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Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan


Postby Jaxter » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:14 pm

Route description: Sgurr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glenfinnan), Sgurr Thuilm

Date walked: 16/04/2016

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1444m

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Another weekend in the hills has left me with another pile of reports to file.... :shock: Bear with me... :roll:

A bank holiday weekend with 3 days off was such a rare occurrence for me that it was too good to be missed. Plans made, things packed and off I went, leaving the house at a lazy 5.25am.... :roll:

Passing along Loch Lomond, through Glen Coe and then Fort William, I could feel my excitement rising as the views were wonderful - the peaks were clear, skies were blue and the big yellow thing in the sky was appearing :shock: :D

Arriving at the Glenfinnan car park at just after 8, I was surprised to see a couple of other cars already there, perhaps some early birds? It turned out to be cheeky tourists not wanting to pay in the NTS car park :lol: I set about the process of unloading my car, unfolding my bike and getting my boots on. Realising I'd brought a bike lock but no key, I jettisoned the extra weight and trusted the sheep not to steal my bike.... :shock: Cycling off down the track at 8.20 I could feel drops of rain in the air and hoped that they would disappear quickly - the forecast wasn't for any potential rain until later!

Fortunately the sun scared off any rain fairly quickly and after a couple of corners I could see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the Harry Potter bridge, coming into view. It was pretty impressive and I took the opportunity to get the camera out.

Approaching...
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Looking back (I couldn't decide which one I preferred :lol: )
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Continuing down the track, the going was good although my legs were still complaining at me after the 4 days of walking at the WH meet last weekend :shock: The track started to become uphill and I was definitely feeling it, especially as the sun was beating down on me. I think I've become too used to winter :lol:

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Following the map, I rode down the track all the way to the t-junction and turned right onto a rough track, leaving the smooth Tarmac behind! I had to stop immediately as there was a giant puddle right across the track :shock: I didn't trust my cycling over very bumpy ground so jumped off and pushed round....

Streap on the right, Sgurr Thuilm on left
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After this I passed the Bothy which looked deserted and the going improved; however there were some steep bits just around the corner. I got up some, but started to have to do a bit of pushing. Looking at the map, I could see that I wasn't far off where I needed to leave the bike anyway, so jumped off, hid it round the back of a big rock and set off on foot.

Looking for the faint path, I was surprised to see a sign to 'Sgurr nan Coireachean' pointing up a decent looking path. Not wanting to kick a gift horse in the mouth, I checked the map one last time and set off up.

A sign!
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The path was great and went a long way along the side of the mountain before starting to head for the ridge. The path became much fainter here but I was able to follow it most of the time.

Looking back - any excuse for a break :lol:
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Over to Sgurr Thuilm and Streap again
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Streap looks like great fun - definitely one to climb, but maybe on another day :roll:
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Once on the ridge, I was able to follow it for a while but headed right to bypass some crags and picked up a different path which I thought might be a shortcut around the crags. In typical shortcut fashion, it wasn't. it brought me out at the bottom of a grassy slog back up to the ridge before the final climb up to the 852 height. Trying to take a diagonal line across to cut off some extra distance (I clearly hadn't learnt from my previous shortcut) I ended up scrambling up very steep slopes. Looking back, I could have kicked myself as I could see a clear path over the top of all the crags which would have been an awful lot easier.... :lol:

Cracking view, and you can see the path I should have been on in the bottom of the picture :roll:
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Deciding that I didn't need to take the difficult route, I cut across to the path and scrambled up the last very steep section onto the top.

At this point, the summit was finally revealed to me - it looked like a bit of a scramble, and there was a lot more snow here now.

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Making my way over to the final pull, I could see footprints in the snow, several days old and going the opposite direction.... :shock: Fair enough, I thought. no reason why someone can't do it backwards... I dug out the WH instructions to see if there was any advice for the last bit, and found myself very confused :crazy: :crazy: It seemed the instructions were taking me up Sgurr Thuilm first.... I looked at the map, then the instructions again.... Eventually I realised that I wasn't going insane, just backwards! :lol: I'd marked the route on the map and just followed it the 'wrong' way.... :roll:

Crossed carefully above this :shock: :shock:
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Could now see the ridge stretching out
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Pushing on, I stuck to the rocks and eventually made it to the top of Sgurr nan Coireachan! It felt like a summit I'd definitely earned, these mountains are beasts! :shock: The wind had picked up so extra clothes were quickly added. I was running out of adjectives to describe the awesomeness of the views, despite the fact that it looked like it was clouding over a wee bit.

Loch Morar and Knoydart
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The ridge to Sgurr Thuilm
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Back the way I had come - look at that sky!! :D 8)
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Sgurr Thuilm, Streap and Nevis right in the background
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Looking slightly sunburnt 8)
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Loch Arkaig
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Not wanting to get cold (and being too lazy to add more clothes...) I headed off towards the ridge. There was a lot of snow here and it was quite hard. Digging my heels in hard, I made it down the first bit but then it started to get a wee bit more exposed and scrambly. I slipped on a rock and cut my finger, then, remembering a near miss moment on Beinn a' Chroin, I decided that icy rocky scrambles could end badly and stopped to put the crampons on. Suddenly feeling far more secure, I marched my way down onto the ridge and up the start of the first bobble of the ridge where the snow ran out. Crampons off again, I continued.

Looking back to what I had just come down was an impressive sight.
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Looking down the ridge to my next target
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It was around about this time where it got colder, the sun disappeared and it started snowing. Rab jacket on, I continued. It felt like hard work along the ridge, the first ascent had taken quite a lot out of me. However, soon the snow stopped and the sun returned and views in every direction were incredible which made the going feel a little easier. 8)

The Coireachan ridge and beyond
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Sgurr nan Coireachan itself
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Rainbow in the glen - could see the viaduct too although sadly I don't think my camera is good enough :?
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Little bit further along
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Looking back along the ridge the way I had come
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The bealach reached - Sgurr Thuilm is a mighty mountain too
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Eventually I was over the final hump and onto the actual ascent to Sgurr Thuilm. There was a faint path and the fence posts were still in evidence so way finding was easy :thumbup:

As I was approaching the ridge, I saw 2 people who had come up the other way, going in the "correct" direction :lol: It was strange but really nice to meet someone else and we walked the final few metres to the summit together. They were really lovely so we chatted for a while and took each other's summit photos, saving me my usual 10 second timer dash, before parting company.

Towards Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel
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Streap, which will definitely be getting a visit
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The ridge and Sgurr nan Coireachan
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Posing in front of Coireachan
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A beautiful Loch Arkaig
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I dropped a little way off the summit as it was fairly blowy and ate my lunch. The sun was shining, so out of the wind it was perfect weather to sit for a while and appreciate the views 8) :D

Glen Finnan
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Eventually i started to get a wee bit chilly, and it was still a long way back so it was time to go. The route down was easy to follow and there were the other 2 walker's footprints to follow through any snowy bits.

Down the grassy ridge
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Once out of the snow it got increasingly boggy, was very steep and at times it began to snow again :roll: But the views did not let up.

Watch out, bog ahead! :shock:
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Looking back to the ridge I could see the other two standing on top of one of the humps
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Eventually I made it down to the track, crossed a river (fortunately very low and with plenty of steeping stones :lol: ) and walked along the track to where I'd left my bike, fortunately still there. It seems the sheep in Glen Finnan don't have any mountain biking aspirations :lol:

Sgurr Thuilm from my parking spot
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Looking down the track
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Attaching poles back to my bag, I hopped back on the bike. Most of the way back was downhill, but I had to keep stopping to snap photos and it was such a beautiful day.

Back up the glen
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At the bridge again!
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As I came through the viaduct I passed into tourist land - every man and his wife were out for a stroll so I had to slow down my triumphant return to the car :roll: :lol:

Feeling slightly stiff, I set about the palava of putting my bike back into the car and rearranging all my stuff. I dug my flask out and sat in the sun with a cup of tea for a while, before heading for Roy Bridge hostel, a hot shower and tomorrow's weather forecast. Another magical day in the hills :D
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Jaxter
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Bod » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:21 pm

A lovely report and two beautiful mountains. We loved the long up and down link in between the two summits a couple of years back, and they were my halfway munros 141 and 142, plus Ritchie-boy has a favourite lochan up there :lol:
Great pictures of another magical area, and PS great to briefly meet you in the crowds at Gairloch :wink: :D :D
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Borderhugh » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:35 pm

Well done Jackie. It transpires you went the same route as me and saw the wheelbarrow. Well done for getting your report out in extra quick time. My report of GF from last summer is still sitting in draft email :roll: Glad you followed the instructions down off Thuilm. I didnt bother and dropped off to soon and ended up going down a wet and steep gully. I had 2 calamitous stacks on the way down which Rik Mayll would have very been proud of. :clap:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby jamesb63 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:37 pm

You really captured the day with some beautiful pics
I look forward to doing these two :clap: :clap:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby ancancha » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:17 pm

Fabulous :clap:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Jaxter » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:40 pm

Bod wrote:A lovely report and two beautiful mountains. We loved the long up and down link in between the two summits a couple of years back, and they were my halfway munros 141 and 142, plus Ritchie-boy has a favourite lochan up there :lol:
Great pictures of another magical area, and PS great to briefly meet you in the crowds at Gairloch :wink: :D :D

Thanks - yes it was good to meet you! :D It's a lovely area isn't it :D


Borderhugh wrote:Well done Jackie. It transpires you went the same route as me and saw the wheelbarrow. Well done for getting your report out in extra quick time. My report of GF from last summer is still sitting in draft email :roll: Glad you followed the instructions down off Thuilm. I didnt bother and dropped off to soon and ended up going down a wet and steep gully. I had 2 calamitous stacks on the way down which Rik Mayll would have very been proud of. :clap:

Ahh the wheelbarrow, I forgot about that - it seems it's a permanent fixture :lol:


jamesb63 wrote:You really captured the day with some beautiful pics
I look forward to doing these two :clap: :clap:

Ooh yes, get a good day for them, totally worth it :thumbup:


ancancha wrote:Fabulous :clap:

Thankyou :D
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:16 pm

Where is my friend raven ? :D :lol:
20150412_083853.jpg
Glenfinnan - April 2015
20150412_085136.jpg
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:57 pm

Have a break this weekend Jaxter, I'm knackered just trying to keep up to date with all these reports :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Jaxter » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:41 am

Petr Dakota wrote:Where is my friend raven ? :D :lol:
20150412_083853.jpg
20150412_085136.jpg

Oooh I did see one of them, wasn't sure what it was at the time. Circling above the ridge. I wasn't good with a camera as you :lol:


Gordie12 wrote:Have a break this weekend Jaxter, I'm knackered just trying to keep up to date with all these reports :lol: :lol: :lol:

:lol: I think this weekend is an enforced layoff unfortunately. I'll be getting itchy feet! :?
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:24 am

Another good 'un, what a great day.

I found these two tougher than expected, and the ridge between them a bit endless feeling in cloud. We did them from Glen Pean bothy which meant for a steep ascent.
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Jaxter » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:28 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Another good 'un, what a great day.

I found these two tougher than expected, and the ridge between them a bit endless feeling in cloud. We did them from Glen Pean bothy which meant for a steep ascent.

It's amazing what a different a good weather day makes isn't it? :roll:
Definitely agree - even doing the "standard" route was a big day!! Rewarding though :lol:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Guinessman » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:26 pm

Excellent report and photos Jaxter. I've done these hills both ways round and much prefer Sgurr nan Coireachan first rather than the thigh burner up Sgurr Thuilm.
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Jaxter » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:36 am

Guinessman wrote:Excellent report and photos Jaxter. I've done these hills both ways round and much prefer Sgurr nan Coireachan first rather than the thigh burner up Sgurr Thuilm.

Thank you! Looks like I got lucky by accident then :lol:
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Re: Going backwards on a 4 season day in Glenfinnan

Postby Mountainlove » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:19 am

I remember those 2 well....the ridge between them seemed endless. Good idea to take a bike! Me and my friend walked in which took for ever. Its a great area and its great that you had the views :-)
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