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Fifty shades of Slioch

Fifty shades of Slioch


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:55 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Chearcaill, from Loch Maree

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn a'Chearcaill

Date walked: 25/11/2018

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 14.3 km

Ascent: 743m

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After an excellent day on Beinn Liath Mhor the previous weekend, we hoped for another nice one for repeating Sgorr Ruadh before days get too short. But weather wasn't entirely on our side: Sunday the 25th was said to be very windy and cold. We still wanted to give it a go, but sadly, Panther's aching stomach forced us to change our plans. It was time to look for an easier route. We decided to visit one of Torridon Grahams, Beinn a'Chearcaill. We had already climbed it and in winter conditions as a Christmas "treat" a few years back, but this wee hill is just as exciting as any other mountain in this area. Well, situated next to Beinn Eighe, it better be!
During that first visit we didn't have enough time to explore the Graham properly, so it would be a chance to visit at least one of the outlying tops, possibly for some extra views. As it turned out, the outlying top was toe ONLY spot where we saw any views, so just as well we took the detour :lol:
Our route followed the great stalkers path into Glen Grudie, up Coire Briste and to the summit, then returned over Creag na Feol. Going is good on the path, a bit rocky on the approach to the summit, but surprisingly dry.

Track_BEIN A CHEARCAILL 25-11-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We started with the first rays of daylight, from a layby just north of Bridge of Grudie. It was clear sky at the moment, but forecast suggested cloud later during the day.
Good morning, Torridon:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 002.JPG

I remembered from our previous visit, that the start of the path was tricky to find, but the area must have been tidied up since then, because we located the start of the path without any problems - it begins right in front of the grey house (in the middle of this picture):
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 008.JPG

The cloud was drifting around, touching the top of Slioch:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 009.JPG

Trudging along the path, we noticed a brand new track below us. It follows River Grudie and, as we suspected, it gives access to a small hydro scheme (oh no, not another one, I thought, they pop up everywhere!). The hydro dam can be seen to the left in the distance, an ugly scar on otherwise wild landscape:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 013.JPG

Zoom to the area of the dam - still a bit of a mess:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 018.JPG

Bellyache temporarily under control, I posed with the mighty Slioch. Seen from its best side here:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 020.JPG

Shortly before crossing Allt a'Choire Bhriste, the path divides (look for a cairn marking the spot). We took the right branch here and started ascending up Coire Briste. Weather was deteriorating, cloud descending on Slioch behind us...
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 031.JPG

...and on beinn Eighe in front of us. Shame, i thought, the most intriguing views from Beinn a'Chearcaill are towards Beinn Eighe and into Coire Mhic Fhearchair. But Scottish weather is always hit and miss. On the bright side, it wasn't raining :lol: :lol:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 033.JPG

With cloud pushing in from the south-west, views to Slioch were the best part of our walk. Here, seen from the top of Coire Briste, with a cloudy "cap":
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 034.JPG

The path ends by a small, tear-shaped lochan and from here it's pathless climbing, but the ground is not difficult:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 038.JPG

From the tear-shaped lochan we followed a small stream uphill, over heather and occasional boulders, to another lochan at 550m.
Lochan no. 2:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 056.JPG

Looking back down the N shoulder of Beinn a'Chearcaill, to A'Choineach Beag, with Beinn Airigh Charr (left) and Beinn Lair (right, in cloud):
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 050.JPG

My attention was drawn to the islands of Loch Maree:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 057.JPG

From the second lochan, a short steep climb leads to a flatter area just below the summit, where views to Beinn Dearg and the Horns of Alligin were revealed...
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 061.JPG

...but not for a long time, sadly. As soon as we started the final ascent to the top, the clag won the battle and by the time we arrived on the summit area, it looked like this:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 071.JPG

"Stand and deliver" pose:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 070.JPG

The wind was seriously cold, even Kevin covered his face:
20181125121343(1).jpg

We waited on the summit for some time, but the clag was stubbornly clinging on. Our hands were freezing off, despite thick gloves, so eventually we gave up and started descending. I suggested a detour to Creag na Feol, hoping for some views at least from the lower top. The suddenly - bang! - we walked out of the cloud and into the bright, sunny world:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 073.JPG

The sun was directly behind Coire Mhic Fhearchair so photos in that direction are a bit overexposed:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 086.JPG

On the top of Creag na Feaol (a Sim, if anyone is interested), with the western tops of Beinn Eighe behind me:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 091.JPG

And now it's clear... How typical!!!!!
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 095.JPG

Meall a' Ghiuthais:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 084.JPG

We took a longer break on Creag na Feol, stretching our legs and drinking a cup of hot tea. We considered returning to the summit for some extra photos, but in the end, my aching belly reminded me that I was not in my best shape. We headed back for the northern shoulder, aiming for the tear-shaped lochan, to pick the path descending into Coire Briste:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 097.JPG

As we descended back into Glen Grudie, we enjoyed more views towards Slioch:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 099.JPG

Cloud lifting from the hills across Loch Maree:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 102.JPG

One more shade of Slioch, this time from lower down in Glen Grudie:
2018-11-25 beinn a chearcaill 104.JPG

Summing up, a lovely, enjoyable shorter day, even without the summit views. Shame only about the new hydro scheme: it makes the bottom of the glen look messy, but once on the way up the corrie, it disappears from views and the rest of the walk celebrates the true rough beauty of Torridon :D
....................
For better photos from this route, including summit views, here is my TR on our previous visit to Beinn a'Chearcaill.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3298
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Grahams:112   
Sub 2000:44   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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