Spectacular Torridon: summit camp & victory over the English
by Jaxter » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:14 pm
Route description: Beinn an Eoin, near Gairloch
Corbetts included on this walk: Baosbheinn, Beinn an Eoin
Date walked: 24/02/2018
Time taken: 12.4 hours
Distance: 28.78 km
Ascent: 1758m24 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).
Sgurr a'Mhuillinn – a hill I admire every time I drive past and would play a part in the story later....
I think these are the hills above Kinlochewe
The usual stopping point….
Lovely Loch Maree and Slioch
Saturday 24th February
4 hours 45 mins
We parked up in the parking area just by Loch Bad an Sgalag and a certain amount of faffing went on as last minute things were packed into already heavy packs but at last we were off.
Baosbheinn in the distance
The track made for easy walking but given heavy packs we were almost wishing it was a bit colder! Slioch was looking majestic and I could hardly wait for the views once we had gained some more height
As we rounded the corner we could see the glen start to open out and Beinn an Eoin became visible although it looked miles away
I loved how the Abhainn a’ Gharbh Choire was sparkling in the sunshine
This is the grouse stone – where grouse-hunters would leave their catch for the Ghillies to pick up. Obviously Colin isn’t a grouse….
The glen really started to open out and we had a much clearer view of Baosbheinn as well as some very recognisable old friends
Baosbheinn, the wizard's hill; pronounced “Booshven” and I loved how awesome that sounded that I couldn’t stop saying
Colin suggested heading off early to head up Beinn an Eoin towards Coire Loch na Geala but I suggested that crossing at the stepping stones would be a good idea as I didn’t really fancy wet feet at such an early stage….It turned out to be a wise decision; although there was ice on the stones it was easily knocked off and safe passage was made across the burn
The burn safely negotiated we headed across ground that was gloriously frozen – in warmer conditions I could see it being a bit of a bog-fest
Modelling Alison’s winter trousers
Baosbheinn with Colin
Baosbheinn without Colin
I discovered that weird shadows and perspective made tall Colin and short-arse me look the same height – a close friend of mine couldn’t tell us apart
The snow was wonderfully hard to walk on but once the gradient increased we had to stop to put on crampons (Colin thought he could manage with microspikes and had to wait while I fully cramponed up )
Easy with the security of crampons
Soon we were on the ridge of Beinn an Eoin and we could see the full ridge of Baosbheinn across Loch na h-Oidhche
We made it a short distance along the ridge before we ran out of snow and we had to stop to lose the crampons again. This involved me accidentally punching a rock causing blood everywhere (slight exaggeration ) and the first injury of the weekend
The Beinn an Eoin ridge – Colin struggling under the weight of his pack
We reached the bealach before the final ascent to Beinn an Eoin – this is where we would descend from in the morning. This was flat enough for a camp spot but I was sure that the map suggested we could camp higher, and I really wanted that view into Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Beinn Dearg, Beinn Alligin and Loch na h-Oidhche – it was so warm that it could be July if it wasn’t for the snow!
A final sting in the tail….
Some “mild scrambling” turned out to be completely non-problematic and as I reached the top I let out a whoop – a perfect camp spot just a few metres before the cairn! By the time poor Colin had caught up I had bagged my camp spot
Now that’s some view from the summit – the wonderful ridge line of Liathach
Colin posing in front of Baosbheinn….
….and again slightly precariously in front of Coire Mhic Fhearchair & Liathach
Slightly less precariously balanced Jaxter pose modelling new hat!
This was the view I had been looking forward to – Coire Mhic Fhearchair and it’s amazing triple buttresses
Beinn Dearg & Beinn Alligin
Beinn Eighe, Liathach, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Alligin & Baosbheinn – that’s some skyline!!!
Slioch with the Fisherfield hills behind
A first round of photos taken, it was time to set up camp before sunset. There was barely a breath of wind and we were able to erect out tents without any problem….until we attempted to get the tent pegs into frozen ground.
“Have you got a hammer?” asked a slightly perplexed Colin….
“I’ve got a rock!” I said, using a perfectly hand-shaped piece of Torridonian sandstone to thwack my tent pegs through snowy ground.
And so it was that our campsite was ready.
I popped my phone on as it was kick-off time for the Calcutta Cup. Signal ensured, I waited for updates from my rugby correspondent as I got the “big lens” out
Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Look at the size of that
Debates raged throughout the evening about which particular Fisherfields these were
Gairloch I believe
Am Fasarinen – The Pinnacles
More debates raged here – Colin thought the spiky one for be An Teallach but it looked a bit close.
Looking from the summit to our campsite
Some view eh – evening light on the Fisherfield, Slioch and wee Beinn a’ Chearcaill
As the sun began to set we could already feel the temperature dropping and so began the awkward of process of adding all my layers
Encouraging noises had been coming through about the rugby score as I’d been enjoying the views and we sat down to melt some snow to heat up dinner. As Colin hadn’t brought a stove this was done in relays on mine.
As the water was beginning to boil, word came through that a £90 bottle of Glenlivet had been opened Final score 25-13 – a glorious destroying of the English and after food had been consumed Colin produced a wee dram to celebrate
There is something wonderful about being on top of a mountain as the evening draws in; exposed to the elements and happy in the knowledge that there’s nowhere you’d rather be. The rugby score was bonus
It was very cold and so we both retreated to our warm cocoons relatively early hoping for a good night’s sleep.
Although it was very cold I was nice and cosy inside my sleeping bag and after reading for a while I drifted off into a blissful sleep. When nature called I had to stand outside enjoying the feeling of being there; the sky was clear, the stars were twinkling and the moon was reflecting off the snow. Just awesome
A few hours later I was awakened by the wind battering my tent….this continued for around 3 hours during which I got up to peg in a few extra guys on my tent!
Sunday 25th February
7 hours 50 mins
I awoke ahead of my alarm and poked my head out the tent – the wind had dropped some time before and I had a wonderful view!
“Colin are you alive? Your tent looks mighty funny”
He and Jura had resorted to spooning but they had survived their first summit camp!
I got out of bed and in my excitement didn’t bother putting my boots on – one of the advantages of waterproof socks! However one of the disadvantages is that they don’t have any grip
Ruadh-stac Mor & Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Our mystery spiky hill
Slioch & the Fisherfield
It was freezing so it was back to the tent where I cosied up in my sleeping bag to brew up some hot chocolate utilising an ice-axe to loosen some snow…
…and watch the sun rise behind the Sgurr a'Mhuillinn hills that we had seen from the road on the drive in.
Me in my socks
I did a wee bit of running around to catch the light hitting the Torridonian giants as my water slowly heated up…
As the sun rose higher the orange light was reflecting off the icy snow
Me holding up the sun!
Enjoying my hot chocolate
Camp was struck and as we tried to fit all our belongings back into our packs the day was already amazing!
Finally we were on the go, making our way down to the bealach. Reports suggested it was possible to get down the prow but we decided that it would be safer and easier from the bealach with heavy packs and an uncertain amount of very hard snow.
It was steep with every step a potential ankle-breaker thanks to the heather and hidden rocks. I looked to the snow fields leading to a snow-filled gully and suggested donning crampons and walking down that. Colin with his microspikes deemed it too slippy but with my crampons I was able to easily walk pretty much straight down all the way to the track before slipping them off for a short walk along to the Poca Bhuidhe bothy.
Baosbheinn reflections in Loch na h-Oidhche
The bothy was in a stunning location – such a shame that it’s been closed to the public (apparently due to the bothy code not being followed) although we tried to work out how many Neds had managed to get to such a remote bothy to trash it
I ditched some more layers and applied suncream before we headed off on a feint path around the tip of the loch.
It was disappointing, especially given the reason for the bothy being closed, that the old roof which had recently been replaced had been dumped all over the ground near the bothy
We elected to head for the ridge below Ceann Beag before following it up to the minor top. This was much tougher than it looked with tired legs, large packs and the sun beating down on us!
Looking back to what we had come down
It was a steep climb as we picked our way through slabs of Torridonian sandstone and the top of Ceann Beag was hard won. But it was so worth the effort – even Colin agreed despite having suggested traversing around the side
Beinn Dearg with Liathach behind
Loch a’ Bhealaich with Northern Skye in the distance
Wonderful Torridonian skyline
Looking ahead to our next target – the SE summit of Baosbheinn – this ascent looked brutal until I broke it down into 5 small sections which made it much more manageable
I occupied the time by trying to come up with a word for the sound of walking boot on Torridonian sandstone – such an amazingly satisfying thunk
Reaching the SE summit with far more ease than expected we wandered out to stand on the wee outcrop before turning our attention to the final climb.
We had a wee breather and while I scoped out our route down, Colin sat on a rock and sucked on some snow – definitely ice lolly weather
As we descended carefully towards the bealach we met our first human for two days! He was surprised to see us and probably thought we were mental
Looking back from the final ascent – Loch a’ Bhealaich and Alligin
And finally we were there – the top was surprisingly flat after all the drama of the hill so far!
Days like these
I think this might be Kintail in the distance
I think this is Harris and An Clisham
What surely must be An Teallach
Loch Torridon and out to the Cuillin
Turn up the sound and listen to the silence – there’s no place I’d rather be
It was such a stunning day that we found some rocks to relax on while we munched on some very welcome scran. We were able to sit there in shirt sleeves as it was so warm! I could hardly believe it was February
Colin set up a self timer (this was the second or third attempt as Jura was being a pain in the ass)
Colin & Jura being dramatic
As our descent would be heading into the shade I suggested putting on crampons before we started – this turned out to be wise as we crunched our way a short way along the ridge before finding our way down. And man it looked steep We got our axes out although an arrest would have to be very well executed to stop a slide. Colin lost his wee plastic axe protector down the slope which shot off like a rocket down the slope demonstrating what could happen to us without care
Big boy pants on, I went first…. It was insanely steep and I made sure to keep three points of contact and digging my crampons firmly into the hard snow Colin turned back and picked a route that was slightly less steep but much closer to the edge which meant to he was able to get this photo to show the angle
Once down the steepest section I looked back up and could hardly believe what I’d just come down Crampons are amazing!!!
We looked for Colin’s wee plastic thingamy but could see no sign of it…finders keepers I guess Now on easier ground we were able to again enjoy our surroundings as we crunched our way across the snow.
Looking back to the ridge – Colin confirmed that I had bigger baws than him
Looking down to the tip of Loch na h-Oidhche where we were hoping to cross. I suggested following the snow all the way down as it was so easy to walk on and with the aid of amazing crampons we got to within about 50m of the loch before having to take them off.
Beinn an Eoin, Loch na h-Oidhche and Baosbheinn
Reaching the tip of the loch we couldn’t get across so followed the river downstream looking for a suitable crossing point.
Colin with his longer stride managed to hop easily across whereas I had to use my bin bags (and nearly lost one downstream which Colin managed to rescue ) We made it onto the track and from here it was a long but relatively easy walk out.
Baosbheinn – you can see why it’s known as mini-Alligin!
Safely back across the stepping stones
It was very hot as we dragged our tired bodies and heavy loads along the track. The scenery was well worth the effort and I blame the views for my epic faceplant onto some ice 5 minutes from the car
All that remained was a 4/5 hour drive home…. (hold that thought… )
The sun setting as we headed towards Achnashellach
….as we got to Tarvies and found the road closed due to an accident. The Police on the scene informed us that the road would be closed for 4-6 hours and that our options were to go via Ullapool and Lairg or Kyle of Lochalsh and Kintail…. Doh (After a bit of Googling I discovered it was a fatality which puts our inconvenience into perspective somewhat ) I got home just before midnight and work on Monday was definitely a struggle but oh so worth it!
What a fabulous weekend - Torridon; a love affair that will last a lifetime
by malky_c » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:34 pm
Goes without saying that it looked like a fantastic trip - the sort you only get every few years. I had considered an overnight camp in the Pennines but it was really cold and windy there - I just assumed Torridon would've been even colder, but obviously not . Still pretty hardcore though.
Colin is bang on - your mystery summit was An Teallach. Was going to go through some of your other hill identity ifs and maybes before I realised I was even boring myself .
A great area and pair of hills in any conditions, but that must be them at their best. Top report
by Alteknacker » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:10 am
Such a phenomenal sequence of pics - I couldn't pick any out in particular, they're all so stunning (though I did quite like the one of you reaching out of your tent, wrapped to the eyeballs, to get snow for your morning brew ). It was great too to be able to click on the panos and view them full screen. Pretty well all the Highlands is fine when it's adorned with the white stuff and the weather's like that; but Torridon really is something again - only Skye can compare...
Really enjoyable report.
by mgmt! » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:21 am
I was on the plateau above the Triple Buttresses around 3.30 pm, great weekend to be in Torridon
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by wilkiemurray » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:18 pm
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by Sick Kid » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:36 pm
Not only do you look great in my troosers but those photos are absolutely amazing!
We summit camped on Baosbheinn a few years ago and got the most amazing sunset and sunrise. It’s a fantastic part of the world any time of year but this is something special. Must try a winter summit camp one of these days
by ancancha » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:51 pm
by rockhopper » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:07 am
by EmmaKTunskeen » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:16 am
by dav2930 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:00 am
Karl & me are off up to Kinlochewe tomorrow for the week. That's if we can even get there! Goodness knows what the conditions are going to be like
by Woodsy Boy » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:32 pm
I'm not jealous at all haha.
by Sgurr » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:05 pm
by Bombaybadboy » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:12 pm