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Some like it hot

Some like it hot

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:02 pm

Route description: Sgùrr na Feartaig and Beinn Tharsuinn

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Tharsuinn, Sgùrr na Feartaig

Date walked: 03/06/2018

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 22.5 km

Ascent: 1263m

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The two Craig Corbetts have been on the radar for some time, but because the access requires an awkward river crossing, we preferred to wait for a dry spell of weather to attempt this round. Beinn Tharsuinn, as its name suggests, is most often traversed by Munro baggers en route to Lurg Mhor, whereas Sgurr na Feartaig is virtually overlooked and ignored by all but the most dedicated walkers. We have other plans for Lurg Mhor & Cheesecake, so we really liked the idea of combining the two Corbetts in a circuit from Craig.
Our route follows the stalkers path up the glen of the Allt Leathad an Tobair to Bealach Bhearnais, then up Beinn Tharsuinn first, returning to the bealach and then traversing Sgurr na Feartaig with the final descent down another good path back to the glen of Allt a'Chonais. No river crossing problems at the moment, but in wet times the Allt a'Chonais could be tricky to get across. The whole walk adds up to over 1200m of ascent, surprisingly, but we didn't really feel it was that much. Weather was very warm and humid (don't be mislead by cloudy sky in our photos) but I guess some of us like it hot :lol: :lol:

Track_CRAIG CORBETS 03-06-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Every time we come to the car park in Craig, we are subjected to vicious midge attacks, it was no different today. As soon as we jumped out of the car, we started wriggling around and waving our arms in despair :lol: We quickly booted up, grabbed our rucksacks and ran away from this hellish place, to cross the road and the railway. Then it's easy walking up well-made track:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 002.JPG

The morning was very misty and clag covered all surrounding peaks, but the air was already heavy and humid. It suggested a hot day was coming. Kevin decided we would go up Beinn Tharsuinn first to give the cloud time to burn off.
2018-06-03 craig corbets 009.JPG

There was very little water in the river, so no need to use the provided wire bridges (there are two in different spots) but I pretended I was going to try one, just for a laugh:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 012.JPG

When we reached the start of the stalkers path, we noticed heavy equipment parked nearby. The path is currently being upgraded and though it looks a bit messy at the moment, it will be less boggy and more comfortable to walk on in the future :D
No issue with crossing the Allt a'Chonais:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 024.JPG

The part of the path currently under renovation:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 028.JPG

From now on it's wild country again! Hill tops clearing in the background:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 030.JPG

By the time we walked half way up to the bealach, the clag was patchy and the sun was killing us. For the first time this year I was reduced to wearing shorts, something I don't do very likely for multiple reasons. Some might like it hot but I don't like it burned!
2018-06-03 craig corbets 042.JPG

Beinn Tharsuinn was now in sight, not the true summit (which is further back along the ridge) but the steep 100m section we were about to climb:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 049.JPG

Sgurr Choinnich slowly shaking off the cloud:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 054.JPG

On Bealach Bhearnais the path becomes indistinct, but we didn't have any problems climbing a shallow grassy gully. Higher up, the angle eases off and at some point we saw the summit on the opposite end of the ridge:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 065.JPG

Panther looking for a good vantage point:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 063.JPG

The ridge has a few tops and though it's possible to contour around some of them (which we did on the way back just to save time), it's worth exploring the whole route up to the summit:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 075.JPG

High cloud was coming in from the south-west but it was still humid. Kevin kept glimpsing suspiciously at the darker sky to the left of us, but the wind was blowing from the north, so the nasty front was being pushed away from us. We marched on and talked about our previous encounters with thunderstorms while out on the hills, when suddenly Kevin stopped.
'My boot has just split' he said.
He sat down on a rock and took his boot off, the sole was partially split but thankfully it was still holding together. Kevin would be able to continue today, just about, but sadly, his favourite Karimors have reached the end of their journey :( He was lucky it happened on a dry day otherwise he would be walking back with one wet foot :lol:
We reached the summit of Beinn Tharsuinn, in good spirits despite the boot incident. It was our 141st Corbett (69th for wee Lucy):
2018-06-03 craig corbets 091.JPG

Kevin posing in his beloved Karimors for the last time...
2018-06-03 craig corbets 096.JPG

We took a break on the summit for photos, sandwiches and to admire the last 2 still-to-do Munros in this area: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 088.JPG

Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain behind plus the top of Loch Monar:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 087.JPG

To the north, the peaks of Torridon were slowly clearing. Sgurr na Feartaig is a better vantage point to the northern hills so we knew we'd get better views of Liathach, Bein Eighe etc. from the second Corbett:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 083.JPG

Panorama north:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 089.JPG

East to the ridge we just walked, Sgurr na Feartaig behind:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 098.JPG

Very moody Cheesecake:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 099.JPG

Setting off for the second part of the day:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 100.JPG

We returned to the bealach, contouring a little around the tops of the ridge. In wet conditions, the descent down the steep section would be slow and laborious, on slippery grass, but it was easy in current dry weather.
Looking back at the steep section, it does not seem frightening at all:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 106.JPG

We didn't bother locating the disused stalkers path, just charged straight up the slopes of Sgurr na Feartaig, which were grassy and not drastically steep:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 110.JPG

There were amazing views back to the surrounding mountains and glens and as we gained height again, we stopped not just to have a drink...
Pollan Buidhe:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 111.JPG

The N face of Sgurr Choinnich looks massive from this perspective:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 113.JPG

One more panorama:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 116.JPG

Over 200m of steep-ish climbing brought us to the large summit cairn. Corbett no. 142 (Lucy's no. 70):
2018-06-03 craig corbets 136.JPG

The best views from the summit are to the north and we sat by the cairn for some time, watching the last remnants of cloud disperse over Torridon...
2018-06-03 craig corbets 117.JPG

Beinn Eighe zoomed:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 123.JPG

2018-06-03 craig corbets 143.JPG

Coulin hills:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 144.JPG

Sgurr nan Ceannaichean to the east:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 146.JPG

Back to Beinn Tharsuinn, with Lurg Mhor and Cheesecake in the background:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 131.JPG

Torridon once more:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 155.JPG

The downward route uses a good stalkers path, but first we descended to a high col with Loch Sgurr na Feartaig:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 160.JPG

A short climb over a minor top brought us to a small cairn marking the start of the stalkers path. We turned back and had a last look at the summit. Some dark cloud still lingered behind it in the western sky, but we were confident that the storms were too far away to affect us. It was now a pleasant descent back to the glen.
Looking back at Sgurr na Feartaig:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 162.JPG

One sunny afternoon:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 167.JPG

The mesmerizing peaks of Torridon:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 174.JPG

The path is excellent. We enjoyed the descent despite the heat and I had hundreds of ideas what to do in the next few days... We discussed our options and decided to visit Loch Arkaig and bag a few hills in that area.
Happy Panther:
2018-06-03 craig corbets 181.JPG

Walking on sunshine:
Image2018-06-03 craig corbets 186 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The path descends to a small hydro dam. There is a wobbly hanging bridge short distance upstream, but water levels were so low that we didn't need to use it. Just crossed on stepping stones below the dam:
Image2018-06-03 craig corbets 188 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Finally upon returning to the car park we fought another battle with the wee black army, resulting in more itchy spots all over our arms and legs. Hillwalkers, beware of Craig midges! :lol:
Summing up, these two Corbetts offer a proper day of hillwalking, but with good paths on approach they don't really feel too tough. Best kept for dry time and to be avoided in stalking season.
So let's just say that we started our June hols on a high. The story will continue on Monday the 4th with our first Arkaig Corbett. TR to come soon.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some like it hot

Postby rockhopper » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:12 am

Nice loop - one of my favourite areas with some great hills. :thumbup: Can remember planning to go up Sgùrr na Feartaig using your return route but as it was late September I checked with the estate who were to be stalking there the next day and they asked if I could try to avoid this route so I just went up/down from Bealach Bhearnais - cheers :)
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Re: Some like it hot

Postby PeteR » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:49 am

I've had these two, via this sort of route on my to-do list for a very long time. Just never found myself up that way for quite a while now. I think this is something I might need to address some time this year
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Re: Some like it hot

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:12 am

Nice way of doing these, though I get fed up with the track up from Craig unless I've got the bike with me, when it is great on the way back (and just rideable on the way up, if you're used to biking). Looks like you had some superb views, once the clag had gone.

Feartaig is a good hill, overlooked due to the nearby Munros being so fabulous I guess. The northern corries make an excellent approach, via a stalkers path, followed by a high walk along the ridge with excellent views and then the same excellent descent you did. Mind you, first time we did it, before the hydro, it was getting dark, covered in snow and we couldn't find the bridge so ended up having an interesting time in the gorge below. That was also the occasion the path was covered in sheets of black ice, leading to the memorable description of my mate Nige being like "a giraffe on an ice rink", something entirely appropriate that is regularly remembered to this day, nearly 30 years later.

Warning to Kevin; Karrimor boots aren't what they used to be, unless things have changed recently! Strangely, my own pair of K Munros climbed their last hill on next door Sgurr C, as the soles were worn down to nothing and I had a bit of a mare trying to get grip when we decided on a steep snow gulley ascent, which meant, as usual, trying to put on crampons on a dodgy little flat bit half way up a scary gully.

Sorry, bad case of the reminisces there!!!
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Re: Some like it hot

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:44 pm

Thanks for the comments :D This was just the beginning of our hillwalking week, a good start in a lovely area :D

This is pure stalking country so we never considered climbing the two Corbetts in autumn. We are lucky to live close enough to be able to visit Strathcarron any time in the year. We really enjoyed this circuit and I can highly recommend it for summer months. Lots of folks just add Beinn Tharsuinn to the Lurg Mhor-Cheesecake traverse and it's a shame, I think these two are worth a separate outing.

We cycled up /down Pollan Buidhe once, when we did Maoile Lunndaidh, it was a wobbly ride and on the way back we were caught by a heavy shower. I'm not a cyclist, more a hillwalker who occasionally uses a bike, so for me this track was just about cyclable. A bit more stony and I might lose a few teeth :lol:

As for Karimor boots, I agree they are not as good as we expected them to be. Kevin's pair lasted only 2 years, mind you, with the amount of walking/scrambling we do every year, they were heavily used. I have a pair of Karimors, too and they are still holding well at the moment. We only paid £60 for each pair, a bargain compare to prices for some other brands, so I'm not going to complain. Kevin has quite wide feet and he can't use Scarpas for example, because they are too narrow for him. :(

Will post another TR tomorrow. Cheers
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