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Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn


Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 06, 2019 10:42 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Aden, Buidhe Bheinn, Sgurr a' Choire-bheithe, Sgurr nan Eugallt

Date walked: 06/05/2019

Time taken: 30 hours

Distance: 69 km

Ascent: 4904m

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Another Bank Holiday weekend - just 2 weeks after the last one. Being out of touch with the world of work I wasn't expecting this one, when A told me she was off on the Monday, so the weekend plans had to be rapidly adjusted. Forecast was for cold but dry weather - I reckoned that a long-awaited return to Kinlochhourn would be in order following the re-opening of the road post-landslide. That would allow us to tackle the delights of Ben Aden, one of the "awkward squad" of Corbetts, along with its elongated buddy, Sgurr a'Choire-bheithe. We headed up to Coireshubh on Thursday evening, a good run on quiet roads. The landslide is still an impressive scar on the hillside by the dam, the road section still under repair but perfectly passable. We reached what's one of my favourite wild-camp spots in good light, got the tent pitched and settled down for the night.

Landslide remains
ImageP5020002 by Al, on Flickr

Temporary road
ImageP5020003 by Al, on Flickr


eugalltalt.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Friday was for the adjacent hill, Sgurr nan Eugallt, "hill of the precipices" apparently from Prince Charlie's time when he was hiding out up there and nearly fell off one of the crags. Although it was sunny when we left the tent, we could see cloud heading down from the north, accompanied by an arctic wind and before long it was snowing. We followed the stalkers path up to around 550m then the fence line up to the trig point. Now the trig point isn't the true summit, as we discovered last time round when we only got the summit done because we were heading over to the Simm of Sgurr Sgiath Airigh. As we got to the top the clouds lifted giving clear blue views down Loch Hourn and over to Skye. Ladhar Bheinn looked impressive as ever, with a little crest of snow on its summit.

ImageP5030005 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030007 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030009 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030011 by Al, on Flickr

The trig but not the top
ImageP5030012 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030014 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030015 by Al, on Flickr

The top, but not the trig
ImageP5030017 by Al, on Flickr

Ladhar Bheinn
ImageP5030018 by Al, on Flickr

From here we returned to the trig point and began a descent down the SE shoulder, following the line of old iron fence posts. These are numerous and substantial, the main uprights being at least six feet in length and an inch and a half thick - quite a weight to lug up a hill. Anyway, we were headed for the Simm of Sgurr a'Chlaidheimh, one we hadn't nabbed last time. A pleasant walk, we continued a bit further along the ridge and descended into Coire Bheithe, which gave a gentler descent of this craggy hill. A short walk back along the road took us to the tent - we sat in the sun for a bit eating mangoes (in the shelter of the bridge, I add, as the wind was still decidedly chilly). It was down to below freezing during the night, with sheets of ice on the tent in the morning.

ImageP5030019 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Ciche, Aden and Choire-bheithe in the foreground
ImageP5030025 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Chlaidheimh
ImageP5030027 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5030028 by Al, on Flickr


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Saturday and Sunday were to be devoted to Ben Aden and Sgurr a'Choire-bheithe. Last time - exactly five years ago - we'd done then this way, from the west end of Loch Quoich, with Aden first and back over Choire-bheithe. I remembered a tricky little down-climb on the easternmost of Choire-bheithe's twin towers and thought it might be better to reverse the route and do that hill first. We parked at a little layby, where the old road descends into the loch, where there's room for maybe 6 cars. A bloke was camping there, planning on Sgurr a'Mhaorich for the day and taken by surprise by the coldness of the previous night. We shouldered the big packs and set off to find a way across the Caolie Water. With the loch's level being low at present it was easily done, heading down from the road, with only a shallow channel to cross on rocks. Then the hunt for the "path" along the lochside - this becomes clearer once the first corner is turned. Up ahead lay the line of the Dessarry Munros, with cloud dodging their summits. We reached the crossing of the Abhainn Chosaidh - again easily done in the current dry spell - and started up the long, long back of Sgurr a'Choire-bheithe. This hill just goes on and on! After about three hours of ascent we came in sight of the summit ridge, with the two imposing towers drenched in shadow before the rounded summit. Down to our left was the narrow slip of water - Lochan nam Breac - where we would hopefully be camping later tonight. Above that rose the jagged spine of Ben Aden.

ImageP5040030 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040032 by Al, on Flickr

Beginning the ascent of Choire-bheithe
ImageP5040035 by Al, on Flickr

The two towers
ImageP5040037 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040038 by Al, on Flickr

Lochan nam Breac
ImageP5040039 by Al, on Flickr

Still a long way to go to reach the top
ImageP5040041 by Al, on Flickr

Eventually we reached the first of the towers. Last time there had been sheets of snow making the negotiation of this obstacle tricky - this time it was much easier, with any difficulties being avoided by keeping to the north side of the crags. On to the second tower, which posed no problems either, and at two-thirty pm we're standing by the ramshackle summit cairn. Needs a bit of TLC, thought I! Time spent re-arranging the spilled rocks with beautiful 360 degree views. Then it was the descent. It would be possible to head down to Gleann Undalainn from the wee bealach at 800m, making for the 565m point, but this is very steep and probably not best for A's knees when she's carrying a heavier pack than usual. So we followed the ridge along to the west, with good views to Barrisdale Bay. It's a bit frustrating, knowing that every step you take has to be repeated in the opposite direction once you reach Gleann Undalainn, and also that you have to regain height too - from 200m where we hit the track back up to 500m at Mam Undalainn. But we were in no particular hurry and I reckoned we'd get to our chosen campspot by 6pm.

ImageP5040042 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040044 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040048 by Al, on Flickr

A bit of cairn restoration
ImageP5040049 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040050 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040052 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040053 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040054 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040055 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5040056 by Al, on Flickr

No other tents in sight by the loch - in fact we'd only met one other walker all day. We pitched just before the rain came on and enjoyed our tea with the deer standing around watching us and the waters of the lochan slapping gently in the wind. Intermittent rain overnight, but a bright morning when we woke - clouds descended by the time we set off. We'd decided to climb Aden via Coire na Cruaiche, which looked to be alright on the map and joining the standard route to the summit from there. We followed the Allt for some way then spotted a steep grassy rake to the top of some crags, which proved fine, although would be more tricky on wet grass in descent. Once again the sky cleared as we got to the spectacular rocky top of this fine mountain, views of near-neighbour Sgurr na Ciche and down to Loch Nevis. I remember thinking, with some sadness, when we were here last time, that I'd never be standing here again - not envisaging a second round of Corbetts - but here we are and it's beautiful.

ImageP5050058 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050060 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050062 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050063 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050064 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050067 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050069 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Nevis
ImageP5050071 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050072 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Quoich
ImageP5050074 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Mor
ImageP5050076 by Al, on Flickr


We descend by the same route back to the tent which is just as we'd left it. We duck inside to have our lunch out of the wind - moments later a sudden squall picks up, rustling across the loch and it rains heavily for 20 minutes - good timeing for us! After it's subsuded we pack the now wet tent up and prepare for the long walk back along the loch shore to the car. Definitely a better order to do these two hills in - being able to leave the heavy gear in the tent whilst doing Aden was a bonus and the ascent of Choire-bheithe is more pleasant having a long build to the summit rather than a long long descent. Even so, the walk along the shore tires me out more than I expected and it's after half four when we get back to the car, having crossed the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the dry floor of the reservoir.

ImageP5050081 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5050082 by Al, on Flickr

We return to Coireshubh for another night's camping - there's another tent pitched in the strange rectangle of trees down by the lochan, but we don't hear any noise overnight - except for the drum of rain on the tent fabric - it rains for much of the night. We awake to clear blue skies, freshly washed earth and a surprising amount of snow on the surrounding hilltops. Buidhe Bheinn is our chosen hill for the day - we drive down to Kinlochhourn and set off through the estate track up to the hydro track by the power lines, before taking one of the many stalkers paths that criss-cross Buidhe Bheinn. We go for a clockwise ascent, it's lovely and warm and the views down Loch Hourn are, as usual, sensational. I'm beginning to regret not having put on my shorts, it's so warm in the sun. We leave the track at around 550m and head straight up the mountainside. Large blocks of rock litter the landscape and the snow starts at around 650m. By the time we're nearing the summit it's proper snow under foot - three or so inches of crisp white stuff that crunches pleasingly underfoot.

ImageP5060084 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060085 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060087 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060089 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060091 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060093 by Al, on Flickr

Welcome back to winter
ImageP5060095 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060097 by Al, on Flickr

The true summit
ImageP5060099 by Al, on Flickr

We get to the 879m top, which from here looks higher than the adjacent 885m one. However, we know it isn't and begin the descent along the northern spur. This would be quite fun, except that the rock is covered in soft, super-slippy snow and we have only our walking poles to protect us. Gingerly we negotiate the slabs and rocky obstacles down the ridge then head up - following the footprints of a summit bound bunny til we get to the true summit. We stop for lunch and are surprised by two men from Banff who come up from the Kintail side. We chat for a while - about the terrible number of tourists on Skye, Corbetts etc then we both head off the way we've respectively come. Return to the 879m top is easier following our footprints, plus some of the snow has melted in the warm sunshine. It is still hard to believe that so much had fallen overnight. We get back to the car for 2ish and have a relaxed drive down the road, without too much of a delay going down Loch Lomondside.

ImageP5060101 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060104 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5060106 by Al, on Flickr

So the Rough Bounds don't disappoint once more - a memorable weekend once again on the threshold of Knoydart. Whetted the appetite for the other hills that remain to be climbed in the area.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby rockhopper » Tue May 07, 2019 1:17 pm

Great report - an uplifting read at lunchtime. The amount of snow does seem a little surprising esp given recent weather. The ridge between the 879m point and the summit of Buidhe Bheinn does look long when up there but didn't seem to take long in the end albeit a wee bit scrambly. Can remember looking at your previous Ben Aden route when planning it and Sa'C-b as the ridge looked interesting but in the end took the easy way out as I wasn't sure whether I'd manage with the camping pack. Thanks :)
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 07, 2019 8:48 pm

Fabulous. What a wonderful part of the world that is. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Wed May 08, 2019 11:34 am

Another wonderful report! Knew I was looking forward to it! :D
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby PeteR » Wed May 08, 2019 1:13 pm

I was enjoying Knoydart from the other side. I would have waved...........but I was too knackered :lol:
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby weaselmaster » Wed May 08, 2019 5:51 pm

PeteR wrote:I was enjoying Knoydart from the other side. I would have waved...........but I was too knackered :lol:


Does that mean you got your last three then, Pete?
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weaselmaster
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby PeteR » Wed May 08, 2019 6:11 pm

weaselmaster wrote:
PeteR wrote:I was enjoying Knoydart from the other side. I would have waved...........but I was too knackered :lol:


Does that mean you got your last three then, Pete?


Still have Sgurr Mor to compleat Al. I was getting the "awkward squad" bagged to finally enable me to end the chapter.
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby Beaner001 » Wed May 08, 2019 10:09 pm

Meant to comment on this a couple days ago, still look out for your reports Al. This is a belter and you both take on some tough walks :clap: Aden looks a belter, maybe get round to it one of these days :shock:
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby weaselmaster » Wed May 08, 2019 10:17 pm

Beaner001 wrote:Meant to comment on this a couple days ago, still look out for your reports Al. This is a belter and you both take on some tough walks :clap: Aden looks a belter, maybe get round to it one of these days :shock:


It's a grand hill, I'm sure the relative inaccessibility helps its mystique, but even allowing for that I love it.
Rough bounds/Knoydart must be my second favourite part of the country after Assynt/Sutherland. A real tug on the heartstrings as to whether to head back to Knoydart or head for Skye/Harris this weekend... want to get the island corbetts accounted for, mind you
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby paz1953 » Sun May 12, 2019 5:35 pm

Enjoyed your report on the various walks. I climbed Buidhe Bheinn on the Wednesday (8th) following the same route you'd taken. Those 2 extra days of good weather meant that the snow had gone. The views along Loch Hourn towards Ladhar Bheinn are stunning and the descent along one of the grassy stalker's paths means you can enjoy it for a long time.
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Re: Joyous Return to Kinlochhourn

Postby Mountainlove » Mon May 13, 2019 5:28 pm

Great report and wonderful pictures! Can't believe the snow up there :shock: I think I will need to do some more Corbetts soon 8)
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