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Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:14 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Creach Bheinn (Morvern), Fuar Bheinn, Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour)

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bheag (Ardgour), Beinn na Cille, Sgorr Mhic Eacharna

Date walked: 02/08/2014

Time taken: 13.25 hours

Distance: 29.5 km

Ascent: 2970m

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As a small boy I was intrigued by Strontian, as every summer one of my friends would head off there with his family for their annual holiday. I thought it sounded impossibly far off, somewhere in the most remote highlands, unattainable without much toil. I'd never been, myself. Almost got there back in June when we drove down to the Lochaline ferry, but that turns off just before entering Strontian. So with a rainy weather forecast on the cards, where else to go but Strontian for some horseshoes. Ah, Strontian, the Point of the Fairy Hill, the village that gave its name to Strontium, used, as we all know, in the refining of sugar beet in olden times. Well, it wasn't really that remote, just a hundred miles from my doorstep, over the Corran ferry, less than 3 hours all in. Arrived at Sunart campsite just before the rain did and pitched for the night. Not a bad wee site, with a mix of tents, log cabinettes and touring vans. Unfortunately quite noisy the first night with some campers coming home late from the pub talking very loudly and a wailing child in the middle of the night. Ho hum.

Campsite
ImageP1020935 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Driving to Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020936 by 23weasels, on Flickr

At least it was dry on Saturday morning, leading us to opt for Garbh Bheinn. We could see the mountain as we drove the few miles back along the road to park on the old road at the bridge over the Abhainn Coire an Iubhair. A couple of caravans were already in residence. We headed up Druim an Iubhair first of all, following the course of a stream up the hillside. Easy enough going, the way ahead clear to see and a great set of views of Garbh Bheinn as you walk round the ridge on the other side from it. Behind us were views across to Glencoe and down Loch Linnhe. We were beaten to the top of Sgor Mhic Eacharna by a raven who perched on the cairn, eyed us over and then glided off. Quite a steep descent down to Bealach nan Aingidh, following a line of old fenceposts then heading up the grassy shoulder of Bheinn Bheag. From here, Garbh Bheinn dominates the skyline, a muscular chunk of rock.


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



Start of the circuit
ImageP1020938 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading up Sgor Mhic Eacherna
ImageP1020942 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020945 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020947 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgor Mhic Eacherna
ImageP1020949 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Glencoe
ImageP1020950 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020951 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Raven, summit SME
ImageP1020952 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020954 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bheinn Bheag
ImageP1020955 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bheinn Bheag & Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020957 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020963 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The rain was starting as we passed the summits of Bheinn Bheag and we took shelter on our way down to Bealach 'n Amean to eat lunch, looking across at the steep slopes up to Garbh Bheinn. There are a couple of grassy strips that lead up - we chose the left hand one. Although it looks steep, it was easier to climb than it appeared and soon we were at a flattish, rocky area ready to make the final push to the summit. The clag and rain had worsened by this point, obscuring all views. We then picked up a good path that led us back along the "tourist route", with a few little scrambles along the way. At times the clag cleared, allowing views of the impressive cliffs over Sron a garbh coire mhoir. It was then a lengthy amble down to Sron a garbh coire bhig and back to the car in just over 6 hours. Fine day out!.

Heading to the final part of Bheinn Bheag
ImageP1020964 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Route up Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020967 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020968 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020970 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading up
ImageP1020971 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1020974 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Wet!
ImageP1020976 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020981 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020982 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Route back to the car
ImageP1020985 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stats
ImageP1020986 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Time on our hands - had the weather been better I might have headed off to Ben Resipol for afters, but it was still rainy and claggy. We drove back to the campsite then went for a wee wander around Strontian, along the river and up to the old church then down for a pint in The Bothy Bar.

ImageP1020988 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020989 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1020991 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A night of very heavy rain followed, along with a thunderstorm around dawn. Didn't sound too good for the circuit we had in mind, but surprisingly when we poked our heads out into the damp morning the sun was shining and there was some blue sky. Fabby! Packed up the sopping wet tent then drove off along the Lochaline road til the cut off for Kingairloch and followed a twisty narrow road along to Glengalmdale. Beautiful morning, steam rising off the road in the sunshine, butterflies dancing, swifts zipping about. Parked in the parking area beside Glengalmadale bridge and set off for the steep slopes of Beinn na Cille. Allison thought she spotted the path heading up just before the tree line, but oh man - what an insanely steep and unpleasant ascent this was! Had to fight tooth and claw to get through giant ferns for 200m with no path and plenty of interloping brambles just to make progress painful! Had to use my walking poles as implements to part the sea of ferns and vegetation - felt like Moses and the Red Sea :lol: Eventually I got fed up and tried to follow a stream, which was fine until I met one of the frequent waterfalls down 10 or more feet of sheer rock, necessitating finding another route. The grass was alive with grasshoppers and crickets pyoining off in all directions and numerous Scotch Argus butterflies fluttered by. At least the clegs were largely absent. After a gruelling climb we finally got to easier slopes and the remaining 300m to the summit was uneventful. Stretching ahead of us were the two Corbetts, behind was a fantastic view down as far as Jura. But there was also a band of rain coming over from Glencoe and before long it had reached us. We donned waterproofs and stopped for lunch, but the moisture had woken the midges which swarmed all around, into the coffee, into the sandwiches, up our noses - not a very relaxing lunch.

Parking area
ImageP1020993 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up before the tree line
ImageP1020995 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ferny fun :shock:
ImageP1020996 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030002 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Scotch Argus
ImageP1030005 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn na Cille
ImageP1030006 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Route to the 2 Corbetts
ImageP1030007 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Creach Bheinn
ImageP1030008 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Return route
ImageP1030009 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Beinn na Cille
ImageP1030012 by 23weasels, on Flickr

incoming weather
ImageP1030015 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Pressing on we headed down to Bealach coire Mhic Gugain then up 300m to Fuar Bheinn - easy going. Coming down from the summit we passed a herd of feral goats skulking off to our right. Then quite a wide sweep west to get round the edge of Coire a chuil mhaim - again easy enough ascending. As we neared the top there was the rumble of distant thunder. Mist came in just as we approached the top of Creach Bheinn and its substantial shelter built around the skeletal iron trig point remains. The mist thickened, all sound was deadened and it got a little spooky for a bit.

Fuar Bheinn
ImageP1030018 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030019 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030020 by 23weasels, on Flickr

goats
ImageP1030022 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Route to Creach Bheinn
ImageP1030023 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit CB
ImageP1030031 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We'd considered cutting the walk short if visibility was poor and heading down by the Dubh Alltan, but there was some blue sky evident up ahead and we elected to complete the horseshoe - very glad we did as it was a wonderful walk. First up was Maol Odhar with multiple bits of aircraft wreckage from the exploded F101 Voodoo
http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/pages/scotland/scotland56-0013.htm
The cairn was a collecting point for wreckage of varying sizes and I came across another collection further along.

aircraft part
ImageP1030036 by 23weasels, on Flickr

cairn Maol Odhar
ImageP1030037 by 23weasels, on Flickr

More wreckage
ImageP1030038 by 23weasels, on Flickr

By this time the views were opening up nicely as we headed for the broad grassy spine of Diollaid na Maoille Uidhre. Sheep then more goats peered at us and the views were superb- of the hills we'd climbed and south to the Paps of Jura. What a glorious afternoon. There's a clear path that heads over each of the hilltops to Meall nan Each and beyond, before we left the path and headed NW off Creag an Fhithich and back to the carpark. Legs tired but a great day out.

ImageP1030040 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030041 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030043 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Fuar & Creach
ImageP1030045 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030046 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030048 by 23weasels, on Flickr

More goats
ImageP1030049 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030051 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn na Cille
ImageP1030052 by 23weasels, on Flickr

stats
ImageP1030055 by 23weasels, on Flickr
Last edited by weaselmaster on Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby PeteR » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:45 am

Sorry, but I had to laugh at your "wet" photo 976. You with your alien eyes and Allison giving you a look suggesting she'd like to stick that walking pole somewhere painful (for you :shock:) :lol: :lol:

This is an area I've not ventured into much either. Have to say, it looks impressive :D
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:11 am

PeteR wrote:Sorry, but I had to laugh at your "wet" photo 976. You with your alien eyes and Allison giving you a look suggesting she'd like to stick that walking pole somewhere painful (for you :shock:) :lol: :lol:

This is an area I've not ventured into much either. Have to say, it looks impressive :D


Yes, there is a bit of a strange look going on there. You should have seen the look at the top of Beinn na Cille after struggling thru the fern hell (I didn't post them :lol: )

The whole area of Moidart/Sunart/Gour is just superb IMO - well worth a few trips. Be really good to see in winter, too
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby BoyVertiginous » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:39 pm

Couldn't agree more, stunning area and fine hills. I like a horseshoe and, not something I can say often, have done both these circuits and they rank very highly in the "top walks to date" list in my head! Plan to re-visit the Garbh Beinn horseshoe in September.

Pity the weather didn't hold a bit longer for you but, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Another fantastic report - you always seem to make them so interesting! What amazing views and both walks look great except for the Battle of the Bracken.
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby orion » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:52 pm

I still remember the ascent of Ben na Cille after many years.Made the mistake of doing it on one of the hottest days of the year :roll:
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:08 pm

My home turf :wink: ....... Great hills and so many routes to choose from :D

I was in the Bothy Bar for a few on Friday night and Saturday , wonder I did not come across you :)
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby rockhopper » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:47 pm

that looked good - no stopping you two, eh ? - cheers :)
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:52 pm

Good stuff. That Grahams a steep wee climb. Been looking at the other horseshoe which i was going to do clockwise but i see you went anti clockwise. You recommend that to avoid the steep descent from the Corbett?
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:55 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Good stuff. That Grahams a steep wee climb. Been looking at the other horseshoe which i was going to do clockwise but i see you went anti clockwise. You recommend that to avoid the steep descent from the Corbett?


The one in the Beinn Garbh circuit you mean?
Nah, i dd it anticlockwise to get a goood look at Garbh Beinn on the way round and cos I was concerned that the north slopes on beinn garbh would be better tackled in ascent - but to be honest you could do them either way without much problem
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Re: Two Fine Horseshoes from Strontian

Postby malky_c » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:02 pm

Two of my favourite walks over there :) . I can't decide which one I prefer - Garbh Bheinn for the rock scenery or Creach Bheinn for the easy going underfoot (Beinn na Cille excepted, although having gone up there in winter, I don't remember it being too bad).

Great photos, and looks like you're making pretty decent headway into one of my favourite areas 8)
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