Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Achnashellach and Torridon Hills: Bidean a' Choire Sheasgaich (224) and Lurg Mhor (163)

Walk date: 05/05/06
My Munro #'s: 77 and 78

The quite steep climb of 'Sheasgaich, looking up:

And down:

Finally onto the ridge of Bidean a' Choire Sheasgaich:

Loch Monar from Bidean a' Choire Sheasgaich:

Coming up on Lurg Mhor:

Looking over to the Cuillins from Lurg Mhor:

Hiking Expedition 2006! 08:45-17:45. This is a long day out! I recommend that you start early, definitely take your bike and having company would help too as this trek gets quite remote!! My time on it was 9 hours and this was in good weather (plus bike); I imagine it can get pretty miserable with rain/snow and wind.

The route to Bealach Bhearnais was the same as Tuesday, including the pushing of the biked up the forestry road. Once there, there is no avoiding the climb of Beinn Tharsuinn; take it on the chin and get to the crest as soon as possible as the walking is easy on top. In poor visibility the wishful mind keeps imaging that you're about to start the Munro climb, but in reality there's an unmissably large drop in height down to the narrow saddle before 'Sheasgaich.

Do not be intimidated by the seemingly impregnable wall of rock ahead of you that is Bidean a' Choire Sheasgaich as the actual route avoids all of that. Make your way down to the stone wall in the low col and follow the river until you fully round the north-western shoulder of the mountain. Now start to climb up over grass, rock and bog, keeping to the left of Coire Seagach moving in a south-easterly direction. This is slow going, so be prepared for a long haul but you do get there in the end! It is worth finding the lochan as from there the path comes into being (although snow tends to accumulate on its route). Quite soon from the lochan area you're onto a nice stroll along the narrow but flat-topped ridge to the summit. I have to admit after the effort on the climb I almost hugged the small but well-formed summit cairn!

I have read in guide books that Lurg Mhor is a disappointment following the effort of Bidean a' Choire Sheasgaich, but for me it was a welcome change; a nice straightforward peak soon reached by, get this, a path! Also, on a clear day like this day was, you can see from the Cairngorms to the Cuillin ridge, which is rather tremendous.

I retraced my steps back and made good use of my newly repaired back brake on my bike as I made the run down the forestry road back to Craig. Really a damn well excellent day, just prepare yourself for the effort involved!!

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