Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Kintail Meet, 23 April 2016
A wee walk up Sgurr Gaorsaic
Sgurr Gaorsaic (839m) is a remote Corbett at the watershed between Glen Affric and Glen Elchaig. We (Claire Young and Carole George) started from the car park at the NTS centre at Morvich at 8.45am, then took a lovely path through wooded Strath Croe following the Abhainn Chonaig. The views back to Loch Duich are impressive from here, but were soon blotted out by a very heavy snow shower. The snow didn’t last long and the rest of the day gave us sunshine and great views, albeit with a cold, strong wind.
The walk continues along a beautifully made stalkers’ path, rising into the increasingly wild Gleann Choinneachain. The river was fairly low, but we did see some impressive little water falls. We crossed the Allt a’Choire Chaoil, flowing out of one of Beinn Fhada’s beautiful corries, with the aid of some strategically-placed boulders – we were even complimented on our river-crossing skills!!
The stalkers’ path makes its way up the hillside on a zig-zag path, giving beautiful views of the northern corries and ridges of Beinn Fhada, and eventually we reached the Bealach an Sgairne. We sat there for quite some time, eating, talking photos and just enjoying being there. The view back down is pretty impressive, but it was the view west to Glen Affric that really caught my imagination. I’d never walked down there before and I felt such a sense of excitement at going somewhere new - the joys of Corbett-bashing!
The stalkers’ path drops
down 120m (damn!) in lovely zig-zags and soon we were at the
south-west end Loch a’Bhealaich. It’s very boggy in places, but
stepping stones prevented an unwanted step into deep glaur. We
followed this boggy path for a wee while and then followed a line of
old fence posts up the increasingly steep lower slopes. The angle
eased once we reached 800m and from there it was a pleasant walk over
a rocky plateau to the summit cairn, arriving at 2.45pm. Not the
quickest ascent, but why rush when you have all day to enjoy the
hills? It was a very cold wind at the summit, but we sat in the
shelter of the cairn for a second lunch, naming as many of the fine
peaks as we could – it really is a fabulous viewpoint.
The route back down was
the same as the outward walk; on the way back we saw deer and goats
and simply marvelled at the wildness of this part of the world. We
got back to the car at 7.45pm, and rushed back to the Kintail Lodge
Hotel for a pot of tea to celebrate a fine day!!
Loch a’ Bhealaich & Sgurr Gaorsaic
|Gairich and its reflection on Loch Quoich|
Summit cairn, looking east
Distance – 20.5km
Ascent – 1,140m
Book Time – 7 to 9 hours
Our Time – 11 hours (did include lots of food and photo stops!!)