Sgòr Gaoith via Coire Dhondail

Wednesday, 05 September 2012

31 km/1120 m/09:45 hrs

On the two occasions I had climbed Sgòr Gaoith before, the clouds had lowered by the time I got to the summit and I hadn’t got any views from the top. Especially the view down to Loch Eanaich is supposed to be spectacular, as the summit cairn is perched on a steep cliff above the loch.

The previous week I had only done a low level walk from Glenmore to Forest Lodge and back, and I was keen to get up a hill again although the weather forecast wasn’t too good. After climbing Sgòr Gaoith twice from the Glen Feshie side, I wanted to try the approach from Gleann Eanaich, by climbing up Coire Dhondail and contouring around the head of Coire Odhar.

In spite of the forecast, it was nice and sunny when I started from the car park at Loch an Eilein. A network of excellent paths leads through the surrounding pine forests and into Gleann Eanaich.

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Am Beanaidh and the first glimpse of Sgòr Gaoith on the right.

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The impressive crags and buttresses on Sgòr Gaoith’s E flank.

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The N end of Loch Eanaich.

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A small cairn marks the start of the path into Coire Dhondail.

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Waterfall on the Allt Coire Bogha-cloiche.

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Gleann Eanaich.

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The path zigzags up the headwall of Coire Dhondail.

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Looking down to Loch and Gleann Eanaich.

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Eventually I arrived at the cairn above Coire Dhondail.

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Monadh Mòr.

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View back to Am Bodach (left) and Carn na Criche (right).

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Sgòr an Lochain Uaine (Angel’s Peak) and Cairn Toul just visible on the skyline.

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Steep scree slopes below Coire Dhondail and Am Bodach.

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In the meantime it had started to rain and the views into Coire Odhar became a bit hazy.

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Loch Eanaich.

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Approaching Sgòr Gaoith’s summit.

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On my way, I passed the ruins of a small building or shelter.

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Coire Dhondail.

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Sgòr Gaoith summit cairn.

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Steep drop below the summit.

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Third time lucky!! Although it was raining this time, at last I could see down to the loch and to the Braeriach plateau on the other side.

Coire nan Clach and Coire Dhondail.

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From the summit I walked along the N ridge over various tops.

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Looking back to the summit.

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Braeriach was now completely covered in cloud.

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Walking along the ridge, Meall a’ Bhuachaille visible in the right hand corner of the photo.

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Granite tors on the way up to Clach Choutsaich.

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Looking W into the Spey Valley.

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Before I reached Creag Dubh, I left the path and descended into Coire Follais.

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Soon I found the path that is marked on the map, but it is very steep, boggy and slippery. The “path” becomes even worse when it enters the forest, it is very overgrown and in some places a machete might have been quite useful…

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According to the map, the path would cross the Allt Coire Follais and lead to Drake’s Bothy, but I never found the crossing point and stayed on the right bank of the stream. I was really glad when I eventually emerged from the “jungle” onto a good track about 500 m E of the bothy.

From there it was only a short walk back to Loch Gamhna and Loch an Eilein.

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3 thoughts on “Sgòr Gaoith via Coire Dhondail

  1. Hi Nicole! I like the look of this route, I’ve only done Sgor Gaoith from the usual Glen Feshie approach, although I have done the end of the walk through the jungle going the other way. We tried to follow the map, which was a mistake…
    I forget, did you get in the Challenge this year? Where are you planning to start? I’ve plumped for a Plockton start and if the weather is good, I might even find myself up a couple of Munros. I must be going mad.
    Hopefully bump in to you somewhere.
    Louise

    • Hi Louise,

      Yes I’m on the Challenge again 🙂

      I’m starting from Lochailort this year and I’ve also got a few Munros on my route (weather permitting, of course)! 338 km and no rest day – I must be going mad as well, I suppose :mrgreen:

      But this time I made sure I’ll be in Braemar on the Saturday, I was really sorry for giving Braemar a miss last year (but I just couldn’t fit it into my route). Will you be there as well?

      If not, see you in Montrose 🙂

  2. I’ll be there on the Saturday too and hopefully this year I won’t be falling asleep in the bar, last year I was shattered.
    See you there!

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