walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Weasels in Ardgour

Weasels in Ardgour


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:52 pm

Fionas included on this walk: Druim na Sgriodain, Sgùrr nan Cnamh

Date walked: 13/03/2016

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 2128m

2 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).

As Allison and Craig had been holidaying in Clovullin for the past week, it was time to give the Donalds a slip and head northwards to meet up on the Friday night and hit some "real" hills over the weekend. After a (mostly) sunny week however, the forecast was quite good for the Borders and not good at all for the west coast - typical :roll: I drove up after work on Friday, fuming at being stuck behind a driver going at 20mph up Loch Lomondside... was strange to be driving through Glencoe amidst big hills once again.

The forecast for Saturday was low cloud, constant rain and high winds, and it proved accurate. We left the cottage, parked at the wee shop in Clovullin and started off through the woods that circle the lochans behind Corran and made our way along the road to the old MacLean burial ground Cille Mhaodain. Allison had been in constant pain with her back all week and had not managed any hills - time would tell if she could make it up Druim na Sgriodain. We passed through the graveyard and onto a rough track which led up the hillside - fortunately free from bracken which will make this hillside a struggle later in the year. Allison was moving slowly, but moving. I'd taken the precaution of loading her stuff into my rucksack so that she didn't have extra weight on her back. Around 400m the scenery disappeared in clag, the wind got up and the rain - well the rain continued. We encountered some snow as we ascended SE of Sgurr na h-Eanchainne, choosing an easier route for Allison's back. A fence line assisted the final climb to the first summit then wwe set off along An Diollaid to find the Graham summit. Another fence line hove into view and we sequestered ourselves behind an outcrop to have a bite to eat out of the wind.

View from the cottage - Maclean's Tower just visible
ImageP1120242 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120243 by Al, on Flickr

One of the lochans behind Corran
ImageP1120245 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120246 by Al, on Flickr

Looking south
ImageP1120248 by Al, on Flickr

MacLean's Tower
ImageP1120249 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120251 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120252 by Al, on Flickr

Up the hillside
ImageP1120253 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120256 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Sgurr na h-Eanchainne
ImageP1120258 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120259 by Al, on Flickr

Pressing on it seemed an endless task to find the summit - I frequently went off-beam in the mist, with numerous tiny lochans surrounding the peak. Finally we spied it, touched the cairn and set off down the hillside. We had to follow the shoulder leading SE - there's quite a drop over to the east of this (or so it appeared in the clag), but we managed to loop round at the base of the shoulder into the lower section of Coire Dubh. I knew we had to cross MacLean's Tower (or Towel as we thought it was called at the time :wink: ) which is an impressive water feature easily visible from ground level. As we neared the fall we could hear the water tumbling - the rain and recent snow melt swelling its volume. Being soaked through already, I had nothing much to fear from more water, and found a section to wade across out of the main force of the falls. OK, it was up to mid-thigh, but safe enough. Allison was less enamoured of the crossing, shall we say, but she made it none the less.

Summit Sgriodain
ImageP1120261 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120262 by Al, on Flickr

Descent
ImageP1120263 by Al, on Flickr

MacLean's Tower
ImageP1120266 by Al, on Flickr

Crossing point
ImageP1120267 by Al, on Flickr

From here the end is in sight - in the form of a large Telecomms mast - a steep descent down a slippy grassy hillside completed the excitement. I was concerned that Allison would slip and jar her back, but in the end it was only me that slipped and got an even soggier behind than I already had. Once at the mast we got onto good track and followed this back into the woods by Ardgour House and back to the car. We'd made it - 6 hours to do what might have in other circumstances have taken four, but we'd made it.

Mast
ImageP1120269 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120271 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120273 by Al, on Flickr


druimsgr.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We drove along to Strontian to the excellent wee campsite there. No other tents - what a surprise! Tim, the owner, came across to ask if we wanted to make use of the little bothy on the site - which has a logburner. At the mention of fire and warmth, Allison's ears pricked up, and we spent the next hour or two drying off our clothes and drinking hot soup - better than the tent in that respect. As darkness fell we returned to the tent somewhat drier than we had been earlier in the afternoon.

Sunday's forecast was a good one, but unfortunately was a bit more optimistic than what was delivered. We lay in the tent listening to a multitude of birdsong - there had been an owl during the night, blackbirds, jackdaws and other sweet singers were hoined by the rapid fire of a woodpecker in the nearby trees. We breakfasted outside in quite warm temperatures, looking at the clouds over the hills. Allison was sore and stiff after her exertions and I was far from optimistic that she'd manage another hill today. I'd chosen Sgurr na Cnamh, the Peak of Bones which is an outlier of the Garbh Bheinn group. We'd soon see if she was able for it.

Drove along the road a few miles to a plantation where there's a forest track that leads up the hillside. There's room for one car at the gate, across the road from a new and devilishly steep looking Hydro Track leading up An Coire Dubh on Creach Bheinn. I'd originally planned to follow the Allt Feith once we got to the end of the track and climb the Simm Druim Min first, then follow the ridge round to Cnamh itself, but I decided that under the circumstances it might be preferable just to head directly for Cnamh, which is what we did. The track is fairly steep but does a good job of getting you to almost 300 metres quickly. There's a bridge to cross then it's onto grassy track, deer paths mostly. We wandered over flattish heathery land, undulating now and then, heading for the western extremity of the shoulder of Sgurr na Cnamh. The going was slower than yesterday. Allison was clearly in considerable discomfort. I kept my eyes to the impressive flanks of Garbh Bheinn.

Track
ImageP1120276 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Chuillin
ImageP1120277 by Al, on Flickr

Ghostly Beinn a'Bheither in the distance
ImageP1120278 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Cnamh
ImageP1120280 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Sunart
ImageP1120281 by Al, on Flickr

Flank of Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1120284 by Al, on Flickr

We reached the lower slopes of Cnamh after about 2.5 hours and stopped for lunch. I was quite concerned about the time - it was now approaching 1.30 and we had another 1.5km to the summit, then all the way back to go - I was not sure if my companion would make it. To her credit she indicated she was going to continue on, so we started to climb a little more steeply up the rockier parts of Cnamh, reaching the 653 prominence. There was still a fair way to go to the summit carin which I could make out against the skyline. Over to the left was the steep peak of Sgurr Dhomhnuill, with the flowing ridge of Beinn na h-Uamha before it. We pressed on, crossing patches of snow and finally reached the cairn which Allison greeted effusively. We retraced our steps, getting some birdy greetings on the way - a pair of raven flew off to Garbh Bheinn and I saw my first snow bunting of the year, fluttering off from just below our feet.

Western shoulder of Cnamh
ImageP1120288 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Dhomhnuill
ImageP1120289 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120294 by Al, on Flickr

The cairn finally in view
ImageP1120298 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120300 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120301 by Al, on Flickr

Managing a smile
ImageP1120304 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1120305 by Al, on Flickr

The going was a bit quicker on the descent although on the slippier sections Allison had to exercise great care that she didn't stumble and fall. The weather didn't really pick up - sometimes a tiny bit of drizzle threatened, but it felt a fairly mild afternoon. We made it back to the car by 4.30, which was reasonable under the circumstances and headed off for the Corran Ferry. An easy drive back down the road, getting home just as the last light dwindled - two good hills, nice to get out into the rough and rugged world of northern hills again.


cnamh#.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2441
Munros:277   Corbetts:217
Fionas:197   Donalds:75+31
Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:15   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Weasels in Ardgour

Postby BoyVertiginous » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:39 pm

Almost missed this one. Enjoyed reading about these two, weaselmaster, despite the conditions. Have driven and walked past them too often and have an idea to do them in May, with some other Grahams and Corbetts in the area. Was doing Sgurr na Cnamh directly from the campsite an option/considered? Had previously planned to go in from Ariundle and up the Allt (a Bhuic), bog factor of Strontian River at that time permitting. Was the draw of the track gaining height quickly, and shorter distance overall, too great?

Thanks for sharing the pics, never tire of images from that neck of the woods.
User avatar
BoyVertiginous
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1327
Munros:251   Corbetts:75
Fionas:26   Donalds:11
Sub 2000:49   Hewitts:34
Wainwrights:63   Islands:18
Joined: Jun 14, 2011
Location: california

Re: Weasels in Ardgour

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:42 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:Almost missed this one. Enjoyed reading about these two, weaselmaster, despite the conditions. Have driven and walked past them too often and have an idea to do them in May, with some other Grahams and Corbetts in the area. Was doing Sgurr na Cnamh directly from the campsite an option/considered? Had previously planned to go in from Ariundle and up the Allt (a Bhuic), bog factor of Strontian River at that time permitting. Was the draw of the track gaining height quickly, and shorter distance overall, too great?

Thanks for sharing the pics, never tire of images from that neck of the woods.


We did looka t the track up through Ariundle Woods from the campsite, but it would have been longer and the last time we went up that way to do Dhomhnuill getting across the river just past the mines was a problem - we ended up having to follow the river upstream for quite a bit until it was fordable - as you have probably noted, Allison isn't very fond of river crossings :wink:
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2441
Munros:277   Corbetts:217
Fionas:197   Donalds:75+31
Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:15   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Weasels in Ardgour

Postby basscadet » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:50 pm

Glad to hear you got some hospitality in Strontian.. We were turned away on a really foul night, so good to see they have sorted themselves out! :D
Its really nice for walking that part of the world - jealous, even though your weather wasn't brilliant..
Good to see SK out and about not letting her back get in the way of a dreary stomp through clag :clap:
User avatar
basscadet
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2778
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Fionas:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:34   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

2 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).




Can you help support Walkhighlands?


Our forum is free from adverts - your generosity keeps it running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and this community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mikekirk1, Owen b, RobD and 63 guests