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The Horn Dogs of Alligin

The Horn Dogs of Alligin


Postby Beaner001 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:07 pm

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 15/11/2014

Time taken: 5.1 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1110m

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This trip had been initially planned for the summer with Martinh and his wife Denise but had to be cancelled at the last minute as my mate Andy turned his ankle at football on the Friday night. I was gutted but you cannot help these things, well apart from not playing 5 aside football the night prior to a big trip hill walking!!

I had sent out a few feelers to mates to see if anyone was keen for the trip this weekend but no takers. I knew this was going to be my only chance to have both days clear in a weekend till well into the New Year so I had to grab this chance. The weather looked positive and I loaded the tent and sleeping bag into the car as well as enough provisions to last me through till the Sunday. I left Westhill at the crack of dawn (6am) in horrendous weather, fog and drizzle. The fog would continue all the way up to just after Achnasheen, then the mist just parted and the scenery was outstanding. It looked like I had made the correct choice and Torridon was out of this world beautiful.

I have been a Cairngorms fan since childhood, I spent many a summer up at my Grans in Boat of Garten running wild, leaving the house in the morning and not returning till last light. The Cairngorms looked like the highest mountains in the word to me then, however I had never seen the Beasts of Torridon, I was getting goose bumps driving down the single track road to Torridon, and these Sharks Fin Mountains just rose out of the land straight up. Beinn Eighe to my right looked stunning then Liathach came into sight. I had to stop the car a number of times to take photos.
photo 2.JPG
Liathach looking impenetrable

The plan was to stay in the free camp site in Torridon and do a walk on Sunday also so I popped in by the facilities to check them; they would do nicely and were free!! I drove through Torridon to the small car park just after the bridge where the walk starts.
photo 3.JPG
Waterfall from Bridge and car park

I went onto the bridge to get a snap of the waterfall and just continued on without thinking, it turned out I went up the path on the right of the bridge instead of the left and had to return and get the correct path as I planned on doing the route clockwise as I wanted to do the Munros and could always go back if the Horns proved too dangerous for the dogs. There is a green wheelie bin at the left of the bridge and you follow the path behind it, the path on the right is the one you return on. The climbing begun almost instantly and the legs burn initially, due to the ascent. The stepping stones that have been created on the path are superb and help in making short work of the climb.
photo 5.JPG
Dogs behaving

We reached the deer fence and I thought I would have to heave the dogs over, weighing around 19kgs I did not fancy that but luckily there is a small section of hanging fence where the dogs could get through if I lifted it a bit.

After this I heard Roy barking and wondered if we had come across another walker as he likes to let me know when this happens but I could not see anyone, on looking more closely it was a huge stag he was yelling at. It stood its ground and so did the dogs which I was pleased with, I imagine the size of it put them off going closer to investigate. The Stalkers have obviously done a great job here as that’s one of the heathiest stags I’ve seen and he’ll likely have many offspring appearing in the spring on Beinn Alligin.
photo 6.JPG
Monarch of the Glen and Monarch of the Mountain

photo 7.JPG
First glimpse of the Horns and the Black Notch

photo 8.JPG
Left to right, Beinn Dearg (Corbett), Beinn Eighe, Liathach

Looking ahead the route goes up to the right of the Crags on Na Fasreidhnean, here we were in the shadow of it and it was slightly colder but still just a t-shirt and in November too.
photo 9.JPG
Na Fasreidhnean

photo 10.JPG
Lochy posing, or zooming in on something

photo 11.JPG
Into the shadow

photo 12.JPG
Torridon must be in the flight path for many Airliners

photo 13.JPG
Back to Upper Loch Torridon

photo 14.JPG
And again

The path is still excellent and the artificial steps created make the climb a doddle up to the top when the summit of Tom na Gruagaich came into view. The dogs and I jogged on like school boys to the summit and the views were out of this world, best I have ever had I’d say. Skye and the Cuillin looked so clear and there were that many mountains all round I did not recognise them all. I am more familiar with the mountains back East but the profiles of the Western Mountains was a different kettle of fish, seeing new mountains and in fact differently formed mountains was so refreshing. We spent about 15 minutes soaking in the views before heading off towards Sgurr Mor.
photo 15.JPG
The Horns

photo 16.JPG
Summit of Tom na Gruagaich

photo 17.JPG
Skye Cuillin zoomed

The route off of Tom na Gruagaich was a tad steep and you have to pick your way carefully, however I tend to follow the dogs as they are decent enough at finding the easiest route.

The walk round the Bealach to the start of the ascent up Sgorr Mor is a nice walk and gives the legs a wee rest before the last steep sustained climb of the day.
photo 18.JPG
The Black Notch from above

About half way up we came across the ‘Black Notch’ – Eag Dubh which is a noticeable feature of Beinn Alligin from below, this broke the ascent up and once you push on after that the summit is reached rather quickly. Here the views again were stunning, the dogs enjoyed their carrots and I got peace to eat my piece!!
photo 19.JPG
Summit Sgurr Mor

photo 20.JPG
Summit Sgurr Mor

photo 21.JPG
Nearing the Horns again

Next thoughts were on the Horns of Alligin, perhaps the most enjoyable part of the day. I am glad I did them, the dogs did great, we all picked our way up onto the first Horn, a couple of sections would be more tense in winter conditions.
photo 23.JPG
Just below the Horns

photo 24.JPG
Dogs ahead reaching the top of the first horn

photo 25.JPG
Looking towards second Horn from the first

The second Horn was reached and we stopped for a bite to eat again before descending off, we missed the third one out as the bypass path looked easy and we’d done the hard part. The descent off the hill proper was gruelling on the knees but the path was decent enough, again there were a few rocky sections but nothing too difficult.
photo 26.JPG
Down in the Glen looking back to Beinn Alligin

We reached the foot of An t-Sail Bheg and the going got easier, in fact this was one of the nicest walks out I have ever experienced, the weather was not particularly warm but because I was moving I was able to be in a t-shirt all day. It was an absolute pleasure to be here at this point, the dogs were quartering the terrain in front of me, the sun was beginning to fall and the setting was fantastic.
photo 28.JPG
Dogs enjoying a cool down

Torridon where had you been all my life??? I was soon back at the car and I have to say the walk was not gruelling and at no point did I feel tired or out of my depth but this was my favourite day in the hills by far.
The dogs both enjoyed their day and when I got back to the car I decided I’d rather just head off home instead of staying, I had had the best day and was content. Initially I wanted to stay as the distance was a 350 odd mile round trip so I felt I’d make the most of doing a walk the following day but I am in no hurry to finish this journey so thought I’d get home so I could reflect on this trip. Torridon I will be back. On the road out I noticed a few houses for sale; I wonder if I could afford a second mortgage?? Hehe.

One thing is for sure, my top three mountains on my to do list have changed and now are as follows:

1) An Ruadh-Stac
2) Beinn Eighe
3) Liathach

God’s Country Indeed. Cheers
photo 27.JPG
Happy Feet
Last edited by Beaner001 on Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:58 pm

Brilliant report - glad you got Torridon on such a beautiful day - it really is special. Thanks for the great photos too - these are some of the clearest I've seen of the paths on the horns - we didn't do them last year because this Alligin was Bertie's first hill walk after a bout of pancretitis so we were being careful - now we must go back and do the job properly :lol: :lol:

Good list of next year's hills :D
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:31 am

Brilliant and bonnie dogs :D :clap: :clap:

Will you take them onto Liathaich ?
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby martin.h » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:59 am

Wow! great report Matthew, I enjoyed reading that. I'm glad you got the weather you did, absolutely stunning mountains, if we had managed to do this together during the summer your photo's would have been of clag so it was well worth the wait for you. Roy and Lochy must have been in their element, I can tell by their faces.
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby MunroMadMen » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:05 am

Excellent report with some amazing pics, well done m8 :)
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Beaner001 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:38 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Brilliant report - glad you got Torridon on such a beautiful day - it really is special. Thanks for the great photos too - these are some of the clearest I've seen of the paths on the horns - we didn't do them last year because this Alligin was Bertie's first hill walk after a bout of pancretitis so we were being careful - now we must go back and do the job properly :lol: :lol:

Good list of next year's hills :D


Thanks and all photo's with an IPhone :shock:
Glad Bertie got back to full fitness, they are a worry :crazy:

Collaciotach wrote:Brilliant and bonnie dogs :D :clap: :clap:

Will you take them onto Liathaich ?


Thanks Colla, negative they will not get on Liathach, unless they live long enough to see me into my second round of Munros and I go up to each Munro from their respective side :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol: Haha, so the answer is deffo a no.

martin.h wrote:Wow! great report Matthew, I enjoyed reading that. I'm glad you got the weather you did, absolutely stunning mountains, if we had managed to do this together during the summer your photo's would have been of clag so it was well worth the wait for you. Roy and Lochy must have been in their element, I can tell by their faces.


Thanks Marts, yeah they loved it, weather could not have been better :D

MunroMadMen wrote:Excellent report with some amazing pics, well done m8 :)


Cheers Geo :D
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Silverhill » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:37 pm

What a change of scenery can do for you!
I just can’t believe this was last Saturday, lucky you. November in Scotland?! :shock: I now very much look forward to doing Beinn Alligin! :D
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby dogplodder » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:17 pm

This brought back fond memories as Alligin was my first walk report and the dogs did really well that day. Didn't do the horns but to be honest that was more for me than them (good excuse though :lol: ). Your pair are lovely dogs and very photogenic. Love the one of Lochy posing! :thumbup:
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby jimandandrea » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:09 am

What a cracking day. Much better weather than here!

I take it you swam across as well? :wink:
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby litljortindan » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:31 pm

One of my favourite Scottish hills. Looks like you and your dogs got a great day there.
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Beaner001 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:13 am

Silverhill wrote:What a change of scenery can do for you!
I just can’t believe this was last Saturday, lucky you. November in Scotland?! :shock: I now very much look forward to doing Beinn Alligin! :D


I wouldn't go changing your holiday dates for Scotland just yet Silverhill :lol: :lol: It is a great hill, not too long a day either, in fact knowing you it's prob a half dayer!! 8)

dogplodder wrote:This brought back fond memories as Alligin was my first walk report and the dogs did really well that day. Didn't do the horns but to be honest that was more for me than them (good excuse though :lol: ). Your pair are lovely dogs and very photogenic. Love the one of Lochy posing! :thumbup:


Thanks DP, that's what I like about this site, even though someone else does a report on a hill you've already done it brings back good memories of your day on the hill :D

jimandandrea wrote:What a cracking day. Much better weather than here!

I take it you swam across as well? :wink:


Weather is shocking in Aberdeenshire this week Jim, arm bands were needed!! :lol:
Hope your doing fine mate :)

litljortindan wrote:One of my favourite Scottish hills. Looks like you and your dogs got a great day there.


I would say Alligin and An Teallach are my top two just now, cheers
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Anne C » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:49 pm

Great report and pics..incredible the quality you get on phones nowadays.
We were directly opposite you on Beinn Damh that same day - the clarity and colour were the best I can remember for a long time. Torridon was looking magnificent .
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:20 pm

Good stuff. My favourite area this and you won't be disappointed when you get around to doing your top 3, although i've only did a little bit of An Ruadh-Stac :D
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:44 pm

Yep - truly wonderful mountains, for me second only to the Cuillin Ridge.

You had excellent weather, and the pix really evoke the mood of the place. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I haven't done Alligin yet; but almost the identical picture you show of the Horns has been my screen saver for the past year or so, and I will get there next year....

I smiled at your first pic of Liathach - I wonder how many people been blown away by this view as they've come down Glen Torridon, and stopped to take this pic. It was this view that put the Torridons at the top of my "to do" list, and it's the first pic in my report on walking Beinn Eighe and Liathach in May this year.

I'd hoped to do it this year, but sadly I've been working on the other side of the world for the past 6 months (sustained by reports like this!!!).
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Re: The Horn Dogs of Alligin

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:56 am

Anne C wrote:Great report and pics..incredible the quality you get on phones nowadays.
We were directly opposite you on Beinn Damh that same day - the clarity and colour were the best I can remember for a long time. Torridon was looking magnificent .


Hi Anne, thanks. The Corbett looked great from Alligin, I just wish Torridon was closer to me. These are the best photos I've ever taken with the iphone, and I had to reduce the quality so I could attach them to the report as well.
Cheers

Johnny Corbett wrote:Good stuff. My favourite area this and you won't be disappointed when you get around to doing your top 3, although i've only did a little bit of An Ruadh-Stac :D


Can't wait for the next trip there, may be Spring time till im back though, will see......

Alteknacker wrote:Yep - truly wonderful mountains, for me second only to the Cuillin Ridge.

You had excellent weather, and the pix really evoke the mood of the place. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I haven't done Alligin yet; but almost the identical picture you show of the Horns has been my screen saver for the past year or so, and I will get there next year....

I smiled at your first pic of Liathach - I wonder how many people been blown away by this view as they've come down Glen Torridon, and stopped to take this pic. It was this view that put the Torridons at the top of my "to do" list, and it's the first pic in my report on walking Beinn Eighe and Liathach in May this year.

I'd hoped to do it this year, but sadly I've been working on the other side of the world for the past 6 months (sustained by reports like this!!!).


I have not been on the Cuillin yet, did Blaven but no views that day. It's another which is Pencilled in for next year tho :shock:
You will love Alligin, gutted at being away for so long, it means you'll cherish the time your back more though :D
Cheers mate
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