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A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

A Week in Wester Ross Heaven


Postby jupe1407 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:27 am

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 26/09/2015

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I hadn't had more than a couple of days off work since May, when i'd taken a week off to spend in Ullapool, which had been somewhat trounced by the "summer" weather. Three of us basically spent a week in Forest Way bunkhouse playing Scrabble and reading guidebook of hills we couldn't climb whilst rain battered the place on a daily basis, save for one brief escape to traverse the eastern Fannichs. So it was with a spot of trepidation that i booked a fortnight in late September/early October in the Northwest, with the first week in Torridon, then nipping over to Skye for a week via Applecross.

For the first week we booked the incredibly reasonable Anancaun Cottage in Kinlochewe. £245 for a week in a 2 bedroom self-catering cottage was a cracking deal. We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a fairly tedious 5 hour journey from Forfar. The view from the cottage wasn't bad though.

Torridon & Skye-1.jpg
Beinn Eighe from Kinlochewe


This was my first trip to Kinlochewe since my first WH meet a couple of years ago. Back then I'd had a couple of brilliant walks on Slioch and Beinn Alligin and intended to repeat those hills with Anne, because i knew she'd love the views and also a minor introduction to scrambling over the horns. After a minor faux pas on the first night in the cottage, where i somehow managed to make an arse of cooking a pizza and set the smoke alarm off three times, we settled in fine and were up on the Sunday morning, ready to tackle Beinn Alligin, armed with a promising forecast. We'd be meeting (Allison) Sick Kid and her husband Craig for this walk, as they were in Torridon for a week also.

Sunday 27th September
Beinn Alligin


Having tackled the route anti-clockwise last time, we decided to do the same this time. The walk-in to Coire Mhic-Nobaill was wonderful.

Torridon & Skye-1-2.jpg
Approaching Beinn Alligin


We followed the path until crossing a bridge and heading uphill, eventually reaching the initial climb towards the foot of the first horn. This is quite a steep little climb, with a few easy scrambling options and is a nice warm up for the horns themselves. We reached the small plateau then continued up, though the wind was much stronger than forecast. However, nothing dangerous so we carried on up, eventually reaching the top of the first horn. I struggled to remember the way down from last time, there are a couple of alternatives, i just remembered it being an annoying down-scramble :lol: Anne was loving her first attempt at scrambling through, as was Craig and we weren't long in making our way up to the second horn. We stopped for a bit to eat on the north side, where there is a nice flat section. Out of the wind it was baking hot. The views were magnificent.

Torridon & Skye-2.jpg
Anne enjoying the jaw-dropping views


Torridon & Skye-3.jpg
Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin


Torridon & Skye-4.jpg
Our lunch spot


After traversing the third horn, it was time for the grind up to the first Munro summit, which had almost been forgotten about during the entertainment over the horns :lol: We soon reached the summit though, where it was blowing an absolute hoolie. We got a bit of shelter behind a rock for a bit to eat, but not before I discovered the trials and tribulations of quite literally "p***ing in the wind". :shock:

Torridon & Skye-5.jpg
From Sgurr Mhor


We didn't stop long and started making our way down to the bealach, stopping on the way to look at the incredible Eag Dubh. The forces required to have such a profound effect on a massive rock face are almost incomprehensible. Allison had an Anemometer with her, on which she recorded wind speeds in the bealach of about 100kph :shock: We could barely keep our feet! However we were soon sheltered by the ascent to the second munro, Tom na Gruigaich. This ascent was knocked off fairly quickly, and it was here that we saw the only other walkers of the day.

However the top was soon reached. Although the skies were a bit grey now, the views were still awesome.

Torridon & Skye-6.jpg
Looking Back


From here it is a fairly straight-forward descent back down the rather eroded Coire nan Laogh before things improve and there is a fine stone-built path most of the way. We got back at the cars and got changed just in time to avoid midge annihilation before arranging to meet Allison and Craig for another walk later in the week.

What a day on a truly wonderful mountain. Anne was knackered by had loved her first experience of scrambling. I half-jokingly suggested Liathac for later in the week, before pointing it out on the way back through Glen Torridon. Hell, i didn't even fancy it with a damaged knee :lol:

Monday was a fairly quiet day. We were both a bit sore from Beinn Alligin, with both my knees swollen up in semi-hilarious fashion. We had a wee explore of the village which has a decent wee shop, and also the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was tremendous. Sadly it'll be closed for the season by the time of the WH meet. A great wee place though and I'd massively recommend it over the nearby Hotel. After a day of faffing around, it looked like there might be a nice sunset, so we scoped a few places before heading up to the viewpoint for Upper Loch Torridon. The sun dropped and we got a few minutes of stunning light.

Torridon & Skye-7.jpg
Sunset on The Torridon Giants


Feeling quite inspired we decided to get up early on Tuesday to hopefully catch a nice sunrise from Loch Clair. This is a fabulous viewpoint for Liathac and Beinn Eighe. We decided to save the full walk for the following day. I found a decent spot and waited for the sun to hit the mountains. This a fairly experimental shot. I think i exposed this for about 4 minutes as the sun lit up the peaks.

Torridon & Skye-8.jpg
Sunrise from Loch Clair


We spent a good two hours taking various shots here, before a desperate need for coffee and breakfast took over and we made our way back to the Cottage, but not before a stray white horse started following Anne about, nudging her in the back looking for some attention :lol:

Later in the day we fancied a short walk, so headed along to the Beinn Eighe Woodland Trail. It's a short walk with a tiny ascent, but gives great views up through the forest and across to Slioch.

Torridon & Skye-12.jpg
Slioch from the Woodland Trail


Torridon & Skye-1-3.jpg
Sunshine and Trees


So far we'd had three days of blazing sunshine and were quite frankly starting to get worried :lol:

Wednesday morning arrived and we decided to have a wander round the Coulin Estate, following the WH route for Loch Coulin and Loch Clair. It was crystal clear outside and initially seemed a little chilly. A choice of baselayer and fleece proved to be a bad move as halfway round it was absolutely scorching. This is a fantastic walk however, coming in at 6 miles plus, and with an almost constant supply of beautiful views. It was also flat calm, so Liathac and Beinn Eighe looked incredible reflected in the loch. The view of Liathac was my favourite

Torridon & Skye-9.jpg
Liathac


We wandered further along and stopped at the bridge, where much to Anne's disappointment, the horse which had followed her about on Tuesday was nowhere to be seen. We continued on towards Loch Coulin, passing a beautifully remote holiday cottage, and a renovated farmhouse, before the route swings back around towards to the main lodge. The weather and views were simply glorious all the way.

Torridon & Skye-10.jpg
Beyond Loch Coulin


The wildlife was interesting as well. A few strange insects about and sincere apologies to the mating Dragonfly we disturbed, during the 5 minutes we were trying to work out whether they were trying to eat, kill or mate with each other.

Torridon & Skye-1-4.jpg
Dragonfly Porn - Apologies


I headed out again that evening to catch a sunset, hoping to catch some late light on Slioch with Loch Maree in the foreground.

Torridon & Skye-13.jpg
Last Light Slioch


Thursday 1st October 2015
Slioch

We'd arranged to meet Allison and Craig again to do Slioch on the Thursday. The amazing weather continued, we'd now had dry weather for about 5 days :lol:

We started from Incheril, and set out along the 2.5 miles to the bridge. Having previously done this in spring 2013, I hadn't realised how bad the ferns would be. They were covered in dew and (probably a good few ticks) and my trousers were absolutely soaking within about five minutes :lol: After 45 minutes of constant checks for ticks and swiping off keds, we crossed the bridge over Abhainn an Fhasaigh and headed uphill. Annoyingly there was a lot of low cloud about, and visibility was pretty garbage until we got into Coire na Sleaghaich. Entertainment was provided with various excerpts of Roger's Profanisauris (long story) :lol:

We timed our arrival in the Corrie just as things were starting to clear, and i started wondering if a cloud inversion was on the cards...

Torridon & Skye-14.jpg
In Coire na Sleaghaich


We decided to exit the corrie on the left rather than follow the path ahead. I'd gone this way the last time and the views had been fantastic. No inversion to be had, but the views were still awesome. I think Anne was enjoying herself.

Torridon & Skye-15.jpg
Anne's verdict on Slioch


After a break here we headed up towards the lochans then ascended the steepish scree slope beyond. Once above this section, you start to get a true feel for the sheer bulk of the mountain.

Torridon & Skye-16.jpg
The un-named Lochan


Torridon & Skye-17.jpg
Looking back at the walk so far. What a view!


Once this is passed, it's an easy walk to the Trig Pillar which falls short of the true summit by about a yard. From here it's a short stroll to the true summit. The views are quite simply incredible, probably the best I've had from any mountain, and i'd now been lucky enough to have clear days on both climbs here. Anne and Craig hadn't been up here before and absolutely loved it. It's not hard to see why.

Torridon & Skye-18.jpg
Fisherfield & An Teallach


Torridon & Skye-20.jpg
Made it!


We stopped for lunch just down from the summit, and sat trying to take it all in. There can't be many better things in life than enjoying the delights of a cheese piece with a view over Fisherfield on a beautiful blue sky day. Eventually we dragged ourselves up and made our way slowly along to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain, with plenty of view-admiring stops on the way.

Torridon & Skye-19.jpg
Ridge to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain


Torridon & Skye-21.jpg
Looking to Loch Maree and beyond. What a place :-)


The ridge walk to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain is a delightful meander and it's a fine summit in it's own right.

Torridon & Skye-22.jpg
A last look at Slioch


The descent from here is on a pretty reasonable path, eventually reaching the Corrie floor, before another 4 miles walk out back to the car park. We got back to the cars just as the light was going after a truly fantastic day out. Stops to rest were out of the question as any hesitation saw us swarmed by bloody keds :lol:

This was pretty much the end of the week's walking. We lazed about on Friday, nursing various sore things and enjoyed yet another day of sunshine before seeing off the week with a lovely meal in the Whistle Stop Cafe. The Venison burgers they serve are glorious.

What a week though. After a totally dreadful summer, featuring atrocious weather and a never-ending knee injury, this week had gone as well as could have been possibly hoped with wall to all superb weather, two great hills, great light for photos and a brilliant couple of days out with Allison and Craig.

Saturday was a strange day, firstly because it was cloudy and even had the cheek to rain a bit :shock: and also because we'd had such a good week, the thought of heading to Skye seemed an anti climax. Not as much as going back to work the following week though :lol:
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jupe1407
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby simon-b » Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:04 pm

Nice pictures of a beautiful area. That cottage was a bargain. Slioch is great; I'm looking forward to Beinn Alligin.
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:29 pm

That looked half decent :wink:

I've never walked these hills but I think I definitely want to now.

Great report and pics :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:32 pm

great report and as always amazing photos - looks like you hit the weather jackpot for the NW :clap: 8)

ATB

Murrayyyyy
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:03 pm

fantastic pics :clap: :clap:
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby Jaxter » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:49 pm

WOW such amazing pictures!! :clap: I'm very jealous - you had much better views from Beinn Alligin than I did, and Slioch looks good - saving it for another time.
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby K-Burn » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:31 pm

I really enjoyed reading that and your photography is wonderful. I was in Torridon back in March (I was only there for two days but we had perfect weather) and it's what inspired me to get back into hill walking after a long absence from it. Torridon has to be one of greatest parts of Scotland and as much as I love Skye, I'd also feel like it might be an anti-climax after spending time in the shadow of the Torridonian mountains.
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:38 am

simon-b wrote:Nice pictures of a beautiful area. That cottage was a bargain. Slioch is great; I'm looking forward to Beinn Alligin.


Thanks Simon. Alligin won't disappoint. The landscape is incredible there.

Gordie12 wrote:That looked half decent :wink:

I've never walked these hills but I think I definitely want to now.

Great report and pics :clap: :clap: :clap:


Thanks Gordie. Save them for a good day :wink:

wilkiemurray wrote:great report and as always amazing photos - looks like you hit the weather jackpot for the NW :clap: 8)

ATB

Murrayyyyy


Thanks Murray. We couldn't believe our luck. Two rain days out of a fortnight :lol:

SAVAGEALICE wrote:fantastic pics :clap: :clap:


Thanks :D

Jaxter wrote:WOW such amazing pictures!! :clap: I'm very jealous - you had much better views from Beinn Alligin than I did, and Slioch looks good - saving it for another time.


Thanks Jaxter. If anything, the views from Slioch are even better. It's a much longer walk, but most of that is spent looking around and saying "wow" a lot :lol:

K-Burn wrote:I really enjoyed reading that and your photography is wonderful. I was in Torridon back in March (I was only there for two days but we had perfect weather) and it's what inspired me to get back into hill walking after a long absence from it. Torridon has to be one of greatest parts of Scotland and as much as I love Skye, I'd also feel like it might be an anti-climax after spending time in the shadow of the Torridonian mountains.


Thanks :D I've always liked Torridon, but spending a whole week there in almost perfect weather probably nudges it ahead of Skye for me. Skye is awesome, but there's something much more remote about Torridon. That, and the mountains are wonderful.
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby dooterbang » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:07 pm

Belter of a trip that. Fab photos that really capture the beauty of the landscape. Nice one :)
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:50 pm

Superb pics :clap:
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:47 pm

Gorgeous pics- they do the mountains justice. Mind you the weather gave a helping hand. As you say - it deteriorated on the Saturday...just when I arrived :wink:
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby Sick Kid » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:05 pm

Cracking report JP and your pics are awesome!!!
Great fun walking with you guys :D
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby tina bonar » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:21 pm

Gorgeous photos JP :clap:
Hope the weather is as good for the Meet up there next month
Look after those knees!
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:06 pm

Bloody marvellous pictures, really well done, cracking report :clap:
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Re: A Week in Wester Ross Heaven

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:02 am

dooterbang wrote:Belter of a trip that. Fab photos that really capture the beauty of the landscape. Nice one :)


Thanks Dooterbang :D

Collaciotach wrote:Superb pics :clap:


Thanks Collaciotach :D

weaselmaster wrote:Gorgeous pics- they do the mountains justice. Mind you the weather gave a helping hand. As you say - it deteriorated on the Saturday...just when I arrived :wink:


Thanks Al. Probably the luckiest week of weather I can remember. We were thinking about you guys when we drove over to Applecross on Saturday in gloom and drizzle :lol:

Sick Kid wrote:Cracking report JP and your pics are awesome!!!
Great fun walking with you guys :D


Same here Allison. Those two walks were brilliant fun. We'll need to do that again sometime. I'll stuff the Profanisaurus into my backpack :lol:

tina bonar wrote:Gorgeous photos JP :clap:
Hope the weather is as good for the Meet up there next month
Look after those knees!


Thanks Barry. Same here, I still think we're due some good weather after the "summer" :lol:
The knees are manageable, though reduced to relatively short days or single hills. And with pills :lol:

Beaner001 wrote:Bloody marvellous pictures, really well done, cracking report :clap:


Thanks Beaner :D
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