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Conival South Ridge scramble

Conival South Ridge scramble

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: Conival

Date walked: 25/05/2018

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 965m

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If I had to choose my favorite area of Scotalnd it would be the far North West and although we have been up Conival a number of times spotting a potential route up its South Ridge was a good excuse for a return visit. We found a description for the route in Highlands Scrambles North Which graded it as 2/3 scramble, so we decided to give it a try.
The Route

We set out from the Inchadamph carpark at 8:10 following the path into Gleann Dhubh and were delighted by the sheer number of different wild flower species. The one that really caught my attention was the Mountin Aspen growing on the grassy banks, it was not a plant I had come across before and I was surprised to find it was a shrub in the rose family.
Mountain Aspens

The South Ridge of Conival starts in the bealach between Conival and Breabag Tarsainnand by approaching this via the path on the right hand side of the River Ligall we were able to visit the Bone Caves on route as well as explore an area we had not previously seen.
Bone Caves
Looking Down into 2nd Cave

From the bone caves we could see the bealach in the distance. The terrain was undulating and although there was a faint path it was a case of guessing which line had the least ups and downs and more often than not getting it wrong. :wink:
Bealach Between Conival and Breabag Tarsainn

On reaching we the bealach, we planned to traverse the slopes of Conival to join the ridge where it narrowed at about 600m, rather than follow the lower path and climb the ridge from its base.
There had been low cloud all morning and the skies were showing no sign of clearing, the crags above us were hidden in cloud and the traverse seemed relentless.
Conival Crags Hidden in Clag

By 11:00 it felt like we were getting nowhere quickly, we were ready to throw in the towel, :( . Fortunately there was a bubbling burn that looked like an enticing spot for an early lunch.
Jeremy Doing His Best to Rekindle Flagging Spirits

Feeling revived and able to identfy our objective on the skyline we set out with renewed vigour. We traversed the steep slopes on an ever narrowing deer path crossing the gullies filled with loose boulders with a spring in our step (almost).
Traverse of Steep Grass and Loose Gullies

The situation was magnificent despite the testing terrain.
Looking North Along the Bealach

And eventually we reached the South Ridge.
12:30 Reaching The South Ridge

Just In Time for Some Easy Slabs

As we made our to the first of three towers we had a good view of ridge between Conival and Ben More Assynt
Good View of Conival - Ben More Ridge

The trickiest scrambling was up slabs on the first tower.
First Tower Much Trickier Slabs

Although keeping to the side was a bit easier
Kept More to The Side

The second and third towers ahead

The scrambling up these was much blockier and awkward rather than technical.
Awkward in Places

From here we followed the narrow grassy ridge straight up to the summit, there were a few short easy rocky sections, but even without these the ridge was delightful, and the exposed step mentioned in the guidebook was a short narrow descent and my fears of an exposed jump thankfully unfounded. :lol:
Breabag Tarsainn Behind
Inspiring Situation
Jump not Required
Delightfully Narrow Ridge
Last rocky section

14:26 Approaching Conival Summit

As we enjoyed our summit brew we chatted to a couple who had been watching our progress as they walked back from Ben More and seemed very tempted to try it, although not in descent.
Jeremy enjoying the summit atmosphere

We followed the standard route in descent and by the time we reached the upper Coirre Blue Skies had resumed normal service.

As we were making our slowly back along Gleann Dhubh we were passed by numerous runners on the Cape Wrath Ultra Marathon, at the end of their longest day, nearing 40 miles. Amazing :clap:
Looking back we could just see our route on the skyline
Lookingk back at the route

The slog in was worth every step and for a scrambling route up Conival I would highly recomend it.
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Cairngorm creeper
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: Conival South Ridge scramble

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:32 pm

That looks like an excellent route up a great hill.
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Mal Grey
Posts: 3474
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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