Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Trekkers Lodge Kintail: 22nd - 24th April

A few pictures from Ian.
A’Chraileag from Cluanie

View out of the tent door – Moon rise over Loch Cluanie

The ridge from Stob Coire na Craileig leading onto Mullach Fraoch choire

The view from the summit of Mullach Fraoch choire looking N – Beinn Fhada on L, Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan on R

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 view back to Loch Duich
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!

Loch a’ Bhealaich & Sgurr Gaorsaic
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.

Gairich and its reflection on Loch Quoich
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!!
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!!)