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Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent


Postby Sunset tripper » Sun May 24, 2015 9:18 am

Date walked: 09/05/2015

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 7 km

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This was my 2nd attempt to reach the horseshoe crag on foot. The 1st time was many years ago and unsuccessful as it was hard to locate over complex terrain. I had reached an area of dangerous ground above the horseshoe with no obvious way down and cliff edges obscured by thick heather so decided to give up. In the years inbetween I thought about it occasionally but never found anyone daft enough to come with me, until last Saturday when Colin agreed to come.
We decided on a route starting from Loch Tarff, skirting round the loch to the far side following a wall and fenceline and then a gully down to the shore of Loch Ness and then following the shoreline to the horseshoe.
that was the plan anyway :crazy:


This was the actual route we took

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The above route is one way, we returned by a slightly different and slightly easier way.

This is the starting point on the new road and parking area at Loch Tarff.
20150509_092407 (640x480).jpg


The weather was better than forecast as the three of us set off, myself, Colin and Maya the dog.
20150509_093412 (640x480).jpg


Loch Tarff and the snow capped Loch Lochy hills.
20150509_093417 (640x480).jpg


All was going well as we started the descent into the gorge :crazy:
The research for the rest of the walk was sketchy, there are no walk reports, guide books or photos I could find for this area. But we had a waterproof 1:25k map, compass and a good supply of madness :crazy:
What could possibly go wrong :D

The descent into the unknown
20150509_101335 (640x480).jpg


We dropped deeper into the gully. Small cascades and bigger waterfalls negotiated as best as possible. I wondered how long since anyone had set foot in here. A real feeling of remoteness.
20150509_101641 (640x480).jpg


As we go down Loch Ness comes in to view.
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Colin checking out the next drop on the journey
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We then came to a point where the stream went over a big vertical drop. The dog wasn't going to make it past, or me for that matter :( With the walls of the gorge towering above us there was an option to scramble out on the right. We made our way up a steep slope with good heathery holds :D . Hard going made harder by the thought there may be no way out this way :shock: Soon the slope eased we were out of the gorge and started heading downhill towards Loch Ness. Close to the loch now we had to pick our way through more crags not shown on the map.

At last on the shore of Loch Ness
20150509_114348 (640x480).jpg


The water was like a painting
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Now about a half k from the horseshoe we had anticipated that a leisurely stroll along the shoreline might not be an option. A suggestion had been made we could walk through the loch alongside the shore to avoid the vegetation and crags :crazy: :crazy: , unfortunately one step in to the water would have meant us fully submerged. There was no real dramas on the walk to the horseshoe, a steep traverse above some shoreline crags just before it and we were there :clap:
20150509_121239 (640x480).jpg

The pictures above and below show the same scree slope

An impressive place
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This is it. A photo taken earlier from a layby on the A82 on the other side of the loch
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On a nice day like today Loch Ness is a busy place with many canoes, Yachts, fishing boats and pleasure cruisers. Its very rarely this calm and many Kayakers have got in trouble in this area
20150509_122407 (640x479).jpg


By now we are all burnt out scraped and bruised
IMG-20150509-WA0000.jpg


That's me trying to thumb a lift to the bothy bar in Fort Augustus. Where's all the boats gone :(
IMG-20150509-WA0001.jpg


Unlike most days in the hills the return to the car is all uphill.
20150509_142507 (640x480).jpg


Wild goats
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Geese at Loch Tarff
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The horseshoe crag is a great place to visit but hard work. Probably easier to paddle across Loch Ness on a canoe if you don't mind 700ft of water below you :shock: Next time I visit think i'll take one of the cruises from Fort Augustus :)
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Re: Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Postby malky_c » Sun May 24, 2015 10:15 am

Interesting report :D . I've often looked at exploring this bit of the loch side as it looks quite remote. Certainly noticed the horseshoe crag a number of times from the A82 and Buarach across the loch.
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Re: Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon May 25, 2015 8:27 pm

malky_c wrote:Interesting report :D . I've often looked at exploring this bit of the loch side as it looks quite remote. Certainly noticed the horseshoe crag a number of times from the A82 and Buarach across the loch.


Cheers Malky. Its a great place to visit. Seems very remote on the walk towards the loch. Possibly because few people venture there. Though in reality your never more than a couple of miles from the road.
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Re: Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Postby Mal Grey » Wed May 27, 2015 10:16 am

Great to see an adventurous exploration as a walk. That whole shoreline is pretty wild.
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Re: Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed May 27, 2015 6:50 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Great to see an adventurous exploration as a walk. That whole shoreline is pretty wild.


Cheers Mal would be a good place for you to take your canoe. Fantastic setting for a wild camp. There's been a few call outs in that area for the Loch Ness RNLI crew though. The conditions on the water can get horrendous.
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Re: Horseshoe Crag - Loch Ness 300m Descent

Postby Mal Grey » Wed May 27, 2015 10:44 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Great to see an adventurous exploration as a walk. That whole shoreline is pretty wild.


Cheers Mal would be a good place for you to take your canoe. Fantastic setting for a wild camp. There's been a few call outs in that area for the Loch Ness RNLI crew though. The conditions on the water can get horrendous.


Maybe one day, though to be honest there are so many other lochs to explore that Ness isn't that high up my list, especially with its reputation for wind and waves. Camping there does appeal though!
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