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Beinn Alligin 25 years later

Beinn Alligin 25 years later


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:21 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 19/07/2016

Distance: 11.4 km

Ascent: 1236m

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Our first attempt at Beinn Alligin was about 25 years ago, when two naive people who were scared of heights and three trusting dogs set out to traverse the horns. As the the slopes became steeper and the path gave way to rock they began to realise that "an easy scramble" was harder than they thought and luckily turned back before discovering the meaning of "airy and exposed".
Two dogs spent the next day sleeping of their ordeal whilst the two people and a brindle bull mastiff walked up Tom na Gruagaich, an objective more in keeping with their skills and experience.
From that day onwards we have dreamt of having the courage to traverse Sgurr Mhor and the Horns of Alligin. As our hill walking skills have increased, we have been tackling our fear of exposure by walking on increasingly narrow ridges and indulging in easy scrambling whenever the opportunity presents itself. (Learning to rock climb also helped but on its own did not make unroped scrambling feel any safer).
At last we felt ready to take on the Beinn Alligin challenge and on the only sunny July day this year, we set out from the car park at 8:15am. Sadly we no longer have canine companions, and we did take a short length of rope and a little 'gear'just in case! :lol:
This walk was in honour of Bonnie, Fash and Josh and all dogs who trustingly follow where their crazy people lead.
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The route

It was already very warm as we walked alongside the river, the sun was keeping the midges at bay :D although the cleggs were out and I was too late to stop one inflicting a nasty bite on my finger :( . It was to be horns first, in case the small chance of a thunder storm later in the day became a reality. The Torridonian sandstone was shimmering in the sunlight and Beinn Alligin was looking magnificent.
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Beinn Alligin
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Toad sunning himself on the path
We filled our water bottles before the second footbridge in case there was no suitable water further along but the path crossed plenty of streams right up to the start of the ascent, which was a god send on such a hot day and we were able to start the climb well hydrated.
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Crossing the second footbridge, Beinn Alligin beckons us forward.
The fun started as the path encountered short sections of easy scrambling early In the ascent.
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Glad I am not giving a bull mastiff a leg up here.
We stopped for elevenses on the level ground at 600m.
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Fortified we headed for the first horn
The crux of the route is the descent from the first horn and we looked at several possible chimneys before choosing the route down.
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First part of the descent chimney
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Chimney part two
Getting started was the hardest bit, once in the chimney good handholds became obvious. There were three short sections of chimney, each leading down to the path so the exposure wasn't great and we took our rucksacks off and did a bum slide out of the second two.
Feeling more confident and hopeful that we had successfully managed the hardest part of the route, unroped, were on our way to horn number two.
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Looking back at the first horn.
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Approaching the second horn
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Around and over
I think our exposure training may be working as there were alternatives to this traverse.
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The way down.
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The top of the final horn
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With a hint of the spectacular situation
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Sgurr Mhor ahead
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13:52 Sgurr Mhor summit. It has only taken us 25 years to get here
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Jeremy Jetboil boils over in the excitement
Oh dear! on Sgurr Mhor my so my phone, which also serves as camera and Emergency grid reference/gps battery dies, probably because I have taken so many photos. :( I am annoyed with myself as it could be serious if conditions were worse, as it is we do have a working phone between us with plenty of battery. It is just as well I don't have a flicker account as readers would be truly bored with the number of images attached as it is truly beautiful day, and the views breathtaking.
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Time to head for Tom na Gruagaich
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Eag Dubh
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Ton na Gruagaich ahead

There seemed a choice of high and low paths to follow, with a little bit of easy compulsory scrambling but lots of short rocky steps if you preferred the hands on approach. :lol: We did a bit of path and ad hoc bits of rock inbetween.
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Looking back over the ridge
:roll: I have to confess to not spending long on this view point.
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15:40 Ton na Gruagaich as safer spot from which to admire Liathach and Beinn Eighe.
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And relax
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And reminisce
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It seemed a shame to go down too soon so we wandered over to admire the veiws from Tom na Gruagaich's other summit, before taking a slow stroll back with plenty of stops in the still amazingly midge free sunshine and discussing which of distant peaks, if any, was Meall Chean Dearg.
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Looking across Loch Torridon from Coire Na Laoigh.
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It must have been a very interesting discussion because we didn't get back to the car until 19:10.
Well our training had paid of and in fact we had not found Beinn Alligin exposed or even very narrow.
The next challenge will be a traverse of Liathac, but I think the rope might make an appearance there.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Beinn Alligin 25 years later

Postby inca » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:46 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed reading that report CC. Honest, engaging and great pics, particularly your dog one from yesteryear. Fantastic shot.

'This walk was in honour of Bonnie, Fash and Josh and all dogs who trustingly follow where their crazy people lead.' Touched a chord with me as I do 99.9% of my walks with just dogs for company. They enjoy themselves of course but I often wonder if their trust in me's misplaced :lol:
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inca
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Re: Beinn Alligin 25 years later

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:30 pm

I am glad you enjoyed the report Inca, it was a bit of a milestone for us and brought back so many memories of hill walking with our dogs. Dogs that get to go hill walking must have a so much more interesting life than those that stay on the level but whether ours would have tagged along so happily if they knew our true level of competence is another matter :lol:
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Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 664
Munros:139   Corbetts:20
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Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

Re: Beinn Alligin 25 years later

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:11 pm

Smashing report and great photos - it took us 2 attempts 14 years apart to finally bag this pair, although we didn't attempt any serious scrambling as one of the team was just recovering from a nasty illness. Your photos remind me that greater experience is only part of the confidence in doing the scarier stuff - I have to be in the situation before I'm calm about it - your photos are scary :lol: :lol:
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Huff_n_Puff
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Re: Beinn Alligin 25 years later

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:26 am

[quote="Huff_n_Puff"]Smashing report and great photos - it took us 2 attempts 14 years apart to finally bag this pair, although we didn't attempt any serious scrambling as one of the team was just recovering from a nasty illness. Your photos remind me that greater experience is only part of the confidence in doing the scarier stuff - I have to be in the situation before I'm calm about it - your photos are scary :lol: :lol:[/quote
Thank you I am glad you enjoyed the report. Even without the scrambling it must have been quite a walk when recovering from an illness- well done. I know what you mean about photos, sometimes we avoid looking at walk reports for scrambles as they put us off altogether. :lol:
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Cairngorm creeper
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Posts: 664
Munros:139   Corbetts:20
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

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