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West Argyll - I had to return

West Argyll - I had to return


Postby simon-b » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:21 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Beinn Sgulaird, Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a'Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a'Bheithir)

Corbetts included on this walk: Creach Bheinn (Loch Creran)

Date walked: 17/04/2015

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Distances and ascent values quoted in this report are according to Memory-map

This report is dated as 17 April, but the story began nearly a month earlier. Karen (kmai1961) and I had had a successful three days walking on Mull, and then fancied taking on some nearby mainland Munros on our respective 'to do' lists. On Thursday 26 March, the weather was not cracking, and she fancied a rest. So I made an attempt on Beinn Sgulaird (using the WH route), which she'd already climbed. The higher I got, the worse the conditions became. Snow, mist, wind... I reached Meall Garbh, then found myself in a gale in which I could not move. Maybe it wasn't a sharp ridge, but the danger of being blown over onto rocks and injured, alone, unable to walk and exposed to that weather was too great. So I turned back.

Friday 27/03/2015: Beinn Fhionnlaidh

2015-03-27_0941 148km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 14.9 km
Ascent: 995 m
Time: 5.8 h


Next day didn't look that promising either, but Karen was up for trying a new Munro for us both, so we set off for Elleric and Beinn Fhionnlaidh.

P3270116.JPG
View from near Glenure


The weather was quite pleasant as we started walking, and made our way up the ridge.

P3270121.JPG
Karen and a boulder on Beinn Fhionnlaidh's west ridge


Before long we were up into the clag. Higher up, we had some moments of near white-out, but visible rocks protruding through the lying snow stopped this from being total. With careful navigation, we stayed away from the edge of the ridge, and finally reached the summit.

P3270122.JPG
On top of Finlay's hill


We'd reached our target, so I said to Karen, "Now I say we get off this mountain before the weather gets chance to get worse". She gave me a :thumbup:, and we were on our way down... and back out of the cloud.

P3270124.JPG
Descending the ridge


On Saturday 28 March Karen went home, but I had one more night booked in Connel. The forecast was dire, so I stayed at low level and had a ramble around Port Appin.

P3280132.JPG
Natural arch near Port Appin


I drove home to England on the Sunday, knowing I had spent a worthwhile week in West Argyll, but stinging just a little bit from only having climbed two Munros during the whole trip. Before long I was feeling the urge to return to resolve unfinished business. The chance of a Thursday and Friday off work in mid April, a promising forecast, and the same room again available in Connel meant that I was heading back north after less than a month :D .


Friday 17/04/2015: Beinn a' Bheithir

2015-04-17_0835 120km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 1219 m
Time: 6.4 h


After driving to Connel on the Thursday to arrive in sunshine, Friday saw me make my Glen Coe debut with a thunderbolt - but in beautiful, calm weather. I chose to climb from Gleann a' Chaolais.

P4170005.JPG
Sgorr Dhonuill behind its NE subsidiary


It was pleasant, sunny weather, but the corniced coire below the bealach for which I was heading looked menacing :shock: .

P4170009.JPG
Moving towards the bealach


As I ascended, the snow appeared more benign (and there had been a low-risk avalanche forecast). The snow turned out to be stable, and any suspect gradients were easily avoided. So then it was up to the bealach, and a turn right uphill towards Donald's impressive looking peak.

P4170018.JPG
Approaching Sgorr Dhonuill


P4170019.JPG
Ballachulish Bridge and Ben Nevis seen during the ascent of Sgorr Dhonuill


Patches of snow on some exposed sections of the path made a bit of a scramble along the boulder strewn crest the best option higher up, providing a final bit of fun before reaching the top!

P4170028.JPG
Sgorr Dhearg and Bidean nam Bian from Sgorr Dhonuill


Then it was time for some more fun, descending back to the bealach.

P4170030.JPG
Descending from Sgorr Dhonuill


P4170031.JPG
Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, the Mamores and Loch Leven seen when descending from Sgorr Dhonuill


Climbing Sgorr Dhearg from the bealach was technically easier, but perhaps more physical than Sgorr Dhonuill.
On reaching the second Munro, there was high cloud cover, keeping things pleasantly cool, but there were still magnificent views.

P4170034.JPG
Mull and Sgorr Dhonuill from Sgorr Dhearg


P4170035.JPG
Ben Lui, in the distance, from Sgorr Dhearg


The descent was made via the red peak's north ridge.

P4170039.JPG
Looking down Sgorr Dhearg's north ridge


This ridge assured that the superb views kept on coming.

P4170045.JPG
The Mamores, Loch Leven and Aonch Eagach from Sgorr Dhearg's north ridge


The final challenge was getting off the ridge and back to the car park via the forestry. This was not the most pleasant part of the walk! Maybe there's a better way to make the final descent from the ridge, but nothing could mar what had been a superb route.

Back in Connel, a final bonus to the day came about with one of those glorious sunsets you only see on the west coast of Scotland.


Saturday 18/04/15: Beinn Sgulaird and Creach Bheinn

2015-04-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 18.8 km
Ascent: 1594 m
Time: 8.2 h


Now it was time to make that second attempt on Beinn Sgulaird. A few days earlier I'd noticed that this hill also stood out as unclimbed on Martin (Fife Flyer)'s Munro map. So I texted him and asked if he fancied coming along, and perhaps having a crack at the Corbett, Creach Bheinn, as well. When he answered, "Yes", I knew that would save me some time, effort and photo-uploading in terms of this section of the report :lol: ...

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=51121

Cheers for that , Martin. I'd just like to add that with the superb weather, views, company, bonus Corbett and everything, it was one of those occasions which made me glad I'd been defeated at the first attempt!

There were quite a few Walkhighlanders on Beinn Sgulaird that day, so I'll just add a few photos to everybody else's!

P4180075.JPG
Martin descending a snow field en-route to Beinn Sgulaird


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Beinn Sgulaird from Meall Garbh


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Success on Sgulaird! Mull and Loch Creran in the background


P4180109.JPG
Martin contemplating the route to Creach Bheinn


P4180118.JPG
Loch Etive and Ben Cruachan, seen during the approach to Creach Bheinn


P4180127.JPG
Mull, Lynn of Lorn and Loch Creran from Creach Bheinn


That had been quite a day, and a real high note with which to finish my two spring trips to West Argyll. So it was time for a fine dram of a subtly peaty single malt at the Oyster Inn in Connel.

Sunday morning came, and the weather was still glorious, but it was time to go home. It would have been a shame to miss out altogether on another beautiful day in the highlands, so rather than rush back to Yorkshire, I stopped at Loch Lomond for a while to just relax and enjoy the views. It had been a memorable time in sunny Scotland!
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simon-b
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Re: West Argyll - I had to return

Postby mamoset » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:33 pm

Well done, bet it gives you the urge to do more in Glencoe now, especially seeing the views in great clarity. :clap:
mamoset
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Re: West Argyll - I had to return

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:20 pm

Enjoyed that Simon, thanks again for the invite :clap: :clap:

I stand corrected re my map drawing skills :lol: :lol:
Only a ton left for you now :wink:
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Fife Flyer
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Re: West Argyll - I had to return

Postby rockhopper » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:47 pm

Another great trip, simon :clap: - can see why you just "had to return" ! - cheers :)
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rockhopper
 
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Location: Glasgow

Re: West Argyll - I had to return

Postby simon-b » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:28 pm

mamoset wrote:bet it gives you the urge to do more in Glencoe now, especially seeing the views in great clarity.
Thanks mamoset, two weeks in Glencoe are already booked for midsummer.

Fife Flyer wrote:Only a ton left for you now
It was great to have you along, Martin. I think the last ton could be a bit more difficult than the first ton was.

rockhopper wrote:can see why you just "had to return" !
Absolutely- I forgot to order my celebration dram of the peaty stuff on the final night of my last visit. Cheers rockhopper!
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simon-b
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Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
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Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

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