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Fifty shades of autumn

Fifty shades of autumn

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:49 pm

Route description: Loch Coulin and Loch Clair

Date walked: 23/09/2017

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 150m

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We have walked the Loch Coulin circuit many times and normally I wouldn't bother with another TR on the same route, but we were lucky to snap some perfect autumn panoramas this time, so I simply can't resist showing off :lol:

We had a busy weekend and no time for proper hillwalking but somehow we managed to find a few hours on a sunny Saturday morning to enjoy a short visit to Torridon. It's always a great place to come to in autumn - especially Beinn Eighe, the White Starfish, looks amazing in contrast with fifty shades of yellow, orange and purple. The Loch Coulin round allows to appreciate the beauty of the Torridon Giants without climbing them and offers a chance to see some interesting wildlife, too :D

Parking at the start of the walk can be an issue on a weekend day, especially if weather smiles. We took the last free spot. It is also possible to climb Sgurr Dubh and Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine from this side, which we hope to do some time in the future. Today we concentrated on low level. The route goes around Loch Coulin and Loch Clair with little drop/reascent and only one short boggy section of the path:

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I had my small camera with me, which takes good panoramic photos, so from the very start I was in pano-mode :lol:
Beinn Eighe panoramic:

Crossing A'Ghairbhe:

Sgurr Dubh dominates the view for the first half of the walk. The other summit to the left is not Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine as one might think, but a lower top, Meall an Leathaid Mhoir:

Zoom to Sgurr Dubh with red and brown colours of autumn in the foreground. Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine can be seen peeking out from behind its brother:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 009.JPG

Black Panther busy panoraming with Beinn Eighe in the background:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 010.JPG

Even from the start, before we reached the first loch, it was already a superb vantage point to the giants - including Liathach:

Loch Clair and the mountains beyond:

The Grey one looking suspiciously green :lol:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 015.JPG

As we continued on the tarmac road along the loch, Kevin spied a few great spots to snap photos with mountains reflected in the quiet water:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 024.JPG

Sgurr Dubh mirrored in Loch Clair:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 027.JPG

Beinn Eighe reflection:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 031.JPG

We usually do this circuit clockwise as the best views are on the "walk-out", Liathach and Beinn Eighe look best admired from the eastern side of both lochs. After turning off the track to a path along Loch Coulin, the ground became a bit wet underfoot (it had rained the night before) but the views made up for any bog on the path...
Across Loch Clair to the giants:

Meall an Leathaid Mhoir and Sgurr Dubh mirrored in Loch Coulin:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 044.JPG

It's getting a bit boggy...
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 045.JPG

View south along Loch Coulin with more reflections:

The famous gate to nowhere - the fence long gone...
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 057.JPG

One more reflection, from a different angle:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 069.JPG

A wider panorama from the opposite end of Loch Coulin, Meall an Leathaid Mhoir taking the center stage:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 072.JPG

As we passed the end of the loch, the path dried out. We met some people walking the circuit in opposite direction, all smiling faces and photo snapping :lol: It was a day for lurking!
Kevin lurking around, a small herd of coos watching him:

The sky was clouding up but it was mostly high cloud so it didn't spoil the views at all:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 087.JPG

The coo panorama:

We reached the bridge over River Coulin where we usually take a short picnic break. Views are still superb from this spot:

Beinn Eighe and Liathach from the bridge:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 103.JPG

We continued on the track past a metal gate, where to my content I spotted three highland beasties, eager to pose for pictures. Kevin laughed at me, having a "moo photo session" :lol: :lol: but I find highland cows kinda cute. I was never threatened by them, they are so docile despite ferocious looks. These three looked like they wanted a scratch behind the ear :lol: but I didn't go as far as petting them. Just some poses:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 119.JPG

"Moo photo session" - Panther at work :lol: :lol:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 121.JPG

Can you see me?
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 117.JPG


Having left the beasts behind, resting in the sun and doing what cows usually do (digesting grass most likely :wink: ), we continued our explorations around Loch Coulin. We were back on a dry track now:

No water reflections on this side of the loch, but Beinn Eighe still visible - and looking majestic:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 137.JPG

There were lots of dragonflies and damselflies about, but getting one to sit down for long enough to take a decent photo was near impossible :roll: Eventually, we almost stepped on one, sitting on the track and sunbathing :lol: It never moved a muscle when we bent over to take pictures:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 139.JPG

I think it's a common hawker (Aeshna juncea). It has blue eyes so it's a male (females have brown eyes - I remember that much from my entomology research).

Full frontal view:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 141.JPG

Not far from the hawker, Kevin spotted Mister Toad on his afternoon stroll:

The return walk goes through some nice, quiet woodland, before reaching Coulin Lodge and the bridge. I really enjoyed this low level walk - it's worth to be less ambitious sometimes :lol:
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 144.JPG

So in the end, a great day if without any peaks ticked off. We experienced fifty shades of fall and admired Torridon in the most interesting time of the year. Autumn really is the right moment to brush dust off your cameras and go lurking :D
2017-09-23 torridon lochs 150.JPG

On the following weekend we continued our autumn lurking, explored some very interesting sub'2 Marylins. Report to come soon.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fifty shades of autumn

Postby ancancha » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:59 pm

Blue bugs :!:
Cool 8)

The rest of the pics are nice too. Good to see you looking like such a contented happy cat :wink:
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Re: Fifty shades of autumn

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:14 pm

Sometimes low level walks are just as nice as hill walks, and this is one area where that can be very true. Lucky you to have calm enough water for the reflections.

I recommend heading up to the lovely little glen of Easan Dorcha sometime, and its wee hut, though have heard the track on the way is currently undergoing the dreaded "hydro" treatment...
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Re: Fifty shades of autumn

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 am

Ooh that did look lovely. Great photos.
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Re: Fifty shades of autumn

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:59 pm

Thanks folks :D Always nice to be out and about in atmospheric autumn :D

The Easan Dorcha hydro scheme is mostly finished, I think. Thankfully, from Loch Coulin side there is very little change to the landscape, apart from one small hydro house near Torran-cuillin cottage. Surprisingly, it all looks very neat and clean. I wonder if the other two intake weirs higher up the glen are just as neat and tidy - hopefully!
There's an info board about the hydro scheme at the start of the Coulin-Clair circuit:


Maybe, for a change, a hydro scheme was built without completely destroying the surrounding landscape, like in Glen Affric. It still doesn't make me a fan of such enterprises but I'm glad that that the estate owners did their best to minimize the impact on the environment.
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