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Torrid Times Day 3 - What's the Sgurr?!

Torrid Times Day 3 - What's the Sgurr?!

Postby JimboJim » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:23 pm

Route description: Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich

Date walked: 13/08/2020

Time taken: 6.1 hours

Distance: 20.5 km

Ascent: 1251m

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It had been a torrid night the night before, having survived Liathach and the post match celebrations. The lads had determined to hit the road home, but I was keen to squeeze another walk out the trip, seeing as I was in the vicinity and wanted to knock off the Sgurr's up Glenuaig, if possible. The Met Office was indicating mist clearing to a sunny day by late morning, which suited my timing just nicely.

I had declined to take my bike up north, opting for travelling light, but on retrospect, perhaps I ought to have loaded it on board, having proved its worth on my previous trip up the glen to do Maoile Lunndaidh :crazy: Anyway, I didn't have it, so that was that. It was very warm, muggy and airless as I left the muddy car park. The midges were soon onto me despite my attempts to keep a brisk pace. My brisk pace after a couple of days hiking and a beer or, two at night was obviously not brisk enough :lol:
Liathach 9.JPG
First of the wire bridges.

It is a long walk before the glen levels out. My irritation with the midges was not helped by the low level of fog, which did not show any signs of lifting :( Slowly crept up behind three guys, as I passed the first wire bridge and on to the second, however I never did catch them the whole trip. The Allt a'Chonais was probably cross-able without using the slightly fragile looking wires, but hoping these chaps were now out of "you've been framed" range, I opted to make a fool of myself, wobble every inch over to the far side. Ah well, dignity slighly dented, but feet dry :oops:
Liathach 10.jpg
This way for the Bealach Bhearnais.

Right, it's about time you were clearing off fog, I reckoned :( I knew the hill was off to my left but, could see virtually nothing of it. Fortunately the track up to the Bealach Bhearnais is reasonably well defined, but after that I had to get the compass out and do some more serious checking to keep on track. Took me a while to find the second bealach and old wall, though reassuringly I could hear the voice of the others walkers from time to time.
Liathach 11.JPG
Wider track for a short way above the river crossing.
Liathach 235_1024_768.JPG
View up Glenuaig. Maoile Lunndaidh, rises impressively to the right.

Took on board some food and fluids before setting off on the steep climb up the Streangan nan Aon Pacan-deug ridge - I know, that's easy for me to write :lol: The three scrambly bits mentioned were a bit more testing than expected but, no bother. Good fun, unlike the midges who continued to plague me, in the breathless fog, which deceptively managed to brighten up, but remain as thick.
Liathach 238_1024_768.JPG
Streangan nan Aon Pacan-deug somewhere in the fug.

Caught up with someone but, wasn't one of the party of three. Soon came on to what I presumed was the main ridge. Again, a lot narrower than I was expecting. Maybe as well it was still as foggy, although I was disappointed it looked like there would be few views today. Met a chap near here coming from the opposite direction. He remarked that the midges were getting bad since the wind had dropped. I remarked that they had been bad since setting off. He remarked that my neck was black with them and sure enough, it was! :lol:
Liathach 241_1024_768.JPG
Ridge quite narrow up top.

I seemed to continue a long way along the ridge without seeing any sign of the summit and was seriously wondering if I had passed it, when I came to a puckle of stones. I'm not sure I would agree with the WH's description - "The summit cairn is a tantalising 999 metres high." I must have been at a different cairn :lol: Think I was over three hours to here.
Liathach 241a.jpg
999m high :)
Liathach 241b.jpg
Summit, Tom Choinnich, 999m. Yes, those are midges, not a bad shave.

Thereafter, I continued to follow the path to the Bealach Coire Choinnich, just a bit warily at times, when it became less clear to follow. Loch Morar must have evaporated as it was nowhere to be seen. I think it was about the bealach, I felt a breath of wind and the midges disappear for a while, a mere three and a half hours, or so into the trip.
It seemed like a fairly big slog up to the summit of Sgurr a'Chaorachain, as the previous two days took their toll. Eventually the large shelter cairn emerged from the mist, marking summit, number two.
Liathach 243.jpg
Wind shelter cairn on Sgurr a'Chaorachain.
Liathach 244_1024_768.JPG
Enjoying the views, summit, Sgurr a'Chaorachain.

The fog made a half-hearted effort to clear, but still revealed nothing, so I fixed a northerly bearing and tried to guestimate 700 metres walk down the pathless, grassy, steep flank of the mountain. In the approximate spot, I veered NW, off to the left, which is much steeper. I just wondered - and hoped, I wasn't heading into danger. I didn't fancy a long climb back up to somewhere, over this ground :shock: Once, or twice I thought I heard voices, though wasn't sure if this was just wishful thinking or, the re-assurance I was looking for.
Liathach 245.jpg
Over to Coire Choinnich, once out of the clag. Doesn't seem that steep, but felt like it at the time.
Liathach 257c.jpg
Looking down on the way in/out. Track to the left heads for the Bealach Bhearnais.

Eventually, transitioned from fog, to mist, to hazy views of moorland and a road below me and could start to relax a bit more, though I still had a fair way to descend, down to the level of where the other three were now nearing the river crossed earlier. I decided to traverse round a bit more directly to the north, to shorten the distance to the road, but not sure if that was wise, or not. The ground as described, is boggy!
Liathach 251_1024_768.JPG
Round Sgurr Choinnich, to the Bealach Bhearnais.
Liathach 257a.jpg
Back toward descent route. Obviously you don't want to be over to the left (east.)

Once back on the road, it was a long, lonely trudge back to Craig. The hills did emerge a little and the pine forests made a nice picture, but I would have loved to have had a few views from the summits. Also, wish I had a £1 for every time I muttered "wish I had taken the bike," or, bemoaned recent wide of the mark Met Office forecasts, before arriving back at the car in just over the 6 hours, well satisfied to have managed this big hike, mostly in poor viz.
Liathach 261_1024_768.JPG
Fine view of the two mountains looking back :)
Liathach 262.jpg
Last look at Sgurr Choinnich.
Liathach 263_1024_768.JPG
Think that's the Corbett, ex-Munro, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean way up in the mist.
Liathach 265.jpg
Nice pine forests.
Liathach 266_1024_732.JPG
End of the line after another great trip to Torridon.

I wasn't especially looking forward to the four hour drive home, but the images and laughs of the previous two days, meant the journey passed in a jiffy :D
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Re: Torrid Times Day 3 - What's the Sgurr?!

Postby PeteR » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:36 pm

I recall doing these two in winter.......before I knew any better 🤣 They are a couple of toughies for sure
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Re: Torrid Times Day 3 - What's the Sgurr?!

Postby JimboJim » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:19 pm

Cheers, PeteR, I can believe that would be an arduous day in winter, for sure. Wouldn't like that descent in snow, or ice, or the walk in\out, for that matter!
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