Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Achnashellach and Torridon Hills: Beinn Liath Mhor (258) but NOT Sgorr Ruadh (195)

Walk date: 18/06/09
My Munro #'s: 183

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn leea voar - big grey hill - 926m
Skoor rooa - red peak - 962m

Duration - 11:30 - 17:30
Distance - ~12 km
Weather - awful! Extreme wet with periods of strong gusting wind. Hail too!
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: four other idiots

So close yet so far, the weather kept us off Sgorr Ruadh:

Paul P and George Skye Trip 2009 - Day 5 (Thursday)

Rest day, what rest day? With a day off from the guided routes on Skye, Paul and I drive out to Achnashellach to try and visit the only two hills I haven't been on in this range. The weather was forecast to be on the bad side so we'd changed a planned circular route (also plotted on map) to a T-shaped walk to reduce the exposure as much as possible.

The walk starts by passing through Achnashellach station and rising on a forestry track through pinewood. The track soon levels and then has to be left by taking a cairn-marked path to the left down to the riverbank. From here the path is constant and takes you up onto heathery hillsides and into Coire Lair (avoiding the paths that branch off for the circular version of the walk).

It was entering Coire Lair that the weather started to go bad with the rain starting to pour down heavily. We pushed on upwards including a thin river crossing over thundering waters and made for the bealach. In what was now high wind and hail we missed a path that runs down the south-west ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor and continued over the bealach, eventually getting onto the ridge by climbing up wet grassy slopes besides a thin watercourse from the north-west.

Once up on the ridge we were at the mercy of the wind, but the way was broad enough to continue and we picked our way up between rocky slabs until we hit the path we'd missed just below the final push for the summit.

Stepping on over loose rocks we were soon sat on the drenched top enjoying the moment but with no shelter whatsoever for reward. We were however quite pleased not to have come on the circular version of the hike as the ridge ahead looked to be quite thin in sections.

After a brief stop we quickly moved on out of quite so much exposure, descending on the path that was now obvious all the way back to the bealach. Once there, due to the ease of missing this path when visibility was reduced, I built a mini-cairn at the branch point hoping that it would help future adventurers out.

Speaking of adventure however, our appetite was over for the day. After adventuring against the weather for some hours, despite the proximity of Sgurr Ruadh, Paul and I decided together that enough was enough and we cut our loses, making for the haven of the car in a quickmarch down the glen. An exhilarating day out but one that we knew had come to a close!

Sgurr Ruadh (L) and Beinn Liath Mhor (R):

There's a reason this land is so green!

Our invented route up onto BLM:

The end in sight, a much deserved Beinn Liath Mhor:

I think I had every piece of equipment on by this time:

Still raining:

Sgurr Ruadh looking tempting but very wet:

Relaxing on top of Beinn Liath Mhor:
Lamenting forgetting the picnic blanket:

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