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Walking on the moon

Walking on the moon


Postby 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: 760m

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The previous Sunday, when we were siting on the summit of Maol Chean-dearg, I caught myself gazing at the shapely bulk of Beinn na h-Eaglaise, trying to work out the best route for this Graham. The hill looked tempting and I wondered if a traverse was possible, using the existing network of paths.
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 :D
Our route:

Track_BEINN NA H EAGLAISE 9-10-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


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.
Getting ready:
DSCF7648.JPG

Even from the car park, views across Loch Torridon were splendid, and this was just the beginning!
DSCF7644.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 013.JPG

Zoom to Liathach pinnacles:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 036.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 040.JPG

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 :lol: According to Kevin, it looked like the scene from the movie "Apollo 18":
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 051.JPG

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!
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 055.JPG

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...
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 062.JPG

...and a few stream crossings, but with water levels low, no problem here:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 106.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 098.JPG

Sgorr Ruadh reflected in the still surface of the loch:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 108.JPG

What a lovely place...
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 121.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 135.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 138.JPG

The only way is up!
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 140.JPG

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...
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 143.JPG

Watch out, Kevin, they are creeping closer and closer... Zip your pockets! :lol:
DSCF7665.JPG

A couple of panoramas from this particular spot - with the weird shadow of Maol Chean-dearg:
Image2016-10-09 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!
ImageDSCF7668 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Looking north-east, Liathach, Beinn Eighe and Coulin hills, more of this will come later!
ImageDSCF7669 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 :lol:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 168.JPG

Amazing!
ImageDSCF7672 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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 172.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 179.JPG

The sunshine-shadow effect on MCD was still there, even more interesting from higher viewpoint:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 180.JPG

SE full panorama:
Image2016-10-09 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 :D I was already besotted with Beinn Damph, one of my fav Corbetts:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 210.JPG

A happy man and his camera:
DSCF7695.JPG

We walked to the true summit, marked by a small cairn, took a few panoramas...
ImageDSCF7696 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 :D
Our 56th Graham, Lucy's 23th:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 257.JPG

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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 215.JPG

The Coulin hills lined up like on a parade:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 222.JPG

View back to the true summit, with MCD and An Ruadh-stac behind:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 223.JPG

Beinn Dearg and Baosbheinn just about visible:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 231.JPG

Liathach pinnacles:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 237.JPG

Beinn Eighe, the white starfish:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 242.JPG

Zoom:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 241.JPG

The distant Fannichs on the horizon:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 251.JPG

The wide northern pano:
Image2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 252 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The eastern pano:
ImageDSCF7702 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The western pano, dominated by Beinn Damph, sadly the Cuillin ridge of Skye is hidden behind the Corbett:
ImageDSCF7704 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
We didn't meet any sheep apart from Lucy :lol: :lol:
DSCF7710.JPG

Loch Torridon and the Trotternish Ridge of Skye:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 274.JPG

Cloud boiling over Liathach:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 276.JPG

The descent route took us down the NW ridge, with superb views accompanying us all the way down:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 292.JPG

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 :D
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 308.JPG

Some easy scramble is required if sticking to the crest:
Image2016-10-09 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:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 330.JPG

Beinn Alligin and the boulderfield:
2016-10-09 beinn na h eaglaise 333.JPG

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! :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:19 pm

Some great photos there! - this is one of the best hills of its size I've climbed anywhere.

Some déjà vu images here http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=58660
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:27 pm

That looks amazing, another hill to add to the ever growing list of "must do soon" hills :lol: :lol: Beautiful photos, thanks for the inspiration.
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:33 pm

Some great photos and this looked a fascinating landscape. I really enjoy walk reports about these great smaller hills that don't seem to get a mention in books.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:11 pm

Many thanks all - indeed this hill is one of the best Grahams, superb location, great views. Hopefully I have advertised it a bit :D Well worth the day! Plus it's one of very few quiet summits in this area. We didn't meet a soul all day, even though it was a Sunday and all car parks in Torridon were full. So if you want to avoid crowds, head for Beinn na h-Eaglaise!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby rockhopper » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:28 pm

Cracking photos - and a great day for it. :thumbup:
Am overdue a visit back here - hope I get weather like yours :crazy: - cheers :)
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby ancancha » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:42 pm

Excellent BP, glad to see you are back to full fitness :clap:
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby dogplodder » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:26 pm

I was eyeing up this one from Beinn Damph so it's good to have your report for when we get round to doing it! 8)
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:35 pm

Thanks again, and I hope all of you have good weather when visiting this little gem of Torridon :D

No hills for us last weekend but a cracking seaside adventure instead - TR to come soon.
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Re: Walking on the moon

Postby Jaywizz » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:14 pm

Came across your report while browsing this afternoon (housebound waiting for a delivery ......... grrrrrrrr). Thank you so much for posting - superb photos - I'll need to go back! For my experience there, have a look at McMole's report (Don't always believe your Garmin) written some 3 weeks earlier
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