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Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby JimboJim » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:18 pm

Route description: Sgurr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glenfinnan), Sgurr Thuilm

Date walked: 16/03/2015

Time taken: 6.25 hours

Distance: 24 km

Ascent: 1444m

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At last me and my good pal, Big Jasper, were able to get away to the hills and try to work off some of the excesses of the festive season, which made these hills a bit of an unknown challenge. I would now thoroughly concur with the walk description given on this website - "They give a long and rugged day out ...... Much of the approach walk is on tarmac but the hills themselves are steep, rugged, and their upper parts are rocky; hard going........The route given above is the classic round, a surprisingly demanding day out!!"
I had always wanted to see the monument at Glenfinnan and the viaduct too, so despite the potential for a hard day out, I was keen to go though the forecast was a bit iffy.
Loch Shiel.
The Glenfinnan Monument.
Glenfinnan monument and Sgurr Ghuibhsachain.

As always, there's lesson's to be learned - in this case, before we left home. Get the bikes loaded up the night before! Fiddling about with new bike rack in the cold and dark is not a clever idea. Anyway, after that set back, it was a nice drive from Mid Argyll, to Glenfinnan, to the car park just past the monument, which was relatively quiet when we arrived. Soon the bikes were unloaded and we got on our way up the good quality road about 9.15am, following the river, under the viaduct and up the glen. The hands were absolutely frozen, which made one wonder what it would be like higher up?
The viaduct.
Jaf Glenffinan 2_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
Bothy, Corryhully.

Took about 20 mins to the bothy at Corryhully and a further, much tougher 10 mins slog over rougher ground till we ditched the bikes at the foot of the path to/from Sgurr nan Coireachan. Our plan was to tackle Sgurr Thuilm first, though we did ponder whether to just take the path for SnC, looking at the steep hike up to Druim Coire a'Bheithe ridge. For once, I think we took the right option, though I see many others who have taken the clockwise route.
The initial haul up towards Druim Coire a'Bheithe ridge. Steep!

There is a wee sign, pointing to the track up the hill, which is perhaps now more distinct than former days. Although it was cold, it wasn't long till I was dripping with sweat and puffing like a steam train, crossing that viaduct. Afraid I am no Harry Potter these days, but by some magic we eventually made it onto the ridge, just in time to see mist descend onto the first summit.
Distant, very distant view of the viaduct and monument .
Jaf Glenffinan 5_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
Jaf with Sgurr nan Coireachan, Coire Thollaidh & Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich for a back drop.
We get the hump ahead, as clag comes down on Sgurr Thuilm.
The quick way down from Sgurr Thuilm.
How could it! Maybe it would lift by the time we crossed 'the hump?' Aye, it never! Just got thicker and thicker however there was enough of a path and footsteps through the patches of snow, to make sure we made it to the top ok, in 2hrs 20m. We sat 20 minutes, having a brew and waiting for the clag to lift, to see the beautiful views referred to, but alas it was not to be.
Jaf Glenffinan 6_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
First summit.
Sgurr Thuilm.

Compass out to get our bearings right and back south, to find the fence posts, which head across Meall nan Tarmachan. As the clag now lifted, the hills around us had now taken on a dark, forbidding appearance and no longer resembling the same alluring peaks we had been eyeing up, only a short time before. We just had to take a little time and care to be sure of our location and as the cloud lifted and sun came through, we were reassured we were on the right track.
Sgurr nan Coireachan emerges from the clag.
Towards Knoydart hills.
Don't be fooled, these humps are big humps, on Meall nan Tarmachan.
Jaf Glenffinan 7_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
The fenceposts leading to Meall nan Tarmachan and Sgurr Coireachan.

As WH says, "there are four of these minor summits along the way, and the rough ground makes this a tiring traverse before the true ascent up to Sgurr nan Coireachan begins." Oh, how true, my legs agreed! By this point we were now in deep snow, which further sapped the strength. We had crampons with us, but it was touch and go whether to dig them out. The soft snow, made us keep them in the rucksack. There was some fine cornicing and dramatic views into Coire Thollaidh and the west to admire as we made it to the cairn trig point, at the top of SnC, about 2hrs after leaving Sgurr Thuilm. Unfortunately, although a good bit clearer, we didn't get the best views of Knoydart, lochs and islands out to the west, but at least we did get a peak. (Very punny!)
Towards Loch Morar and distant isles to the west, from Sgurr nan Coireachan.
Jaf Glenffinan 9_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
Summit cairn, Sgurr nan Coireachan.
Jaf Glenffinan 10_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
Sgurr nan Coireachan, looking west.

A further check with the compass, just to make sure we head off in the right direction, to the southeast ridge, towards Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich, which was easy going through the snow and gave us a chance for a dramatic looking picture, or two.
Looking back to 2nd summit.
A chance to pose. Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich.
Big Jesper.

After this top, the path descends more steeply, no much more steeply and again, takes its toll on the muscles. It seemed to go on and on and we both agreed, had we come up this way, we might have struggled to go on to a second summit. It must be murder going up that way!
Eventually the gradient eases off and the path winds its way, more pleasantly into the glen, back to our waiting bicycles, still sitting there, much to our eternal relief. It was just under the 6 hrs to here. I wouldn't have fancied the walk back out, had it been required. A further pleasant bike ride down the glen was enhanced by the beautiful, rich colours and pure waters flowing down the river, till back at the car in six and a quarter hours. Knackered, but thrilled by another great day in the hills, rounded off by a closer look at the viaduct, the atmospheric, emotion stirring monument and views of Loch Shiel. Oh, forgot to mention the emotion stirring pint, in the Creagan Inn, too, where we both agreed the Walkhighlands report was bang on!
Jaf Glenffinan 8_1067_800_1024_768.jpg
Taking the hump?
Sgurr nan Coireachan toward Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich.
Looking back from Meall nan Tarmachan to Loch Arkaig.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby jac the lassie » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:06 am

Cracking photos jimmy! Good to know it can be cycled into. :D
Was thinking of doing this pair in the summer, timed so I can get photos of a certain train going over, lol :lol:
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby BoyVertiginous » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:53 am

Great stuff, looking forward to these.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby Big Jesper » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:54 am

Really enjoyed Glenfinnan, looking forward to many more. Once again good report and pics.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby litljortindan » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:43 pm

Great variety. Riabhaich looks a fine summit.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby JimboJim » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:24 pm

Thank you all for kind comments. I'm sure you'll enjoy these hills, given a decent day, Jac. Don't forget to pack the bike! Well, I'd recommend it.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby Wanderlust7 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:05 pm

Jimmy a good pair of hills which I had to give up on in full winter conditions, think I will take the anti clockwise route for sure this time. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Taking the hump, in Glenfinnan.

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:14 pm

Excellent stuff, very jealous of all these reports with snow on the tops, even a bit, having failed to get up anything on our winter trip this year thanks to the weather and conditions. Some good photos there.

I do remember Meall an Tarmachan being a real sting in the tail. I wasn't that fit, and we'd just summitted Thuilm by climbing straight from Glen Pean bothy (not recommended), and I was thinking "at last, we can just follow the ridge easily along to SnC". If only, I was knackered by the time we got there, but the humps looks so innocuous on the map!
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