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Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams


Postby petelynn » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:18 pm

Route description: Ben More Coigach

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Mor Coigach, Sgurr an Fhidhleir

Date walked: 14/09/2015

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1132m

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I think Coigach and Assynt are fabulous, otherworldly places and have been there a number of times over the years. Sometimes I've seen no mountain tops at all in grey low cloud. Sometimes I've seen fantastic views as I arrived or left and walked in the rain in between. Once I managed to have a sunny clear(ish) day with wonderful views from Stac Pollaidh. I'd always dreamed that I'd be there on a near perfect day. Monday 14th September 2015 was it. My partner Jim was on another sea kayak expedition starting from Reiff, so based on where I was and reports on this site I decided Ben Mor Coigach would be the mountain for this special day. I set off on my bike, it was further than I thought (9 miles) so I didn't get to Culnagraig until 11am. I was going to take the anticlockwise route from here as I prefer steep climbs to steep descents.


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A couple of photos from the ride to the start.

ImageP9140291 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140292 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The first objective was to wander over the moorland to the bottom of the ravine of the Allt nan Coisiche then up the steep slope towards Garbh Coireachan. There were traces of paths from time to time but nothing very specific to follow - which suits me fine.

Garbh Coireachan and the ravine from near the start
ImageP9140295 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Closer to the ravine
ImageP9140297 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Crossing the Allt nan Coisiche
ImageP9140298 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The going up here was steep but the views across Loch Broom to Scoraig and An Teallach were wonderful
ImageP9140300 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

As was the prospect of the Summer Isles behind
ImageP9140301 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The steepness eased giving me a chance to try to pick out the route up to Garbh Coireachan.
ImageP9140302 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

On this section the first views of Ben Mor Coigach and Sgurr an Fhidhleir appeared
ImageP9140303 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

When I got to the bottom of the sandstone slabs there were obviously many routes people had taken up so I just wended my way through ad lib.
ImageP9140304 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I've seen many reports of this walk but it was still a thrill to reach the ridge and see the ground drop away 600 metres to the sea below, A toy ship was making it's way along.
ImageP9140305 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The view behind to the Summer Isles now included the Outer Hebrides on the horizon.
ImageP9140306 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

There was still 100 metres to climb up to the top of Garbh Coireachan but the going was excellent and there wasn't a breath of wind so it was a real joy to be there.
ImageP9140307 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I was now high enough to see up Loch Broom past Isle Martin and Ullapool and from An Teallach to the Fannichs
ImageP9140308 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And Stac Pollaidh made it's first appearance
ImageP9140309 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The view behind to sea reminded me that someone suggested doing this the other way round because you felt you were walking off the end of the world.
ImageP9140310 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

It must have taken me a half hour to walk the next half mile along the ridge. I don't have a great head for heights but with no wind and no real difficulties I couldn't stop smiling at being in such a great place on such a lovely day.
ImageP9140313 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I climbed over some of the piles of sandstone blocks on the ridge and regretted it as it was a bit tricky and exposed to get down. Others I bypassed and wondered why as they seem innocuous from the other end.
ImageP9140314 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140315 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Gradually more of the Assynt/Coigach peaks came into sight
ImageP9140316 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140317 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140318 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Eventually I reach the top of Speicein nan Garbh Coireachan and there was just the connecting ridge and short climb up to BMC.
ImageP9140319 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

One last look back to the ridge
ImageP9140320 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And across Loch Broom
ImageP9140321 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Just before I got to the top of BMC a chap from Northumberland appeared having walked the straightforward way up from Culnacraig and we had a bit of a race to the top which I won by a short head by virtue of having had a head start. We took photos for each other and he lit up a cigarette! The view was fabulous.
ImageP9140322 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And you can see the smile on my face even though I'm looking the other way.
ImageP9140323 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The view back to the ridge was impressive
ImageP9140325 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

As was the view out to the Summer Isles and the Outer Hebrides beyond
ImageP9140326 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The next objective was the col at the base of Sgurr an Fhidhleir. It was further down than I had expected (200 metres) and it took a while as I was protecting my knees with my walking poles. But I was rewarded with the classic view of Stac Pollaidh beyond the clif of the Sgurr.
ImageP9140327 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I briefly had a distant view of someone descending from Sgurr an Fhidhleir but we never met up and the climb to the top was over more quickly than the descent from BMC. The view from the top was, of course, breathtaking with an aerial perspective of Bein an Eoin and the Assynt monoliths beyond.
ImageP9140328 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140329 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I thought the best panorama ought to include Sgurr an Fhidhleir itself so thought I'd descend via Beinn na Corach after following the edge of the cliffs north to get the best view.
Beinn na Corach ahead
ImageP9140330 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I took a few photos en route
ImageP9140331 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Including the best face of Sgurr an Fhidhleir
ImageP9140332 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And this pile of sandstone pillows
ImageP9140333 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Here are the 4 photos forming the panorama
ImageP9140334 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140335 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140336 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

ImageP9140337 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And the panorama itself
Imagebmcpano by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

In places eroded sandstone has turned into desert like conditions which for some reason reminded me of Utah as I walked over to Beinn na Corach
ImageP9140339 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

By this time a wind had got up and was whistling through the rocks on this pleasant but anticlimactic ridge so just a last few pictures as I descended.

Across to BMC and Garbh Coireachan
ImageP9140340 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Conmheall and the Summer Isles
ImageP9140341 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And back to my bike - only 9 miles to home.
ImageP9140342 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

I don't think I've ever smiled so much on a walk and I distinctly remember thinking at one point 'Well, now I can die happy' . Living 600 miles away means I can't realistically dash out to take advantage of perfect conditions, I have to rely on luck. And, boy, on this day my luck was in.
petelynn
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby dooterbang » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:28 pm

Stunning stuff. How wonderful to be on that ridge without a drop of wind. The views to the Assynt mountains are incredible. Like you, when I did this walk, I couldn't stop smiling. Nice touch with the cycling. I have also cycled all round these parts, its beautiful. I love Assynt, its my favourite area in Scotland.

Thanks for posting.

ps you should try a summit camp one evening :wink:
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby petelynn » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:05 pm

dooterbang wrote:Stunning stuff. How wonderful to be on that ridge without a drop of wind. The views to the Assynt mountains are incredible. Like you, when I did this walk, I couldn't stop smiling. Nice touch with the cycling. I have also cycled all round these parts, its beautiful. I love Assynt, its my favourite area in Scotland.

Thanks for posting.

ps you should try a summit camp one evening :wink:


I was gobsmacked by your report of your summit camp on BMC and it was one of the reasons for me choosing this route. Your photos of that sunset/sunrise must be some of the most beautiful on this site. I don't suppose I'll ever camp up there but at least I've seen your report.

I did cycle from Reiff to Lochinver and back, in the rain, a couple of days later. Lovely road, had to walk a couple of bits and too much traffic for a road that can't take a bike and a car at the same time. Fantastic area.
petelynn
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Posts: 43
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby mcbboyd » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:37 pm

Great report and pics :clap: . I'm up that way at the end of October for a wedding, and hoping to get the time and weather to do this walk. Cheers.
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby Silverhill » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:36 pm

Wow, superb! Indeed the stuff of dreams! 8) I've just added this to my list.
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby Avocetboy » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:33 am

Fantastic. Had a similar day up there Myself a few years ago. I have done most of the Assynt hills and I think, on a day like that, the views from BMC are, probably, the best of the lot
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:55 am

Wonderful!
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby rockhopper » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:59 am

Superb :thumbup: Days like these certainly help you forget the days spent in the clag ! - cheers :)
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Re: Ben Mor Coigach - the stuff of dreams

Postby Pip13kes » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:53 pm

Roll on July Peter. I'll be doing this walk with you :shock:
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