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Little to See on the Glendessarry Three

Little to See on the Glendessarry Three


Postby dav2930 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:28 pm

Route description: Sgurr na Ciche: 3 Munros from Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Date walked: 13/06/2015

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 26 km

Ascent: 1523m

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I've noticed that this part of "the rough bounds" has proved popular among WH'ers over the last month or so and there have been some outstanding TR's about it. Unfortunately Karl and I chose a rather dismal day for our walk. :roll: These wonderful peaks deserve better! Having just done Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe, this was to be the second 'prong' of our Knoydart itinerary, coming in from Loch Arkaig. We were delayed a couple of days due to the weather - not because it was bad, but because it was good! :eh: :lol: One of our ambitions for this holiday - if we got lucky with the weather - was the uber-classic rock climb Ardverikie Wall, situated above Lochan na Hearba. Thursday 11th gave us exactly the conditions we needed .:o :D Both of us were blown away by this climb - 180 metres of immaculate slab climbing - so we were glad we seized the opportunity to do it.

Knoydart June 2015 065.JPG
Interlude between Munro days - Karl on the 2nd pitch of Ardverikie Wall.


Two days previously I had badly aggravated my knees on the descent from Meall Buidhe and began to think I'd be out of action for the rest of the holiday. But they gave me no trouble on AW so I was hopeful of carrying out our Glen Dessarry plan after all. All the same we took it easy the following day, which with hindsight was was a mistake, since the weather deteriorated thereafter.

Early on the morning of Saturday 13th we looked out of the tents (we were camped at Roy Bridge) to the disappointing sight of a completely overcast sky and a very low cloud base. :roll: Oh well, at least it wasn't actually raining or blowing a gale, so we set off on the tortuous drive to the head of Loch Arkaig, which seemed to go on forever and didn't do the car's suspension much good. :shock: There were lots of JCB's all over the place - something to do with a hydro-electric scheme?


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Finally we reached the big parking area at the road head and put our boots on. As we walked along the landrover track towards Glendessarry Lodge, it dawned on us that our bikes, which we had used for the approach to Ardverikie Wall, and which we had left in Roy Bridge, would have been very useful - all the way to Upper Glendessarry in fact. We missed a trick there! Oh well. :roll:

One thing that piqued our curiosity as we headed up Glen Dessarry, was the obviously newly constructed Glendessarry Lodge, which stood out rather dominantly some distance above the main track. Later research revealed this to be a luxurious (and exceedingly expensive) holiday cottage. :?

Knoydart June 2015 100.JPG
Glendessary Lodge - rather ostentatious imho


Knoydart June 2015 072.JPG
Karl scaring off the Highland cattle


As we plodded up the S ridge of Sgurr nan Coireachan at a very sedate pace, the drizzle started and we donned our waterproofs. I wondered if it was worth carrying on but Karl quite rightly said we might as well now we were here. I had no counter-argument to that so on we plodded, and were soon caught up by another pair of walkers with a border collie who were keeping up a cracking pace. We established that we were all doing the three Munros and exchanged condolences about the weather which, according to them, wasn't supposed to be as bad as this (how many times have I heard that? :roll: ). We made no attempt to match their pace firstly because we didn't have the energy and secondly because I didn't want to risk aggravating my knees.

At the top of the steep part is a little top with a cairn marking the start of the narrower ridge leading to the summit. Here we were surprised to meet the other pair again, who'd stopped for a break. :o 'First summit of the day!' said the leader. 'Oh, really?' I said. 'That's good'. I was sure it wasn't the summit so I got the map out just to be sure. 'The summit's a bit further on' I said, pointing to a vague dark lump through the mist. I took a bearing just to be double sure. 'That way?' he asked rather sheepishly. 'Yep', I said, and off they went, leaving us to our water bottles. We assumed that would be the last we saw of them.

Knoydart June 2015 074.JPG
Heading down from the summit of Sgurr nan Coireachan


When we reached the disappointingly small cairn on the summit we stopped. I always stop when I reach a summit. I got the map out again and took another bearing. The main ridge drops steeply west at this point but the level ridge continuing NE tempts you to follow it. You'll end up on An Eag if you do that. We followed the compass bearing which pointed us unerringly to a well blazoned path winding steeply down beside a line of iron fence posts. Some distance down here, almost at the col, we heard distant voices and looking back up the slope we saw two figures and a collie dog descending through the mist. We knew exactly what had happened. They caught us up and regaled us with a quite unnecessary explanation as to why, having been ahead of us, they were now approaching us from behind. 'Yeah, easy done that isn't it?' I said. Hey but that can happen to the best of us! :lol:

Knoydart June 2015 077.JPG
Starting the ascent up to Garbh Chioch Beag.


If either of you guys happen to read this - hi there! Hope you don't mind me telling the story. :shifty:

Knoydart June 2015 078.JPG
The clag clears briefly to reveal Garbh Chioch Beag


For a brief moment the mist cleared enough to see the impressive ridge of Garbh Chioch Beag rearing up ahead. It promised to be an interesting walk. Navigation is made easy by an almost continuous stone wall.

Knoydart June 2015 080.JPG
On the way up Garbh Chioch Beag


The ridge of the Garbh Chiochs was very absorbing with its path winding intricately between the outcrops. Always rough and rocky, never difficult or very exposed.

Knoydart June 2015 081.JPG
Looking down the northern cliffs of Garbh Chioch Beag


Knoydart June 2015 083.JPG
Summit cairn of Garbh Chioch Mhor


We met our friends with the collie once again on the summit of Garbh Chioch Mhor, second Munro of the day, where we stopped for lunch.

Knoydart June 2015 084.JPG
The lower part of Sgurr na Ciche across the col. The path up goes well left of the crag.


The descent to the Feadan na Ciche was steep but on a clear path which continued up the other side to the left of the wall leading up to the prominent crag. A grassy ramp with a big snow patch led up to the start of a steep and rocky semi-scramble to the summit ridge of Sgurr na Ciche. We noted the cairn at this point - a useful indicator of the route on descent. It was a gentle stroll to the summit from here. Just below the summit we bumped into our friends again, on their way back down. 'Hooray!' we said (meaning we'd all made the three Munros). That was the last time we saw them. There's supposed to be a trig point on the summit but all that's left is a concrete foundation.

Knoydart June 2015 085.JPG
Summit of Sgurr na Ciche, last Munro of the day, hence the smile on Karl's face. Long way back though.


Knoydart June 2015 086.JPG
The big snow patch shows the way down to the col


Back down at the Feadan we located the gully leading down into Coire na Ciche. This was an interesting if slightly tortuous rocky descent starting on the left bank, gravitating into the bed, crossing over to the right then crossing back again, until suddenly it opens out and the ground eases.

Knoydart June 2015 087.JPG
The rough gully leading down to easier ground


From here it's easy going all the way back to the head of Loch Arkaig.

Knoydart June 2015 088.JPG
Looking back up the rough gully


Knoydart June 2015 089.JPG
Looking west from the bottom of the gully


Knoydart June 2015 090.JPG
Sgurr of Eigg in the distance


Knoydart June 2015 094.JPG
The Garbh Chiochs still in the clag


When we reached Upper Glendessarry we really kicked ourselves for leaving the bikes in Roy Bridge! :crazy: :roll:

Knoydart June 2015 099.JPG
Upper Glendessarry


Weather seemed to be improving; a bit late! :roll:

Knoydart June 2015 103.JPG
Streap and Sgurr Thuilm above Strathan


Despite the clag, this had been a really satisfying day on the hills and I thanked Karl for persuading me to go through with it. :thumbup: Would have been nice to see some views but hey, can't have everything! :D One thing that especially pleased me: my knees were fine! :o
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dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1382
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
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Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   
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Location: Cumbria

Re: Little to See on the Glendessarry Three

Postby Silverhill » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:29 pm

These are hard earned hills, especially if there is not much to see, well done! I symphatise with you, I too did them in the mist. But at least that gives us a reason to return! :D
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Silverhill
 
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Re: Little to See on the Glendessarry Three

Postby dav2930 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:55 pm

Thanks Silverhill. Good point about having a reason to return; I'd love to see the views I missed! Only thing that puts me off is the drive up Loch Arkaig, which I'll have to do again anyway as I've still got Sgurr Mor to bag (unless I can scrounge a lift in someone else's car :lol: ) . :D
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dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1382
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:14   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Little to See on the Glendessarry Three

Postby kevsbald » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:48 am

Snow still persisting this late in the year.
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kevsbald
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Location: Glasgow

Re: Little to See on the Glendessarry Three

Postby dav2930 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 4:31 pm

kevsbald wrote:Snow still persisting this late in the year.

Well that was walked on 13th June but yes, we were surprised at the amount of snow left on these westerly hills. Some TR's more recent than this are showing huge amounts of snow eg. on Nevis, Alder & in the Cairngorms. It's an exceptional year for it.
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dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1382
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:14   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

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