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thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich

thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich


Postby mrssanta » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:01 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhòr

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Tharsuinn

Date walked: 27/08/2020

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 14.8 km

Ascent: 1200m

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We had been up the two Sgurrs, Choinnich and Chaorachain yesterday on a gorgeous evening with a forecast of four or five days of settled weather. We camped at the Bealach Bhearnais at a hight of 602 metres on top of a moraine next to a big rock. Sometime during the night my Exped downmat deflated itself but despite this I slept pretty well and we woke at about 8am to thick mist. Not to worry, we thought, it's just a bit of early morning cloud, we will just not rush to get ready and it will be right.
Shortly after we got up, two men passed our tent and told us the forecast was that it would clear up by late morning. So we decided to set off anyway to climb Beinn Tharsuinn, Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor. It was now or bail, so now it was. Here is the route we took.

Track_27-AUG-20 201408.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Well as it turned out the thick mist did not clear all day and was accompanied by rain on and off, sometimes heavy. Fortunately it wasn't too windy. I doubt the visibility was beyond 20metres all across the three summits, sometimes considerably less. These being somewhat lumpy hills, navigation was a challenge involving constant use of the map and compass, and occasional checking with the backup electronic devices. Apart from the weather being pants, it was an enjoyable challenge which gave us a lot of satisfaction. There are not so many pictures really for obvious reasons.
We left our tent at about 10am going up the left side of Bheinn Tharsuinn on a rising traverse until we reached the ridge, arriving at the summit at about 11.15am.
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Rudolph on top of Bheinn Tharsuinn, wondering what "late morning" actually means.

We followed a bearing down to the lochan at 053430 then another to the low point of the bealach at 050429. From here we were aiming for the low bealach at the start of the climb up Bidein a'C S where there is a wall, which is a really useful catching feature as it climbs some way up the hill on both sides of the bealach. This is really rough ground with lots of rocks and holes and we aimed a couple of degrees north of our target and were really pleased when we reached the wall very close to where we wanted to be.
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in thick fog it can be hard to tell what is up and what is down.

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Rather nice cobweb in a rock crevice.

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A lovely wall. Follow the wall up, cross the wall to keep it on your left and there is a bit of path and the way up follows on from this

From here if you follow the wall uphill onto Bidein it takes you to the start of the cairned path which guides you through the scrambly cliff. Well path might be a bit strong a term, but there are traces of it and in some places it is quite obvious. The first rock band is a straightforward bit of hands on stuff, then there is a flattish bit where you bear left following some cairns and find the bottom of a grassy rake which takes you diagonally to the right, steeply but without difficulty, through the next rockband. We stopped here for a brew and first lunch.
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hm not sure that we can get up there!

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it is quite steep actually

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happy mugs making an effort.

At this point you are still quite a way from the summit but suitably restored we climbed the last steep bit and reached the top at about 2.20pm.
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Lochan informing us we were at the start of the summit pointy bit

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Rudolph at the top

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me on top feeling positive!

Not the weather for hanging about studying the views we descended to the next bealach without finding much evidence of a path and then up the other side, reaching the top of Lurg Mhor at about a quarter to four.
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wild thyme quite high up on Lurg Mhor, giving me the opportunity for a breather

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summit cairn. I know some people won't approve, but this made me smile. Not sure if he was hallucinating or his glasses were steamed up, but Rudolph thought it was a piece of fruitcake wrapped in Clingfilm!

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Rudolph on Lurg Mhor

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and me having a wee rest

This had taken us a long time of effort and concentration on messy terrain and we had decided to take the low route home to the tent round the east side of Bheinn Tharsuinn rather than going over the tops again, in fact if we had gone over the tops it is quite likely we would not have reached our tent by nightfall and this was not a place to be navigating by head torch.
Coming down Lurg Mhor we found traces of a path and briefly lost our concentration; Rudolph was busy thinking about the plot holes in Independence Day, and I was humming Wagner's Meistersingers overture to myself (no idea why that was in my mind, I played in Yoof Orchestra about 100 years ago!) and we were heading down the fall line in the general direction of Coire Calavie, which would Not have been a Good Plan! Fortunately we corrected ourselves before we got lower than the bealach but it was a bit of a lesson in staying alert.
We dropped down off the east side of the bealach and took a gradually descending traverse east of Bidein and keeping as high as we could while avoiding crags and cliffs. It was much easier than we expected and our spirits were soon lifted by coming below the cloud level at last. Rudolph wants me to say he is very proud of his route-finding. I agree it was magnificent!
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ooh look, coming out of the cloud!

We then dropped down to the Allt Bealach an Sgoltaidh to cross at about 400m. This was a steep but grassy slope with no real difficulties but it was quite tussocky and did give us pause for thought what we would do if one of us turned an ankle and was unable to walk, after Rudolph put one leg down a hole. Fortunately neither of us did (turn an ankle, that is). But I wouldn't want to do this without boots.
P8274491.JPG
drop down into this glen to cross the burn as high as we sensibly can

From there a gradually rising traverse took us all the way back to the Bealach Bhearnais. This was much easier than we had expected although at times the ground was rough, the slope of the terrain steepened as we reached the end and we had a couple of gullies/gorges to cross but this was easily achieved by going uphill a bit.
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An attractive big rock

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the far bealach almost clear

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no need to go as low as loch Monar, seen here

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lovely splash of bright Sphagnum moss

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one of the little gorges we had to negotiate.

At one point on the return trog we stopped for second lunch/early tea/pudding and had a blow-up rice pudding which was very restorative.
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collecting water for the rice pud

We also saw LOTS of deer and a stag with lots of points who kept his eye on us for a very long time as we approached his harem. We just kept plodding on and he moved out of the way eventually.
Reaching the tent at about 8pm although the sun had not yet set it was dark enough to need torches inside the tent and we were soon fed and into bed and asleep.
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mrssanta
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Re: thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:24 pm

Such a shame you didn't get any views on this very remote pair.
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gammy leg walker
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Re: thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich

Postby Mountainlove » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:40 pm

The happy mugs made me smile, I remember them from your other walk reports. Shame that you did not had the views, but you both were full of smiles :D
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Re: thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:56 pm

Enjoyed reading this. You both look ridiculously happy given the weather!!!

"These being somewhat lumpy hills, navigation was a challenge involving constant use of the map and compass, and occasional checking with the backup electronic devices. Apart from the weather being pants, it was an enjoyable challenge which gave us a lot of satisfaction. " Indeed! I go to considerable lengths to try to avoid clag, but if I do end up having to navigate through it, I get quite a bit of satisfaction from the navigation challenge (provided I get it right :roll: ). The main thing I've learned from these experiences is: my directional instincts are ALWAYS wrong! Just believe the compass!!!
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Re: thick mist, Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich

Postby mrssanta » Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:21 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Such a shame you didn't get any views on this very remote pair.

agreed, but we will be adding them to the long list of "hills to do again in better weather" perhaps when we have retired and have more choice of when to go!
Mountainlove wrote:The happy mugs made me smile, I remember them from your other walk reports. Shame that you did not had the views, but you both were full of smiles :D

Ah yes we try to involve them in all our trips.
Alteknacker wrote:Enjoyed reading this. You both look ridiculously happy given the weather!!!

"These being somewhat lumpy hills, navigation was a challenge involving constant use of the map and compass, and occasional checking with the backup electronic devices. Apart from the weather being pants, it was an enjoyable challenge which gave us a lot of satisfaction. " Indeed! I go to considerable lengths to try to avoid clag, but if I do end up having to navigate through it, I get quite a bit of satisfaction from the navigation challenge (provided I get it right :roll: ). The main thing I've learned from these experiences is: my directional instincts are ALWAYS wrong! Just believe the compass!!!

You are of course absolutely correct! You've got to be able to manage grotty weather really - but I do admit I prefer it fine!
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mrssanta
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