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Bac na Eich direttissima

Bac na Eich direttissima


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:30 am

Route description: Bac an Eich, Strathconon

Corbetts included on this walk: Bac an Eich

Date walked: 09/07/2020

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 18.3 km

Ascent: 783m

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I'm always ready to try a new route on a local hill, especially if it is a nice one like Bac na Eich. Not a very popular Corbett, but one with great character. We had already tried several different approaches to this mountain, including Coire na Feola route, but I was intrigued by a possibility of a direct climb up Creag Coire na Feola and then traversing to the summit. I called this idea "Bac na Eich direttissima" and it never left my mind until I eventually dragged Kevin up the steep slope.
According to Wikipedia: "A direttissima (Italian for "shortest link") is a climbing term meaning a direct climb to the summit of a mountain up the fall line from the valley base to the top. Whilst the normal route aims to find the way with the least difficulty, the climber attempting a direttissima faces the challenge of ascending the mountain in a more "direct" way. "
In Reinhold Messner's opinion, diretissimas always exist - so long as the mountain permits it.
Of course, I wouldn't even dare comparing myself to Mr Messner. My version of "direttisima" would probably be laughable for any rock climber, or even for advanced scramblers. But having walked past the steep northern end of Creag Coire na Feola, I always wondered, was this direct approach possible. Well, it is. I checked it :lol:

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


In the first days post-lockdown we were looking for decent routes close to home and the BnE variation seemed a good idea. We started from the car park at the end of the public road in Glen Strathconon and followed the track to the ruins of Corriefeol.
bac na eich 1 (3).JPG

Allt Coire na Feola wasn't much of an obstacle today:
bac na eich 1 (5).JPG

We met some curious locals:
bac na eich 1 (1).JPG

On the stalkers path into Coire Mhoraigein, Maoile Lunndaidh in the distance:
bac na eich 1 (7).JPG

As the path turned into the corrie, we slowed down to study the slopes above us, looking for the best line of ascent. The hillside didn't look too scary, just steep:
bac na eich 1 (8).JPG

So up we went. I was surprised how easy the direttissima was. Soft grass almost all the way, with occasional scattered rock. Yes, it was steep and I wouldn't recommend this slope in descent (unless you want to give your knees a good bashing :wink: ) but I felt like a grasshopper on a green meadow rather than somebody going directly "up the fall line" :lol: :lol:
bac na eich 1 (10).JPG

Views were tremendous from the very beginning. We were gaining height quickly so even the distant peaks came into view... Guess what, it's Slioch on the horizon!
bac na eich 1 (11).JPG

View into upper Strathconon to Maoile Lunndaidh:
bac na eich 1 (12).JPG

We aimed for the northern end of the ridge:
bac na eich 1 (15).JPG

Zoom to the Fannichs, Sgurr Mor and Sgurr nan Clach Geala dominating the view:
bac na eich 1 (13).JPG

Somebody here is seriously hill-starved!
bac na eich 1 (20).JPG

Having reached the top of the steep section, we stopped for a longer breather and took time to appreciate the views. The northern cliffs fall almost vertically from 720m down to about 200m and on a good day, one can see not only the panorama of the upper Strathconon with River Meig, but as far as Torridon, Fannichs and Fisherfields to the north.
The river beneath our feet:
bac na eich 1 (46).JPG

A man on a mission:
bac na eich 1 (48).JPG

Showing off my new French Legionary hat (very practical for protecting one's neck without smearing sunscreen all over clothes):
bac na eich 1 (50).JPG

Zoom to Torridon:
bac na eich 1 (24).JPG

There was a bit of haze in the air so the more distant photos were not as clear as in spring days but still we took some nice snaps. Kevin mentioned sandwiches, but I preferred to wait with lunch till we got to the summit of Creag Coire na Feola.
The final walk to the top doesn't look hard from below...
bac na eich 1 (45).JPG

...and climbing with such views around is indeed a privilege:
bac na eich 1 (53).JPG

He Who Always Knows It Best decided, he needed some extra fun, so he began to look for optional scrambling...
bac na eich 1 (54).JPG

Upper Strathconon panorama:
bac na eich 1 (56).JPG

The summit of Bac Na Eich from Creag Coire na Feola (which is a Simm and a Corbett Top if anybody cares :wink: )
bac na eich 1 (26).JPG

The summit area of CCF has several small cairns and rocky lumps, according to Hill bagging the summit feature is just "rock", so we picked the one that looked the highest and made it our lunch spot. We were now on 770m and had good vistas in all directions, especially to the giants of Strathfarrar:
bac na eich 1 (27).JPG

Traversing to the main summit wasn't much more than a pleasant stroll now, the ground was relatively dry and the sun came out. Not the warmest of days, but the whole summer this year is rather cool (at least in Scotland).
bac na eich 1 (30).JPG

The summit of Bac na Eich is a good example of "mountain p**n hotspot". Come here on a clear day if you want to play hillspotting, gaze in the distance or simply sink in the beauty of the Highlands.
bac na eich 1 (64).JPG

Lucy on the summit with Torridon behind her:
bac na eich 1 (60).JPG

The other Strathconon Corbetts:
bac na eich 1 (62).JPG

View due north:
bac na eich 1 (36).JPG

View south:
bac na eich 1 (32).JPG

Silly poses on the summit! Note Kevin is still wearing his knee support, though his leg was feeling slightly better today. Those annoying knee injuries take ages to heal!
bac na eich 1 (39).JPG

We had several options for the return route but descending via the lovely long glen of Coire Mhoraigein has always been our personal favourite:
bac na eich 1 (40).JPG

We noticed several fresh-looking landslides in Coire Mhoraigein, most likely from last year:
bac na eich 1 (66).JPG

River Meig on the way back:
bac na eich 1 (42).JPG

The final stroll to the car park:
bac na eich 1 (69).JPG

I'm not sure we have exhausted all possible routes for Bac na Eich. The next step would be to combine it with the neighbouring Graham Beinn Mheadhoin, or maybe try the steep ascent via Sgurr Toll Lochain (if the mountain permits it!). Good to have such a versatile Corbett on our doorstep. Shame there are no plane crash sites here :lol: :lol:

My stories will continue (5 more TRs to write) so watch this space for more meowing :D
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3695
Munros:260   Corbetts:172
Grahams:123   
Sub 2000:56   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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