walkhighlands

An Dorus: the return

Munros: Sgùrr a' Mhadaidh

Date walked: 20/05/2024

Time taken: 6.75 hours

Distance: 8km

Ascent: 900m

There was a good long spell when I didn't think I would ever return to the Black Cuillin but last year I noticed that I was coping better than expected with a scrambly situation so a seed was probably sown then. It did need the weather to be pointing in that direction too though and on Monday 20th of May the forecasts were looking quite good for Skye.
The obvious choice of Munros from my four remaining on the Black Cuillin main ridge would be Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh as these would give the shortest walk on what promised to be another warm day.
I'd actually been to An Dorus in 1998 but turned back because I'd forgotten to bring any water with me. In rettrospect I might as well have bagged the two Munros then and saved myself the bother of much more problematic vsists later in life. My recollection of the 1998 visit is of getting to An Dorus pretty quickly, admring the view of Loch Coruisk and then not feeling like continuing.
Fast forward to 2024 and I enjoyed the walk up from the youth hostel, admiring the pools and falls along the way. That first three and a half kilometres was easy but then I was confronted with reality of the last half a kilometre which would mostly be a steep struggle up loose scree. In 1998 I made light work of this. In 2024 I have a back support would tightly round my midriff to double as a hernia support and I am relying on walking poles and, occasionally, the gully wall to the right for a bit of extra support. A small group has caught me up and one of the party says the same of the gully wall; that they appreciate its presence. I step aside to let the group pass but I also enquire if they are familiar with teh routes up Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and that I am looking for the easier one. I think someone then read out the WH description from their phone! Well, I suppose it was also a round about way of letting someone know the way I was going should I come a cropper; might as well do this.
In the event the easier way up before the top of An Dorus was fairly obvious but only in the sense of it being the easiest looking ground. Once I started traversing and ascending though it was obvious that this was a well trodden path, not least because of the couple of cleared bivvy sites en route.
There was scrambling most of the way from the gully to the summit but it was all quite easy. I re-met the small group who had ascended via the top of An Dorus and I overheard conversation about climbing cave roofs and such like. At the same time I had started following the route of one of that party until it became clear that they were actually seeking out harder alternatives whereas I wanted the easy options. So I stopped and re-assessed the route ahead but it was easy to pick out easier options all the way up.
I stopped again at a small neck of rock right n the summit crest but about ten metres below the summit. This way I could leave the small group to enjoy the summit themselves whilst I could enjoy the dizzying view of Loch Coruisk. That itself was worth teh trip despit the main ridge being partly obscured in the cloud.
After a short break I continued to the small summit. I was asked if I would continue to Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh but it was easy for me to decide not to do this, mainly because I have an agreement with my wife about return times and checking in but now I know I can cope ok I will, of course, return! Probably to Sgurr Dubh Mor first though...
I asked for luck for my descent which was met with hearty good wishes.
Now I knew the way down was going to be hazardous. The scree is loose. But the place where I actually fell on my backside a couple of times was right near the bottom if that does not sound too tatological. I meant the bottom of the scree slope, of course! There the scree, if that's still the appriopriate term, is mixed in with a good amout of grit and this caught me out a couple of times despite the great care I was taking. The latter is evidenced by an ascent time of two hours and forty five minutes compared to a descent time of four hours.

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After Achnasheen it is clear that I am in for a fine morning but I still have a lot of driving to do.

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Plenty of colour along the way.

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I always find myself stopping at Loch Ainort to admire the view and to remind myself of the December day I and my wife traversed all of the skyline hills.

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It is a beautiful spot.

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Can't spend too much time admiring the morning light though.

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Easy drive over to Carbost but more caution need after that due to occasional potholes. Here, I encounter some morning communication between a group of cows on the left and a solitary cow on the right; relatives no doubt. We sometimes see the same sort of thing looking out the wiondow at home.

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Not looking as cloud-free as hoped. Still, I can manage a simple up and down regardless.

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The walk begins. Camped here in 1992 I think for two days of walking on the main ridge.

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An easy path to follow for the first two kilometres.

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First view of An Dorus.

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But there's still plenty of ground to cover before I get there.

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Waterslide crossed near the top.

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Looking right (south) at Sgurr nan Gobhar, ascent route in 1992.

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Crossed near here.

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Sgurr Thuilm on the other side (north) of Core a' Ghreadaidh.

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A jumble of rocks in the gorge.

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Onto the first of two flatter areas before the An Dorus stone chute.

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Sgurr Eadar da Choire.

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Uphill again past some nice waterfalls.

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Enjoying the walk so far.

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FFS

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Can't say I enjoyed the scree too much but I did find some rythm and made use of the gully wall when possible. It was easy in 1998 but not this time round.

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Sgurr Thuilm again.

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On to the easy ascent route for Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and still managing a smile after all that scree.

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Agurr a' Ghreadaidh summit in a bit of cloud.

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View south west.

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I reach the ridge crest and see Loch Coruisk.

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Looking in the other direction at the summit of Sgurr a' Mhadaidh.

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A stunning view even with the cloud down on the ridge.

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View north east along the main ridge.

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View from Sgurr a' Mhadaidh summit.

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Looking in the opposite direction.

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Sgurr nan Gillean looking a bit tame from here.

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Boat arriving from Elgol.

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Happy/relieved that I could do this walk after a lot of self doubt and ready to descend.

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But not before a few more photos.

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Macleod's Maidens visible beyond Sgurr Thuilm's shoulder.

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Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh clearing slightly.

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Descending. This is where I think the real challenge of the day lies but it is towards the bottom that I encounter problems on ostensibly easier ground.

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Made it this far down fairly easily but then fell on my backside on the easier ground following.

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Figure on Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh.

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Overall an enjoyable walk that has given me confidence that I can return and tick off the remaining three Munros here.
Also, I did ok at walking football the next day which answers another question.

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litljortindan


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Activity: Ambler
Mountain: Alligin
Place: Assynt

Munros: 160
Corbetts: 67
Fionas: 29
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 10
Hewitts: 12
Sub 2000: 47



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Statistics

2024

Trips: 17
Distance: 144.1 km
Ascent: 9355m
Munros: 11
Sub2000s: 1

2023

Trips: 55
Distance: 537.5 km
Ascent: 26715m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 7
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 10

2022

Trips: 40
Distance: 347.9 km
Ascent: 18833m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 4
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 8

2021

Trips: 50
Distance: 410.05 km
Ascent: 19613m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 7

2020

Trips: 39
Distance: 226.7 km
Ascent: 11266m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 4
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 3

2019

Trips: 31
Distance: 204.5 km
Ascent: 10853m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 3
Fionas: 2
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2018

Trips: 28
Distance: 191.9 km
Ascent: 12074m
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 4

2017

Trips: 31
Distance: 226.75 km
Ascent: 8838m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 4

2016

Trips: 20
Distance: 229 km
Ascent: 9236m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 5

2015

Trips: 39
Distance: 286 km
Ascent: 12583m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 9

2014

Trips: 29
Distance: 164.25 km
Ascent: 8347m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 9
Hewitts: 3

2013

Trips: 29
Distance: 136.75 km
Ascent: 9700m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 4
Sub2000s: 4

2012

Trips: 12
Distance: 73 km
Ascent: 5261m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2011

Trips: 6
Distance: 55 km
Ascent: 3917m
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 1

2010

Trips: 7
Distance: 28 km
Ascent: 2950m
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2009

Trips: 4
Distance: 24.5 km
Ascent: 2194m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1

2008

Trips: 3
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 3189m

2007

Trips: 5
Distance: 31 km
Ascent: 1896m

2006

Trips: 3
Distance: 37 km
Ascent: 3730m

2004

Trips: 4
Distance: 44 km
Ascent: 2706m
Corbetts: 1

2003

Trips: 5
Distance: 50 km
Ascent: 5760m
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2002

Trips: 3
Distance: 29 km
Ascent: 2449m

2001

Trips: 6
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 4245m
Munros: 2

2000

Trips: 1
Distance: 16 km
Ascent: 1300m
Munros: 3

1999

Trips: 1
Distance: 28 km
Ascent: 900m
Corbetts: 1

1998

Trips: 1
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 1055m
Munros: 2

1997

Trips: 1
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 1400m
Fionas: 1

1995

Trips: 4
Distance: 80 km
Ascent: 4322m
Munros: 3
Fionas: 1

1994

Trips: 2
Distance: 35.5 km
Ascent: 2477m
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 1

1993

Trips: 1
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 1100m

1992

Trips: 2
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 2345m


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Last visited: May 26, 2024
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