18th - 20th August 2017
Those who braved the rainy forecast at the ever excellent Torridon Youth Hostel comprised Gillie, Alan, Sandy, Grahams Neish & Rebecca, Robert, Steve, Ruth, Linda who co-ordinated the weekend & me ( Paddy) Linda & I had planned to do a Corbett on the way over, but were put off by the forecast. Made of sterner stuff, Graham Rebecca and Sandy took in a Corbett apiece – Graham doing Beinn a Chaisteil, near Loch Glascarnoch while Sandy went up Ben Damh.
Saturday dawned very wet, so Sandy exercised good judgement and went for more cultural opportunities. Graham Neish, having recently compleated his Munros joined Graham Rebecca on Ben Damh while the rest of us opted to defer the Corbett foray until the Sunday when the forecast was better. Instead we took a circular seven mile walk from Annat, circumnavigating Beinn na-h Eaglaise. This followed good stalkers paths deep into the hills to Loch an Eoin at the foot of Maol Chaen-dearg, returning via Drochaid Coire Roill. Despite the torrential rain, turning the paths into mini streams, we were really enjoying the day – until we found the bridge over the Allt Coie Roill had been washed away – and in spate conditions the burn was quite impassable! A very steep descent through long heather down to the Torridon Hotel gave a nasty sting to end the day.
On Sunday we aimed to climb the Corbetts Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh which lie just south of the mighty Liathaich and Beinn Eighe. To enable a traverse, cars were placed at either end, and well before 9 a.m. we set off past the Ling Hut on the 3 mile or so traverse across the moor.
With all the rain burn crossings required care,
....and unfortunately the cloud wasn’t lifting as hoped and in quite complex topography I’ll admit that my instinct was to get us to the wrong hill! Fortunately wiser route finding got us to the right summit – but I’ll also admit that I hadn’t fully digested what was implied by the SMC Corbetts book description of “final cone of quartzite scree and boulders”..
The obligatory summit photo was taken..
....but mist still concealed the “magnificent summit views”.
I couldn’t comfortably keep up with the group pace on the descent and traverse across the “barren and rough broad contorted ridge” towards Sgurr Dubh...
.....so Linda & I took it slightly slower. Periodically the summits were clear, but by the time we reached the ridge adjacent to the summit cone it was again covered by cloud, we were tired, and opted to leave the final ascent for another time.
Although we were tempted to take the direct descent from the lip of the coire just below the summit cone, we thought it maybe best to follow the SMC guidance to “return SW along the ridge for 800 metres before dropping to the path in Coire an Leth – uillt”. We had just set off when our faster compatriots appeared at the coire lip, having been to the summit.
Not noticing us, they descended directly and by the time we had done our detour we could see them far down the path! The descent seemed endless – even although it was only a couple of miles or so to Coulin Lodge, but the view of Beinn Eighe across Loch Clair was very welcome.
Much more welcome was the sight of Alan & Gillie’s car when they came to save us walking the last mile! By the time we met up Robert had gone – missing the happy end of adventure relief snapshot!