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Loch Arkaig wanders part 1: Manic Monday

Loch Arkaig wanders part 1: Manic Monday


Postby BlackPanther » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:34 am

Route description: Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh, Loch Arkaig

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh

Date walked: 04/06/2018

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14.5 km

Ascent: 898m

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Before embarking on the big adventures in the Rough Bounds of Knoydart, I wanted to explore the edges of the wild territory. Funny, 12 years living in Scotland and I have never been to the western end of Loch Arkaig. We climbed most hills around Loch Lochy but the long drive along Loch Arkaig always put us off. I was especially discouraged, considering my travel sickness issue, but when we eventually made the journey, we discovered that the infamous twisty road wasn't as bad as we had expected :D
The first mountain we picked in the area of Glen Dessarry was a n obscure Corbett with a long name: Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh. It's not a long route but it requires some steep climbing, but the effort is rewarded by a lovely walk along the superb ridge between the summit and lower top, Druim a'Chuirn. WH route goes anticlock but we reversed it and went clockwise. It allowed us to cover all the steep ground in ascent and then enjoy easier slopes on the way back.

Track_SGURR COS 04-06-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


It was a cloudy morning, just like the day before, but we hoped weather will change and we would bask in sunshine later on. Sadly, the clag was more persistent today (mother nature doesn't like Mondays???) and it lingered around mountain tops for much longer. As a result, we didn't get any views from the summit, but what we saw on the way up/down plus the ridge traverse, was enough to call this outing successful :D
Cloudy morning over the Rough Bounds:
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From the car park at the end of the public road, we followed the track to Glendessarry Lodge. The clag was breaking so we were hopeful for a nice, warm day.
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Our target hill, still with its head in clag:
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The walk is basically a circuit of Coire Chicheanais. The south-eastern shoulder is steeper but not steep enough to deter a certain meowing one :lol: We walked past the lodge and began the laborious march up the green slopes.
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Monadh Gorm across the glen:
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The cloud was basically sticking to the ridge, creating an interesting "cuddling" effect:
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As we walked up, I developed a bad headache... Does the migraine always have to hit me when I'm out enjoying myself??? I swallowed a dose of painkillers which had a weird effect on me. Now I was acting bonkers. Kevin didn't really notice, he says I always have bats in my belfry, but pictures don't lie :lol: :lol:
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On the way up, there are some interesting slabs to explore, but beware of slippery quartzite!
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About half way up there is an easier section, but the final 200m are steep again. The summit was still hidden in clag and it looked like we might not be lucky with views today:
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5 min break for filming:
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From closer up, the final climb seems very rocky, but there is an easier route to the left, on grass, avoiding all difficulties:
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There are numerous false tops before the true summit is reached. In good visibility this would not be an issue, but as we had already entered the cloud, we had to check with our GPS every time we climbed another bump :roll:
Is it this one?
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We located the true summit finally. It is marked with a small cairn. No views. Disappointing, but we actually enjoyed all the "searching for the right bump" business :lol:
Panther sulky on her 143rd Corbett...
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After a short rest on the summit, we set off to continue the circuit to Druim a'Chuirn. The ridge connecting the two tops is lovely and such a shame we didn't get the chance to see anything :( But wait... Something is emerging from the mist!
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This "pinnacle" is called A'Chioch and though it can be bypassed easily, it's worth having a closer look:
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Finally, we passed the lowest point of the ridge and started to climb again. In misty conditions as we had, the line of fence posts helps with navigation:
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Kevin not entirely happy with his boots :(
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We walked over Druim a'Chuirn, still no views, but I was in manic state of mind, hopping from rock to rock and singing "Manic Monday". Eventually, as we began to descend the NE ridge, we emerged from the cloud. I spent some time investigating giant boulders...
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Our route of descent:
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The ridge of Carn Mor, another Corbett "to-do":
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Fraoch Bheinn clearing:
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What is this pointy peak? Bidein a'Chabair?
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We picked the well worn path in Feith a' Chicheanais pass and descended back to Glen Dessarry. As we walked, we talked about Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarain. The easiest access to this duo goes over this pass and we agreed we should tackle this route now, when weather is dry and river crossing in Glen Kingie won't present any problem.
Panorama of Glen Dessarry:
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When we returned to the track in the glen...
Oh, how typical!!!! It's clear now!!! :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Panorama of Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh:
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Arriving at the car park in sunny weather:
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Our Arkaig initiation came and went without fireworks, but despite the clag, Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh will be remembered on a positive note. We might return to do it again at some point, just to see the views :D Not a big day but certainly challenging if you don't like steep ascents.

Nasty migraine was still alive and kicking the next morning, so Kevin suggested leaving Sgurr Mor "biggie" for later in the week and instead, we tackled a shorter route over two Corbetts, Sgurr Mhurlagain and Fraoch Bheinn. Shorter but by no means easy! It still added up to over 1200m of ascent, some of it quite steep. At least we got the views this time. TR to come soon :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: Loch Arkaig wanders part 1: Manic Monday

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:50 am

Migraine not nice at all. :(

Never been at that end of Loch Arkaig - your photos make me want to go. 8)
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