An Ruadh-stac

Route: An Ruadh-stac

Corbetts: An Ruadh-stac

Date walked: 04/10/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 16.5km

Ascent: 1004m

Today has provided irrefutable proof that the height of a mountain isn’t necessarily proportional to it’s quality. I have been on much higher mountains than An Ruadh-stac over the years but this Corbett is absolutely spectacular and one of the finest mountains in the land I reckon. I first came up here climbing hills with my best mate Tim in November of 2005. I think that might have been the first time we stayed at the very basic bunkhouse at Ledgowan Lodge – and when I say very basic that was an understatement at the time – we ended up spending most of the evenings sat by the fire in the hotel itself with a pint – times have moved on and I doubt we would do that these days – older and preferring creature comforts ;-)
We bagged Maol Chean-dearg as part of that trip on a freezing cold day and saw a Brocken Spectre up near the summit – I’ve seen quite a few now but they are still always impressive things. On the way up that time we got to the high bealach and saw the huge quartzite summit cone of An Ruadh-stac and remarked how impressive a mountain it looked – but we were both dead-set on Munro climbing in those days so it was bypassed for the less impressive Maol Chean-dearg. Today I was happy to be heading in again to climb this.
After a leisurely breakfast we finally left the car park at about half ten and, a short way up the track, met a young guy trying (unsuccessfully at that point) to convince a horse to walk up the hill with him. Scruffy managed to almost get kicked – one of these days he’ll figure out that horses are best approached from the front for a sniff rather than the back but, for the time being, he still prefers to go straight to the tail. The lad was clad in proper walking gear so I assumed he was a walker/rider but it turned out he was one of the stalkers assistants and was taking the horse up to the bothy higher up the mountain to bring any stags down that they had shot today. He still didn’t seem to be moving too quickly so I left him to it and headed further up the hill with a now wary Scruffy.
At the moment there is a lot of work going on up this Glen as they are putting a small scale hydro-scheme in place so there are lots of JCBs and such-like around the lower areas and we bumped into one of the engineers further up the track – she reckoned they would be there until the Spring but, once they left, she said the land would be put back to the way it was before they started digging it up and all the machinery etc. would be completely buried to reserve the landscape – quite impressive and renewable energy that keeps the countryside looking pristine – unlike feckin wind farms!
We eventually reached the high bealach and the huge block of stone that forms the summit appeared, looking just as dramatic as I remembered it – and a bit on the fearsome side if I’m honest. I could see signs of a faint path higher up but an awful lot of rough, steep stuff around too.
The bottom section was brilliant – huge slabs of very grippy rock that reminded me of climbing on the slabs of Idwal and Little Tryfan half a lifetime ago. Higher up it got a lot more broken with route finding a bit trickier and a lot of loose, chossy stuff around – hard to pick a safe route up – not like the Munros where there are obvious motorway size paths. Scruffy was looking a bit unhappy at times and I wasn’t overly comfortable with it myself on the odd bit – we obviously made it down in one piece ;-)
Eventually we topped out to views for miles around – clear peaks in every direction and well worth the hard climb up. Lunch was on the summit with Scruffy taking begging to new extremes by plonking his head in my lap and drooling all over my fancy outdoor trousers – cheers Scruffybeggar!
The descent seemed hairier and I think it probably took us longer to get back down to the bealach than it took to go up – very loose and Scruffy refused to come down for ages – stood on the top getting smaller as I dropped down the hill – eventually he gave in to the whistle but only because he knows he gets a decent biscuit out of that! To be fair I think he may have been suffering from sore paws on the rough rock and scree – wouldn’t fancy it in my bare feet that’s for sure.
Back down at the bothy the rest of the stalking party had arrived – a few posh accents for sure but they had dogs with them so Scruffy had a play once they stopped barking at him. Our welcome was sadly overstayed when my naughty dog stuck his head in someones rucksack and pulled out a cling-film wrapped butty and started eating it - though at least by then I had managed to have a chat with the stalker regarding tomorrows planned hill – turns out that’s where they are going to be so I’m changing the plan and heading over to Beinn Damph instead and saving Fuar Tholl for Thursday.
ImageScruffybeggar by Sean Turner, on Flickr
ImagePA041365 by Sean Turner, on Flickr
ImagePA041362 by Sean Turner, on Flickr
ImagePA041359 by Sean Turner, on Flickr
ImagePA041355 by Sean Turner, on Flickr
ImagePA041354 by Sean Turner, on Flickr

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Comments: 1


Location: Scotland
Occupation: Firefighter
Interests: Mountains and cycling

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 166
Grahams: 29
Donalds: 83
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 216
Sub 2000: 28
Islands: 14

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Trips: 1
Distance: 16.5 km
Ascent: 1004m
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Oct 08, 2007
Last visited: Jan 25, 2022
Total posts: 7 | Search posts