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Loch Arkaig wanders part 2: Dry county

Loch Arkaig wanders part 2: Dry county

Postby BlackPanther » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:51 am

Route description: Sgùrr Mhurlagain and Fraoch Bheinn, Loch Arkaig

Corbetts included on this walk: Fraoch Bheinn, Sgùrr Mhurlagain

Date walked: 05/06/2018

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 1228m

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The second part of Loch Arkaig wanders took us up the steep slopes of two rather obscure Corbetts: Fraoch Bheinn and Sgurr Mhurlagain. We followed the WH route today, no silly detours as I was still suffering from strong headache. I don't like stuffing myself with pills but sometimes one just has no choice. Panther needs her dose of hillwalking (and meowing on the summits!) so Kevin had to put up with me today, stopping every 15 min to moan - ouch my head, ouch ouch :lol: :lol:

We went up Sgurr Mhurlagain first as it looked less steep in ascent, then returned to the Feith a' Bhrolaich col and climbed Fraoch Bheinn by its steep eastern flanks:

Track_SGURR MHURLAGAIN 05-06-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We started from the car park at the end of the public road, the very same spot we visited only yesterday.
Here I go again on my own...
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 004.JPG

After 1km along the main track, another track, eroded and steep, branches to the right. It is marked by a signpost "Tomdoun 18m".
This is the way up!
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 009.JPG

This track, in one form or another, leads uphill to the Feith a' Bhrolaich. It is annoyingly steep in places and wet on flatter stages, but it's better than pathless slopes!
I felt a bit lost at the moment, not sure what I was doing...
!I don't know where I'm goin'
But I sure know where I've been... " :lol:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 020.JPG

I was surprised how little bog we encountered (apart from a couple of muddy puddles on the track) as these hills have a reputation of being wet, but considering current weather, even the Rough Bounds turned into dry county!
Looking down the track, cloud slowly lifting off the Glenfinnian peaks:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 021.JPG

West end of Loch Arkaig:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 025.JPG

From the bealach, the climb to the first summit is pathless but the ground is easy, mostly grassy. We spotted a lizard and a few frogs. Near the summit we met a single walker on his way down. He was the only person we saw all day. Just proves this duo is not very popular and it's a shame, as they offer excellent day of climbing :D
The way up:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 030.JPG

Across the bealach, Fraoch Bheinn presented its steep eastern face. We knew we had to tackle it later...
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 036.JPG

...but first, it was Sgurr Mhurlagain. Oddly, this one is called "rough peak" although in my opinion, the name would better suit its steeper twin :?
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 049.JPG

As we gained height, Sgurr Mor was revealed and we saw what we had yet to tackle this week... My headache immediately turned for worse :lol: :lol: :lol:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 042.JPG

Distant Ben Nevis:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 054.JPG

Near the summit of Sgurr Mhurlagain, behind me Gulvain, Braigh nan Uamhachan and Streap:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 055.JPG

Looking east along Loch Arkaig:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 058.JPG

Kevin and Lucy on the summit of Sgurr Mhurlagain. Corbett no. 144 for us, no. 72 for the Mountain Lamb :D
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 067.JPG

The mountains of Loch Lochy:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 071.JPG

Gairich and other Loch Quoich hills:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 073.JPG

Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarain:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 075.JPG

Loch Arkaig pano:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 082.JPG

Northern pano:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 084.JPG

Picnic time on the summit!
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 085.JPG

After well deserved lunch, we returned to the bealach and aimed for the steep slopes of the second Corbett. In any other circumstances the bottom of the bealach would be a bogfeast, but not today. Dry county!
The ascent goes up one of the shallow grassy gullies in the middle of the picture. It's steep but rocks and boulders can easily be avoided.
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 095.JPG

Looking up at Sgurr Mhurlagain from the steep ascent to Fraoch Bheinn:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 098.JPG

Ben Nevis now basking in sunshine, but we were too far west to benefit from the sun, the high cloud stayed with us for the most of the day.
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 102.JPG

View south from higher up the slope:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 103.JPG

Weird shapes in the rock:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 109.JPG

When we gained the ridge, still about 200m below the summit, we were at last able to see the full extent of the views we missed the day before. Glen Dessarry:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 110.JPG

Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 111.JPG

Steep Streap:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 118.JPG

The final push, Panther working through pain:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 124.JPG

The rough bounds to the west:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 131.JPG

Bidein a'Chabair:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 132.JPG

Corbett no. 145, we worked hard to get here but we succeeded!
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 149.JPG

Lucy on the summit of her 73rd Corbett:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 147.JPG

Sunny spells over the hills to the north... The grass is always greener...
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 157.JPG

Despite the high cloud giving the day a "dull" atmosphere, I was still happy with today's achievement. Once again I proved (more to myself than anybody else) that I can work through pains and aches :D
Feels like flying:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 152.JPG

View east:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 143.JPG

Panorama west:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 134.JPG

The return route took us along the southern ridge of Fraoch Bheinn, we were still accompanied by tremendous views:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 171.JPG

Looking back at the bulky shape of Fraoch Bheinn:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 167.JPG

Sunny Nevis:
2018-06-05 sgurr mhurlagain 178.JPG

We left the ridge at 550m or so and descended more steeply towards Dearg Allt. Eventually we picked the eroded track again and walked back to the road :D
I was surprised to find out, we ascended over 1200m, I never thought it was that much, certainly felt like less :lol: Am I getting used to big ascents?? Well, after more than a decade of scampering happily over Scottish hills, I should be used to big routes, especially in the summer!
After the Tough Tuesday, we carried on to survive the Weary Wednesday, bagging two remote Munros infamous for being steep, wet and somehow boring. Did we get bored?? Certainly not! Glenlochay circuit gave us fun and games in abundance, including a storm scare... TR in progress :D
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 3634
Munros:260   Corbetts:171
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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