Friday 16th September - Sunday 18th September 2016
On Friday Ruth & I set off in the sunshine to walk up An Ruadh-Stac, our route began at Coulags just north west from Lochcarron Village. Once we bypassed the hydro system project the track wynd its way past Fionnarach bothy then up onto Bealach a Choire Ghairbh. Ruth and I stood at the lochans gazing up at the amazing quartzite cone, think how an earth are we going to pick a route up there!
As we starting the ascent to the submit we soon found what felt like a rough path and with a bit of a scrambling, we reached the top we just made it on time to get the views across to Torridon village and the mountain range before the clag and rain came in. So no views from the actual summit, which was the pattern for the rest of the weekend. We retraced out steps back down and once we reached the bealach we were out the clag again.
Those who stayed at the excellent Hartfield House hostel were Anna, Susan, Shona, Ruth, Linda, Paddy, Sandy, Robert & Hamish, who came over from Skye. On the Saturday we were joined by guest Alastair Clunas who is Aberdeen based but was staying at the nearby campsite. Discussion on the Friday evening arrived at a decision for everyone to aim to climb the 2 Corbetts starting from the car park at the top of the Bealach na Ba road, while individuals could decide which route to follow down.
In the morning it was dry with a brisk breeze and as we approached the car park we hoped against hope the cloud base would lift. A good track leads to a mast overlooking, if we could see it, Coire a Chaorachain, and a little further on we paused for a photo at a cairn on Sgurr a Chaorachain.
The Corbett top is a further kilometre or so along a narrower ridge, which had some unexpected “bumps” to cross.
We retraced our steps past the mast and on via trackless rough and bouldery ground to the Bealach nan Arr where, at last we dropped sufficiently below the cloud base to get views.
Ahead, the long ridge sweeping north above Coire Attadale promised great views for those descending that way after the summit, while our route now would follow the rocky shoulder due east.
Soon we were back in the mist, eventually reaching the large summit cairn of Beinn Bhan.
The “intrepids” (or were they?!) – Ruth, Sandy, Hamish & Robert set off on the 7 mile romp down the north shoulder returning to the hostel via Srath Maol Chaluim , the valley of the River Applecross, while the rest retrced our steps to the Bealach nan Arr and, with frequent map-reading checks, we picked up the path crossing the Coire nan Cuileag leading to the public road, about a mile, and some 600 feet below the misty car park – ah but had we thought that one out earlier! We arrived back at the hostel only shortly before the “intrepids”, who sadly reported that the mist had come down for them too, so the promised views had not materialised.
At the hostel we learned that Tansy had called in to pass on her greetings, having completed the local duathlon . The said duathlon was the reason that we couldn’t get a booking to eat out! – but we did enjoy an excellent self catered meal in the hostel, provided by the various members there, and added to by Bob & Jane who organised the weekend – thank you – and who sadly had to pull out at the last minute.
Sunday dawned a lot brighter and drier than we had been expecting so Sandy, Susan and Ruth set off for Fuar Tholl, near Achnashellach station. On route we dropped Hamish back to his car at the top of the Beallach na Ba (left there from the day before) and stopped and enjoyed the brilliant views out over the hills we had walked over yesterday! It was nice to see where we had been. On arriving at Achnashellach station we followed the very well built path up the valley with lovely views of Fuar Tholl.
The buttresses on it reminded us of the Torridon mountains. Unfortunately just as we were about to come off the path and up the last 1km of very steep stones and boulders to the top the cloud came down and it started to rain! We found the top OK, although were initially slightly confused as the Trig point marked on the top on the map had been removed! A little scrabbling around in the base of the shelter showed the remains of the base of the Trig point.
After a summit photo Sandy left us to make his speedily way down the mountain and to Glasgow and Susan and Ruth followed at a slightly slower pace enjoying a leisurely lunch on route once we were out of the cloud and rain.