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Almost a dead otter...

Almost a dead otter...


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:42 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Baosbheinn, Beinn an Eoin, Beinn Bhan, Sgurr a' Chaorachain

Date walked: 29/09/2019

Distance: 46 km

Ascent: 2374m

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We'd left four Corbetts sitting up in the Northwest because Allison's holidays took her to Strathcarron - that would be a suitable time (weather permitting) to get them done. Nights drawing in, darkness falling at what now seems an unreasonable hour, I didn't want to wait much longer before setting out to do Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin. Last time we'd walked in from Torridon and camped on the top of Baosbheinn - an experience that remains lodged in the memory as a "Wow!" event. This time I wanted to walk in from the north and do them in one day. If possible I also wanted the Simm which is the north top of Baosbheinn - this meant we wouldn't have time or energy to do a full traverse of this wonderful mountain, but needs must...

The weather forecast seemed to suggest we might just strike it lucky with a band of clear skies over Torridon on Friday. I wasn't relishing the drive up much - nor did I have a clear idea of where we'd camp. Googlemaps didn't suggest there was much of an option at the walk startign point - unless we hard-pitched on the gravel of the car parking area which I didn't fancy much. For once the tea-time traffic through Glasgow was fairly light when we set off. We motored up to Ralia, where we stopped for some food, then set off into the dusk for the remainder of the journey. Banks of fog either side of Garve didn't improve the experience, but once on the Achnasheen/Kinlochewe road the worst was over. Having passed through Kinlochewe, I thought we might strike it lucky in one of the Visitor Centre car parking areas and my mind was on this when I spotted a dark, sleek shape half way across the road in front of me. Robust application of my brakes received a glare from the otter as she held my eye for a moment before gracefully moving back to the other side of the road. Hitting an otter would certainly have cast a pall over the weekend's adventures.

We found a suitable spot on freshly cut grass beside one of the visitor car parks and set up the tent by the light from the headlamps. It was approaching 10pm by this time and we settled down to sleep, to be disturbed by a German motorhome which seemed to be playing the equivalent a of Radio 4 talking program - in German, louder than necessary, and switching their heater on and off. Inconsiderate brutes. That impaired getting to sleep, otherwise it was a quiet night. We were up early at six - I did think of playing some music as a breakfast call to our German friends, but they were already away :roll:
We drove the few miles up to Loch Bad an Sgaliag and were ready to set off just shy of seven thirty.


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



The track starts at around 120m and gains height slowly on the walk in to Loch na-h Oidhche - it's about 7km to the turn off for Beinn an Eoin. Mist slowly lifted from the mountaintops as we walked in, past a series of information boards which we didn't stop to read fully because small clouds of keds would appear if you stopped for more than a minute. Across the stepping stones without incident and onto a marshy path towards the northern shoulder of Beinn an Eoin. There is a path that can be followed up the hillside, becoming clearer when the dry back of the hill is reached. It's a much more pleasant way up than the extremely steep haul from the south side. We seemed to be in our own little weather corridor - Slioch was getting repeated showers over to our left, whilst the big boys of Torridan, Alligin and Liathach were frequently under cloud and rain too. We stopped at the rocky shelter where once there was a trig point and had some crisps before retracing our steps back down.

ImageP9270358 by Al, on Flickr

Slioch capped with mist
ImageP9270359 by Al, on Flickr

First view of Beinn an Eoin
ImageP9270360 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9270362 by Al, on Flickr

Full length of Baosbheinn
ImageP9270364 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Airidh Charr
ImageP9270368 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9270369 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Beinn an Eoin
ImageP9270370 by Al, on Flickr

Loch na h-Oidhche and Baosbheinn
ImageP9270373 by Al, on Flickr

The crossing of the Abhainn was achieved without any more broken toes, thankfully, and we set off for the shoulder of Baosbheinn lying to the south of An Reidh-choire. Ground wasn't too marshy, we made slower work of the ascent up to Sgorr Dubh. Fond memories of our camp were rekindled before we set off down again. We seemed to be doing well for time, and a detour to the 801m top of Creag an Fhithich seemed in order. To reach this one needs to cross the northern top of Baosheinn, which we'd actually done for some reason last time round, instead of coming up the shoulder we used today. Anyway, it's a little tricky in places on the descent, or at least I found it so as my boots were not proving trustworthy on the steep slippy mud underfoot. Once down on the broad back of the mountain the going is easy and the top was reached with minimal effort. We headed back into An Reidh-Choire and made for the track, again finding the river easy enough to cross. It had been a very enjoyable outing - we were both surprised at the weather staying dry for us. Back to the car for just after 5pm, with a very dark sky to our east and the first spots of rain falling as we drove off.

Where we're headed
ImageP9270377 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9270378 by Al, on Flickr

Cloud eating a rainbow
ImageP9270383 by Al, on Flickr

Looking along to Creag an Fhithich
ImageP9270385 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Baosbheinn
ImageP9270387 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9270389 by Al, on Flickr

Cloud drifting over Liathach
ImageP9270390 by Al, on Flickr

Coming off the north top, heading for Fhithich
ImageP9270391 by Al, on Flickr

Storm clouds brewing
ImageP9270393 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9270394 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Chaorachainn and Beinn Bhan were our remaining targets - once again I wasn't sure where to spend the night. We drove through Torridon and down by Sheildaig, passing a couple of Ferraris coming from Applecross - ludicrous vehicles which looked like they should only be on a racing track rather than the single track road. Bet they were having a bumpy ride :lol: It was raining quite heavily, which never helps in the quest for a camp spot, we ended up finding an acceptable pitch near Tornapress. I was expecting there to be quite a lot of traffic coming up and down from the Bealach na Ba, but after dusk the roads were very quiet. The same cannot be said, however, for the stags. Oh no! As darkness fell there was an incessant roaring from the hillsides all around us - there seemed no fewer than ten beasts in different locations each roaring out his heart. One crossed in front of the tent at one point and barked out his alarm/warning call, but the others were content to roar, ever more hoarsely. So not much sleep was had that night :roll:

Morning from the tent
ImageP9280395 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280396 by Al, on Flickr

Cloud was down on Saturday morning as we packed up a sopping wet tent (condensation) and prepared for our walk. Last time we'd enjoyed the thrills of a scramble up the shoulder of Sgurr a'Chaorachain but maybe not today, with Allison's broken toe. So it would be a "cheaty" climb from the Bealach na Ba car park, before heading over and back to Beinn Bhan.
I had some misgivings about treating Beinn Bhan in such a dismissive way - but it wasn't the best day for taking a walk in from the east. But I will put that on my to do list for some future point.


bhan2x.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



There were a few motorhomes camped up in the mist at the top of the Bealach na Ba. We got ready and set off to the transmitter mast, before taking our time in getting over to the summit. It's still an enjoyable walk around the great Coire a'Chaorachain - mist was cloaking then revealing the stunning rock formations. On our way back from the cairn we met another walker heading out - he was planning on doing Beinn Bhan as well, and indeed passed us on his way across Bealach an Arr later on. Anyway, we were headed along the west side of Coire nan Arr, picking our way carefully on wet boulders. We were not making quick progress at all. But then, we didn't really need to - Allison couldn't get into her cottage til after 4pm. Both of us were tired however, which no doubt added to the slow pace.

An impressive lump, Sgurr a'Chaorachain
ImageP9280397 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280399 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280404 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280405 by Al, on Flickr

Nearing our first summit
ImageP9280407 by Al, on Flickr

Coire na Ba
ImageP9280408 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Chaorachain
ImageP9280410 by Al, on Flickr

Descent towards Coire nan Arr
ImageP9280411 by Al, on Flickr

At the head of Coire nan Arr we decided to go up and summit Carn Dearg, which neither of us could remember if we'd done last time or not (we had). Then a continuation of the very slow climb up Beinn Bhan. It was one of those days when it was hot when the sun was out and really chilly when the clag came down, leading to adjustment of layers over and over again. The top was reached, the steps were traced back to Bealach nan Arr, where I'd intended to follow a track marked on the map back to the road and walk the remainder of the way back to the car along the road. But we didn't find the track and just set out in a more or less direct line for the car park anyway, over heather and scrub. Not the easiest terrain to cover and it took a good deal longer than I'd expected before we made it back to the car.

ImageP9280412 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bhan
ImageP9280415 by Al, on Flickr

Coire nan Arr
ImageP9280416 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Carn Dearg
ImageP9280418 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280419 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Beinn Bhan
ImageP9280420 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9280421 by Al, on Flickr


A short drive into Lochcarron to stock up with some food at the village shop, then along to the house at Srathcarron. Ann and JP were staying there too and had arrived shortly before we did. Nice to see them again - don't think I'd seen them since the Torridon meet. A quiet night was had and there were plans mooted to do Liathach in the morning. However another poor night's sleep and the thought of the long drive back home (for me) did away with that idea and I decided to come home in the morning as I was still feeling really tired. A bit of a shame, cos the weather was still reasonably good for hills.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Almost a dead otter...

Postby rockhopper » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:50 pm

Another nice weekend for you both. Have yet to see an otter in the wild but hope if/when I do it's not in similar circumstances. Good to see that the water crossing for Baosbheinn was OK for you - was up at the end of August and found it very difficult. Thanks :)
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rockhopper
 
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Re: Almost a dead otter...

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:21 am

Lovely report with beautiful autumnal photos (no dead otters and driving in the rain of course!)
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EmmaKTunskeen
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