Non-essential travel is permitted only within your own local authority area.
You can travel upto 5 miles out of this area to begin exercise.
Click for details
A fine pair of Corbetts
by clivegrif » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:03 am
Route description: Sgòrr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgùrr Dubh
Corbetts included on this walk: Sgòrr nan Lochan Uaine, Sgùrr Dubh
Date walked: 03/06/2014
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1060m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It’s stopped raining and the cloud has lifted a bit – time to get up a hill!
My targets for today were the Torridon Corbetts Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh which lie on the south side the glen opposite Beinn Eighe. The starting point is the big car park at the end of the Coire Dubh Mor / Coire Mhic Nobuil path, but I was pretty sure that everyone who parked there will heading off in a different direction to me today. Unfortunately it also quickly becomes clear that today may be better for black & white photography rather than colour….
Head east, cross the road bridge over the burn and hop over the Armco to pick up the path to the footbridge. The way goes over a small bump before decending to the shores of the Lochan an Lasgair just down from the famed Ling Hut. Walking along the path by the lochan it becomes immediately apparent that midge season is in full swing. There are clouds and clouds of them of all shapes and sizes; big ones, little ones and plenty of the ones that bite. Nothing for it, jam my hat on, head down and plough through them as quickly as possible.
Above the Ling Hut, the very well made path climbs past a small waterfall and then into a glacial debris field. There are scores of small mounds almost all the same size, all lined up lengthways down the valley. The path meanders steadily upwards around and between them, reaching a small plateau just shy of the 400 metre mark. The path continues on towards Beinn Liath Mhor to the south east, but it’s time to go off-piste and head towards the Lochan Uaine.
You very quickly appreciate just what a good path it was as the ground is now rough, wet and boggy. As I climbed higher I trended left towards an obvious notch in the skyline, to avoid sloping outcrops with decent drops on the other side. This takes you close to the stream that is to the north of the Lochan outflow, and hence higher up the slopes of Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine. Eventually you reach a platform immediately below the final steep and shattered quartzite slope that leads to the summit, but before setting off, take in the view of the twin lochans below, separated by the substantial rib of rock that connects Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine to Beinn Liath Mhor. Both lochans are held in huge rock bowls with sheers slabs on all but the exit side.
Looking across at Beinn Liath Mhor, the cloud is moving in over the summit, and it is dark and heavy; time to move. It’s a good 200 metres to the top from here and it is steep and loose. About half way up I take a strategic photography break (to get my breath back), and then calamity – my GPS falls out of its holder and starts rolling down the steep slope. I give chase, shouting ‘NOOOOOOO’, and to my horror saw it hit a rock and go cartwheeling through the air towards the bottom. Fortunately after this it lands flat, but it’s still a good 30 metres down. I catch up with it, and to my amazement it is intact and still works – made of strong stuff these Garmins!
Start again…. Back up the unrelenting slithery loose quartzite debris which swishes as it slides past. I finally top out, and fortunately the actual summit is not too far away. The cloud is flirting with the top of the hill, literally only a few feet above me, but it’s still clear enough to see the way ahead. Sgurr Dubh does have a reputation for being difficult in mist, and looking ahead to the maze of lochans and ribs and ridges it is easy to see how one might get confused.
From the top of Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine the route goes down a long way, from 870 metres down to 560, in a series of steps and slopes. It is easier going than the ascent route though. When decending towards the col between the two hills, it seemed better to trend right as the ground appeared to be a lot less steep. However, once past the col, it is better to trend left towards a group of small lochans and then go straight over a minor bump that has crags to the left and right. From there go down into a col, and then up slight right towards the bare and shattered quartzite of the main summit area. You will come upon a high lochan which seems strangely out of place, but go round it to its left, and the final climb is in sight.
Sgurr Dubh is all grey rock and rubble at this height, and in places the quartzite has a nasty tendency to be slippery as well as sharp. Climbing higher, I reached a rib of rock, that has a small cairn at the far end. From there, it was clear I needed to turn right and decend slightly before climbing up to the summit cairn itself.
The clouds have now formed a thick layer over the tops of Beinn Eighe and Liathach, and its not much better looking back towards Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine, so once again it’s time to go. But that brings the next problem, how to get down! This mountain is seriously steep with crags and plummets aplenty. In fact the only safe way seems to be back the way you came to the little cairn at the end of the rib, because there are cliffs in the other directions. Once the little cairn is reached it is possible to start heading down, but it is mainly steep and loose quartzite scree. Take it slowly, and if you can’t see the whole slope below you it is safest to presume that yet another craggy plummet lies in wait – because it is quite likely to be true. It is also better to trend left, as at one point I came across a band of crags that were 10 metres or so high, and the only way down was to keep heading left until a break appeared.
Eventually, after much slithering and cursing, safer and less steep ground was reached, and a series of rough but vegetated, and increasingly boggy, steps brings you back down to the Ling Hut where the midges were lying in wait….
All in all, it was a good and strenuous day. Despite this being Torridon, I didn’t see a soul until I got back to the bottom so I suppose it isn’t only Beinn Dearg that gets neglected in these parts. …and yes the GPS holder was unceremoniously confined to the bin!
by scoob999 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:38 am
We loved this walk and with all the wee lochans it seemed to add something special to the walk
As for the Garmin, i have mine tied on to the rucksack with a security strap thing that came with my first Garmin after i nearly lost mine on the Cuillins
Like the B&W pics too, nice change
by MunroMadMen » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:47 am
Looking forward to a climb tomorrow 16th, Buachaille Etive Mor and the weather is forecasted as clear & sunny
by clivegrif » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:03 pm
Geo - Hope it went well on the big Buachaille.
Scoob - it's a great outing, glad you enjoyed it as well. As for the GPS, you would have thought that putting it in a quality leather case that was attached by an unbreakable kevlar coil to the rucksack would have done the job - but the velcro seal went! Oh well, the replacement is damn near bulletproof.
Good luck on your future travels!
by AnnieMacD » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:14 pm
You did get some decent weather on your trip. How many hills did you do altogether?
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?