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Canoe across Loch Quoich

Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby campervan » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:40 am

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Mòr (Loch Cuaich)

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgùrr an Fhuarain

Date walked: 09/10/2016

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 900m

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I had been eyeing this trip for many years. The adventure of a boat across the loch seemed the ideal way across to this remote hill. Conditions were right- a scandinavian high pressure system that was static and has provided stable weather, but particularly little wind, for several days. It all looked right.
There were some waves on Loch Ness as I approached from the north, but blue sky and the sunshine on the autumn leaves were heavenly.
When I arrived at Quoich side about 11 am there were loads of cars and vans already. The conditions and forecast can't be much better and loads of folk had worked it out.
The off load and walk down to the water were ok, a track, slightly washed out towards the bottom. Loaded up and hugged the shore. There was a wind of about 5mph from the east, so there were waves of about 4-6 inches running. My boat isn't great in waves, so was wanting to turn side on to them. Running down with the wind was fine, and across to the other shore. The water level was really low, so my route is closer to the shore than it looks on the map.

The north approach to Sgurr an Fhuaran is aided by some really good stalking trails. I missed the junction up to Meall a Choire Bhuidhe and had to climb over rough stuff a bit, but its a great wee trail.
I came off Sgurr Mor down onto the bealach and into Coire Bhuidhe. The northern spur looked enticing, but there were stags bellowing aplenty all over it, so I took the low route.
The canoe over was a lot easier than the approach as the water was flat.

All in all, great day.
For novice kayakers like myself it needs perfect conditions and a stable weather system. The wind had got up during the day making it a bit sketchy on the approach, but I expected it would drop off as temperatures fell in the evening for the return and I was right. Maybe crossing in early morning and late evening would be the time to do this and get Gairich in too, though its a big climb up its west side.
A buoyancy aid is a must, and either a walk out or a skirt around the shore in choppy conditions could be sensible options if conditions are dicey.
I did this alone, maybe company would be best.

A great wee adventure.
The reports of Ben Aden from a similar approach look interesting.

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Re: Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby rockhopper » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:12 pm

Interesting way to approach these hills - not sure which was tougher - your route or mine :wink:
Did you take any photos ? cheers :)
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Re: Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby rabthecairnterrier » Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:56 pm

A friend and I tried this a few years ago in an open Canadian canoe starting from pretty much the same spot you did. Unfortunately there was a brisk easterly blowing all the way up the loch and when we left the shelter of that little bay things got quite hairy rather quickly. Not being in the mood for drowning ourselves that day we about turned - with some difficulty - and retreated back to dry land. I did subsequently get up Sgurr Mor, but from the south after a night spent in Kinbreack bothy.
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Re: Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:49 pm

I thought there was only one way to get across Loch Quoich...

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Re: Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby skawt100 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:26 pm

This is exactly how I was planning to tackle Sgurr Mor in a few years time. I had ideas of paddling to the corbetts and munros around Loch Quioch and also across Loch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay but I know nothing about any of the stuff and I'm not sure I have the desire to learn about it since I don't really like the prospect of being caught out by wind! Now I am just going to add Sgurr Mor to Sgurr na Ciche and all the surrounding corbetts over a 2 day wild camping weekend I reckon.
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Re: Canoe across Loch Quoich

Postby campervan » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:26 am

Thanks for the comments.
I dint take any pictures Rockhopper. I kept the phone wrapped upon a poly poke that had some rolls in them at Drumnadrochit.

I had a look at Mountainloves lilo across. Indeed, thats some style. I don't know how she managed to take the photos going over. Either a waterproof camera and a selfie stick or an accompanying camera crew. With panache like that she deserves it.

A reason for writing this report, my first on the site, was to indicate that a canoe across is a bit of a romantic idea, but its a bit edgy for novices.

I do a lot of hills on my own. Not sure if its choice or that I am an unfriendly git, but its something I enjoy. Sometimes following someone means you just end up looking at their ankles all day. I like keeping my own pace and doing my own thing. Sometimes anyway.
Maybe, though, this is an adventure best shared with two boats.

Turning back is no shame. I remember the Howgill KIMM in 1999 when the storm came through and only about 1/3 of the field finished. There was criticism that the event was run in the conditions, but everyone seemed to have made sensible decisions knowing their own capabilities and limitations. That to me is what being in the outdoors is about. On my own I tend to take conservative options. There are lots of hills I have turned back from. There are lots of pinnacles still on the to do list.
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