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A Kayak Tour de Loch Quoich

A Kayak Tour de Loch Quoich

Postby zozzles » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:10 pm

Munros included on this walk: Gairich, Garbh Chioch Mhòr, Sgùrr Mòr (Loch Quoich), Sgùrr na Cìche, Sgùrr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Aden

Date walked: 29/08/2020

Time taken: 60 hours

Distance: 66 km

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3 Day trip - Saturday 29th - Monday 31st August 2020.

Day 1: Kayak to base of N ridge of Gairich, up + down then kayaked west along to the base of Sgurr Mor. Shoreside camp, and a sunny evening ascent of Sgurr Mor.
Day 2: Kayak to the west end of loch Quoich, then up Ben Aden's NE ridge, and onto Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mor, Sgurr na Coireachan. Kayaked part way back east to another shoreside camp.
Day 3: Kayak all the way back to the car!

Loch Quoich from the road

For a few years i've been eyeing up a multi-day walk around Loch Quoich, taking in the rugged peaks on the edge of Knoydart, and it seemed the perfect weekend and weather to combine it into a paddling expedition in our new kayaks. We unloaded and set off from just west of the bridge at the far north edge of the loch. The wind was in our favour for a short easy paddle to the foot of Gairich's sweeping NE ridge, passing by the small island near Loch Quoich's south bank. After a successful (first!) disembarking from the kayaks, we set off up the easy angled schist slabs and pathless heather in the sunshine. We quickly reached the summit (approx 1hr 20min) to glorious views over the loch.

Onwards to Gairich

Gairich's north ridge

A fast descent the same route, and we got back into the boats and set off westwards along the shore. The wind really picked up for a while here and the waves felt quite sea-like - good practice for us! We made OK progress and with 1 break in the lee side of a small island, we made it to just west of Allt coire nan Laogh where we set up camp for the evening, Feeling good, and wanting to take some miles off Sunday's ambitious walk, we had a beautiful evening's wander up Sgurr Mor and back. The setting sun over the rugged peaks of Sgurr na Ciche and Ben Aden was spectacular!

Kayaking into the rough bounds

Evening sun over Ben Aden and Sgurr na Ciche

In the morning we packed up and had a leisurely paddle towards the narrows at the west end of the loch. The walking along the lochside here looks very boggy and we were glad of the boats to assist! Once on foot, we walked up past the dam, and headed for the awesome NE ridge of Ben Aden. Easy padding up hundreds of metres of schist slabs, with plenty scrambling interest to be found if desired. The geological interest on each section is also endless, with huge blades of mica sticking out of mineral veins all over the place, and tiny little purple garnets littering the ground.

Rock slabs on our morning kayak to the west end of the loch

Ben Aden's NE ridge

schist slabs all the way up the NE ridge, with some nice easy scrambling in places

Unfortunately the weather was a little moody, and we had some swirling cloud towards the summit. We got glimpses of the awesome view out north and west, this will definately be a set of hills to return to on a brighter day. With a little navigation required, we set off towards Sgurr na Ciche over constantly interesting, rough rocky terrain.

some sunshine between Ben Aden and Sgurr na Ciche

looking to Sgurr na Ciche from the Bealach a' Chairn Deirg below Ben Aden - a long walk round!

After a rest and some snatches of views between the clouds on top of Sgurr na Ciche, we continued round to Garbh Chioc Mor and Sgurr na Coireachan, where it was far easier going underfoot than the start of the day - here there are worn paths which for the most part follow a drystone wall. From the top of Sgurr na Coireachan we headed north over Druim Bhuide, and down the north side of An t Sail, which dropped us right back at the kayaks. A still evenings paddle over to the north bank, and we set up camp again. The midgies were out on force that evening so we retreated to the tent to enjoy our well earned dinner!

Ben Aden and Sgurr na Ciche in the background, what awesome pointy peaks!

A final kayak out to the car on the last day...and making plans to return soon! Ben Aden and Sgurr na Ciche are total highlights of this area.
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Re: A Kayak Tour de Loch Quoich

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:08 am

That looked like a great outing. I have plans for Ben Aden the exact same way, it's such a beautiful area.
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