walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east side

Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east side


Postby gld73 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:43 pm

Route description: Ben More Coigach

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Mor Coigach, Sgurr an Fhidhleir

Date walked: 15/04/2018

12 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).

I went up Cul Mor and Stac Pollaidh on the Saturday, and the weather in Assynt was so perfect, I decided to stay on in the area for an extra day. Ben More Coigach always looks so impressive as you drive north from Ullapool and the usual route up it is from Culnacraig, a bit of a drive round the peninsula. A colleague who lives in Ullapool said it was possible to do from the east side too (nearer the main road) so I took a look at the map, decided it looked okay, and headed off.

The parking area at Blughasary is signed for Dun Canna walkers - a sign gives info on the coastal walk, saying it is a tough walk, not as easy as it looks on a map. I did think a circular walk combing the ascent of Ben More Coigach from this side, then the Walk Highlands route from BMC to Sgurr an Fhidleir and back down to Culnacraig, then returning to Blughasary by the coastal route might be a good route, though I didn't end up doing it.
APDC3244.JPG
From parking area, head through gate and over the bridge.

Anyway, from the parking area, I headed over the bridge, and where the route to Dun Canna goes left, I took the estate track to the right. It's an easy couple of kilometres on a good track - where the occasional section of ruts were wet and boggy, I was hoping they stayed that way, for the sake of the impressive frog spawn in them!
APDC3178.JPG
Estate track, with views of Ben More Coigach ahead

APDC3180_picmonkeyed.JPG
Surely there are more reliable puddles than vehicle tracks to spawn in?!

I continued up the track past the first small loch (Loch a' Chlaiginn), getting the impressive views of Speicein Coinnich, the aim of my ascent route. I left the estate track about half way between the first small loch and Loch Eadar Dha Bheinn to try and head straight over to the ridge - this was a mistake. I bog hopped my way as far as the burn between the 2 lochs, then couldn't find anywhere to cross - although not particularly wide, it was surprisingly deep - easily waist deep on me by the looks of it. In hiking boots and with tussocky uneven ground on either side giving a dodgy take off and landing, I didn't want to risk jumping across, so followed it up towards Loch Eadar Dha Bheinn. This wasted a good 20 minutes at least, compared to if I'd just stayed on the estate track, as the only decent easy crossing point was right at the Loch. Nice stepping stones made crossing the (at this point) shallow outflow a doddle!
APDC3181.JPG
My logic was sound! I thought a gate indicated a possible route, so left the track here...

APDC3183.JPG
...but there was no route and the photo doesn't show how deep this was!

APDC3186.JPG
That's better .....


So then it was just a case of heading north up on to the ridge, then west along the ridge. No real right/wrong route to take, as the good visibility meant it was easy to see the target of Speicein Coinnich and to just head up towards it. It was one of those ascents where it flipped between "looks straightforward enough" to "hmmmm, is there route up this?" depending on distance and angle I was looking at it from, but as I went up, I eventually started to see traces of a path. This route became clearer as the ascent went on, as the wide ridge funnelled down to a narrow path/scramble (any short sections of scrambling were easy).
APDC3187.JPG
That's where I'm heading, Speicein Coinnich

APDC3189.JPG
The ridge heading up to Speicein Coinnich was looking pretty inviting

APDC3191.JPG
...and the views from the ridge were typical Assynt ones :) (zoomed)

APDC3192.JPG
Got a bit steeper and more scrambly, but nothing too tricky


The final section resulted in one of the best moments of my hillwalking .... I came up over a rocky section to the top area of Speicein Coinnich (too busy looking at my hands and feet to know I was reaching the top) and came face to face with a golden eagle! Well, it was about 2 to 3m away, no more, sitting on the craggy rocks, my sheltered approach from below must have masked any sound. Not sure which one of was more surprised! (Well okay, yes I do, it was me!). The eagle took off gracefully and I just watched it, gobsmacked. Didn't have my camera to hand as I'd been needing my hands for that part of the ascent, but frankly I didn't care, I'd rather see a golden eagle up close myself than fumbling around trying to look at it through a lens. I finally did get my camera out, hoping it would do a fly past at least, but no such luck. Still, the views of An Teallach and all around were worth a few snaps :D
APDC3197.JPG
The view north from Speicein Coinnich

APDC3193.JPG
View south, with the Ullapool ferry sneaking in

APDC3201.JPG
Looking back to the eagle's perch of Speicein Coinnich


Ah well. After that excitement, it was a case of heading towards Ben More Coigach's summit - visibility was perfect which made navigating ridiculously easy; might be tricker up there in cloud. The ridge along to Garbh Choireachan looked impressive, so I walked part way along there before coming back, then down and up to the summit shelter of Ben More Coigach. That was the windiest point of the whole walk, despite still being in sunshine, I quickly had to don hat and coat to stay warm.
APDC3202.JPG
Garbh Choireachan

APDC3208.JPG
A beautiful day looking west from Ben More Coigach summit

APDC3209.JPG
From Ben More Coigach to the north, Sgurr an Fhidhleir in the foreground

APDC3210.JPG
Sgurr an Fhidhleir with Stac Pollaidh

Being a sunny Sunday, I'd expected to see a few people who'd come up Ben More Coigach and Sgurr an Fhidleir from the other side, but there wasn't a soul to be seen anywhere. Anyway, it was then off to the second Graham of the day, Sgurr an Fhidleir, with descent and ascent not too punishing as the terrain is easy enough on the legs. Reaching the summit, again I was greeted by fantastic views across Assynt, including Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mor, Cul Beag, Canisp and Suilven :D
APDC3217.JPG
Sgurr an Fhidhleir summit view

APDC3223.JPG
Assynt munros

APDC3224.JPG
Stac Pollaidh and Suilven


Time to head back down, and it was decision time as to whether to do the full circular route or to go back the same way. The hope that the eagle had returned to its lofty crag lured me back the same way. That did mean heading back down to the bealach and back up to Speicein Coinnich, so adding ascent to the route - the Walk Highlands route from/to Culnacraig might have a slightly longer drive to the start point, but has the benefit of a nice route straight back down from Sgurr an Fhidleir!

No luck with the eagle unfortunately, it was nowhere to be seen. So down I headed, keeping an eye on the loch so I could aim for the correct location to cross this time. Once across the stepping stones, I just headed straight on to hit the estate track again. This drainage pipe was at the point I returned to the track - so if you ever do this route, this is the place you want to turn off the track to get to the crossing point! (There is a similar pipe a lot further down the track, but too far away to get confused as to which would be near Loch Eadar Dha Bheinn).
APDC3243.JPG
Leave the track here to head straight to the stepping stones!


So this route meant a shorter drive than the one to the Culnacraig start point, but then a longer walk with more ascent. But it was perfect weather, so it was a good option on this occasion as it suited me to be outside longer rather than in a car!! :lol:
APDC3081.JPG
And I can't have my last photo being of a drainage pipe, so here's the view of Ben More Coigach as you head out of Ullapool :)
gld73
 
Posts: 395
Munros:122   Corbetts:46
Grahams:38   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:30
Wainwrights:35   Islands:13
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Location: Inverness

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:07 pm

Lovely day, interesting to see it from that approach, having done it from the coast as a circuit (also highly recommended).

The eagle moment must have been fantastic. They're amazing things. Once had a fly past about 10-15m out as we climbed the back of a corrie, but never been within such a short distance of one!
User avatar
Mal Grey
Wanderer
 
Posts: 3379
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby gld73 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:51 pm

Thanks, yes, if (when) I go up the hill again, I'll probably do the circular route to see the other side. In weather like I got on this walk, I think any way up would be great :D

(won't hold my breath for any golden eagle close-ups though; think that's my one for this lifetime!)
gld73
 
Posts: 395
Munros:122   Corbetts:46
Grahams:38   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:30
Wainwrights:35   Islands:13
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Location: Inverness

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:01 am

Beautiful day for a special hill. Has me longing to be back up there.
Moments like you describe with the eagle are - I find anyway - really memorable, I've had the "close encounter" of being within touching distance on a couple of occasions, once when we were sat at the cairn of Meallan nan Uan having lunch and an eagle flew right round from behind us; the other when up near Cape Wrath and, like you, I disturbed him or her when i rounded a corner. A real privilege to be that close (doubt the eagles think of it that way though :lol: )
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1888
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:331   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:24 am

Lovely report and an interesting route + thank you for the crossing-info. I think something special always happens in this corner, which was deep under snow when I was there on 4th April, but your wonderful eagle encounter is one of the best Assynt surprises I've read about! :D
User avatar
EmmaKTunskeen
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 196
Munros:27   Corbetts:17
Grahams:9   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:51
Wainwrights:41   Islands:12
Joined: Aug 19, 2016
Location: West Sussex

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby malky_c » Tue May 01, 2018 9:23 pm

Always good to see a report on these hills - some of my favourites I think 8) .
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5970
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:267   Hewitts:269
Wainwrights:122   Islands:34
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby Sgurr » Fri May 04, 2018 11:27 am

Loved these hills. I suppose this "art object" we came across on the ridge has long since been kicked away. Never seen another report on it...but this was eleven years ago

Image
User avatar
Sgurr
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 4303
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:569   Hewitts:139
Wainwrights:160   Islands:58
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby gld73 » Fri May 04, 2018 11:44 pm

No, I didn't see any sign of it I'm afraid, so either it's long gone, or I was too busy looking at Suilven to notice it!
gld73
 
Posts: 395
Munros:122   Corbetts:46
Grahams:38   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:30
Wainwrights:35   Islands:13
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Location: Inverness

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby GillC » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:02 am

Hey,,,considering this route as I don't fancy the long drive round to the coast. Do you have a route map or gps i could see? i like to visualise before i start off lol

thanks :D
User avatar
GillC
Walker
 
Posts: 1528
Munros:282   Corbetts:44
Grahams:31   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby jmarkb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:31 am

GillC wrote:considering this route as I don't fancy the long drive round to the coast.


The extra 40 mins drive is really worth it: the round of all 7 tops is a superb day out!
jmarkb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 4211
Munros:241   Corbetts:95
Grahams:78   Donalds:29
Sub 2000:42   
Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Ben More Coigach and Sguur an Fheidler from the east sid

Postby GillC » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:01 pm

Cool..thanks for the heads up :clap:
User avatar
GillC
Walker
 
Posts: 1528
Munros:282   Corbetts:44
Grahams:31   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

12 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 187lenny, Doghouse103 and 45 guests