walkhighlands

Sgoran Dubh Beag

Date walked: 31/05/2021

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 18km

Ascent: 1100m

When I walked up Carn Eilrig last November it struck me that the line of cliffs around Sgor Gaoith wasn't the only dramatic looking feature overlooking Loch Eanaich; the crags extend a lot further north than I'd realised on my first visit to Sgor Gaoith in 2014. However, I wasn't thinking about that on the eve of the last day of May 2021. I was actually thinking about a walk to Cairn Toul from the west but with a little bit of a disagreement between the MWIS and Met Office forecasts.
I arrived at the Auchlean car park at midnight and immediately set off up the well made path that skirts Carn Ban Mor. My first concern was that the temperature was 15 Celsius and there was no wind to speak of until I got to near the end of the woods. Then I got a pleasant breeze to help me stop overheating. The pleasant breeze strengthened though as I ascended and became a steady, not to mention freezing, force opposing my walk. About half way to Carn Ban Mor I started to feel a bit unwell and actually threw up a couple of times. That, and the wind, made my mind up regarding walking to Cairn Toul but it also presented a problem as to deciding on an alternative. Those cliffs north of Sgor Gaoith came to mind but I had to think through how I could time a walk there to coincide with sunrise. I put on an extra layer of clothing and sat down for a bit wondering what I was doing there but realised I would probably just get cold if I didn't get moving fairly soon.
Fortunately, and surprisingly, the wind dropped significantly just below Carn Ban Mor and the wind chill was gone. I still opted to take a seat at the shelter cairn and didn't remove the extra trousers and jacket; it never exactly got balmy until I was back near the woods.
I waited at the summit for half an hour, looking at the map and working out a reasonable time to set off to catch the early light over Sgor Gaoith. I estimated that setting off at 3.30am would require only a comfortable 45 minute stroll to reach the summit slope.
A bit of murk on the horizon put paid to any thoughts of a spectacular sunrise but the pre-dawn light was still interesting. I wandered up and down the edge of the corrie for a bit before continuing up and over Sgor Gaoith. From the summit it looked like I might struggle to get any views of the Sgorain Dubh Mhor cliffs as they are situated some way below a convex summit dome. Still, I had made my plan so pressed on to the next summit. From there I diverted east to see if I could see some of what lay below and, pleasant surprise, a few of the crags came into view. But it was the next summit to the north that kept catching the eye. Did I have enough time to detour there? Well I probably wouldn't be back here for a while so I decided pick up the gauntlet. Actually it is only a 100m extra descent and reascent and less then 2km round trip so was well worth including, particularly as it turned out to be the highlight of the walk.

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The unassuming Sgor Gaoith summit from Carn Ban Mor or thereabouts.

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Braeriach slopes and the carpet of moss and grass that covers most of the rest of the ridge.

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Most people don't realise that Sgor Gaoith is constructed mostly from Lego bricks.

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It is pretty breathtaking to stroll across the soft, flat ground and see it suddenly disappear away into the depths. Imagine being there pre-dawn having shuffled up the path, puking on the way, wondering what you are doing there, feeling a bit better after puking and then seeing this awesome view. Trying to put you into my shoes (or boots).

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I feel that the previous photo captures the drama but this one evokes an ideal of peak, loch, river. Could you imagine a more majestic setting than what nature has created here?

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What is the point? That is the point.

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View north to Sgoran Dubh Mhor where it seems I will be disappointed in my hope to get views of the crags there as the slope appears too convex. Maybe only appreciable from the walk I did to Carn Eilrig?

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View south.

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Sunrise through the murky horizon.

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The end of Loch Enaich.

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Determined sunlight strikes Sgor Gaoith.

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Very pleasant walking!

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Braeriach disputes the good weather forecasts.

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Red and green should not never be seen.

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I take a detour east from the top of Sgoran Dubh Mhor to see if I can get a view of its crags and one or two do show up.

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But it is Sgoran Dubh Beag to the north that keeps catching the eye.

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There's more to see here but the ground is a bit steep so I don't dwell too long.

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Fairly happy with the way the morning is turning out.

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After a bit of debate I decided to extend my walk to include Sgoran Dubh Mhor. I'm glad I did as it was the highlight of the walk.

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So the extra line of crags I'd seen from Carn Eilrig wasn't an illusion after all.

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Looking back at Sgoran Dubh Mhor from Sgorain Dubh Beag.

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The main plateau is looking pretty cloud-capped and windy by now so I am glad I changed my plan.

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Time to retrace my steps. It is about 6am now and I got back to the car at 10am having started walking at midnight but lots of stops along the way.

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More craggy views. Can't have enough of those.

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Can't have enough cornicey views either.

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Sgor Gaoith summit again. Mutual surprise at meeting another walker there. They were on their first Munro in two years they said and were off to bag another three or four.

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First direct sunlight on the loch below.

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Pleasant return to car though I did feel it a bit what with not being 100%.




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litljortindan


User avatar
Activity: Mountaineer
Mountain: Alligin
Place: Assynt

Munros: 117
Corbetts: 61
Grahams: 28
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 10
Hewitts: 12
Sub 2000: 47



Filter reports


Statistics

2021

Trips: 23
Distance: 177.6 km
Ascent: 7750m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2020

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

2019

Trips: 31
Distance: 187.05 km
Ascent: 9684m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2018

Trips: 28
Distance: 191.9 km
Ascent: 12074m
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 3

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
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 6

2015

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

2014

Trips: 29
Distance: 3564.25 km
Ascent: 15847m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 9
Hewitts: 3

2013

Trips: 29
Distance: 206.75 km
Ascent: 16700m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 4
Sub2000s: 4

2012

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

2011

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

2010

Trips: 6
Distance: 22 km
Ascent: 2200m
Grahams: 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
Grahams: 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
Grahams: 1

1995

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

1994

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

1993

Trips: 1
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 1100m

1992

Trips: 2
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 2345m


Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Last visited: Jun 13, 2021
Total posts: 1999 | Search posts