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Slioch and Simms

Slioch and Simms


Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:48 am

Munros included on this walk: Fionn Bheinn, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Slioch

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn na Muice, Meall a'Chaorainn (Achnasheen)

Date walked: 23/04/2018

Time taken: 29.5 hours

Distance: 93.2 km

Ascent: 6549m

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I didn't intend an evening ascent of Slioch... traveling to Kinlochewe alone for a change I planned a walk in and camp in Gleann Bianasdail and a morning ascent. But the weather for Friday was forecast to be poor and it was turning into a lovely evening after a day of cloud and drizzle as I walked along the shore of Loch Maree. I love the feeling of setting out on an evening with a tent, knowing I can choose where and when to stop, knowing the quiet of the landscape will absorb me. I reckoned I could camp within Coire na Sleaghaich and maybe, if there was time, get around the tops tonight in the glow of the setting sun.


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



ImageDSC01325 by Al, on Flickr

Once I reached the track up I made good progress and sidled around the northern side of Stob Dubh looking for a sheltered and level place for the Enan, just after 6 pm. I pitched quickly, ate my sandwich, leaving coffee til I got back. I had intended to climb Stob Dubh first but if I did the circuit in reverse I could always leave the two Sims for the morning if I had run out of light. So off directly up Sgurr an Tuill Bhain, eleven hundred double paces to the summit. A dark pointed shadow was cast on the land to the east, Slioch's spear. Snow-clad the north facing slopes although the interior of the coire was clad in grassy spring attire. From the summit, I gazed longingly over to the Fisherfields, each peak standing out in the clear evening light. Marveling at this vista I negotiated the ridge to the summit of Slioch. The dying sun blazed fiercely on the limpid mirror of Loch Maree. To the south the mighty Torridon peaks still held patches of snow. I pressed on, but knew I had all the time I needed before the sun set. Descending to the lochans over loose red scree I could just make out the green speck of my tent beyond Stob Dubh.

Stob Dubh with Torridon hills behind
ImageDSC01329 by Al, on Flickr

Pointed shadow of Slioch
ImageDSC01330 by Al, on Flickr

Fisherfields
ImageDSC01331 by Al, on Flickr

Slioch
ImageDSC01334 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr an Tuill Bhain
ImageDSC01335 by Al, on Flickr

A'Mhaighdean
ImageDSC01336 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01338 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01341 by Al, on Flickr

Descent to the Lochans
ImageDSC01343 by Al, on Flickr


The lochans held some snow around their perimeters. I crossed easily from the South Top to Stob Dubh, where a clearly defined path surprised me. On to the cairn then some magical moments watching the sun sink in the west. The mountain all to myself. Can anyone fail to fall in love with Loch Maree on a night such as this? Returning to the tent I enjoyed my coffee and snack bar immensely then settled down in the dusk with my book and a dram. A quiet night lit only by a sliver of moon- wind had dropped and the only sound was the intermittent melancholic peep of a plover.

ImageDSC01344 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01345 by Al, on Flickr

Sunset over Loch Maree
ImageDSC01349 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01351 by Al, on Flickr

Torridon pano
ImageDSC01353 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01356 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01358 by Al, on Flickr


When I was planning these few days I had intended to come off the northern side of Slioch and head over the Sims on Beinn Tharsuinn Chaol on the far side of Lochan Fada, returning over Beinn Lair. However the weather was just not right for that kind of trip. So I had cobbled together a couple of Munros that Allison had done twice (Slioch and Fionn Bheinn) along with some Sims around Cannich/ Strathfarrar. In the morning, which came damp and drizzly, I lazily breakfasted still in my sleeping bag then gathered up the tent and set off back down the mountain, surprising a couple of elderly Americans who had camped in the gleann and were making an early start up Slioch. I was so glad I'd climbed it last night, as the sky looked unpromising today. Back at the car I set off to Achnasheen where I parked up at the visitor centre and began my slog up the boggy hillside. I'd thougth I would add in the Graham of Meall a'Chaorainn for a bit of variation and loped across the bogs, past a couple of diggers poinsed in the middle of nowhere to climb the eastern sholder of Meall a'Chaorainn. Lunch at the summit then a steep descent to the bealach and a long steep ascent to the top of Fionn Bheinn, enveloped in a cloak of mist from 650m. Rain became more persistent as I neared the top, mostly mericfully on my back. I romped down the grassy slopes, managing to avoid the worst of the bogs and got back to the car just after 2.


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Meall a'Chaorainn
ImageP1180554 by Al, on Flickr

Fionn Bheinn
ImageP1180557 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180558 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180559 by Al, on Flickr


Where now? Kintail? Cannich? The east seemed a better bet weatherwise and I opted for Cannich. At the campsite where we'd stayed a few weeks ago and Allison had been terrorised by stampeding nocturnal cattle, I spoke with the owner, Matt, who had been trying all manner of things to keep them out and was in the process of building barricades over the entrances (which I can testify worked perfectly).

After a quiet, bovine-less night I had a late start as I had decided to head to Strathfarrar and knew there was little point arriving before the gate opened at 9. Half a dozen cars were there before me and I chatted to a couple we'd last met in Killin - they were off to do Sgurr na Lapaich which I'd never have thought of doing from here. I drove along to the dam, intending to climb the Sim of carn Eiteige then on to the Munro Top of Sgurr na Fearstaig, which we'd missed out on our recent trip here due to snow conditions and then head down over the dramatic Sgurr na Muice.


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



It was a lovely morning as I walked past Monar Lodge, the surrounding hills reflected in the glassy surface of Loch Monar. I took the marked footpath up into a plantation then onto open hillside up the long southern back of Carn Eiteige. I was making good time - I decided I might as well add in Sgurr Fuar-Thuill for the hell of it (all count to the third round :wink: ) and maybe the Graham of Beinn na Muice also...There was some remnants of heavy cornicing as I walked around the north of Coire Garbh towards the Munro Top that had evaded us due to anxieties about tackling the linking ridge from Sgurr Fuar-Thuill in whiteout conditions. Looking at the ridge now it was difficult to imagine what those anxieties were as it appeared completely benign, in good visibility and without a double cornice. It was a short walk to the Munro summit where I had my lunch.

Sgurr na Lapaich
ImageDSC01364 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Monar
ImageDSC01366 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Maoile Lunndaidh
ImageDSC01368 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Monar
ImageDSC01371 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching Sgurr na Fearstaig from Carn Eiteige
ImageDSC01372 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Carn Eiteige
ImageDSC01374 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Fearstaig
ImageDSC01377 by Al, on Flickr

That "scary" ridge to Sgurr Fuar Thuill
ImageDSC01379 by Al, on Flickr

Ridge to Sgurr na Muice
ImageDSC01380 by Al, on Flickr

Back over Sgurr na fearstaig and down the south ridge towards Sgurr na muice. At the cairn-marked summit I decided to steer clear of the slabby, craggy southern descent and head down the western ridge, continuing round into the valley between Sgurr and Beinn na Muice. The little Graham's flanks looked impressively steep before me. An ascent of 250m over slippy wet grass took me to the summit ridge. The cold wind of earlier had abatedand I enjoyed my second cup of coffee (a perk of being Allison-free) at the small cairn. I noticed a fluttering of colourful wings and found what I think is a male Emperor Moth sheltering behind heather. Then it was a long slow descent down the steep western side of the hill to the road and the car. Gave a lift to a fellow walkhighlander who had done the 4 Munros in good time and was grateful for having 4 or 5 miles less to walk.

ImageDSC01382 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Muice
ImageDSC01383 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn na Muice
ImageDSC01384 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01385 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Beinn na Muice
ImageDSC01387 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01388 by Al, on Flickr

Emperor Moff
ImageDSC01389 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01391 by Al, on Flickr

I drove along to the Co-Op in Beauly for some provisions and petrol then back to the campsite for a shower and tea in the late evening sunshine. Birds tweeting, bees bumbling, trees swaying in the breeze - and a family who had camped nearby making lots of noise...I went off for a walk round Cannich.

Sunday was to be rainy. I decided to do the six Sims around Cannich from the campsite. These are western outliers of Toll Creagach and are sandwiched between Loch Mullardoch and Loch Beinn a'Mheadhoin. I wandered up to the Kintail-Affric trail which I followed for a bit, then turned up into the forest. There was supposed to be a fire break, but this was non-existant and I ended up fighting through cleared forest with lots of new wild treelets barring the way. Onto heathery hillside and a slog up the first hill of Beinn a'Chairein. It was a sodden march from one Sim to the next. Although it rained sporadically, the weather overall wasn't bad and visibility was preserved - makes such a difference when you can see where you are going next. I did note a dearth of wildlife - a solitary snow bunting, the occasional plover - although I did get an eagle flypast as I approached Meall Mor, the final hill. Some views to Loch Mullardoch which would be worthwhile on a clearer day. Then down to the track, over the Highland Five (oh yes, there are such things :lol: ) of Meallan na Ceardaich and a lengthy, if easy, plod back along the Kintail-Affric trail, which is basically a forestry road. I had to stop and attend to my toes, which were chafing in wet socks. A cool showery evening at the campsite.


cannich6.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Cannich
ImageP1180562 by Al, on Flickr

Typical terrain
ImageP1180564 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180565 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Mullardoch
ImageP1180568 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180574 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Beinn a'Mheadhoin
ImageP1180578 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180579 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180580 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180582 by Al, on Flickr

For Monday I had decided to drive to Glen Elchaig and climb the 5 Sims on Ben Killilan. I'd looked often at this mountain - a stunted siamese twin of the Corbett Sguman Coinntich - and decided it would be a nice day out. Unfortunately the day was not a nice one as the clouds were down low and the rain was on and off. I parked at the start of Killilan, where a number of epic walks have begun from and headed up past the phone box, along the west side of the river and up the track following the Allt a'Choire Mhoir. The river was gushy and white - I was glad not to have to cross it today. Up past the black tongue towards the head of Coire Mor where the path fizzles out. The rest of the walk was not very pleasant - biting wind and lashing rain, with vague shapes looming out of the mist and most of the peaks resembling other lumpy bits adjacent to them in the clag. Even finding the NE ridge that led to the furthest away North Top was quite a challenge. There was a steep descent back to the track then a walk - ironically in a bit of sunshine - back to the car. I had considered another night out, this time at Lochan na h-Earba to do 5 Sims around Creag Pitridh but the continuing drizzle and low cloud decided me against that.


killilsim5.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Killilan (left)
ImageP1180583 by Al, on Flickr

Looking back along the track
ImageP1180584 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180586 by Al, on Flickr

Nice weather
ImageP1180587 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180589 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180593 by Al, on Flickr
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weaselmaster
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby IreneM » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:54 pm

Some smashing pics of a busy weekend, WM. Especially Love the pointy shadow of Slioch one. 8) 8)

Unfortunately the barricades weren't working on Thursday night at Cannich - Wild West stampede time in the campsite at 3am :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:17 pm

Have you ever considered having a rest day? ;) :lol:

Great few days, the conditions on Slioch look sublime.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby dav2930 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:31 pm

That evening on Slioch looked very special. Really beautiful photos. :clap:
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dav2930
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:36 pm

IreneM wrote:Some smashing pics of a busy weekend, WM. Especially Love the pointy shadow of Slioch one. 8) 8)

Unfortunately the barricades weren't working on Thursday night at Cannich - Wild West stampede time in the campsite at 3am :shock: :shock: :shock:


He just cobbled them together on friday. then he had to get up at 5am on saturday as one of the campers who was leaving early couldn't get out of the campsite cos the barriers were screwed in place over the gate :lol:
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weaselmaster
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:36 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Have you ever considered having a rest day? ;) :lol:

Great few days, the conditions on Slioch look sublime.


I had a rest day today :wink:
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weaselmaster
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:38 pm

dav2930 wrote:That evening on Slioch looked very special. Really beautiful photos. :clap:


It was great, i really need to get out and do that kind of high camp more often (in those type of conditions)
cheers
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Re: Slioch and Simms

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:11 pm

As Dav says, that day/night on Slioch looks absolutely sublime. Great report, and wonderful pix. The panos look particularly good viewed full size on a large screen :thumbup:

Now I've got myself a lightweight tent, I need to start doing these summit camps...
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