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Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:20 pm

Route description: Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine, Sgurr Dubh

Date walked: 20/08/2017

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 1032m

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This report is over a month overdue, but I was preoccupied with other things so never had enough time to sit down and write it up. It was our last "proper summer" day up on the hills, before the Scottish autumn arrived and the days became shorter.
Shortly after climbing this duo Kevin fell ill and for some time the docs didn't really know what was wrong with him, only after a couple of weeks they concluded, it was shingles. I have never seen such a weird case of shingles before, with hardly any rash and the main symptom being a nasty headache. Obviously, he wasn't given the right medication at the beginning so all he could do is swallow painkillers and wait for the infection to pass. We missed a few weekends of nice weather, but thankfully he's back on his feet now. Weakened a bit by the virus, but far away from being defeated!

Back to Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh, we had an unfinished business with these two. Last summer we set off to climb them, but cloud was low when we arrived in Torridon, so we decided to climb Beinn Eighe instead, as we heard that the Coulin duo are notoriously hard to navigate in poor visibility. This year, the pattern seemed to repeat, but we were not to be deterred and the second time turned out lucky! Well, we didn't see the views from the very summits as the cloud never burned off, but we had a pleasant enough day :D
We had already climbed all Munros and Corbetts in Torridon except from this duo and I was determined to finish off the area (we have one wee Graham left, but saving it for winter conditions as it's an easy one). Our route for Dubh/Uaine followed the classic traverse from the north (Coire Dubh car park) and I should say here, many thanks to Walkhighlands for the GPS waypoints - proved very useful in thick mist :D

Track_TORRIDON CORBETTS 20-07-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


I was hoping for blue sky but it wasn't meant to be. On the other side, if we only climbed mountains on days with 100% clarity, our stats would be about fifty percent lower than they are now. Usually, we just grab a chance and hope that weather will cooperate, when it doesn't - tough.
Sgurr Dubh - a tough mountain!
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 001.JPG

Coire Dubh car park was very busy, as per usual on Saturday mornings. We expected most folks to head for Beinn Eighe, but a large group of walkers started for the two Corbetts about 10 min ahead of us.
The walk begins by following the path to Ling Hut - with fantastic views across the small Lochan an Iasgair to Liathach, or so I was told as our view was obstructed by cloud:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 009.JPG

At the beginning, it's easy going on a good stalkers path - passing by some interesting waterfalls. It had rained the day before and the stream was full to bursting, also the ground was saturated - not a good omen for the later stages, but we are not afraid of bog :wink:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 019.JPG

The cloud was lifting, but very slowly and we prepared ourselves mentally for hard navigation in the mist. As long as on the path it was straightforward...
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 024.JPG

...with some interesting cloud shapes over Liathach...
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 033.JPG

...but as soon as we turned of the path it became obvious, this was going to be a tough climb:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 036.JPG

The best route is to follow Allt nan Lochan Uaine from the point where it crosses the path (roughly 952544) but we made the mistake of following the path for a bit longer and later had to double back to the summit of the first Corbett - not much difference, just a bit longer and considering the conditions, it was just as boggy and just as pathless everywhere :lol: :lol:
We caught up with the larger group and overtook them as they were taking a break, of course I didn't avoid humiliation, just as were walking past them, my food fell into a hidden hole in the ground and I got splatted on the wet grass :crazy: My meowing of surprise was probably heard in Kinlochewe...
Thankfully, the hole was dry so I didn't get any water in my boot, I took that as a good omen and quickly gathered up my pride. There was still a mountain to climb today!
It's there somewhere... In the mist...
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 039.JPG

We kept going, crossed a couple of streams and started the final, steeper push, up the wet, slippery ground. I was relieved when we eventually hit the more rocky underfoot just below the summit. We stopped for a breather and talked to two girls who have just emerged from the clag as well. One of them turned out to be Alice (SavageAlice) and I was instantly recognized :lol: Maybe she heard my meowing earlier when I had fallen over :lol: :lol:
We chatted for a few minutes, the other group was also close to the summit now. The final meters to the top are very eroded and tumbly, but no real scrambling. Eventually, we found ourselves sitting on a very crowded summit:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 042.JPG

Views are supposed to be great from Sgorr an Lochan Uaine, but this is all we got (and it was raining!):
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 043.JPG

Not the best conditions on our round 130th Corbett, but never mind.
Thankfully, the rain didn't last and as soon as we began to descend north towards Sgurr Dubh... Surprise, surprise, it began to clear!
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 045.JPG

We admired the "dancing cloud" spectacle in the western sky:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 050.JPG

The initial descent is again, very tumbly, but lower down the ground eases off. I admit that in total mist it would be a tricky ridge to navigate and we were glad that we got some visibility!
Back to Sgorr an Lochan Uaine:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 051.JPG

The summit of Sgurr Dubh stayed cloudy and we had no hope for views from the second top:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 052.JPG

...but I was in such a good mood that no amount of cloud could spoil it :lol: Meowing as always:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 059.JPG

Beinn Liath Mhor just visible through a gap in the cloud:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 060.JPG

The ridge drops to just below 600m and then the ground rises again, with countless lochs, lochans, lumps and bumps, very confusing in poor visibility:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 066.JPG

This is as much as we saw on the way up, looking back south towards Sgorr an Lochain Uaine:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 070.JPG

The final climb (about 100m to the summit) is steep and quite unstable underfoot, but there is a vague path:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 074.JPG

Still happy and meowing :lol:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 075.JPG

The summit was cloudy, of course. We decided to stay for a few minutes, have a snack and a cuppa... ah and a summit snap with wee Lucy - her 53rd Corbett :D :D
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 079.JPG

No views for us today... Shame, but these hills are close to home so we cal always revisit on a sunny day.
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 082.JPG

After a short rest, we set off for the descent. It is possible (supposedly??) to take a direct route down the northern slopes to the road, but as we had null visibility, we decided against taking the risk. It was easier to follow the WH route and retrace our steps back to a larger lochan (975554), from here the route goes west along a stream and an interesting gorge lower down.
Kevin ready to go:
Image2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 090 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Descending west to another lochan:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 097.JPG

Out of the cloud, views were still a bit restricted but we could distinguish the familiar shapes of Beinn Damph and Maol Chean-dearg:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 105.JPG

Liathach:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 113.JPG

Looking back to the formidable cliffs of Sgurr Dubh:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 112.JPG

Panorama west from just above the gorge:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 120.JPG

The big gorge on Sgurr Dubh deserves a separate TR, I think :lol: It has no name on any maps, but it should really be called something as it's such a grand feature, so I'll name it Gorgeous Gorge for the sake of this story :wink:
The Gorgeous Gorge is about 700m long and it has a wee stream at the bottom, also a couple of waterfalls flowing into it:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 121.JPG

Looking into the gorge from above:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 130.JPG

We spent an awful lot of time photographing the Gorgeous Gorge from all possible angles, just making up for the lack of views on the summits I guess :lol:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 134.JPG

A sketchy path follows the northern side of the ravine and in many places, one can look right into the abyss:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 144.JPG

The stream at the bottom is hardly visible from below, but we spotted a waterfall:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 148.JPG

Lower down, the gorge is even deeper:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 149.JPG

Kevin's new invention, a "sideways" panoramic picture:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 157.JPG

Panther looking into Gorgeous Gorge:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 158.JPG

The gorge from below:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 168.JPG

The ground lower down very quickly became wet, as we descended through grass and heather:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 176.JPG

The lower slopes of Sgurr Dubh on this side are sometimes called "the corrie of a thousand hillocks" and now I understood why:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 179.JPG

Finding the way through all these post-glacial hillocks might seem difficult, but one can simply follow a small stream - the same one that flows out of Gorgeous Gorge. There is a path of sorts.
Hillocks, hillocks and even more hillocks:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 188.JPG

Sgurr Dubh and the gorge in panoramic view:
2017-08-20 torridon corbetts 186.JPG

I was glad to be back on the stalkers path, after all that bog-plodding...
A good pair of hills, despite being so wet and mostly pathless. Just keep them for a good day - we will definitely re-do them for the views and more gorge exploration. If I can give any advice - GPS waypoints are very useful on the ridge between the two Corbetts. I was pleasantly surprised though, I expected much tougher terrain after all I'd heard about this duo :D
...........
We hoped to return to the mountains the following weekend to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, but Kevin's case of shingles ruined our plans :( Thankfully, he's back to normal again. Last Saturday we climbed Ben Challuim, an easy Munro even for my recovering husband - TR to come soon.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:23 pm

Excellent adventuring as always. Gorgeous Gorge is quite impressive! Torridon has so many places like that, which would be noteworthy indeed anywhere else in Britain, but are just another little extra bonus in this magnificent glen.

Glad Kevin is on the mend.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby jmarkb » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:38 pm

Excellent stuff!

BlackPanther wrote:we will definitely re-do them for the views


For a change, you could approach from Loch Clair: the path behind Coulin Lodge goes through a lovely section of old pine forest.
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:55 pm

jmarkb wrote:Excellent stuff!

BlackPanther wrote:we will definitely re-do them for the views


For a change, you could approach from Loch Clair: the path behind Coulin Lodge goes through a lovely section of old pine forest.


This is how we did them. It is indeed lovely.
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:51 pm

A great report BP, Shame about the weather but a good adventure none the less and the gorge looks very impressive. How did you manage not to call it gorgeous George?
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 pm

It was lovely to meet you - I must admit I was a little 'star struck ' ! !
Enjoyed these hills despite the clag. And the gorge was just fabulous. :D
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby dogplodder » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:38 am

I was thinking if you did these two right after Kevin had the shingles he must be superman... or was it this walk that gave it to him?! :?

Not a pleasant time for him and hope he's now well recovered. 8)
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:23 pm

Many thanks everyone :D :D

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent adventuring as always. Gorgeous Gorge is quite impressive! Torridon has so many places like that, which would be noteworthy indeed anywhere else in Britain, but are just another little extra bonus in this magnificent glen.


I could never get bored of Torridon! I'm thinking of repeating some of the hills here in winter conditions (Alligin is the first target if we have a nice winter this year). The Gorgeous Gorge was a superb bonus after the disappointment of the summit clag.
We're also planning a separate trip to photograph the plane crash site on Beinn Eighe - we walked past the wreckage many times but never bothered to investigate it any closer.

jmarkb wrote:For a change, you could approach from Loch Clair: the path behind Coulin Lodge goes through a lovely section of old pine forest.


We considered this option as a descend route, but that would leave us a long walk back to the car park (and we would miss the gorge...). The other group we met on the summit did it, but they had left spare cars by Loch Clair. I like this approach though, will surely use it next time we visit this duo :D

Cairngorm creeper wrote:A great report BP, Shame about the weather but a good adventure none the less and the gorge looks very impressive. How did you manage not to call it gorgeous George?


I was thinking about Prince George's Gorge, but the wee fellow is still too young to have geographic features named after him :lol: :lol:

SAVAGEALICE wrote:It was lovely to meet you - I must admit I was a little 'star struck ' ! !
Enjoyed these hills despite the clag. And the gorge was just fabulous. :D


I'm no star, just a mad Polish cat scampering the Scottish hills :D
It was nice to have met you, too. Recently, we have been bumping into fellow Walkhighlanders on most walks - just shows how many of us there are :D

dogplodder wrote:I was thinking if you did these two right after Kevin had the shingles he must be superman... or was it this walk that gave it to him?! :?

Not a pleasant time for him and hope he's now well recovered. 8)


That walk was just before he came down with shingles, but I doubt if he caught it on the hills. His work means he meets hundreds of people every day so easy to catch it from any of the clients. He's OK now and on a positive note, he had his eyes tested as well and is now wearing new sexy glasses 8)
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Re: Torridon is alive... with the sound of meowing!

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:02 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Many thanks everyone :D :D

I could never get bored of Torridon! I'm thinking of repeating some of the hills here in winter conditions (Alligin is the first target if we have a nice winter this year).


Alligin in winter is amazing, but make sure the snow conditions are good if you do the Horns, i.e. firm, as dropping off some of the horns is a little interesting if the snow is sliding away from you. I've done it twice, once successfully (but with one scared companion!) and once we turned around as the snow was unconsolidated and the drops below my feet a little long! As told in this report, about 1/4 of the way through. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=17148

A stunning place to be in winter.
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