Friday, July 19, 2013

The Glen Etive Hills: Beinn Sgulaird (237)

Walk date: 18/04/13
My Munro #'s: 239

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Byn skoolard - unknown - 937m
Duration - 13:45 - 18:00
Distance -  9.22 km
Total ascent -  968m
Weather - blasts of wind at the start but they soon died off as did the spatters of rain we'd felt.  the rest was still breezy but ok, with the cloud lifting on our descent.
Team - with Paul P

Other hikers: 2 others

This day saw us driving to Fersit again with the intention of another attempt on Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg, but after sitting in the car for 15 minutes with hail smacking against us and the whole car shaking with the wind we thought better of it, and spent most if the rest of the morning in a cafe reading the newspaper! 

However, with the weather calming down in the afternoon, we decided to give the short and sharp Beinn Sgulaird a go. 

This was a good decision!  The walk starts off nicely on a private road going from the car park at Elleric to the hamlet of Glenure.  Once past these buildings though, and once over the pleasant little bridge, there is a subtle cairn on rocks to the right, which signals that, most definitely, that the only way is directly up!  

From this first field there is very little relief, just a couple of flat notches on the way up a steep and direct ascent.  For a while paths appear, but they're easy to lose amongst the grass and rocks and as long as you carry on going up you can't really go wrong. 

Toward the very top this hill is quite craggy and bouldery, but bizarrely this made the hiking quicker as we could easily stride over the gaps.  Soon we were at the cairn, happy to have claimed a hill in this week of weather woes, and so not too sad to be in the cloud without a view to speak of.  

The return was pretty straightforward.  We veered off our exact route up a little, but it was of little concern as gravity's helping hand made sure progress was very quick!  After that it was a shift over to the Glencoe Youth Hostel ready for our final two days!

The private road to Glenure, with Beinn Sgulaird in the distance:

Me celebrating on top:

And Paul!

Halfway down and the views opened up, looking west:

This was from the next day's hike; Beinn Sgulaird from the east:

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, July 05, 2013

Loch Treig and Loch Ossian: an attempt on Stob Coire Sgriodain (174) and Chno Dearg (86)

Walk date: 17/4/13
My Munro #'s: N/A

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

stop kora sgreeadan - peak of the scree - 979m
knaw jerrack - red nut or red hill - 1046m
Duration - 08:30 - 11:30
Distance -  9.15 km
Total ascent -  600m
Weather - High winds with heavy rain that turned to fine, biting snow
Team - with Paul P

Other hikers: none

The blue line was the intended route 
(including the optional extra Beinn na 
Lap, but that hill was never really under
consideration due to the weather).  The
red line is as far as we got!

After taking a day out on the previous day due to the forecast all day long 100mph winds, we were determined to make something of this day; the winds were forecast to be high, but only in the afternoon, and so we hoped that we could repeat our Strathfarrar success by making a quick push in the morning.  We also sought to make things easier by taking the cue from the previous Ossian day and converting a ridge circular into a 'corrie-T'!

From the start the day was officially a wet one.  Constant heavy drops poured down as we set off through the tiny hamlet of Fersit.  After the houses, the track exits onto open farmland and the route departs to the right (south) across boggy fields and a crossing of a river that on a dry day probably isn't even there!

Height is nicely gained on fairly steep grassy slopes with a 'path' that dips in and out of view. Once over this initial burst of hill the incline softens and good paths are found.  Unfortunately for us the paths soon disappeared under the increasing snow.  To our right, the snow-pocketed northern ridge of Stob Coire Sgriodain disappeared ominously into thick cloud.  It was at this time too that the heavy plods of rain rain finally gave over to being white too, which worked to add a fresh layer to that already underfoot.

All through this stretch the southerly winds had been picking up, eventually to the level to make things difficult, and this was still at a relatively low level (~700m or so) and with the protection of the hills ahead.  This planted a healthy dose of doubt in our minds that progress could be continued.  We decided to get to Lochan Coire an Lochain, have a snack and make a decision.

However, about half a km below the lochan we came to some crags and the route on was through a channel between two outcrops.  As was to be expected, this channel had become a wind tunnel, with fierce winds flying through carrying fine harsh snow, both fresh and drifting.  After sheltering in the crags, we gave it a determined push, but soon burst out laughing at how ridiculous it was.  There was no decision to be made, with the conditions so difficult at this level, there was no sense in carrying on, and it was a return to the car for us.  No hills, but still a fair bit of fun was had!

Once back at the car, one other car came to the car park, with suited-up hikers inside.  They parked for 5 minutes, and then drove away, put off by the conditions!  That made us feel totally intrepid!

Paul taking shelter:
The channel between the crags below Lochan Coire an Lochain:

Loving it!

Snow banks on the river:

Resting it up in the Grog and Gruel, Fort William:

Labels: , , , , ,