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Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig


Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:59 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich)

Date walked: 24/02/2019

Time taken: 9.75 hours

Distance: 20.5 km

Ascent: 1438m

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Another few days up north for Karl and me, this time staying at the Blackwater Bunkhouse, Kinlochleven. Along with a group of snow-boarders who were also staying there, we had hoped for some winter conditions. But nearly all the snow had gone, so we had to revise our objectives (the snow-boarders were going home). The forecast for the day after we arrived (Sunday 24th) was OK, if a bit cloudy and windy on the tops. I thought it might be a good opportunity to bag an isolated Munro I hadn't been up before, Sgurr Mor between Lochs Arkaig and Quoich. I wasn't particularly relishing the long drive, remembering the tortuous roller-coaster 'road' along the entire length of Loch Arkaig, from a previous trip. But, in the words of Primo Levi, if not now, when? So the alarm was set for 5am, an early start being required at this time of year.

We were out of the bunkhouse before 6am, while it was still dark. Dawn was breaking as we turned left at the Commando Memorial above Spean Bridge and skirted the southern end of Loch Lochy. It was a fine morning, with hardly a ripple on the surfaces of the Lochs. Just before the head of Arkaig the view had me stopping to take a photo.

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Loch Arkaig, early morning


We reached the car park at about 7.45 and by the time we were suited, booted and set to go, it was 8.05.

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Monarch of the glen


It was nice to stretch the legs along the gravelly road after all that sitting in the car.

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Streap (left) and Sgurr Thuilm


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Turn right for Glen Dessarry


A little way before Glendessarry we noticed a clear tack going up on the right side of the burn leading up to the Feith a' Chicheannais. The path marked on the map, however, went up the left (west) side, so we followed that.

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Bidein a' Chabhair from the stalker's path above Glendessarry.


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Morning mists in Glen Dessarry.


It was a decent path which continued through the pass before veering down rightwards into Glen Kingie. We headed off left, contouring the waterlogged slopes. Only the vaguest sketches of path to follow, but the weather was most encouraging! :) We admired the fine view of Sgurr Mor, but I forgot to take a photo of it, until it was nearly out of sight. :roll:

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Sgurr Mor above Glen Kingie


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An Eag at the head of Glen Kingie


We hit the river at a point that was easy to cross and not far below the stalker's path on the other side. The path was well graded, taking a rising traverse towards the head of the glen at first, then breaking into a few zig-zags before zagging back to the col between An Eag and Sgurr Beag.

At the col the wind was blowing a hoolie, so we put our wind-proofs on before embarking on the zig-zag path up Sgurr Beag.

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At the An Eag - Sgurr Beag col, Sgurr na Ciche peeping above the ridge.


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Sgurr Beag


The views of the Knoydart peaks from the top of Sgurr Beag were breathtaking.

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Sgurr nan Coireachan, Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr na Ciche from Sgurr Beag


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Meall Buidhe, Luinne Bheinn, Ladhar Bheinn and Sgurr a' Choire-bheithe, from Sgurr Beag.


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Upper Loch Quoich from Sgurr Beag


Sgurr Beag also gave us a good view of the final ascent to Sgurr Mor.

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Sgurr Mor from Sgurr Beag


The gap between the two hills looks a bit daunting at first, but the col is soon reached and, although the subsequent ascent is quite steep, at least you know the summit is directly above. There's even a wee bit of mild scrambling to entertain along the way, and before you know it the cairn appears just above your head. :)

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Sunmmit Cairn, Sgurr Mor


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View SW


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Ladhar Bheinn and the Skye Cuillin


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Loch Quoich


We found a spot sheltered from the wind behind an outcrop, overlooking Loch Quoich, and hunkered down for a bite and coffee. All the way up we had it mind to go back the same way, in case the river was too deep to cross lower down. But actually the river wasn't in spate, so on second thoughts we decided to descend eastwards to the col before Sgurr an Fhuarain, then down the grassy slopes to cross the river about half a kilometre downstream from where we'd crossed on the way up. We figured this would be a quicker way down, and would avoid the re-ascent of Sgurr Beag.

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Ben Nevis on the south-eastern horizon


It was very windy along the east ridge and down to the col, but from there the grassy slopes were easy to descend and, when we reached the river, this was easily crossed with dry feet.

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Looking back to Sgurr Mor


It was a bit of slog back up the soggy moor to the broad pass of Feithe a' Chicheannais, but not so bad when we hit the path again and the ground began to level off.

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Vespertine sunlight on Streap and Sgurr Thuilm, from the Feithe a' Chicheannais


Further along we decided to try to pick up the bigger path on the east side of the burn, which we'd seen from Glen Dessarry on the way up. There was no obvious link path, so we picked a way across rough ground, until eventually we hit the path. This took us easily enough back down into Glen Dessarry and thence back to the car parked at the head of Loch Arkaig. The long drive back to Kinlochleven remained, but at least this was the last time I'd have to drive along Loch Arkaig for the sake of bagging Munros!

Thanks to Karl for indulging me on this one. :thumbup:


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Last edited by dav2930 on Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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dav2930
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:56 am

Some great pics there, Dav. I especially like first and third ones.

What a "winter" we've had - you must have been tearing your hair out over the lack of snow....

BTW I think you have attached the wrong pic for the summit - at least my pic of the summit looks a bit different....
20180516_151254 (3).jpg
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby dav2930 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:46 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Some great pics there, Dav. I especially like first and third ones.

What a "winter" we've had - you must have been tearing your hair out over the lack of snow....

BTW I think you have attached the wrong pic for the summit - at least my pic of the summit looks a bit different....

Thanks AK.

Yeah, this "winter" has been a bit of a write-off (so far?? :? ). It's had its compensations though (2nd of two reports to follow).

Re the pic of the summit cairn, you had me wondering for a minute, and you did draw my attention to the fact that 2 of the pics were labelled "summit cairn, Sgurr Mor" - one of them being a view looking across Glen Kingie to Sgurr Mor! :crazy: (now corrected). However, the other one is of the same cairn that appears in your pic. I was standing on the bottom edge of it looking SE over it, so what you see of the (sizable) cairn are just the top stones. As a photo of the cairn, yours beats mine hands down! :lol:
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:32 am

Nice one - maybe my favourite Munro :D and a long bold walk on a Winter's day - even if there was no snow :lol: Shame you didn't nip up Sgurr an Fhuarain - it's a very " cheap" Corbett from your descent col - and a very "expensive " one from anywhere else :lol: - but as I well remember when you're doing the Muros based in England you really only have time to consider the main event
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby rockhopper » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:34 am

Enjoyed that - nice day which turned out well. :thumbup: Have been down here a couple of times for the hills - great drive and then quite a few different options for the hills. Was wondering why you just opted for one but I see from your map that you've now finished off the munros in this area :thumbup: - cheers :)
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby PeteR » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:16 pm

All being well I will be standing on this summit later this year, with a bottle of beer in my hand and a German flag attached to my walking pole toasting the Old Man and my very long awaited compleation........all being well (there have been many false dawns :lol: )
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby Coop » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:36 pm

Good report and pics- cheers.
I too plan on being on here this year. Hopefully toasting my 50th on it in June.

Cheers again
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby dav2930 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:43 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Nice one - maybe my favourite Munro :D and a long bold walk on a Winter's day - even if there was no snow :lol: Shame you didn't nip up Sgurr an Fhuarain - it's a very " cheap" Corbett from your descent col - and a very "expensive " one from anywhere else :lol: - but as I well remember when you're doing the Muros based in England you really only have time to consider the main event

Thanks PMSBD. Yes, with hindsight we really should have nipped up Sgurr an Fhuarain. It looked a very nice ridge walk. I just didn't have my Corbett head on - though I really don't think I'll ever be seriously doing the Corbetts :roll:

rockhopper wrote:Enjoyed that - nice day which turned out well. :thumbup: Have been down here a couple of times for the hills - great drive and then quite a few different options for the hills. Was wondering why you just opted for one but I see from your map that you've now finished off the munros in this area :thumbup: - cheers :)

Thanks RH. It did turn out to be a good day on the hill, which we could have taken better advantage of with a bit of thought. I was glad to get this one ticked off though as, yes, it was my final Munro in that area. I remember reading your report from a few years back (2015?) of your epic marathon covering the lot from Gairich to Sgurr na Ciche - surely one of the most impressive efforts in the annals of Walkhighlands :shock: We certainly had no intention of trying to emulate that! :lol:

PeteR wrote:All being well I will be standing on this summit later this year, with a bottle of beer in my hand and a German flag attached to my walking pole toasting the Old Man and my very long awaited compleation........all being well (there have been many false dawns :lol: )

Good luck with your compeation - a fine choice of hill to finish on, I must say. :clap:

Coop wrote:Good report and pics- cheers.
I too plan on being on here this year. Hopefully toasting my 50th on it in June.

Cheers again

Thanks Coop. Great place for a birthday toast!
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby kevsbald » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:19 am

Evokes memories of a great summit camp on Sgurr Beag. Great report.
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Re: Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig

Postby dav2930 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:24 pm

kevsbald wrote:Evokes memories of a great summit camp on Sgurr Beag. Great report.

Thanks Kev. Camping up there sounds a great idea, though it was a tad windy for it when we were there. I keep meaning to do some high camps myself but never seem to get round to it :roll: :)
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