A wonderous short day on Beinn Eighe

Munros: Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe)

Date walked: 28/11/2021

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 8km

Ascent: 905m

Munros: Spidean Coire nan Clach.
Date: 28/11/2021.
Distance: 8 km.
Ascent: 905m.
Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Perfect winter conditions with low winds and sunshine.

We had been out for a stroll around Loch Morlich yesterday to get a taste of the first extensive snow of the season, but today I fancied a hill. I was just going to nip up Meall Fuar-mhonaidh or something close to home, but Jackie decided she would come along and do a low-level walk. We wound up deciding to go over to Torridon, so I opted for a quick up-and-down of Spidean Coire nan Clach - I reckoned it would take me about the same amount of time as Jackie would take to walk around Loch Clair and Loch Coulin.

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Jackie dropped me at the Coire an Laoigh carpark before heading a mile or so back along the road for her walk. There was snow right down to the road but the advantage of starting late (it was shortly after midday) was that the trail had already been broken. This was a good reason for going up here rather than my alternative of Sgurr Dubh! A bout of sciatica had left my right calf in a poor state so I wasn't sure it would enjoy ploughing uphill through the snow too much. Thankfully it was fine.

Sgurr an Fhir Duibhe

I made reasonable time up into the corrie, at which point I was going to move out onto the NE ridge of Stuc Coire an Laoigh. In the end, the deep snow away from the path (and sometimes on it) had me sticking with the footprints. I must have come down this route before but I don't remember much about it - I usually prefer being out on a ridge to being hemmed in by the corrie but it was gaining me height which was the main thing.

Stuc Coire an Laoigh

Loch Clair and the hills south of Achnashellach

East to Fionn Bheinn

After some particularly deep drifts, the footprints came to a flattened out area and stopped - no more broken trail for me! I wondered what had made the earlier party turn around - perhaps they didn't have winter gear? I didn't think I'd need it either (I rarely use crampons until later in the season), but after wading a short distance further through knee-deep snow, I found that underneath was almost solid ice, and the newer snow wasn't consolidated enough to hold my weight. After struggling up a bit further (and only a few minutes away from the lip of the corrie), I decided to put my crampons on and get the axe out. As usual, I had left it too long and had to do all of this balanced in a stupid ledge halfway up an icy slope. Some things never change...

Upper Coire an Laoigh

Black Carls on Sgurr an Fhir Duibhe

Once I had the axe and crampons out, it only took me another 5 minutes to reach the lip of the corrie. There were small cornices in some directions but nothing big and thick enough to be too disastrous if they fell. I was able to find a shallower slope that didn't have a cornice at the top of it and get out of the corrie there. This put me right next to a cairn on the ridge, and suddenly the views were in all directions instead of just one. What a day this was turning out to be!

Looking back to Stuc Coire an Laoigh

East to Sgurr Ban and Sgurr an Fhir Duibhe

I had been slow to get the metalwork out as I thought it probably wouldn't be needed once on the ridge, but I was wrong. Conditions were really good and it probably only took me another 10 minutes to reach the trig point.

Last exciting few meters between the trig point and the summit

Ruadh-stac Mor and Baosbheinn

Liathach and Skye

(almost) summit photo

I had some memory of a couple of easy scrambly bits between the trig point and the summit, but the ice and snow made them a bit bolder! I traversed one bit to the north but it may well have been easier to go directly over it. Instead I ended up traversing steep icy slopes to get back on the ridge. Provided that the ice isn't melting then there is nothing difficult about this but I always find it unnerving to trust my crampons so much, especially when I haven't done anything like this for a while.

Sgurr Ban and Sgurr an Fhir Duibhe

Loch Couling and Loch Clair

Once at the summit I was buzzing with nervous energy - not the place to trip over my crampons once the more awkward bits were out of the way! This was a fantastic day to be out - even though I wasn't doing a particularly exciting route or staying on the ridge, I was pretty chuffed. I decided to retrace my steps to the trig point before having a break.

Coulin hills


Coinneach Mor and Beinn Alligin

Ruadh-stac Beag and Fisherfield

Beinn Airigh Charr and Loch Maree

Eastern tops of Beinn Eighe

Looking back to the summit

Sunshine and shade across Fisherfield

There was some poorer weather and showers moving in from the west, but I didn't think it would reach me before I was down. I could see a couple of other people coming over from Coinneach Mor (the only others I had seen out all day) but I didn't have time to wait for them to arrive. I made quick work of the ridge back to the cairn and shifted down the corrie at about 5 times the speed I had come up it.

Fionn Bheinn catching the light from the mouth of the corrie

Sgurr Dubh from the mouth of the corrie

I took my crampons off at the foot of the headwall. It was a straightforward walk from there downwards, watching out for the odd slippy bit of path. The sunset was hidden away behind other hills, but there was some excellent light on the clouds.

Fionn Bheinn and Sgurr a Mhuilinn

Maol Chean-dearg and Beinn Damh

Sgurr Dubh and Sgurr an Lochain Uaine

Last light over Glen Torridon

Back at the carpark, Jackie hadn't come back yet so I spent the next 10 minutes walking down the road until I met her driving the other way. Of course she would rather have been on Beinn Eighe if she could have been, but she'd had a brilliant day around Loch Coulin as well.

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Comments: 5

Loch Morlich circuit

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 27/11/2021
Distance: 6km
Ascent: 40m
Views: 12

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 20/11/2021
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 190m
Views: 11

A stroll around the Treshnish Coastline, Mull

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 13/11/2021
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 280m
Views: 13

Salen and Dervaig cycle with Tom nam Fitheach thrown in

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Tom nam Fitheach
Date walked: 12/11/2021
Distance: 2.5km
Ascent: 185m
Views: 12

Loch Ba and a late Beinn na Drise traverse

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Date walked: 11/11/2021
Distance: 21km
Ascent: 770m
Views: 154

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: S Airde Beinn
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Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 260m
Views: 11

Iona meandering

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 09/11/2021
Distance: 4km
Ascent: 130m
Views: 10

Traigh na Cille

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 08/11/2021
Distance: 2km
Ascent: 50m
Views: 10

Calgary Bay

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 07/11/2021
Distance: 5.5km
Ascent: 50m
Views: 10


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Location: Glasgow/Inverness
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
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Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
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Sub 2000: 283
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Trips: 66
Distance: 707.5 km
Ascent: 37095m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 31
Hewitts: 14
Wainwrights 20


Trips: 73
Distance: 840.25 km
Ascent: 43115m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 15
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 72
Distance: 1114 km
Ascent: 66725m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 43
Hewitts: 12
Wainwrights 2


Trips: 74
Distance: 1529 km
Ascent: 85110m
Munros: 20
Corbetts: 29
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 51
Wainwrights 20


Trips: 59
Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 9


Trips: 55
Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 33


Trips: 50
Distance: 1009 km
Ascent: 58815m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 52
Distance: 1143 km
Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 43
Donalds: 33
Sub2000s: 23


Trips: 45
Distance: 1121.2 km
Ascent: 52310m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 36
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 61
Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 96
Wainwrights 16


Trips: 49
Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18


Trips: 45
Distance: 987.3 km
Ascent: 49290m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 33
Grahams: 32
Sub2000s: 10
Hewitts: 4


Trips: 43
Distance: 741 km
Ascent: 35725m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 14
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 47
Distance: 540.5 km
Ascent: 37865m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 471.5 km
Ascent: 30550m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 4


Trips: 36
Distance: 472 km
Ascent: 32785m
Munros: 39
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 4
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 29
Distance: 464 km
Ascent: 27635m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2
Hewitts: 5
Wainwrights 8


Trips: 43
Distance: 839.4 km
Ascent: 47975m
Munros: 60
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 45
Distance: 798 km
Ascent: 51905m
Munros: 68
Corbetts: 5
Hewitts: 5


Trips: 47
Distance: 634 km
Ascent: 42245m
Munros: 46
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 24


Trips: 61
Distance: 738.5 km
Ascent: 59035m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 53
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 51
Distance: 512.5 km
Ascent: 42190m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 55
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 47
Distance: 504 km
Ascent: 43786m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 48
Wainwrights 4


Trips: 37
Distance: 378 km
Ascent: 33525m
Munros: 12
Hewitts: 46


Trips: 43
Distance: 512.1 km
Ascent: 44205m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2
Hewitts: 63
Wainwrights 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 476.5 km
Ascent: 40740m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 75
Wainwrights 17


Trips: 2

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