I had read the walkreports of these two mountains on the walkhighlands website,looked at them on the map and thought they would be nice mountains to climb and a decent vantage point looking towards the more rugged mountains on the other side of Strath Carron and the Torridon mountains beyond.
We set off from Kinlochewe in good time and took just over 20 mins to get to the forest carpark at Craig.There were a few cars already there but we got parked up with no problems,we had the obligatory midge attack while'st booting up but we were on our way without too much scratting.
The start of this walk is plain enough,cross the railway and then simply follow the track as it winds it's way above Sloc Mor gorge which is hidden below in the trees.
At the moment there are a lot of Hydro works being done and it has turned the track into a muddy road and has evidence of pipeworks all along the initial 4km or so of track,we were passed by several pickup trucks and vans on this section but as we got to the main construction area marked by tin huts,diggers and a massive mobile crane the track beyond soon became narrower and as it should be.
About another km from this point there is a small cairn marking the start of the path leading down to a wire bridge over the burn,and this is where we crossed the Allt a' Chonais,now,this is something I've never seen before so the first few steps on the wire were taken with caution,after these first tentative steps I soon realised that it's a clever construction and you can soon pick up pace and get across,it's a good job the burn was'nt is spate otherwise it could have been a different story.When we were both across and heading along the path,I realised that i had'nt got a piccy of Denise crossing the bridge,I suggested she went back and go halfway across but I was told to b.....off,one missed opportunity,shame on the guy with the camera.
The path upto Bealach Bhearnais is very good but as we got higher the clouds kept covering the bealach and we got no real sence of how the slopes of Sgurr Choinnich looked,and on the bealach we lost the path,I think we must have gone too far over so retraced our steps towards the steepening slopes and managed to pick up the path again'it's suprising how I can lose a path in the mist as it was as plain as day when we came across it.
From here the path goes steadily uphill working its way through rocks and boulders,the views were limited but we could see the way ahead and some of the surrounding mountains.After 50 mins we arrived at the summit with it's small cairn,
unfortunately the clouds were obscuring any views but we could make out the way forward so off we trotted to Sgurr a'Chaorachain.
The decent into Bealach Coire Choinnich was longer than anticipated but the path was plain enough if a bit loose in parts.The climb upto Sgurr a' Chaorachain is really quite enjoyable, not too steep and we did get the odd glimpse of Loch Monar.
After 40 mins we were at the summit of Sgurr a' Chaorachain being battered a bit by the strong wind,we sat down by the trig point in the shelter up there not being able to see much.
After a short while and a snack we headed off down,
set the compass on 5degs travelled about 600 mtrs then set a bearing towards the Allt an Lubain Bhuidhe,found it and followed this down until we got out of the cloud,I was'nt sure if this was the best thing to do because the map suggested it was steep and craggy,but in the event it was'nt too bad and soon we were below the clouds and we could see the track below so headed off more or less directly towards it,it was steep but we kept coming across bootprints so realised we were not the only ones to head off down this way.
After alot of slithering and sliding we arrived at the track,sat down and looked at the mountain side we'd just come down and I must admit,looking at it,it would'nt have been my first choice for descent but really,there was'nt much option.
We had landed on the track about 1.5km from the path leading to the wire bridge so knew we had a trudge back to Craig,eventhough it was a bit dull,it was warm and there was no rain,so we got our heads down and walked.
It took a little over an hour to get back to the car park and thus ended a very enjoyable day in the mountains,I can see the advantage of using mountain bikes to get to and from the mountains because it is a long walk in and out to get to these two,so I guess we'll have to make a shopping list......Two mountain bikes,helmets etc ooh and a new estate car to put them in.
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