walkhighlands

Sensational High Camps in Sutherland

Munros: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Ben Hope, Cona' Mheall, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Seana Bhraigh
Corbetts: Ben Loyal, Foinaven, Quinag - Sail Gharbh, Quinag - Sail Gorm, Quinag - Spidean Coinich
Grahams: Suilven
Sub 2000s: Beinn Stumanadh, Ben Hiel, Cnoc nan Cuilean, Meall nan Clach Ruadha

Date walked: 18/06/2018

Distance: 120km

Ascent: 7795m

Our summer holiday this year had as its centre point the hops of a Cuillin Ridge Traverse, which would also furnish Allison with her remaining Munro Tops. We always aim for the last week in May, first week in June but this year had to alter plans somewhat because our guide, Paul Tattersall, couldn't accommodate our plans til the second week of June. So we watched the fine weather of the last week in May pass us by, only slightly grinding teeth in exasperation. I had only very loose plans for what we'd do the rest of the time - I had arranged for us to start with a trip to the Beinn Dearg hills, just as we had done on our first holiday six summers ago. Maybe thereafter we could do some of our favourite far north tops - and, if the weather held after Skye, hit Torridon or Kintail. For me, the prospect of the Ridge Traverse would cast a shadow of anxiety over proceedings. But more of that later...


dearg5x.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We drove up to Inverlael on the evening of Thursday 31st May with the plan to walk a few kilometres in on the track to Seana Bhraigh and camp somewhere. The route was similar to that we'd taken previously, but extended to add in some Sims, including the craggy outlier of Creag an Duine/Sgor a'Bharra on Seana Bhraigh (which is well worth the small additional journey). We left the car at 9.30pm, an overcast, slightly muggy evening with little breeze to keep the midges at bay. We hiked out of the woodland and up the shoulder of Druim na Saobhaidhe, camping on the first piece of level ground we came to as we were both feeling tired after the drive. A good sleep followed, with nary a noise to disturb our slumbers.

ImageP1180743 by Al, on Flickr


Friday morning woke us, the sky still overcast but the day shaping up to be warm. A couple of Sims first, then we picked our way over Cadha Dearg towards Seana Bhraigh. I remember thinking last time that there ought to be a more direct route, but crags in the lower section make this quite difficult. On the way up we met a walker coming down, who said he'd been speaking to another guy who was taking his dad's ashes round the 18 Munros his father had left unclimbed at the time of his death. That seemed a sweet gesture - of course the 18 non-climbed hills were all members of the "awkward squad". We'd expected to meet this other guy as we headed for the summit, but we didn't. After enjoying the hazy views across Strath Mulzie we turned our attention to Sgor a'Bharra, which appeared somewhat intimidating in profile. Closer up wasn't much better - there's an airy little scramble which would be a tad unpleasant if the rocks were wet. I reflected how I was going to cope on the Cuillin if I was getting intimidated by this kind of situation and thought I should get some practice in over the coming week :wink:

Sims here we come
ImageP1180744 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180749 by Al, on Flickr

Sgor a'Bharra
ImageP1180750 by Al, on Flickr

Seana Bhraigh
ImageP1180751 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180752 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180753 by Al, on Flickr

Sgor a'Bharra
ImageP1180755 by Al, on Flickr

Seana
ImageP1180756 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180757 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180758 by Al, on Flickr


We returned to the Gate of Ca-Dearg where we'd left our packs and had an early lunch, another walker passing by as we sat supping coffee. Next up was a tramp over to Eididh nan Clach Geala, past some residual snow. The ground was much drier than it had been last time we were here - I hoped this was to be repeated over the coming days of our walks. An out-and-back divertion to Cnap Coire Loch Tuath which provided good views over to Cona' Mheall and Beinn dearg, then back to Meall nan Ceapraichean. Hot work, under a steadily darkening sky. I had a vague headache I often get when the weather turns thundery, and it seemed likely we were in for a downpour in the near future. We continued on Plat Reidh where I hoped to find a spot to pitch - we made it just in time as a heavy rainstorm began, with lots of thunder away to the east. It felt quite exciting being out in a storm high up, closer to the Elemental Gods, sheets of rain lashing the tent.

Across to the Deargs
ImageP1180760 by Al, on Flickr

Eididh
ImageP1180763 by Al, on Flickr

Cona' Mheall & Dearg
ImageP1180766 by Al, on Flickr

Cona'
ImageP1180767 by Al, on Flickr

Ceapraichean - skies darkening
ImageP1180774 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180776 by Al, on Flickr

After a couple of hours the rain stopped and it began to brighten. Was about 9pm by this time - plenty of time for us to nip up to the summit of Cona' Mheall and hopefully get some sunset views. The sky, still hazy, smouldered in tones of ochre. Another peaceful night was passed.

ImageP1180778 by Al, on Flickr

Cona' Mheall
ImageP1180780 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180781 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180782 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180784 by Al, on Flickr

Morning brought brightness and clouds of craneflies as we packed the tent away and headed over to begin the climb up Beinn Dearg. Taking the usual route up the line of the wall, we were at the summit for 8.30. We continued on along the western shoulder of Dearg, somewhat awed by the length of the wall - I hadn't realised it continued the entire way down the mountain. A full two and a half miles of beautifully constructed drystane wall, a full six feet high in places and still as robust as when it was built, in the potato famine of the 1840s by starving crofters in return for food. Poignant. Nipping out to the Sim of Iorguill then back to the wall - I hadn't been sure how to get back to the car from here - whether to continue into the forested area or drop down and cross the River Lael - given the current dry conditions we opted for the latter, although this might not be possible at other times. Back on the track we made rapid progress and were at the car by 12ish.

Beinn Dearg
ImageP1180786 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180787 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180788 by Al, on Flickr

The wall
ImageP1180793 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180795 by Al, on Flickr

Iorguill
ImageP1180794 by Al, on Flickr

River crossing
ImageP1180800 by Al, on Flickr

What would we do now? Ach - let's drive up to Lochinver and enjoy Assynt in the sunshine. We stopped off in Ullapool at the Tesco to add to our provisions and get something for lunch then continued up into the Hallowed lands. Past old friends of Cul Mor, Cul Beag, Canisp and the grand Suilven we came to Cuinneag. Why not? We needed to try bivvying out and this seemed an ideal opportunity before we got to Skye. It was around 3pm by the time we'd sorted out rucksacks. Blazing sunshine when we left the car but ominous dark clouds and bands of rain sweeping the south and east of us. Would we manage to remain in good weather? Half way up Spidean Coinnich the answer was an emphatic "no" as the heavens opened and we endured some of the heaviest rain we'd encountered in many months. We continued upwards, grimly and sought some shelter after the 620m point. The rain stopped as abruptly as it had began although we were wrapped in mist. Arriving at the summit of Spidean we could feel the sun trying to break through and saw several Brocken Spectres. However we couldn't rreally see the way on from the summit due to the mist - and it's a high place with steep falls to wander. I reached for my GPS, but that didn't seem to be working, and the compass bearing suggested a somewhat steep route down...fortunately at that point the mist did clear and we found the route easily enough.

Setting off - look at the weather!
ImageDSC01664 by Al, on Flickr

Incoming
ImageDSC01665 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01668 by Al, on Flickr

Top of Spidean
ImageDSC01669 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01670 by Al, on Flickr

What to do now? We descended to Bealach a'Chornaidh and decided to make our evening meal. Would we bivvy here or head on up to Sail Gorm, which Allison remembered as having nice flat areas around the summit. We opted to continue and enjoyed some fine evening sunshine as we ambled along the ridge to Sail Gorm - good views over to Suilven and up north to the Holy Grail of Foinaven. Arriving at the summit at around 8pm we gazed at the surrounding landscape, blankets of mist just starting to form on the backs of the neighbouring mountains, the islands of Eddrachillis Bay glowing in the gloaming. Rather annoyingly we were not alone at the summit. There were crane flies, ok, but as the evening wore on the breeze dropped and we were greeted by little midge clouds. I'd hoped to just lie in my bivvy looking out as the sun slowly, imperceptibly, sank towards the horizon, but the midge was making this less than pleasant. So it was zip up and have a look out every now and then.

ImageDSC01675 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01677 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01678 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01679 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01681 by Al, on Flickr

Allison having fun
ImageDSC01684 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01685 by Al, on Flickr

Sail Gorm
ImageDSC01691 by Al, on Flickr

Suilven bedding down for the night
ImageDSC01693 by Al, on Flickr

And us...
ImageDSC01696 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01702 by Al, on Flickr

Eddrachillis bay
ImageDSC01704 by Al, on Flickr

Overnight was a little cold - I'd bought ultralight sleeping bags from Aldi (£12.99 each) to try and save weight/bulk for the Ridge Traverse, but it was perhaps a little colder than they were designed for. Not too bad though. I did slip into my belay jacket in the wee hours, which helped a lot. We awoke in clag, something of a disappointment. Rolling the mats and bivvys away we set off towards Sail Garbh, the mist slowly clearing, revealing Suilven floating in a white sea. Down towards Lochan Bealach Chornaidh, spotted a couple of early morning anglers. As we neared the carpark we passed a number of folk on their way up. What next for us? Lochinver, maybe Achmelvich? We did stop off at the beach in Achmelvich - although the air was warm the sun was hidden in haze and a chilly wind was blowing. I fancied a swim, even in these conditions. If we can bivvy on the top of a mountain we can swim in the sea. Paddling was OK, but every time it came to going deeper than the top of the thighs I chickened out...go for a run along the sand, warm up a little. Finally I did take the (literal) plunge which was bracing and beautiful. Little fishes swam underneath, oh this is lovely. But cold. I ran up and down the beach a few times to shake the chill off then dressed and had lunch. Where now...well only one option from here...Suilven.

ImageDSC01709 by Al, on Flickr

Sail Garbh
ImageDSC01714 by Al, on Flickr

Spidean
ImageDSC01715 by Al, on Flickr

Even since first climbing Suilven in 2013 I'd entertained the idea of sleeping out on the summit, that surprisingly flat and mossy area on Caisteal Liath. I'd also considered a full traverse (especially as it involves 3 Sims) but most of the descriptions of that suggest awkward exposed moves on loose ground. Hmm, maybe just the sleeping out bit then. We set off from Canisp Lodge around 2.30pm, Allison choosing to wear approach shoes, a decision that would later cost her dear. A fine walk in, the blues of the lochans, the yellow of the gorse, Canisp to our left and the ever-changing shape of Suilven on our right. Met quite a few walkers returning to their cars including a couple nearing the end of their Grahams who'd just spent a week bagging the Far North hills - what a week for it. We chatted for a while - don't meet prospective Grahamists that often since we're back on the big hills - how had we done Stac Pollaidh? - got a man with a rope...the woman clearly fancied this strategy too, although her partner seemed quite content to manage himself. Anyway we wished them well for their proposed completion next summer and continued on our way.

We're on our way..uh huh uh huh uh huh uh huh
ImageDSC01717 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01718 by Al, on Flickr

Canisp
ImageDSC01721 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01723 by Al, on Flickr

All the rock bags, like GPS plot points
ImageDSC01726 by Al, on Flickr

As we reached the lochans the cloud started to come in...this would be disappointing. We met an elderly lady sitting out by the many bags of rock brought in by helicopter as part of the path restoration work - which has made a huge difference already in accessing the hill from the track - no more up to the thighs in bog. Anyway, she was clearly some retired geo-academic and decidedly eccentric. She was staying at the campsite at Achmelvich but liked to go out into the hills herself between 5 and 11pm. Ok, I can understand that. We continued up the steep path to Bealach Mor and with delight rose through the cloud layer into sunshine. Suilven and a cloud inversion! We continued up in marvellous light, reaching the summit around 6.30pm. I'd brought our wee tent and the bivvy bags, thinking that we could use either depending on the wind, which was very light. Tent it was - however I realised I'd left my air mat behind. Damn! Allison suggested we just have our tea and head down, but there was no way I was missing a night on Suilven. I cobbled together our little foam sit mats and put both the bixxy bags beneath my sleeping bag - that would provide at least some protection from the cold. The ground was quite soft and grassy which also helped. We spent hours looking out at the floating mountains but the cloud started to build as the evening wore on, and it seemed that the sunset would be lost in mist. Ach well.

Coming up through the cloud
ImageDSC01729 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01730 by Al, on Flickr

Bealach Mor
ImageDSC01733 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01735 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01737 by Al, on Flickr

Cul Mor
ImageDSC01742 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01747 by Al, on Flickr

At just after 3am Allison needed to get out for a pee and broke the silence with a yelp - "oh my God, look at this!" Over to the north dawn was beginning to break in a fiery red line around Cuinneag and - further north - Arkle and Fionaven. To the south, Cul Mor still slumbered in moonlight. We fumbled into warm clothes and spent the next half hour gasping in amazement as the dawn light slowly melted the darkness, the whole vista in every direction under a white blanket of cloud with only the higher parts of the mountains showing. A truly unforgettable experience. We stumbled back into bed, cold but exhilarated.

Dawn to the northeast
ImageDSC01751 by Al, on Flickr

Still night to the southwest
ImageDSC01750 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01753 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01754 by Al, on Flickr

Night and day - together
ImageDSC01756 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01760 by Al, on Flickr


Up at 6ish and the inversion was still there. Sun rising in the clear blue sky and us on our own island heaven. I had the feeling that if you jumped from the summit you would just be snuggled in a eiderdown of puffy cloud below. We could see all the hills, from Hope in the North to An Teallach. Brocken spectres again, and the "fin" of Suilven kniving up through the cloud layer like some megalithic shark. I found the experience profoundly spiritual - as close to any "enlightenment" as I've yet come. With some regret we packed up the stuff and began to head down, back into the mist, back into the quotidian. We met a few folk on their way up, we told them to prepare for something special. From down here everything was grey but they'd break through into the inversion as they climbed. I think I was still a little ecstatic :roll: We met a couple of young N.Irish lads who had spent the night in the bothy (along with the eccentric old lady) and who were brimful of enthusiasm for all they'd seen in the last few days around here. On the way back along the track Allison complains of some pain up both shins - that's a new one, even for the Sick Kid. Back at the car I find the thermarest I'd ommitted to include and we drive to Lochinver for some supplies. Allison goes to check out whether the Pire Shop does vegan ones (sadly, not :( ) and we head off to our next joyful assignation.

ImageDSC01764 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01765 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01766 by Al, on Flickr

Cuinneag
ImageDSC01771 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01773 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01774 by Al, on Flickr


foinx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We climbed Foinaven in 2013 from the north, taking an unusual (and slightly insane) direct approach up the screes of Ganu Mor. But a full traverse was needed, not just for Sim purposes, but to pay the mountain due respect. Not for nothing is this particular mountain listed as my favourite on WH. We headed up to Achfary, under beautiful blue skies, with just enough Cirrus cloud to lend atmosphere. We set off around 2pm. A large group of tents were pitched around the farm at Lone - presumably DofE we reckoned. We met a number of youths, some on bikes as we headed up for Bealach Horn. Arkle was looking superb and I had thoughts of including it on the return, although much would depend on the state of Allison's legs. Despite the sunshine, the air was cooler than the last few days and there was a nippy wind blowing. I had hoped to camp on the flattish areas around An t-Sail Mhor, but at 770m that might be too high for the wind (we had the little tent again). We decided to find a spot at Bealach Horn instead where there was some shelter from some rocky outcrops.

Arkle
ImageDSC01777 by Al, on Flickr

Ben/Loch Stack
ImageDSC01778 by Al, on Flickr

Foinaven
ImageDSC01780 by Al, on Flickr

Camp at Bealach Horn
ImageDSC01782 by Al, on Flickr


Morning brought sun and clear blue skies but it was very chilly in the wind which had strengthened overnight. Several layers were required! Crossing over to Cadha na Bheucaich we did see plently of suitable campspots. The long quartzite back of Foinaven gleamed silver in the sunshine, across to the left Arkle rose majestically in sweeps and swags. There's a loose scramble down to the first bealach then a steep rise to Lord Reay's Seat. Wind was quite uncomfortably high now for a narrowish ridge - you appreciated this in moments when you were shielded from the easternly wind behind rocky cover (or indeed, if you dropped merely a few feet down the leeward side of the ridge itself). We looked with interest at the narrow finger of A'Cheir Gorm - not one for today's conditions. Continuing along the crest we slowly progressed towards Ganu Mor. We marvelled at the views and were joined by a couple of guys, one of whom had the easy grace of a guide. We chatted a bit - they'd been on Cuinneag when we were on Suilven.

Cuinneag again
ImageDSC01784 by Al, on Flickr

Arkle
ImageDSC01788 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01789 by Al, on Flickr

Foinaven lies ahead
ImageDSC01792 by Al, on Flickr

Hope
ImageDSC01793 by Al, on Flickr

The wonderful long south ridge of Cranstackie - a must do for next time
ImageDSC01794 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01795 by Al, on Flickr

My favourite Mountain
ImageDSC01796 by Al, on Flickr

Arkle's nae bad either
ImageDSC01797 by Al, on Flickr

Lord Reay's Seat
ImageDSC01798 by Al, on Flickr

Down to the bealach
ImageDSC01800 by Al, on Flickr

A'Cheir Gorm
ImageDSC01804 by Al, on Flickr

On to Ganu Mor
ImageDSC01805 by Al, on Flickr

Windy
ImageDSC01808 by Al, on Flickr

Summit pano
ImageDSC01810 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01813 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01814 by Al, on Flickr

Turning around we returned to a little sheltered spot I'd noted along the ridge to have lunch. The other guys were going on to include Arkle, which would be a good way to return to Lone, but I thought it ill-advised to expose Allison to more hard ascent work given her shin pains. Although I'd originally thought we'd return by our outward route the option of descending from Cadha na Bealaich and walking back round Arkle to Stack Lodge appealed - the other guys had come in this way and reported the track to be good going. Allison didn't particularly fancy the scree descent - but the option was to climb back up the loose scree and boulders. We made it down in one piece, eventually got to the track and had a most enjoyable walk - across the stepping stones, round into sight of Ben Stack (which looks cuddly from this aspect). Dragonflies abounded, birdsong filled the air. I noticed lilly pads in the river as we neared Stack Lodge. We passed a guy on the CWT and a group of walkers coming from the Lodge. One of the women mentioned that she lived here and I admit to a sizable chunk of envy. Well on days like today anyway. By the time we arrived at Stack Lodge Allison was in considerable leg pain. I suggested she remain with the packs and dangle her legs in the river to cool them off whil I ran the 3 miles back for the car. I haven't run for almost 2 months due to bursitis in my hip, but it was a joy to be running along the road with scenery of this calibre.

A splash of colour
ImageDSC01815 by Al, on Flickr

Descent
ImageDSC01816 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01824 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01825 by Al, on Flickr

Looking back to Foinaven
ImageDSC01826 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01829 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Stack
ImageDSC01831 by Al, on Flickr

I hadn't decided exactly what we'd do next, but I felt a bit of campsite TLC might be helpful for Allison. So we drove up to a busy, but very pleasant, Sango Sands in Durness. A lovely evening, unfortunately squandered as by this time Allison's legs had swollen up quite alarmingly. I'd never seen this swelling from shin splints before - but - with a good phone signal - she was able to google the conditon and treatments...like ice and rest :wink: Well, no walk along to Balnakeil tonight. She could get some Ibugel in the morning and we'd see how an easy day on Hope would go.


hopex.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Another fine sunny morning - oh to be in Sutherland in weather like this. Allison picks up some Ibugel from the wee shop and liberally applies, then we set off along wild Loch Eriboll and down the narrow road towards Hope. The mountain meets us head on as we drive along. I had two alternative routes in mind for today - an approach using the north ridge, or including the two Marilyns to the southeast. Neither seem wise given Allison's shins so we opt for the standard approach, with a wee diversion to the Sim of Sail Romascaig. There are already half a dozen cars parked up as we arrive, but even with Allison's impaired locomotion we overtake most on the way up. These include a couple from the Hallewell Guide doing checks for the revised edition. At the summit we're greeted by a guy (Simon) who recognises us from here and we sit around chatting to him and his mate and some of the other folk that wander up. Loyal lies east, Arkle and Foinaven to the south. Cue track by the Kane Gang ...this could be the closest thing to Heaven...

On the way to Hope
ImageDSC01833 by Al, on Flickr

Foinaven again
ImageDSC01836 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01837 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Eriboll
ImageDSC01838 by Al, on Flickr

Loyal
ImageDSC01839 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01841 by Al, on Flickr

After an hour - yes, an hour! - at the summit we toddle off down the shoulder to Sail Romascaig over slabs of flagstone. There's a large cairn, which we add to. It's scorching hot. Allison almost steps on top of a baby fawn - it's not immediately clear if it's alive or not. We take a look - yes; it is alive. I struggle with what to do...must be very hot, I give it some water from my pack which it accepts, then gets up on spindly legs and walks off a little lower, where there's some shelter from the sun. We hope that mum isn't far away. We take the longer, but gentler descent to Alltnacaillich and are faced with a longer than anticipated walk back along the road. I smell tar - yes the road is actually melting, with little bubbles of tar coming to the surface. Back at the car my meter tells me it's 29 degrees. Wow.

Hope from Sail Romascaig
ImageDSC01845 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01848 by Al, on Flickr

I had intended to head for a campsite in Tongue, but it's so peaceful here that we head back along the road for a mile or so to a spot I'd clocked on the way in. Actually this is almost exactly where we camped 5 years ago, though we went into the trees then (and endured midge hell). There's a grassy - but stony - area we use to pitch on instead and for a while there's enough sun / breeze to keep the beasts at bay. Allison's legs are badly swollen - it's clear she will need to rest them if we're to have any chance of managing on Skye. Understandably she's a bit down about the situation.

ImageDSC01851 by Al, on Flickr



Thursday - I had intended that we do Loyal today, then probably head down for a full traverse of Klibreck with wild camp the next. That's now out of the question. We head back to Tongue, with me thinking that if we use a campsite I can leave Allison behind while I climb Loyal. We stop off at what used to be Peter Burr's Store and find it's now a Spar, poorly stocked. Not a newspaper or magazine other than Puzzlers...that'll have to do.(Apparently the Post office is now the place to go FYI). We try and find a campsite. However, the site I'd had in mind at the Kyle is undergoing major works, and although the hostel is open there's no camping. Ok, let's try Talmine. There's a tiny campsite there - however when we arrive it is populated by surly looking eastern Europeans - it's one of those "duelling banjo" moments when we drive in. This is not going to be the place for Allison to spend the day on her own. It is a beautiful day, I'm in my favourite part of the country and I'm going up a hill. That hill is Loyal (unlike me, perhaps you murmur??) Anyway, I've planned a route from the east that takes in the Marilyns of Cnoc nan Cuilean and Ben Hiel along with Loyal. We stop at the causeway at the head of Loch Loyal and find an ideal spot to pitch, providing privacy and shelter. Great, now I'm away up a hill.


Loyal
ImageDSC01852 by Al, on Flickr


loyal2mari.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



I walk down the road for a couple of kilometres to a derelict cottage and from there head across moorland towards the steep flank of Cnoc nan Cuilean. This would normally be pretty boggy but is fine today. The climb from this side is very steep indeed, on grass. You'd be better continuing round to Loch na Beiste and ascending the gentler western slopes, which i used in descent.Klibreck allures to the south. The Griams mock me from the noreast. But I'm getting Loyal, and that will have to suffice. From the loch it's 350m or so to ascend to the tail of Loyal. The weather couldn't be better. I see no one as I go over Carn an Tionail and Beinn Bheag. I clamber up the western slabs of An Caisteal, accompanied by a ptarmigan who is beautifully camoflaged against the rocks and moss. I reach the trig and then the highest point - easier to see in these conditions than when we were here before in clag. Just when I think I'm all alone, descending from the summit, up comes a large group of students from Sgor a'Bhatain. Ach well. I drop down to the loch and continue east towards Ben Hiel. It's another steepish climb in the hot sun but easier than the Cnoc and soon I'm on the rocky summit looking down towards Loch Loyal. A romp down the eastern flanks and I'm back at the car, where Allison's sunning herself. A wee dip in the loch seems in order, but it's not very deep and stony underfoot. Back at the car I consider our options. Most sensible if Allison doens't walk for the next 3 days. She's going to go crazy if I'm away up the hills all day. I'm going to go crazy if I'm not. The most obvious solution would be to see if we can stay at my brother's near Thurso - I'd planned to drop in if we had the chance. Fortunately he's free and we agree to head up later on Friday. We have a quiet evening, interrupted around 9.30pm by a Polish couple who park near our car. I get out to see what's up - they're going to the bothy at Achnaclach. We wish each other a good night and I retreat to bed.

Cnoc nan Cuilean
ImageDSC01855 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Loyal, Beinn Stumanaidh
ImageDSC01857 by Al, on Flickr

The Griams, Morvern behind
ImageDSC01858 by Al, on Flickr

Loyal from the Cnoc
ImageDSC01859 by Al, on Flickr

Klibreck
ImageDSC01860 by Al, on Flickr

An Caisteal
ImageDSC01866 by Al, on Flickr

Ptarmigan
ImageDSC01868 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01869 by Al, on Flickr

Bowls
ImageDSC01871 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Hiel
ImageDSC01873 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01875 by Al, on Flickr

Causeway
ImageDSC01877 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Stumanaidh
ImageDSC01878 by Al, on Flickr

You can't beat wild camps for quiet - at least from the human sources. There's a bit of traffic on the road early on, lot of campervans coming from or going to Altnaharra. I've decided to climb Beinn Stumanaidh, just on the east side of Loch Loyal. Allison stays in bed as I set off from the tent, passing the bothy where the Polish couple are outside enjoying a morning coffee. Steeply up the northern shoulder, through replanted native trees which are doing well, then onto heathery ground to get to the summit.Loyal basks in the morning sun across the loch. I descend down the western flank, picking up deer track then an ATV trail before going steeply down to the track in from Leitir Bheag. Back at the tent in 2.5 hours. We pack up and drive back towards Tongue. Of course there's another wee Marilyn just beside the village - Meall nan Clach Ruadha, with a track going part of the way. Allison does her puzzle book at the parking area by the war memorial while I head up the track, past farm buildings. The track then goes through someone's garden, with a sign saying to knock on the gate and wait as dogs are loose. the dogs in question are two large black GSDs who look hungry. I knock. No-one comes. The dogs seem to be inside the house, but maybe the back door is open? I opt to nip round the side of the fence, which entails a large nettle patch. I'm wearing shorts. It's painful. Back on the track I make good progress past the transmitter mast on ben Tongue and across the flat ground for my hill - again this would usually be a bogfest. Loyal looks gorgeous from here, all projecting spines. I decide to return a different way, my wounded legs still smarting. I drop down to Loch Craisg and take a track west which leads my through a farm and back onto the A838 - leaving just a short walk back to the car. A much better track to use than the one I ascended by.


stumanadhx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



ImageDSC01881 by Al, on Flickr

Achnanclach bothy
ImageDSC01882 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01883 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01885 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Loyal/ Cnoc nan Cuilean
ImageDSC01887 by Al, on Flickr

Loyal
ImageDSC01888 by Al, on Flickr

Don't know what these pretty flowers are
ImageDSC01889 by Al, on Flickr

Loyal from Tongue
ImageDSC01892 by Al, on Flickr


rubhax.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Meall nan Clach Ruadha
ImageDSC01894 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01895 by Al, on Flickr

Kyle of Tongue
ImageDSC01896 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01897 by Al, on Flickr

We drive to Torrisdale, where my family often holidayed and have lunch on the beach - the tide's out and there's a channel to cross to get to the good sand. We don't bother, just perch along the shore. The bus stop has been commandeered as a makeshift greenhouse, with plants for sale. earlier we passed a phone box which doubles as a library. Just magic :clap: Back in the car and round to Strathy where we go for a paddle along the beautiful beach. The water is truly icy - no thoughts of a swim today, but I'm hoping it will do her legs some good.

Strathy beach
ImageP1180801 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180802 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180803 by Al, on Flickr

Icy balm for the shins
ImageP1180804 by Al, on Flickr

We stop off at Tesco in Thurso for more provisions and head to my brother's where we spend the next 2 days in the company of my nephews and assorted animals. A welcome break, although the lack of hills on Saturday is hard to take - I thought about driving down to do Maiden Pap, but my bro is being a wuss and saying he's not fit enough to climb it and I can't be bothered going alone. Instead I tidy up the car and get the packs ready for Skye. I become increasingly sombre when I feel the weight of the (stripped down) pack I'll need to take for an overnight on the ridge...the ultra-lightweight sleeping bags are clearly not going to pass muster with a projected overnight temp of 2 degrees. How am I going to scramble difficult stuff with this on my back? added to which Allison reports a dream she had where I trip up and oops - fall to my death of the top of a mountain. Really puts my confidence in a good place :lol: We've been in touch with Paul, our guide, and mentioned about Allison's legs - we'll meet in the Slig on Sunday evening and discuss a plan. At leas the weather's looking favourable...

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 7



Complete! - Sick Kid bags her Full House on Skye

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Basteir, Bla Bheinn, Inaccessible Pinnacle, Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh, Sgurr a'Mhadaidh, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, Sgurr na Banachdich, Sgurr nan Gillean
Date walked: 18/06/2018
Distance: 27km
Ascent: 4005m
Comments: 13
Views: 528


Some Skye Marilyns

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: An Cruachan, Arnaval, Beinn a'Bhraghad, Beinn Bhreac (Eynort), Ben Meabost, Biod Mor, Meall a'Mhaoil, Roineval
Date walked: 18/06/2018
Distance: 60km
Ascent: 3991m
Comments: 3
Views: 147


High Camp at Sgurr na Ciche

Attachment(s) Munros: Garbh Chioch Mhor, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart), Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich), Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary)
Corbetts: Sgurr an Fhuarain
Date walked: 28/05/2018
Distance: 71km
Ascent: 5697m
Comments: 8
Views: 427


summer 18

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 22/05/2018
Views: 29


Lunndaidh, Bloody Lunndaidh

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Carn Bhac, Maoile Lunndaidh, Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich
Date walked: 20/05/2018
Distance: 78km
Ascent: 3748m
Comments: 3
Views: 316


Another Alder Adventure

Attachment(s) Munros: Aonach Beag (Alder), Beinn Bheoil, Beinn Eibhinn, Ben Alder, Carn Dearg (Loch Pattack), Carn na Caim, Geal-charn (Alder)
Date walked: 13/05/2018
Distance: 84km
Ascent: 4312m
Comments: 6
Views: 472


The Things We Do For...a Munro Top and a Sim

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Carn Eige, Carn Ghluasaid, Gleouraich, Mam Sodhail, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Spidean Mialach, Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich
Date walked: 07/05/2018
Distance: 74.6km
Ascent: 5846m
Comments: 4
Views: 424


allison's tops

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 02/05/2018
Views: 34


Stob Ban from Kinlochleven

Attachment(s) Munros: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Ban (Mamores)
Date walked: 29/04/2018
Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1633m
Views: 227

weaselmaster


User avatar
Location: Greenock
Occupation: Janitor of Lunacy
Interests: Solvitur Ambulando
Activity: Wanderer
Pub: A whisky at sunset
Mountain: Foinaven
Place: Around Knoydart
Gear: Satmap Active 12
Member: MCofS
MBA
JMT
RHB
Camera: Lumix FT5 / Fuji Finepix
Ideal day out: A long walk that thrills, chills and makes me feel alive
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 246
Corbetts: 60
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 89
Wainwrights: 15
Hewitts: 31
Sub 2000: 149
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   



Filter reports


Statistics

2018

Trips: 28
Distance: 1392.67 km
Ascent: 90897m
Munros: 100
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 6
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 24

2017

Trips: 76
Distance: 2994.86 km
Ascent: 175243m
Munros: 67
Corbetts: 12
Grahams: 72
Donalds: 81
Sub2000s: 96
Hewitts: 13
Wainwrights 12

2016

Trips: 78
Distance: 2035.42 km
Ascent: 124390m
Munros: 17
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 142
Donalds: 71
Sub2000s: 24
Hewitts: 15

2015

Trips: 68
Distance: 2453.94 km
Ascent: 164961m
Munros: 77
Corbetts: 126
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 2

2014

Trips: 64
Distance: 2406.7 km
Ascent: 166291m
Munros: 109
Corbetts: 112
Grahams: 16
Donalds: 10

2013

Trips: 64
Distance: 1894.46 km
Ascent: 127277m
Munros: 219
Corbetts: 17
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 1

2012

Trips: 24
Distance: 254.33 km
Ascent: 16304m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 5

2011

Trips: 1
Corbetts: 1
Donalds: 1


Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Last visited: Jun 21, 2018
Total posts: 1551 | Search posts