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Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:17 pm

Route description: Ruadh-stac Beag

Corbetts included on this walk: Ruadh-stac Beag

Date walked: 09/08/2014

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 19.3 km

Ascent: 1024m

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Track_2014-08-09 Ruadh-stac Beag.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

This hill was high on my list for a while and with a mixed forecast for Saturday decided to chance the weather. Parked in the main Beinn Eighe car park (at the visitors' centre) and another car arrived at the same time. Turns out it was Andrew from Sheffield and I was to see him later on. The midges were fierce (what a summer they have had!) so took my gear to the lovely, clean loos and got sorted there. By the time I got above the tree-line I could see Andrew way off in the distance.

Slioch from near the start.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag by anniesmountains, on Flickr

It's an excellent path up from the BE Centre and then the continuing Pony Track is almost as good. I wasn't too sure where to leave the Pony Track and continued on it until I was losing quite a bit of height into Toll a' Ghuithais. In retrospect I think the ideal point is at the Stone Shelter which is at about the highest point on the path (approx 470m). However, it's difficult to go wrong if the visibility is good as you are heading up the left bank of Allt Toll a' Ghiuthais. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the Stone Shelter but one will know it when one sees it and it's marked on the 25k OS map.

The very obvious path which even I didn't lose! Meall a' Ghuithais ahead.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-2 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Creag Dubh looking white, Sgurr Ban looking black, Spidean Coire ana Clach in cloud and Ruadh-stac Beag.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-3 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Almost at the highest point on the path. I think the stone shelter is on the right, down from the dark part of RSB in the photo.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-4 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The lovely Toll a' Ghuithais. On the left are the lower reaches of Ruadh-stac Beag and Ruadh-stac Mor. On the right, Beinn a' Chearcaill and Meall a'Ghuithais. Some day I will walk down this valley.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-5 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Meall a' Ghuithais from the path.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-6 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The walk up by the allt is on a decent path as you get deeper and deeper into the heart of Beinn Eighe. I stopped to have a good look at the possible ascent by the caves and decided when seeing it from below that it would be a bit foolish to try it. Johnny Corbett (on this site) said he wouldn't do it alone, enough said!

ImageRuadh-stac Beag-7 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The caves. It's quite a climb up to them though it doesn't appear so here.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-8 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Looking back down towards the path. The highest point in the mid-distance is the highest point on the Beinn Eighe mountain trail.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-9 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I crossed the burn at this point and went straight up to the ridge.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-10 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

There are many routes up the scree slope on the south end of Ruadh-stac Beag and I took the one on the right as it's really the first one you see as you hit the bealach. Near the top there is a bit of simple scrambling which is a welcome diversion from the scree!

Lochan Uaine from half-way up the scree.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-11 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe and the Black Carls.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-12 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Just as I hit the top I met Andrew who was about to descend so we had a good chat. He had come off the Pony Track too early and ended up on the path to Creag Dubh so that was why I didn't see him ahead.

From the summit plateau looking down to the burn - you can see the path. Kinlochewe, Fionn Bheinn and the Fannichs in the distance.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-13 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

It was pretty cold and windy up there so I headed for the summit (at the north end of the plateau) and found a sheltered spot at the most northerly cairn to have lunch. This was a great spot to take in the surrounding hills.

Much of the summit is comprised of quartzite, but the north end is covered in moss - my feet were happy. Here you can see the tip of Ruadh-stac Mor and Baosbheinn, Beinn an Eoin and Beinn a' Chearcaill.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-14 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Loch Maree and Meall a' Ghuithais.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-15 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The very rocky summit area with the Black Carls behind. The weather is getting interesting!
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-16 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

From the rocky summit looking to Spidean Coire nan Clach round the Beinn Eighe ridge to Coinneach Mhor, the tops of Liathach behind and Beinn Damh behind that.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-17 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Fionn Bheinn with Loch Fannich on the left and Loch a'Chroisg on the right
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-18 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Sgurr Ban and Spidean Coire nan Clach.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-21 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The start of the descent is clearly marked by a cairn and is pretty much in the centre of southerly edge. Like a lemming I took this route but realized that my ascent route would probably have been easier as there was more scree this way. No matter, it doesn't last too long and I then headed for Lochan Uaine which is at the foot of the north-easterly spur of Spidean Coire nan Clach. I had thought that I might descend into Coire Ruadh-staca and make a circuit of Ruadh-stac Beag. I knew there were cliffs on that side but guessed there might be a path down. Sure enough there was a good sized cairn and a path descending from it 'over the edge' so I assume it went all the way down. But, the weather started to change and it's a much longer route with quite a few 'unknowns' and no path in the corrie, so I decided to return by the way I had come.

At the start of the descent looking down to Lochan Uaine.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-22 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Almost there. I highly recommend a visit to this lochan if you climb RSB.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-23 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

By the time I got back up to Lochan Uaine the 'weather' had hit Beinn Eighe and, as the light was improving, it made for some dramatic views. There were multiple heavy showers followed by rainbows to the east.

Lochan Uaine with the Black Carls straight ahead and the lower slopes of Spidean Coire nan Clach on the right.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-25 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

ImageRuadh-stac Beag-26 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Looking back to Ruadh-stac Beag. I went up the right side and came down the centre
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-27 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

It took me ages to get back down the path as I stopped frequently to take photos. Then the midges hit me and I had to put my head net on (which has now become part of my backpack inventory) whereas the backs of my hands were black with them! Ugh!

Back down at the path and the showers were chasing me.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-29 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Creag Dubh, Sgurr Ban and Spidean Coire nan Clach.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-30 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Leaving Ruadh-stac Beag.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-31 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

"The rocky road before you now, may lead you to a rainbow." ~Anon
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-32 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

And another rainbow.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-33 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The showers were heavy but didn't last long.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-34 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Slioch and Sgurr a' Mhuinidh in the evening sun.
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-35 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Final photo on my way home of the sunset behind Na Ciochan on Sgurr a' Chaorachain (the Applecross one).
ImageRuadh-stac Beag-36 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I really loved Ruadh-stac Beag and will go back to investigate more. I hope one day to do the full circuit, maybe anti-clockwise. Now just two Munro tops left to climb on Beinn Eighe!
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Re: Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby rockhopper » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:31 pm

That looked very enjoyable, Annie - no wonder you stopped to take so many photos ! Lovely photos - I do like those with the lochan which stands out from the silvery/grey backdrop - cheers :)
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Re: Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby clivegrif » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:10 am

Oh, that was wonderful! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Amazing photos - particularly liked no.26.

Will definitely be back to visit this one and its neighbour, this is inspirational stuff!

Best wishes.
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Re: Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:51 am

Super stuff Annie, you got some lovely photos. I was amazed when i got to the grassy section when i did this walk and like yourself it was good to feel soft ground. Think it's possibly the only Torridon mountain with any grass :shock:
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Re: Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:40 am

Lucky you to be able to get out on the hills :D I haven't been up on higher ground for almost a month and it's making me mad... And Kevin's working next weekend :(

I remember we also took a lot longer than we should have to finish this walk, it's such a wonderful scenery that cameras stayed glued to our hands :lol:
That second rainbow photo is superb - not easy to catch the full circle, especially with mountains in the background.
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Re: Chasing Rainbows off Ruadh-stac Beag

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:15 am

What a lovely walk that must have been and the photos, specially the ones before the storm are fantastic!
Well done!! :clap: :D :D
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