Rough Bounds

Rough Bounds of Knoydart recci, 9 April 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Checking out a possible route for the Rough Bounds of Knoydart event. Steven was leading.

Rough Bounds of Knoydart recci

The Rough Bounds of Knoydart - it's what is says on the tin ! It's the rough and mountainous land which bounds the pininsula of Knoydart from neighbouring Kintail and Lochaber. On events heading into this remote area, we've found that the steep slog up and down Sgurr Mor and the boggy ground on the approach to Gairich can really test people. So, I thought I'd try and find an alternative !

Glen Kingie is the glen below both Gairich and Sgurr Mor and there appears to be a track heading in from the east, with little climbing. This would be the route I'd be testing today, with the intention of cycling in to the col between the mountains.

I arrived at the east end of Loch Poulary on a glorious Spring day and cycled down the track. The track is really good and there's some lovely views on the way for the first 9km, with Gairich gradually getting closer. Over the River Kingie, and to the point south of where the eastern shoulder of Gairich begins to rise, the route requires turning off the track and aiming down to the ruin at Lochan. For the next 3 km, the track is a squelch, the thick forestry shielding the ground from sunlight and therefore not allowing it to dry. But all is not lost, as once out of the forest, things improve for the last 3km to the col between Gairich and Sgurr an Fhuaran, still a bit rough, but a lot better than the forest. On the way to the col I met the local gillie and had a chat - I was asking about the landslip above Quoich dam - all the culverts are in and it looks like the road should be open by easter.

By the bridge over the Allt a'Choire Ghlais, I dropped of my bike, it was now time to head uphill on foot. The route from here over the mountains is well known to me, though it's a while since I since I've been up the old stalkers path over Gairich Beag - it's slowly being taken back by weather errosion and nature.

With the glorious conditions, today was to be savoured, and I obliged, taking in the views. The route to the Munro summits from the col were both there-and-back, which meant that Sgurr an Fhuaran (a Corbett east of Sgurr Mor) was hiked over twice ! There were still some patches of snow on the crest surviving (lots in the northern corries).

Back to the bridge and back on the bike for a downhill glide to the forest. In the forest the rough track proved harder going than the journey in, getting occasionally stuck with wheels spinning in the muck. Back on the decent track and I could relax for the last leg of the journey.

Overall, the jury's out on the suitability of this route for one of our events. We could do it a part of a bike-n-hike weekend, with the other day heading along Glen Dessarry for Sgurr na Ciche and neighbours - hardy folk who are competent bikers will find this fine.

In the meantime however, I think we'll stick with our existing event ( of 3 days of hiking - one day with Gairich from the Quoich dam, one with Sgurr Mor from Strathan, and the final day with Sgurr na Ciche and neighbours from Glen Dessarry ?

Anyone got any thoughts ?

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