walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Up & down, Shios & Shuas


Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 13, 2015 4:00 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Binnein Shios, Binnein Shuas

Date walked: 22/04/2015

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 812m

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Wednesday, the 22nd of April was the hottest day of 2015 so far, especially if you found yourself roasting on a mountain slope...

The four Fannichs adventure should have worn me out, but it didn't. Yet my foot was not in its best state so Kevin ordered an easier walk - a pair of Grahams, perhaps? Yeah, sure, but why did he choose the craggiest Grahams in northern Scotland??? :lol:
Shios & Shuas have been on our shortlist since we first noticed them sitting on the summit of Chno Dearg a couple of years ago. They seemed interesting enough to investigate them closer! Last spring, we had a better look at the duo from the neighbouring Munros, especially from Creag Pitridh, which raises directly above the two Grahams. Even though these are relatively low hills, surrounded by bigger peaks, they are asking for a full traverse on a long, sunny day, just to appreciate them fully. And that's what we did.
There's no WH route for the Laggan twins yet, but enough info on possible approaches. We opted for going up Binnein Shuas first, then traversing to the lower twin and finally descending to the eastern end of Lochan na h-Earba for the easy walk back along the track. If using this track in both directions, it's possible to cycle most of the way, but as the whole circuit is only just over 20km, we thought it was perfectly doable on foot, even blistered ones :lol:
It was a fantastic morning, blue sky, warm sun and so quiet when we stopped in the layby next to the bridge over River Spean, it was hard to believe we were only in mid-April! There was one car parked here but no soul in sight. The river looked... divine!
Image
Our route:

Track_LAGGAN GRAHAMS 22-04-15.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The first stage of this walk is the same as for Loch Laggan Munros, on a good track:
Image
About 100m before the track divides next to a small reservoir, we left it to climb straight up the grassy slopes of Binnein Shuas. It seems like this slope would be quite a bogtrot in wet weather, but on a hot, dry day, it was easy going, with somewhat familiar crunch-crunch sound under our feet.
Up Binnein Shuas:
Image
The reservoir from above:
Image
We aimed for a large rock slightly to the right and when we reached it, we turned back to face an interesting view towards the west - Loch Treig Munros on the horizon:
Image
It was only 10 am and we were already boiling alive! Kevin, lucky chap, wore his Craghoppers trousers with detachable legs that day, so he simply unzipped the lower halves and voila - he was now wearing shorts :lol: I had to roll up my trouser legs and of course, smear +50 factor all over my skin. As we pushed up, I wondered why some Grahams had to be so steep... Luckily we had enough water with us!
Boiling... with Beinn a'Chlachair behind:
Image
The last 150m of ascent offered "some isolated pockets of scrambling" as stated in Graham book. What it means, basically, you can make is as easy or as hard as you wish! Plenty of steep walls to tackle, but also grassy patches to omit all difficult sections. Weird world...
Image
I fancied a wee scramble just to practice (AE this year possibly, so I need my training!) so we decided to take this wall face on:
Image
We traversed to the left, where we found a good set of footholds to climb up the wall. I managed, no problem... All right, I cut my thumb (the rock here is very sharp!) but felt like I had confidence in finding way up scrambling routes.
Looking down the slope, a good illustration of how strange this hill is, a pure mixture of rock and grass:
Image
Back on easy grass, we admired the western panorama, from Chno Dearg, distant Nevis, Glen Spean and Beinn a'Chaorainn to the right:
Image
Creag Meagaidh and Loch Laggan:
Image
Spean Reservoir and the very distant hills of Moidart on the horizon:
Image
The summit was reached quickly now and I was happy to pose for my Graham No. 30! Not a huge number and I don't inspire to complete them, but this was about enjoying a good quality hill rather than just bagging:
Image
A man in his shorts :lol: :lol: :lol:
Image
The summit is a great viewpoint, especially to the east, where the twin Graham, Binnein Shios, is framed by two lochs:
Image
The western panorama of high Munros once more:
Image
The summit cairn from the east:
Image
After a loong break on the top (we felt like we had all the time in the world to enjoy this duo!) we carried on east. The ground was still a mixture of grassy slopes and rocky walls and in bad weather, your route-finding skills would be put to the test. I loved the view to the east, with the lower twin stealing the show, but also had fun peering over rocky outcrops and trying to deduce the best way down :lol:
Image
When walking around this outcrop, I spotted a plastic carrier bag on the ground. Instinctively, I bent over to pick it as rubbish to dispose of (thought it was just a piece of plastic carried here by the wind), but to my surprise I found a pair of gaiters inside. They looked hardly used and it seemed to me that the owner must have had a break here, under the rocks, and he simply forgot to pack them back in. I have posted a notice in "Lost and found" section and I hope that whoever lost the gaiters will contact me.
So far, I only found out that Foggieclimber did Binnein Shuas that day as well (he even photographed us from the distance on the summit :D ) but he's not the owner of the gaiters.
Back to traversing the Graham, the descent to the east is a bit confusing. I remembered from previous reports, that the easiest way down is via a long gully, but we actually found TWO gullies cutting the slopes and were not sure which one? :lol:
After some investigating, we picked the shallower of the two gullies (to the left when facing east) and it turned out to be a good decision, we had no problems finding our way down.
The gully from above, with Binnein Shios in the background:
Image
First, we descended into the shadows on a snowpatch:
Image
Then followed a tiny stream down a steep, but manageable slope:
Image
There are some rocks to avoid, but nothing too tricky here:
Image
Looking back up... Ouch, steep!
Image
Binnein Shios waiting for us, what a magnificent view. One may say, these two are just Grahams, but first class Grahams nevertheless!
Image
The descent route from well below. I guess going up this side would be easier than descending, but this is possibly the only non-scrambling route down this side of Shuas. Unless it is possible to somehow find a way down from the other gully, but it would be even steeper:
Image
Once out of the shadow of Binnein Shuas, we walked in blazing sunshine again. The sun was so strong that it might have messed up my brains, as at some point I thought I could move a 2 ton boulder :lol: :lol: :lol:
Image
We reached the bottom of the wide col between the two hills, here I discovered we only had one bottle of water left. I hoped we would be able to find water on the return walk :shock:
Binnein Shuas looming behind us:
Image
Up again... The familiar crunch-crunch sound of dry grass, the sticky feeling of sunscreen and the smell of sweat :lol: A bit like travelling on savannah?
Image
Shios framed by two lochs, just like its brother earlier that day:
Image
BOILING HOT!
Image
Loch Laggan and the hills beyond:
Image
The summit ridge is long and topped with many small bumps, Kevin climbed each one with his GPS to check which one is the true summit. I was more interested in the superb landscape, the views to remember:
Image
Two lochs and a few Munros:
Image
I guess this must be the summit? Or is it the next lumpy bump? I'm getting tired of this!
Image
Found it eventually :lol: And there's even a small cairn, suggesting this must be the highest point of this Graham.
I know that lying on the ground is asking for ticks to climb all over you, but I couldn't care less. Surprisingly, we haven't had any so far this year. Touch the wood, we may get lucky and stay away from the wee b*ggers for the rest of the season.
Image
While I nodded off, Kevin spent time photographing. There was no hurry, still plenty of time left, and he wanted to take full advantage of the good viewpoint.
Monadhliath still holding on to some snow. Creag Dhubh to the right:
Image
The western panorama:
Image
The Cairngorms:
Image
The Ben, the Aonachs and Grey Corries:
Image
Not 100% sure but I think this must be Meall Chuaich, with Meall nan Eugan to the left and the Dircs of the Fara to the right:
Image
Lunch served. Wish we could have ice cream for dessert, but fresh apples had to suffice:
Image
Having bagged our 31st Graham we started descending south to Lochan na h-Earba. Funny, both lochs in the glen between the two Grahams and Creag Pitridh share the same name on 1-25k OS map. Maybe it was once one big loch?
The descent was easy on grassy slopes, we cut the corners and walked through the forest (the fence is reduced to rusting fenceposts so it wasn't an obstacle) and soon we were only a short distance away from the "upper" loch:
Image
The causeway is definitely man made, so it is likely these two were once one body of water. It was quiet here, so tranquil:
Image
Binnein Shuas could pass for a mountain in Sahara if not for the snow patches :lol:
Image
Walking on the track proved less painful for my blistered foot and as soon as we reached the banks of Moy Burn, I run to fill my bottles... Water, water! Cold mountain water!
Image
The track is a great help for tired legs... I tried to put less pressure on the left one, which harboured the blood blister. it was the nasty type deep-under-the-skin thing, it took ages to cure and even now I still have a purple tattoo on my heel. :?
But blisters aside, it was a lovely day...
View east along the "lower" Lochan na h-Earba, with Binnein Shios to the left:
Image
We had enough time to study and admire the Ardverikie Wall:
Image
Life can't be better than this...
Image
The whole traverse took us 8.5 hours, which is a stupid time for two Grahams, but in such surrounding we simply couldn't bring ourselves to rush it... Besides, I knew from the state of my left foot, that I needed at least one day off to recuperate. So let the April summer last!

Summing up, the Laggan Twins are real gems, one of the best Grahams I've done so far and definitely worth saving for a good day like we had. All scrambling can be avoided and there are different combinations of routes to do here. One could descend to Loch Laggan to shorten the distance (there is a track along that loch as well, as far as I can remember), but in my humble opinion, our route is the best way to explore the Binneins to the full. :D

On the drive back home along Loch Lochy, we spotted rescue helicopter hovering over the slopes leading to Ben Tee. We stopped in the nearest layby to take a few snaps. Somebody must have been in troubles on the hill, we saw a person being winched to the copter, "escorted" by one of the crew:
Image
Hope nobody was seriously injured in this accident.

So this was the last of hillwalking days during our April hols. The end of the week suddenly turned cold and very breezy. We managed one low level walk (in showers and freezing wind). Luckily, the next couple of weekends brought back sunshine, at least to some extent, and we added two new Grahams and a duo of Munros to our tally. TR's to come.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3315
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Grahams:112   
Sub 2000:46   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby Graeme D » Wed May 13, 2015 4:20 pm

You got a brilliant day for a brilliant walk. I love the way these two twins sit in splendid isolation framed by the two lochs on either side. 8)
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3531
Munros:220   Corbetts:105
Grahams:64   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby dogplodder » Thu May 14, 2015 10:12 am

Could hardly believe my eyes to see your last pic of helicopter over Ben Tee! That was my pal Mary being winched up after breaking her ankle. I've deliberately delayed my report until the dust had settled but should be soon now.... 8)
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3560
Munros:227   Corbetts:53
Grahams:16   
Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:9   Islands:21
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu May 14, 2015 6:31 pm

Hi BP, I think you chose a good route down, heading South to the wee loch rather than heading West then North through the woods to the Laggan path, looks like gentle and dry conditions. Nice Hills though :D Did I put you off going North with my report :lol: :lol: All the fallen trees. :wink:
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 3389
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:76   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby mountainsofscotland » Thu May 14, 2015 6:43 pm

Have been looking forward to your report since spotting you at the summit. Nice set of pics and good choice of hills on such a fine day :)
User avatar
mountainsofscotland
 
Posts: 132
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:361   Hewitts:91
Wainwrights:73   Islands:46
Joined: May 9, 2015
Location: Banffshire

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby BlackPanther » Fri May 15, 2015 2:33 pm

Thanks, everybody :D :D :D I'm still so far behind, for more TR's to write :roll:

Graeme D wrote:You got a brilliant day for a brilliant walk. I love the way these two twins sit in splendid isolation framed by the two lochs on either side. 8)


We've been saving these two for a good day and no regrets whatsoever. One of the best Grahams in my career (not that I climbed many! :lol: ). I tend to pick the most interesting-looking ones, and the Binneins tick all the boxes with the way they are situated and their character, especially Shuas.

dogplodder wrote:Could hardly believe my eyes to see your last pic of helicopter over Ben Tee! That was my pal Mary being winched up after breaking her ankle. I've deliberately delayed my report until the dust had settled but should be soon now.... 8)


Oh, so sorry to hear your friend was involved in this accident :( I hope she's getting better! My mum had a broken ankle once (she tripped and fell over the doorstep to her office!) so I remember it takes a long time to recover.

The Rodmiester wrote:Hi BP, I think you chose a good route down, heading South to the wee loch rather than heading West then North through the woods to the Laggan path, looks like gentle and dry conditions. Nice Hills though :D Did I put you off going North with my report :lol: :lol: All the fallen trees. :wink:


Sleep tight, Rod, it wasn't you :lol: Actually, it was the new SMC Graham guide, which we've bought recently. A must-have book for all hill baggers, but in case of the Binneins... It suggests walking along Loch Laggan and going UP Shios through the forest. I was discouraged by one sentence: "Clamber through an old wire fence to gain the open hillside..." Thought the descent south looked more friendly :lol:

mountainsofscotland wrote:Have been looking forward to your report since spotting you at the summit. Nice set of pics and good choice of hills on such a fine day :)


Shame you were too far behind to catch up with us :lol:
See you have two accounts on WH? I should open a second one for Kevin's records (he's about 20 Munros in front of me), but never had time to do it...
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3315
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Grahams:112   
Sub 2000:46   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby mountainsofscotland » Fri May 15, 2015 4:22 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Shame you were too far behind to catch up with us :lol:
See you have two accounts on WH? I should open a second one for Kevin's records (he's about 20 Munros in front of me), but never had time to do it...


Fairly sure I could have caught up had I been continuing on to Shios ;)
Other account no longer used :)
User avatar
mountainsofscotland
 
Posts: 132
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:361   Hewitts:91
Wainwrights:73   Islands:46
Joined: May 9, 2015
Location: Banffshire

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby maryw » Sun May 24, 2015 2:50 pm

dogplodder wrote:Could hardly believe my eyes to see your last pic of helicopter over Ben Tee! That was my pal Mary being winched up after breaking her ankle. I've deliberately delayed my report until the dust had settled but should be soon now.... 8)


Yes, that was definitely me (Mary) taking the helicopter shortcut back to Inverness after a long day out on Ben Tee with dogplodder! As you know, it was a really unseasonally hot day for April, it was partly the heat that slowed us down trudging to the summit which we reached around 2.30pm. Coming down we were really cautious over the rough moorland and over that wonky deer stile fence(!) which I had read your comments on previously, but somehow that gently undulating if muddy/boggy path beyond the fence was my downfall! My left boot heel just skidded down a few inches, must have thumped into a stone or something beneath the bog and then maybe also got momentarily trapped in bog suction, so my leg failed to follow through as I flopped backwards to a soft landing on my rucksack. No mistaking the sound and feel of snapping ankle bone, so no alternative but to phone 999 (good mobile signal, remarkably) and await assistance, in a very scenic spot with great views across to a snow-capped Ben Nevis against a blue sky! My orange emergency survival bag came into its own as something dry to sit on instead of on my bottom in a bog for an hour, and guided the helicopter in nicely. Lochaber Mountain Rescue phoned back to ask for a grid reference which I was fortunately able to give (having marked that deer fence stile on the map and jotted down its grid ref, we were only about ten minutes beyond it.) Within an hour of the road and car, but a steep section of descent over short grass remained, so the helicopter was the best option. The crew were great with first aid treatment (lovely gas and air before taking off my boot!) Glad they didn't have to cut my boot off, though I later had to sacrifice a perfectly good woolly hill sock in Raigmore A & E, due to swelling! Anyway, there was no false alarm about the injury , as the ankle proved to be fractured in three places and dislocated as well. Had surgery to pin it all, now in a plaster cast and banned from hillwalking for about three months. Just as the summer starts!! Good to discover how efficient and professional Scottish mountain rescue services are when you need them - though I am not anxious to repeat the experience!
maryw
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 29, 2011

Re: Up & down, Shios & Shuas

Postby BlackPanther » Tue May 26, 2015 10:05 am

maryw wrote:Yes, that was definitely me (Mary) taking the helicopter shortcut back to Inverness after a long day out on Ben Tee with dogplodder!


I'm so glad to hear that the worst is over and you are now on the way to recovery :D A very unlucky time to be stuck in plaster though, as you said, right at the beginning of the summer season!

That wobbly stile should be repaired, I almost fell of it too, and it was in winter when everything was covered in slippery ice. I wonder if the landowner doesn't realize it's dangerous, or simply doesn't care?
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3315
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Grahams:112   
Sub 2000:46   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mcdee18 and 32 guests