In the Clouds on Foinaven

Corbetts: Foinaven

Date walked: 10/08/2010

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The weather forecast was for sunshine and showers, so I set off to walk the Foinaven ridge hoping to get some views. The last time I tried, the cloud hung around the summits all day. My plan was to walk in along Strath Dionard and camp somewhere at the head of the strath. Then I would be able to get an early start and leave plenty of time for the ridge walk.

10072804 Strath Dionard.JPG

10072811 Creag Urbhard.JPG

The walk along the strath was a bit of a slog, but it gave good views of some of the amazing geology of the area. I made good progress on the track, but the ground was boggier than I expected when I reached Loch Dionard and the going became much more difficult. By the time I got to the other end of the loch the light was beginning to go and I had to look for a camp-site. I found a spot on a bit of raised ground, which was a bit drier and unlikely to flood. With hardly any breeze, I hadn't been there long before the midges found me and I had to retreat under cover.

10072816 Loch Dionard.JPG

10072817 Bog at Loch Dionard.JPG

10072925 Campsite Below Creag Urbhard.JPG

The midges were just as bad in the morning, so I decided to get moving and stop later for breakfast. I set off across more boggy ground until I reached the track which leads over to Achfary. I continued uphill and, by the time I reached Beallach Horn, I was up into the cloud and I wasn't too hopeful of getting the views I wanted. At this point I left the track and headed off northwards over heather and rocks, towards An t-Saìl Mhòr and then on to Stob Cadha na Beuchaich.

10072926 Up the Strath to Meall Horn.JPG

10072927 Rock Formations.JPG

10072929 An Dubh-Loch, below Meall Horn.JPG

10072930 Beallach Horn.JPG

10072933 Approaching An t-Saìl Mhòr.JPG

The cloud was still thick and I seemed to have arrived at the top of sheer cliffs, with no obvious way down. It was only by using the map and compass that I managed to find the top of the path that leads down to the beallach. It didn't actually look like much of a path. It was more like a pile of rocks, but I could just see the eroded traces of a route. The surface was very loose and I was constantly watching out for bringing rocks down on top of me, as well as trying to avoid slipping.

10072934 Descending to Cadha na Beucaich.JPG

10072935 Ridge below Stob Cadha na Beucaich.JPG

When I reached the bottom I stopped for a break and took in the surroundings. The cloud cleared a bit and I could see that paths led down on both sides to lower ground. This was presumably an old route from one side of the mountain to the other. I found a stone shelter which probably dates from those times as well. I didn't go in; it was a tight squeeze and didn't look very comfortable inside.

10072937 Lord Reay's Seat.JPG

10072938 Lochans Below Foinaven.JPG

10072940 Shelter on Cadha na Beucaich.JPG

Ahead was a steep climb up to Lord Reay's Seat, but the rock was a bit more stable here. I was soon up in the cloud again and followed the rest of the ridge without the benefit of any views. Tantalising breaks in the cloud revealed glimpses of dramatic rock scenery and sweeping corries. It was hard to get a sense of distance and it seemed a long way to the summit on Ganu Mor. There was a bit of a shelter wall at the cairn, so I got out of the wind and heated up some soup.

10072944 Lord Reay's Seat.JPG

10072946 Coire na Lurgainn.JPG

10072948 Cooking Soup on Ganu Mor.JPG

There didn't seem to be far to go now: Just a short bit of ridge to Ceann Garbh, a descent to the moor, and then a walk back to Gualin House where I started from. It didn't turn out to be quite as easy as that. There was no path off the mountain and I had to pick my way down through a boulder field and wet slippery grass. The moor was easier on the knees, but still slow-going, with lots of back-tracking and diversions to get through the bogs and lochans. I was quite glad to reach the road eventually at the end of a long day.

10072951 Slopes of Ceann Garbh.JPG

10072952 Moor near Gualin House.JPG

I didn't get the views I hoped for, but I'll definitely be back to try again. Next time though, I think I might start from Lochstack Lodge and take the path, which goes around the west side of Arkle, and up onto the ridge at Cadha na Beucaich.

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Comments: 6

Autumn on Ben Hope

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Hope
Date walked: 05/10/2009
Distance: 12km
Comments: 4
Views: 3153


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Mountain: Foinaven
Place: Tongue
Gear: Paramo Cascada trousers
Ideal day out: A hill-walk on a craggy mountain

Munros: 4
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 3
Wainwrights: 3
Hewitts: 11
Sub 2000: 5


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Trips: 1
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 1
Distance: 12 km
Munros: 1

Joined: Jun 22, 2009
Last visited: Sep 28, 2016
Total posts: 41 | Search posts