photie. Congratulations on beating moi tae la TROM. :roll:

I'll need to re-read that one. Obviously not the one where you took your brother's car into Resaurie then? Also I thought you got report of the month for Loch Morar? Or am I mixing it up with Loch Maree?
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:16 pm

Another Malky marathon, great read :clap: :clap:
You must have a very understanding Mrs Malky, I can't tempt Mrs F with the car keys as she has her own car :(
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby Scotjamie » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:49 am

Great and informative TR and great pics.
Inspiring as always Malky...all I need now is the energy
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby Norman_Grieve » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:50 pm

malky_c wrote:Cheers all :D

Collaciotach wrote:Sgurr a Cnaimh is a good wee hill ,combined with her larger neighbours or up through the Bealach ...great country :D :D

Looking forward to it...much better from the south than trying to get to it from Lochan Dubh.

Norman_Grieve wrote:Very similar time to my trek fae Glenfinnan to Corran, including 13hr day after biding at the excellent but underused Resourie bothy - best stove I've come across & saved carrying a lot o' weight. I also encountered a fine specimen o' le venomous serpent, although naebody could spot it in ma photie. Congratulations on beating moi tae la TROM. :roll:

I'll need to re-read that one. Obviously not the one where you took your brother's car into Resaurie then? Also I thought you got report of the month for Loch Morar? Or am I mixing it up with Loch Maree?


http://walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=16972&p=104892&hilit=rESOURIE#p104892
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby smike » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:11 pm

Awake early and I could hear what sounded like rain on the tent
:lol: I experienced that horrible sensation the other day - I didn't know they could be so noisy!

Great report of an area I'm unfamiliar with.
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby londonwalker » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:58 am

Shame about the pub :(
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby rockhopper » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 pm

That was some trip, malky - a very enjoyable read ! Good to see the tent out again - know what you mean about packing up from the inside, then the mad dash outside with head net etc to get away as quickly as possible. I've noticed a few comments about midges sounding like rain - seem to be more this year than last - cheers :)
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Re: Ardgour overnighter - Camasnagaul to Corran

Postby mcbboyd » Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:55 pm

What a great read!

I used to live in this area (my parents still do). In fact, had to catch the Camusnagual ferry to school every day (it used to be a bitterly cold endeavor on some cold winter mornings).

Would often wander around some of the hills here, including a few trips up with my dad when I were a kid. Your report here has got me thinking that I really must get out for a decent trip up there. I often take the family dog out a walk up on Meall an t-Slamain whilst visiting these days, but it's high-time I ventured further afield again. Never really fully appreciated having such stunning scenery right outside our door when I was younger.

But above all, you are absolutely correct: the midges are evil bastards.
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