walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Tumult in Torridon

Tumult in Torridon


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:36 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Liath Mhor, Fionn Bheinn, Sgorr Ruadh

Date walked: 16/12/2018

Time taken: 15.5 hours

Distance: 43.4 km

Ascent: 3188m

7 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).

Our last weekend before Xmas - Allison having some family commitments next weekend. The forecast for everywhere seemed to be spoiled by warnings of high winds, so the location really didn't matter that much. I was keen to go somewhere interesting and I saw a post by Cameron McNeish on Facebook with Ben Damph in the backdrop - no snow in Torridon. Oh let's go there :D

I wouldn't normally consider that length of drive at night in winter, but the forecast suggested relatively mild temperatures and no risk of ice on the road on the way up, at least. Sick of getting snarled up in the traffic going through Glasgow in the early evening, I decided to go up the A82 instead. Good choice - the roads were really quiet and our journey took a smidge over 5 hours. We did stop off to eat our sandwiches overlooking a floodlit Eilean Donan Castle before heading onto the lonely single track road from Lochcarron to Torridon. We found that we were the only people in the campsite: although much of it was flooded or muddy we found a nice spot nestled into some bushes and we both slept well once our heads hit the pillow - unusual for me after a long drive.

The forecast was for high winds on Friday (35-50mph), higher again on Saturday (45-70mph) and less wind but snow on Sunday. I thought we'd try and climb Beinn Liath Mor & Sgorr Ruadh on Friday, see what we could manage on Saturday and maybe do Airgid Bheinn on the way home through Kintail on Sunday. The sky had red stripes as we got our gear together and drove along to the car park near the Ling Hut. Three young stags were loitering about in the car park and the most brazen one came right up to the car as we parked and made it clear he wanted some food. We rooted around for a cereal bar, which he took in his stride, and threw some more bar over to the other, shyer stags, but Mr Brazen chased them off. He seemed to like having his antlers rubbed, though more than once he put his head down and mock-charged me. Conversely he backed off when I put my walking poles to my own head as a form of Leki-antler...

ImagePC140289 by Al, on Flickr

I'd like some snacks, please...
ImagePC140290 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140291 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140292 by Al, on Flickr

Headbutt time
ImagePC140294 by Al, on Flickr

Poseur
ImagePC140295 by Al, on Flickr


After the deer-antics it was time for the serious stuff. We walked the lengthy trail into Coire Grannda, sheltered from the wind which was coming from the SW. We'd done this pair of hills earlier in the year in full snow and I thought we'd head up Sgorr Ruadh first this time, having had some discomfort descending the steep section of Beinn Liath Mor last time round. As we climbed towards the bealach we had our first taste of the wind, which gusted quite hard. I expressed my doubts about whether we'd make it to the summits. However, just then we met a fellow WalkHighlander who introduced himself as BaggerVance - he'd come from Beinn Liath Mor and said the wind was manageable at the summit. Comforting news indeed. Bolstered by this we set off up to the shoulder of Sgorr Ruadh.

Liathach blindingly white in the early sun
ImagePC140297 by Al, on Flickr

To Coire Grannda
ImagePC140301 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140302 by Al, on Flickr

View to Maol Chean Dearg
ImagePC140304 by Al, on Flickr

It was one of these strange days when the wind doesn't do what you expect - as we neared the fine, tapered summit of Sgorr Ruadh the wind dropped until it was almost completely calm at the summit. Views were spectacular for as far as the eye could see, almost no snow on any of the surrounding hills. We continued down to the 904m top on Ruadh, which I hadn't fancied last time, then returned to the summit and paused for lunch in the sun. So far, it had been well worth the journey up to see the Torridonian hills in their glory. We journeyed on, back to the bealach and up to Beinn Liath Mor. Although there was no snow, there was ice in places - we had crampons with us but didn't need to use them as it was possible to step around the icy sections. High on the bouldery top of Beinn Liath Mor we surveyed the lands around - the Corbetts of Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh that I had hopes for the morrow, the chiselled perfection of Beinn Eighe.

Liathach again
ImagePC140305 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Sgorr Ruadh
ImagePC140307 by Al, on Flickr

The 904m top, Beinn Liath Mor beyond
ImagePC140308 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140309 by Al, on Flickr

Alligin
ImagePC140311 by Al, on Flickr

Slippy
ImagePC140314 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Liath Mor
ImagePC140315 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140317 by Al, on Flickr

Sgorr Ruadh
ImagePC140318 by Al, on Flickr


We headed down the northern flanks of Beinn Liath Mor, heading for the track marked on the map, which I successfully managed to avoid but we met with the main track further down the hill and had a good walk back as the daylight slowly bled from the landscape. Just the right length of walk for a winter's day. There was enough light when we got back to the tent to have a short wander through the village and to the open air church
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Am_Ploc,_Open_Air_Church,_Fasaig_Loch_Torridon,Wester_Ross._-_geograph.org.uk_-_166117.jpg

Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine
ImagePC140319 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140320 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC140321 by Al, on Flickr

Saturday morning was not as bright or optimistic as Friday's had been - light rain dampened our hopes and clag dampened the summits The wind was definitely more evident than the day before. I thought we could try and do Beinn na h-Eaglaise, a modest Graham walkable from the campsite - a lot of the trip would be low level. So we walk along to the Torridon Inn and up the track that leads to Ben Damph. To reach the path for the Graham, there's a river crossing to be undertaken - not Allison's favourite thing. It didn't seem very windy walking through the lovely Scots Pine forest and I wondered if we might switch objective to Ben Damph instead. Corbetts currently being worth more than Grahams in the scheme of things and Ben Damph having, in addition, two Simms as well. Allison was happy with either option, despite having been up Ben Damph just a couple of months ago, and we continued up the stony path to Toll Ban.

Not the best of mornings
ImagePC150323 by Al, on Flickr

Alligin still looking pretty
ImagePC150324 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Damph
ImagePC150325 by Al, on Flickr

So far, so good
ImagePC150326 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC150327 by Al, on Flickr

With every metre of ascent the wind was becoming more prominent a force - although at this point still very manageable. We followed the path round to the west of the ridgeline without much difficulty, then our problems were multiplied. As we approached the boulder field leading to Spidean Toll nam Biast we found that the morning's light rain had coated the rocks with a lamina of very glassy, very slippy ice. This new hazard, when coupled with monstrous blasts of wind that were enough in themselves to knock you off your feet, put the seal on our hopes. we fitted crampons, which did help with the ice problem, but the wind was just too strong to contemplate proceeding any further and we took ourselves down out of the boulders and sat to have our lunch, gloomy at the lack of a summit. I still had hopes for the two Simms but Allison had been literally quite shaken by the wind blasts and had little appetite for them. As we walked along the spine of the hill it was clear that the windspeed was higher now than when we'd first come up, and even doing the Simms would be an undertaking. So we trudged back down through the trees. In the last half-mile or so before the campsite, the weather turned on us again, with icy horizontal rain soaking us and pricking skin and eyes. We were glad to reach refuge in the tent.

You can't see the ice on the rocks, but it's there
ImagePC150328 by Al, on Flickr

Not pleased at being thwarted :lol:
ImagePC150329 by Al, on Flickr

Even these two Simms were beyond us today
ImagePC150331 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC150332 by Al, on Flickr

Still nice to be out, though
ImagePC150333 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC150335 by Al, on Flickr


A wild night followed - it rained solidly and we could hear the wind howling through the mountain tops, not to mention battering the tent. I was somewhat worried about how much of it would have fallen as snow, especially on the roads - a definite downside of being so far from home, especially with no access to weather forecasts. I lay and thought through the options for Sunday and reckoned that Fionn Bheinn would be our easiest bet, being right at the roadside and we could take the A9 home which would hopefully be clearer in case there was snow at low levels.

ImagePC150337 by Al, on Flickr

The rain thankfully went off when we were clearing up the tent but it didn't look a very promising day in prospect. Snow plastered the hills down to about 400m but the roads were fine. We saw the same three stags still lounging about at the car park by Liathach - good luck getting visitors to feed you today, boys! On to Achnasheen where we parked and prepared for Fionn Bheinn. Across the valley Moruisg was hidden in clag, but the Strathconnon Corbetts were looking good as ever. We took the standard route up Fionn Bheinn - icy slush initially going up by the fence, then thankfully, largely frozen bog onto the hillside. We encountered one of the fabled "bog-monsters"; all sharp fangs but this one was fortunately slumbering so posed no real threat to Allison as she edged closer to explore.

ImagePC160339 by Al, on Flickr

Strathconnon Corbetts
ImagePC160340 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC160343 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Chaorainn
ImagePC160344 by Al, on Flickr

Bog-monster
ImagePC160346 by Al, on Flickr

Let sleeping bog-monsters lie
ImagePC160348 by Al, on Flickr

After Creagan nan Laogh visibility cleared briefly then closed in again and a hail of spindrift blighted our sight along the final section to the summit. Not a place to hang about today. Not more than 5 minutes after we'd been at the summit, the sky clears and it's blue sky and views all around - damn! Descent by the same route up, more or less and back at the car in 3.5 hours. It was not yet 1pm, so we got most of the way down the road in daylight - some serious snow from Slochd Summit right down to Perth.

ImagePC160349 by Al, on Flickr

Cleared, after we'd descended
ImagePC160350 by Al, on Flickr

More snow headed our way
ImagePC160355 by Al, on Flickr

ImagePC160358 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1761
Munros:205   Corbetts:205
Grahams:68   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Tumult in Torridon

Postby baggervance » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:24 pm

Hi Weaselmaster

Nice to have bumped into you two. I seen you carried on over the top of Sgorr Ruadh. I had already read a report that the quickest way back for myself was to go back to the bealach and follow the track out. I must admit I was pleased with the 2 hours from summit to car. Overall a smidgen over 6.5 hours for the 2 of them was good enough for me. I must admit this is one of the nicer walks I have done and with the cloud base being high there was cracking views all round. Thanks for the little insight into Liathcach and An Teallach. Now feeling a little better about tackling them - on a nice, dry, calm, warm day :D

Baggervance (Jason)
User avatar
baggervance
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 236
Munros:281   Corbetts:29
Grahams:5   Donalds:6
Joined: Jul 29, 2010
Location: New Stevenston (Motherwell)

Re: Tumult in Torridon

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:30 am

baggervance wrote:Hi Weaselmaster

Nice to have bumped into you two. I seen you carried on over the top of Sgorr Ruadh. I had already read a report that the quickest way back for myself was to go back to the bealach and follow the track out. I must admit I was pleased with the 2 hours from summit to car. Overall a smidgen over 6.5 hours for the 2 of them was good enough for me. I must admit this is one of the nicer walks I have done and with the cloud base being high there was cracking views all round. Thanks for the little insight into Liathcach and An Teallach. Now feeling a little better about tackling them - on a nice, dry, calm, warm day :D

Baggervance (Jason)


Cheers! You could’ve carried on over Fuar Tholl and sneaked a Corbett into the day :wink:
Was a fine day, indeed. Best wishes for your remaining summits
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1761
Munros:205   Corbetts:205
Grahams:68   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

7 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Hbrannigan, nigheandonn, Richdickwalker, Sgurr, Silverbirch and 42 guests