Torridon Giants

Torridon Giants, 7-9 June 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Three days of guided hiking and scrambling up the high Munros in Torridon. Andy Cloquet was leading.

Torridon Giants

Day 1 - Liathach

When I first came to Torridon I was a driving hazard; constantly looking up to the tops and managing only just to take the corners; but that was well before NC500 it its near constant flow of buses, bikers and belligerent drivers. Now, my driving's one helluva lot more safe but the fascination and awe remain as it surely must do for everyone who ventures into this land of Viking (and possibly much earlier visitor) fjords, Sandstone and Quartz. So, with Christine, Paul and Gavin 'The Grey Edge' (Liathach) which rises from where a kerb doesn't line the A896 through Glen Torridon, immediately gained our child-like enthusiasm for Day One.

Our original plan was to scramble over Beinn Alligin on the first day, but my reason for turning our well-honed programme a wee bit on its head was because the weather forecast warned of strong winds for our 'Day Two' and moving around or across Liathach's Am Faserinen's pinnacles is not a fun whilst being battered!...and what a day we savoured.

Today was dry throughout with a slight but chilling wind coupled with extensive 360 views to Ben Nevis, Eig, Shiel, Skye, Outer Hebrides, past The Fisherfield's to An Teallach and the Inverpolly peaks, Ben Hope and the entire Strath Carron and the entire Wester Ross range! And what a talkative trio of interests and careers from English Doctorate dissertations to deep water commercial sailing, politics (without the bitterness clouding the current social atmosphere) and the occasional input of 'sumfing int'resting' from their guide!

By mid-afternoon, when I picked-up the updated forecast, my earlier concerns were calmed and with a confidence, I was happy to modify the official view of inbound rain and say that my worries for Day Two would most likely not make their presence known and three happy walkers went to the first-aid centre, aka. The Torridon Inn!, to ensure they ate a bag of crips as a way of taking in salt lost through the day's exertions. Whether this important rehab aid was accompanied by alcohol is your guess.

Day 2 - Beinn Alligin

Beinn Alligin is certainly a mountain of beauty and its full splendour is mostly hidden as sits at a deceptive angle and it looks quite compact as it sits a wee bit back from the edge of Loch Torridon, masked by the Western edge of Liathach. Stand in front of it, on the most favoured way off the hill beside the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil, and you can appreciate the expanse of the hill. Alligin's footprint is similar in scale to her neighbour and I prefer to take my clients beside the burn, past many mini waterfalls and across two superbly positioned bridges giving access to the slope of the most Southern of the Horns.

My chosen route gives brilliant views (weather playing ball, of course) across the SE expanse of Beinn Alligin and the surrounding peaks; with a special sight East along the North side of Liathach towards Beinn Eighe. What's even better is the awesome path built into the steep slopes; which is climbed instead of scrambled down at the end of a long day. Sure, it's mighty steep but this route gives constantly interesting views whilst the 'book route' up Coire an Laogh blinkers your eye-line with the rock-strewn slopes of the couloir. Even better is that you rarely share the route with others.

Blessed with superb air clarity again, we had gorgeous views to Gairloch, the expanse of the Outer Hebrides and the long stretch of Skye's Trotternish Ridge.

A wee nip in the air once we were tentatively looking into the depths of Eag Dubh meant shell layers were drawn for our sacs but soon, Tom na Grugaich's summit provided an spectacular viewing platform of the day's route across Sgurr Mor and the huge coire Toll a Mhadaidh Mor.

Rain was hammering hills South of us across the loch and the threatening tendrils of a viscous shower glanced briefly in our direction as it built-up in the thermal off the West flank of Alligin. Staying dry left us alone and by mid-afternoon, in the midge infested carpark above Torridon House, we briefly looked at options for Beinn Eighe.

More photos by Andy Cloquet are here on Flickr.

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