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Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)


Postby GillC » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Thuilm

Date walked: 04/08/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 19.4 km

Ascent: 1123m

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Plans for yesterdays hills, Tom and Toll in Glen Affric, hadn't worked out, late start and incoming rain. So we had pottered around Fort Bill for the day and met up with Andy Smith (London Walker) in Cobbs bar for a drink or two. :shock: and to make arrangements for the Glenfinnan duo of Thuilm and nan Coireachan the following day. Sunny showers all day and not a great forecast for Monday but we decided to bite the bullet.

Both John and I had bought new waterproof trousers in Nevisport today and unfortunately, would need them all too soon.

One too many drinks on Sunday meant a groggy start on Monday but met up, as planned, at the small car park past the visitor centre in Glenfinnan. Pretty full but got a spot. The sun was out but there was constant drizzle so donned our new waterproofs and headed off shortly before 9:30am

The looming viaduct is set further off the road than I remember from crossing it some years back and we spent some time taking pics, reading the plaque re Robert McAlpines ground breaking "mass concrete" construction of what I always assumed was stone built. A quick chat with a gamekeeper who wanted to know our plans and what direction we were heading (very friendly young chap, just keeping any eye on who was around as stalking was taking place today) We advised we were doing both Munros, in an anti clockwise direction.

1 Glenfinnan Viaduct.JPG
Glenfinnan Viaduct


The track is tarmac for quite some distance and follows the course of the River Finnan. As the road climbs, Glenfinnan Lodge comes into view, perched up on a hill with no visible approach road.

2 Following the River Finnan.JPG
Following the River Finnan


Crossing one or two slightly dodgy bridges, we reached Corryhully bothy and had a wee look round. We met 3 young lads who had spent the night there after coming in to Glenfinnan station the night before. They seemed quite chuffed and were more than keen to show us round, "heres the comfy chair" "it has a light" etc, quite sweet. Their plan was to walk through to Glen Dessary and beyond. Bidding our farewells we continued on as the track became rougher and a lot steeper. More dodgy bridge crossings and then up to the cut off to Thuilm, marked by a very sweet little sign lol

3 River running over the road, wee bridge just up the hill solved that problem!.JPG
River running over the road, wee bridge just up the hill solved that problem!

15 The way to go (been).JPG
The way to go


There is a pretty good path for most of the way up the steep front of Sron a Bheithe before it eases (slightly) and heads North East over Drum Coire a Bheithe. It was very wet and boggy under foot but I had my waterproof socks on and so far, so good. The views over to Streap on the right showed lots of white streaks coursing down its steep grassy slopes,,,lots of water coming down there.

4 Heading up the path.JPG
Heading up the path

5 Looking back down to the river and track up.JPG
Looking back down to the river and track up

6 The soggy sides of Streap.JPG
The soggy sides of Streap


The weather was closing in quickly and pretty soon, the wind and rain was constant. As we reached the shoulder below Thuilm where the path criss crosses an old fenceline, it was howling wind, cold rain and bordering on unpleasant. :crazy: Visibility was fine locally but we had no view of any other hills around us but with a good path, there were no issues pushing through it.

7 Up to the balancing rock.JPG
Up to the balancing rock

8 The flatter shoulder beneath the summit.JPG
The flatter shoulder beneath the summit


Andy stopped to get his gloves on, John was chatting and it wasn't ideal "standing around" weather so I carried on and then something really strange happened, can't explain how it felt, so alien an experience for me. I got to the top, FIRST! Whats happening there? lol

Marked by a broadish cairn, I had a look around, yep, definitely the top. John arrived shortly afterwards, checked the GPS, top, Sgurr Thuilm, 963 mtrs. Done! Andy arrived a minute or so later, pics taken and no hanging around. Seriously gusty wind, no visibility and lots of the wet stuff.

9 Wee selfy at the summit.JPG
Wee selfy at the summit

10 Wet, windy and just a wee bit blurry.JPG
Wet, windy and just a wee bit blurry

11 John and Andy hanging on in the strong winds.JPG
John and Andy hanging on in the strong winds


Heading back down to the cut off over to Coireachan, murmurings were heard about the sense in heading out on to the ridge that takes you over Beinn Gharbh. Conditions were worsening and after some discussion, we decided to call it a day and find our way back to the ascent path. We could see no sign of this letting up.

Dropping down, I was expecting it to be a lot trickier, steeper, muddier etc than it was. Yes it was very wet underfoot and coming down on us but easier than I'd thought.

We confirmed to each other that we had taken the right decision in turning back,,even to the point where the rain stopped, kept going down, cloud lifted, kept going down, blue sky and sun out, kept going down. :lol: Our main concern here was that we had changed our direction of travel and there may have been some stalking going on. Keep your head down! :shock:

By now, we could see the top of Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich, a top hiding the second Munro behind (which admittedly, still had a cover of cloud) The path running up the side of the hill looked oh so do-able and by the time we hit the track below, we had decided to go up that way and bag the second summit.

12 Weather clearing as we dropped down.JPG
Weather clearing as we dropped down

13 Back up and we can actually see the ridge to the West now.JPG
Back up and we can actually see the ridge to the West now

14 The easy path to Coireachan runs up the hill to the right.JPG
The easy path to Coireachan runs up the hill to the right


We hadn't stopped for munchies yet so opted to walk down the track to the start of the next path, get some food and then head up. By the time we had finished eating it was 3pm, working out our timing, including the long walk out and drive back to Glasgow we then changed tack again, deciding to head down after all. Andy could have gone on as he was camping in his van locally anyway but he opted to come down too.

16 Suns out and taking the mick now.JPG
Suns out and taking the mick now

17 Great wee bridge.JPG
Great wee bridge


Couldn't believe, looking back up to Thuilm and the ridge above, under a clear blue sky, that we had been literally blown off the top just an hour or so before.

18 View back up to where we were just soaked!.JPG
View back up to where we were just soaked!


Stopping off to take some pics of butterflies and flowers, I ended up some way back from Andy and John on the track. 2 approaching landrovers coming behind stopped to ask where I'd been, explained the change of plan due to conditions. The chap in the matching checked shirt and waistcoat explained that their stalking party had also been blown off the hill, the deer get a reprieve for a bit then!

19 A local.JPG
A local


Back down, still trying to justify our change of decision. (I have a sneaking suspicion we all actually felt we should have just gone for it, what's a couple of hours?)

Still, we know exactly what to expect from the walk in next time and the good path up to a nice simple (possibly Winter) hill.

Thanks to John and Andy for a great, soggy,,but great day out.

20 The broad viaduct and the walk out..JPG
The broad viaduct and the walk out.
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Last edited by GillC on Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GillC
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:05 pm

Well done Gill! First to the summit!!! :clap: :clap: Great report as usual. cheers for the reminder we're in Stalking season now ! no harm in turning back ..conditions didnt sound very nice :( ..still these 2 to do ...
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby mrssanta » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:50 pm

Looks like you had the same weather we got on the orchy 5 on the same day. Report not up yet as won't be back home till 18th but we had a good soaking and I was thinking of your cheery face on Eunaich as the rain dripped down my neck!
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby Fife Flyer » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:37 pm

Nice one Gill, always take my hat off to anyone who walks in those conditions :clap: :clap:
It does make you question your sanity, the weather can be so cruel & really upset the apple cart :(
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby goth_angel » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:48 pm

Don't blame you turning back, I would have too, know how annoying it is when it clears up as you come down though.. :roll:
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby dogplodder » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:54 pm

Hopefully you'll get the views when you do the other one! :D
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby londonwalker » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:37 pm

Hi Gill - Great report again, no point in posting mine now, If i changed my mind once more on this walk I would have turned into a woman :lol: :lol: :lol:

It was wet enough to do terminal damage to my new phone and am now on my 3rd in a month (with another being delivered)

Love that last picture of the walkout and the viaduct in the background
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby GillC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:29 am

londonwalker wrote:Hi Gill - Great report again, no point in posting mine now, If i changed my mind once more on this walk I would have turned into a woman :lol: :lol: :lol:

It was wet enough to do terminal damage to my new phone and am now on my 3rd in a month (with another being delivered)

Love that last picture of the walkout and the viaduct in the background


Ha,, a woman indeed !!!! lol Yeah,,i like that last pic too,,,feel free to add yours too :clap:
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:27 am

Oh wow what a difference to when you started!! Probably a wise decision to leave the second one out at the time...and it will lovely to have a short day when you will return!
Well done for braving the bad weather!! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby LDPWalker » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:38 am

I think you got a good result with the butterfly as well. It looks like a mountain ringlet to me and they are hard to spot due to a very short flying season and only coming out in bright sunshine!
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby CharlesT » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:40 am

All has been said re your brave endeavors, fun in retrospect. :lol: I like the photo of the Scotch Argus - very nice shot. :D

Posted before I saw the previous post. I think it's a Scotch Argus rather than Small Mountain Ringlet. About to look it up. :?
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby GillC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:44 pm

LDPWalker wrote:I think you got a good result with the butterfly as well. It looks like a mountain ringlet to me and they are hard to spot due to a very short flying season and only coming out in bright sunshine!

CharlesT wrote:All has been said re your brave endeavors, fun in retrospect. :lol: I like the photo of the Scotch Argus - very nice shot. :D

Posted before I saw the previous post. I think it's a Scotch Argus rather than Small Mountain Ringlet. About to look it up. :?


Thanks guys,,,if it helps,,there were a lot about, very dark and unpatterned on the underside of the wing,,but worth waiting for the little blighter to open up, :lol:
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby londonwalker » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:43 am

Gill I would love to post some photies of the day but phone broke and camera now broken, and what pictures I got are rather like yours only not so good. Hop to be back for a week starting tues 27 to may see you again xx
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Re: Sgurr Thuilm - a day of two halves (well, almost!)

Postby GillC » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:47 am

londonwalker wrote:Gill I would love to post some photies of the day but phone broke and camera now broken, and what pictures I got are rather like yours only not so good. Hop to be back for a week starting tues 27 to may see you again xx



cool Andy,,,I didnt post any of the ones i took through a hole in the sandwich bag my phone was in,,the lens was half covered in polythene lol

John and I are off for some time at the end of your next visit,,maybe get that other one done (or did you go do it??? lol)
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