Sunday, October 28, 2012

Knoydart and Loch Quoich: Spidean Mialach (146) and Gleouraich (97)

Walk date: 05/05/12
My Munro #'s: 232 and 233

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Speet yan meealach - peak of wild animals - 996m
Glyawreech - uproar or noise - 1035m


Duration - 10:45 - 15:20
Distance - 12.5 km
Total ascent - 1097 m
Weather - a mixed bag with some strong winds but generally fine
Team - with Paul P

Other hikers: 5

Day 7 - Saturday
Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2012
And so as they say, all good things must come to an end, and thank goodness for that said our legs on this day, as we hit the 16th and 17th hills of the week.  Having said that, we were surprisingly spritely following the hot tub, comfy beds, and strong coffee of the Glen Albyn Lodge.

A good clear path leads up from the car park, and only becomes a little thin as it flattens out in a grassy valley.  Once past that it's rock all the way on a constant gradient until the summit of Spidean Mialach is reached, giving more fine views along Loch Quoich.

The bealach between these hills is quite high and progress is fast, with a good path and some light scrambling.  Before long we were on the high and long crest of our final hill Gleouraich taking in splendid views but being buffeted by strong winds.  

With the strong wind a light snack was all we stopped for, and we made our way down on another good path, which comes out at the car park just a couple of minutes away from the path up.  An excellent little hike, especially because it takes in two nice hills in a short blast, quite a contrast from our Alder day!  Just the drive back to Aberdeen to deal with afterwards....

Loch Quoich looking good again:

Paul on Spidean Mialach: 

Coming up on Gleouraich:
The bealach between them:

Myself on Gleouraich:

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Knoydart and Loch Quoich: Sgurr a' Mhaoraich (104) and then Gairich (272)

Walk date: 04/05/12
My Munro #'s: 230 and 231

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Skoor a vooreach - peak of the shellfish - 1027m
Gaareech - roaring - 919m

Duration - 09:45 - 13:35, and 14:05 - 18:20
Distance - 11.9 km, and 15.8 km
Total ascent - 975 m and 762 m
Weather - Windy with a good blast of wintry showers, but generally enjoyable
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 3 on Gairich

Day 6 - Friday
Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2012
And so for another change of location on this hiking week, this time moving from Newtonmore over to Loch Quoich and a final night away in Invergarry.  The four hills of Loch Quoich are generally taken over two days, the second is a standard circular walk of two hills, but the first, and what we did  on this day, is a less conventional coupling of two separate shorter hikes of a single hill each.  Paul and I had an official plan to not do the second hill, and leave it to another year but, despite our fatigue, we just couldn't leave it sitting there...
Sgurr a' Mhaoraich is a decent hill and the path is straightforward.  The initial climb up onto the eastern ridge gives improving views over Loch Quoich and along Glen Quoich, and then leading to a rocky summit with Allt Coire a' Chaorainn stretched out below.  It was on the crest leading to the summit that we got a blast of hail, signalling that our honeymoon with the weather was coming to an end, but that was still as bad as it got.
After getting back down at a decent time, it was inevitable that we would move on to take in Gairich on the other side of the loch, which necessitated jumping the gate on the dam and nervously trotting across.  The initial going on Gairich is slow as it follows the loch and is soft and spongy.  This gives way to a loss in height, taking you back to your starting altitude.  Maintaining your general direction, avoid the track going perpendicular and gain height again until you still the good path starting off on the steady back of Gairich.
The going is good but Gairich keeps its sting in the tail, with almost half of the height gain in the final stretch.  Still, this makes for an impressive little hill and a rapid end as long as you keep pushing it.  The path stays good and the views in this neighbourhood are truly impressive; hill-spotters will have a field day.
Taking in both hills meant that we got to Invergarry later than planned (the twisty road to this loch not helping), but our reception at Glen Albyn lodge was superb; they worked out our evening schedule so we could fit in showers, dinner at the grand Invergarry Hotel, and the absolute highlight, a nighttime spell in the wonderful, luxurious hot tub, which was just what the tired muscles and the week long tally of minor niggles needed.  Add to that the comfy beds (especially after a week of hostels) and the strength of the coffee the next morning, and I would happily recommend a stay there to anyone!

Loch Quoich from the start of the route on Sgurr a' Mhaoraich:

Onto the ridge with the snowy summit in view:

Looking down over Allt Coire a' Chaorainn from the summit:

Starting on Gairich from the dam:
Looking west from the summit over to Knoydart:

And with Paul!

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