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I've got 99 problems but Beinn Sgritheall ain't one

I've got 99 problems but Beinn Sgritheall ain't one

Postby J888ohn » Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:58 pm

Route description: Beinn Sgritheall

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Sgritheall

Date walked: 14/07/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 12.7 km

Ascent: 1117m

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I've been waiting for 183 munro summits to use the title of that awesome Jay Z / Linkin Park song in a walk report 8) :lol:

Day 2 of the Walk Highlands meet at Ratagan and Lee, Manda, Mountain Mutt and I headed round the coast to Arnisdale to climb Beinn Sgritheall before heading down the road home. The idea was this would be a short, easier day then a leisurely drive home. The problem was the only one of us that was feeling fresh after Saturday's exploits was Mountain Mutt. :roll:

I'd chatted to a few Walk Highlanders who recommended a different approach to this Munro than the one in the book, which was to stop at a forest track before the road turn east to head to Arnisdale, follow the trail round Loch na Lochain and up the north west side of the hill. The problem was I wasn't too sure which forest track I was wanting to stop at, so erred on the side of caution and just headed round to Arnisdale for the traditional route from the village.

It was a cracking day, already hot and clear blue skies. Arnisdale is a lovely little village and we parked right outside the cottage which doubles up as the Post Office. I could've just spent the day sitting on the pebble beach and going for a swim, but there was a Munro to be summitted!

The path was signed inbetween the last white cottage and the one that is currently under renovation. It's a good path from the off and once through the deer fence began to climb straight away, and was quite wet and boggy.

Beinn Sgritheall from the start of the walk

There was only one way to go here, up towards the bealach between Beinn Sgritheall and Beinn na h-Eaglaise. The path crossed the Allt a'Mhuilinn soon after the deer fence, dropping through some arm high ferns on the way, perfect tic territory. After that it was a continuous climb up the right hand side of the Allt. The book described this as a very steep ascent. To be honest it was average, nothing near as bad as Liathach. The Allt was flowing through a deep ravine so there was several large waterfalls on the way up.


The beauty of these straight up munros is that height is gained quickly, and with the view opening up behind us it was nice to stop to turn around to enjoy the view down Loch Hourn. The path was easy to follow the whole way and soon we were in a small ravine with the Allt right beside us. This reminded me of the Sma Glen in Perthshire and was an ideal spot to dunk Mountain Mutt in the water to cool him down.


It was really calm in here but it was time to move on, cross the Allt again and make for the bealach. It didn't take long to get up here and as we were all feeling todays efforts we decided to stop and have lunch. Not a bad spot for it either. The view north over the bealach was great and we had a full view of the continuing climb up Sgritheall, which looked really steep. There was a group ahead of us and, thanks to the calm weather, we could here them chatting away to one another. They sounded a bit unsure of what they were doing / where they were going. Looking up from below the slope they were on looked very, very steep. A guy started his ascent as we sat down, then thought better of it and stopped for lunch a bit above us.

View from the bealach

Mountain Mutt and I

Soon enought it was our turn to attempt this climb. The group had disappeared and the guy above was on the move too. First bit was ok, not too steep and we came to a flat terrace with a big scree chute which had fallen through it. Everyone before us had traversed to the right across this and then started to climb up, Mountain Mutt was off and had taken a route 1 option from where we were standing. Usually my rule is to follow the mutt as most of the time he is bang on for finding routes. This time I wasn't so sure, I think there might've been an old route up there but the better option was definately the traverse. I didn't want to call him all the way back down so encouraged him to traverse round from where he was and we'd climb up to meet him. What a climb it is! :shock: It's straight up on a very narrow and lose scree path which zig zags back and forth to try to make the gradient a little easier. I think this would be a nightmare going on dangerous in bad weather. A slip here and there is nothing to stop you bouncing all the way down to the bealach. In the weather we had it was just a slow slog up until we popped out on the minor top. It's worth the effort thought, the views from here are absolutely stunning.

View back to Loch Hourn

The summit and the view out to sea

Easy walking from here on in to the summit, even with tired legs. Sun was beating down now but it made everything around us look so green and the sea a really intense blue. Once we started the final climb to the summit the view to Skye opened up and the Cullins were plain to see in the distance with the long, jagged ridge cutting through the sky. We seemed to be right below the transadlantic flight path too as there was a constant stream of high altitude planes leaving their white cloud streaks in the sky. Once at the summit we could just see everything, it was spectacular.

Loch Hourn and one of the many airplanes that passed over us

Skye and the Cullins

North to Torridon. You can just pick out the 3 Torridon Ridges on the horizon

View east

Looking out to Eigg and Rum (I think)

Summit selfie

We chatted about decent routes. I favoured an out and back to avoid the walk along the road. Lee's legs were knackered and Manda wasn't a fan of this either given the steepness of the slope. To be honest it would've been tricky so we stuck to the traditional route of dropping west off the summit and following the path down to the lochan. This was not as straighforward as it seemed and the first part was steep on a stony path. There was even a couple of bit where hands were required to lower ourselves down. I was worried Mountain Mutt was starting to overhead. He's got a terrible habit of bombing around (he is a collie after all) but not taking any water off us. Luckily as we dropped a few stagnant pools appeared. Not ideal, but he plonked himself in them to cool down at least. Once we got close to the lochan he made an absolute bee line for it and we honestly thought he was going to take a flying swan dive into it :lol: :lol: He stopped just short of the water and waited for the command to go in, then disappeared over the edge. He never goes in higher than his chest so I wasn't worried.

The GPS shows to continue west past the lochan before decending however well prior to that there is a cairn and a path off to the left which begins to drop quickly towards the road. That'll do nicely and we duely followed this into what we ended up describing as Indian Jones territory. It felt like we should have machettes and be cutting our way through the trees and bushes. There is a path the whole way but it's narrow, the drop off at times is considerable and its steep so I adopted the tactic of reaching for the nearest tree with one hand, swinging round it and reaching for the next with my free hand. Head room was an issue for Manda, nevermind Lee and I. Then it got boggy, and I sank to half way up my calf in one particularly soft bit. The view was still good though and once I got used to this I found it to be quite good fun. I tried not to look at the road though as I couldn't see Arnisdale now and we had to walk a good few miles to get back to the car.

The descent terrain and the path

We popped out on to the road soon enough and just had the march back to the car up and down the undulating and by now baking hot tarmac. Bauer was on his lead now as we just didn't have time to see any incoming cars to call him back and we tried to keep him on the south side of the road as this was slighly shadier and cooler for him. I'm a big believer in the dog can decide himself wants to walk on and left him on a loose lead to go on whatever surface he wanted. If the tarmac was too hot I'm sure he wouldn't go on it. Doesn't matter what that dog has done, once he's on the lead he still pulls me along so soon I had a bit of a lead on Manda and Lee. I was so happy to see the car and be able to get my roasting hot boots and sweaty kit off. The dog went straight for the loch and I left him standing there to cool down. A swim was very appealing.

We got ourselves sorted and began the long journey home. Didn't reach Tyndrum until 8.30pm for dinner. I was meant to start work at 7am in the morning and I thought I wouldn't be home until 11pm at the earliest. A quick message to my boss and a 9am start was arranged meaning I could get a decent sleep.

This was a great hill. I love the coastal ones in weather like this, the views are superb and this was a real challenge going from sea level to the summit in a little over 3 miles. The final countdown to completion has began for me, it'll not be anytime soon and a few more days like this would be grand. :D
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 133
Munros:194   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Jul 8, 2011
Location: Falkirk

Re: I've got 99 problems but Beinn Sgritheall ain't one

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:12 pm

I remember the final 200m of ascent to Beinn Sgritheall... And it's not a pleasant memory :lol: :lol: Not that it's steeper than most hills in this area, but it feels neverending. But doing it in good weather makes it worth the pain and blisters :wink:
We also considered alternative approaches for this Munro (including a longer route from Glenelg) but in the end followed the crowds up the usual way from Arnisdale. Maybe one day we will explore the less known side of Sgritheall - if we can ever be bothered :lol: :lol:

Sunday was a lovely day indeed, we spent 8 hours or so on Beinn Fhada. The full ridge traverse is a fantastic route with some interesting scrambling involved. I'm so behind with reports, might not post it till September!
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: I've got 99 problems but Beinn Sgritheall ain't one

Postby J888ohn » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:26 pm

Look forward to that report Black Panther. Lee and I saw nothing on Fhada and took the traditional route along the top of the cliffs so will be interesting to read about the ridge route.

This was the steepest hill I've been on for a while, but I like that kind of terrain. 😊
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 133
Munros:194   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Jul 8, 2011
Location: Falkirk

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