Saturday 8 October 2016

Beinn Sgritheall

Beinn Sgritheall, Bealach Arnasdail and Beinn na h-Eaglaise from Arnisdale

We've been waiting for a clear day to go up Beinn Sgritheall - to get the best of its famed views. So today is the day.

The drive over Mam Ratagan, through Glenelg and around the coast to Arnisdale, was spectacular - whetting our appetitle for our walk.

Loch Hourn and Knoydart from Arnisdale

The route up Beinn Sgritheall is well signposted between the houses in the village and up onto the open hillside - the path rather rough, but easy to follow.

Loch Hourn over Arnisdale from the start of the walk

Ascent towards Bealach Arnasdail

The views back to Loch Hourn and across to Knoydart were stunning. As the path gradually steepened, the views were an excellent excuse to stop and stare.

Loch Hourn to Knoydart, over Arnisdale

Jim and Rafe - Ascent to Bealach Arnasdail - beside Allt a'Mhuillin

The path ascended beside the gorge of the Allt a'Mhuillin, the sound of it's running waters ringing with us all the way,

Waterfalls on Allt a'Mhuilinn

Loch Hourn and Knoydart from ascent of Beinn Sgritheall

Jim and Rafe - Ascent to Bealach Arnasdail

Bealach Arnasdail and Beinn na h-Eaglaise

Waterfalls on Allt a'Mhuilinn

Looking back down Allt a'Mhuilinn to Loch Hourn and Knoydart

It wasn't too far to the bealach between Beinn Sgritheall and Beinn na h-Eaglaise...

Ascent into Bealach Arnasdail

Views back (south east) from ascent into Bealach  Arnasdail

Jim - ascent into Bealach Arnasdail

Lochan Bealach Arnasdail was a lovely spot for a first lunch - and of course, for Rafie to have a plodge.

Jim - Lochan Bealach Arnasdail and Beinn Sgritheall East Top

I had a wander across the bealach to take in the views over Rosdail to Kintail, Affric and beyond to Torridon.

Views north to a distant Torridon from Bealach Arnasdail

The pull up from the bealach to Beinn Sgritheall has the reputation of being a super steep toil. We headed up, north west, on a rough path directly up the slope, ready for a sweaty slog...

Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Bealach Arnasdail from ascent of
Beinn Sgritheall East Top 

Jim - Ascent of Beinn Sgritheall East Top

It was steep! But, perhaps because we were prepared for it, it really didn't seem too bad.

Looking back (east) to Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Bealach Arnasdail

And the views were pretty good!

Looking back to Beinn na h-Eaglaise and
Bealach Arnasdail

Loch Hourn and Knoydart from near the summit of Beinn Sgritheall East Top

We were on the summit plateau of Beinn Sgritheall East Top before we knew it.

Beinn Sgritheall East Top (906m) - views north

And the new views were well worth the effort.

Descent from Beinn Sgrtheall East Top - views west to Beinn Sgritheall

The route continued west, along the airy rim above Coire Min to the north and Loch Hourn to the south. Beinn Sgritheall was ahead, and Skye and the Small Isles beyond.

Views south east to Loch Hourn and Arnisdale

Looking back along descent route from Beinn Sgritheall East Top

Jim - Ascent of Beinn Sgritheall  - views west

Five Sisters of Kintail from ascent of Beinn Sgritheall

Rafe and Jim nearing the summit of Beinn Sgritheall

The Black Cuillin and Bla Bheinn, Skye from ascent of Beinn Sgritheall

It was an easy saunter across the tops to Beinn Sgritheall (Munro 183, 947m) and its tumbledown trig point.

Rafe - Beinn Sgritheall summit - views north to Kylerhea and Glenelg

Beinn Sgritheall summit (Munro 183, 947m) - views south east

There was a chilly wind blowing across the tops, we tucked in behind the wall of the shelter on the summit, facing south to Knoydart - and had a second lunch.

Jim and Rafe - descent from Beinn Sgritheall
Views west over Sound of Sleat

Descent from Beinn Sgritheall - views west over Sleat to Rum and Eigg

Our way continued along Beinn Sgritheall's west ridge, descending through a few crags - steeply, but certainly not as steep as our eastern ascent!

Loch Hourn and Knoydart from the descent from Beinn Sgritheall

Looking back (east) to Beinn Sgritheall

The descent soon evened out, the walking easy.

Rafe and Jim - West from descent from Beinn Sgritheall

Looking back (east) to Beinn Sgritheall

Descent from Beinn Sgritheall into Bealach Rarsaidh

Before we reached the little Lochan Bealach Rarsaidh a cairn marked a fork in the path, we turned left and headed south, back down towards Loch Hourn.

Jim and Rafe - views south east over Loch Hourn from Bealach Rarsaidh

Rafe and Jim - Descent towards Loch Hourn

It was one of those times when we thought that we were almost down, that an easy path would take us quickly into the glen. We weren't and it didn't!

Views east to Beinn Sgritheall from escent into Coille Mhialairigh

It was a bit of a chew.

The path was steep and very rough and rutted, across the open hillside, through heather and dying bracken and later winding through the (rather lovely) woods of Coille Mhialairigh.

Loch Hourn from Coille Mhialairigh

Loch Hourn from Coille Mhialairigh

But the views were still superb, down into the glen and back up into the hills - we wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Beinn Sgritheall from roadside cairn

There was a small cairn beside the road, marking the start (or end) of the path - but I'm glad we didn't ascend that way.

Views south west from road walk to Arnisdale

It was a 2.5km road walk, back, east to Arnisdale - the road was quiet and the walking was easy.

Nearning Arnisdale

We were soon back at the village, sitting on the rocks be the shore, drinking tea from a flask left in the car - looking back at Beinn Sgritheall above us and celebrating another Munro ticked - and Rafie was just ready for a snooze...

Sleepy Rafe - Arnisdale

Route:  Parking area in Arnisdale (NG843105), W along unclassified road to rough track between houses, W of post office (sp Beinn Sgritheall), N then NE along rough path to Bealach Arnasdail (generally following old iron fenceposts), NE on rough, very steep, path to Beinn Sgritheall East Top (906m), continue W on rough path to bealach (sh 830m) and to Beinn Sgritheall (Munro 183, 974m), desend via West Ridge on rough path to path junction (small cairn) just before Lochan Bhealach Rarsaidh (NG817125), generally S then SE, on rough track, descending though woods to road (NG823118), 2.5km E along road to start.

Statistics:  Distance: 10km  Ascent: 1100m  Time: 6 hours

Map:  OS Explorer 413 Knoydart, Loch Hourn & Loch Duich

Beinn Sgritheall

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