Coireshùbh – Barisdale
Ladhar Bheinn via Coire Dhorrcail
Barisdale – Sgùrr nan Eugallt – Coireshùbh
Coireshùbh – Barisdale
12.6 km/618 m/03:45 hrs
My third and last training walk before the TGO Challenge! I finished my last night shift at 07:00, had breakfast, printed my route sheets, started packing, went to bed and slept for 2.5 hours, finished packing, had lunch, shower etc. and managed to leave home at 15:00. Instead of parking at Kinloch Hourn, I left my car at Coireshùbh about a mile up the road, because that’s where I was planning to finish my walk two days later.
I started walking at 17:30, and a few minutes later a car stopped beside me and I was offered a lift! But this was supposed to be Challenge training, so I declined politely.
Young deer near the car park at Kinloch Hourn.
The walk along the coast to Barisdale was, as always, a joy. The tea room at Skiary was open, but I didn’t have time for a visit, unfortunately.
The Saddle and Sgùrr na Sgine.
Shortly before Barisdale I was caught up by the walkers who had offered me a lift earlier. They walked a lot faster than me, but had stopped for several long photo breaks.
Loch Hourn looked beautiful in the light of the setting sun.
Near the Boat House I met Drew from Sandaig, who “warned” me that the camp site was full and a stag party going on (he was going to ferry them across to Ladhar Bheinn the next day)… and I had been looking forward to some peace and quiet!
On my way to the bothy and camp site I had to stop regularly to admire the gorgeous sunset.
The camp site was full of mostly large tents, a bonfire was burning, but no-one spoke to me or waved when I walked past, and I didn’t feel very welcome. I needed to catch up on sleep, so I walked down to the river where I eventually found a camp spot away from the noise. I could still hear them shouting and singing, but it wasn’t too bad and I slept well.
15 km/1634 m/10:00 hrs
Munro (2nd round): Ladhar Bheinn (No. 31)
Munro Top: Stob a’ Choire Odhair (No. 34)
For a long time I had been wanting to climb Ladhar Bheinn from the Coire Dhorrcail side, and my one previous attempt was abandoned because of low cloud covering the ridge. I only noticed during the writing of this report that that first attempt had been exactly three years ago, on the 28th April 2011!
I crossed the footbridge and followed the path towards the Creag Bheithe ridge. On the lower slopes I came across a group of volunteers who did some path repairs for the John Muir Trust. It was interesting to chat to them for a while, but I could hardly believe it when they said I was the first hillwalker they had seen up there in four days!?
Looking down to Loch Hourn, I could see the boat taking my camp site companions to the foot of the Druim a’ Choire Odhair ridge.
A short while later the boat left again, taking their luggage around to Inverie where they would stay the night.
Beinn Sgritheall seen across Loch Hourn.
Glen Barrisdale, with tomorrow’s target Sgùrr nan Eugallt on the skyline to the left, Slat Bheinn in the centre and Sgùrr a’ Choire-bheithe on the right.
After walking along the undulating ridge of Creag Bheithe I found myself under the intimidating NE face of Stob a’ Chearcaill.
I couldn’t see an obvious way up, but soon found a bypass path around the left of it.
The ridge leading to Màm Barrisdale.
After working my way around the obstacle of Stob a’ Chearcaill, some steep scrambling took me back up onto the main ridge.
Looking back to Stob a’ Chearcaill.
The way ahead – still a long way to go!
On the large flat area around the 849 m point I met two couples who had come up from Inverie, all wearing shorts, T-shirts and sun hats. It was really hot by now and I felt “slightly” overdressed in my Paramo trousers and jacket… (I had brought no change of clothes as I hadn’t expected the weather to be so nice).
The split ridge of Aonach Sgoilte – I had walked that way after climbing Ladhar Bheinn for the first time a few years ago, starting from Inverie and ascending the hill from Folach in Gleann na Guiserein. Instead of staying on the ridge and descending into Coire Dubh, I had become impatient and left the ridge after Aonach Sgoilte.
That descent had started off well on easy grassy slopes, but I had soon found myself in a jungle of bracken on an extremely steep hillside covered in boulders and deep holes hidden in between. Somehow I had made it to the path at the E end of Loch an Dubh-Lochain, but it had been an experience I wouldn’t want to repeat!
Onwards and upwards…
I was a bit surprised about the scrambling sections on the way, they seemed harder than I remembered them. Maybe it was because I did the ridge in the opposite direction from last time, or maybe this time I was just struggling because of the heat?
Looking back to Stob a’ Chearcaill.
Nearer the summit the terrain becomes steeper, but a path winds its way through the crags.
View back along the ridge.
Earlier, I had seen the members of the stag party approaching along the ridge from Stob a’ Choire Odhair.
When I reached the summit ridge myself, I saw that they had beaten me to it…
The ridge was very busy with around two dozens of people on it – and I couldn’t believe the amount of snow still left (this hadn’t been visible from below)!
Clambering over the members of the party who were spread around the cairn, some of them sunbathing and/or taking a nap, I walked past the summit to the broken trig point at the end of the ridge and had a look down to Beinn Sgritheall on the other side of Loch Hourn.
When I saw the group leaving the summit, I headed back.
Now I had the summit to myself! Sorry if this sounds a bit unsociable (I normally enjoy meeting other walkers in the hills and am always up for a chat), but large groups like that are just too much…
I still had a Munro Top to collect, so I continued towards Stob a’ Choire Odhair. This involves no scrambling at all, it’s just a steep path that levels out further along the ridge.
The rather non-descript “summit cairn”, with the large snow patches in Coire Gorm as a backdrop.
Continuing along the ridge, I got a good view of Stob a’ Chearcaill and Stob Dhorrcail.
Around the 700 m contour I left the ridge and descended into Coire Dhorrcail on easy grassy slopes.
Looking back into Coire Dhorrcail and to the ridge I had just traversed.
Across the bay to Barisdale Farm.
When I arrived back at the camp site, there was only one Akto pitched, but I couldn’t be bothered packing up and moving my tent. But I went to cook my dinner inside the bothy and had a quiet evening, chatting to the owner of the other tent and some new arrivals who turned up later. That night I had an even better sleep after this long, but rewarding day.
Barisdale – Glen Barrisdale – Sgùrr nan Eugallt – Coireshùbh
12.3 km/1008 m/07:30 hrs
Corbett: Sgùrr nan Eugallt (No. 71)
It was still very warm the next morning, but the clouds were low and I was wondering if I would get any views today.
I had never walked through Glen Barrisdale before and was pleasantly surprised to find a good, dry track leading through it.
Looking back to Ladhar Bheinn.
Locked shelter in the glen.
Waterfall and Scots Pines.
I got a bit of a fright when I suddenly came across this poor chap lying in the middle of the path!
Below Coille Mhinniceig the glen narrows.
After this ford I left the track and climbed up the steep hillside.
Finding my way around the crags turned out to be hard work in the heat, and the ascent seemed to take ages.
But at least the clouds lifted over An Caisteal and Meall nan Eun, raising my hopes to get some views from the summit.
After many rest stops I finally reached the ridge near the col between Sgùrr nan Eugallt and Sgùrr a’ Chlaidheimh.
From there it is only a short walk to the summit.
Unfortunately, the clouds were still low at Sgùrr nan Eugallt’s summit trig point, so no views from here.
The first part of the descent along the NE ridge involves some easy scrambling.
Navigation is straightforward because of a line of fence posts that can be followed down the ridge. On my way down, I even got some glimpses of the glen below.
Looking back up the ridge, I could see that now the summit was clear… typical!
On the bealach between Sgùrr nan Eugallt and Sgùrr Dubh I couldn’t locate the start of the stalker’s path that leads to the road, so I just headed downhill until I found the path further down.
By now, the clouds had all lifted and the views were great, especially towards Loch Quoich and Gairich.
The stalker’s path seemed to go on forever, but eventually I arrived back at the road near Coireshùbh, where my car was parked a few metres down the road.
This had been a great trip, although it had been harder than expected, mainly due to the hot weather. But I’m not complaining, I felt really privileged to have such good walking conditions, especially for Ladhar Bheinn on the second day. That was one of the hardest, but also one of my best days on the hills so far 🙂