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From Morvich with love

From Morvich with love


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:42 pm

Route description: Sgurr Gaorsaic, from Morvich

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr Gaorsaic

Date walked: 02/04/2017

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 22.7 km

Ascent: 1215m

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It's only been a couple of months since our visit in Kintail area to climb Beinn Fhada in winter conditions. Well, "winter" turned to spring very quickly and the first weekend of April brought warm weather with sunny spells, snow has melted at record speed. I was hoping for another new Munro, but a new Corbett suggested by Kevin sounded just as lovely, especially that it would mean returning to this beautiful area on a good day.
We were always unlucky with Fhada, never saw any views from it :( So hopes were held high for a visit to Sgurr Gaorsaic (Sgurr Garçon as I call it :lol: ). This Corbett is an awkward hill from logistic point of view. The distance a bit too long for winter, unless you're prepared to walk in-out in the dark, but far too easy for a long summer day (when we usually waste hours to haul ourselves up some BHLs in the east). In autumn access might be restricted due to stalking, so the best time to climb this hill is spring.
Sometimes, Sgurr Gaorsaic is added to the big round of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, but the Corbett is nice enough to deserve a separate walk, especially if one is walking over Bealach an Sgairne, the Gates of Kintail. Loch a' Bhealaich is a tranquil spot, great for wild camping. And views from Sgurr Gaorsaic, albeit restricted by the surrounding higher hills, are surprisingly good.
Most of the walk is on an obvious path. The final climb of 400m is pathless and a bit boggy, but by my standards, it's an easy route and we didn't really feel the 1200m of overall ascent.

Track_SGURR GAORSAIC 02-04-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We left Morvich at about 9am, there was some cloud lingering about, but the forecast said, it would all burn off and give way to sunny spells :D
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 002.JPG

The initial part of this route is exactly the same as for Beinn Fhada or A'Ghlas Bheinn, on an excellent path to the top of the bealach. Last time we were here, we encountered motorbikers roaring their way past us ( :evil: :evil: :evil: ) but thank heavens, today was quiet. We overtook a couple walking with a doggie, apart from them we didn't see anybody else. Maybe all other walkers were already on the summit of Beinn Fhada :lol: :lol: but we didn't hurry.
Towards the bealach:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 026.JPG

Isn't the landscape of this particular corner of Kintail simply amazing? We stopped for a short break by the waterfall of Allt a Choire Chaoil.
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 027.JPG

The path leading to the high pass:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 035.JPG

The sharp edges of Fhada's northern corries make me dream about a day full of scrambling :roll: Maybe AE this year... At some point, we will return to Beinn Fhada to explore the whole length of the ridge.
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 039.JPG

Having reached the top of Bealach an Sgairne, we took another break, just for photos. The day was shaping up nicely, with sun coming out and cloud dispersing... maybe we could have planned something bigger... better... but who cares. I'm not overambitious. Corbetts and Grahams have their charms, too.
It was from the top of the bealach, we first saw our target mountain. Sgurr Gaorsaic looked inviting:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 055.JPG

Mullach Fraoch-choire and its infamous rocky ridge. I enjoyed scrambling over it a few years back... Worth returning to for more fun and games :wink:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 058.JPG

From Bealach an Sgairne, it's over 100m of descent on the path (which has to be re-ascended again on the way back) before reaching the shore of Loch a' Bhealaich. Once on flat ground, the path became boggy, the usual Scottish charm :lol:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 081.JPG

We stopped again by the loch. It's such a quiet, tranquil spot. With the air completely still and the sun shining, it felt like we were in a very special place. Kevin has wild camped in this area once... It hasn't changed that much in 25 years...
Looking back to Bealach na Sgairne:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 085.JPG

A couple of panoramas taken from the loch shore. Back to the bealach and A'Ghlas Bheinn:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 105.JPG

"Our" hill across the loch:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 097.JPG

Checking the depth of the loch, just in case :lol: :lol:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 108.JPG

We left the shore eventually and continued on the path, which leads to the Alltbeithe Youth Hostel and then Glen Affric. Of course, today we didn't intend to walk that far.
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 113.JPG

WH description suggests ascending along a line of fence posts - they can easily be spotted from below. But before we made the final push of 400m, we decided to take a lunch break.
Gazing up, a steep slope to tackle!
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 116.JPG

We found a good rock to sit on, just above the path, Kevin grabbed his sandwich box :lol: A hungry man means a grumpy man. My mum used to say: always keep your male half well fed :wink:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 121.JPG

Stuffed with sandwiches, we pushed on. The slope is not drastically steep, just annoyingly wet, but maybe it's still the effect of melting snow. The first 100m of ascent were not too bad, and views opening up behind us - simply stunning:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 128.JPG

The ground gets steeper as height is gained, but walking is relatively pleasant on short grass and moss, that is if you manage to find a dry line of ascent:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 136.JPG

A'Chralaig - Mullach Fraoch-choire ridge and Ciste Dhubh (right):
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 145.JPG

The higher, the better, views west to Beinn Fhada:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 141.JPG

The ground is quite steep almost all the way tot he summit, which is a rather flat area with lots of scattered rocks. Kevin was up first and started snapping photos again... Ahhh men and their toys :roll:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 155.JPG

As we crossed the flat summit area to reach the cairn (which is situated at the opposite end), we had the first good glimpse at "The Munster" Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. It's the last Munro in Kintail-Affric we haven't climbed yet, together with its sidekick Mullach nan Dheiragain. We will be attempting these two from Affric side, as we live only a short drive away from Glen Affric and we can start the day early. And we will be using bikes to speed it up. It was actually planned last year, but you know how it is with plans... You have a list, then you end up doing something else :roll:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 161.JPG

Back to Sgurr Gaorsaic, we were pleasantly surprised by the sheer quality of views. Yes, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan blocks the eastern sky and Fhada-A Ghlas Bheinn ridge obscures views to the west, but even so, we didn't complain. Once again, a sidekick Corbett proved worth the walk :D
Kevin on the summit:
DSCF8229.JPG

The distant Cuillin Ridge, partially obscured by cloud:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 170.JPG

Torridon pano:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 184.JPG

Zoomed:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 187.JPG

Applecross cliffs:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 191.JPG

A Ghlas Bheinn - the Munro of many false summits...
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 193.JPG

Ciste Dhubh from the less popular side:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 198.JPG

The Brothers Ridge:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 222.JPG

Posing with wee Lucy and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. Corbett no. 115, Lucy's 37th.
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 201.JPG

Panoramic photo of Beinn Fhada:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 206.JPG

Zoomed part of the ridge:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 221.JPG

View south-east:
DSCF8242.JPG

Pano west:
DSCF8245.JPG

What a lovely place to spend half an hour, even if the air was still chilly. I was reluctant to pack up and go, but one has to get back home before the day ends :lol:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 217.JPG

On the way down we took a slightly different line of descent, to avoid the worst of the wet ground near the fence posts.
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 235.JPG

We retraced our steps back to Loch a' Bhealaich and then climbed back to the bealach. The rest of it was history :D
Basking in sunshine on the return walk to Morvich:
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 244.JPG

One more break by the waterfall...
2017-04-02 sgurr gaorsaic 269.JPG

We were well ahead of time so decided to take it easy on the way back and strolled to the car at a lazy pace, with big smiles glued to our faces. :D :D :D What a day!
..........................
I must say, Sgurr Gaorsaic was much better than we expected! Hopefully, the two bigger neighbours will be visited soon to end our Kintail-Affric tally, but it doesn't mean we won't be returning to this area in the future... Expect to hear more meowing from Kintail!
Last edited by BlackPanther on Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby mountain thyme » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:16 pm

Nice one BP. Some good views there. Ive still to do this one. Was thinking of possibly doing it from the Glen Affric side
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:58 pm

I always like the fact that many of your reports are for hills I have never heard of...

...though I have presumably looked down on it as once of the best days we've ever had was on Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan...


Thanks for showing us somewhere different. :D
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:02 pm

mountain thyme wrote:Nice one BP. Some good views there. Ive still to do this one. Was thinking of possibly doing it from the Glen Affric side


it is a nice one indeed, much better than it looks on the map :D
If you plan to do it from Glen Affric side you should take a bike - definitely it will speed things up! I have a soft spot for Affric area, so we even did An Socach as a separate trip - just to have a good excuse to lurk around Loch Affric once again :lol:

Mal Grey wrote:I always like the fact that many of your reports are for hills I have never heard of...

...though I have presumably looked down on it as once of the best days we've ever had was on Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan...

Thanks for showing us somewhere different. :D


Ahh all my pleasure :D
This is an overlooked sidekick. Funny, all who have done SnC round must have looked down at it, thinking it was just an outlying top :lol:
I was considering adding it to SnC but it turned out to be a good day on its own :D
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby rockhopper » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:29 pm

Cracking day for it - have also yet to get here and still undecided having looked at a couple of options - cheers :)
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby Sgurr » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:42 pm

Husband was tempted to go and pose on that wee bump on the way back, and for some reason, that's the only pic that came out. Suspect it was pre-digital. I think you picked the best way....unless you want to add stuff. But even if rockhopper wants to add stuff, the most obvious is Sgurr an Airgid on the way back from this way.
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby dogplodder » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:27 pm

Thanks BP. You've inspired quite a few of the walks Moira and I have done and I've a feeling this one will be added to that list! :D
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby malky_c » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:29 pm

Only been up this one once before, but it probably has the best views you can get of Beinn Fada (maybe A' Ghlas Bheinn has better? I can't remember). I also really like the walk-in through the pass and down to the lochan. Nice photos :D
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:27 pm

Thanks, everyone :D

Re: adding stuff. I'm guilty of that sin, too. I want to do Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre from Rannoch Mor side - to add Beinn Pharlagain. Another walk - adding Graham Meall a'Mhuic to Glen Lyon Corbetts (exactly what Rockhopper did!).
But sometimes it's nice just to do the easier walk and enjoy it at slower pace... Or is it it just a good excuse for being lazy? :lol: :lol: :lol:

I remember A-glas Bheinn has better views to Hunters Ridge. But we climbed AGB in winter conditions, on a good crispy day, so maybe I'm biased...
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Re: From Morvich with love

Postby BobMcBob » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:06 pm

I just found this and have one more day in Morvich.... now praying for good weather tomorrow. :) Thanks for sharing,
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