A short visit to Bealach na Bà, Skye and Kintail
by rockhopper » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:11 am
Route description: Sgurr Gaorsaic, from Morvich
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhan, Garbh-bheinn (Skye), Glamaig, Sgurr a' Chaorachain, Sgurr Gaorsaic
Date walked: 30/06/2018
Distance: 55 km
Ascent: 4200m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Left the house very early and drove up to just east of the bridge over the River Kishorn and parked in the big layby. Walked over the bridge then more less straight up in a WNW direction.
Before long I was regretting wearing short sleeves and shorts; the clegs were out in force. Multiple bites and I must have looked an odd sight as I headed uphill with arms flailing trying to keep them at bay.
Got up to the ridge with view towards Sgùrr a' Chaorachain
Turned in a more NW direction and headed up towards the summit. The impressive cliffs came into view.
Summit shelter and trig
Stopped for a break then debated whether to go on for the circuit or retrace my steps. Opted for the circuit as that would give a view of the cliffs and buttresses from the east.
Continued northwards to the head of Coire an Fhamoir
then headed relatively steeply down into the corrie aiming for Lochan Coire na Poite
Skirted round the north of the lochan, managed to find the path up from the bridge and followed it back to the car.
Saturday 30 June – afternoon
Sgùrr a' Chaorachain
Drove round to the car park at the Bealach na Bà viewpoint. Then walked back up the road a short way before starting up the good track to the radio mast. From there I headed south then east round the head of Coire a’ Chaorachain.
A few ups and downs en route to the summit
Looking back at the cliffs
On the way back, I met a couple who were up for a week from England for some hill walking. This hill was a warm up on their first day – looked like they were going to get a good week.
Back at the car, packed up and set off for the drive over to Skye.
Saturday 30 June – evening
Parked in the layby just over 1km south of Sconser Lodge Hotel. Erected the pop up tent on the grass so that I could organise my stuff and have some dinner away from the reaches of the midges and clegs. Repacked my kit into the camping rucksack out of the day sack.
Crossed the road and walked back a short way to a gate as the fence had barbed wire. Being lower, the ground around it looked as though it could be boggy but turned out to be OK. Then headed WSW uphill doing a bit of “zigzagging” when it got very steep.
Dùn Caan on Raasay
Up and over An Coileach and walked on a bit until I was around the 640m point where I stopped and erected the tent.
Then wandered around a bit as the sun got lower and the light changed.
Sunday 1 July – early morning
Pre-dawn and moon
Got up very early again and set off up to the summit pre-dawn. Only took about 20 minutes to get to the top.
Quite windy so hunkered down beside the cairn and waited for sunrise.
Then I toddled off back down to the tent.
Packed up and then steeply back down to the car getting there at about 0630hrs.
Sunday 1 July – morning
Changed over to the daysack and drove south to the layby just before the head of Loch Ainort.
The plan was to walk the circuit over Garbh-bheinn then Belig and back – didn’t quite work out that way.
Nice morning when I set off and for much of the way up the path and over Druim Eadar Dà Choire. Further up, Garbh-bheinn did look a little daunting.
Not much left of the grassy surface before getting on to the rock. The wind was gusting quite strongly and the low cloud was starting to blow in.
A few hairier moments on some of the more exposed sections due to the strength of the wind gusts. Finding a way up was a little tricky at times when the clag blew in but eventually the top was in sight.
No decent view at the summit cairn due to the low cloud
From the summit, I went NE and down the side of Garbh-bheinn with a lot of loose rocks/stones aiming for Bealach na Bèiste at the foot of Belig. On the way down, the wind gusts got even stronger and I lost balance a few times. Decision point down at the bealach – didn’t really fancy heading up Belig in the wind so opted to turn northwards and walk back to the car alongside the Eas a’Chait arriving back around 1130hrs.
In the afternoon, I had a leisurely drive back towards the Skye bridge with a detour and stop at Kyleakin. Then back over the bridge and drove to Morvich where I parked the car in the NTS car park (and had remembered to stick my car membership sticker to the windscreen before I left).
Sunday 1 July – evening
I was in no great rush as there was low cloud on the surrounding hills and I was pretty sure there would be little point in getting to the summit that night. Got ready and set off at about 1630hrs up the track which goes through Gleann Chòinneachain.
Heading towards the gates of Affric
Through the gates I got the first sight of loch a’Bhealaich.
Cloud still very low so followed the path down to the loch and found a suitable area to pitch the tent.
Monday 2 July – early morning
Awoke early and had a look outside at which time the sky looked to have partially cleared but then made the mistake of turning over and fell asleep for another ½ hour. Hurriedly had breakfast, got ready and set off for Sgùrr Gaorsaic.
The extra sleep meant that I didn’t get to the top until around 0430hrs but the low cloud had appeared again and I couldn’t’ see anything above about 600m anyway.
Waited at the top until a little after 0500hrs; the occasional sign of a possible clearance but then more clag rolled in.
It had been relatively warm lower down but at the summit in the wind it was getting quite chilly. Had to put on an extra layer to keep warm while I waited.
Ninja fleece – selfie
Gave up and headed back down to the tent.
Needless to say it was starting to clear over but there was still a fair bit of low cloud on Sgùrr Gaorsaic.
Set off back to the car after packing up. The hilltops were still in the process of clearing.
Got back to the car around 0900hrs then followed the long drive back down to Glasgow – on the plus side, I was home early afternoon and able to avoid the later rush hour traffic.
by Gordie12 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:56 am
I've been meaning to do the 1st two hills for ages now and your photos do make it look really appealing.
You didn't look odd with the flailing arms, we've probably all been seen doing that this summer - the worst I can remember for clegs.
Not much climbing for one hell of a distance
by rockhopper » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:51 am
Oops Had juxtaposed ascent with distance. Now fixed - cheersGordie12 wrote:Not much climbing for one hell of a distance
by Petr Dakota » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:14 pm
by hbeevers » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:46 am
- Posts: 15
- Joined: Jul 10, 2016
by Mal Grey » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:54 am
Wonderful sunset and sunrise. Special looking camp that.
by rockhopper » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:40 am
by Alteknacker » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:59 pm
Sgurr a'Chaorachain looks absolutely superb - now on the "to do" list!
Ref clegs: In Fisherfield I found that I was able to keep the clegs at bay more or less successfully, notwithstanding shorts and T-shirt, by covering legs and arms with Smidge (sac covered back, leaving chest where they could land and I could despatch them ).
by Malkie » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:32 pm