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Beinn Ailligin - first giant and notes for beginners!!

Beinn Ailligin - first giant and notes for beginners!!

Postby Orosay » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:40 pm

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Mòr (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 31/07/2020

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1100m

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Ellen has always wanted to do one of the Torridon big three and after getting a bit fitter we decided that this would be the day! Forecast was for warm weather (hot actually, 25 degrees) and strong winds higher up. The trip took a bit of last minute planning and I then somehow managed to impale my chest on a pen whilst searching the car for my knee support, which I suspected I might need! Blood everywhere😭. The next debate was whether we felt ready for the whole circuit! To be honest it sounded a bit scary, as I am not at all keen on vertical exposure, but we decided to see how we felt on the day, so leaving the option to opt out fixed us on the clockwise route. Had a bit of a restless night ( excitement? fear?) We were up at 6am and on the road by 7. We arrived at the car park around 8.15 and squeezed in. Off up the rough path to the left of the bridge - It’s a long haul up the path and the Corrie beyond. We kept glancing to the right to keep an eye on these
Looking across to the horns
Quite steep, but in about 2 hours we popped onto the ridge near the summit trig
Top of the corrie
and rewarded by great views from Tom na Gruaigaich
Sgurr Mor
Sgurr Mor looked another challenge, with a big descent from Tom to negotiate
Back to Tom
At one point on the way down I tripped and fell flat on my face, a bit more blood 🩸 and didn’t bode well if these accidents come in threes 🤔. Looking back Tom looked huge!
Tom na Gruaigach
and it was a great walk to the foot of sgurr mor, past this
Eag dubh
I am sure I heard a wee bit of wailing from behind me! From here made our way toward the climb to sgurr mor. Baosbheinn looked interesting for another day
Baosbheinn and Gairloch
We soon started meeting quite a few people heading for Tom na Gruaigach and asked them all if they had come over the horns? Every one of them said no because it was too narrow or too windy, but none of them had ever done the route before, so it was hard to judge conditions. Then it was straight up to Sgurr Mor, but not too far or steep
Sgurr mor
There was a nice wee patch of rocks near the summit, which was out of the strong wind, it gave me a chance to feel sorry for myself over my poor scratched leg
Grazed shin
Wandered over to the edge a few times to think about it all.
Are we sure?
This was the moment of truth! We were a bit nervous and it WAS windy. Others turning back would have helped us to justify saving it for another day, but in our hearts I think we knew it was now or never and from closer up things didn’t actually look too intimidating. Down we went!!!
We were following a young couple who told us that they were planning to go over, but when we got there they changed their mind and headed along a decent looking bypass path. The girl was pregnant and had decided the scramble wasn’t worth it, which seemed wise, as the scramble up to horn 1 looked much more hands on than expected! We started up, but came to a very scramble bit. Looking up, the way wasn’t clear at all and it looked a long, tiring climb. A guy and his dog appeared from above us to our left and we should have quizzed him about the route, but he was gone quite quickly. We then worked our way right, but still steep. Knowing that dogs had got down we should probably have investigated a route to the left a bit more closely, but instead we were tempted by a grassy path and decided we would bypass this one! This was stupid, the grass was a bit wet in places and particularly slippy at one point right above a vertical drop and to be honest quite frightening, but we got over it and made our way back to the ridge. Time to think! It was fairly obvious that we should have taken our time and gone over, so we tackled horn 2 and it was pretty easy
On the top!
Much more confident now and looking forward to the final one ahead
but when we got there we were in a queue of 5 or 6 people who were struggling at a vertical face. I was sure I had read about this on WH and that there was a detour to the right. Ellen was fixated by a poor girl who wasn’t quite tall enough to reach some of the holds and seemed to be getting literally hauled up by the wrist! Being small herself she was a bit concerned, I was more concerned that she might have to pull me up, which wouldn’t have ended well! :roll: It was also very windy by now. This horn has a very clear and dry bypass path, so we decided not to wait and skirted round. The final descent from the mountain was very steep
Looking back
although I don’t think this photo shows this at all. The path is clear and pretty good but boy it was hard on the knees! Once down the steep face it was a nice walk out, with one stop for some food and a wee nap and another to cool our feet in the river. Heaven!
So what were our thoughts? 1) Really glad we attempted this! Even though we only crossed one, it has given huge confidence for the future. 2) Don’t be intimidated or hasty, we could have climbed that first horn if we had calmed down, recovered our breath and considered things. 3) Clockwise seems to us a much easier route, the descent from horn 3 is VERY steep and long, not difficult, but would be much more tiring in ascent than the corrie route I think. Of course a younger, fitter Person might not agree 4) If this is grade 1, I think this is within the capabilities of most walkers, I am pretty cowardly about exposure, but think the first bypass was worse than climbing would have been.
Anyway, we got there and without the third accident thankfully! Still not ready for Liathach, but someday who knows. Finished up with a drink and lunch at the Torridon
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