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On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing around

On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing around


Postby Graeme D » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:37 pm

Munros included on this walk: Maol Chean-dearg

Corbetts included on this walk: An Ruadh-stac

Date walked: 07/11/2015

Time taken: 9.7 hours

Distance: 28.9 km

Ascent: 1630m

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The long awaited Torridon meet had rolled around and after a rather frustrating delay in making good my escape from school on the Friday afternoon, I eventually made it up to the Torridon Youth Hostel to find the party in full swing. I commandeered some of the little remaining fridge space and set about working my way through some of the stash of Aldi’s finest ale selection that I had carted north with me. There were many old friends (perhaps I should rephrase that – friends from quite a few previous meets) to greet and a few new ones whose real names and WH names I would have to somehow reconcile in my head over the coming weekend.

Ever since Gill and John had opted for Torridon, my original plan for the Saturday of the meet had always been the Munro of Maol Chean-dearg along with the nearby Corbett of An Ruadh Stac. By four or five days out, ominous forecasts had me scouring my mountain literature looking for less prestigious, more modest targets. However, by the time I was set to leave Perth on the Friday afternoon, indications were for a slightly more positive outcome on the weather front, so it was with a more open mind that I made the 3 hour journey up the A9 to the Black Isle and then onto the Ullapool road before turning off at Garve Junction for Kinlochewe and then the last leg along the diddy road in Glen Torridon, where even in the dark of a November evening, I could sense the looming giants of Beinn Eighe and Liathach to my right on the north side of the glen.

The usual question was doing the rounds in the dining area and lounges of the hostel – “What are your plans for tomorrow?” I’m sure by the end of the evening most people had been asked this question about twenty times, at least four of five of which were by the same person! With MCD and ARS now seemingly back on, plans were made by Evie, Dave, Martin, Karen, Darren (and his trusty four legged sidekick Charlie) and myself for a 8am departure and I was tucked up in my top bunk by the mildly respectable hour of 1am.

In the morning, there was a fevered debate about which side to tackle the route from – drive round to Coulags on the Achnasheen to Lochcarron road or start from the hostel and walk along to Annat and the other end of the Coulags hill path. Evie decided to take the drive round in favour of the slightly shorter walk in and out, while the rest of us headed on foot to the main road and then round the head of Loch Torridon to Annat. At the junction we passed Black Panther and Kevin just as they were pulling into the side road to the hostel and we stopped and said hello.

After a walk of a kilometre or so on the tarmac (and a rather bizarre conversation between Darren, Dave and myself about faking one’s own death in a missing hillwalker case), we took to the Coulags hill path which climbed up onto the north eastern flanks of the Graham Beinn na h-Eaglaise.

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Start of the hill path in Annat

The going was excellent on a decent path with big sections of pavement like slabs to ease the going. Behind us the Torridon giants of Alligin, Liathach and Eighe had their heads in the clouds but with the definite sense that there was some hope for it lifting. Ahead, the Corbett duo of Sgurr Dubh and Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine appeared beyond Seana Mheallan, which would later that day be visited by Al and Allison in possibly the first case of a Sub2K Marilyn bagging on a WH meet!

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Seana Mheallan

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Rod and Theresa look away now! It's your least favourite Corbetts!

I remarked a number of times on the colour contrast between the washed out, leaden grey of the sky and the rich orange going on brown of the late autumnal landscape. I soon ditched the heavier showerproof jacket in favour of a lighter option as the ascent began to bite and the promised 50mph winds utterly failed to get off the ground.
MCD soon came into view and after an interesting section of scattered rocks sitting on huge rock slabs and a couple of river crossings aided by substantial stepping stones, we began to climb round behind Eaglaise to be greeted by the significant bulk and presence of Beinn Damh.

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Liathach, Beinn Eighe, Seana Mheallan, Sgurr Dubh and the results of someone doing some landscape gardening work

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Maol Chean-dearg ahead

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Wait for me guys! I promise I'll stop taking so many photos!

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Mass stepping stone crossing

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Liathach

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Beinn na h-Eaglaise

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Karen and Dave climbing away from Eaglaise

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MCD across Loch an Eoin

There were as yet no views across into Coire Lair to Beinn Liath Mor and Sgorr Ruadh but there were increasing signs that the cloud was lifting and some sun and blue skies were ready to burn through.

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Beinn Damh

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Beinn Damh closer up

As we contoured around the lower slopes of MCD, An Ruadh Stac was next to show. She looked impressive enough from this vantage point but this would be nothing compared to the show she would put on for us later. We stopped for a bite to eat at the side of Loch Coire an Ruadh-Staic before the last steep ascent up to the bealach between the Corbett and the Munro.

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An Ruadh Stac holding on to a veil of cloud

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Dave and Martin at Loch Coire an Ruadh-Staic

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The climb up to the bealach - looking back to Loch Coire an Ruadh-Staic and Beinn Damh

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An Ruadh Stac #1

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An Ruadh Stac #2

At the bealach there really was a developing sense that things might really clear up way beyond what was forecast. We set off up the loose scree and rock path onto MCD, keeping eyes and ears open for Evie. There was no sign of her way below on the approach path in from Coulags so we guessed she would be somewhere ahead of us on the upper slopes of the Munro. The clag rolled in again as we ascended and dipped down through the little depression before taking to the boulder field approach to the summit. It was here that we met Evie on her descent, just a few minutes or so below the summit. She reported that the cloud had been constantly coming and going from the summit affording short glimpses of views before closing in again.

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An Ruadh Stac #3

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MCD

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ARS again!

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Meall nan Ceapairean

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Back down to the bealach from the ascent of MCD lower slopes

A spot of lunch around the large shelter cairn fair lowered our core temperatures and had us reaching for the thermal gloves, but we managed to stick it out for long enough to get a few moments where it all blew through and we got some views back down towards Loch Torridon.

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4 humans and 1 dog on the spacious and well appointed summit cairn

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Fleeting views - Sgurr Dubh and Loch Torridon

It was only really on the descent back to the bealach that the weak November sunshine managed to burn off the clag once and for all and we started getting expansive views of the surrounding wonderland. At the little depression which had been clag bound on ascent less than an hour ago, there were magnificent framed views across to Beinn Damh and a bit lower, the Coire Lair hills revealed themselves, bringing back special personal memories of a day on Beinn Liath Mor, Sgorr Ruadh and Fur Tholl at a previous WH Torridon meet a few years back.

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Beinn Liath Mor and Sgorr Ruadh

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Beinn Damh

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Beinn Liath Mor and Sgorr Ruadh - Fuar Tholl still hiding away

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Beinn Damh in all her glory

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Beinn Liath Mor and Sgorr Ruadh again!

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Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl

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Sgorr Ruadh, Fuar Tholl and the edge of Meall nan Ceapairean

We had become a bit strung out on the lower section of the descent back to the bealach with Karen and Dave falling back a bit on the loose scree and boulder fields. There had been talk about coming the Corbett of An Ruadh Stac and to be honest, although this was always part of my plan, had the weather not perked up like it did, I would probably have left it for a better day. Clearly it is not a hill to waste on a substandard day. In the end, Martin confirmed that Karen and Dave were going to head back to the hostel and he decided to take that option as well, leaving Daren and I (and Charlie of course!) to forge ahead and grab arguably the better mountain of the pair.

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Darren and Beinn Damh from the bealach

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Beinn Damh and MCD

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Darren negotiating the rocky rib

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Dwarfed by ARS

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Charlie taking the opportunity to take some liquids on board

We dropped our packs at the little lochan on the rocky rib across to the foot of the main ascent and travelled alpine style up one of the most remarkable mountains I have ever stood atop. The first several hundred metres or so of ascent appears to be almost a solid slab of rock, riven with cracks and fissures and barely holding a blade of grass.

We set a cracking pace, aware of the advancing hour, trying not to pause for too many photos en route, occasionally looking back to see the tiny figures of Martin, Dave and Karen snaking their way back down the path at the start of the long walk out.

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ARS reflection

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ARS and Beinn Damh

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MCD

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Darren on the slab

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MCD again

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Beinn Damh with Loch Torridon visible beyond

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Darren snapping away at Sgorr Ruadh

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Shadow creep on MCD

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Beinn Liath Mor, Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl

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MCD from the upper boulder field

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ARS summit with Loch Carron behind

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Beinn na h-Eaglaise and MCD with a rainbow forming over Glen Torridon

We hung around at the summit just long enough to take a few more photos and for Darren to try to break the cairn before a combination of walking, running and scree skiing back down to the rocky slab and onto the rib to pick up our packs.

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Beinn Damh and Beinn na h-Eaglaise

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Charlie and Darren at the summit

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Loch Carron

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Me and Charlie, Fuar Tholl just behind my left arm

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Beinn na h-Eaglaise and MCD with the rainbow more vivid now

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Beinn Damh

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Charlie says it's time to get outta Dodge!

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Doing what dogs do best on the hill - leading the way!

A blistering pace was set along the path and it looked at one point that we might just manage to make the road before it got properly dark. However, the pace eventually took its toll and we slowed as the gloom descended. Darren strapped the head torch on but my eyes had already grown accustomed to the gloom enough to convince me to leave mine at the bottom of my pack where I had rather unwisely packed it.

But for a near death experience at the hands of a nutter in a green estate car ( :lol: :lol: :lol: ) on the main road between Annat and Torridon, we made it home safely to the comfort of the hostel and the unique delights of the Saturday night of a WH meet.

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Sgorr Ruadh from Loch an Eoin


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Graeme D
 
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:17 pm

Great report, Graeme. That is some day out - from the Torridon end especially. I agree with you that ARS is a superior mountain to MCD and the little lochans at the bottom are just the finishing touches. The slabs are great fun.

I was on Beinn Damh and got photos of the same rainbow. Who knew the hills were crawling with people?
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:12 pm

Enjoyed that Graeme, twas another great day 8)
I do kind of wish I had joined you for the 2nd summit, but hindsight is a great thing :lol:
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby hutchy1 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:41 am

Another great report Graeme you've took some great pics
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby The Rodmiester » Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:50 am

Superb stuff Greame, really enjoyed that, cracking photographs. That wee Corbett looks a bit special, think I'll keep it for a dry day though :lol:
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby Beaner001 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:02 am

Glad you got decent weather for these, it's quit a hoof from the North - well done :clap:
ARS is the better of the two in my opinion, a cracking Corbett with a welcome mix of terrain over the whole walk :D
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:59 pm

Glad to hear you like my green estate car Graeme :lol:

Once you were on to higher ground that looked brilliant - never climbed any hills in Torridon but it does look good.
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby tomyboy73 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:12 pm

Nice report Graeme,glad you didn`t make an ARS of it :lol: would like to do these two next time i`m up that way
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:49 pm

Good stuff a bhalaich.

The Corbett is certainly the better of the two :clap: :clap:
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby katyhills » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:57 pm

Damh fine :wink:

Smashing photos :)
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby malky_c » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:23 pm

Top stuff, and another Autumn meet with better weather than forecast by the looks of it :) . Also a slight sense of deja vu......

(Taken October 2011):
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Re: On the spectrum - a touch of MCD and a bit of ARSing aro

Postby Graeme D » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:20 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Glad to hear you like my green estate car Graeme :lol:

Once you were on to higher ground that looked brilliant - never climbed any hills in Torridon but it does look good.


You are not guilty Gordie. I believe the culprit was a Mr R. Meister! :lol:
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