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The ridge between us

The ridge between us

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:10 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Tharsuinn (Deanich)

Date walked: 22/07/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 25.2 km

Ascent: 921m

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This was the last day of summer hols and we wanted to finish on a high, so started looking for something to climb in the far north as weather was forecast to be best over Sutherland/Assynt. All that was left unclimbed north of Ullapool was Foinaven and a few Grahams. Leaving the White Fortress for a better day, we discussed different routes for the remaining Grahams and eventually decided on Beinn Tharsuinn. SMC book of Grahams suggests cycling along Loch Vaich and climbing this one and the neighbouring Meall a'Chuallie together, but I found Yorjick's report (thanks again!) describing the approach from Glen Calvie. We had been to this glen a few times before and climbed Carn Chuinneag twice, and we always fancied exploring the surrounding ridges. Now I knew we could throw in a Graham en route :D

The idea was to start from Glencalvie Lodge (small car park at the end of public road), walk to Diebidale and then climb Diebidale ridge, walk its length to Beinn Tharsuinn, returning over the parallel ridge, Leac Ghorm:

Track_BEINN THARSUINN ARDGAY.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It's quite a long route as for single Graham and quick baggers will prefer the Loch Vaich approach, especially that one can add Meall a'Chuallie to the tally, but for us it's a local hill so we didn't mind a longer day. This area is known for stalking from early on in the season, so it's out of question in August - October.
Weather was so-so, with a chance of showers and patchy low cloud passing over, but some sunshine as well. The first 4 km are the same as for Corbett Carn Chuinneag, starting from Glencalvie Bridge:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 001.JPG

Alladale River from the bridge:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 005.JPG

Hmmm... a long way to go today! The track up Glen Calvie cane be cycled as far as Diebidale Lodge:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 013.JPG

Easy walking on a good track to start with, soon we reached a small wooden footbridge over Water of Glencalvie (4723857):
Image2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 019 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
On the other side, a grassy path leads to Diebidale Lodge, but we aimed across a boggy meadow straight up Diebidale Ridge. Going was easy, as soon as we began to gain height, the ground became drier, walking was pleasant on grass and short heather.
Diebidale Lodge and Carn Chuinneag:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 033.JPG

After about 100m of ascent we spied an old stalkers path and followed it up:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 038.JPG

Diebidale ridge is so long! I couldn't believe, that from the eastern end, we couldn't actually see Beinn Tharsuinn on the horizon :lol:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 043.JPG

There are some peat hags, but they can all be avoided by sticking to a vague ATV track along the whole length of the ridge, which we did. Our feet stayed dry. Thankfully, rain stayed away as well and low cloud didn't spoil the views too much:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 050.JPG

Looking back east along the ridge:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 054.JPG

Beinn Tharsuinn is there somewhere... behind the lumps and bumps on the horizon!
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 061.JPG

Generally, it was very pleasant stroll along Diebidale ridge, a bit windy when cloud passed above us, but soon we reached the lower of the two highest tops (653m) which has a surprisingly large cairn:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 076.JPG

After a short break, we traversed to the final top (686m) and from here we could at last see our target Graham!
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 079.JPG

Beinn Dearg seen through a gap in the cloud:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 082.JPG

Looking back along the whole lenght of Diebidale Ridge, with Carn Chuinneag to the right hand side, reminding me of an exploding volcano:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 088.JPG

Weather was deteriorating with more low cloud coming in as we pushed on to Beinn Tharsuinn. To reach the summit, it's about 100m drop and then 140m of re-ascent. Not much by numbers, but the terrain is quite peat haggy on the bealach.
Cloud coming in:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 090.JPG

The final slopes of Beinn Tharsuinn seen from inside one of the larger peat hags :lol:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 095.JPG

After some time of jumping, hopping and meandering in the labyrinth of peat hags, it was a relief to reach easier ground. From the distance, the Tharsuinn face looked very steep and rocky, but the distant appearance was misleading. There is absolutely nothing technical about this final climb. Just a bit bumpy and wet:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 097.JPG

Looking down into the kingdom of peat hags and the 686m top:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 098.JPG

We reached the summit without any adventures and celebrated our 81st Graham (Lucy's 47th):
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 126.JPG

On a good day, distant panoramas would be tremendous, especially towards the "Assynt weirdos", but the low cloud meant views were somehow restricted, still we managed some interesting snaps while resting by the summit cairn. Conditions looked a bit scary, as if a storm was coming, but not a single drop of rain fell from the sky :D
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 136.JPG

2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 118.JPG

2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 117.JPG

Back to Carn Chuinneag and "Armageddon" clouds:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 109.JPG

Having warmed up with some hot tea, we were ready to depart. It is possible to return the same way, but we opted for a more interesting return via the second ridge, Leac Ghorm. Technically, one could drop south to follow Diebidale River back to the lodge, but this option looked very wet and peat haggy and I don't know if there actually is a path in upper Glen Diebidale? One way or another, best to keep to the higher ground for the return route, if only to enjoy views for longer - which we did :D
Ready to go!
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 141.JPG

So from the summit we aimed due north to descend to another bealach. To our left, we could see the remote Loch Sgeireach:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 142.JPG

A patch of fog lingered in the bealach... The second ridge is there, somewhere:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 147.JPG

The peat hags on the second col can be easily avoided to the right, and the climb to Dunan Liath is only another 100m of ascent on grassy ground. Thee cloud has lifted eventually...
Panoramic view back to Beinn Tharsuinn and the col:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 156.JPG

The large cairn on Dunan Liath is not placed on the highest point of the ridge, but we didn't mind. We're not really into bagging Humps and Tumps :lol:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 162.JPG

Weather was improving now, more sunshine came through as we walked along the wide ridge, over stones and heather. I imagined how superb this area must look in early September, when the heather is in full bloom :D
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 177.JPG

I spotted a familiar shape to the north - another local Graham, Carn a'Choin Deirg. We had suffered a bad washout on this one last year, must come back and repeat it in better conditions:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 180.JPG

Looking back to Beinn Tharsuinn:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 185.JPG

Panoramic view of the parallel Diebidale Ridge and the glen in between:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 194.JPG

Sun over Carn Salachaidh:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 195.JPG

The hills are alive...with the sound of meowing!
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 203.JPG

We followed the ridge to the final top, Dunach Liath (551m). From here, there was a good view back to the route we walked. Kevin spent some time wandering around taking panoramic pictures as conditions were excellent now:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 217.JPG

Carn Chuinneag - sunny for a change:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 219.JPG

The northern pano:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 226.JPG

The southern pano:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 227.JPG

To join the outward route, we dropped into the glen down the grassy slopes, aiming to be east of a small plantation. We disturbed a large herd deer grazing nearby, they raised heads and watched us with some interest:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 237.JPG

The descent route. To the very left, the track returning to Diebidale Lodge can be seen:
2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 230.JPG

The track crosses the river - bridge provided:
Image2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 239 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Abhainn Coire a'Mhalagain from the bridge:
Image2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 244 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
After a short climb up the track, we cut down across the meadow to reach the wooden footbridge and soon we were back on the main track in Glen Calvie. The final 4km of walk back to the car was pure pleasure... OK, there were a few clegs about :roll:
Such a lovely afternoon:
Image2017-07-22 beinn tharsuin ardgay 261 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The whole circuit covers over 25km and some might consider it not worth the hassle for the sake of bagging only one Graham, but it's a very nice area and the two ridges are a delightful combination of high level strolling and peat hag jumping :lol: Highly recommended if you want to explore this corner of northern Sotland a bit more. Good for seeking solitude - we didn't see a soul all day (deer and clegs don't count).
My next story will describe a nice Corbett which is usually a sidekick to its more famous Munro neighbour, but it's a superb shorter walk when done on its own. Report to follow 8)
Last edited by BlackPanther on Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The ridge between us

Postby simon-b » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:22 pm

That looks a good route, BP. I did Carn Chuinneag from that start point a few days before we were respectively on Foinaven and Arkle. The Diebidale Ridge did attract my attention on my walk along the glen, and I wondered if it was a route some walkers might fancy taking on. Clearly it is!
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Re: The ridge between us

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:47 pm

You've had me reaching for the map again! Nice one, look like there are some great views to wild places.
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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