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Skye and Torridon

Skye and Torridon


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:58 am

Munros included on this walk: Ruadh-stac Mor (Beinn Eighe), Sgurr Dubh Mor, Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Sgurr nan Eag, Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 15/07/2018

Time taken: 20.5 hours

Distance: 44.8 km

Ascent: 3983m

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This was supposed to be the weekend of the Skye meet - we'll get to that later. The forecast was looking good for Friday and that was about all - high winds, rain and clag seemed the order of the day for Saturday and Sunday. But we travelled hopefully, up to Glen Brittle on Thursday night where we watched the light fading over the Cuillin Ridge and had a peaceful night. Up early the following morning as fog was supposed to be coming in from around 1pm. Sgurr Dubh Mor was the target, having been missed out from our recent trip to Skye. We set off from the campsite after Allison had done her Good Samaritan duty of removing a large tick from another walker's eyelid :shock:

ImageP1200007 by Al, on Flickr

We wandered up into Coir a'Ghrunnda, the rock dry and fine for scrambling. Over to the far side of the lochan and onto my favourite rock, peridotite (or as I call it "pterodactyl rock") which is the chief constituent of the Earth's upper mantle. Up to the left of the castle and a bit of fun scrambling up to the top of Sgurr Dubh an da Bheinn. A dead thing had clearly been at the summit recently as there were numerous maggots lying on the rock. A first. To the south the rim of Coire Beag between Sgurr a'Choire Bhig and Gars-Bheinn contained a filling of mist, looking just like a volcano top. Onwards to Sgurr Dubh Mor - I remembered this as having a couple of awkward sections getting up to the airy summit, but today's conditions were perfect.

ImageP1200008 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200009 by Al, on Flickr

Pterodactyl rock
ImageP1200013 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200014 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200016 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200017 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200019 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200020 by Al, on Flickr

We dropped down from Da Bheinn and crossed the blocks towards Dubh Mor, selecting our route upwards - there is a degree of choice. A twisting turn which was a little awkward with the rucksack to gain a higher ledge then on to the summit. Grand views down to Loch Coruisk and Sgurr na Stri. We took a different way down and stopped behind the castle for our lunch. Might as well go over to Sgurr nan Eag while we're here...

Sgurr nan Eag
ImageP1200021 by Al, on Flickr

Gars-Bheinn
ImageP1200022 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200024 by Al, on Flickr

Alasdair
ImageP1200026 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Dubh Mor
ImageP1200027 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200028 by Al, on Flickr

Summit SDM
ImageP1200029 by Al, on Flickr


This was another bit of fun - we met a rather bored looking guide with his party who'd come down from Sgurr nan Eag and were having their lunch. Up to the top - no sheep today (which there had been the twice we'd been here before). We cut down to Loch Coir' a'Ghrunnda where we chatted to a trio of men who were planning to camp up on the ridge - hope they missed the worst of the weather. Back to the car, having managed to avoid taking the wrong route back down from Coir a'Ghrunnda (which I think is a first for us :lol: )

Sgurr nan Eag
ImageP1200033 by Al, on Flickr

Pterodactyl rock
ImageP1200034 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200035 by Al, on Flickr


We were both thinking about the weather forecast - 40-odd mile an hour winds and rain - not much fun for Skye. It would be soggy Marilyns, and I could see Allison's enthusiasm for those brimming over. I remembered that the forecast for Torridon had been somewhat less grim - Meet or more Hills? With only 11 Munros left to go there was only one choice, I'm afraid. Accordingly, I swung the car round to the right when we got to the head of Glen Brittle rather than turning left for Portnalong.
I find that when I get within touching distance of finishing off a round I want them done as fast as possible, something I'm sure a few other folks (honorary exception of Pete R) have encountered.

So we drove back to Kyle and up through Lochcarron to Torridon to the community campsite. Fairly busy - we pitched at the far end, with our nearest neighbours being a pair of those Quechua Air tents that have become omnipresent at campsites this year for lazy campers who can't be bothered actually pitching a tent and just pump it up. These belonged to a couple of large middle-aged Lancastrian ladies who had assembled all manner of camping furniture around them - a little incongruous in the f=camping field that's mostly used by walkers. They each had a large 4 man tent, plus their own 4x4s in which they drove wherever they were going separately. I dubbed them "the inflatables" and was irked to find they had two of those ratty, yappy little dogs whose only purpose should really be to serve as a bite-sized snack for a larger and more worthy recipient of the name "dog".

We lazed about for a bit, read some of Ring of Bright Water then tried to get some sleep. The inflatables were up til 1am, at one point I thought one of the dogs had become satanically possessed as it emitted fierce growls and gurns, with its owner ineffectually trying to get it to go to bed. Of course, once they finally went to bed themselves they almost immediately started snoring. Campsites - don't you just love em. I was, rather wickedly, hoping that the forecast winds would come during the night and blow away the inflatables and thier tents, but the wind didn't seem too bad.

We were up early again and headed off to Beinn Eighe. I had plotted out a full traverse, including the Black Carls, but that was not for a day as windy as this. Parked at the main car-park - only 2 other cars there, on a dry Saturday in July!! - and walked along the road to the start of the track to Coire an Laoigh. Wind was strong at times as we climbed up into the coire, meeting a young French couple who had camped in Coire Mhic Fhearchair the night before, sleeping little due to the wind. I asked how windy it was up top? "Super windy" - whatever that meant. I was a little apprehensive about the rocky strip from the trig to the summit cairn on Spidean nan Clach. As it happened it was manageable, enough to hold onto when the gusts came. And still dry!

ImageP1200036 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200039 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200040 by Al, on Flickr

Clinging onto Spidean nan Clach
ImageP1200042 by Al, on Flickr


We continued along the ridge to Coinneach Mhor, Liathach appearing from the clag and indeed whole swathes of the Beinn Eighe massif rose from the mist, the white quartzite gleaming in the light. We went out to the summit of Coinneach Mhor and found the top of Fuselage Gully which was the impact point for the doomed Lancaster in 1951. Lots of bits of wreckage up here. We walked back to the eastern cairn and headed down towards the linking ridge with Ruadh-Stac Mhor. Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair looked as wonderful and unworldly as it always does. The wind speed increased as we walked towards the summit of Ruadh-Stac Mhor - it was hard work getting to the summit cairn :lol: We turned to descend and were passed by a hill runner, upright in the wind who made his way to the top then passed us again on his way down, going at a fair toot too. Maybe running is the secret of dealing with high winds - you have more speed against it...

ImageP1200043 by Al, on Flickr

Liathach
ImageP1200047 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200048 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200050 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200051 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200055 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200058 by Al, on Flickr

Wreckage at the top of Fuselage Gully
ImageP1200059 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200060 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200064 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200066 by Al, on Flickr

Coire MhicFhearchair
ImageP1200067 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200068 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200070 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200071 by Al, on Flickr

We headed down the scree into Coire Mhic Fhearchair, noting one large stone block that is, sometime soon, going to cut loose and slide all the way down. Wouldn't like to be coming up the gully when that happens. I stopped at the end of the loch to look at other bits of debris, managed to find 3 of the Merlin engines (the 4th is still up in fuselage gully) and what looked like a fuel tank. Then we headed down by the usual route along Coire a'Dhubh Mhor, meeting a few folks on their way up.

When this bit goes, look out!
ImageP1200072 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200073 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200076 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200077 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200079 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200080 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the campsite there were some new arrivals: the inflatables were away for the day (in their 2 cars). We sat in the almost-sunshine having a beer then turned in quite early as it started to get midge-y. A little later the rain started, desultorily rapping on the tent fabric. The inflatables arrived back late and were having a fight, little sounds from their dogs tonight. There was however a lot of noise from the youth hostel after midnight.

Morning - skies were leaden and rain was in the air. I met a dejected Frenchman in the toilet - he had wanted to go "up the mountain" but it was too wet and misty to see anything. Wasn't going to stop us though. We drove along to the parking place at Coire MhicNobaill - one other car, a couple of guys also going up Alligin. We'd decided to do the Horns first, partly because we had tried and failed to manage that back in February 17 due to ice glazed rock. There wasn't much to see on the approach route, a lot of water in the Abhainn. Thoroughly enjoyable scrambling up the Horns despite the wind and drizzle - this is definitely the best way round to do this lovely mountain. We met the guys from the car park as we were descending from Sgurr Mor. Paused between the summits for lunch then met a young American couple at the top of Tom na Gruagaich - she in jeans and with a small handbag. They were asking which way the path went, having no map or other apparent navigational aid. We were a little relieved to see they had decided not to go further and followed us down in the mist.

Ben Alligin up there somewhere
ImageP1200081 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200084 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200085 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Mor
ImageP1200086 by Al, on Flickr

Tom na Gruagaich
ImageP1200087 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200088 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the car in a little over 5 hours - disappointing to have no views on what is such a special hill, but the scrambling was just as much fun in the rain. So 4 "extra" Munros that i didn't expect to get this weekend, leaving a lucky 7 outstanding. Fingers crossed for some dry weather for the Fanniachs next weekend.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Skye and Torridon

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:21 am

I can understand your decision. Weather on Saturday was dismal. We had to cancel the In Pinn, it was simply too risky to do in such conditions. Sunday no better, it rained all the time. Shame we didn't see you on the meet, but there will be next one soon (possibly Torridon, that's the plan). Now you are so close to the finish line, fingers crossed for good weather next weekend :D :D

The fuselage gully looks interesting. Not that I will ever climb it, but we're hoping to come back one day to photograph the wreckage - a good shorter trip for autumn day.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Skye and Torridon

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:42 am

BlackPanther wrote:I can understand your decision. Weather on Saturday was dismal. We had to cancel the In Pinn, it was simply too risky to do in such conditions. Sunday no better, it rained all the time. Shame we didn't see you on the meet, but there will be next one soon (possibly Torridon, that's the plan). Now you are so close to the finish line, fingers crossed for good weather next weekend :D :D

The fuselage gully looks interesting. Not that I will ever climb it, but we're hoping to come back one day to photograph the wreckage - a good shorter trip for autumn day.


I wondered if you'd managed to get up the Pin on Saturday, but suspected from our windspeed at the top of Beinn Eighe probably not. Was that a sigh of relief or of disappointment from you :wink:
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weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1627
Munros:170   Corbetts:58
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:155   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye and Torridon

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:24 pm

weaselmaster wrote:I wondered if you'd managed to get up the Pin on Saturday, but suspected from our windspeed at the top of Beinn Eighe probably not. Was that a sigh of relief or of disappointment from you :wink:


Definitely disappointment :( I wanted to give myself a challenge, sadly it wasn't meant to be. Will try again next year...
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 2993
Munros:246   Corbetts:147
Grahams:107   
Sub 2000:37   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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