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One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

One from the archives: Foinaven and friends


Postby malky_c » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:58 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Arkle, Foinaven, Meall Horn

Date walked: 30/06/2007

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 1900m

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Corbetts: Arkle, Foinaven, Meall Horn
Date walked: 30/06/2007
Distance: 32km
Ascent: 1900m
Time: 9 hours
Weather: Warm and sunny
(Also 23km cycle back to the start point, not included above)

With this week looking so nice I've gone and got myself a cold! Hopefully it will be gone by the weekend, but until then, a nice lie up and a chance to go back through some of the amazing days out that I haven't yet got round to writing up (Unbelievably Kinley hasn't got there first with one of his superior reports!).

This one was almost exactly 3 years ago now, and it was a corker! Was going to head up north on my own and camp in one of the NE facing corries of Foinaven, hiking over Foinaven, Meall Horn and Arkle the next day. However a few pints with Dave (a friend from work) earlier in the week and I realised he was also desparate to do these hills. We re-arranged and decided to drive up on Saturday morning, leaving bikes at Lochstack Lodge to complete the circuit.

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Headed off down the Strath Dionard track at 10ish with the sun bright. There was the occasional bit of low cloud about, but things were looking promising. We were aiming for Coire Duail, but fairly open ended as to our route to the summit. In the end, we climbed into the higher Glas-choire Granda before following rocky slabs onto a scree-covered ridge. The whole area was amazing, and you could re-visit and pick all sorts of different lines on this side of the hill, each one having its own charms. Of course if this had been promoted to a Munro, a path would have developed straight from the A838 across Ceann Garbh...

Summit and tangle of corries from Strath Dionard:
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Coire Duail:
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Coire Duail and Ceann Garbh:
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Bad splice of above photos:
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A' Cheir Ghorm:
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The summit views were spectacular, the main feature being the endless lochans and pools of water stretching to the sea. The ridge traverse to the SE was a classic mountain day out, with occasional scrambling and airy views into massive corries. The scree-covered ridge of A' Cheir Gorm looked like another great way up, and the rocky tower of Lord Reay's Seat provided an airy surprise.

From the summit: out to sea via Loch Inchard:
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Coire Duail:
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Ben Hope from the summit:
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A' Cheir Gorm:
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Eastwards along the main ridge:
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A' Cheir Ghorm again:
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Coire na Lurgainn - almost as impressive as Choire Mhic Fhearchair on Beinn Eighe?
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...and A' Cheir Ghorm again!
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Looking to Arkle and Loch an Easain Uaine:
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Lord Reay's Seat:
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Looking back to Lord Reay's Seat and the summit from the SE:
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South across Arkle, Ben Stack and Quinaig:
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Out to Sea:
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Back to the main summit:
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The ridge got broader and grassier as we reached Bealach Horn, and near here we passed the only other party of the day. A quick but brutal re-ascent and we were on the much grassier plateau of Meall Horn. A nice hill, but rather overshadowed in the present company, it had more in common with the hills further east (Meallan Liath Choire Mhic Dhugaill etc).

Looking across to Meallan Liath Choire Mhic Dhughaill and its corries:
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Loch Eriboll from Meall Horn:
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We dropped off this through steep heather to cross the stalker's path again, this time at only 400m. Plenty of re-ascent! Lochan na Faoleige lay on a plateau of quartzy boulders and scree. The heat and sun was starting to take effect at this point, and the toil back up Arkle was a tough one. From here, a narrowing ridge led round the head of the corrie to the highest summit, with more easy scrambling. The rock formations in the corrie were interesting, with the buckled strata almost resembling a heart in one place.

Arkle from Lochan na Faoleige:
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Foinaven from Loch na Faoleige:
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Foinaven from Arkle:
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Ben Stack from Arkle:
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Summit of Arkle, showing interesting strata:
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Dave heading across the final ridge to the summit of Arkle:
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Descent was down brutal scree to the path to Lochstack Lodge. Fortunately this path was good, as our feet were a bit sore by this point.

The cycle back to the car was surprisingly enjoyable considering the distance walked, as the coastal scenery around Laxford Bridge and Rhiconich was beautiful, and I've always wanted to cycle round the NW coast of Scotland. It was only slightly marred by my bike chain, which was worn and kept jumping off the chainwheel on every bit of ascent :twisted: .

Next was a pint and some food at the Rhichonich Hotel. We were debating where to camp, when the bartender offered us a free spot in a sheep fank next to the hotel. Perfect - in return we had a few more pints! Next day was a bit sore for me, although Dave would have probably happily walked the same distance again. With the weather less good, we settled for a short day on Ben Stack. It was also fun, but the weather wasn't really good enough for many photos, so I'll not bother writing up a report for that!
Last edited by malky_c on Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby NevJB » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:32 pm

Stunning! I've promise myself that I'd do this one day each time I've driven past on day trips to Durness from Ullapool whilst on our family hols. As yet I haven't managed it - perhaps next year :) Great report.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby gaffr » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:06 am

This takes me back quite a long way....back in '69 we hiked in from Lone to camp beside Loch Dionard. You did well not to camp there...I have never been tortured by so many biting insects. We escaped to the higher ground the following day to ascend (repeat of an existing route) the tower beside the summit ridge in your image...if I recall correctly it was around 200 metres in height.....and later to reach Ganu Mor ....even then we thought that it was a Munro.....didn't know about Corbetts in those days :lol: Many thanks for this prompt to days past....it was only a few years back that I returned to visit the two Corbetts again via the natural stone portals near Lone. Many thanks for the images ....yours was a very fine route for these tops.....definately the 'proper' way to do them.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby kevsbald » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:31 pm

Stupendous - a must-do by the looks of it. Cracking corries/towers indeed.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:37 pm

Great report and photos malky_c - enough to brighten got-the-cold spirits :)
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby magicdin » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:06 pm

malky_c - when you were on the summit of Foinaven could you decide which of the cairns was at the highest point
when I did the hill I wandered back and forward a couple of times trying to decide - optical illusion :?

Great hills are'nt they - and a good report :)
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby Paul Webster » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:28 am

Great report- and you completed all that in a day :shock:

Loved Arkle on our first jaunt into those hills and looking forward to Foinaven in the future :D
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby gaffr » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:33 pm

The 'impressive tower' that you speak of, and where we made our climb, and you show an image of near to 867 mtrs. on the Foinavon summit ridges area. I am fairly certain has the name of Lord Reay's Seat ( NC322492 ).
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby malky_c » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:26 am

Cheers for the comments - was definitely a great day out!

magicdin wrote:malky_c - when you were on the summit of Foinaven could you decide which of the cairns was at the highest point


Nope. Can't remember thinking much about it, but I think I went to both anyway, just to make sure!

gaffr wrote:The 'impressive tower' that you speak of, and where we made our climb, and you show an image of near to 867 mtrs. on the Foinavon summit ridges area. I am fairly certain has the name of Lord Reay's Seat ( NC322492 ).


Think you're right about Lord Reay's Seat. Had forgotten this name, and it doesn't appear on the OS maps. In fact your story reminded me of a report I saw earlier this year about some winter climbing on this buttress:
http://www.bigtreecampervans.com/singlenews/7
way out of my league but exciting nonetheless.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby kinley » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:55 pm

Gorgeous 8) 8)

Quite a big walk too - you got into some interesting areas there. :D
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby mountain coward » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:41 pm

Superb photos there - thanks as I still have these to do... you've made the 'narrow' bit of the Arkle summit ridge look reassuring :D Apart from the tower bit of the ridge, you've made Foinaven look pretty nice too :D I'm dying to get onto these but only managed Ben Stack this last visit as there was too many other things to do and we decided to mainly do the ones nearest to Durness where we were staying. Richard kindly allowed me to do a quick dash up Ben Stack on my own on the Saturday when we were transferring from Durness to Glen Shiel!
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:27 pm

With the Durness meet on the horizon I couldn't resist reading another Malky marathon :lol: :lol:

Fantastic report & photo's :clap:

Am wondering if anyone is up for doing a much shorter version next month :wink: 2 cars for a start off, one at either end and not bother with Meall Horn :lol:
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:21 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:With the Durness meet on the horizon I couldn't resist reading another Malky marathon :lol: :lol:

Fantastic report & photo's :clap:

Am wondering if anyone is up for doing a much shorter version next month :wink: 2 cars for a start off, one at either end and not bother with Meall Horn :lol:


Interesting Martin, checking it out at present. Will also have others shorter walks up my sleeve if the weather does not comply.
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Re: One from the archives: Foinaven and friends

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:35 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Interesting Martin, checking it out at present. Will also have others shorter walks up my sleeve if the weather does not comply.


The weather as always will dictate :( Looks doable to me, especially if there is a gang of us :wink: :lol: Would certainly make the drive really worthwhile :wink:
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