walkhighlands

Aonach Eagach on a perfect day

Route: Aonach Eagach

Munros: Meall Dearg (Aonach Eagach), Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (Aonach Eagach)

Date walked: 16/08/2015

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 9.5km

I had always wanted to to do this walk but was a bit nervous. Having read copious reviews and watched as many of the online videos I could find over the years, I felt there was no point in delaying. It definitely looked amongst the most challenging walks you could do. I kept a watchful eye on the weather and waited for a promising forecast and finally it came along – Sunday would be the day – high cloud, improving throughout the day.

When I arrived at the entrance of Glen Coe at 7.30am it was raining with heavy cloud. I drove past the small car park where I would start the walk and onto where the path leads up to the Pap and secured my bike for the return cycle. This is when the nerves kicked and as I drove back up to the car park I kept looking up to the ridge with a little trepidation. I arrived at the car park as a couple set off up the track to Am Bodach.

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Gloomy day to start off with

I set off up to Am Bodach. Nearing the top I came to a clearing and could see right along the ridge. One side was clear but the other was like a cloud machine.

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There were some fantastic views in all directions and it began to lighten up.

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View of the Glen and the Chancellor

As I neared the first descent onto the ridge proper I could see the couple in the distance.

I thought, "Here goes!" and walked forward to the edge as if it were now my "turn". On reflection I feel this was the most difficult part of the walk but staying careful and focused I was down and onto the steadier ground. As I walked towards the next challenge I relaxed a bit and took in the views. Looking back I could see two others beginning the descent.

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Clouds peeling off Am Bodach

After this, my memory is a little bit hazy of each difficult section up to the foot of Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (I think I was just concentrating so much) and it seemed to pass quite quickly. I recognised many of the difficult spots from post on the web and found myself getting into the hang of it. One of the best pieces of advice I found was to try and stick to the ridge as much as possible and don't try the bypass paths. When looking down at these paths they did seem a bit precarious at times.

I met two chaps running in a West to East direction who said they were in training for the Glen Coe Skyline, now that looks a challenge. As you travel this great ridge the views are outstanding each step of the way.

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Still some work to do

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Difficult bits over ... or so I thought

Once the descent of the final difficult drop was complete, I felt a sudden burst of relief and a little bit of disbelief that there weren't going to be any more scrambles to do. So I found a spot to settle down and have lunch – and what a spot. By this time the cloud was breaking and had lifted above the peaks and the occasional sunshine picked out the ridges and contours of the hills. You were rewarded with great view in all directions.

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View back along the ridge

Lunch done and I began to the climb Sgorr nam Fiannaidh and it wasn't long before this was complete. At the summit I came across another chap who was in training for the Skyline and we had a brief chat. His partner soon arrived, out of breath, having just ran up the Clachaig Gully and his first words were "the best view in the World". It was truly stunning in all directions. I wished them well with the ridge and we set off in opposite directions.

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View from Sgorr nam Fiannaidh towards Ballachulish

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This is where I found the greatest difficulty. The path was continuously on a downslope and was covered in loose scree, rocks and boulders and without my boots I would probably have sprained my ankle. What little energy I had in my legs was soon sapped on a very slow and uncomfortable descent. The few people I passed, who were on the way up, must have thought I was an extra from the Society of Funny Walks. I made slow progress and was glad to get to my bike and make my way back to the car.

This was by far the most challenging walk I have done in terms of the possible dangers. But it was also the most rewarding in the sense of accomplishment and the spectacular scenery. It may not be for those who have a fear of exposure (because there is a lot of it) but if you can overcome this fear it will provide you with both challenge and reward in equal and ample measure.

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Sun cuts across Coire nan Lochan

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Comments: 4


Artmachine



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Statistics

2015

Trips: 1
Distance: 9.5 km
Munros: 2


Joined: Jul 17, 2009
Last visited: May 14, 2020
Total posts: 2 | Search posts