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A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich


Postby jupe1407 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:53 pm

Route description: Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach

Munros included on this walk: Gleouraich, Spidean Mialach

Date walked: 27/11/2016

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 11.5 km

Ascent: 1202m

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After two fantastic outings on Sunday and Thursday, doing the Corrour munros, then the Monadhliath, I'd been somewhat of a jammy sod and enjoyed almost perfect weather and great views on both days, another few checks of the forecast showed a potentially clear-ish weekend. Saturday was out as my legs were still sore from the seemingly endless Monadhliath walk, however Sunday would be OK.

I'd initially intended to do Broad Cairn from Bachnagairn with Anne, however she wasn't for walking so with a free pass, I checked the forecast, and for some unknown reason decided that I wanted to get up at 4am to drive 145 miles to Loch Quoich to tackle Gleouriach and Spidean Mialach. I'd been saving them for a good day, and anticipating some glorious views of snow-capped Kintail and Knoydart peaks, this seemed to be the right choice.

Of course getting up at 4am and driving for nearly 5 hours is far easier in theory than practice, and I got to a layby just shy of Roy Bridge before I had to stop and catch a few mins of shut eye. I worried that with little sleep and a long drive, this was going to be a tough day. However if there's one thing I enjoy about heading North west, it's the drive once you get passed that annoyingly long Dalwhinnie to Spean Bridge stretch. I got to the parking spot a few miles beyond the Quoich Dam at about 9am, and quickly got ready, as it was absolutely bloody freezing.

After a bit of thought (and an unnofficial survey on TH) I decided to tackle the route anti-clockwise as the descent off Gleouraich looked almost enjoyable and the steep section to the 1006m point looked potentially better in ascent rather than descent, and also because I didn't know what snow conditions would be like up on the ridge. Having parked up I walked a couple of hundred yards down the road, and started up the stalkers path, marked with a tiny cairn and a pole. Feeling surprisingly fresh, I made good initial progress and soon had sight of my first target.

Image
Spidean Mialach with a cloudy hat


After the initial ascent to around 430m, there's a fairly flat section, with a couple of easy river crossings before the push uphill begins again. Luckily much of the boggy stuff was frozen and/or easily avoided. As I started to push up the steeper ascent, the views back were absolutely glorious.

Image
Loch Quoich and the Rough Bounds


Image
Across to Gairich


The path appeared and disappeared regularly in the snowy/grassy slopes, but there is pretty much a path all the way to the summit. As I gained height I got above Loch Fearna, which I somehow forgot to take a photo of, and made steady progress steeply towards the summit, which looked to be clagged in. Slightly irritating when you've got up at 4am and driven 145 miles for a view :lol:

However upon summiting I was quite surprised to discover I was literally a few metres below the top of an inversion, with the added bonus of a fogbow:

Image
Fogbow on Spidean's summit


And then a Brocken Spectre:

Image
Fogbow + Brocken Spectre

The clouds threatened to drop enough to get above the inversion once or twice, but it just wasn't happening. Shortly afterwards another walker appeared, who would later catch me up on the second summit. Getting a bit cold, I decided to make tracks along the ridge, and an excellent ridge it is too. There are fine sections of path with plenty of interest along the way.

On, or just after the low point on the ridge, the clag cleared and I got great views across to the South Glen Shiel Ridge.

Image
South Glen Shiel Ridge


This also meant, unfortunately, I got a good view of my ascent to Creag Coire na Fiar Bhealaich:

Image
I'm not typing that out again - route to CCnFB


Though fairly steep, I knocked the ascent off pleasingly quickly, stopping a couple of times to take in the fabulous views. The cloud was now pretty much gone and the surrounding landscape was absolutely stunning.

Image
Spidean and Loch Fearna


Image
Ahead to Gleouraich


The view ahead was just as good, with the hills of Kintail, Knoydart and of course the summit of Gleouraich looking superb. It's a wonderful summit to mostly terminate a superbly enjoyable ridge. There are even some short sections of optional scrambling should you wish.

I dropped off the 1006 top and ascended the short remaining section to Gleouraich, the day's second, and superior munro summit. What a viewpoint! Glorious views across to Kintail and beyond, down Loch Quoich into Knowdart, and over to Glencoe where it seemed only Nevis and CMD had escaped the clutches of cloud. I met three others who'd come the opposite route here, their dogs taking a passing interest in my cheese & jam roll, and doritos :lol:

Such was my enjoyment of the scenery (and the food) I almost forgot to touch the cairn and take some photos :lol:

Image
Glen Quoich


Image
Along the ridge to Spidean Mialach

Eventually, after a quick chat with the lad from the first summit (who was considering staying up there to take sunset photos) it was time to head down. The much-discussed Stalkers path is indeed fantastic and loses height without too much discomfort. The views help as well. A superb end to what is truly a fabulous ridgewalk.

Image
A look back up at the ridge


This was a great way to end what's been a superb week, 7 munros & a corbett in mostly superb winter conditions, and all the while my knee troubles along with my fitness seem to be improving. On the flipside, I've probably used up my "good hill day" quota until about June 2017 :lol:


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jupe1407
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby Coop » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:15 pm

Looks great, wish I'd gone out in the hills yesterday instead of wasting a day
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:38 pm

Fantastic stuff, how lucky were you! Interesting to see the route in reverse too.

Still think I prefer to go UP the easy way though, in anything but frozen conditions... :D
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby mr_mrsH » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:36 pm

200.1.jpg
where's all the snow, what a difference a week makes
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:35 am

Another lovely Sunday! :D We were just across the glen, on Beinn Loinne.

Shame the white cover has melted, but even without it, this duo of M's is still great. We must repeat them, we saw very little from the summit ridge due to cloud.
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:49 am

Coop wrote:Looks great, wish I'd gone out in the hills yesterday instead of wasting a day


I was on the verge of doing the same, but managed to force myself out of bed at 4am :lol:

Mal Grey wrote:Fantastic stuff, how lucky were you! Interesting to see the route in reverse too.
Still think I prefer to go UP the easy way though, in anything but frozen conditions... :D


I have a massive dislike of rough descents, mainly due to a crap knee, so a good stalkers path down is pretty much heaven for me :lol:

mr_mrsH wrote:
200.1.jpg
where's all the snow, what a difference a week makes


I couldn't believe the difference. Even the lower hills of the Monadhliath were absolutely caked in snow as recently as Thursday!

BlackPanther wrote:Another lovely Sunday! :D We were just across the glen, on Beinn Loinne.

Shame the white cover has melted, but even without it, this duo of M's is still great. We must repeat them, we saw very little from the summit ridge due to cloud.


It's been a fabulous couple of weekends weatherwise. Think it'll last? :lol:
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby BobMcBob » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:10 pm

Great report with some stunning photos. I've had that walk on my radar for a while (my guidebook suggests using the stalker's path for descent as well) so that's just whetted my appetite even more. :clap:
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:06 pm

jupe1407 wrote:It's been a fabulous couple of weekends weatherwise. Think it'll last? :lol:


I believe against all odds... :wink:
Met Office mountain forecast for next Saturday:
"Mainly dry and bright. Light to moderate west or southwest winds. Freezing level around 1000m falling to 700m."

So there is hope! :D :D
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby Sgurr » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:31 pm

jupe wrote:. On the flipside, I've probably used up my "good hill day" quota until about June 2017 :lol:


And used up your quota of "stunning", "superb" "fantastic" "glorious" "wonderful" :evil: ..next week you'll have to dust down "dreich" , "terrifying" "appalling" "bleak" and "murky" unless you're prepared to do with "fandabidozi".
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:48 pm

Great report and pics - specially nice one of my final one - Sgurr a Mhaoraich - scheduled for next summer - looks quite straightforward
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:18 am

BlackPanther wrote:
jupe1407 wrote:It's been a fabulous couple of weekends weatherwise. Think it'll last? :lol:

I believe against all odds... :wink:
Met Office mountain forecast for next Saturday:
"Mainly dry and bright. Light to moderate west or southwest winds. Freezing level around 1000m falling to 700m."
So there is hope! :D :D


This is an unprecedented level of optimism from the Met Office :lol: . Happily I've got a long weekend and will be hillwalking again 8)

Sgurr wrote:
jupe wrote:. On the flipside, I've probably used up my "good hill day" quota until about June 2017 :lol:

And used up your quota of "stunning", "superb" "fantastic" "glorious" "wonderful" :evil: ..next week you'll have to dust down "dreich" , "terrifying" "appalling" "bleak" and "murky" unless you're prepared to do with "fandabidozi".


I just can't bring myself to use that one. I should post up a report of my walk on the Achallader hills in July. Every miserable descriptor in christendom will be in that :lol:

past my sell by date wrote:Great report and pics - specially nice one of my final one - Sgurr a Mhaoraich - scheduled for next summer - looks quite straightforward


What a place to finish. That was my first visit there, one of many hopefully :D
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:47 am

I refuse to believe this was done just a couple of days ago! Where's all that white stuff I've been drooling over in WH reports?????

Forecast tonight in the Midlands is -9 degrees - all gone crazy....

I remember looking across at this ridge from the Glen Shiel S Ridge, and thinking that they looked like brilliant hills...

(PS some great pics there :clap: :clap: :clap: )
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:16 am

Alteknacker wrote:I refuse to believe this was done just a couple of days ago! Where's all that white stuff I've been drooling over in WH reports?????

Forecast tonight in the Midlands is -9 degrees - all gone crazy....

I remember looking across at this ridge from the Glen Shiel S Ridge, and thinking that they looked like brilliant hills...

(PS some great pics there :clap: :clap: :clap: )


I couldn't believe it myself, having walked through some oft-deep snow for a total of 31 miles on the preceding Sunday/Thursday :lol: Going by the forecast it could be gone entirely by the end of the weekend.
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:55 am

Excellent stuff and what a reward! At least getting up at 4am was worth while :D
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Re: A Stunning Walk above Loch Quoich

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:04 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Excellent stuff and what a reward! At least getting up at 4am was worth while :D


Thanks ML, i was 3 hours longer driving than I was on the hills, but worth every minute :lol:
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