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In Beinn Eighe's embrace
by BlackPanther » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:42 pm
Route description: Ruadh-stac Beag
Corbetts included on this walk: Ruadh-stac Beag
Date walked: 26/06/2014
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 14.5 km
Ascent: 931m7 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).
Before I get to details, a few words about Kevins "personal hill classification" When it comes to Corbetts, they fall into several categories, one of which is called "the F-word Corbetts". Could be shortened to Forbetts The F word usually stands for FANTASTIC, FULL OF FUN, FABULOUS, FASCINATING, a hill for climbing FANATICS, etc. Sometimes the F becomes a certain word (***censorship***) uttered in agony on the way up .
The F-word classification was first invented when Kevin named Torridon Beinn Dearg "That F*** Corbett behind Liathach" Since then a few other C's joined the F-group. Some of them we climbed, some are still on the list. We're slowly chewing our way through...
Ruadh-stac Beag has always been one of the F-s for many reasons. First, it was the location, so close to Beinn Eighe, almost surrounded by the bigger hill. Second, it was the mountain itself, very shapely, very steep and definitely a challenge. Two years ago we climbed the neighbouring Meall a'Ghiubhais, and sitting on the summit we admired RsB and Beinn Eighe. They looked inseparable - mum and kid, mum protecting the baby in big "embrace". Plus the fact that snow was still around gave the view some extra charm:
I've been thinking about climbing Ruadh-stac Beag ever since and only waited for a good day to do it. Visiting this Corbett without seeing the views would be like baking a cake and not eating it So there was only one way to fully enjoy "The Baby Eighe" and it had to be blue sky, sunshine, dry day.
Having returned from Dee trip on Wednesday we still had a few more days off so when Thursday's forecast showed sunny spells over Torridon, there was no force that could stop me. Kevin was actually eager to do the F-Corbett behind Liathach, but I convinced him to tackle RsB first, Beinn Dearg will be next. It certainly won't run away anywhere
Our route follows the WH walk on the way up, on descent we took a slightly different line, yet this has to be the shortest/easiest way up and down Ruadh-stac Beag if one doesn't want to add the second Corbett (we had already done it so could now concentrate on Baby Eighe only):
Don't be put off by our time - 7.5 hours - this walk can be done in 6 hrs or even less. We just couldn't do it fast - too much to admire!
The Beinn Eighe visitor centre car park was the starting point. We followed Ridge Trail until it highest point, where a well defined path branches uphill. Very quickly, we had Beinn Eighe in sight and I was running!
The trails and even the upper paths are a great place to take kids for wildlife spotting. We saw plenty of it, birds, insects, sundews, summer flowers... This dragonfly (golden ring one I think) even agreed to pose for a while:
Slioch - big, bulky and majestic - dominated the view across the glen:
Creag Dhubh and the Black Carls, another route to explore... Just no time to do everything at once!
The path is good all the way up to the more level ground. We turned right towards Meall a'Ghiubhais and admired the Corbett itself:
The deep ravine of Allt na Doire-daraich and the views beyond. The hill just behind is actually a Graham, called Beinn a'Mhuinidh. Not an easy one to climb, according to Graham guidebook:
It was sunny but not too warm, just warm enough for a panther to feel happy!
As we gained height, eventually we came to the point where the path peters out - now there was some pathless terrain to navigate over, but on a lovely day like we had, we expected no navigational obstacles. Especially when you could see exactly where you were going... The top to the very right:
The ground was mostly grass and stones, no bog thank heavens, so we marched across the flatter area towards RsB and soon... Soon we could see our hill in its full glory. And though views so far have been lovely, this was the moment when I said MEOW!
One little girl and one big mountain... Me and Beinn Eighe, that must have been love at first sight. Now I was here again!
The route to the summit of Ruadh-stac Beag follows this stream, Allt Toll a' Ghiubhais. The slopes facing us were much too steep to tackle face-on, so we had to find a back door way to the hill
Baby Eighe has a lovely profile. I noticed a few caves high up on the rocky cliffs:
The route along the stream is not technically difficult. For most of the time, we followed a faint path. It is best to stay on the eastern side of the glen for as long as possible, as the slope is less steep on this side.
Looking down the glen:
On the path, with sun quite strong and baking us now we were off the wind...
Higher up we found a good spot to cross the river (very little water in it, could be jumped over in any place) and refilled our bottles:
The most prominent peak during the ascent was Spidean Coire nan Clach:
The Black Carls... Oh, for heaven's sake, stop tempting me!!!
I must do that ridge sometime, or I will never be able to sleep tight!
We reached the high col between RsB and Beinn Eighe, where it was time to turn around and face the final, steep push to the summit. After a short climb up a wet stretch, we reached the edge of the big boulderfield. Now it was hands out of pockets and boulder-hopping, easy scrambling time! The ground became quite annoyingly steep:
Getting ready for the fun and games:
Spidean Coire nan Clach from the edge of the boulderfield.
There are a few tumbling paths, taking different ways up the boulders. We ignored them all and simply aimed for the rocky outcrop near the summit - I knew from previous descriptions that there is no difficult scrambling here... So, let the fun begin!
Of course, one has to be careful. I discovered very soon that I was moving faster and felt more confident on bigger boulders (even if it required the use of hands in places). The smaller rocks and scree felt very unstable and a bit like the Great Stone Chute up Sgurr Alasdair - two steps up, one down. Better stick to larger rocks:
Looking down would make vertigo-sufferers faint!
We haven't reached the summit yet and I was already on cloud nine, I absolutely loved all the little details of Beinn Eighe ridge, it was so close, just reach out and you could almost touch it!
Higher up there are more large rocks and less scree - and it gets steeper if it is even possible!
For me it was an easy scramble, but I wouldn't recommend this Corbett to beginners:
Looking down again from near the edge of the summit plateau:
Liathach now peeking out:
We reached the summit plateau and all that was left now, was almost flat walking on rocky ground to the summit cairn, situated on the northern tip:
But before the final walk to claim the summit, we stood on the edge of the steep slope and... well, felt overwhelmed. Wherever we looked, there was Beinn Eighe. It is incredible, how BE surrounds Ruadh-stac Beag. Honestly, like a caring mum cuddling the baby. I felt actually EMBRACED by my fav mountain, embraced, hugged and... invited to visit again some time!
There is no way to experience this very feeling just by looking at photos, they seem to flatten out the view... Even this 180 degree panorama, though it shows that half way around Ruadh-stac Beag there is NOTHING BUT BEINN EIGHE:
A few more "mootin' porn" photos. Enjoy
Liathach - as much of it as I could see:
Beinn a'Chearcaill and Beinn an Eoin:
Details of Beinn Eighe ridge:
The Black Carls zoomed:
Zoom to the Fisherfields:
Beinn Airigh Charr:
View north with Slioch and Meall a'Ghiubhais in the foreground:
We walked to the summit, which was quite windy and the wind had a cold edge, hence warm top and woolly hat I was happy to pose on the top of my 72th Corbett, but bagging another C was a secondary prize here. It was more about the visual experience
We dropped our rucksack near the summit and spent the next... probably 40 min or so wandering around, taking photos and simply gazing at the views from every possible angle. Mind boggling!
There is even a grassy stretch near the summit if one fancies a camping trip
A few Torridons still to do:
The viewpoint (top of the Mountain Trail), behind it Slioch, Fannichs and even the very distant Beinn Dearg group... This hill is a good viewpoint even taking Beinn Eighe aside:
Time to go back????? OH, no!!!!
On descent we took a different line, more to the right hand as you're going down, and quickly regretted it, we should have gone down the way we climbed up, on the bigger boulders. The descent was very tumbly, the path seen to the left in this picture is not as obvious as it seems in the photo, the scree kept giving way under us... Oooops!
Down on the grassy slopes Kevin was glad to have a stable ground under his feet:
We have left the summit but the view to Beinn Eighe were still superb:
The easiest way down is to retrace steps to the path following the stream, but we varied the descent by staying on higher ground just below BE's bulk:
One more photo for "little girl, big mountain" folder:
Our version of descent follows the upper slopes to the left in this photo. There is no obvious path but going is easy on grass and flat stones, some boulders but generally fast marching:
Meall a'Ghiubhais from half way down:
As this picture proves, nothing difficult about the alternative descent. And we kept the views for longer!
Too much sun for albino skin, so a makeshift neck-protector was invented
The Baby Eighe is almost as good as the Mum!
On the way down:
Finally, we reached the small lochans, the path was not far away now:
One final glimpse to my favourite mountain - and many thanks to the F-word Corbett for providing us with a day to remember!
As soon as we found the path, it was now a formality getting down to the car park. We spent a few minutes exploring the trails and I even found The Mighty Cone:
Wooow, what a day it was. Of course, weather was good enough for us to have tackled a multi-Munro traverse, but I don't regret in the slightest that we dedicated the day to Ruadh-stac Beag. It is indeed an F-word Corbett, a FANTASTIC experience and a truly magnificent adventure. No better place to be on a sunny day. Meow!
After a big, hearty cuddle from my Ben, I felt motivated to add another M to my collection which I did the day after Report to follow.
by Huff_n_Puff » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:55 pm
So now I must add another Corbett to the growing list! You certainly got better weather on the west than we had in the Cairngoms that day.
by Collaciotach » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:44 pm
by weaselmaster » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:57 pm
by AnnieMacD » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:25 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:54 pm
by Gordie12 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:25 pm
by spiderwebb » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:59 pm
by Alteknacker » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:08 am
It must have been a truly wonderful day.
by BlackPanther » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:19 am
by jmarkb » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:31 am
BlackPanther wrote:The slopes facing us were much too steep to tackle face-on, so we had to find a back door way to the hill
There are a couple of scrambling routes on this face: the slabs at the right end and the rib overlooking them on their left. Would make a brilliant trip combined with the NE ridge of Spidean Coire nan Clach (more scrambling) and back over the Black Carls.