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Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:10 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Druim Fada (Loch Hourn), Meall nan Eun, Slat Bheinn

Date walked: 23/10/2016

Time taken: 20 hours

Distance: 46.4 km

Ascent: 3392m

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I really didn't expect to get the chance to return to Knoydart this year, but a better than expected weather forecast made it a possibility. Slat Bheinn and Meall nan Eun were on the cards - various routes having been considered and I reckoned it would make sense to add Druim Fada, that long, lovely mountain that borders the northern shore of Loch Hourn, leaving its buddy, Beinn Clachach for next week at the WH Kintail meet. We headed up after work on Thursday arriving at one of my favourite wild camp spots at Coireshubh just after 8pm - time for a quick meal, a small whisky and sleep.

Coireshubh
ImageP1140070 by Al, on Flickr


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We were the only car in the overnight car park at Kinloch Hourn, although we did chat to a guy going off to do Buidhe Bheinn. We packed up the overnight packs and set off for a lovely walk along the southern shore of Loch Hourn. One of the route options had been to head up the hillside after Skiary, making for Coire Sgiath Airigh and onto Meall nan Eun - but that would deprive us of that evolving view of Ladhar Bheinn that rises ahead as you walk along the loch. Across to the north, Sgurr na Sgine and The Saddle rose hulk like into the morning sky. We rounded a corner and had the wonderful sight of Ladhar Bheinn in front of us - superb mountain.

Druim Fada
ImageP1140072 by Al, on Flickr

First glimpse of Ladhar Bheinn
ImageP1140074 by Al, on Flickr

Saddle/Sgurr na Sgine
ImageP1140076 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140078 by Al, on Flickr

Ladhar Bheinn
ImageP1140080 by Al, on Flickr

Reaching Barisdale after 3 hours walking, we stopped for lunch on the bridge by the campsite. I swithered about staying at the campsite, changing the route to go to and from Slat Bheinn today, then head up over Carn Mairi and so onto Meall nan Eun tomorrow. However the noisy generator and the prospect of drunken rabble arriving at the campsite (mind you, no-one was there at all) was enough to ensure we adhered to the original plan of wild camping in Gleann Barrisdale. Finding the start of the track just to the north of the bridge at Barisdale - faint and boggy to begin then firming up into a good trod we set off up Gleann Barrisdale. Beinn Sgritheal now dominated the view behind, along with the pyramidal peak of Stob Dhorrcail on Ladhar Bheinn. Soon we could see Slat Bheinn, carved by fissure lines, rising ahead of us up the gleann. We found an ideal spot to pitch the tent on shortly before the river crossing - a fine, grassy level area amidst the rougher wetter ground. Leaving all unneccessary items with the tent we set off to cross the River Barrisdale - this turned out to be easy enough, no wet feet, although if the river were in spate it could mean abandonment of the venture. Following a deer track, we rounded the outcrop at the base of Slat Bheinn and set of up the steep grassy slopes. There's a number of crags that have to be woven around or mastered, the gradient never falters until on the final more rounded summit section.

Walking into Gleann Barrisdale
ImageP1140084 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140085 by Al, on Flickr

Sgritheal
ImageP1140086 by Al, on Flickr

Slat Bheinn
ImageP1140087 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140088 by Al, on Flickr

An Caisteal
ImageP1140090 by Al, on Flickr

Up
ImageP1140091 by Al, on Flickr

View back along the glen
ImageP1140092 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140093 by Al, on Flickr

Views from the top were splendid although clouds had replaced the blue sky and it was cool when you stopped walking. We largely retraced our steps, although at the lower section we headed down through the Scots pines more directly for the track and headed back to the tent. We arrived around 5pm, just in good time to get the tea on. A pleasant hour was spend dining and drinking coffee (I had to re-boil water after knocking my cup over just as I sat down to drink it). Made first use of my homemade alcohol stove - pleased to see it worked better than the purchased soda-can stove. We settled down for a quiet night - the odd stag gruffle excepted.

Summit - looking west
ImageP1140096 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140097 by Al, on Flickr

East to Loch Cuoich
ImageP1140098 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140100 by Al, on Flickr

An Caisteal
ImageP1140103 by Al, on Flickr

Homeward bound
ImageP1140104 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140105 by Al, on Flickr

Saturday morning came with a short burst of rain then cleared, another reasonable day in prospect by the time we were up and ready. We were going to head up to An Caisteal then over to the triple tops of Meall nan Eun. If yeaterday had been steep, this was steeper - we chose a grassy gully which became craggier as we neared the last 100m of An Caisteal. There's some nice scrambling to be enjoyed here before reaching the rocky summit.

ImageP1140108 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140109 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140110 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140112 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140113 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140114 by Al, on Flickr

Down and round Lochan Coire Chaolais Bhig then up to the 666m summit first. Skye looked grand floating out in the sea, Sgurr nan Eugallt eastwards big and impressive. We sauntered over to the true summit, built a little cairn as there wasn't one here and continued on our way towards the south side of Loch Hourn. This involved crossing over the final summit then dipping down towards Baelach Mhinniceig thence to Coire Sgiath Airigh, passing to the eastern bank of the Allt and following deer tracks down the steepish slippy hillside til we reached the track near Skiary. A lovely walk back to the car park followed with large flocks of birds rising from the trees overhead - not sure what they were but sounded like parakeets :lol:

Meall nan Eun
ImageP1140117 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140118 by Al, on Flickr

An Caisteal
ImageP1140120 by Al, on Flickr

East up Gleann Barrisdale
ImageP1140122 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140124 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140125 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr nan Eugallt
ImageP1140127 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140130 by Al, on Flickr

Sgritheal
ImageP1140131 by Al, on Flickr

Descent route
ImageP1140132 by Al, on Flickr

Druim Fada
ImageP1140134 by Al, on Flickr

Spectral tree
ImageP1140136 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140143 by Al, on Flickr

We returned to the car with uncertainty as to what we should do now. It was only around 3pm, which meant that we could re-provision and set off to make a start on Druim Fada today - taking a chance on finding a suitable place to camp en route. Alternatively we could pitch at the Kinloch Hourn campsite and start early the next day with lighter packs. Allison breathed a small sigh of relief when the latter option was chosen. No-one else at the site - we pitched by the river and I cursed having taken the chairs out of the car midweek, thinking "we won't be using them again this year" :roll: We wandered off to see if the Stalker was in (to pay for camping) but he wasn't, so we enjoyed watching some stags play fighting in the field and had a hearty repast.

ImageP1140144 by Al, on Flickr

Druim Fada from the campsite
ImageP1140145 by Al, on Flickr


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A good deal colder overnight some brief showers of rain too. I was determined to get down the road in reasonable time, so insisted we get up early - 6.20 we were out of bed, 7.20 we were breakfasted, packed up, and on our way. The first light of the day was just beginning when we set off - I'm so glad we got away early as it turned out to be a glorious morning. We walked to the estate house then up the steep track through the trees and onto the pylon construction track. How they ever got permission to put a pylon line through such scenery is astonishing, but there you have it. Agead we looked down the length of Loch Hoourn, Druim Fada on the right, Ladhar Bheinn sitting proud with a cloud crown, all rosy-hued from the early morning light. Fabulous.

Early morning start
ImageP1140146 by Al, on Flickr

Back to Kinloch Hourn
ImageP1140148 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140152 by Al, on Flickr

Ladhar Bheinn
ImageP1140155 by Al, on Flickr

We followed the track which splits in several places - our one crossed the Allt a Choire Reidh by a footbridge then rose zig-zagging the flanks of Carn nan Caorach. The SMC book advised heading along the south bank of Lochan Charn nan Caorach to avoid "the bad step" although it didn't say where this was to be found. We decided to try our luck, summited Carn nan Caorach and found the bad step descending the western side. It took a bit of scurrying around to find a stony rake on the southern side of the crags - even then I managed to thump my coccyx coming down - yes, just where I injured it last week. The air was blue and some painkillers were required to have me operational again.

Track to Carn na Caorach
ImageP1140158 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140159 by Al, on Flickr

Saddle/Sgine
ImageP1140164 by Al, on Flickr

Lochan Charn na Caorach
ImageP1140165 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140166 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140167 by Al, on Flickr

Towards the 647m top
ImageP1140169 by Al, on Flickr

Way down from the bad step
ImageP1140170 by Al, on Flickr

West face of Carn na Caorach
ImageP1140171 by Al, on Flickr

We continued on along the crest of this superb mountain, the views getting better by the minute. It was frosty underfoot out of the sun, with a thin layer of ice on the lochans. We reached the 647m top with some pleasing scrambles along the way then on to the summit at 713m. North we could make out Ben Alligin, Skye looked wonderful and Beinn Sgritheal immense. Druim Fada continues on for another 3-4km - I was sorely tempted to continue along the ridge, but I knew it would take at least another 2 or 2.5 hours to get there and back, which would be a problem for getting home in the light. There's always another day.

Carn na Caorach
ImageP1140172 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140175 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140176 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140177 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140179 by Al, on Flickr

Summit
ImageP1140181 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn na Chapuill
ImageP1140182 by Al, on Flickr

The continuation of Druim Fada
ImageP1140185 by Al, on Flickr

After an early lunch we set off back along the crest in an easternly direction, dropping down the northern flank towards Coire na Cosaig then to Coire nan Gobhar and back to the track. To our left the great stone horseshoe of Buidhe Bheinn/Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais/Sgurr na Sgine glimmered. The mighty Forcan Ridge sat to their left, dappled under passing clouds. Back to the estate - I called in at the stalker's cottage to pay the princely sum of £1 for the camping (you can't argue with that - even if there are no facilities except for a river at the "campsite"). He asked if we'd been up Buidhe Bheinn - I guess that's the usual hill folk do from here - and beamed at us when we said Druim Fada - "a great hill that, longer than it looks". And it is a great hill - less than 30 recorded ascents by WalkHighlanders is pitiful - so if you are one of those walkers that make a "to climb" list - put Druim Fada on it now - you'll no regret it (but do save for a pretty day)

ImageP1140188 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140191 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Clachach
ImageP1140194 by Al, on Flickr

Sgine/Chaolais/Buidhe
ImageP1140196 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140197 by Al, on Flickr

Forcan Ridge
ImageP1140198 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140199 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140200 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140201 by Al, on Flickr
So another unexpectedly fine weekend, three more fantastic Mr Grahams climbed. I do hope the weather holds for next weekend in Kintail - where we've plans to do a couple of the hills we were looking at today.
Last edited by weaselmaster on Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:32 pm

Superb photos and good stuff altogether :clap:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:54 am

What a magical looking place, and you had such fabulous weather for it. Brilliant pics :clap: :clap: :clap: Not one tiny jot envious, no, not one bit.....

This is close to the top of my "to do" list, but after this I'm even more determined to wait for clement weather in which to do it.
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby Jaxter » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:50 am

Aww fantastic, I've yet to experience Knoydart but your pictures make it look amazing :clap:

Had a wee chuckle at you knocking your drink over...I do that all the time :lol:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby onsen » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:13 am

Lovely looking trip, weaselmaster.... 8)
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby goth_angel » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:55 pm

Seriously good photos.

So what's next after the Grahams? Is it Simms? Though tbh even though I've been following your reports for a while I'm still not sure what one is!!
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:53 am

goth_angel wrote:Seriously good photos.

So what's next after the Grahams? Is it Simms? Though tbh even though I've been following your reports for a while I'm still not sure what one is!!


Ah - well that's uncertain... I'm torn between Marilyns and Simms (Simms being Six-Hundred metre mountains with 30m drop - Marilyns being anything over 150m with 150m drop). Allison rolls her eyes more at Marilyns than Simms (but not much more :lol: ). I am likely to be involved in helping her get her Munro Tops done too.

I did come across this list, which might be more challenging...
http://www.rhb.org.uk/marhofn/marhofn316/marhofn31622.htm

Added to which I'm retiring in February so will hopefully have more time at my disposal for the hills :clap:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:48 pm

Envy inducing photos there :mrgreen: Yes a backpacking trip into the Knoydart is definitely on the cards for next year, just need to find a dog sitter :roll:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:51 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Envy inducing photos there :mrgreen: Yes a backpacking trip into the Knoydart is definitely on the cards for next year, just need to find a dog sitter :roll:


i believe you can get backpacks for dogs these days
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruffwear-Approach-Backpack-Medium-Campfire/dp/B00B2KAACK?th=1

why not take the hounds along :wink:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:09 pm

weaselmaster wrote:i believe you can get backpacks for dogs these days
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruffwear-Approach-Backpack-Medium-Campfire/dp/B00B2KAACK?th=1

why not take the hounds along :wink:


Thanks - I showed these to the dogs - Biggles got very sniffy and said " It is the job of humans to carry the gear in the hills, it is the job of the canines to tell them how to do it properly". Bertie just doesn't want to share his sleeping mat with smelly humans. Still it was a great thought :lol: :lol:
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby malky_c » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:02 pm

A fine selection of hills in some great weather :D . I particularly like the look of your route up An Casteil. It looked like an interesting little summit when I was out on Meall nan Eun, but it was just too far in the wrong direction in the end.
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Re: Three Beauties in Glorious Knoydart

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:13 am

malky_c wrote:A fine selection of hills in some great weather :D . I particularly like the look of your route up An Casteil. It looked like an interesting little summit when I was out on Meall nan Eun, but it was just too far in the wrong direction in the end.


I think you can be forgiven for not including An Caisteil in what was a much bigger day than the one we did :lol: Although I note that the ascent for your 2 Corbetts/2 Grahams was only about 250m more than the total for our 2 Grahams - that surprised me.
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