A brief window in what is turning into the wettest drought on record allowed Ann & John to make a bagging trip to the Northwest Highlands last weekend, with a target of tackling what many regard as the most remote Munro. Leaving home early on Saturday morning gave us a much easier drive than the usual Friday night performance and we were in Craig by 10.30, despite a stop for second breakfast on the way.
The track in through the tree farm was at least efficient and soon got us to the “interesting” bridge at the start of a stalker’s track up the first Corbett of the day, Sgurr na Feartaig. The path was excellent, just what we needed with full packs and we were on the spacious summit for a slightly late lunch. As predicted, the views were extensive and we were surprised by both the amount of snow and how much less there was on the more westerly hills.
|Summit of Sgurr na Feartaig|
A short steep descent got us to Bealach Bearnais and the start of the ascent of our second Corbett, Beinn Tharsuinn. By the summit our legs were feeling the day’s 1200 m of ascent but we didn’t have much more to do as the plan was to camp by a lochan just below the summit. This proved to be a fantastic spot, although not quite as sheltered from the easterly breeze as we had hoped. Although not strong, the windchill was a bit nippy given that the air temp was only just above freezing and the plan to bring our ½ season summer sleeping bags wasn’t looking too clever. We ended up sheltering in the tent for the soup course but only slightly behind cue the wind dropped and the clouds cleared, letting us enjoy the rest of the evening’s food outside with a stunning panorama over the west coast from Kintail to Torridon.
|Ascent from Bealach Bearnais|
|Campsite. Lurg Mhor left, Bidean right|
|Tea-time view to Skye|
A hearty breakfast got us warmed up and on our way by 8am to climb Bidean a Choire Sheasgaich, a very fine hill. After the unusual start of a 200 m descent we faced the imposing N Ridge. I remembered this as having a fairly obvious way up, not because it was easy to find but because it was the only way through the multiple bands of crags. Backlit by the sun, it certainly wasn’t looking very approachable but the route unravelled as we ascended and was straightforward. The views from the top were even better than those the day before as the very clear and cloudless conditions continued, giving us views east to the Cairngorms and west to Harris.
|NE from the summit of Bidean|
|Panorama of the Torridon hills|
The wander over to Lurg Mhor was uneventful but the summit feels every bit the part of “most remote”, especially as we contemplated the very long walk out. Just below the summit we met the only other people of the whole trip, 4 guys who had taken the bike-in option as far as Ben Droniag lodge. We decided to contour Bidean as although not saving us much ascent we thought the descent would be very slow. This worked reasonably well and an hour later we were back at our tent for a lunchtime feast of cheese & oatcakes – yum. Then the real walk-out began – back over Beinn Tharsuinn, down to the Bealach Bearnais and out to the approach track, all in quite hot sunshine. We were feeling a bit frazzled by the car, part sun and part due to the 2000 m of descent we had clocked up. Ticktastic.
|East from Lurg Mhor|
|Scrambling on the way to the east top|