Thursday 21 July 2011

An Teallach - Holiday in the Far North and West of Scotland - Day 14.

An Teallach

The drive around to Dundonnell took about an hour, the clouds didn't look promising, over the mountains of Fisherfield. But the sun was shining as we parked up at Corriehallie (NH115849), one or two other cars there before us, with other walkers fastening boot laces and adjusting pack straps.

Sail Laith from above Corriehallie

We set off at about half past eight, along the good path up Allt Glean Chaorachain, the views steadily improving and the cloud rising as we ascended by the burn, gorges and waterfalls, wildflowers and interesting strata all around.

Natural rock gardens

We soon started to get some real views of the Corrag Bhuidhe ridge

An Teallach

We caught up with a backpacker, who was making his way to the Shenavall Bothy and then to Poolewe. We walked together, and with another walker who had caught us up. He was from Ambleside and was in Torridon for only a few days, bagging as many peaks as he could.

An Teallach  and the Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress.

The gentle ascent passed quicky with lots of hill stories, so well that we actually missed the "path" and were happily descending towards Shenavall before we noticed. We took a sharp right, leaving our backpacking friend to Fisherfield, and headed off up the open hillside towards the distant (or so it seemed) summit of Sail Liath.

Views of the Fisherfield Forest from the ascent of Sail Liath

The chap from Ambleside yomped on ahead, leaving us to take in the views, and the local flora and fauna.

Wild goats on Sail Liath

A herd of wild goats were gamboling about, until they saw the dogs.

Beinn Dearg Mhor and wild goats from Sail Liath

They stood, all facing us in a menacing line, horns raised.

Wild goats on Sail Liath

The ascent to the summit of Sail Liath was a boulder hopping slog! Big scree and moss! But the views were great and identifying peaks kept us occupied - including Slioch, Beinn Eighe and Liathach.

Strath na Sheallag and Beinn Dearg Mhor from the ascent of Sail Liath

On the summit of Sail Liath (954m) we met up with the Ambleside walker again, eating his lunch, and a couple of other scramblers. They had moved up to Perth from Kent, because they wanted to spend more time in the mountains of Scotland. They were a little concerned that the dogs wouldn't be able to manage the famous ridge on An Teallach. We explained that if the going got too tough (and we knew it would on An Teallach!) then I would take the dogs around the wimps path and Jim and Freddie would go over the pinnacles.

Stob Cadha Gobhlach from descent from Sail Liath

After lunch we set off again, anticipating great scrambling.

Loch Toll an Lochain from Stob Cadha Gobhlach

Initially the paths were good with some scrambling, easy or as hard as we liked. The dogs picked their own route, bounding from rock to rock through outstanding mountain scenery.

Loch Toll an Lochain and Corrag Bhuidhe

Corrag Bhuidhe and beyond

Views east from Stob Cadha Gobhlach

Torridonian sandstone on An Teallach
Sail Liath and Stob Cadha Gobhlach

Beinn Dearg Mhor from An Teallach

But the scrambling started to get a bit harder for our four legged friends, so I headed off around the Pinnacles of the Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress with the dogs, arranging to meet Jim and Freddie at the Bealach before Sgurr Fiona. Jim and Freddie went up.

Jim and Freddie at the start of the
Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress.

I managed to get a few photo's of them as they scrambled about, before they went out of my sight.

Rafe watches Jim and Freddie scarmbling above, from the "wimps path".
Views to Beinn Dearg Mhor and Fisherfield Forest.

Jim and Freddie above the abyss. Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress

No problems on the wimps path for the dogs, they bounched on ahead, not at all phased by the several hundred metres of almost vertical drop to Loch na Sheallag to our left.

Hal and Rafe lead the way on the An Teallach "wimps path"

A bit of hill mist came down as I made my way westward towards Sgurr Fiona. Once at the bealach I settled myself down for a wait, camera at the ready, hoping that the mist would clear in time for a photo of Jim and Freddie on Lord Berkeley's Seat.

Lord Berkeley's Seat
and Corrag Bhuidhe Pinnacles

Unfortunately the cloud didn't clear, but I think the photo is Freddie's proof that he got there, although there was no sitting with feet swinging over the edge (or pipe smoking in tweeds!)

Freddie on Lord Berkeley's Seat
with Jim just below

We all joined back up together for the ascent of Sgurr Fiona, Jim and Freddie ecstatic about the excellent scrambling over the Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress. The ascent was easy boulder hopping, rather than scrambling.

Ascent of Sgurr Fiona
Views to Lord Berkeley's Seat and Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress

The mist was clearing by the time we got to the summit of Sgurr Fiona (Munro 73, 1060m) and the views back along our route and all around were awesome.

Summit of Sgurr Fiona, looking back at our route.
Sail Liath, Stob Cadha Gobhlach and Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress

Summer Isles from An Teallach

We continued west towards Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill, the second of An Teallach's Munro's.

An Teallach - Sgurr Fiona and Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress

An Teallach - Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress and Lord Berkeley's Seat

Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (Munro 72, 1062m) was ascended easily, on good paths. The views were just getting better and better.

Sail Liath, Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress and Sgurr Fiona from Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill summit

Just beyond the summit we stopped for a second lunch.

Second lunch near the summit of Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill

Loch Broom, Ullapool and beyond

Although hazy, we could see for many miles, even to Ben Klibreck in the far North, climbed last week. We reckon it was about 40 miles away.

Ben Kilbreck in the distance

The couple from Perth caught up with us whilst we were eating our second lunch. We descended north with them, talking about scrambles and ridge walks we have done. Good company. We left them at the bealach, the last other walkers we would see before the car. They stayed on the ridge, we opted to turn right into Coire a'Ghlas Thuill, sad to be descending from the summits.

Coire a'Ghlas Thuill

Initially the path was a very steep scree scramble, more of a slide, and then a steep grassy track. We lost height quickly and soon found ourselves in a green, sheltered hanging valley.

Freddie and Jim in Coire a'Ghlas Thuill

The weather improved to bright sunshine as we descended and it was soon quite hot. We decided on another lunch (only our third) and a paddle in Garbh Allt. With the sudden warmth and the views it was hard to get the motivation to carry on. But the afternoon was quickly passing and we still had quite a way to go.

Views north east from Coire a'Ghlas Thuill

It was very boggy in places and the path occasionally disappeared into the marsh. But there were frequent waterfalls as we descended, adding to our enjoyment of the walk.

Waterfall in Coire a'Ghlas Thuill

Garbh Allt above Dundonnell

An Teallach and Garbh Allt

The vegetation was starting to grow up through the damage done in the wildfires of the spring.

Waterfalls near Dundonnell

There were more waterfalls just above Dundonnell, an entertaining rhodedendron tunnel and an unexpected deep and widespread bog, just before the road. So with slightly damp feet, we made our way along a few hundred metres of road, back to the car.

Waterfalls near Dundonnell

What a day!

Route: Parking beside the road at Corriehallie (NH114850), footpath along Allt Glean Chaorachain and south east of Sail Liath to NH086815, ascend Sail Liath (954m), Stob Cadha Gobhlach (960m), Borrag Bhuide (1049) Sgurr Fiona (Munro 73, 1060m), Bidean a'Ghlas Thuill (Munro 72, 1062m), descent to Choire a'Ghlas Thuill, follow Garbh Allt to road, south to start.

Statistics:  Distance:  16km  Ascent:  1410m  Time:  9.20 hours

Sgurr Fiona

Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill

We drove back along the coast and Loch Maree, a beautiful evening. The dogs still wanted an evening walk, so a quick trot along to the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre did the trick, with more great views of the Torridon mountains.

South Torridon mountains from Kinlochewe

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