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Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!


Postby JimboJim » Tue May 28, 2019 9:53 pm

Route description: Beinn Fhada (or Ben Attow)

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhada

Date walked: 23/04/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 17.7 km

Ascent: 1295m

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Had been quite a while since doing a "new" Munro. Usual buddy, King Jasper having hellish back problems and a few other hiccups, like bad weather on Skye, spoiling a planned try at Sgurr nan Gillean and the In Pinn. Now I had the chance for an overnighter, but would the weather play ball? High winds forecast for the two days. Kintail looked dry-ish and as benign as anywhere. Fancied the idea of Beinn Fhada, then the Brothers Ridge the day after, if possible, so booked up the night at Ratagan Hostel.
Kintail 015_1024_768.JPG
Crags on the way up. Creag Coire an Sgairne, Faradh Nighean Fhearchair.
Kintail 016_1024_768.JPG
Looking back down Gleann Choinneachainn.

Set off from Morvich, following same route up Gleann Choinneachain, as when I did A'Ghlas-bheinn, but this time no snow, or having to skite across icy boulders, mid Allt a Choire Chaoil. A wee cairn indicates where to branch off the zig-zags for Coire and Sgairne, which isn't the worst corrie one will visit, with some massive crags and cornicing still evident here and there. Also, had to compliment the path builders who were grafting away here.
Kintail 018_1024_768.JPG
Rising into Coire an Sgairne.
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Faradh Nighean Fhearchair. I didn't realise return would take me over the top.

By now the wind was starting to make itself felt and more so, once I emerged from the corrie onto the final haul toward the summit. Tried to tough it out at the trig point, but eventually had to put jacket on and sat in the shelter to refresh, after obligatory photo's.
Kintail 032_1024_692.JPG
Looking back across Coire Thuill Sgailceich, to the ridge.
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Over to the Brothers and SGR, from the top.
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And one of the Sisters, Ciste Dubh.
Kintail 045_1024_768.JPG
Can't tell just how windy it was from the pics.

Pondered next move for a while. Retreat by same route as advanced, or try the more tricky way down, via the Sgurr a Choire Ghairbh ridge? I was a bit wary, just being myself and not knowing exactly what to expect, except that I am not too clever with the exposed stuff. After usual faffing about, I decided to give it a try - back off, If I get too feart.
Kintail 050_1024_768.JPG
Looking down in Coire an Sgairne.
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Start of the ridge, out to Loch Duich.
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The bridge which crosses the outflow from the River Croe.

Quite nice walking round, looking into Coire an Sgairne, down to Morvich and over to the Five Sisters. Then it was onto the scrambly stuff. Nothing too tricky for a long stretch, wondering where/when the tricky bit comes - have I already passed it? No! :)

Kintail 064_1024_667.JPG
Some of the up and downity bits, of which there are loads :)
Kintail 069_1024_738.JPG
Morvich.
This will be the Bealach an t-Sealgaire (Hunter's Pass), then! Didn't look too bad from higher up, but once at the foot of the slabs, didn't look quite so easy, either! I stuck to the right ( looking at it,) of a largeish slabby bit. Was a wee bit sweaty, but made it ok. Looked like couple of other options too, but as stated, I wouldn't have liked to have tackled this on a wet day, going the opposite direction. (It may be possible to skirt round it all.)
Kintail 070_1024_691.JPG
Looking at the bad step/tricky bit.
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And looking doon the bad step/tricky bit.
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Back round the ridge. Summit of Beinn Fhada, in the distance.
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Another view back.


Anyway, once over this bit, I thought the worst was past and in some respects it was, but the constant up and down over craggy rock continued for much longer than I liked. I made a few diversions West, thinking I could avoid this, by heading for Beinn Bhuidhe, but each time, I found the route was not feasible and frustratingly had to climb back up and keep heading north, nearly to the 757m spot, on Faradh Nighean Fhearchair. From there it was easier to pick the route, but still not much fun, as the long, stubbly, descent continued down to Innichro and back to the motor.
Kintail 082_1024_723.JPG
Main road.
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Look back up beinn Bhuidhe. As can be seen, ground quite broken, especially higher up.
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Morvich again.
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"Are you mad?"
Kintail 089_1024_724.JPG
The bits you see from the road.

Quite a buzz having done it via the ridge, but it had been a tough day in the wind. Time for a pint once settled in the hostel at Ratagan? I found myself answering in the positive :) Took a bit of a drive round the locale. Visited Letterfearn, for an old friend.
Kintail 094_1024_721.JPG
The Five Sisters.
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Evening pano from A'Ghlas-bheinn, round to Five Sisters.
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And a late evening, different view of one of the most photographed attractions in Scotland. Not hard to guess which one :)

Later spent time deliberating what to do the next day? The forecast was showing even stronger winds gusting from 45-55mph. A bit too strong for my liking, but looked as if rain would just about hold off. Figured out plan for how to handle the transport issue of doing the Brothers with only one car, then dozed lightly for the night. What would the morning bring? :)
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JimboJim
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Re: Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Postby Mal Grey » Wed May 29, 2019 8:33 pm

Excellent stuff. Good description and excellent images.

Interesting to see the "bad step", as have pondered doing that route in the past. May or may not ever get round to it!
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Re: Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Postby JimboJim » Thu May 30, 2019 6:54 am

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent stuff. Good description and excellent images.

Interesting to see the "bad step", as have pondered doing that route in the past. May or may not ever get round to it!


Thank you, Mal. Usual drivel - from me! :) I don't think it would trouble you on a dry day. I see others have managed to bypass it below. I like to go round in a loop where possible, though wasn't so sure about this, being alone, however wasn't a big sweat. Jimmy
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Re: Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 30, 2019 12:03 pm

Very useful report for us, so thank you for posting!

We have already been to Fhada a few times, once in winter conditions, but we haven't done the full ridge yet, and it's high on our priority list. The next WH Meet is in Ratagan Hostel in July, I think I've hatched a plan...

The bad step looks doable...ish :lol: Are there good foot/handholds in the rock? We did the "bad step" on Beinn Eighe last week (on the ridge between Sail Mhor and the Triple Buttress) and managed OK with that so hopefully this is similar and bypassing won't be necessary. Sometimes the bypass is more exposed than the scrambling bit :lol:

Cheers
BP
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Re: Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Postby JimboJim » Fri May 31, 2019 4:13 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Very useful report for us, so thank you for posting!

We have already been to Fhada a few times, once in winter conditions, but we haven't done the full ridge yet, and it's high on our priority list. The next WH Meet is in Ratagan Hostel in July, I think I've hatched a plan...

The bad step looks doable...ish :lol: Are there good foot/handholds in the rock? We did the "bad step" on Beinn Eighe last week (on the ridge between Sail Mhor and the Triple Buttress) and managed OK with that so hopefully this is similar and bypassing won't be necessary. Sometimes the bypass is more exposed than the scrambling bit :lol:

Cheers
BP



Thank you, BP. Not been to Beinn Eighe yet, but am sure you would manage it no bother unless rock is wet, in which case it might be more tricky. Wouldn't say grips were great, but angle isn't too steep either. I wasn't convinced I went up easiest bit there. I don't think the bypass option would present too horrible exposure, but again, can't say without doing it :)

Defo one to consider for a bit of excitement, if other plans don't work out.

Jimmy
Attachments
BF_1024_684.jpg
(Very) approx route up in red. Possible detour in green?
Last edited by JimboJim on Fri May 31, 2019 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Postby BlackPanther » Fri May 31, 2019 6:20 pm

Thanks again :D Looking at the extra photo, I think the bypass is more exposed than the direct approach. We'll definitely give the scramble a go but as you said, better to keep it for a dry day. Another adventure to look forward to, just hope weather this summer will be good.
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