After our successful climb up Beinn Eighe the day before, our next walk involved a bit of scrambling up the classic ridge route of Beinn Alligin involving 2 Munros and an 'easy' scramble along the Horns. Once again the weather conditions weren't favourable. It was decided at the start we would determine whether or not to commit to the ridge and scrambling the Horns at the first Munro Tom na Gruagaich. We set off at the car park next to the bridge at 869576 and took the track to the left of the river. By coincidence a group of girls were leaving at the same time as us. We let them overtake us as we were in no hurry. A good track takes you through Coire nan Laogh all the way up to Tom na Gruagaich, the going was relatively easy and we knew we were quite sheltered in the Coire. In the distance we would see the spray coming off the waterfalls off Sgurr Mor, the 2nd Munro, so we knew it must be blowing a hooley up top! We were slight concerned with the kit the girls had, it seemed they were kitted out for a summer walk in a park. Given the conditions, it wasn't surprising as we got nearer the top we met them coming down. Luckily they had the sense to turn around. As we got nearer we got the occasional gust that nearly took you off your feet and the odd snow flurry. Another layer was called for.
There wasn't as much snow as Beinn Eighe the day before, just the wind to contend with. We lost visibility for bit at the top as the path flattened out.
Eventually the cloud dissipated and we got our first glimpse of the ridge and the majestic Horns in the distance.
With the view clear ahead of us, and the wind easing we had a quick chat and commited to the rest of the route. Timing is everything. If he had arrived 15 mins earlier, we would have probably turned back down due to the strong winds!
The descent off the first Munro was following a track steeply down for a bit and the walk along the ridge was relatively straight forward. Due care is called for not to walk into Eag Dhubh ("The Black Cleft"), the massive crack in the mountain along the ridge, My natural line nearly took me into it and with the winds coming back a quick gust could've been nasty!
With the cleft avoided the track took us up to Sgurr Mor where we were treated with splendid views of the Torridon hills.
The top wasn't a place to be hanging around with the wind-chill and strong winds. We could see the Horns directly ahead of us. They did look menacing!
Again the descent off Sgurr Mor was steep in places but a good track was in place. The wind picked up and as we approached the Horns we were hit with a snow/hail blizzard which nearly took us off our feet. It was time to batten down the hatches and find whatever shelter we could on the ridge. After a good 10mins of feeling completely cold and miserable, the storm lessoned....its wasn't the place to be playing about on the Horns. Ian our guide told us to get the helmets on and put a sling around us in case we needed to rope up. As we approached the Horns an odd feeling of trepidation and excitement all at the same time hit me. I couldn't see any route over them and with the weather conditions we didn't have time to study them in any detail but to just get on with the task in hand.
As it happened it was probably better we couldn't see much in the storm as we started off. We couldn't see the exposure. The route itself was relatively straight forward and the scrambling was pretty easy, nothing really tricky on it at all. After the first Horn, the weather eased and we were once again treated to superb views...
We had got into the swing of it now, and with the weather becoming favourable again, it became a most enjoyable scramble. No difficulties that I could see, and no need to rope up. It was clear we were all loving it!
After quickly finishing off the last Horn, we followed the route down SE which involved negotiating our way through some steep crags, which took a bit of concentrating given what we had been through. Due care would be needed in poor visibility! The good track eventually went across 2 bridges meeting up with the track from the Glen Torridon car park on the other side of Liathach. We followed it south back to the start.
I could see how this route is such a classic. It had everything in it, fantastic views, great scrambling, a bit of excitement with the weather and finishing off with a ray of sunshine! Yet again, another fantastic day in Torridon!
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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.