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An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche


Postby simon-b » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:37 pm

Route description: Sgurr na Ciche: 3 Munros from Loch Arkaig

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Date walked: 18/06/2016

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 27 km

Ascent: 1700m

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This was a walk I had pencilled in for Sunday 19 June, as I had the Saturday and Sunday nights booked in Corpach, and was planning to drive up from Yorkshire on Saturday. But Saturday's forecast turned out to be so much better than Sunday's. I had Friday off work, so I got packed and ready, and thought about driving up overnight. A mad idea? All the way from Wakefield to Fort William, and then that drive along the notorious Loch Arkaig road. I then heard from Andy (AJNicholls), telling me he'd had a similar idea, and was going to drive from Bristol to Torlundy to catch the good weather, and climb Ben Nevis via CMD. Well, if he could do that... So I went to bed on Friday afternoon, then got up, loaded the car, and set off at about 10:50pm.

It was quite an experience, just two nights before midsummer, seeing dawn break in the very early hours as I drove through Dumfries and Galloway. It was a beautiful, sunny morning when I approached Fort William, and pulled in for a last rest, ready to take on that 'interesting' Loch Arkaig road. I reached the car park at the head of the loch at 7:10 am, and all the delineated spaces were already taken! But I managed to park on a verge, and set off walking along Glen Dessarry.

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Streap and Sgurr Thuilm from Glen Dessarry


I felt just fine walking along the glen, and not at all sleepy. I encountered a group of women who were wild camping, and attempting the same route as me in reverse. Then I reached the place to strike right and uphill towards Sgurr nan Coireachan. It was a steep, relentless ascent, and now I began to feel the effects of that overnight drive. But glorious weather and lovely views compensated.

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Glen Dessarry in retrospect


I met a walker coming downhill; it seemed a bit early for him to be descending, I thought. Eventually the gradient eased as I drew near to the top of the day's first Munro.

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Sgurr Mor seen when approaching Sgurr nan Coireachan


Arriving at the summit, I gazed towards the next two targets. They looked magnificent, and also challenging.

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Garbh Chioch Mhor, Sgurr na Ciche and Knoydart hills from Sgurr nan Coireachan


There was quite a drop to the first bealach, then a steep, rough pull up towards Garbh Chioch Bheag. The ridge was rocky and undulating with a few false summits, and quite energy sapping. In time Garbh Chioch Bheag was reached, then I made my way towards its bigger neighbour. The two Munros I was approaching looked extremely impressive and rugged.

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Moving towards Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr na Ciche

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Sgurr na Ciche seen when approaching Garbh Chioch Mhor

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Moving towards Garbh Chioch Mhor


On top of Garbh Chioch Mhor, I met three Dutchmen. The walker I'd encountered earlier was their friend, and had given up. They said this was their first time in Scotland, and these were their first Munros. This seemed an interesting choice, I thought; certainly a good one, but perhaps not the most obvious.

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Looking east from Garbh Chioch Mhor

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Loch Nevis from Garbh Chioch Mhor

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Sgurr na Ciche from Garbh Chioch Mhor


Next I descended to the bealach, Feadan na Ciche, ready to take on the day's highest hill.

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Sgurr na Ciche from Feadan na Ciche


It was a steep, rocky climb to the summit, and well worth it. My Munros 271 to 273 were now conquered. Looking west, I could see the mountains of Knoydart and Skye, both places where I was soon to be with friends from WH, taking the score to 280.

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Loch Nevis from Sgurr na Ciche

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Loch Quoich from Sgurr na Ciche

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Garbh Chioch Mhor, Gulvain and Ben Nevis from Sgurr na Ciche


Quite a few people were out on these remote hills on this day, making the best of the weather. After taking in the superb views, I made my way back down to Feadan na Ciche, and then a careful descent south-west down a gully.

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Looking back at the descent gully


Easier ground was then reached, and I struck a course south-east to pick up the path back to Glen Dessarry.

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Returning towards Glen Dessarry


In the glen, I chose to return by the lower route alongside the river. This was a pleasant woodland walk, but a long way back!

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Arriving back at Loch Arkaig


Back at the car, I set off to drive to Corpach. In their route description for this walk, WH say, "If you have to drive back out along Loch Arkaig, take care as you are certain to be exhausted." How did they know I was going to drive all the way there from Wakefield overnight before starting?
Last edited by simon-b on Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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simon-b
Munro compleatist
 
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Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
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Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby AJNicholls » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:47 pm

Well done Simon. You can join me in the Obsessive Night Drivers Club now! :clap: I was even up at 2.30am this morning to get to the hills again too. :)

Looks like you had a good day for it. Guess your big hat protected you from the sunburn I got on the CMD that day.
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby ancancha » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:19 am

A long drive, but your photos make it look so worth it :clap:
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:27 am

Great stuff Simon, especially the photos. Looks like you got the idea day for them :D
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:53 am

Great stuff Simon, looks like the drive was worth it to get those sort of views.
I saw diddly squat from all 3 summits so it is nice to see what I missed, what a difference a month or so can make, to think I was wading through deep snow high up & splashing through water lower down :(
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby simon-b » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:19 pm

AJNicholls wrote:Well done Simon. You can join me in the Obsessive Night Drivers Club now! :clap: I was even up at 2.30am this morning to get to the hills again too. :)

Looks like you had a good day for it. Guess your big hat protected you from the sunburn I got on the CMD that day.

Cheers, Andy. Big hat and factor 25, big hills and lots of sun 8)

ancancha wrote:A long drive, but your photos make it look so worth it

Well worth it ancancha, even with frustrating night closures and diversions.

jupe1407 wrote:Great stuff Simon, especially the photos. Looks like you got the idea day for them

Thanks, JP. It's nice to hear that from a keen photographer when I was only clicking with my little pocket digital. Must have been an ideal day :D

Fife Flyer wrote:Great stuff Simon, looks like the drive was worth it to get those sort of views.
I saw diddly squat from all 3 summits so it is nice to see what I missed, what a difference a month or so can make, to think I was wading through deep snow high up & splashing through water lower down

Definitely a good route for good conditions, Martin! I hope you get a fine day on Mull.
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Silverhill » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:36 pm

Blimey Simon, you've already compleated! :shock: I look forward to reading the report. You've been ticking them off rather swiftly since last June!
The Glendesarry munros are awesome 8) . I need a second visit to actually see them, but I'm glad you got such good weather for them. :D
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Re: An exhausting drive for Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Scotjamie » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:38 pm

Great report Mr B
Have been off-line for a while so didn't realise you'd compleated
Well done!!
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