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Lairig Leacach Bothy circuit from Fersit - Day 2
by Graeme D » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:20 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Cruach Innse, Sgurr Innse
Grahams included on this walk: Cnap Cruinn
Date walked: 14/04/2010
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 900m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Anyway, despite predicting the likelihood of being awake at 4am, I set my alarm anyway, still harbouring the idea of a pre-sunrise ascent of Stob Ban. As it turned out, I was awake at the appointed hour and in need of going outside to see a man about a dog (so to speak). As I answered the call of nature under a starry sky on the damp heathery hillside behind the bothy, I quickly disabused myself of this idea and returned to my sleeping bag before Lucy claimed squatters’ rights in it.
I must have then finally managed to get some decent kip because the next thing I knew it was over four hours later and I awoke to bright sunlight streaming into the bothy. As I set about brewing up for coffee and munching on some assorted cereal bars, I was still entertaining the idea of scooting up Stob Ban before heading for the Corbetts, even if sunrise had long been and gone. I wandered outside to survey the scene and decided not to risk what was looking like an even finer day than yesterday by trying to squeeze to much into it. Better to take my time and really enjoy what looked like a couple of very tantalising Corbetts.
After two cups of coffee I got quickly packed, bade farewell to Phil and took a direct line up the dry heathery slopes towards the Sgurr. As I contoured around it yesterday, it had been clear that there was some kind of ledge or ridge which seemed to curve up the south face and then disappear round the back. I headed for the bottom of this and as I climbed higher, I saw the only other sign of life I was to see until almost back at the car – two people walking briskly in along the track towards the bothy.
The little ledge route eventually peters out below the summit in a tangle of rocks and boulders, and just beyond a tiny little tarn, the small summit cairn comes into view. I tell you, I thought I had died and gone to heaven – this is just the most brilliant and atmospheric summit setting and I sat for probably close to half an hour just enjoying it.
Eventually however, we had to make tracks and headed north west off the summit. Almost immediately we found ourselves in a very steep and loose scree gully and there didn’t look to be too many other easy options at hand. Lucy certainly didn’t seem to appreciate it if her whining and scampering was anything to go on. We eventually managed to negotiate it with a great deal of slow and careful route finding and emerged out onto a large boulder field which stretches out towards the broad bealach between the two twin Corbetts.
As I trek across the dry, rocky bealach with the sun now belting down quite ferociously, I get that same feeling of absolute contentedness that I had felt yesterday afternoon as well and almost as if to celebrate, I decide to throw caution to the wind (not that there is much really though) and swap my long trousers for shorts in preparation for the ascent of Cruach Innse.
The ascent is fairly straightforward but is punctuated by several stops for water as the sun continues to belt down. Once the gradient of ascent eases off, the actual summit cairn is still a fair distance across a gradually rising stony plateau. It’s another fantastic viewpoint with Stob Coire na Ceannain feeling like you could almost reach across the gulf and touch it. We spend another decent amount of time soaking up the sun and the summit atmosphere before turning attention towards the Graham, Cnap Cruinn.
A direct line looks like involving a dangerously steep and loose descent off Cruach Innse, so we detour a little further north and pick a slightly less steep looking line down the eastern face of the Corbett into the long flat bottom of the north west arm of Coire Laire.
A quick bite of lunch (the last of the food – well, human food anyway) is had here before the short haul up onto Cnap Criunn. I had taken a quick bearing from the summit of Cruach Innse just to confirm where the actual Graham summit lay and then just taken a visual line and walked more or less on this up onto the summit plateau. It was tricky at first to actually pick out where the summit was, as there were quite a few protrusions on the plateau. I suspected that I had veered a little too far north and consultation with the map confirmed this. I quickly relocated and after some further wanderings, picked out the small pile of stones atop a rocky outcrop which indicated the summit. Once there, a quick scan around me confirmed this as the highest point.
From here, the route almost back to the car was visible. I decided to head north east for the track where it crosses the Allt nam Bruach and then head through the trees to pick up the old tramway on the other side of the Allt Laire just before the old dam. The track did definitely cross the Allt Laire according to the OS map but it didn’t seem to indicate a bridge. Oh what the hell I thought, what’s the worst that can happen.
When I got down there, there was indeed no bridge, although there were signs that there had been one a very long time ago. I took off my boots and socks and waded across – quite refreshing actually although given how cold the water was, I was glad that the river was not any wider than it was!
On the other side we pick up the line of the old tramway. Initially it is very well defined and nice and dry but it becomes steadily boggier and less clear in places.
It is also not very dog friendly with a couple of fences barring the way with no way for dogs to get over. At the first, I manage to create enough space underneath by prising a rotten old log back and letting Lucy wriggle through but at the second one I have no option but to gather her up and throw her over manually. I also notice that a Landrover on the track on the other side of the river, which I had first spotted back at the dam, seems to have us under surveillance. It follows us slowly for a while before entering the forest.
As we reach the gate which leads onto the slope down to the Dubh Lochan and the car, the same Landrover is stopped on the road into Fersit and watches me as I unbolt and untie the gate, only moving off once the occupants are satisfied that I have followed the Code and put the gate back the way I found it. I seem to recall a few previous reports mentioning especially confrontational farmers around Fersit and I half expect to be accosted as I return to the car, but there is no one in sight.
These two days have been something I have fancied doing for a long time and they most certainly lived up to and indeed surpassed my expectations. Two of the best hill days I have had!
Vive la montagne!
by Paul Webster » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:38 pm
by kevsbald » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:42 am
by CurlyWurly » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:54 pm
So, which was the easier way up Sgurr Innse? The ledge route or the gully? I thought the end from the col between the 2 Innses was supposed to be the easiest way up? (Bear in mind my hatred of exposure when replying! )
- mountain coward
by Graeme D » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:14 pm
by FloozySuzie » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:54 pm
- Posts: 137
- Joined: Mar 30, 2010
- Location: Ardersier, Inverness-shire
Graeme Dewar wrote:MC, I went up the upper of the two ledges as seen in the view from the descent of SCE towards the bothy. It kind of peters out into a jumble of scrambly rocks towards the top but there's nothing to scary involved. I'm sure it would be within the limitations of reasonable mountain cowardice! I think that's far more pleasant ascent and descent prospect than negotiating that gully on the Cruach Innse side.....
Great, thanks! I think they usually say tackle it from the Cruash Innse side but your ledge looks and sounds better - I hate loose and steep!
- mountain coward
by audreywaugh » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:47 am
by Graeme D » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:11 pm
audreywaugh wrote:Love your report Graeme, did Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin and Stob Coire Easain last September and the views were stunning, but have been wanting to do those two Corbetts for ages now. Your photos have given me a real feel for what it will be like when I do eventually get around to them. Cracking weather also
Thanks Audrey - they deserve a good weather day though. As kevsbald says, the ultimate playground!
FloozySuzie wrote:I am not a dog person, but if i had to get one, she would look like Lucy. She's beautiful.
Thanks FloozySuzie! I'll let Lucy know you said that. She'll be tickled pink. She has her moments though - an incident on Slioch a couple of years ago springs to mind when she took advantage of a momentary distraction and lapse in attention on my part to steal my lunch!