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A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming!!

A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming!!


Postby dooterbang » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:55 pm

Route description: Sail Mhòr, from Ardessie

Corbetts included on this walk: Sail Mhòr

Date walked: 23/08/2015

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 6.5 km

Ascent: 780m

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Seeing that swimming is being incorporated into some walks, championed by the inventively entertaining Mountainlove (Maja) in her recent trip reports, I thought I would follow suit and add a swim into my little adventure. Spolier Alert: My swim was more Baywatch (without the cleavage!) than Maja from Atlantis and her amazing Thermarest Lilo :lol:

Not only would I be swimming on this mini adventure but I would also be climbing a Corbett in 70 - 80mph winds, summit camping in 50mph winds, viewing a beautiful sunset, wakening (did I actually sleep?!) to a glowing pink sunrise, cycling with two Italians, running along stunning sandy beaches, and walking down the road in my flip flops with "tap aff".

Once again the NW Coast allured me with visions of possible sunsets/sunrises, so I hatched a plan that would take in multi-activities. First on the list would be climbing the Corbett Sail Mhor, this was a short walk and only a 20 minute drive before reaching my camping location at Grunaird Bay. Left Glasgow 7.30am and was walking 11.30am.

Instantly you come across a wonderful gorge & waterfalls, kept thinking I needed to wash what hair I had left :)
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Some agility shown to get this shot, Mountainthyme (Theresa) failed doing this at the recent meet up :wink:
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Sail Mhor - I'd be ascending the right hand gully, descending the far left one. It was steep, made worse by the wind!
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Bealach - views to An Teallach & Fisherfields.
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Sat at the shelter cairn for 30 minutes, my eye following the landscape out to sea. Viewing The Summer Isles once more, but from a different perspective. Ben More Coigach was in clear view, the location for a camp I did a few weeks back...great views, but way too windy to get the camera out!!

My route down...
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Lost in the jungle!
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The walk out - great views of Little Loch Broom.
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Brilliant little walk this, one to do again and again! If not used to steep pathless terrain I would advise to take the longer route to reach the summit which is detailed in the WH route description.

Got in the car and drove the short distance to Grunaird Bay...

Grunaird River
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My camp spot would be on the summit of Creah Mhor. This was only 50m from the car, albeit up a steep slope.
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Stunning! The wind was only 50mph at this low height :)
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My car!
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A cyclist pounding up the hill! I would do this the next morning, the start of my cycle.
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With the tent up I hung around, eating food, drinking beer (one bottle - I'm a lightweight!)...cutting my finger and standing in the deepest bog ever! Back down to the car for the first aid kit and some dry trainers, thankfully I'd a normal pair with me. My two pair of trail runners now soaking! Changed socks and trousers too.
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And then the sun dived under the cloud and beamed its golden rays, the landscape surrounding me instantly coming to life. A kaleidoscopic visual treat 8)
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My attention then turned West to take in the sunset...
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Half Moon!
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Fading light & Campsite...
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As usual I hardly slept. The wind was ferocious outside, the noise was deafening! My wax ear plugs slightly dampened the constant reverberations. I lay thinking allsorts of nonsense whilst waiting to see if I lucked out with a sunrise...would you beleive it :D

The Sky Was Pink...
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Stood for a couple of hours taking it all in. I then got packed up and took all the gear to the car. Stuck on the cycling gear, and then it started to rain!! I sat in the car for over an hour contemplating driving to Kinlochleven as was forecast for a dry morning. But then it dried up, and I got on my bike...to Melon Udrigle!

Looking back to Grunaird bay
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After a most wonderful sweeping rolling cycle, with a tailwind, I reached Melon Udrigle.
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Melon Udrigle has a lovely giant beach, its popular with campers and motorhomes...cyclists too :wink:
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The route back to Grunaird Bay.
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Whilst shooting the above photo I heard a noise which sounded like bike chains being hammered, it took me by surprise as I really didn't expect any other cyclists to be around at this early hour on a Monday! Turns out to be two Itilian lads, now living in London, a third of the way into a 400 mile+ cycle. They'd got a train to Inverness and started from there. We all cycled together back to Grunaird Bay, chatting about the Alps, the Belach Na Ba (which they did the day before), and the amazing Scottish Scenery. They now headed up the coast, Ullapool the next stop. The next few days would see them head to Durness, John O Groats, and back to Inverness. Nice lads, hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip :D :clap:

Here they come...
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Numero Uno
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Numero Due
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A quick change and I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering along the four sandy beaches/bays that make up Grunaird Bay, the sun managed to breakthrough the surrounding grey cloud.

The main beach next to the car park.
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One of the smaller beaches. Should I go in...
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Yes!!! Red shorts on for that authentic David Hasselhoff vibe, plus this was on the 2s timer :wink: :lol:
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After a swim it was time to follow the coast line....
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My camp location top right hand corner.
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Seals - enjoying life :)
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Now onto the fourth beach which is same size as the first. Brilliant views from here, a must visit!!
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And finally...probably the best views in and around the Bay. Everything just opens up, sensational 8)
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From here I took a path through some woodland and walked the 1.5km back down the road to the car park, flip flops on and tap aff :lol: . Met a nice old fella at the car park from the Shetlands, I was jealous of his tales of travel and his Norwegian girlfriend...who still lives in Norway, "costs a fortune" he quipped, but worth every penny :wink:

Left the Bay at late afternoon and enjoyed my 4.5hr drive home, the clarity on all the mountain ranges I viewed incredible...I could see for miles! Even Glasgow has a sunset on my return :shock:

The NW Coast provides a stunning backdrop for all kinds of activities, I will be back :) 8)
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dooterbang
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Location: Isle of Skye from Feb 2019 (Originally Glasgow)

Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby kev_russ » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:43 pm

I have a picture of you in my head on baywatch now :lol: Cracking stuff. Your fairly churning oot the high camps 8)
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kev_russ
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:28 pm

Wowsers Paul!

Totally superior classy report :clap: :clap:

PS where are 'those' photos :wink: :wink:
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:51 pm

Brilliant report.

When the tops are clear the hardest thing driving in this part of the world is remembering to look at the road every now and again.
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby scottishkennyg » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:02 pm

Nice one Paul, cracking sunset images and glad the wind was present to blow the wee midgies away for you too..Cheers Kenny
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby mountain thyme » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:50 pm

Haha. I did get the agility pic but had too many pics of that hill to post on here :wink:

Nice pics again.

Are they budgey smugglers under the red shorts :D
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby tombombadilio » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:27 am

There are some days when the west coast just looks truly tropical.

Great photos. Great report.
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby Petr Dakota » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:43 pm

It looks like you really enjoyed the trip ! :D :clap: 8) :D
Wonderful photos, especially the sunset...great ! :clap:
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:52 pm

Great report: great pics, great story. Loved it :clap: :clap: :clap: I really get the sense of a great time had.

For some reason, the view of An Teallach and the Fisherfields from the bealach really captures my imagination ....
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:00 am

Yer hardy :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby malky_c » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:25 pm

All this lazing around and camping on top of tiny hills - anyone would think you were auditioning to be the next Old Man Mountain(star) :wink: . Hope he doesn't read this now :lol: . Great looking weekend and photos though - not many better places 8) .
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby dooterbang » Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:16 pm

malky_c wrote:All this lazing around and camping on top of tiny hills - anyone would think you were auditioning to be the next Old Man Mountain(star) :wink: . Hope he doesn't read this now :lol: . Great looking weekend and photos though - not many better places 8) .
Ha, got very lazy regarding bagging munros...much prefer the leisurely camping, its great you don't have to walk out till the next day :D

Thanks for all the comments from everyone else :)
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby davetherave » Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:43 am

Fantastic trip Dooterbang. Great report and pics.

I really must get on my road bike more, it's the other toad users that scare me and stop me using as much as I should.
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Re: A North West Coast Fantasy - Sun, Sea, Sand...& Swimming

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:50 am

Such a wonderful spot, thanks for reminding me of it.
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