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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Scotland 2019: Glencarron, near Achnasheen

The 2019 annual SWC Scottish trip will be to Glencarron near the small village of Achnasheen in Wester Ross on the western edge of the Highlands about an hour from Inverness. It will run from Saturday 25 May to Saturday 1 June 2019.  For more information, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.


Thomas G said...

Sunday 26 May, Main Walk: Achnashellach Circular (via Coire Lair and Easan Dorcha)

With the forecast promising 95 to 100% precipitation risk in every hour of the day, some of which heavy, and following recent other wet days, we thought a streams and waterfalls walk was just what the doctor ordered. Waterways would be in spate, rivers a torrent and waterfalls a sight to behold. And so it was.
The ascent along the River Lair was extremely thrilling, steeply up to a pass along a well engineered path (a former Pony Track). The clouds were low, hardly an outline of the surrounding hills could be made out and the rain kept acoming. From the pass we descended gently past Beinn Liath Mhor (by now the clouds had lifted somewhat, so we could actually see the hill), more than a handful of streams needed to be forded, and eventually we reached the showpiece of this walk: the waterfall on the Easan Dorcha, right by the MBA bothy. The bothy just emptied of another group, so we had our lunch stop inside.
On along the Coulin River, turn right across Coulin Bridge and ascend to Coulin Pass. This was a more workmanlike stretch, into the wind and rain up a bare, heathery valley. From the pass through forestry back down into Glencarron with fine views across to other hills hopefully conquered later in the week and down to Lochcarron.
15km, 560m ascent, probably a 5/10 in SWC terms. Finished by 1/4 to 3.
Cuckoo count: 2
N=15 w=constant-rain-some-heavy

Thomas G said...

The Other Main Walk: Plockton Crags, from Plockton

N=8 on this outing, with a longer drive, 16km, 325m ascent.
Route past Duncraig Castle, ending with tea at The Plockton Inn.

Thomas G said...

Monday 27th May
The Plockton 8 walked the waterfall walk today with slightly lower water levels but much better views, enjoying it despite some short rain showers.(incl. the walker with a broken wrist!)

Main Walk - Maol Chean-Dearg, with Options
Scenic start from Coulags along the Fionn-abhainn up the valley with Dr. Botanics admiring Orchids, Lousewort, Tormentil and Milkwort by the wayside. We passed an MBA bothy and eventually turned up left zigzagging to the Bealach between the Maol, An Ruadh-Stac and Meall nan Ceapairean. Early lunch and the first of several splits: 4 opted to continue along a circuit around Maol Chean-Dearg, incl. some river fordings, the other 12 went up the Maol, the Munro of the day. This was hard work with several bouldery stretches. The views from the top were out to Torridon, but clouds were low and the views less than perfect.
Upon return to the Bealach, 1 turned back to retrace the route and pick up the 4 circuiters for the journey back to base. 3 opted to continue the circuit of the Maol and 8 went up An Ruadh-Stac, a more serious ascent than that of the Maol, as it turned out: steep rock slabs initially then scree and boulders, always steep. A pleasure for the connoisseur, but probably a bit terrifying for others. The rewards were now cloud-free views of Lochcarron and Glencarron on the one side and one of the finest panoramic views in Britain on the other: the Torridon giants all in full view and cloud-free, from Ben Damph and Beinn Alligin, via Baobsbeinn and Beinn Dearg, Liathach to Beinn Eighe. Drink in the views and start the steep descent. 2 then went across the inconsequential Meall nan Ceapairean while the rest retraced the outbound route to complete a perfect day out. Despite 5 different route options being taken, no one had more than 45 mins to wait for a lift back. The weather was dry with sunshine most of the time and the late walkers got back to base, just as dinner was served.
An early contender for best walk of the week.
n=16 w=sunny-with-occasional-cloud-cover
Cuckoo Count: 3 (passed out and back)

Thomas G said...

Tuesday 28th May
Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
3 went on a car trip to Inverewe Gardens (incl. the walker with the broken wrist), the other n=21 took on our House Mountains, the ones we can see from the dining room windows. We woke to snow-covered tops which chimed with the forecast of freezing temperatures on the tops. Most went up the direct pathless route of 800m height metres ascent, 1 took a more scenic route along a river up into the corrie between the two tops and then (alone and fancying it) up a thrilling/dangerous route along a steep boulder-filled chasm which widened out near the top to a wide even steeper grassy bowl. On the Munro top of Moruisg we were treeted to Arctic winds and the tail-end of a snow/sleet shower. Along the ridge down the saddle (lunch stop for most) and up the second top, just short of Munro height.
Fantastic far views, of some snowy tops and loads, and loads of other tops. Back steeply down grassy slopes and along that river. Finished at 5.
Flowers: cotton grass, butterwort, lousewort, ladies' smock, heath orchids and tormentil.
We think we have housemartins in the garden and DO have a bat in the dining room, on top of the lavish curtain. I saw deer on the ridge before the group got there.
Cuckoo Count: 3.

Sandy said...

I thought the Scottish group might need cheering up so here's a brief self-indulgent report from me on my non-SWC week in Ullapool and Glencoe: overcast with low cloud all week except for one afternoon, and although I got to 6 summits, the weather was poor on all. Saturday and Sunday in Glencoe were truly horrendous but it miraculously cleared up on Monday for a grand finale on Creise. Hope the weather improves for you

Thomas G said...

Wednesday 29th May
N=11 drove to Applecross for two short walks either side of the famous Applecross Inn, one a coastal affair, the other out to Applecross House and its walled garden and tea room.

Beinn Liath Mhor and Coire Lair
N=13 on today's mountain offering, starting on the same route as the Waterfall Walk from the first day here, only now with views! At the pass, the Drochaid Coire Laid, one continued along the waterfall walk's route, the rest ascended the lower of the three tops of the Beinn Liath Mhor ridge. Elevenses and early lunch with views were had on the relentless ascent, assuming it'd be windiest on the top. It wasn't. The ridge is a delight, mostly quartzite, some red Torridonian sandstone, a few ups and downs, none too serious, some light scrambling, a proper - if short - arete, and the highest top at the far end. The weather was w=sunny and the views stupendous, out to Torridon and across Glencarron to the hills walked yesterday (and tomorrow?).
A rough descent down quartzite boulder fields and across sandstone slabs, then down one last exposed rocky gully, and we were back on a path. Time for another food stop and a 2 hour trek down the extremely scenic Corrie Lair back to the outbound route and a quiet descent to the cars.
A superb day all round.
Cuckoo Count : 1

Thomas G said...

Thursday 30th May
Diabaig Circular
n=7 on this excursion to the far end of Torridon. Coastal walking plus craggy paths, more demanding than obvious from the map.

Maol Chean-dearg Circuit, from Coulags
N=8 on this outing, done earlier in the week by another group.

Sgurr na Feartaig from Craig (but not Beinn Tharsuinn, and not Sgurr Choinnich or á Chaorachain either)
N=9 on the mountain walk of the day. The forecast was for low clouds all day, so we started out on this walk, which offers a choice of routes after reaching the bealach at the end of a valley at 600m height. Cross the railway line and the Carron River and ascend along a forestry track into the wide amphitheatre of the valley of the Allt á Chonais, very pretty indeed, with mountains on both sides and at the end of it and a meandering river through it.
We had to ford the river (just about doable), as the old wire bridge was too slack to support us and followed a good stalkers' path up to the bealach. There we saw two figures emerging from the mist, wrapped seemingly in full-body rain covers incl. over massive backpacks: Cape Wrath Trail walkers. Our plan was for some to turn left to 'tick off' 2 Munros and for others to go out and back up Beinn Tharsuinn and then turn right up Sgurr na Feartaig. In the event and because of the enveloping mist and non-existing views, all opted for the shortest stay in the clouds: turn right up Feartaig, steeply up a grassy flank, map-and-compass to the summit cairn and find the continuation of the route, again map-and-compassing back onto a descending stalkers' path. At about 600m height we broke back down through the clouds and had a sudden full view of the valley below, quite glorious a moment.
Drop down to the valley bottom and re-cross the river over a plank and wire bridge, easier than feared. We saw some mesmerising forestry operations (machines airlifting trees to other machines that stripped off branches and bark, cut them into standard lengths and piled them high, and then the tops in a different pile) and a dipper truck being filled at a quarry, the valley buzzing with activity!
Back at the car park by 4.
Newly spotted today: broom in bloom (gorse and rhododendron anyway), moss campion, saxifrage, deer away on the ridge, foxgloves digitalis, willowherb, rowans, common pipistrelle, and newts, plenty of newts in puddles and pools, mating and flocking around.
Cuckoo Count: nil.

Thomas G said...

Friday 31st May
With the forecast promising (and reality delivering) w=a-washout-with-very-low-clouds, the scramble was on for low-level easy walks

N=15 abandoned all thoughts of a longer walk and chose a longish scenic drive to Gairloch instead, walked along on old road to Charlestown for a drink at the Inn there and back, wild stream fordings inclusive. With the streams being noticeably fuller on the return than the way out!

N=9 had grand plans for traipsing up the Corbett near the Bealach na Ba on Applecross peninsula, from the car park at 600m whatever the weather, en route to Applecross village to then do the two short walks walked earlier in the week by others, but halfway up Britain's Best Drive oncoming motorists warned that the road was closed due to a lorry with brake failure stuck in a hairpin.
So we turned back and retired to the glorious Bealach Café for a cuppa to reconsider. Then we took the long way round the peninsula to Applecross village, booked a table at the famous Applecross Inn for in an hour and walked the lovely Milltown Circular, past a broch, a roundhouse, a Hebridean Barn, a scenic loch and a ruined mill. Lunch was sumptuous, their good reputation judged to be well deserved.
On towards Applecross House, the walled garden (closed to the public due to a wedding) and around the estate. Then along a raging torrent full of dark peatish foaming water, which we thought was the Applecross River, until we looked at the map and saw it was just the Allt Beag, the 'small stream'. The river was 10 mins along and was a sight to behold: half as wide as the Thames and wild and fast enough for wildwater rafting. And so full that it flowed over its bank and flooded the path for a stretch.
All back at base now, time for the last dinner at Glencarron Lodge...

Thomas G said...

In Summary:
N=24 walkers (1 with a broken wrist), the perfect accommodation for our group size (thanks to the property searchers), no injuries (but a case of so far unexplained suspected allergy), a varied offer of walks, successfully attuned to the weather on the days, wonderful dinners (thanks to everyone who contributed) and w=average-weather-for-the-time-of-year, if slightly colder than hoped for at end of May (2 sunny days, 1 fine but cold, 2 washouts, 1 very cloudy), and plenty of cars to always offer flexibility and pickups for subgroups.
A bunch of happy customers we are.

Over and Out.

Stargazer said...

Just a couple of final tidbits to add to the comprehensive reporting by our diligent correspondent....

On the road to Applecross, the road was valiantly guarded by a herd of highland cattle with fact, the last car in our convoy was delayed by a calf nursing on the road....not something you encounter everyday....

In Applecross, at the Applecross Inn, not only did we enjoy a lovely meal; but, we were treated to the company during lunch of two regular picnickers who I do not think have ever eaten a pub lunch before on an SWC walk....perhaps it was the charming company, the diabolical weather or just the appealing menu....regardless, a pleasure...

Back at the ranch on a couple of evenings, the "SWC Singers" led a few rounds of favorites....having recently heard one of the original versions...all I can say is The Proclaimers have some hot competition....Da lat da (Da lat da)….