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Glenfinnan to Inverie the hard way

Glenfinnan to Inverie the hard way


Postby johnbythell » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:42 pm

Munros included on this walk: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart), Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glenfinnan)

Date walked: 08/06/2018

Time taken: 98 hours

Distance: 69 km

Ascent: 6525m

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After a very special trip across Knoydart last year, Dave, Alex and myself planned a similar trip in reverse starting in Glenfinnan and ending in Inverie. This time, we hoped to take in a few of the munros on the way, ones that I had missed due to poor weather last year (see my post 'Kinlochourn to Glenfinnan'). About an hour into our planned 5-day trip, as we neared the Corryhully bothy in Glenfinnan, we were met by the estate manager in his Land Rover. He gave us some advice about the lack of water in the high corries and made sure we were aware the Carnoch bridge was out. When we told him we were planning on 5 days to get to Inverie rather than three, he said 'you must be planning on climbing some peaks then?'. When we confirmed, adding that Sgurr nan Coireachan was to be the first, he nearly cried with laughter and said we must be 'bloody mad to be trying that with those heavy packs'. Later in the day, on the steep and seemingly never-ending descent into Glen Pean from the summit, I had to agree with him. Still, we managed it, and added another 5 Munros in all, including all three of the Knoydart Munros. In total, about 70 km and over 6500 m ascent, so pretty much everything went according to plan. I have to say we were helped out by the near-perfect conditions, with the long spell of dry weather in May meaning that the burns were barely running and we could cross areas with ease that would be nightmare bog under normal conditions. Our main difficulty, as the estate manager said, was actually finding water, not usually a problem in Knoydart. A couple of times that meant carrying too much weight, but although we had to range about sometimes to find a flowing burn, we never had to down-climb to find water. Here's how it went:

Day 1: Glenfinnan to Glen Pean
8 June 2018
14.2 km, 1389 m ascent.

Knoydart Day 1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We left the car in Mallaig and took the train to Glenfinnan, setting off about 11 am towards the viaduct via the footpath behind the station. Game on!
Knoydart 01.jpg
A beautiful blue-sky day for the start. The Hogwarts Express was standing in the Glenfinnan station when we arrived from Mallaig.

Knoydart 04.jpg
One of the more spectacular spots on the way up to the summit. Sgurr Thuilm in the background.

Knoydart 05.jpg
We reached the summit in gathering cloud, which was to stay with us for most of the rest of the trip, though it mainly stayed above the summits. Loch Arkaig just visible over the peaks.

Knoydart 10.jpg
Spectacular view up Glen Pean with An Stac (716m) centre. It was a pretty grueling descent on steep grassy slopes with some rocks that needed picking around.

Knoydart 11.jpg
Camp 1 - just east of the Lochan. Here we saw the third person of the day after leaving the Glenfinnan track - a lone hiker heading west on the far side of the burn.


Day 2: Glen Pean to Sgurr na Ciche
9 June 2018
18.6 km, 1269 m ascent.

Knoydart Day 2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


With the weather looking a bit more changeable and the slopes up to Carn Mor looking uninviting to say the least, we decided to take the line of least resistance and headed east down Glen Pean and then up Glen Dessary. We weren't sure what the next move would be, but probably to head up the Alt Coire nan Uth and camp in the bowl below the other Sgurr nan Coirachan. The idea of climbing both Sgurr nan Coireachan's in a row seemed quite appealing.
Knoydart 12.jpg
View looking back up Glen Pean, with Sgurr nan Coireachan (the Glenfinnan one we had climbed the day before) on the left and the Glean Pean bothy on the right.

Knoydart 13.jpg
Unfortunately in the early afternoon, on the way up Glen Dessary the gathering cloud finally broke and the rain came. We decided to miss out the 'other' Sgurr nan Coireachan and headed up Glen Dessary towards Sgurr na Ciche. The rain kept the crowds away, all of them in fact, we didn't see a soul all day (a bit surprising for a Saturday).

Knoydart 14.jpg
It brightened up by the time we were making our way up to the lower slopes of Garbh Cioch Mor and Sgurr na Ciche.

Knoydart 15.jpg
We camped just below the gully up to the Feadan na Ciche, at about 660m.


Day 3: Sgurr na Ciche to Meall Buidhe
10 June 2018
10.4 km, 1315 m ascent.

Knoydart Day 3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Knoydart 16.jpg
We were up early and headed up the gully the next morning towards the Feadan na Ciche, leaving the tents set up and the heavy packs behind - what a feeling of release! From the bealach we first headed southeast to Garbh Chioch Mor, following the line of the wall.

Knoydart 18.jpg
The summit of Garbh Chioch Mor, with the clouds drifting in and out. Loch Quoich in the background. From here we retraced our steps along the ridge and then up the other side to Sgurr na Ciche.

Knoydart 21.jpg
Summit of Sgurr na Ciche looking east, Loch Quoich on the left.

From the summit we retraced our steps back down the gully to break camp and pick up the heavy packs once again. Then we made a short traverse over the ridge to the top of the Coire na Cuairtich, and made the long descent down the steep, grassy coire, but without too much difficulty. We crossed the Carnach river without any trouble after the long dry spell and headed straight up the opposite slope to the Coire Ile below Meall Buidhe.
Knoydart 24.jpg
The camp in the spectacular bowl of the Coire Ile, just below the small lochan. Outstanding views of Sgurr na Ciche and the Coire na Cuairtich that we had come down earlier that day. Maybe less surprising given our route and timings, but we didn't see anyone the entire third day either, but seeing as it was Sunday we were beginning to wonder if the apocalypse had come while we were out of town.


Day 4: Meall Buidhe to Stob na Muicraidh
11 June 2018
11.5 km, 1374 m ascent.

Knoydart Day 4.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The next day we made the short climb up to the ridgeline with the packs and stashed them to follow the ridge west along to the summit of Meall Buidhe.
Knoydart 25.jpg
Some fun (without the heavy packs) scrambling on the way to the summit.

The clouds were down for the summit and after that we retraced our steps to pick up the packs and complete the ridge climb around to Luinne Bheinn, where the clouds lifted with spectacular views of Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis on either side..
Knoydart 29.jpg
On the second summit of Luinne Bheinn, which shows as about a metre lower on the OS map, but is probably about the same height given the cairn and the added rock. Loch Hourn down below.

Knoydart 33.jpg
From Luinne Bheinn we descended the ridge to the high point on the Mam Barrisdale then climbed the grassy ledges and slopes of the Stob na Muicraidh, to camp on the ridge below the crags leading up to the Stob a' Chearcaill. The route up the crags isn't at all obvious until you get right up to it (just follow the eroded path line at the crest of the ridge right up to the crag and it becomes obvious). The scrambling isn't anything like as exposed as it looks from a distance and is quite short. We finally saw some people (the first in nearly 3 days) descending the route as we neared the ridge - confirming that we would still need to go to work the following week.


Day 5: Stob na Muicraidh to Inverie
12 June 2018
13.6 km, 722 m ascent.

Knoydart Day 5.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Knoydart 36.jpg
There are several bits of scrambling up to the summit of Ladhar Bheinn which are sustained right up to the final summit slopes. Unfortunately the cloud was down, so we couldn't see what was obviously a magnificent situation - definitely one to repeat!. I feel sorry for people that have only climbed it from the west, which was a chore in descent and must be a slog going up.

Knoydart 38.jpg
At the trig point, which according to the OS map (as we couldn't see it to confirm) is not the highest of the 3 mini-peaks on the Ladhar Bheinn summit ridge.

Knoydart 40.jpg
The race to the pub began properly on the forest track back to Inverie.

Knoydart 41.jpg
A well-deserved if overpriced pint at the pub (although I would have paid a lot more for it at the time).
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johnbythell
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Re: Glenfinnan to Inverie the hard way

Postby Giant Stoneater » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:18 am

Done your route in reverse a few years ago,though I didn't do the Glean Finnan hills but done all the rest of them, it's a great tough route,lucky with the weather also.The Belgian who owns the Forge has destroyed the place which is a shame.
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Re: Glenfinnan to Inverie the hard way

Postby johnbythell » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:13 am

Giant Stoneater wrote:Done your route in reverse a few years ago,though I didn't do the Glean Finnan hills but done all the rest of them, it's a great tough route,lucky with the weather also.The Belgian who owns the Forge has destroyed the place which is a shame.

Yeah - difficult to imagine better weather for this and I know from trying it last year what a difference it can make. Hmm real pity about the pub- the locals seem stoic about it but it is obviously having a big impact on them. Inverie in winter must be pretty soul-less without the pub (he shuts it in the off-season).
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johnbythell
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Re: Glenfinnan to Inverie the hard way

Postby BatleyWalker » Sun May 26, 2019 6:26 pm

Looks epic. Will be trying to incorporate it into an extended Cape Wrath trail next year

David
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