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Blown away on Moruisg

Blown away on Moruisg

Postby PeteR » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:21 pm

Route description: Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

Munros included on this walk: Moruisg

Date walked: 10/02/2013

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It had been a while since I was last out on the hills, slogging my way up Gulvain. Three weeks to be precise, what with weather and then vehicular malfunctions, and I was desperate for a good winter walk. I knew it would probably be tough; three weeks is plenty time for any fitness I have to disappear :shock:

With the weather being what is has been lately I had a number of options lined up, taking in the east and the west. The eventual destination was Moruisg on the Sunday – a long drive, but if the Met Office was right I had the expectation of some reasonable conditions. Might even see the sun :D

Rather than bag this Munro by the standard ‘baggers’ route I had hatched a plan for an alternative, and longer, approach via Gleann Fhoidhaig, climbing a stalkers path that zigs and zags its way up a spur close to Glenuaig lodge. Depending on fitness and conditions I was then considering tacking on the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. Well I can tell you now that both fitness and conditions dictated that I would not be tacking on the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean on this particular trip :lol: :lol: One for a return trip :D

Despite being a long walk in the track that took me all the way to Glenuaig lodge is a pretty good one. Having satisfied myself that I had the necessary permission from Railtrack :lol: :lol: I made my way over the railway and started the walk along the track. The initial stages are a bit grim, as the track makes a gradual, but persistently steep enough rise up to a gated fence just before reaching the crest at the foot of the craggy face of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. The good thing though is that it gave the opportunity to take a rest and enough the views back to Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor :D
With permission granted (I'm sure) it was time to cross the railway track and on my way

Fuar Tholl

Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor

The former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

As the track bears right to drop down toward the Allt a’Chonais and then the Pollan Buidhe it becomes a bit rougher and on this occasion the further I headed into the Gleann the quantity of snow and ice on the track increased. It was never that bad, but as my recent experience has shown me, a bit of care is always required :shock: :lol:

But I was able to enjoy the great views ahead of Sgurr Chonnich, Sgurr a’Chorachain, Sgurr na Feartaig and finally Maoile Lunndaidh as my made my further into the Gleann. All looking sweet in their covering of snow 8)
Sgurr na Feartaig

The track to Glenuiag and the Moruisg bulk to the left

Sgurr Chonnich/Sgurr a’Chorachain range

View further into Gleann Fhoidhaig from the Glenuiag lodge

Walking into Gleann Fhoidhaig the weather was pretty much as the Met Office had suggested, but I could see dark clouds a-gathering to the east and they were spilling over Sgurr Chonnich, Sgurr a’Chorachain to the south of the Gleann as well. The Met Office seemed to have it spot on and thoughts of the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean were looking forlorn :( I’d rather enjoy my time bagging the one hill than trying to force the pace and bag the two. As is often said on this site, the hills will still be there tomorrow :D
The former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean again

Maoile Lunndaidh

I was surprised at the strength of the wind, even at this lower level, which was buffeting me a fair bit at times. It had induced a fleeting temptation to quit, but I’d travelled a long way and it was too early yet to throw in the towel. So onward I went.

Stopped at the small shelter by the lodge at Glenuaig for a quick rest and sustenance before girding my loins to tackle the small matter of the stalkers path :shock: Suddenly it all looked very steep from such close quarters :shock: :lol: As I was getting ready to leave the shelter I’d given myself a target time – see where I was by then and then decide whether to continue or head back down. The cloud was definitely winning the day, and so discretion and common sense were my watchwords.

Having said it looked steep, the initial section was ok as I made my way up over rocks and grass before locating the path proper a little higher up. Then it got a good bit steeper. I wouldn’t say that the path was clogged with snow, but there was enough. Progress was easiest made by walking along the outer edge where there was less snow. There were some places where the drifts were enough to temporarily halt my progress and lead me to scramble up and over snowy ribs in order to bypass the worst of it.
The start of the climb

The stalkers path

At about the 520 meter mark I hit the worst of the drifts, at a point where the path dropped down to cross a small burn. There was clearly no way I was ploughing through that!!!! The first couple of attempts soon made me realise that as I not only sank into the deep snow, but knew I would risk sliding down a fairly steep drop if the snow gave way :shock: This did induce another fleeting temptation to quit, but as I said before, I’d driven a long way for this walk and I wasn’t wanting the throw in the towel just yet. So I spied a route up a snowy, grassy, rake in order to bypass the worst of the snow.

At about the 600 meter point my route skirted back close by the stalkers path, so I was able to make the short detour to get back onto it. Still the same issue with snow drifts in places and I was still walking on the edge to avoid the deeper snow, but from this point on there were no difficulties and no more fleeting temptations to quit.

Eventually the stalkers path came to an end at the 750 meter mark. From here I could see the summit dome of Moruisg ahead of me. I could also see a nasty black cloud a-headed my way, so despite the natural contour of the ridge leading round Coire Beithe to point 872 I made a direct route ahead to Moruisg as fast as I could get my legs to work – which wasn’t very (fast that is :lol:). This direct route entailed a slight drop down initially before the pull up onto the summit itself, but eventually I had made it.
Cloud winning the day

Maoile Lunndaidh becoming engulfed in cloud

View pack to point 872 from near Moruisg summit

Moruisg summit cairn

The wind, which had been pretty keen on the approach into Gleann Fhoidhaig was now extremely keen :lol: :lol: By the time I hit the summit it was fair blowing a gale and doing its level best to knock me off my feet. This it managed to some effect a few moments after touching the true summit cairn, as I made my way to the other cairn on the summit just a few yards away :shock: Try as I might to avoid the large patches of ice on the summit there seemed to be an inevitability to the wind pushing me toward the ice :shock: A quick slip and then a hefty thud and I was down :shock: :lol: The ground was hard as iron, so sadly the only thing that could give was my knee :thumbdown: I think round these parts they would call it a sore yun :shock: And it still is :(

Thankfully it was no more that a good crack to the knee, rather than anything more serious. Before beating a hasty retreat off the summit I took a short video clip especially to show MrsR just how windy it was :D Oh how she appreciated that little gesture :lol: :lol: Here it is for your delectation too :thumbup:

Oh yeah, as well as blowing quite a gale on the summit it was absolutely freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing :lol: :lol: I’d discovered earlier that I’d not packed by buff, which usually provides a bit of protection to the face when the wind is up. So the face was open to the elements and feeling the chill. The beard didn’t make much difference either and at times simply breathing was a challenge, as my lungs were chocked by the force of the wind blowing in my face :shock: And then there was the sandblasting that the face was taking too as I was bombarded by a myriad of tiny, icy flakes :lol: :lol:
Fuar Tholl and Sgorr Ruadh.....just before the cloud oblterated the view

View to the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean from the Moruisg summit

The second cairn of Moruisg

The descent off the hill by via the same route up, with the wind relenting as I lost height. Much as I would have liked to tackle the former-Munro-that-is-now-a-Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean the weather was definitely on the turn and so common sense had to prevail. With the weather closing in that would not have been a pleasant experience I don’t think :thumbdown:

Thankfully for me this meant no further dramas and it was a relatively quick and easy drop back down through snow showers to Glenuaig Lodge and shelter. Had a further short stop at the shelter before getting myself ready for the long walk back. Struggled a bit to get my rhythm going, but then by now the three weeks off the hills was starting to show.
Where's the view down Gleann Fhoidhaig gone?

Glenuaig Lodge and shelter

Maoile Lunndaidh disappearing in the clag

Sgurr na Feartaig in the clag

The walk back was accompanied by fairly constant snow flurries, but never anything too bad. There were quite a few deer about and I was noticing a reluctance on their part to scarper as I approached. As a result I don’t think I have ever stood so close to a group of young stags as I had today :D :D Quite impressive and they even posed nicely for a photo or two :D :D
Stags posing.....or should that be posing stags

Toward Fuar Tholl one last time

It was some relief to finally be back at the car. All in all though this was a good day on the hills, in an area I have come to really enjoy since my first visit just over a year ago. It’s just a case now of two Munro’s and three Corbett’s I think and then this little group of hills should be done :D

And that was Moruisg :thumbup: I’d had to dig this one out a bit, but despite a couple of moments of temptation when thoughts of quitting had entered my head I was pleased to have this red balloon turned to blue on my map :D :D

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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby rockhopper » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:25 am

A cracking tale, pete, enjoyed reading it :thumbup: certainly sounded tough at times but some great views and photos. Long way to go for one hill but you do get to go back :wink: Am hoping to get up here some time as had to change plans last year but am thinking about taking the tent - cheers :)
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby ChrisW » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:05 am

Another cracker Pete (and that's just the knee cap :lol: :lol: ) seriously though - hope it is ok. Some beautiful photos early on and great video at the end with a haunting song to accompany it. Like RH says, its a good long stretch for 1 but it sounds like it was worth it. :D

Congratulations on keeping your camera steady in that windy summit vid, by the sound of it you could have been blown over :lol:
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby kevsbald » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:44 am

Well done Pete,

that's a great effort. Those hills over towards Fuar Thol look great in your shots.
I'm hopeful I'll get something done in this area soon. Awkward drive for us WoScotlanders.
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:12 pm

That sounds a really arduous one, Pete - especially with the wind factor.
Well done for getting round, despite having to leave the sad munro-that-isn't-any-longer unclimbed.
I'll be up that way for a week in the summer, so am putting together a list of possible ones to do - should be less chilly by then :)
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby ed_hill » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:16 pm

Did these two by the standard route on sunday too - was indeed very very windy! Managed to get them done earlier on in the day so not too much in the way of clag. Was incredibly cold tho - 1ltr water bottle was frozen solid after just 2 hours walking!
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby Silverhill » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:50 pm

Grim, very grim PeteR. Even the cairn seemed to grin viciously at you.
Well done for persisting! :D
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby pigeon » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:07 pm

Another great effort pete,you like those long drives :wink: Need to try and get myself up there soon,with the longer days no far away i might be able to squeeze in the former Munro that is now a Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean :lol:
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby soapy27 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:17 pm

A nice report there Peter worth the effort for some of the photos :clap: :clap:
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Re: Blown away on Moruisg

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:43 pm

Grand TR once again Peter thanks for sharing.
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