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Kintail Weekend

15-16 April 2023

Eventually the fluctuating numbers settled down and 9 DHC’ers of 14 booked made it to the Ratagan Hostel in Kintail.

We were all taken aback by the amount of snow we saw on the way over on Friday, or in Alison’s case the amount she walked in on Friday. As a result we all experienced plenty of snow on a glorious sunny day on Saturday when sunglasses were the order of the day, and first aid equipment- more of that later. As to be expected on the West coast the good weather didn’t last and Sunday was not so pleasant with some subdued walks and early departures for home.

So who did what:

Gillie and Alan did Beinn Clachach 643m from Corran, overlooking Loch Hourn on Saturday but didn't manage to get to a top of anything on Sunday and turned for home when the clouds came in and some rain started....

Ken and Gail climbed two of the three brothers of Kintail, Saileag 959m & Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg 1038m, on Saturday. The climb from the A87 in Glen Shiel was the usual vertigous climb from the road but conditions on the ridge were excellent; sunshine, light winds, superb visibility with the fresh snow giving a very alpine feel. The descent was grassy via Meall a Charra, through the gap in the trees to the A87 and unfortunately back along the road.

On Sunday Ken & Gail climbed the Munro Carn Ghluasaid 957m. The ascent from Lundie on the shores of Loch Cluanie was via the excellent stalkers path to the rounded summit. There was mist above around 700m and there was only the most fleeting view of mountains to the north so due to the poor visibility and drizzle we decided to leave the associated Munros for clearer day.

On Saturday Anna & Tony climbed the Corbett Sguman Coinntich from Killilan, NE of Ratagan & Loch Duich. A good path passes rising waterfalls and after finding a suitable crossing point snowy patches were reached en route to the summit. From the trig point the 360 degree views of snowy peaks were impressive. Returned via similar route.

On Sunday, with some cloudy weather locally Anna & Tony headed for Glen Roy to climb the Graham Leana Mhor, N of Roybridge were visibility was much better, so two good days.”

Alison arrived on Thursday and completed all three of the Brothers of Kintail in snowy conditions on Friday and on Saturday joined Robert and Chris H on Beinn Fhada. Conditions were excellent with bright sunshine and glorious views. Snow started c800m and the top plateau was covered in thick snow which luckily had some crust so didn’t collapse under every footfall. After following the well trodden route up Gleann Choinneachain the dramatic ridge over Sgurr a Choire Ghaibh was taken for the return route. This was even more challenging with the covering of snow, and its airy position and exposure is certainly understated in Walkhighlands but borne out by the lack of discernible path. Once completed the arduous descent down 1000m of steep hummocky grassy boggy slope commenced, only to be halted shortly afterwards at 800m when Chris slipped, and as was later established severely strained one of his 4 quad muscles. After being completely immobile from the pain, after 15-20 mins Chris worked out he could slowly slide down on his bum. What followed was 3 and a half hours of Chris sliding, Robert pulling and Alison carrying equipment, to get Chris down 800m and off the mountain. A close call but we had plenty of time and good weather so all was done and down in time for the pub as scheduled! Needless to say Chris, and Robert, didn’t walk on Sunday and Alison too was scheduled for a Sunday departure.

Another memorable weekend with DHC from both the excellent Saturday weather and fresh snow, and for some, a memorable descent.

Robert Skidmore


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