Wednesday, September 02, 2009

105. Moruisg (255) (+Sgurr nan Ceannaichean) 31/08/09

Looking for a slightly shorter walk in order to fit in a drive back via Applecross, we aimed for these two to the south of the Fannaichs. They took about 4 and a half hours, so footed the bill nicely.

It started with a long slog up the grassy slopes of Moruisg, but the top gave good views and made it worth our while. A meandering ridge took us on to the more interesting Sgurr nan Caennaichean. More interesting not only in pronunciation, but also in character and definitely in weather. The last part of the climb was steep and rocky and on the way we endured a battering from a windy shower. The weather did pass though, and we were soon lapping up the surroundings from the top. There are some good examples of hills in the area - looking south there is a vast expanse of peaks all the way to Kintail, to the north there are the remote Fannaichs and we could just about make out the Torridon hills to the west.

The descent was admittedly a little tedious for the middle section owing to the slow nature of the terrain, but once we found the path progress continued more quickly.

Later in the day we could be found living it up eating seafood at Applecross in the murk and then driving back across the probably-very-impressive 'pass of the cattle' in the cloud.

About a week after returning home from this trip, we read in the news that Sgurr nan Ceannaichean had just been re-measured and demoted from a Munro to a Corbett. Dammit.

The summit plateau of Moruisg.

Cloud hanging in the western corrie of the ridge back to Moruisg.

102-104. Carn Ghlusaid (203), Sgurr nan Conbhairean (44), Sail Chaorainn (133) 30/08/09

The upper reaches of Glen Shiel were dry and fairly clear when we parked and began to head up the southern slopes of these hills. It was clement enough that I even decided to brave the shorts - a decision that came back to haunt me.

The going was pretty easy to the top of Carn Ghlusaid and we were soon hot on the heels of the walkers who'd set off half an hour before us. We had caught the mist up too, however, and the view from the top was somewhat compromised. Climbing Sgurr nan Conbhairean was also a tad misty due to its extra height, but we were able to get a view back at it that was almost clear of cloud.

It had a pleasingly rocky north face, which contrasted with the relatively gentle southern slopes, so the ridge to Sail Chaorainn, the northern outlier, was a bit more interesting.

The mist came back for our descent, but we were lucky in avoiding the rain and the route took us about 6 and a half hours. The last few hundred metres of the descent saw the return of the midgies, who had cunningly absented themselves when we started just so that I would be encouraged to wear shorts and thereby give them something to eat. And feast they did.

Lesson learnt.

The north face of Sgurr nan Conbhairean.

On the summit of Sail Chaorainn

100-101. Buachaille Etive Mor (Stob Dearg (110), Stob na Broige (207)) 29/08/09

Despite only remembering the fact when we were back in the car, this was my 100th munro - Woohoo! We celebrated lavishly by consuming an extra flapjack.

Having driven up from Edinburgh to Glencoe in the morning, Hilde and I set off at about midday in the foreboding drizzle. This being one of the most popular mountains in Scotland, meant that it had a very substantial path for most of the way. There was also no messing around walking up to the hill or anything - we were at 900m after about a mile - very efficient.

The drizzle had receded to more of a mizzle for most of the ascent, but by the time we crested the ridge at the head of the corrie, it was back up to proper grizzle and when coupled with strong winds, which soon became less fun.

Nevertheless, when we reached the summit of Stob Dearg, we could still dimly see down to the moor and were given some idea of the loftiness of our position. Not allowing the conditions to deter us, we decided to soldier on along what would otherwise have been a pleasant ridge to Stob na Broige and were rewarded by the clouds and rain lifting just before we got there.

The descent, although a bit jarring, was fairly swift and we were soon enjoying the trot back between the two shepherds to the road. The route took us 5 and a half hours and will have to be repeated in better conditions.

Stob Dearg from the northwest

When it became clear on the ridge. Stob Dearg in the background.

Looking back down Coire na Tulaich - quite steep.

Buachaille Etive Mor from the top of Glencoe