walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge


Postby kevsbald » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:59 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Mhic Choinnich

Date walked: 14/08/2020

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1100m

13 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

My last Munro experience was on Sgurr nan Gillean in September - almost a full year and in that time, I had started a dream job, Martha had started school and a pandemic was in full flow. What a year of highs and lows. A rollercoaster of every emotion was in there - happiness, fear, trepidation, pride, anxiety, profound love - and all that before we got to bloody Covid-19. The pandemic coincided with what can only be described as dream weather. But it was a nightmare not being able to get to the hills. All this was changing and the weather gods had aligned to give me a great opportunity at overcoming my Skye fears of the Cuillins. Since Sgurr nan Gillean, I had promised my wife I'd hire a guide for the last few tricky ones. I had used Jonah Jones back in 2012 for the Inn Pinn and I was impressed by his no-nonsense approach - he got the job done and inspired confidence. So it was I agreed to meet with Jonah (postponed from March) on August 14th 2020 to combine Sgurr a Mhadaidh to Banachdich. I had left Kylesku at 0330 and it was a long drive to Skye, with many deer on the roads and tiredness as my companion. I got to Glen Brittle for 0800 and not long after Jonah arrived. He got out of his car and abruptly announced "So, Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair!" - this wasn't in the script. I reminded him of my intended route but he just said that as this was a good day, we'd crack these two instead. I wasn't going to argue with him! But neither did I think I'd have the head for this, if I could scarcely handle Sgurr nan Gillean.

We left Glen Brittle and stormed up to the loch in Coire Lagan, which was still enshrouded in mist. We took a breather at 1800ft and he said to keep to the left of the An Stac screes, otherwise it would be tough work. I could sense that the sun was trying to burn off the mist and as we walked and climbed higher, the cloud dissolved leaving me staring at the behemoth of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich 1000 feet above; "eh, it looks bigger in real-life, Jonah". He chuckled. Already I was thinking how the hell would I be able to go from that big peak in the sky over to that other big pointy peak in the sky - on Skye. When we got up to the bealach, the sight that lay around us was one of the best I've ever witnessed - a full inversion of all the major peaks poking through the cloud - even as far as Rhum. Just incredible and I was in awe of my situation. It's possibly the best view I've ever experienced in all my hill days.
IMG_4646wh1.jpeg
Cuillins pano
IMG_4648wh2.jpeg
Cuillins inversion - over to Banachdich and beyond
IMG_4651wh3.jpeg
Back to the Inn Pinn - eight years ago we climbed it
IMG_4653wh4.jpeg
To Sgurr Alasdair and Thearlaich


We took on some water, got the harnesses and helmets on and began the final assault up on to Mhic Choinnich. I was very glad that I could follow Jonah up this - I wouldn't have had a clue. Before long, we made it up on the small summit and to the cairn. I daren't ask how we were going to connect the ridge but Jonah just said "Collie's ledge, bit of a climb after that; round a corner and a down-climb - you'll be fine". Now, I'm very lucky in owning Gordon Stainforth's Cuillins book and I was desperately trying to remember what Collie's Ledge looked like - it didn't sound particularly wide - ledge would suggest a narrow 'path'. A likely drop of 1000 feet to the corrie floor, I thought. Anyway, without time to **** myself, we carried on back to where said ledge was and he said to just follow him and if I wanted to look down, I could. I did but rather than freeze, I just accepted that this had to be done and carried on. The mist most likely hid where I'd die if I fell - perhaps overly dramatic. We made it round the ledge and we roped up, before we did some exposed climbing. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Jonah is a very charismatic and honest man - his stories of his time in the Marines (and out of) were both fascinating and tough to listen to. We can never comprehend the sacrifices these folks make - and how they have to adapt to civilian life after it. A sense of purpose can be the difference between life and death. I was extremely grateful to have lived the life I had and to have kept good physical and mental health. We spoke about the latter and it was refreshing. We need the hills to remind us of what we are. They give us a sense of purpose.

Eventually, we began the last climb up on to Sgurr Alasdair and once at the summit, the view out to Gars-Bheinn was also sublime.
IMG_4657wh5.jpeg
To Gars-Bheinn and Sgurr nan Eag


Munro no. 262 and possibly one of my most memorable - or was it Munro 261? We down climbed after a cuppa, cooled off and then began the descent down the Giant Stone Chute - it looked steep but we got down in quick time and took a breather and soaked our heads in the loch. From here, it was an easy and hot descent back to the cars. What a superb day - not sure it can be beaten, Huge thanks to, in my opinion, the best guide in Skye.
User avatar
kevsbald
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2176
Munros:264   Corbetts:119
Grahams:76   Donalds:51
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:33 pm

'S math a rinn sibh ..... cracking photos :clap:
User avatar
Collaciotach
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1790
Munros:282   Corbetts:145
Grahams:31   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:21   
Islands:28
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby Graeme D » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:24 pm

Now that is a view - even more impressive now that I am looking at it on a big screen at work rather than a little cracked phone screen. Some very true words as well - the hills do indeed teach us what we are, which is fleeting, small and wholly insignificant in comparison. Great work buddy! :clap:
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3613
Munros:225   Corbetts:107
Grahams:65   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby jmarkb » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:08 pm

Wow, fantastic, what a day to be up there!

Out of interest, did the guide take you over Sgurr Thearlaich or did you skirt round it?
jmarkb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 4269
Munros:241   Corbetts:96
Grahams:78   Donalds:29
Sub 2000:43   
Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby kevsbald » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:13 pm

Good question; we went over as it’s a Top. I found this the most airy situation!
User avatar
kevsbald
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2176
Munros:264   Corbetts:119
Grahams:76   Donalds:51
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby jmarkb » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:32 pm

kevsbald wrote:Good question; we went over as it’s a Top. I found this the most airy situation!


Great, thanks, that's handy to know! I have not (yet) done the link between Mhic Choinnich and Alasdair.
jmarkb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 4269
Munros:241   Corbetts:96
Grahams:78   Donalds:29
Sub 2000:43   
Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby litljortindan » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:28 pm

Easy to see why you might view this as probably your best views day!
User avatar
litljortindan
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1905
Munros:115   Corbetts:58
Grahams:27   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:47   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Dec 11, 2011

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby Sgurr » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:00 pm

Awe inspiring photos. And a very honest account of what it felt like to be doing those fantastic hills. I never wanted to repeat them as they were at the edge of my capabilities.

We joined up with Mike Lates and having been rained off twice just asked him to phone us when he had a client for the Inn Pin. He did, and husband completed on it. Then Mike said his other client . Pete, wanted to do Sgurr McCoinich as well, what about it? Did that, and then Collie's ledge and over Sgurr ?Tearlich to Sgurr Alasdair, none of which I was expecting, but having been told there wasn't an easier way, was just glad to do it. This is Collie's ledge converted from a print with the Inn Pin in the background, still don't know how we did it.

Image
User avatar
Sgurr
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 4377
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:569   Hewitts:139
Wainwrights:160   Islands:58
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby rockhopper » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:04 am

Nice report kev and a real bonus getting the inversion. Am sure you'll enjoy a'Mhadaidh, a'Ghreadaidh and na Banachdich when you get to them - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6641
Munros:282   Corbetts:218
Grahams:64   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: May 31, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby kevsbald » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:42 am

Sgurr, thanks for the old photo. Really captures it. There were points I wanted to take photos like Collie’s Ledge and start of descent of Great Stone Chute but I felt concentration on situation was more important.
User avatar
kevsbald
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2176
Munros:264   Corbetts:119
Grahams:76   Donalds:51
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich & Sgurr Alasdair via Collie's Ledge

Postby malky_c » Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:27 pm

Fantastic day out - inversion is always a bonus 8) .

I think I spotted one of your photos from here on the BBC website a couple of weeks ago :) .
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5981
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:272   Hewitts:269
Wainwrights:122   Islands:35
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow

13 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alteknacker, Jmcp1405, robertphillips, scott755 and 64 guests