Our blog - Torridon's Giants, May'17

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Torridon's Giants

27-29 May 2017
Three guided days bagging the 6 Munros on Torridon's Giants. Emma was the guide for all three days, with David, Andy and Steven helping out on some of the days. Here's Emma's tale of the first two days and Steven's for the final day...

Saturday - Beinn Alligin

It was 24 degrees Celsius in Torridon at 8am! We met at the Beinn Alligin car park and everyone was encouraged to add to their water supply for the hill. The ascent to the first Munro, Tom naGruagaich is steep, together with the high temperature and humidity, it was tough. We enjoyed some welcome respite from the ascent with a water stop at the stream in the corrie, were we were able to replenish our bottles and cool ourselves down. A weather warning was issued for heavy rain in the afternoon with the threat of thunderstorms likely and we were keen to keep moving so as not to get caught out on the Horns of Alligin later on in the day.

Despite the heat the views were tremendous as only Torridon can be. We had views to both neighbouring BeinnEighe and Liathach, aswell as north to An Teallach, west across to the northern tip of Skye and south to the Coulin Forest and beyond. The good thing about a steep corrie ascent is that it doesn't take long to arrive on the ridge, and the ridge on BeinnAlligin leads straight to the first Munro. This is always a favourite viewpoint because it is such a surprise to arrive at it. With lots of photos taken and some food and drinkconsumed, aswell as some mountain ecology - Dave pointed out some Alpine mouse-ear below the trig point we were ready to move on. It is an enjoyable, though still steep, ridge walk to SgurrMor, passing the EagDubh or Black Cleft en route.

After Sgurr Mor the Horns of Alligin beckon. We stashed our poles away into our rucksacks, and set off on our scramble over the 3 horns. The Torridonian sandstone was dry and grippy, and provided a first taste to some straightforward, though occasionally exposed, scrambling. The main group pushed on whilst a few of us took a little longer to enjoy the crest of the ridge, before the steep descent back to the glen. The rain was threatening, but we were happily over the ridge and slowed our pace down on the walk out to enjoy the scenery and more of the mountain flowers, including lots of orchids, which were in full bloom.

The overnight rain provided much cooler conditions for walking the next day.

Sunday - Beinn Eighe

The mist was low over the peaks and wind fresh, it wasn't long before the light showers became persistent drizzle and we donned our waterproofs as we walked on the fine path which climbs into Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Everyone was incredibly happy that it wasn't as hot as the day before! Luckily as we made our way into the corrie the mist lifted and drizzle eased to reveal glimpses of the Triple Buttress, and across the Flowerdale Forest to Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin. An early lunch at the loch edge allowed us to savour the setting before making our way past the pieces of crashed Lancaster bomberand higher on up the mountain.

We crossed the unconformity from Torridonian sandstone to Cambrian quartzite and spotted some of the Pipe Rock - containing fossilised worm burrows that are 550 million years old. The route onto the ridge goes up a gully of shattered quartzite, we stuck to the left hand edge where some fun scrambling on quartzite slabs was had. But it was the view from the top of the gully which really took everyone's breath away! Beinn Eighe is a mass of grey-white quartzite on a base of ancient sandstone, and it is an impressively wild mountain. With rucksacks left at the top of the gully we walked out to the first Munro, Ruadh Stac Mor before returning to our bags for our second lunch. The ridge walk from here to Spidean Coire nan Clach is one of the best in Scotland.

There were lots of photo stops as we walked along the crest, Beinn Eighe translates as file mountain and it certainly gives a good impression of one. We even passed a Chihuahua running along with a fell runner! The mist dropped again as we made our way up to the second summit which culminates in an entertaining scramble on quartzite slabs. Though a shame not to get a view, we certainly were not disappointed, and a final group photo followed, before starting the steep descent back to the glen. A big thank you goes to our car drivers, Alison and Rob, who had left their cars at the end of the walkand were happy to shuttle us back to our start point saving a 2 mile walk along the tarmac.

Monday - Liathach

I met our group of cheery and keen folk in Glen Torridon below Liathach's impressive pinnacles. Emma was the main guide for the day, this time joined by Andy and myself - we like a low guide-to-client ratio for the slightly technical terrain on the ridge higher up.

Gear sorted, cars shuffled around (to avoid the long walk back along the road at the end of the day), we began our walk directly uphill. Conditions were good - there was a light drift of cloud on the summits, but fingers crossed this would clear later. Everyone was in good spirits and we made good progress, reaching the crest of the ridge to sample some of Torridon's fine views. I suggested to folk that the effort of the short walk over to the minor summit of Stuc a'Choire Dhubh Bhig was rewarded with fine views - and I was joined by 3 folk. Just as we reached the summit, the cloud came in !!!

Back to where we left our sacks, we hiked along the ridge hoping over the boulders, the sandstone being replaced by quartzite as we caught up with the rest of the group on the frist Munro summit of the day - Spidean a'Choire Leith. Time for some lunch as the cloud lifted.

Onto the Am Fasarinen ridge. Myself, I prefer the rough path which detours around the boulders, whereas Andy and Emma like the direct route - so the direct route it was and the group quickly got down to the base of the first pinnacle. Giving everyone the chance to have a look from the summit of the first pinnacle, the group then split into those who wanted to keep to the crest and those who preferred the option of the by-pass path. I led the latter - and we were on the final top, with time to watch the others scrambling down. Emma and Andy led the others, all enjoying the scrambling and upping their skills. We re-grouped and hiked to the western Munro summit, Mullach an Rathain, taking in the views on the way.

From the summit, there's a scree-run to enjoy. Or to endure, depending on your view ! Then an obvious path to follow for the last part of the day. Just as we reached the road, the rain headed in - the day was timed to perfection !

An excellent day out with a fine crew ! Beware the 'by-pass- path is now becoming very erroded and a couple of sections are quite tricky and vertigo-inducing.



More photos by Emma, Steven and some of the participants are here on Flickr.



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