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A date with BA

A date with BA

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:55 pm

Route description: Beinn Alligin

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

Date walked: 04/08/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1110m

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Despite the vagaries of the weather this summer, I've been fortunate to have had a number of great hill days and this day was no exception. Having experienced it now for myself, I can truly see why so many people list Ben Alligin (Gaelic: Mountain of Beauty) as their favourite Munro. There are many superlatives for it.

This was Day 4 of a 5 day 'summer holiday'. The original plan had been to spend the whole week in Northwest Scotland walking, kayaking and camping. As anyone at the Inchnadamph Meet will testify it definitely wasn't T-shirt and shorts weather and it was more of a case of seeking out Plan B's and hoping for a break in the weather.

This particular day had started at Tore close to Inverness where I was resting and drying out from the previous days exertions on Am Teallach and the Western Fannichs. The weather was largely pants and had that 'Rest Day' feel about it. I had considered going to Chanonry Point to check out the sea life but decided on a whim to head down to Inverness instead to get a better WiFi signal to catch up on some work :( and make sure the World hadn't fallen apart in my absence. Thankfully it hadn't and I ended up doing more important stuff like reading walk reports on WH :D as well checking out the ever-changing weather for the n’th time. A trip to those dangerous outdoor shops had been a consideration but the thought of tackling the traffic on the Longman Industrial Estate was enough to banish that idea.

Weatherwise, bar the Outer Hebrides, the forecast for the day in the northern half of the country was for rain, rain and more rain with poor/very poor visibility in the hills. Thankfully there was a chink of light on the Met Office forecast out west in Torridon where it was expected to improve around early evening with sun and good visibility around 7 & 8pm. A summit camp was an immediate consideration but the wind speeds of 20+ had me oohing and arrghing. I decided against the idea of the camp as I wanted to do the full traverse and do something with my day on Friday. With this metrological improvement, I mobilised and headed off to Torridon. Given that the decent weather wasn't due until late, I knew I wasn't in any particular hurry so decided to adopt a campervan style speed out; a chance for revenge! After various breaks en-route to brew up tea and hot chocolate, get changed and take endless pictures of moody, wet and overcast scenes.

ImageIMG_1374 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1377 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

I got to the start point/car park just before 4pm. Looking up I could see there was clag, but thankfully it was showing signs of abating.

ImageIMG_1380 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

I duly followed the WH route up the west side of the river, moving swiftly to avoid the little blighters. Whilst it was muddy and soggy underfoot, I made good progress and made doubly sure I didn’t become a cropper on the stile at the deer fence; clearly not used to getting my leg over! Inside I was feeling all excited and pumped by the prospect of what was up above and I enjoyed the fast direct ascent. As I ascended up the Coir the sky turned blue and looking back the views were opening up and getting better and better.

ImageIMG_1383 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1388 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1385 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1386 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1389 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1394 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

As I topped out up near the summit of Tom Na Gruagaich, I could feel the wind picking up and decided to stop briefly to add another layer. As well as being taken aback by the power of the wind, I was in complete awe of my surroundings. I guess it was underlined by my choice of expletives at the magic views of Sgurr Mor and the Horns. Wowsers! :D

Image2016-08-04 17.42.52 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1406 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Whilst it doesnt show in photos, it was bloody windy. I spent about 10 minutes cosied up next to the cairn, holding on at times for what felt like dear life. I was struggling to hold my camera firmly and if somebody had seen me with my mobile trying to take selfies, they would have thought I was waving such was the intensity of the wind. Whilst playing the ‘vane’ game at the summit, the prospect of the wind on the Horns started to momentarily play on my mind. Given the improving visibility and other things that I had encountered that day (earlier that day I had read the Unknown Comics Walk Report on Carn Aosda – there’s food for thought) there was no way I was going to back out! :D

I pushed on taking numerous photos (too many in fact).

ImageIMG_1421 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1423 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Image2016-08-04 17.47.27 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1419 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Image2016-08-04 17.52.34 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Once over the minor top of Beinn Alligin, the clag was playing mind games with me. Thankfully though by the time I got to the cleft, it had cleared and the wind had died down to a gentle breeze.

ImageIMG_1431 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1430 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

As is the way, by the time I had reached the summit of Sgurr Mor, the clag had come back. I decided to have a short rest and a bite to eat whilst the clag did its thing. Thankfully it did past and the views north to Baosbheinn, the countless lochs and lochans, the Horns, Beinn Dearg etc (in every direction) were sensational with a broken spectre to boot :clap:

ImageIMG_1432 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1435 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1434 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1437 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1438 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1440 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1442 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Given that there was an obvious path over the Horns, I didn’t really feel all that daunted as I dropped off the side of Sgurr Mor. It took me about 20 minutes to descend to the bealach and probably not much more than 5 minutes to climb up the first Horn.

ImageIMG_1449 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Whilst I can't claim to be a big fan of exposure, I do find having a prescribed, obvious route really helps bolster one’s confidence. The scramble wasn’t at all difficult and I enjoyed the airy walk along its summit. Had it been blowing a hoolie, I would have probably been a lot more cautious and no doubt crawling in places. On the 2nd Horn, I think I missed the obvious route and found myself doing climbing of sorts but was fine and enjoying my surrounds. The 3rd Horn presented no difficulties whatsoever.

ImageIMG_1455 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

From the 3rd Horn begins the descent down to the Glen. The route down is quick but requires a lot of concentration as you drop down a very rock-studded steep-sided An t-Sail Beg. Thankfully for me most of the rock and drop downs were dry. I found in parts the scramble down was more challenging than the Horns themselves.

ImageIMG_1457 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1458 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1459 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1460 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

The route out back to the car was a joy to behold. The point where Allt a Bhealaich meets Abhain Coire Mhic Nobuil must surely count as one of the truly greatest places to stand in Scotland. It was fantastic just standing there with Ben Alligin, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Eighe and Liathach under evening blue sky for company. Both of my cameras were working over time. I felt elated! :D

ImageIMG_1466 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1469 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1472 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1474 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Image2016-08-04 19.48.26 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Image2016-08-04 19.48.47 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Image2016-08-04 20.36.56 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr

Once I got back to the car just before 9pm, I decided I would camp close by and headed for Shieldaig at least where I knew could get some height and respite from the midgies. Once camp had been set up, I was able to enjoy a few beers with my boil in the bag dinner whilst taking in the views back (see below) across the Loch of these sublime wonders! These are a MUST for any hill walker and I will definitely be back for another date and a summit camp. :)

ImageIMG_1478 by Hugh Summerton, on Flickr
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Re: A date with BA

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:21 pm

Great report and photos. I am glad we didn't have the wind when we were there Couldn't agree with you more about the point the Allt a Bhealaich meets the Abhaim Coire Mhic Nobuil being an amazing place.
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Re: A date with BA

Postby Andymac75 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:46 pm

That's an intimidating looking mountain.

Would not want to be up there in a white out.
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Re: A date with BA

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:48 pm

Cracking report and some great pics - I particularly like 1142, but there are many others too.

Haven't managed to do BA yet. I did a complete circumnavigation of the base at the end of April, but for a number of reasons wasn't able to go for the summits.

Your comment about it being some folks' favourite mountain because of the views it affords really rings a bell with me: I've thought before that Beinn Eighe is my favourite because of the views you get of Liathach, Alligen and the general Torridon area.

I will get there one day ...
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Re: A date with BA

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:13 pm

Enjoyed that - one of my all time favourite hills. :thumbup:
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Re: A date with BA

Postby Anne C » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:55 am

Wonderful photos! Fantastic mountain - my favourite in terms of views, along with Beinn Damh.Torridon really is something else.
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Re: A date with BA

Postby Sick Kid » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:26 pm

I just love Torridon! I love all the hills up there but think Alligin tops out as my favourite. It has a bit of everything :D :D :D
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