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Sguilard, Ulaidh and Braeriach

Sguilard, Ulaidh and Braeriach

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:42 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Sgulaird, Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, Sgòr na h-Ulaidh, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 24/06/2018

Distance: 66.3 km

Ascent: 4791m

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Now that the Full House has been achieved, we can get back to other things - like finishing off my Munros. There are still 30-odd scattered around, mostly in the west and this weekend was going to be a bit - well, bitty. I reckoned we could do Beinn Sguilard on Thursday night/Friday, then Sgor na h-Ulaidh Friday into Saturday. The forecast for Saturday was a bit pants, but Sunday was supposed to be a belter. So what about a walk in through the Lairig Ghru Sat and coming back over Braeriach on Sunday.

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

I hadn't enjoyed Sguilard done from Druimnavuic and reckoned the approach from Elleric would be better - this would also allow the acquisition of Stob Gaibhre, a Sim on the east side of Sguilard. We drove up to Elleric, had our tea in the car dodging midges then set off to do a walk in. This wasn't strictly necessary - we could have used a campsite in Balcardine, but I have a taste for nights out on the hills now. There are new signs for both Fhionnlaidh and Sguilard at the estate. The track in is good and it was a pleasant evening - I was almost tempted to climb An Grianan, a Glen Ure Marilyn, on the way. Reason prevailed, and we found a spot to camp beside a metal footbridge that has seen better days. We stood and watched an eagle soaring along the crags, possibly sizing us up for his breakfast.

ImageDSC01927 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01929 by Al, on Flickr

An Grianan
ImageDSC01930 by Al, on Flickr

Unmolested by eagles overnight, we were up at a modest time Friday morning and up the shoulder of Sguilard towards Stob Gaibhre. The sky was overcast, but the Glencoe mountains stood out well enough against the cloud. Allison was pretty tired, with the energy of a burst beach ball. And this is not a cuddly mountain - lots of rocky sections. We made the summit and enjoyed some views down Loch Creran. I had intended to continue west coming down one side or other of Meall Garbh, but the terrain looked more forbidding than on the map - lots of slabby and craggy bits. We elected to return the way we came, but ended up cutting down the hillside before reaching Stob Gaibhre. This was very steep and needed nimble work to negotiate some bits. Even when we got down to the treeline we had hidden crags to cope with. Whilst I would recommend going in from Elleric, I wouldn't recommend our return route :lol:

ImageDSC01933 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01935 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01936 by Al, on Flickr

Sguilard from Stob Gaibhre
ImageDSC01938 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01942 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01944 by Al, on Flickr

Steep descent
ImageDSC01945 by Al, on Flickr

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

It was early afternoon by this time. We had a discussion about Sgor na h-Ulaidh - maybe better to do it with light packs and find a campsite than to drag a heavier pack and camp out? We agreed on this. Stopped off at the Co-Op in Ballachulish for some pie (apple and strawberry) to act as an incentive, plus a couple of sandwiches as an extra meal on the hill and parked up by the bridge to walk up Gleann Leac na Muidhe. It was maybe 2.30 at this time, some blue sky threatening to appear. We were not going to include Meall Lighiche, as seems usual for this hill, though there was (as ever) a Sim to bundle along, fortunately not requiring any significant deviation. Having been tired earlier, Allison was now something of a walking dead type person. She was not looking forward to the sustained climb from 300m at the floor of the valley to the summit. We feasted on sour Spanish cherries just before reaching the bealach between Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne and Stob an Fhuarain which helped a little. Sheep watched as we crept higher. Fortunately there's a path, which makes everything easier.

ImageDSC01948 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01950 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01951 by Al, on Flickr

Bidean nam Bian
ImageDSC01952 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Etive
ImageDSC01953 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01954 by Al, on Flickr

We decided to leave our packs at the tops of Stob an Fhuarain and prepared for the loss of more than 100m before climbing up to the summit proper. There was a loud cackling in the air - 4 Ravens were sat at the cliff edge rising up into the air and having a great time. One sat watching the other three - I'm guessing a parent bird taking the juveniles out for flying lessons. We stood and watched for a while - fantastic birds. Then on to the summit and of course back down (and up) again. We hoped that these ravens hadn't managed to master the art of opening rucksacks - we did not want to find our sandwiches had ended up in a raven's belly. Thankfully they had not, though Allison's sack had fallen from the rock she'd placed it on and a nearby sheep was looking sheepish. We devoured our sandwiches, which restored some vigour to the Sick One and headed across to the Sim before dropping back down into the glen and walking out. We made the car just before 8pm and decided to drive up to Bunroy at Roy Bridge, where we're always sure of a great reception.

ImageDSC01955 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01956 by Al, on Flickr

Aonach Eagach
ImageDSC01959 by Al, on Flickr

The site was quite busy and the owners have been continuing to make improvements to what's already a fine place to stay. We pitched, showered and had a second evening meal, the light breeze keeping the midges at bay. Both slept well :lol:

Saturday had been meant to be heavy clouds and poor visibility but looked better than that. With no pressure to get up early we took our time over breakfast and set off for Aviemore, arriving around 11. Today we'd have an easy day - a walk in from the Sugarbowl to Corrour. It was supposed to be fog on the hills overnight til 9ish on Sunday morning then fine sunshine. The paths were busy - we met 4 young lads who were part of a football team outing and had taken a short cut and were now lost. They seemed to want to go to the big car-park with a restuarant and one was so hungry that he asked of you could eat heather. We set them on the right path, recommended avoiding the heather and continued on our way, later meeting the remainder of their party at the Chalamain Gap. Down to the river then along the Lairig. We've never walked this before, only a short section at the southern end, so it was enjoyable to take it easy (where boulderfields permitted). We spoke to quite a lot of folk and were surprised just how many were Scottish today.

ImageDSC01962 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01963 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01964 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01967 by Al, on Flickr

Past the March Burn and the Pools of Dee with the river running somewhere under the boulders. Along by the great scooped coires on Braeriach and the Tailors' Stone. We could make out the bothy with a cluster of tents around it - as we got closer we could count around a dozen tents. Base Camp Devils's Prick :lol: We decided to stay :lol: on the other side of the river and found a dry and level spot. It was quite windy as we pitched, which always makes me a little anxious when we have the light tent, but as usual it performed fine. It was coming up to 5pm - a real short day. I had thought I might nip up Carn a'Mhaim but indolence got the better of me. Tea was cooked and enjoyed, we retreated into the tent and read for a bit then went to sleep. At about 9pm we awoke - probably noise from the bothy of more folk going past. It's going to be a long night...back to sleep, wakened at 11, then 1am. I was surprised to see just how light it was at 1am, almost light enough to read by. By 5.15 I was ready for getting up but Allison was still sleeping. There was no mist on the tops at all, and it was shaping up to be a fine day. Just before 6 I put her breakfast sandwich on her head, which was my way of saying get up...we were packed and off up the Devil's Peak by 7.

Cairn Toul & Sgurr Lochain Uaine
ImageDSC01968 by Al, on Flickr

Now that's a coire
ImageDSC01969 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01970 by Al, on Flickr

Base camp
ImageDSC01971 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01976 by Al, on Flickr

A steady climb to the bealach, drop the sacks and nip over to the Devil's Peak. Fine views to the hills in the south. Back to the packs and on up to Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir, the first Munro Top of the day. Up over the boulders to Cairn Toul, where a large group of folk were just arriving from the west, then past the waters of Lochan Uaine, beloved of Nan Shepherd and up to the peak of that name. From here on it's Braeriach - a monumentally big mountain. We saw 2 reindeer crossing the plateau of Carn na Criche (a good place for a summit camp) then kept to the coire edge, past the Wells of Dee and round to Braeriach summit. We spoke to a few folk there as we had an early lunch then on to Sron na Lairige before the long descent back to the Lairig Ghru. It was hot by this point, sun beating down on the back of our necks.

ImageDSC01977 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01978 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01979 by Al, on Flickr

Lairig Ghru
ImageDSC01980 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01982 by Al, on Flickr

Lochan Uaine
ImageDSC01985 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01987 by Al, on Flickr

Reindeer on Carn na Criche
ImageDSC01998 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02000 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02001 by Al, on Flickr

Looking back from Braeriach
ImageDSC02003 by Al, on Flickr

Braeriach from Sron na Lairige
ImageDSC02006 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02007 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02008 by Al, on Flickr

An enjoyable weekend, if somewhat unusual having no hills on the Saturday. Leaves me with 30 Munros left - if this weather keeps up I won't complain.
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