A lof of pain for some views - Knoydart
by Mountainlove » Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:10 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: 07/08/2015
Time taken: 11 hours
Distance: 26 km
Ascent: 1523m9 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).
To make my experience more visible empty a 50000l swimming pool in your grassy garden. Let a group a cows roam in it for 2 days. Wait until in rains (non stop for 7 hours). Empty a pint of water in each of your hiking shoes. Walk around in your garden for 11h. Each time you want to eat something wait until it rains more than the previous 2 hours. Wear shorts! ... This sums up my Knoydart experience.
The drive to the starting point was something else. I certainly had not realize in the past that roads like that existed. The birth place of blind summits with more up and downs than I could count, but even with the challenging driving conditions the views were amazing!
Close to the car park
Once arrived, I set off with a combination of sunshine and a few scattered clouds. I had read some trips reports who talked about the bog. Trying to be clever I decided to start the walk with Scurr na Ciche, hoping that this would bypass the bog. (No chance)
The closest house to the postbox is across the loch in the distance
The start of the walk with stunning views
The old ruins of the barracks
Following the track through the forest, the first 1.5 hours were indeed as easy as I could have wished for. A bit mind numbing as nothing distracting popped up, but I made good time. Passing the wee cairn which indicated the path down to A'Chuil (the bothy), the path left the forest and I got my first views.
The first views of the mountains to climb
The track through the forest
Continuing I entered the forest again and the path started to get a bit boggier.
It all changed when I got to the end of the path and stepped out of the forest. As far as my eye could see it was bog ‘wonderland’ and to make the experience even better it started to rain. I quickly put on my jacket, thinking the wee shower would stop soon. Unknowingly that it would not stop for the next 7 hours!! Thick clouds draped themselves around the mountains and with my hood pulled deep across my face I moved on.
It is a gentle rise towards Druim nan Uadhag, but in the rain it seemed endless. Once or twice I lost the path and had to wade through knee deep soaking wet grass until I found the path again. My non waterproof shoes (bad idea to wear them) had filled up with water. Walking in the rain with cold soaking feet left me miserable and fed up. When the water content in my shoes got to the stage that I thought I emptied a bucket of water in them, I stopped to wring out my socks and insoles. Completely pointless, as within minutes my feed were wet again.
It is hard to describe, but the rain, no visibility, wet and cold feet and boredom, made the whole experience as miserable as possible. At times I was close to call it a day and return and only the thought of having to return to the path of hell made me stay put.
By the time I reached the highest point of the path (before the climb of Scurr na Ciche started) I had a 5 min break during which the rain stopped and I was able to enjoy views towards Loch Nevis.
Towards the west- its wild out there
Moving on the rain started again and I carried on up the stone gully. Even in the rain the gully looked spectacular, with lots of waterfalls running down the sites. Walking through and alongside the burn on my way up my mood lifted a bit, but what I did not admired was the thick cloud which hid the top of Scurr na Ciche.
Looking down the gully
The way to the top, but no views of the summit
On the final climb up Scurr na Ciche met the first group of hill walkers. Exchanging some chit chat they told me that they had no view, but guessed that the clouds should have lifted by the time I was up. They were right! By the time I reached the cairn I was able to see the views and yet again there was a 5 min break in the rain. I stayed for some time enjoying the views and happiness returned. I was finally up a mountain again.
The top and the cairn coming into view
Views from the top
Down Loch Nevis
Finally happy again
The climb down back to the bealach was quicker than I thought and so was the climb up to Garbh Chioch Mhor. It still rained, but yet again the top cleared just before I reached it. My mood had also improved and I had resigned to wet and cold feet.
The clouds return on my way down
Bizarrely Loch Quoich is still in sunshine
The path far below
Between Scurr na Ciche and Garbh Chioch Mhor
Looking back to Scurr na Ciche
Garbh Chioch Mhor summit cairn and the way ahead
The walk between Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan was an endless up and down, made harder by the relentless rain and slippy ground. it seemed never ending. By the time I reached the bealach between Garbh Chioch and Sgurr nan Coireachan it was time for a change as the rain and perspiration had soaked though everything. Oh the joys to put some dry clothes on and eat something. I felt like a new person when I left and climbed up the final Munro. The climb was steep and when I reached the summit 7h of near constant rain came to an end. Towards the east blue sky could be seen and Loch Nevis glowed in the sunlight still hidden under a thick layer of grey clouds. I stayed for a while simply enjoying the sun and being able to take my waterproofs off.
The sun and view down the bealach between Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan
Towards the north on the final climb
The previous 2 Munros
The battle of the sun, trying to break through the clouds
The last lump to climb on the way back down
Leaving the summit the nightmarish downhill climb started. I was back in soaking boggy land. Only the thought of a hot shower kept me going and hoping for a path close to the forest I was disappointed when I realized that the boggy path continued all the way Upper Glen Dassary. Back at the car I was certain that I would NEVER return to Knoydart, but then one should never say never
Blue skies at last
On the walk down towards the forest
A'Chuil (the bothy)
A rather fat looking stag
Close to the car park
Loch Arkaig during sunset
by jamesb63 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:04 pm
Love the shot of the post box wonder how often they collect it in the winter
this summer has been a write off
by spiderwebb » Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:28 pm
That road is something else, the trip in convinced me to add on Sgurr Mor to save having to come back down that road !!! But that was a hill too far I was scuppered at the end
Didn't find a Garmin Etrex 10 in the car park by chance ??
by dav2930 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:08 pm
by ancancha » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:08 am
by Alteknacker » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:06 am
There must be quite a bit of consolation for the bog/rain purgatory in the brilliant views you had???
Notwithstanding your doleful report, this is still near the top of my "must do" list!!!
by tall-story » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:55 pm
by jules999 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:24 pm