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Beinn Alligin - one of the best

Beinn Alligin - one of the best

Postby Verylatestarter » Fri Dec 25, 2020 10:07 pm

Route description: Beinn Alligin

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Mòr (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)

Date walked: 21/06/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1110m

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Having driven from Skye to Torridon the preceding afternoon we managed an early start (for us) from the SYA hostel. A short drive down the road to the Coire Mhic Nobuil car park and across the moorland to the foot of Coir nan Laogh took about ¾ hr. One of the great joys of Torridon is the small amount of time you spend in the car to get to the great walks. I love the view from across the Loch, one of the reasons being the curves on this side of the hill, the way the steeply sloping corie twists it’s way into the heart of the mountain.

1 - Approach.JPG

2 - The Horns of Alligin.JPG
The Horns of Alligin

3 - The walk in to the coire.JPG
The walk into the coire

4 - Coir nan Laoigh.JPG
Coir nan Laoigh

5 - view up.JPG
view up

6 - view down.JPG
View down

The path’s formed with big blocks and large steps, there is a small steep stream running parallel with a few waterfalls; just before the plateau, as the path flattens out it is heavily eroded. A bit of clambering and you are onto a relatively level plain, most of which stretches away to the West and slopes gently up to a high point North. This has a small cairn and constructed pyramid made from what look like large thick badly formed pancakes; it turns out these are a feature characteristic of Torridonian sandstone. The summit of Tom na Gruagaich at 922m is our second Munro after Brauch na Frith and an entirely different beast. If mountain builders did exhibition pieces, Beinn Alligin would have been top of the class, someone was just showing off! The combination of features is remarkably elegant, with one remarkable example each of:- flat topped rounded hill, pyramid peak, massive chasm like corie, massive clef and knife edge ridge. All this set on the coast in the Torridon Hills; as I said just showing off!

7 - approaching the top of Munro no 2.JPG
Approaching the top of Munro No 2

8 - Flat top of Tom.JPG
Flat top of tom

9 - Summit of Tom.JPG
The summit of Tom na Gruagaich

10 - posing.JPG
Posing on the summit

11 - Sgurr  Mhor.JPG
Sgurr Mhor from Tom

12 - The view along Coire Nobuil.JPG
The view along Coire Nobuil

There were five or so of us on the peak of Tom; we hung around a bit did a bit of posing, took a few pictures, and headed off North to the col. There was one surprise on the way down the North spur of Tom. A large block which I suspect could be easily bypassed but which we clambered down, Ben with no trouble, I with a little more, awkwardly dangling over the slope holding onto a small crack with my fingers.

13 - The great cleft of Eag Dhubh.JPG
The great cleft of Eag Dhubh

14 - The route dwon from Tom.JPG
The route down from Tom na Gruagaich

15 - The North face of Tom.JPG
The North face of Tom na Gruagaich

17 - The Horns.JPG
The Horns

On the way down we were passed by a couple of walkers who appeared to come from nowhere. Lightly equipped (we always carry everything, spares of everything and if we had bigger bags I’m sure we would include parachutes and canoes) they were moving at a fair pace and soon outstripped up. We ambled along to the col at about 750m and then struggled up the steep grassy/rocky slope of Sgurr Mhor. On the way we came to the massive cleft in the precipitous slope down to Toll a Mhadaidh Mor 500m below. Eag Dhubh must have been the result of incredibly powerful forces to rent the rock in such a way. You don’t see many of those in Norfolk!

18 - The top of the cleft.JPG
The top of the great cleft

19 - Sumit of Sgurr Mhor.JPG
Summit of Sgurr Mhor

Whilst we were gawping at the spectacle the high-speed walkers passed us on the way down. Our first encounter with truly dedicated Baggers; the idea of missing out the Horns of Alligin (and the drop down from Sgurr Mhor) just seemed bizarre to me. Even if I had done the hill a few times I’d still want to cross the Horns.

At the summit of Sgurr Mhor – 986m we took in the views and had our lunch. We then walked down the East ridge with the precipice to our left; one of my favourite parts of the walk, steep but not too rocky you could spend a bit of time admiring the view ahead, The Horns, Beinn Dearg and Beinn Eighe straight ahead. You come to a narrowing with without being able to see the route below until you get to the end, a short bit of scrambling and you are onto the narrow arete leading up to the first, and biggest, Horn.

20 - View East from Sgurr Mhor.JPG
View East from Sgurr Mhor

21 - Beinn Dearg over the top of the horns.JPG
Beinn Dearg over the top of the Horns

22 - the slope down from Sgurr Mhor.JPG
The slope down the east slope of Sgurr Mhor

23 - Horn No 1.JPG
Horn No 1

24 - The route dwon from Sgurr mhor.JPG
The route down from Sgurr Mhor

The scrambling up and over the horns is really enjoyable, just enough exposure and difficulty to make it interesting. We went over the first two and I missed out the third heading for the ‘pimple’ (not sure if that’s an official name) which is a lot less exposed than the photo looks but still a great viewpoint.

25 - Along the top of horn no 1.JPG
Along the top of Horn no 1

26 - Pano from Horn No 2.JPG
26. panorama from Horn No 2

27 - Horn No 3.JPG
Horn No 3 from No 2

27 - scambling of Horn No 3.JPG
Scrambling on Horn No 3

28 - In a big country.JPG
In a big country

From our recent walks I would say that the descent from Beinn Alligin is one of the best. A couple of the lads staying at the hostel did this walk in reverse (we met them about halfway down Sgurr Mhor) and they say they preferred it. None of the eroded paths or scree slopes you get on other popular hill walks (e.g. Ring of Steall or Aonach Eagach). Two steep sections, one with a bit of scrambling down large blocks and a couple of gentle slopes and you are down in the valley between BA and BD.

29 - route down from the Pimple.JPG
The route down from the pimple

30 - last scramble down East  slope.JPG
last scramble down the East slope

31 - The East end of the ridge.JPG
The East end of the ridge

32 - Sail Mhor in Coire Nobuil.JPG
Sail Mhor in Coire nobuil

The walk out another delight, a great path and the streams to keep us company. A few waterfalls and, for me at least, a fascinating feature, a step in the stream where it turns sharply ninety degrees twice in the space of 50m. Out of the valley, into the woods and you are back at the car park.

33 - The obligatory waterfall shot.JPG
The obligatory waterfall shot

34 - The stream turns 90 deg and then 90 deg again.JPG
The stream turns 90 deg and then 90 dag again

35 - Alt a Bheallaich runs through a fault.JPG
Alt a Bheallaich runs along a fault

No wonder this is a lot of people’s favourite hill!
Mountain Walker
Posts: 73
Munros:26   Corbetts:4
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Location: East Anglia

Re: Beinn Alligin - one of the best

Postby Anne C » Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:23 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed your report and photos - the mountain is so green!
Both times I've climbed it, early May and October, the colours were very different.I agree with your title, about it being one of the best. In fact, I've always rated that view round to the big terraced flanks of the Horns as one of the finest I've seen. To me, it's matched only by the views from Beinn Damh opposite. Tremendous Torridon!!
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Anne C
Posts: 274
Munros:142   Corbetts:29
Grahams:32   Donalds:29
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Joined: May 14, 2010

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