Walking on the moon
by BlackPanther » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:32 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn na h-Eaglaise
Date walked: 09/10/2016
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 13.5 km
Ascent: 760m7 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Another sunny Sunday arrived and we simply could not resist returning to Torridon. So Beinn na h-Eaglaise - here we come!
After some WH research we found out that at least 3 different routes to the summit are possible, two from Coire Roill and one from Loch an Eion. These can be used in different combinations. We decided to use the Annat path as and ascent route, passing below the magnificent steep face of Maol Chean-dearg and then tackling the Graham from the south. For descent, we simply followed the ridge north and west, down to the path in Coire Roill. I think this is the most interesting way of traversing Beinn na h-Eaglaise and on a good, sunny day this little mountain just keeps on giving. I must say, this Graham is hard to beat when it comes to views, but also the hill itself is quite craggy, lots of boulders, wee scrambles and flat "moon landing sites" - like a big playground
We parked in a layby in Annat, just next to the start of the right of way which leads to Loch an Eion and then climbs up to the col between MCD and An Ruadh-stac. I heard before, this is a very picturesque walk-through route so I was eager to taste the views.
Even from the car park, views across Loch Torridon were splendid, and this was just the beginning!
The path is well made and we started at a very quick pace, but only after 10 min or so we slowed down, just to admire the views, as with every steps they were getting better and better. Alligin and Liathach just looked amazing in the morning sunshine.
Alligin across the loch:
Zoom to Liathach pinnacles:
The NE side of Beinn na h-Eaglaise is vert steep and craggy, but if one was desperate to make it difficult, it would be possible to find a route up this way, too:
As the path traverses south below the steep eastern flanks of "our" Graham, the landscape becomes weird. In one spot, the post glacial deposits create some sort of "lunar landing site" as I called it. Flat rocks with lots of small, round stones scattered everywhere. I said it reminded me of Fred Flinston's bowling alley According to Kevin, it looked like the scene from the movie "Apollo 18":
In the film, two American astronauts land on the Moon, only to discover that the lunar rocks are not just rocks, they hide many secrets... And if you look away, they creep closer and closer... Suddenly you find one in your pocket, even though you never put it there... Do they just want to hitch a ride or is there something more sinister behind their behaviour?
Look, Kevin, this one might just as well fit in my pocket!
I better stay away from them, especially that there's more yet to come! MCD's north face and the sun shining straight into the camera lens...
...and a few stream crossings, but with water levels low, no problem here:
We reached Loch an Eion only to gasp from surprise. What a lovely spot this is, well worth the walk by itself. We took a short break here - a photo session was due!
Looking back north to Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Beinn Damph just behind:
Sgorr Ruadh reflected in the still surface of the loch:
What a lovely place...
Just past the loch, we had to leave the comfortable path for more rough terrain. In wet weather, this side of the Graham would very likely be squelchy and squidgy, but at the moment, bone-dry underfoot. The slopes of Beinn na h-Eaglaise may look steep, but any scrambling can be easily avoided on the grass. Big playground, as I was going to find out soon:
Having left the path, we negotiated our way over a few little post-glacial hillocks and soon began the ascent. Very quickly, we landed on the Moon again, this time with Beinn Damph as background view:
The only way is up!
In one of many of those "lunar landing sites" we stopped again for another lengthy photo session. The sun was behind a small cloud for a short time so no strong light into the lens, and the game of sunshine and shadows has just begun...
Watch out, Kevin, they are creeping closer and closer... Zip your pockets!
A couple of panoramas from this particular spot - with the weird shadow of Maol Chean-dearg:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 159 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Note the multitude of little hillocks to the right below MCD. The glacier was busy here!
DSCF7668 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Looking north-east, Liathach, Beinn Eighe and Coulin hills, more of this will come later!
DSCF7669 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The ground became steeper and more rocky, but easy enough that we didn't bother zig-zagging on the grass, just took a straight line up the slope, scrambling over boulders here and there. And of course, a photo break every 10 minutes
DSCF7672 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
We all know that Beinn Liath Mhor is a long, narrow ridge, but from this angle it looks more like a pointy tip:
As we gained height, panoramas were getting even better, the view down to the glen below us, dotted with lochs and lochans, framed in the sharp ridges of mountains above:
The sunshine-shadow effect on MCD was still there, even more interesting from higher viewpoint:
SE full panorama:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 198 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
For the final 100m or so we came across a well-worn path, obviously some people climb this hill, but so far, we haven't seen a soul!
The summit ridge of the Graham has 3 lumps of similar height. The true summit, according to the map, is the middle one. We stopped on the first (southern) lump first, for photos I was already besotted with Beinn Damph, one of my fav Corbetts:
A happy man and his camera:
We walked to the true summit, marked by a small cairn, took a few panoramas...
DSCF7696 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
...and continued to the third and final top, which has a much larger cairn and much better views north, towards Alligin and Loch Torridon. Here, we dropped our rucksacks and ordered lunch break.
Because weather was so good, no wind, sunny and warm, we didn't feel like leaving for a long, long time. Overall, we spent an hour on the summit of Beinn na h-Eaglaise, taking photos, munching sandwiches, stretching our legs in the sunshine, just feeling happy to be out there again
Our 56th Graham, Lucy's 23th:
Now to the views - I doubt I have ever been to a better Graham, except Suilven, but nothing can bet Suilven, so this is my second best one.
A few words from Andrew Dempster's Graham Guide:
"The summit cairn is a truly marvelous viewpoint on a clear day and gives a fine appreciation of the topography of the Torridon peaks. The sight of Beinn Alligin's curving ridge across the waters of Loch Torridon is one which will stay in the mind for some time. The view south-east to the peaks of the Coulin forest is also very fine."
Beinn Alligin sunny:
The Coulin hills lined up like on a parade:
View back to the true summit, with MCD and An Ruadh-stac behind:
Beinn Dearg and Baosbheinn just about visible:
Beinn Eighe, the white starfish:
The distant Fannichs on the horizon:
The wide northern pano:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 252 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The eastern pano:
DSCF7702 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The western pano, dominated by Beinn Damph, sadly the Cuillin ridge of Skye is hidden behind the Corbett:
DSCF7704 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
We didn't meet any sheep apart from Lucy
Loch Torridon and the Trotternish Ridge of Skye:
Cloud boiling over Liathach:
The descent route took us down the NW ridge, with superb views accompanying us all the way down:
The slopes here are quite craggy as well. It's possible to use a grassy gully to avoid any rocks, but we preferred to stick to the ridge - more fun
Some easy scramble is required if sticking to the crest:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 324 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Eventually, we descended to the path in Coire Roill. On the way down, we walked through more post-glacial landscape, with big boulders scattered around:
Beinn Alligin and the boulderfield:
Allt Coire Roill was easy to ford (might be a problem in spate though) and finally, we walked into the forest. Here, we were attacked by keds - quite a few of them, hopefully they won't last much longer, when temperatures drop.
We returned to the car after 6 hours, but out of that we spent less than 4 hrs walking, the rest was breaks for photos and admiring the landscape!
Beinn na h-Eaglaise really is an exceptional Graham, one that will take your breath away. Save it for a sunny day and it will reward you with memories that will last a lifetime!
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:19 pm
Some déjà vu images here http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=58660
by Huff_n_Puff » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:27 pm
by Cairngorm creeper » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:33 pm
by BlackPanther » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:11 pm
by rockhopper » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:28 pm
Am overdue a visit back here - hope I get weather like yours - cheers
by ancancha » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:42 pm
by dogplodder » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:26 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:35 pm
No hills for us last weekend but a cracking seaside adventure instead - TR to come soon.
by Jaywizz » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:14 pm
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