High Drama on Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 13/08/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14km

Ascent: 913m

This is quite emotional and dramatic - you have been warned!

So, this month we found ourselves in the Cairngorms. This wasn't expected, in fact, Munros were off the menu for the foreseeable future not too long before now.

We started off on our more serious hillwalking a couple of years ago, and thanks to this website and the beauty of the highlands, we got the bug. We have ticked off some of the easier Munros and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute....but in February, we found out that we were expecting a new little Munro bagger in the family! Pregnant and overjoyed, the munro map was folded up, boots put away, and we contemplated this most terrifying and exciting trek ahead!

Anyway, cut a long story short, in April I went for a scan and the baby had passed away. Gutted is just not a big enough, or sweary enough word - and I am sure many of you can imagine what life was like in our house. My bloke came up with the genius idea of setting me a project - and suggested I plan a walking holiday for the summer. It was just what I needed - something to look forward to, lots of geeky research and studying OS maps late in to the night! It got me through some pretty bleak days, and when August finally came, I was excited and actually looking forward to getting out there again.

We chose Sgor Gaoith as our first 'big' walk - I know it isn't big by Cairgorm standards, but it felt like a safe option to start off with. I hadn't done any strenuous exercise for quite a while and after checking the maps and walk reports we decided to start off at Auchlean and follow the path to Carn Ban Mor. As soon as you turn off the tarmac road you get that sense of wilderness, climbing up through the forest first and the paths are very good for this section. We were both so pleased to be out and about, and it was a relief to only be getting sympathetic looks for my red face and heavy breathing! We met a friendly family on the way up who were cheering me on, and seeing that two small kids had already been to the top spurred me on!

The path continues to climb and is very clear and well maintained - we didn't need to worry about getting lost, although we could see that the cloud was beginning to 'bruise' and it was quite windy!

When we came to the crossing of paths before going over the top of Carn Ban Mor, the cloud was starting to come down. As we climbed higher, the cloud just dropped around us - this hasn't happened to me before and I found it completely thrilling and frightening - I was very glad that compass skills and map work had figured in my fevered preparations! It was as if someone had placed white walls all around us, and the muffling of our voices in the cloud was very eerie!


From the top of Carn Ban Mor, where there is a windbreak, Sgor Gaoith doesn't look that impressive and you don't feel like you are climbing at all between them. However, when we got close to the peak, we were totally gobsmacked - the drop down to the east side of Sgor Gaoith, straight down in to Loch Eanaich is breathtaking. The cloud was being blown up the side of the mountain so it looked like a volcano! I will never forget the feeling of watching the cloud rushing up from below me. There is nothing like a mountain for making you and your problems seem very small.
View from Sgor Gaoith.jpg

just before the summit.jpg

It is usually at this point on the walk that I wonder if my bloke will get down on one knee and propose - the altitude, the endorphins, the delicious sandwiches...but he managed to resist again! Damn it! We met a nice couple of walkers at the top who had already climbed Meall Dubhag that morning, putting us to total shame!

We made our way back down, feeling immensely pleased - I know it isn't a big climb, or even a long walk, but getting it done meant so much to us. I felt like my life had started up again.

Two days later, he proposed on the banks of the River Feshie - no altitude required!

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Comments: 5


User avatar
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: The first one I get to!
Mountain: Kinder Scout
Place: West Coast
Gear: Kit Kats!
Ideal day out: A good hard day walking, nothing too scary or that the dog can't come along on...a great view, a feeling of accomplishment and then a few pints of bitter!

Munros: 9
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 2
Wainwrights: 3
Hewitts: 5

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Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 913m

Joined: Aug 04, 2011
Last visited: Aug 15, 2013
Total posts: 28 | Search posts