3 Horns, 3 Amigos, 2 Hills and One Happy Bunny
by AnnieMacD » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:37 pm
Route description: Beinn Alligin
Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Date walked: 12/10/2013
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 12.7 km
Ascent: 1362m7 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).
I've been planning this walk for a couple of weeks and went back and fore a good few times as to how I would achieve the two Munros and not kill myself . I considered all the possibilities from returning the way I had gone up (boring), going over the Horns ( with my lack of experience and I'm on my own), taking the bypass paths (bit of a cop-out) or returning by the steep descent down Sgurr Mor and walking round the base of the Horns (a LONG walk out). Then there was the question of clockwise or anti-clockwise. I read, researched, asked people and ended up with more questions than I started out with.
After reading Black Panther's report I decided to try the Horns first and if I found them too difficult I could retreat safely with just a bit of loss of dignity . Then I read the Beinn Alligin chapter from Peter Barton's fantastic book "Walking in Torridon" and he made a comment that if you tried the Horns first and were defeated you would just end up with a sense of failure, but if you went round in a clockwise direction and gained the two Munros, then if the Horns look too intimidating you could go down the north-west slope of Sgurr Mor and still have bagged two Murnos. OK, this was what I was going to do FOR SURE .
I set off in the dark and got to the car park just as the sun was coming up - there was one car ahead of me. Was on the path by 7:40 and loved the fact that you start gaining height immediately. I'm not so keen on the long walk-ins when I'm half asleep. This walk takes no prisoners - half asleep won't cut it. (Sorry for all the metaphors ).
Just after crossing the stile with the sun just touching the top of Beinn Damh.
It was a glorious day.
Sgurr Mor and the Horns across the corrie.
Beinn Alligin - the task ahead by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
Looking up Coire nan Laogh. This is a lovely spot - sheltered with lovely little streams coming down the hillside.
Looking back down to upper Loch Torridon and the sun peeking round the slopes of Liathach.
Beinn Alligin - sunrise by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
It was fairly windy - you can see the white horses on Loch Torridon. Beinn Damh looking inviting (maybe this weekend) .
After a couple of short detours to take photos and fill up my water bottle (lovely little allts here for topping up) I reached the top of Tom na Gruagaich in 2 hours 10 minutes. Whoo hoo it's still not 10 o'clock and I'm on the top of a Munro - no helicopters were used in the making of this record . If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a night owl and early morning starts are tough for me.
Sgurr Mor from the top with Baosbheinn on the left at rear.
Sgurr Mor again and the Horns with Beinn Dearg behind.
The corries of Beinn Bhan - very close to my heart
I have to say Baosbheinn looks a bit formidable but it's on the ever expanding list too
The views are magnificent. But the wind was blowing and the top is quite exposed to the elements so I didn't linger too long as it was pretty cold. I decided not to take any bypasses on the way down the fairly steep ridge to the bealach as I 'd read there are some little scrambles and I wanted SOME experience. Down at the col a guy overtook me and we exchanged pleasantries but he was in a hurry and went off up to the next top. I, of course, had to take more photos.
Looking back up to Tom na Gruagaich from the bealach. There are three little figures making their way down to give some sense of scale.
The Three Amigos begin the Descent of Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin) by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
I know everyone has their own fears but I could not see anything really scary about the Eag Dubh - in fact I took a little peer into the depths. Maybe I would have a different story if it was blowing a gale in the swirling mists
Beinn Alligin - Eag Dubh by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
The summit of Sgurr Mor is just a few metres up from this. By now the wind had died down considerably and it was much warmer especially in the shelter of the cairn. I took many photos of all the surrounding hills - Liathach, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Eighe, Baosbheinn, Beinn Damh, etc in one direction and our very own Beinn Bhan with the Cuillin beyond. In the distance you could pick out An Teallach and even the Shiants off the coast of Lewis. Just amazing.
Beinn Alligin - view of Liathach by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
Lunch was had and I was just about to set off down the grassy slope of Sgurr Mor when three guys appeared up on the summit plateau. To cut a long story short they suggested that I could tag along with them over the Horns. Well, I said I was slow - no matter, they said, we will go at your pace. Do you want to consult amongst each other? I asked. No, if one makes a decision we all go along with it. But I'm slow - oh, shut up and let's get going, they said. In fact they even gave me an apple so I would keep quiet and it worked for a short time. Are you SURE? I asked. This is what I saw - so the Three Amigos and I set off towards the Horns. I was so excited.
The three Amigos (Simon, Grant and Steve) on the summit of Sgurr Mor.
Starting off towards the Horns - Beinn Dearg is behind them, Beinn Eighe behind that, with Liathach on the right.
Beinn Alligin - looking towards the Horns from Sgurr Mor by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
It all happened so quickly that I don't know if I can recall the horns separately with a blow by blow account. Firstly, we did not take ANY detours - no tourist route for the Three Amigos and me . There were a couple of places I needed help in the form of a leg-up but other than that I managed fine with a LOT of moral support. It makes all the difference in the world to have someone in front of you and someone behind you.
The top of the first horn is a long narrow ridge but we stopped at the second one to take some pictures.
From the top of the second horn towards the third horn, Liathach and the Coire Lair hills beyond.
The Three Amigos on Horn #2 with Sgurr Mor behind looking formidable.
And then we were down before you know it. Grant considering an ascent of Beinn Damh
We decided to take Peter Barton's advice and headin a south-westerly direction down the grassy slopes which are steep but I believe easier than the big sandstone blocks that many people mention on the main path. We then joined the path just above the lower bridge which is no distance at all from the start.
At the bridge the Three Amigos went haring down the path to meet their friend - I had already kept them back by at least an hour
The parting of ways - thanks guys .
Beinn Alligin - the three amigos by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
I dawdled down the path taking more photos and contemplating how I have so much luck on the hills.
I decided to drive home via the north coast road to Applecross so I could keep Beinn Alligin in my view for as long as possible.
Beinn Alligin from the Applecross coast road by AnnieMacD, on Flickr
What a truly amazing day. Here's one happy bunny.
by bigjimmy » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:57 pm
by kev_russ » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:04 am
by BlackPanther » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:56 pm
Glad to see you met some new friends It is always easier to be in the company of an experienced companion on "dodgy" slopes and scrambles. The "emotional" side of hill climbing... I must admit, I had it all easier as my second half was with me from my very first mountain, he was my mentor and my insurance policy. Now he struggles to keep up with me sometimes
by tweedledog » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:10 pm
Now why didn't I retire to that cottage in Kinlochewe....?
- Mountain Walker
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- Location: Argyll
by Bruno » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:13 pm
Your pictures are outstanding.
A beautiful report on this magnificent corner of Scotland
by PeteR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:31 pm
I can't wait until it's my turn
by dogplodder » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am
Anything down to being young, female and attractive?
by AnnieMacD » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:06 pm
@bigjimmy - I'm going for all the hills nearest to where I live. They may not be the easiest but they are pretty spectacular! I was hoping to do Beinn Damh tomorrow but the weather doesn't look too promising.
@BlackPanther - I'm definitely trying to follow in your footsteps (not literally, of course). If you haven't written a walk report, then I can't go there .
@kev_russ - thanks, glad you liked them.
@Tweedledog - I have heard reports that the bypass path is quite scary. ....I'm sure there's a cottage for sale in Kinlochewe!
@Bruno - thanks. I really couldn't go wrong on such a magnificent day.
@PeteR - as they say, the hills will always be here waiting for you. I'm sure you will enjoy this pair!
@dogplodder - Ha, ha - you are only correct in one of the three suggestions I do speak to everyone, though! Oh, and I somehow didn't read your WR until afterwards and see you came down Sgurr Mor - which I had intended to do. It wasn't too bad, was it?
by litljortindan » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:45 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:56 pm
We were up there the same day with a couple of black spaniels, which were the reason we chickened out of doing the horns and went back the way we came. (The truth is the dogs would probably have been fine, but my nerves watching them wouldn't have been )