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Ratagan summer meet part 1 - cycling and slacking

Ratagan summer meet part 1 - cycling and slacking


Postby malky_c » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:06 am

Fionas included on this walk: Biod an Fhithich

Date walked: 13/07/2019

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 600m

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Grahams: Biod an Fhithich.
Date: 13/07/2019.
Distance: 6 km.
Ascent: 600m.
Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes.
Weather: Overcast, odd patch of sun, occasional shower on Friday

Plus 45 mile cycle on Friday and 10 mile cycle on Saturday.

I had a long weekend off for the WH summer meet, so we headed off to Ratagan through torrential rain and thunderstorms on Thursday evening. The weather was set to clear later on for our walk into Suardalan bothy, and sure enough, by the time we reached Shiel Bridge it had. We knew a couple of other folk on the meet were staying at Ratagan YHA on the Thursday night as well, and before we knew it, we had called in there and Jonathan had offered us dinner. Suddenly walking into Suardalan didn't seem so appealing....

After failing to get beds in the hostel due to it being full, we had a few drinks and a chat, and headed a mile or so along the road to camp up on the shore of Loch Duich. Midges were lurking in the humid air by now, so we didn't hang around outside for long.

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Evening at Ratagan

Friday looked so-so weather-wise, so we had earmarked it for a cycle rather than getting up into the hills. We drove back down to the hostel and started from there, leaving the tent up to dry off from overnight rain and condensation.

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Cycling map

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Setting off from the Jaxtermobile

Our route headed over to the Glenelg ferry, which meant a rather brutal start after pootling the mile or so back to the Ratagan junction. The Ratagan pass is steep! Fortunately it is also rather short, so we were up before too long, glimpses of Loch Duich visible through the mist. The descent to the ferry was a breeze.

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Loch Duich from the Ratagan Pass

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Almost there!

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Well, obviously

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Kylerhea Ferry

We just missed a ferry as it had to rush back to take an ambulance over, however the break was welcome. We were able to have a cup of tea from the shop at the ferry slipway, where payment is into an honesty box. Then we were on the ferry for the short crossing - first time for me.

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Mainland from Kylerhea

On the other side, there was the second brutal climb of the day out of Kylerhea, followed by a somewhat bumpy descent with views of what there was to see of the Cuillin. Then along the main road (wind now behind us) to the bridge.

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Bealach Udal

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Broadford and the Red Cuillin

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Scalpay and Raasay

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Kyleakin from the Skye Bridge

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Applecross and Loch Kishorn

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Inner Sound

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The bridge

After our short visit to Skye, we had a quick stop in Kyle for ice cream, before heading for the backroads to minimise the amount of A87 we had to cover. A gentler climb took us up behind Balmacara, then we were in amongst the traffic for a quick 5 miles to the Eilean Donan castle. Another break by the village hall here before contemplating the final ascent of the day - the not especially high but rather brutal climb to Carr Brae. Jackie was thinking about just heading along the A87, but couldn't possibly have me doing a hill that she wasn't (even though she had cycled up it the previous summer :roll: ), so we headed off together.

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Eilean Donan castle

It isn't actually a bad climb until the final bit, where it zigzags steeply up to the viewpoint, where we stopped for some photos.

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Carr Brae and Loch Duich

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East up Loch Duich

Then it was a quick descent and a final battle with the A87 - this bit somewhat less pleasant as it was more twisty. I decided to head around the old road through Morvich and again Jackie grudgingly joined me - at least there were no hills here. Then the last bit back to the hostel, stopping on the way to take down the now dry tent. I had come up with this route on a whim a couple of weeks earlier and it ended up being really good fun, and a nice way to see some familiar scenery differently.
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The following day I considered doing something of a reasonable length, but by the time I hauled myself out of bed, it was a bit on the late side. Jackie and I opted for the short drive to Biod an Fhithich, with an optional tag-on of the Saddle afterwards if the weather cleared. The NW ridge of A' Mhuing had been in my sights, but laziness and simplicity set in.


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Glen Shiel

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Sgurr Airgid

Parking up at the foot of the stalkers path, we made good time up to the col, from where the Forcan Ridge looked very appealing. Halfway up the final cone of the hill, we caught up with Bod and Val, whos van we had spotted at the foot.

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Forcan Ridge

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Faochaig

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Jackie, Val and Bod

We continued to the summit, and much nattering later, the Forcan Ridge had clagged in and we all ended up descending together and giving it a miss (they had had similar plans) :lol: .

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NW ridge of Biod an Fhithich

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Back down into Glen Shiel

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East up Glen Shiel

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Sgurr an Fhuran

Back at the hostel, I fancied a quick spin down to the end of the Letterfearn road on the bike. Jackie joined me and we debated taking a wander out to the broch that sits a little further along the path that way. After walking for a short while, we decided it was too much effort, and with the midges lurking, we pedalled back to the hostel again.

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Loch Duich from Letterfearn

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Totaig

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Eilean Donan and Dornie

It was worth conserving our energy as (along with Ryan and Allan) we sailed to victory in the quiz that evening, very appropriately winning midge nets (midges outflanked the window nets and invaded the hostel dining room during the quiz, making for an itchy evening).
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malky_c
 
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