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Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh


Postby skuk007 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:49 pm

Route description: Sgòr na h-Ulaidh and Meall Lighiche

Munros included on this walk: Sgòr na h-Ulaidh

Date walked: 19/05/2010

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 12 km

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My fourth day in and around Glencoe, and todays target was going to be Sgurr na h-Ulaidh. I had had a few days now to check out the steep slope as recommended by Mr McNeish in his book. It seemed to look more steep each time I checked it out. The slope would take me onto the ridge of Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne and was supposed to be a nicer walk than the usual one of going all the way along Gleann an Fhiodh to the easier slopes where access to the obvious bealach is gained. I still hadn't decided which way to go as I had always said it would depend on the weather and how I felt on the day.

Well the weather was pretty miserable and all the tops in Glencoe were completely covered in low cloud, however, it was meant to stay dry all day, and they reckoned if we were lucky it might clear by mid-afternoon. As for me I was feeling OK even though I had done what for me was three long days walking already. I would have to decide soon, the slope was approaching and looking tough.
Munro_44.jpg

I had only been walking 10 minutes or so before the sweatshirt came off, it was actually quite warm and humid, almost as if the heavens were about to open any second.

20 minutes into the walk along the landrover track there is a sign asking walkers to divert to the left along a temporary path to avoid the private gardens ahead. A few minutes into this path it was decision time. I took a good few minutes looking at the slope trying to pick a route, I decided to give it a go. I was in no hurry, had all day, felt ok, and the feeling of an iminent downpour had passed.

After 45 minutes of hard slogging I took a picture looking back down, and then looking up.
Munro_45.jpg


Munro_46.jpg

Looking down looked a lot easier. It was really steep and the higher I got the more I drifted to the right as the crags straight up didn't look very inviting. After another hour I had made the ridge and felt pretty knackered but was pleased with my effort.

The views were pretty non-existent to be honest and the camera didn't come out again until the summit. I saw two hares on the ridge but they saw me first and didn't hang about. Walking along the ridge in the cloud with hardly any wind to speak of was actually a bit creepy. If I stopped walking it was deadly silent, so I kept walking.

I reached the top of Stob an Fhuarain eventually after quite a few false summits. The route to Sgurr na h-Ulaidh was pretty straight forward from this point on, not the best of paths but I was glad to see one up the last very steep bit with well worn zig-zags. I didn't see the summit until I was nearly there, but I knew I was close when I came across a scary drop into a gully to my right. Had a well earned lunch in the creepy silence surrounding the cairn, then took a picture of the summit looking in the direction of my return, following the line of old fence posts.
Munro_47.jpg

As there was no wind and I couldn't see a thing I guessed the cloud was in no hurry to move on so I didn't hang around to wait for any views. Would have been nice to see what was around.

I followed the fence posts for a while and when they swung to the right I continued towards Corr na Beinne as advised, however, I must have drifted too far left as I needed to take a GPS bearing to get back on track. This meant I had to follow the contour of the slope for a little while so I could see the Bealach Easan that I was headed for.

This is when I had the scariest moment on a hill so far. I came across a part of the slope which was mostly rock, and going down the rock seemed easier than the even steeper grass. The angle of the rock wasn't huge but it looked a bit wet. I didn't think too long about it I just picked the shortest route down the rock between the grass, about 20 feet, and thought I could crawl down on my backside. I put my boots on the rock and it felt ok but as soon as I shuffled across and put my hands on I was off like a rocket, sliding and picking up speed. It didn't feel like such a good idea now. I sat down completely and with my hands behind me was trying to grab hold of the rock to slow myself down. At the same time the grass was approaching fast and in my head I could see my heels digging in and me cartwheeling down the rest of the mountain. Luckily the grass was dry and after a few hop, skips and jumps I managed to stop myself. For the next 10 minutes or so I was calling myself all the names I could think of, and looking at the rock trying to work out how it had tricked me into thinking I could do that. I then realised that when I sat down I remember my left cheek bumping over a lump in the rock and that it was now starting to ache. What an eejit - must decide whether or not to tell the wife!

I didn't have any more dodgy moments as I was now being extra careful. Eventually reached the relative safety of the gate on the bealach.
Munro_48.jpg

The plan was to do Meall Lighiche aswell today but to be honest I'd had enough for the day, and the top was covered in cloud anyway so I gingerly made my way to the landrover track and eventually back to the car. Met a couple of guys just going on their way in. By this time there was even more cloud so glad I had done it early.
Munro_49.jpg

This was my last day in Glencoe for a while so just had the short drive to Crianlarich YH where I could get to a mirror to check out the beginnings of a big bruise on my backside (apologies to anyone having their tea while reading this). In fact it was worse than that because even as I sit here now typing this some 13 days later my coccyx is still sore from this day on the hill. Anyone who has had a bruised one of these before will know how painful sitting down can be. Lesson learned I think.

While talking to another guy in the YH he said the rocks down this side were commonly known as "Wet Slab Rocks" but I'm not sure if he was just making that bit up - anyone? If it's true I wish I'd known.
User avatar
skuk007
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1419
Munros:44   
Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:16   
Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Location: Bristol

Re: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Postby mountain coward » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:06 am

God how awful! I'd read about the awful wet slab rocks before I did that one and left Richard to go down Corr na Bheinn on his own (he managed okay though but it was a clear day). How is your face where you bumped your cheek? How scary! It's reading things like that which confirm and re-inforce my mountain cowardice to be honest. I've never forgotten Bioman's description of his fall down Achaladair! Scary stuff indeed! :o

Your ascent was pretty brave in my book too... but you don't go up to a bealach as such - we ascended just around the corner from you and it was fine - not even uncomfortably steep...
mountain coward
 

Re: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Postby skuk007 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:35 am

Hi MC,
The cheek in question was of the backside variety, so hiding the bruising wasn't a problem :lol:
This incident hasn't put me off at all but it has taught me how easy it is to have a slip up when you think everything looks relatively easy. I was just lucky really, could have been worse I guess.
User avatar
skuk007
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1419
Munros:44   
Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:16   
Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Location: Bristol

Re: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Postby monty » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:59 am

Hi Skuk007,
The hills dont look so apealing in the clag :lol: I Done Gairich in the pouring freezing rain last year. As I descended a particularly steep slippy bit just of the summit I slipped and landed my coccyx on a rock. It was such a simple little slip but the bugger hurt immediately and then for weeks after. It certainly wasn't as scary as your little episode though. Just have to be ever so careful some times. :D
monty
 

Re: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Postby mountain coward » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:19 am

skuk007 wrote:Hi MC,
The cheek in question was of the backside variety, so hiding the bruising wasn't a problem :lol:


Ah yeah - duhhh! Sorry, don't know why I didn't think of that! :lol:

skuk007 wrote:This incident hasn't put me off at all but it has taught me how easy it is to have a slip up when you think everything looks relatively easy. I was just lucky really, could have been worse I guess.


that bit never sounded easy to me from all the stuff I'd read about it!
mountain coward
 

Re: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Postby mountain coward » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:20 am

monty wrote:Hi Skuk007,
The hills dont look so apealing in the clag :lol: I Done Gairich in the pouring freezing rain last year. As I descended a particularly steep slippy bit just of the summit I slipped and landed my coccyx on a rock. It was such a simple little slip but the bugger hurt immediately and then for weeks after. It certainly wasn't as scary as your little episode though. Just have to be ever so careful some times. :D


Ahhhh - that explains a lot Monty - you're doing soooo much Munroing lately 'cos you can't sit down! :lol: :lol:
mountain coward
 

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