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Slioch with midges and sunshine

Slioch with midges and sunshine


Postby mrssanta » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:52 pm

Route description: Slioch, near Kinlochewe

Munros included on this walk: Slioch

Date walked: 10/07/2014

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1200m

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I last climbed Slioch in 1981 on a school trip. So this was a repeat for me but a first for Rudolph. Now he is only two behind me :wink: I have no photos from that occasion as I dropped my dad's camera which he had lent me on the first day of the trip, and it went into the River Coe near the Meeting of Three Waters. I can still see it tumbling down the slope when the strap broke, and the chemistry teacher heroically (and riskily) going in up to his waist to retrieve it. but of course it was beyond repair.
anyway back to the present.
Suitably fortified with the most amazing leek and potato soup and delicious plum sorbet from the Kinlochewe Hotel, we walked out from Incheril car park to the foot of Slioch on Wednesday night and camped near the bridge which crosses the lovely Abhainn an Fhasaigh. We set off about 8pm walking into the evening sunshine with a lovely breeze keeping the midges away, and an hour's brisk walking with our full packs brought us to the bridge.
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setting off in the evening sunshine

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our destination for tomorrow

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prospecting for a camping spot

Finding a lovely campspot, Rudolph went off to fetch water from the river and I set to with pitching the tent, when suddenly two things happened at the same time. The sun dipped behind a tree, and the wind dropped. Within ten seconds I was completely off my head with midges, and dived inside the tent which was only half-pitched as in my distraction I had forgotten to clip the inner onto the poles. Trying to pitch a tent from inside it is not a good plan!
Moral: apply smidge early. It really does stop them biting, although they still tickle a bit when they land.
anyway, it was hot, we managed to let midges into the tent, and we had a bit of a miserable night! The midges were still biting at 4am when we both had to go out for what you can't do inside a tent. In the morning the sun was well stuck behind the bulk of Beinn a'Mhuinidh so we had the quickest up and out ever, plastered ourselves with Smidge, got dressed, stowed everything, dived out of the tent and stashed the gear out of sight, setting off for our walk at 7.40am with the plan to stop for breakfast as soon as we climbed out of the shadow into the sunshine. It was promising to be a gorgeous day and the sun was shining but the midges persistently refused to go away so we nibbled on oatcakes and cheese as we climbed.

It's a steep climb up the burn to the 500metre mark and we were quite glad to be climbing before the heat of the day. Beinn Eighe soon starts to peep up from behind Meall a'Ghiubhais opposite, and becomes more impressive and beautiful as you ascend, with the morning sun glinting off its cliffs.
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Beinn Eighe just beginning to peep out while we are in shade

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and a bit more

Eventually the gradient eases as you enter the central corrie of the mountain which is a lovely gentle gradient, then there is a short part where the path doubles back to climb up to the shoulder of the mountain where the two lochans are (although you only see one to start with) and then the really brutal climb up to the summit where there is a badly eroded path with lots of loose stones and gravel. I think it would be a nightmare to descend this way. It brings you out onto a little summit and then there is a rather disappointing descent over a strange lunar landscape, before ascending to the trig point and then a little further on the summit cairn.
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the central corrie looking towards the summit

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looking downhill eastwards from the central corrie. No hint of the delights which await!

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blue lochan

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horrible steep eroded path, but always a good idea to stop often and admire the view!

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Oh no that's a bit mean!

Oh what a view!
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Looking down to Loch Maree from trig point

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Summit photo with Beinn Eighe behind (again)

As it did yesterday a wee cloud came over just as we reached the top, and there were even a few midges hanging about at the summit, but it soon disappeared and we stopped for a lovely rest and a leisurely lunch while feasting on the views in every direction.
fannaichs 198.jpg
Rudolph studying the map working out which peak is which. these are the Eastern fisherfield hills

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Lochan Fhada with reflections with A'Mhaighdean and Ruadh stac Mor behind, and an Teallach in background

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another view over Loch Maree

As we were standing gawping into the Fisherfieds, a small silver thing was visible moving; at first I thought it might be an eagle but it got bigger very quickly, coming up Gleann na Muice was a Tornado, it came right up towards us and then circled Slioch to port, turning and disappearing off up the Kinlochewe river, shortly followed by another which went round the other way. No pics I'm afraid.
Soon we were joined by a lone walker who told us he had set off from Southampton in early May and had been camping and walking around Scotland since early June. He certainly had some stories to tell and after a while we had to drag ourselves away as we were getting chilly.
We got to the low point before the climb up to Sgurr an Tuill Bhainn and we really couldn't be bothered with that last 70 metres of ascent. so we didn't. We picked our way down over the steep stony and grassy slopes without searching too much for a path as we thought it would be eroded and more likely to slip than finding our own way.
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coming back down into the corrie

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When we climbed this mountain back in 1981 we went up the side of the burn into the centre of the summit plateau.

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You can see the upward path to the lochan in this picture

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looking towards the Fannaichs

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another view of part of Beinn Eighe

Coming down the steep upward path was hot and getting hotter, and it was nice to get back to the camping place where I stuck my hot feet in a deep pool in the river.
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deep cold water for my feet

This was our last day of our brief adventure, and the walk out was really lovely along the side of the Kinlochewe river, back to the car.
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Loch Maree

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beautiful alluvial meadow by the Kinlochewe River

While lying in the bath later in our comfy hotel en suite, I remembered why I do this. That bath is so delicious after four days out in the fresh air!!!
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mrssanta
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:58 pm

Looks familiar, i was on Slioch on the 14th. Got to the summit and then the weather came in, but still a great walk. No midges though, so you must have been unlucky with them. The eroded path can also be avoided if you keep over to the right, i saw it but it looked a bit close to the edge for me :shock:
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:19 pm

What a great adventure you had over the few days! Thanks for the tips here as this one is high on my list - think I might avoid that path.

(Was the name of the guy you met Arnold? If so it's the same guy I had lunch with on Spidean an Choire Leith two days earlier!)
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby PeteR » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:04 pm

Some lovely photos :D You certainly got a good day for this one.

I was up on Slioch on Sunday and had mixed weather, with the clag rolling in on the summit a bit too much. Still, there are some great views though :D

I must say I thought the highlight to the route was the short narrow ridge to the minor top, despite the clag doing its best to ruin my views.
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby londonwalker » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:26 am

Another quality report Mrs S - did this back in March no views though, planning a return this summer after doing the fisherfields, but only if there are views :D There was quite a bit of snow on it and we missed the switchback path and went up the way you did in 81. As there were no views by the time we got there - it was a better route of ascent - the usual way up is popular as it offers great vistas on a day such as you had
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:43 am

Some great pics, especially the 2nd one for me: that's a real "come and try me" pic that sets the blood coursing :clap:

Pity about the beasties...
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby mrssanta » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:44 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:What a great adventure you had over the few days! Thanks for the tips here as this one is high on my list - think I might avoid that path.

(Was the name of the guy you met Arnold? If so it's the same guy I had lunch with on Spidean an Choire Leith two days earlier!)

We never asked his name, but I would not be surprised if it was the same guy.
PeteR wrote:Some lovely photos :D You certainly got a good day for this one.

I was up on Slioch on Sunday and had mixed weather, with the clag rolling in on the summit a bit too much. Still, there are some great views though :D

I must say I thought the highlight to the route was the short narrow ridge to the minor top, despite the clag doing its best to ruin my views.

We nearly went up that way, but the bath was calling and it was starting to get quite hot as well. Did go over that top the last time though. The ridge bit was good, though. nice bit of exposure but no danger.
londonwalker wrote:Another quality report Mrs S - did this back in March no views though, planning a return this summer after doing the fisherfields, but only if there are views :D There was quite a bit of snow on it and we missed the switchback path and went up the way you did in 81. As there were no views by the time we got there - it was a better route of ascent - the usual way up is popular as it offers great vistas on a day such as you had

it really is worth saving for a good day.
Alteknacker wrote:Some great pics, especially the 2nd one for me: that's a real "come and try me" pic that sets the blood coursing :clap:

Pity about the beasties...

oh well the beasties are a part of life, and the bites have faded now. At least they keep the hordes away.
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby portinscale » Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:18 pm

An interesting report - it has whetted my appetite to get back to that part of the country.
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:26 pm

OOOhhh lovely pics - Slioch is such a beautiful mountain glad you got such good weather. :D
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby shish » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:53 pm

A great adventure altogether :clap: :clap:
You don't often get to lay the map out like that on the summit! :D
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby auldal » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:49 pm

hi,I climbed this today with an early start to try to beat the forecast rain (which nearly worked). l had no problem with midges but my day was really spoiled by dozens of what I think were large ticks or fleas. they moved really fast and climbed all over me tending to end up at the back of the neck. Smidge seemed to stop them from biting though.
On the way back as it had just started to rain and they were still really bad I ended up completely covered from head to toe,trousers tucked in and midge net on. A real pain.
Do you think these were ticks
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby auldal » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:49 pm

hi,I climbed this today with an early start to try to beat the forecast rain (which nearly worked). l had no problem with midges but my day was really spoiled by dozens of what I think were large ticks or fleas. they moved really fast and climbed all over me tending to end up at the back of the neck. Smidge seemed to stop them from biting though.
On the way back as it had just started to rain and they were still really bad I ended up completely covered from head to toe,trousers tucked in and midge net on. A real pain.
Do you think these were ticks
auldal
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:10 pm

Did this two years ago with Kath but didn't get further than trig point... Kath was holding the WH instructions but didn't read them so we didn't realise in the poor visibility it wasn't the true summit. Hoping to go back with Moira and include the north ridge for which your report will be useful! :D
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby mrssanta » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:25 pm

portinscale wrote:An interesting report - it has whetted my appetite to get back to that part of the country.

Must be one of the best bits!
Huff_n_Puff wrote:OOOhhh lovely pics - Slioch is such a beautiful mountain glad you got such good weather. :D

yes it was really good to get to see the views
shish wrote:A great adventure altogether :clap: :clap:
You don't often get to lay the map out like that on the summit! :D

indded you don't. it was fun identifying all the hills. Fisherfields look very big and empty though!
auldal wrote:hi,I climbed this today with an early start to try to beat the forecast rain (which nearly worked). l had no problem with midges but my day was really spoiled by dozens of what I think were large ticks or fleas. they moved really fast and climbed all over me tending to end up at the back of the neck. Smidge seemed to stop them from biting though.
On the way back as it had just started to rain and they were still really bad I ended up completely covered from head to toe,trousers tucked in and midge net on. A real pain.
Do you think these were ticks

could be? Ticks are dark like little spiders and they crawl over you till they find a nice place. they don't fly and you would not find so many up on the top as they tend to climb onto you from vegetation - but if they went for your neck maybe not as they tend to prefer warm cosy spots.
dogplodder wrote:Did this two years ago with Kath but didn't get further than trig point... Kath was holding the WH instructions but didn't read them so we didn't realise in the poor visibility it wasn't the true summit. Hoping to go back with Moira and include the north ridge for which your report will be useful! :D

It will be another hill for you with poignant memories. Make sure Moira looks after those ankles! the descent was quite lumpy underfoot.
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Re: Slioch with midges and sunshine

Postby auldal » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:40 pm

yeah, they probably were ticks in the head height ferns. never in 40yrs of walking have I come across so many, just the odd one. I will be avoiding ferns next couple of days and deet-ing my self
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