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Eaglaise and the Arnisdale Amigos

Eaglaise and the Arnisdale Amigos

Postby old danensian » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:23 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn na h-Eaglaise, Beinn nan Caorach

Date walked: 13/07/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 11.7 km

Ascent: 1109m

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As overnight rain fell and early morning mists and midges gathered, a lethargic air of pessimism seemed to pervade the walkhighlands atmosphere at Ratagan on a July Saturday morning. Summer? What summer?

Early morning promise (?) at Ratagan on the shores of Loch Duich

Those who lived by the dictum that “fortune favours the brave” had already left before most had emerged from tents and rooms: the South Shiel Ridge dream team had slipped silently away to face their challenge away from the gaze of others.

Those with more modest ambitions lurked and lingered, casting optimistic glances at drifting clouds that seemed to encourage a more leisurely approach: will they, won’t they? Shall we just have another cup of tea?

So, after at least one more brew, a threesome headed round the Glenelg peninsula for Arnisdale and Corran. There, overlooking Loch Hourn, a pair of Corbetts – Beinn na Caorach and Beinn na h Eaglaise - had coincidentally found its way onto the weekend to-do lists of Hugh and Pat as well as my own.

Driving back home two days later, a pastiche on the 1986 film The Three Amigos began to form as I mulled on a potential angle for the subsequent walk report about this particular jaunt. Over two months later I’m frustrated that I’ve not been able to manipulate anything that happened on that pair of hills into anything remotely resembling the plot of that particular movie.

Unfortunately, the loch-side hamlet of Corran couldn’t masquerade as a Mexican village. Midges were annoying but they didn’t quite live up to the threats of bandit El Guapo and his band of outlaws. We weren’t answering the siren call of a village beauty – no matter how chivalrous we felt as we strode down Glen Arnisdale. But most critically, I couldn’t decide who, without the danger of libel laws, was going to play the role of Dusty Bottoms.

Therefore the reincarnation of The Three Amigos remains unborn. Ponchos and sombreros have been cast aside; a simple retelling of the anti-clockwise circuit challenge of Beinn nan Caorach and Beinn na h Eaglaise has to suffice.

A sliver of blue in the west from the shores of Loch Hourn

In the jaws of Glen Arnisdale - looked over by Beinn Clachach - to be left for another day

An initial amble up Glen Arnisdale

By the time we got our late-morning legs into gear we could already see the top of Beinn Caorach and the promised lunchtime improvement in conditions was starting to look like a reality. Leaving the beach and skirting the Glenfield cottage, we strode up Glen Arnisdale, our eyes drawn more to the crags of Druim Fada to the right rather than our apparently more benign objective. However, the zig-zags we needed to follow had been visible ahead for quite some time. These scratches on the hillside soon lured us across the glen floor to a rusty bridge and the start of what we thought would be the real hard work.

Beinn na Caorach - the first target of the day

Eas na Cuingid waterfalls with the north shoulder of Beinn Caorach above in enticing sunlight

And we weren’t wrong.

Once beyond the stream, and waterfalls of Eas na Cuingid, it was head down and plod, each in our own world. The southern spur of Beinn Caorach is unrelenting, taking no prisoners. At some points you fear that any stop and you’ll just roll back down again. Turning frequently to admire the view of Ladhar Bheinn and Knoydart was a reasonable excuse.

Knoydart reveals itself as the day improves - and we sweat our way upwards

And then it was there: a jumble of stones, a half-hearted cairn and the back-drop view across the northern horizon of Kintail. The presence of Beinn Sgritheall to our left and Knoydart behind no longer dominated.

Beinn Sgritheall on the skyline from the Beinn Caorach summit cairn

The Three Amigos take a break

After the slog we’d left behind, it was now a pleasure to stretch the legs and stride out round the head of the Coire Dhruim nam Bo towards the second, and slightly higher, objective of Beinn na h Eaglaise. From the bealach it gives the impression of a pleasantly simple goal: pointy, largely grassy and helpfully punctuated by rusting fence posts.

Fence posts mark the way - to the Hill of the Church - an appropriately shaped pointy thing ahead

But of course, the grass got steeper … and steeper.

False top followed false top.

Playing the role of tortoise twins, Hugh and I slipped back into plod, plod, plod mode while wondering what performance enhancer Pat was on as he disappeared into the distance.

However, on the rounded outcrop that forms the summit, the views made it bearable. With a sense of relief that we didn’t have to continue on to Beinn Sgritheall as well, we caught our collective breath. Knoydart, Loch Hourn and the southern peninsula of Skye occupied our minds as we mustered the strength to descend.

Was this a falling-out on the summits of Beinn na h Eaglaise?

The way back down to Corran - over Beinn Bhuidhe

Over the shoulder of Beinn Bhuidhe the ground dropped away and the descent back into Glen Arnisdale proved to be as steep as the ascent at the beginning of the day. Each picking a different line, we weaved our way (or should that be wove?) down steep grass and the occasional water-course before welcoming level, if somewhat wetter, level ground. There, legs full of lactic acid welcomed a stress-free stroll back to the car at Corran.

Looking back across to Beinn Caorach from Beinn Bhuidhe

A splendid day, we concluded. A pair of fine Corbetts that deserve a visit amidst the surrounding big boys: yet more proof that some can prove to be a tougher day than more accessible Munros.

Yes, it’s sometimes better to aim a little bit lower and enjoy a different perspective.

A slightly improved day back at Ratagan

And as for any final clutch at The Three Amigos parallels - boisterous celebrations seem to ring a bell.

Then they rode off into the sunset – and a very watery one at that.

For further potential characters and plots twists, you’ll have to invent your own from IMDB.
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old danensian
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Re: Eaglaise and the Arnisdale Amigos

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:25 pm

A grand day out it was too. As we head into the soggy clutches of Autumn.it already seems such a long time ago.
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Location: Lancashire

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