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High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche


Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 28, 2018 2:38 pm

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart), Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich), Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr an Fhuarain

Date walked: 28/05/2018

Time taken: 31 hours

Distance: 71 km

Ascent: 5697m

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After chipping away all the Mainland Munro Tops for Allison we now had a "free" weekend to do as we chose before our annual fortnight's holiday. With a weather forecast in the "unbelievably good" bracket, I favoured a trip to Glen Dessarry. I had made up a route that took us in over the 4 Munros then came out over some Sims south of Sourlies' and the least climbed Corbett of Bidean an Chabhair. But then I had another look at my route - why not take in Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn (we've done Ladhar Bheinn twice) and make a proper weekend of it :D The route did look a little more physical than we've done of late, with over 5000m ascent, but Knoydart in good weather?


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How I've missed driving the Loch Arkaig road (not!). An experience more akin to a devilish fairground attraction rather than one of Herr Magister's Public Highways, the scare factor was enhanced by blinding sunshine as we drove west at the end of the day. Unscathed we disembarked at a very busy car park (for a Thursday evening) at the end of the Loch. I had chosen to walk in a short distance - around 4km - into the pass between Fraoch Bheinn and Druim a Chuirn. This was a bit of a gamble, as for quite a lot of the year I think it would have been tough to find a dry spot, but with all the recent sunshine we were fortunate. To the south, the sharp peak of Bidean a'Chabhair protruded into the evening air. A three-quarter full Moon beamed down at us as we settled down to sleep with the last pinkish tones of the sunset lingering. A fine night's rest with no extraneous noises.

ImageDSC01526 by Al, on Flickr

Streap & Sgurr Thuilm
ImageDSC01527 by Al, on Flickr

Bidean a'Chabhair
ImageDSC01528 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01531 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01533 by Al, on Flickr

Full sun when we woke - the first section down into Glen Kingie involved following a boggy path and losing the best part of 150m before crossing the River Kingie and starting uphill again onto Sgurr Mor. This practice of gaining then losing height was to be a central feature of the weekend :lol: We aimed for the lowest point of the bealach with Sgurr an Fhuarain - having attained this it seemed insane not to climb the Corbett. I remember climbing this hill coming of Gairich and just how horrific that ascent, with a full pack had been. Here was an opportunity to dump our sacks at the bealach and tootle up a less than 200m ascent on a gentle grassy slope - our future selves would have been unimpressed had we failed to take advantage of such a bounty.

ImageDSC01534 by Al, on Flickr

The easy way up Sgurr an Fhuarain
ImageDSC01536 by Al, on Flickr

From the summit, we could see the ridge stretching out before us, many ups and downs before we reached Sgurr na Ciche. A number of clouds were gathering in the west - surely the weather wasn't going to disagree with the forecast which had prophesied clear sunny skies all weekend? We sauntered down, gathered up our burdens and prepared for the more lengthy climb up Sgurr Mor. From the rocky summit we descended to Sgurr Beag then another steep descent to 662m before climbing again to nearly 900m to An Eag. To make matters a little more interesting I had included the Sim of An t-Sail, an outlier of Sgurr nan Coireachan which we could see stretching out towards Loch Quoich, adding 4km and 300m ascent to the day. How Allison loves my prediliction for Sims :roll:

Summit Fhuarain
ImageDSC01537 by Al, on Flickr

Our onward route
ImageDSC01538 by Al, on Flickr

Down from Sgurr Mor
ImageDSC01540 by Al, on Flickr

Coireachan to Ciche
ImageDSC01541 by Al, on Flickr

Out to An t-Sail
ImageDSC01543 by Al, on Flickr

We dropped down from An Eag and started up the rough rocky ridge to Sgurr nan Coireachan. There didn't look an easy way to cut across the intervening coire to avoid having to gain then lose height, so we climbed to the top of the shoulder of Sgurr nan Coireachan to dump our packs and prepare to drop down onto Druim Buidhe. As we did so we saw the first couple of walkers we'd seen all day - who should this be but Shona and David - whom we'd met last week in Achnashellach. We had a proper chat, then set off for Sgurr Mor and we for the delights of An t-Sail. Sticking out north from the ridge, it provided some good vantage points for Sgurr Mor and for Sgurr na Ciche.

The ups and downs from Sgurr Mor
ImageDSC01545 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01548 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Chioch Mhor & Ciche - you can see our camp-spot between the two
ImageDSC01550 by Al, on Flickr

We returned to the main thoroughfare and summited Sgurr nan Coireachan. Out west the islands of Rum, Eigg and Skye basked in a shimmering heat haze. Another descent, to Bealach Coire nan Gall, where we met a group of walkers that had kayaked into the top of Loch Quoich. We followed the stone wall up to Garbh Chioch Bheag, with Sgurr na Ciche now clearly in sight ahead. I had planned to descend towards Carnoch today, but time was getting on and - perhaps more importantly, legs were getting tired of all the ups and downs. I thought that we might try and find a camp-spot at Feadan na Ciche, where I vaguely remembered there was a flattish area from our last trip here. To be fair, there were also a few spots between Garbh Chioch Bheag and Mhor, but I entertained the prospect of sitting at the top of Sgurr na Ciche as the sun went down, so it seemed prudent to press on.

Summit Coireachan
ImageDSC01551 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01552 by Al, on Flickr

Bidean a'Chabhair
ImageDSC01553 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01554 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01555 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Chioch Mhor
ImageDSC01556 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Ciche
ImageDSC01557 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Nevis, Eigg
ImageDSC01558 by Al, on Flickr

We caught up with another walker as we descended from Garbh Chioch Mhor - he was planning on returning to the bothy at A Chuill after climbing Sgurr na Ciche. To my relief there was a suitable flat area between the two hills, moderately sheltered from the westernly wind and we pitched the tent and set about getting the tea on. Koka noodles and Tofurkey sausage with sweet chilli sauce have seldom tasted as good. Whilst we were resting we watched the other walker make a slow ascent then descent from Sgurr na Ciche and set off down the gully towards Coire na Ciche and the lengthy walk back to A Chuill. At moments like this the extra effort of humphing a tent with you pays dividends :D We lazed in the sun, waiting for a suitable time to head up Sgurr na Ciche, unencumbered. I couldn't remember what time the sun set, thinking about 9.20 and we set off at 8pm. As it took less than 20 minutes to reach the summit we were in for a long wait, chilly in the full force of the wind despite the sunshine. We had belay jackets on, but still were in shorts. We found the shattered trig and I busied myself re-erecting parts of it. We also noted a path heading from the summit down the south-western ridge that we planned to take in the morning, which was good to know as I'd feared there may be problematical crags preventing this route being taken.

ImageDSC01560 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Ciche
ImageDSC01565 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01567 by Al, on Flickr

The sun hung in the sky over Skye, a golden fiery ball. Rays of diffused sunbeams slanted over the mountains of Knoydart into Loch Nevis. Occasional puffy clouds abruptly appeared in the blue sky then disappeared as quickly. An aeroplane left a streak of white. Slowly, very slowly, the sun began to lower itself towards the sea to the north of Skye. Tinges of orange and ochre coloured the clouds on the horizon. We were getting colder and colder - as we'd been sitting still for over an hour and a half that was little wonder. Eventually, just before the sun finally extinguished itself in the sea, we nodded at each other and in a spirit of self-preservation set off back down the mountainside, teeth chittering. We met a fit looking bloke on his way up, planning to bivvy on the summit. I think he was as surprised to see us coming down as we were to see him heading up at this time of night. I suggested there was an ideal spot, a grassy dip just before the summit rise.

ImageDSC01569 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01571 by Al, on Flickr

River Carnach
ImageDSC01572 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01574 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01576 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01579 by Al, on Flickr

Heading down
ImageDSC01580 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Hourn
ImageDSC01581 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01583 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01587 by Al, on Flickr

Day 1 stats
ImageDSC01588 by Al, on Flickr

Another good sleep, perhaps not unexpected after a tiring day. Morning was superb - some cloud inversion coming over from the east, strips of cloud, like ghostly fingers penetrating between the summits. We set off up Sgurr na Ciche again, making for a ledge about a third of the way up where we could contour round onto the descent ridge and the two additional Sims that lodge here. What an absolutely glorious morning - yesterday's wind had died away, the ground dry and springy underfoot, Knoydart ahead of us. What more could one ask for? (well maybe not a descent from 900m to sea level then right back up to 900+ metres again :lol: ) Anyway we clambered up both of the Sims. I had planned to drop off the ridge to the south and pick up the path to Sourlies, then walk round to Carnoch, but it seemed more efficient to come off NW and cut out the middle-man as it were. We had to cut round to the south of Druim na Ghoirtein due to crags, then followed a stream
line down into the valley. We spotted a fine looking place to pitch the tent on the southern side of the River Carnach - this would mean we could leave all non-essential kit behind and be less burdened today.

ImageDSC01589 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01592 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01594 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Chioch Mhor
ImageDSC01597 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Aodainn & Ciche
ImageDSC01599 by Al, on Flickr

1st Sim
ImageDSC01600 by Al, on Flickr

Ciche & Garbh Chioch Mhor
ImageDSC01601 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01602 by Al, on Flickr

Our route ahead...
ImageDSC01603 by Al, on Flickr

...and back
ImageDSC01604 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01605 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01607 by Al, on Flickr


ImageDSC01608 by Al, on Flickr

Strange to be pitching again early in the day. I did worry a little about leaving our precious food in case it was devoured by weasels or taken by some other famished walkers, but trusted to providence for the good of my skeleton. I knew the bridge at Carnoch was down, but had reckoned on the water level of the river being low enough to cross easily - if not our plans were up the spout. Fortunately there was no difficulty in getting across and we made for the stalkers path up to Mam Meadail. Always easier ascending a path rather than bare mountainside, I think. At the bealach we stopped for lunch, meeting a group of walkers that had come up from Inverie and had the same idea as us about eating before going any further. My plan was to head up to Sgurr Sgeithe (first Sim of the day) which involved a fairly steep climb up the grassy hillside from the bealach, avoiding the rocky outcrops. We found several marker cairns along the way, so this is obviously a standard route up Meall Buidhe from the bealach. The other walkers followed us up - I was hoping they'd realise that the Sim wasn't necessarily in their route. When we got to the crest I was miffed to find that the summit of the Sim was about 750m further away than I'd marked on my route/GPS - an extra 1.5km plus yet more descent. Allison seemed keen to go for it, and we both knew I'd be annoyed to miss it out. So we went up and down over various intermediate tops to reach the summit.

Looking back along Sgurr na Ciche
ImageDSC01609 by Al, on Flickr

Steeply up to Sgurr Sgeithe
ImageDSC01611 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Buidhe
ImageDSC01612 by Al, on Flickr

Ahead to Luinne Bheinn
ImageDSC01613 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Sgeithe
ImageDSC01614 by Al, on Flickr

Aodainn & Ciche
ImageDSC01615 by Al, on Flickr

Climbing Meall Buidhe, Sgurr Sgeithe behind
ImageDSC01618 by Al, on Flickr

Tracking back to the SE ridge up Meall Buidhe we caught up with the other walkers at the eastern summit then headed out for the true summit. A rim of snow lined the north facing coire - in the heat it was tempting to go and lie down in it. But maybe a little on the steep side. Beyond the summit lay another Sim, picked up easily by anyone who comes up the shoulder of the hill from Inverie. But of course for us, it meant another drop of around 200m then back up. Sometimes i could see Sims far enough! To be fair it was a gentle grassy descent then re-ascent. We were passed by a hill-runner coming down from Meall Buidhe (either that or he was keen to catch his boat). We then were passed by the group we'd met earlier who were staying in Inverie for the next week. I did feel a little jealous given the forecast for more sun all week - they appear to have struck it lucky. Walking back to the eastern summit we met a number of walkers who'd come from Luinne Bheinn, which we could see disturbingly far away. Last time we were on these hills all the views were curtained by clag, so it was something of a revelation to be seeing what we were climbing.

Summit Meall Buidhe
ImageDSC01620 by Al, on Flickr

Yes, we have to go all the way down there!
ImageDSC01621 by Al, on Flickr

Summit An t-Uiriollach
ImageDSC01623 by Al, on Flickr

North, towards Ladhar Bheinn
ImageDSC01624 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01626 by Al, on Flickr

There was one further Sim to be taken - Druim Leac a'Shith - although this required minimal deviation from the standard route thankfully. The heat of the day was catching up with us - must have been 26 degrees or more and with no wind we were baking. My poor white legs hadn't been exposed to sun this year, so this was a rude awakening for them. More ups and downs, some welcome breeze as we crossed above Coire na Gaoithe'n ear ("coire of the east wind", fittingly). We planned to descend via this coire so left our bags at the bealach of Coire Odhair. A hot climb up the rocky ridge towards Luinne Bheinn followed with grand views to Ladhar Bheinn and Loch Hourn. The water in Barrisdale bay looked utterly appealing for having a dip to cool down.

Looking East from Druim Leac a'Shith
ImageDSC01627 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Aodainn
ImageDSC01628 by Al, on Flickr

Luinne Bheinn, still further away than we'd like
ImageDSC01629 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Buidhe
ImageDSC01631 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01632 by Al, on Flickr

The inviting waters of Barrisdale Bay
ImageDSC01633 by Al, on Flickr

Oh Ladhar Bheinn I'm coming back for you a third time!
ImageDSC01635 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01636 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01638 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01639 by Al, on Flickr

We retraced our steps back to the bealach then picked our way down through a jumble of bracken, trees, outcrops and streams. There was an old fence-line to follow, though it disappeared in places, and this kept us on the right course as we slowly, oh so slowly, dropped towards the path along the riverside. I had thought we'd be back at the tent by seven, but it was a full hour later that we finally returned, having crossed various boggy sections. A twelve and half hour day - long for us! Just glad we hadn't had to carry the full weight of the tent etc in today's heat.

ImageDSC01641 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01643 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01644 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01646 by Al, on Flickr

Sizeable forces been at work here
ImageDSC01647 by Al, on Flickr

Nearly home
ImageDSC01648 by Al, on Flickr

Day 2 stats
ImageDSC01649 by Al, on Flickr


Another hearty meal devoured. I had left some chocolate squares in a sealed bag in the tent - of course i now had a bag of liquid chocolate and we had to wait until it had cooled and re-set before it could be messily consumed. Even though we'd had a tiring day neither of us slept well - a combination of heat, sunburn and strong wind flapping at the tent saw to that. But we knew that Sunday was only a walk out - albeit a 13 mile walk out.

Yet another fine morning greeted us. We each breakfasted heartily(!) on one of our two remaining Trek bars and gathered the tent together. We followed the hillside round on our side of the river, passing through a herd of deer who seemed entirely unfazed by our arrival - I guess they are used to walkers and probably get fed by the estate. We walked past a couple of tents pitched on the beach, huddled by the rocky wall, then past Sourlies which we guessed would have been jumping this weekend, then another tent nearby. Despite the recent dry weather, the path out was still reassuringly boggy in (many) places. We took our time, once again roasting in the sunshine as the morning wore on. I did think about going for a dip in Lochan a'Mhaim... we did see a few folk walking the other way with big packs, presumably doing the CWT. Into Glen Dessarry Woods rather than taking the top track (which we'd done before) - this was most pleasant, cool shade under sweetly scented pines, birdsong, the plash of the streams. We met an older chap sitting having elevensies before heading to Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr na Ciche and shared views about the pros and cons of hydro tracks in the hills. After that we decided to keep to the good track and continue through the woods on the way back to the car, which was baking in the (full) car park, lots of other cars parked at the side of the road on the way out too. A stop off at the Wildcat cafe in Fort William (highly recommended btw) rounded off a pretty prefect weekend.

ImageDSC01650 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01653 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01654 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bhuidhe
ImageDSC01655 by Al, on Flickr

Lochan a'Mhaim
ImageDSC01657 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Mor
ImageDSC01662 by Al, on Flickr

Day 3 Stats
ImageDSC01663 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1768
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby mrssanta » Mon May 28, 2018 10:16 pm

That's what high up camping is all about! truly magnificent!
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mrssanta
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Mal Grey » Mon May 28, 2018 10:59 pm

Proper trip! That's the way to do these hills. :clap:
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Mal Grey
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 29, 2018 7:55 am

mrssanta wrote:That's what high up camping is all about! truly magnificent!



It’s weeks since we used a campsite. I think I could get used to the joys of camping wild with views like these :D
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weaselmaster
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 29, 2018 10:29 am

Fabulous - a real joy to read. :clap: :clap: :clap: . Having just done a round that encompassed part of your route, it was particularly enjoyable to relive it through different pics. Hard to believe this weather we've been having!

Just one minor technical query: I like to look at panos full scale by opening the original image. Normally I get a really big pic, but with yours (and there are some really great panos) I actually got a smaller pic :shock: . Any idea why???
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Alteknacker
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby malky_c » Tue May 29, 2018 11:08 am

Well that looked like a few days well spent 8) . Glorious weather and great area to be wandering around.
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 29, 2018 11:56 am

Alteknacker wrote:Fabulous - a real joy to read. :clap: :clap: :clap: . Having just done a round that encompassed part of your route, it was particularly enjoyable to relive it through different pics. Hard to believe this weather we've been having!

Just one minor technical query: I like to look at panos full scale by opening the original image. Normally I get a really big pic, but with yours (and there are some really great panos) I actually got a smaller pic :shock: . Any idea why???


Cheers - weather has been superb for the hills. Enjoyed your report again since coming home from our trip.
I’ve no idea about the size of the panos, but you can click on the Flickr link below each photo and it’ll open full size from the Flickr page.
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Posts: 1768
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Grahams:68   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 29, 2018 2:56 pm

weaselmaster wrote:
Alteknacker wrote:Fabulous - a real joy to read. :clap: :clap: :clap: . Having just done a round that encompassed part of your route, it was particularly enjoyable to relive it through different pics. Hard to believe this weather we've been having!

Just one minor technical query: I like to look at panos full scale by opening the original image. Normally I get a really big pic, but with yours (and there are some really great panos) I actually got a smaller pic :shock: . Any idea why???


Cheers - weather has been superb for the hills. Enjoyed your report again since coming home from our trip.
I’ve no idea about the size of the panos, but you can click on the Flickr link below each photo and it’ll open full size from the Flickr page.


Tried it with all 3 of my browsers, and just keep getting the same error message -
flickr message.jpg


Strange...!!!!
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2682
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Re: High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 29, 2018 4:02 pm

Alteknacker wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:
Alteknacker wrote:Fabulous - a real joy to read. :clap: :clap: :clap: . Having just done a round that encompassed part of your route, it was particularly enjoyable to relive it through different pics. Hard to believe this weather we've been having!

Just one minor technical query: I like to look at panos full scale by opening the original image. Normally I get a really big pic, but with yours (and there are some really great panos) I actually got a smaller pic :shock: . Any idea why???


Cheers - weather has been superb for the hills. Enjoyed your report again since coming home from our trip.
I’ve no idea about the size of the panos, but you can click on the Flickr link below each photo and it’ll open full size from the Flickr page.


Tried it with all 3 of my browsers, and just keep getting the same error message -
flickr message.jpg


Strange...!!!!


That is strange. Works fine when I do it. I know Flickr has been taken over by smugmug but don’t think that should affect it.. ...
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Posts: 1768
Munros:205   Corbetts:209
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Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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