BlogA blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !
Coulin & Slioch28-30 May 2016
May this year is proving a cracker in the west and north-west ! Glorious blues skies and gentle breezes. Richard was leading on our days on Slioch and the Coulin Forest Munros. Here's his tale of the days...
I met up with Katherine, Paul, Paul, Martin and Gordon as planned not far from the Ling hut in Glen Torridon and the weather was already looking quite hot! Our route took a lovely old path up through the hummocky moraine that makes up the coire of a thousand hills that formed at the end of the last ice age and towards Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor. It took us no time to reach the beautiful Coire Ghranda and not a soul in sight on this wild approach.
It was very hot and the mountains all around where clear in the sunshine so when we reached the summit of Sgorr Ruadh we enjoyed a very leisurely lunch stop. It didn't take long to cross the rocky ground between the two Munros and we were sitting on the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor in the sun for another well earned break. The descent was on good dry ground and we weaved through the rocky hillside scaring a mountain hare along the way to pick up our path back to Glen Torridon. As we walked back there was a thundery cloud threatening to catch us and as we reached our cars the first spots of rain began to fall, phew!
A smaller group ( no Paul and Katherine) met up at Coulags the next day for an ascent of Maol Chean-Dearg and possibly a Corbett afterwards. It was quite muggy as we left the glen and were glad of a cooler breeze as we climbed. The paths is great and we made good time in the heat up to the beallach where we had a close encounter with a Tarmachan.
We met a few more folk out and about today since it was a more popular route and timed our arrival at the top to get it to ourselves! The cloud had also chosen that moment to get there though there were several prolonged breaks giving us some spectacular views. Another leisurely lunch on a summit was followed by a careful descent over the impressive boulder field to return to the beallach. We had a discussion about whether to go on to the Corbett and decided it was hot and we had done enough for the day so enjoyed a wonderful sunny walk back down to the cars.
The last days objective was Slioch and we were welcomed back Paul and Katherine, but said goodbye to Gordon. We were expecting another good day and MWIS had declared an almost certain chance of cloud free Munros today!
The walk in was beautiful with lots of flowers out the gorse was smelling strongly of coconut and the birds were singing. Again the group were moving well and we were soon climbing up from the side of Loch Maree in warm conditions drinking lots of water. Our summit was definitely in the cloud and we opted to climb Sgurr an Tuill Bhan first to give the cloud time to clear.
We met several deer along the way and were afforded glimpses of Lochan Fhada as we gained the ridge and still the cloud lingered. As we traversed the delightful ridge over to Slioch's main summit we were serenaded by Ringed Ouzel and could even here what must have been its young replying. Unfortunately we couldn't see them and we arrived at the top in the cloud...
We sat down for a long lunch hoping it would clear as it was Katherine's penultimate Munro and we were hoping for the impressive view. Sadly it didn't look likely and we eventually left as some other people appeared through the mist when suddenly the Fisherfield appeared above Lochan Fhada through the mist and the day got a whole lot better! The cloud came and went as we headed over the trig point and began our descent. It was lovely the corrie came into full view and we spotted some flowering moss campion, mountain azalea and mossy cyphel on our way down. It was a beautiful afternoon and we made our tired way back to the cars very happy.
More photos by Richard are here on Flickr.
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