Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Loch Lochy, Loch Arkaig and Loch Eil: Sgurr Thuilm (193) and Sgurr nan Coireachan (206)

Walk date: 6/7/14
My Munro #'s: 244 and 245

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Skoor hoolim - peak of the round hillock - 963m
Skoor nam korachan - peak of the corries - 956m

Duration - 09:30 - 19:15
Distance -  24.3 km
Total ascent -  1377m
Weather - decent weather at the start and warm at the end.  Cold and blowy on first hill and heavy rain before second.
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 4 others

Day 2 - Sunday

After an horrendous night of non-sleep in the full and noisy Glen Nevis hostel, Paul and I were up for some great but not too strenuous hiking as we headed west to Glenfinnan and these two hills that had long been awaiting my attention.

The Harry Potter connection to the viaduct was evident even before we'd left the car as a group of Chinese tourists appeared asking us for directions.  That's something that doesn't happen on every hike!  
This was a walk with a long drawn out start, one that would have been perfect for bikes, but we hadn't committed to bring them this year and so we began a pleasant enough but ultimately tedious plod along the estate road toward the lodge and bothy before the real walk began.

The real walk begins as the lodge is passed and the road becomes a track that skirts past the nice looking (electricity-supplied) bothy.  After a little while on the track the glen splits into two higher glens and a dodgy crossing over the river on a few I-frame beams is asked for.

After that we were a bit stuck as to the exact route up to Sgurr Thuilm, and ended up cutting through heavy bracken on a steep slope alongside a deer fence as a poor excuse for one.  As soon as we got to any significant height however, we found that indeed there was a path, but that it had started more to the east and was just not visible from the track.  This path carried on steeply but with much better progress than the wild grass banks, and before too long the incline lessened and turned to a nice stroll along a broad ridge until the summit was reached.

After the first hill the walking to the second was pretty easy terrain, although any downhill at all meant my toes were in pain as the day before, as if my boots had shrunk from the year before, and it was starting to slow me down.  Nevertheless, good progress was made toward Sgurr nan Coireachan albeit the hills are a fair old distance apart and there's no shy amount of undulation between them.  The view down the glen however was a wonderful companion.  

Once off the second hill the path took us along some impressive cliffs before sinking down grassy slopes back into the glen.  However, here my real pain started as every downward step seemed like a hammer blow to my big toes.  It really was horrible, and I could barely manage a few steps at a time before rehearsing my swear word collection. I started to have serious doubts for the week ahead which was extremely depressing even the problems of last year.  Thankfully, although still very painful, reaching the track back down in the glen with its much calmer incline meant things got better, but it was a hell of a long walk out still to go, with dinner and then our trip out to our accommodation on Loch Ossian still to make happen.  

The electricity-supplied luxo-bothy!

It's all about to go upwards!

What passes for a bridge in these parts!

One last 'look at us' shot before we get sweaty and knackered!

Sweaty and knackered on Sgurr Thuilm!

Looking down the impressive Glenfinnan!

Sgurr nan Coireachan in our sights!

Grand views abound!

The view back from Sgurr nan Coireachan:

Westward toward Knoydart-land:

Great cliffs and Sgurr Thuilm behind:

That Harry Potter thing...
Panorama on Sgurr nan Coireachan:

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