Stay at home
Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Click for details
WH Meet: Sun and snow on Buidhe Bheinn & Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
by malky_c » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:40 pm
Munros included on this walk: Sgurr a'Mhaoraich
Corbetts included on this walk: Buidhe Bheinn
Date walked: 11/11/2017
Time taken: 8.5 hours
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1810m4 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).
Corbetts: Buidhe Bheinn.
Distance: 18 km.
Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Cold, breezy, snowy, sunny, calm
Made a last-minute decision to go on this meet - fortunately I wasn't working away from home on Friday, so I could make the Friday night as well. In fact I thought I had come up with a great plan - go to work in the morning, have a pub lunch with a couple of colleagues then set off for the South Laggan hostel on the bike. The weather had other ideas and even the 30 second wander from work to the pub was rather damp! Fortunately a large amount of the cycle was in the dry (although into a howling gale), with the rain not coming on until Errogie. The climb up the Suidhe was a bit drawn out, but the run downhill past Loch Tarff and Glendoe in the last light was welcome.
Loch Duntelchaig from the bike
After stocking up on extra booze in Fort Augustus, the weather was suddenly calm on the cycle down the canal, with the moon and Loch Lochy hills reflected perfectly. Then it was into the hostel for a good evening, somehow ending up in bed before midnight.
There was a good reason for being in bed at a sensible time - I had been discussing routes with Allan (Alteknacker), and we settled on a traverse from Kinlochourn to Loch Quoich, which needed an early start. Despite being up before 6am, I managed to underestimate the time it would take to get to Kinlochourn, and after dropping a bike off at the viaduct over the finger of Loch Quoich leading to Alltbeithe, we were parked up at 8am, an hour later than planned.
A typical Alteknacker route involves going up lots of hills, then going up a few more. The original plan (and reason that we didn't opt for a simple horseshoe of Buidhe Bheinn and Sgurr a' Mhaoraich) was that we were also going to include Gleouraich and Spidean Mialaich. I wasn't sure if I'd manage all of that in the time available, so was happy to drop off Sgurr a' Mhaoraich to the bike and go back for Allan's car.
We set off from the carpark and set off for the house at Kinloch Hourn, from where we were going to zigzag up stalkers paths onto Buidhe Bheinn. In the event, we opted to just go straight upwards.
Sgurr nan Eugallt from Buidhe Bheinn
Loch Hourn and Druim Fada
While it had rained for most of the drive in, the sun was now out and shafts of light onto various hillsides. We could see down Loch Hourn to Ladhar Bheinn too - I was really happy I made the effort to come here rather than have another wander up Ben Tee (which I had been on last month). One of my favourite areas (apart from all the other ones!)
Ladhar Bheinn and Loch Hourn
Sgurr nan Eugallt
At the small lochan at around 650m,we hit the snow, which wasn't too deep and completely unconsolidated. Having cycled down to the meet, I had left out my axe and crampons to save weight. Didn't think there was much chance of needing them, and fortunately I was right (would've been a retreat to the glen otherwise).
Approaching Buidhe Bheinn
The highest point on Buidhe Bheinn isn't actually at the end of the ridge, but the spot with the best view is. Some place - looking right down Loch Hourn, flanked by Ladhar Bheinn and Beinn Sgritheall on each side .
Summit of Buidhe Bheinn
Summit of Buidhe Bheinn
Back to the SW summit
Looking back to Buidhe Bheinn
We shuffled along the broad arête towards the main summit, the snow making the easy scrambly sections across slabs and boulders a little more slippy. After the highest point, the wind suddenly increased and the cloud moved in for a bit - a pattern for the day.
Snow flurry moving in
Sgurr na Sgine
After following the ridge a little further towards Sgurr a' Bhac Chaolais, we made a descending traverse to Loch Bealach Coire Sgoireadail, where it was time for lunch. The sun was out and back in again as we made our way towards the slopes of Sgurr Thionail
Sgurr an Lochain
Head of Wester Glen Quoich
We tried to use a fragment of stalkers path to take us up onto Sgurr Thionail, but it was more of a notion than an actual path close up, even though it was easy to spot from a distance. The weather was again quite wild as we approached the final slopes of Sgurr Thionail, but it was great - felt like being on proper big mountains for a change.
Buidhe Bheinn from Sgurr Thionail
Across the S Glen Shiel Ridge to Affric
NW to Applecross hills
A fast, easy descent from Sgurr Thionail led us towards the more intricate terrain of Am Bhathaich. Time had passed rather too fast, so we decided to contour around the end of it rather than visit the summit. Shame, as it looked like a good ridge.
Allan on Sgurr Thionail
Back to Sgurr Thionail
Then we made the steep ascent up to Sgurr a' Mhaoraich, where the weather closed in again. Shame as this is another great viewpoint, but we had had a great day so far, so weren't complaining at all. In fact just before we left the summit, it cleared briefly, although not to give the full view down Loch Hourn. The eastern ridge that we were about to descend looked fine though.
Loch Hourn and Druim Fada
Sgurr Thionail and Am Bhathaich
Loch Hourn from Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
E ridge of Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
I don't remember much about this ridge from my previous visit, but it looks like the skyline would give a fun traverse in good conditions. Given the slithery snow, we stayed mostly below the crest. Allan was starting to realise at this point that we had probably started too late to include the next group of hills. Even with the extra hour that we would have got by starting earlier would have made it a squeeze to do before dark. Mind you, it would've helped - sorry about that Allan!
Back to Sgurr a' Mhaoraich from the E ridge
As it was, we just dropped down to the bridge on Loch Quoich. Allan fetched his bike to cycle to the car, while I strolled down the road to Kinlochourn at an ambling pace, including a stop to look out west to the Garbh Chiochs and Sgurr na Ciche. It was a lovely wander in the twighlight, with only one other car passing me before Allan picked me up
Sunset behind Sgurr na Ciche
Allan goes off to get the car
A fantastic day out - one of the best in a good few weeks, or maybe even months. We then got soundly whipped in the evening quiz (glad there wasn't a maths round, because by my count we were doing really well ), and I forgot to go to bed at a sensible time, making Sunday morning the usual pain .
Fortunately the perfect thing for a hangover was a crisp, clear sunny day and a quick trundle down to the head of Loch Lochy on the bike before turning north to head for home. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon dawdling along, taking detours onto the Great Glen Way above Invergarry, and again further north (in search of a bothy, getting very muddy in the process), before hitting the canal towpath to Fort Augustus.
Loch Lochy hills from the locks
Caledonian Canal near Fort Augustus
Unfortunately the wind had edged around to the north, and was in my face for most of the day. I briefly considered going back up the A82 but it was far too nice for that, so I took a deep breath and ground my way up the Glendoe/Loch Tarff road again (which is actually less painful from this direction than the other, as it is a lot shorter). At the first summit, I spotted a shiny yellow thing coming in the other direction - it had to be the Jaxtermobile! I was so slow getting to Fort Augustus that Jackie and Andy were on their way home after climbing Carn a' Chuillin by the time I passed them .
Across Loch Ness from the Glendoe road
Some great views from the top of the Suidhe were followed by a speedy descent to Whitebridge, after which my energy gradually seemed to fade.
At the top of the Suidhe
Suidhe viewpoint - downhill now
NE from Suidhe
Meall Fuar Mhonaidh and Loch Knockie
The road home near Whitebridge
By the time I was freewheeling down the last hill into Inverness, it was dark and I was close to falling asleep on my bike - didn't know that was possible . Then I nearly dozed off again while standing in the shower, and again onto my dinner. These meets really need some extra hours built in somewhere . A big thanks to Michelle and Jim for organising, quizmaster Alan, slave-driver Allan and everyone else for a good meet .
by Stefan1 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:06 am
- Posts: 35
- Joined: Oct 12, 2017
by Jaxter » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:12 am
by PeteR » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:33 pm
by Alteknacker » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:37 pm
The pics are great - much better than the ones I took at mostly the same times and locations. I need to look a bit more into this photography lark: think a bit before pressing the button, and maybe replace my lost camera...
I was initially a bit surprised that you didn't mention how cold it was, but then I recalled that you did about half the walk wearing only a T-shirt!!! Talk about running hot!
Did we get soundly whipped in the quiz? I thought it was a graceful and tactful semi-withdrawal to allow others the pleasure of winning...
Thanks so much for the company on a truly memorable day .
by BlackPanther » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:18 pm
1800m of ascent I think I'd need a new pair of knees to do that
It was nice to see you again BTW.
by Mal Grey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:37 pm
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?