Kinloch Hourn to Barrisdale the high way
by malky_c » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:44 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr nan Eugallt
Grahams included on this walk: Meall nan Eun
Date walked: 25/03/2017
Time taken: 9.05 hours
Distance: 23 km
Ascent: 1770m10 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).
Grahams: Meall nan Eun.
Time: 9 hours, 10 minutes.
Weather: Sunny, warm.
This was supposed to be a cycling and bothying trip to the far north, but having been out on the hills for 3 days through the week (and in a bothy too) as well as working, I didn't really fancy packing up for another overnight trip away. Besides, the far north was the only place in the country not to be forecast bright sunshine. So, daytrip then. As I had the car, I thought I'd aim for somewhere spectacular - Kinloch Hourn fit the bill perfectly.
On the drive over, I was still undecided as to whether to do a circuit of Sgurr a' Mhaoraich and Buidhe Bheinn or Sgurr nan Eugallt and Meall nan Uan. I was parked at Coireshubh by 10:15am, which was earlier than expected, so I opted for the longer walk.
Lovely sunshine - it was warmer than I thought it would be. The path was a bit wet due to the amount of melting snow. Before too long, I decided to divert off it and scramble directly up onto Sgurr Dubh. I had missed this out last time so it made a nice variation.
On the path above Coireshubh:
The way up Sgurr Dubh:
Sgurr nan Eugallt from Sgurr Dubh:
It took me a little longer to get onto the summit ridge of Sgurr nan Eugallt than it should have done. Mostly due to post-holing through the soft snow, but also because I kept stopping to look about.
Looking back from the final ascent to Sgurr nan Eugallt:
...and the last bit:
Whoever had been up before me (I had been following footprints) hadn't bothered going to the proper summit, a short distance to the west. A bit of a daft mistake, as the views from here (and even more so Sgurr Sgiath-Airigh) are much better. Well worth the first lunch of the day.
Sgurr na Ciche and Ben Aden:
Glen Barisdale and Knoydart:
Cuillin and Beinn Sgritheall:
Ladhar Bheinn over Meall nan Eun:
Loch Hourn and Black Cuillin:
While it was a little hazy, the Cuillin were clear and I could just make out An Cliseam and the other Harris hills off to the right.
Harris hills just about visible to the left of Beinn Sgritheall:
For all that this is known as a good viewpoint, things get even better the further west you go. I remembered the view previously from Meall nan Eun, and I also remember spotting An Caisteal on my previous visit, which looked better still. I hadn't had the time to go out to it then, so today was my chance. It's a steep descent down to the Bealach Mhinniceig, but then easy walking from there onto Meall nan Eun.
Ladhar Bheinn over An Caisteal:
Approaching Meall nan Eun:
The ridge is a little broad to see much of Loch Hourn to the right, but that is made up for by the western summit of Meall nan Eun. Time for another lunch stop.
Beinn na Caillich, Loch Hourn and Cuillin:
Sgurr a' Choire-bheithe and Luinne Bheinn across the crag of An Caisteal:
Meall nan Eun is rockier than it appears from the east, and it took me a couple of attempts to find my way down through the crags to Lochan Coire Chaolais Bhig. Good fun though.
An Caisteal is probably the largest single crag in Knoydart, but it is relatively unknown. I wondered whether it was better to look at than go up, but I was wrong. A rocky arête led to the summit, which comprised a lovely scoured slab. True enough, it wasn't really possible to get to the edge of the crag, but there was plenty of other interest.
Slat Bheinn and Lochan Coire Chaolais Bhig:
Meall nan Eun from An Caisteal:
Ridge onto An Caisteal:
There were a couple of other steep moves between crags to get off An Caisteal, before moving onto the easier ground of Beinn Buidhe, then finally the prize of the day; Carn Mairi. This isn't particularly high or prominent, but it has the best views out over Barrisdale Bay Ladhar Bheinn and Beinn Sgritheall, as well as east up the loch. I had started off a little too late to fully appreciate Ladhar Bheinn; the sun was right behind it at this point, but I didn't care. I dropped a little way off the summit to find a good spot out over the loch for another stop.
Meall nan Eun and An Caisteal:
Ladhar Bheinn across Barrisdale Bay:
Druim Fada, the Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine:
Cruiser making a small detour into Loch Hourn:
Sgurr na Sgine and Budhe Bheinn:
Loch Hourn from Carn Mairi:
East up Loch Hourn:
I decided to keep descending towards the boathouse at the end of the Barrisdale track. Although it was steep, the going was good, with lots of walking over big slabs of bare rock. Eventually, however, I reached a sheer drop, and ended up working my way westwards into a heathery gully to get around it. A move back north and east had me on the Kinloch Hourn path with much less trouble than I expected.
Finally on the path:
It was 5pm now, and I was looking forward to a leisurely walk back along the loch shore. This walk is usually a precursor to something else or a weary trudge back but it's a great walk.
Canoeists camping at Caolasmor:
It was along the path that I met the only other person of the day - a guy backpacking into Barrisdale (although the canoeists across the loch weren't far away either). When I looked round, I realized what a chore he had - the sun was blazing directly down the loch, making it quite hard to see in that direction. Just fine for me though.
I had another stop at the end of the last ascent (just above Skiary) and admired the glowing red of the sunset on the hills. By the time I reached the roadhead, darkness was falling.
The walk back:
An easy stroll up the road took me to the end of one of the best hill days of late. On the way home, the shores of Loch Quoich were busy with campers and camper vans.
by litljortindan » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:27 pm
by Alteknacker » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:31 pm
I seem to be following in your footsteps, albeit some years behind (Ffestiniog Hewitts a couple of weeks ago, and Rhinogs last Sunday - just finished reading your 2012 report on this), so this augers well for getting into Knoydart in the not-too-distant future . It's been on my list for a while...
by rockhopper » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:37 pm
by Mal Grey » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:42 am
Fortunately I'm up there in a few weeks, doing what the canoeists were doing, though over on the Nevis side...
by PeteR » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:15 pm
Only ventured to the heart of Knoydart once, but will be heading there again this year sometime. It certainly is a superb part of the world.
by basscadet » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:14 pm
Good to see youre getting out and about so much the noo
by Guinessman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:50 pm
by Collaciotach » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:34 pm
Had a three dayer Munro/Corbett weekend myself ..some weather
by dooterbang » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:01 pm
Ive still to find my way to Barrisdale via KLH, but seeing this makes me want to do it soon
by Jaxter » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:43 am
From photos Knoydart looks an incredible place and high on my list of imminent trips. Preferably before the midges arrive
A classic example of not needing to be super high up for wonderful views
by BlackPanther » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:37 am
I'm only hoping this is not the end of good weather for 2017