Saturday 12 October 2013

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich.

It was about an hour and a half drive from the campsite to the start of the days walk - at the Glen Quoich bridge on the Kinloch Hourn Road - and it was 10:15am before we set off...

Loch Quoich and Knoydart from our start point (NH016040)

Another crystal clear day, with the mountains pointing into azure.

South east over Loch Quoich from our start point (NH016040)

We were a touch annoyed with the two cars parked in the little car park to the west of the bridge - if they'd made any sort of effort, there would've been room for four cars - but they hadn't - so we turned around and managed to find a spot at the other side of the bridge, the grass was dry today and there was little chance of the car getting stuck.

The South Glen Shiel Ridge from Glen Quoich

Kit donned, we struck off north, up Glen Quoich, on the good track on the eastern side of the little spur of Loch Quoich, enjoying the warmth of the autumn sunshine.

Glen Quoich, looking north to the South Glen Shiel Ridge

My jacket quickly came off and disappeared into the rucksack - but Jim as usual kept his on. He never seems to feel the heat or the cold...

River Quoich and Am Bachaich

After about two and a half kilometres, we headed up the slightly mushy path along the River Quoich, past a rather lovely waterfall,

Waterfall on River Quoich (NH015070)

At the top of the waterfall on River Quoich
(NH015070) looking east

Then turning east along the Allt Coire a'Chaorrainn, through glorious countryside under the piercingly blue skies.

Some of the locals, by River Quoich

Two golden eagles soared overhead, down the glen towards us and then up, spiralling above Am Bachaich, the peak directly ahead, that would be our first summit of the day.

Jim - Sgurr a'Mhaoraich and Am Bachaich

We met another walker here, also excited about having seen the golden eagles - he had been over Sgurr a'Mhaoraich already and had walked out via Coire a'Chaorainn. He was heading up the north ridge of Gleouraich next, across the glen - a big hill day...

At the start of the ascent of Am Bachaich - east to South Glen Shiel Ridge,
Easter Glen Quoich and Gleouraich

We forded Allt Coire a'Chaorrainn and started up the big zig zags on Am Bachaich. They were a bit too big - whilst they made the going easy and not at all steep, it felt like we were walking miles...

It wasn't long before we headed straight up the east ridge.

Rafe on Am Bachaich zig zags

The views opened up with the ascent...

Views south from the ascent of Am Bachaich - Ben Nevis is to the right distance

Jim - Ascent of Am Bachaich with snow on Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

Once on the summit ridge, the going was easy and we could see for miles.

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich and Am Bachaich

Am Bachaich ridge
with views to the South Glen Shiel Ridge and Gleouraich

North over the South Glen Shiel Ridge and beyond. West over Knoydart to Syke and the Cuillin Ridge. South to Ben Nevis et al. And east to Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach - we walked these two Munro's on 1st June, but didn't see them - the views today were stupendous

Am Bachaich - views west to Knoydart and Skye beyond

We stopped for a bite just short of the summit...

Loch Quoich and Knoydart from Am Bachaich summit (899m)

And we had a plodge in the first bit of snow of the season. Jacket was back on.

First snow of the season on Am Bachaich - Views west to Knoydart

Rafe contemplates a swim on Am Bachaich - Views west to Knoydart and the Black Cuillin

Am Bachaich looking west to Knoydart and Skye

The descent into Bealach Coire a'Chaorainn was steep, rocky and pathless - Rafe led the way, as we picked our way through the jumble of boulders, blinded by the sun, shining over the bulk of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, the Munro to our south.

Am Bachaich from Bealach Coire a'Chaorainn

As we passed into it's shadow, in the bealach, cold descended, we had frost and snow to negotiate, as well as the best part of 200m of ascent to the summit.

South Glen Shiel Ridge and the silhouette of
Sgurr a'Mhaoraich from above Bealach Coire a'Chaorainn

Views west to Knoydart and the Black Cuillin from ascent of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich 

Jim on the ascent of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

East to Gleouraich from the ascent of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

Ascent passes quickly when it's steep - we were soon on the summit plateau and in the sun again. With possibly even better views....?

Knoydart from Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich summit plateau

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich summit (Munro 104, 1027m) with views south over Loch Quoich and a distant Ben Nevis

A second lunch at the summit of Sgurr a'Mhaoraich - but it was a touch chilly, so we didn't linger - except to take many photographs. Sgurr a'Mhaoraich - Munro 104 at 1027m.

Knoydart from Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

North to the South Glen Shiel Ridge from Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

The descent from Sgurr a'Mhaoraich's summit plateau was to the north - it was a bit on the slippery side in places...

Descent from Sgurr a'Mhaoraich - looking east to Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach

Looking back to Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

The ridge continued east for well over a kilometre, along to Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach, our last summit of the day (891m)...

Sgurr a'Mhaoraich from Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach

Before we turned south on the excellent, if very long and zig zaggy, stalkers path back to the road. The late afternoon views over Loch Quoich and the mountains all around kept us motivated. A kilometre along the road at the lochside wasn't too bad - and the two cars in the car park were long gone...

Jim and Rafe - Descent from Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach to Loch Quoich

Route:  Car parking area at the east end of the road bridge over Loch Quoich at Glen Quoich (NH016040), west across the bridge and north along the track (from NH014041) along Glen Quoich. At NH019067 turn west then north along the River Quoich and continue west along the south bank of Allt Coire a' Chaorainn crossing at a suitable place approx NH012073. Ascend the stalkers path to Am Bathaich (892m), Bealach Coire a' Chaorainn, Sgurr a Mhaoraich (Munro104, 1027m), continue east, Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach (891m),  Bac nan Canaichean and stalkers path to road and return easterly to start.

Statistics:  Distance: 14.5km  Ascent: 1025m  Time: 5.30hrs

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