Still chasing the sun – Beinn Eighe. September 2007.

Date: Sat 29th September 2007
Distance: 19km
Ascent:1300m

Met Office had been teasing us all week with promises of midge-killing frosts and that other thing, what is it? tip of my tongue – oh yeah sunshine. Sounded intriguing – as usual though the forecast started backing off from about 24hrs out.

We fancied traversing between the 2 Beinn Eighe munros, had previously climbed each separately in very high winds and on neither occasion fancied a high level traverse.

Kicked off early from Inverness – 1 hour to the small car park at NG 976 578 opposite Loch Bharranch and arrived at about dawn. Prospects looked good – some low cloud hanging on eastern aspects but clear sky overhead.

A good path runs up from the car park. Takes no prisoners and winds straight up rounding behind Stuc Coire an Laoigh into the Coire an Laoigh.

This ascent has an advantage of developing views E very quickly giving great dawn views. Unfortunately the cloud layer rolled W so we were denied the experience of sunshine. Some low sun on mist opposite on Sgurr Dubh.

The ascent out of Corrie is getting really worse for wear with deeply eroded channels forming around the path area. Climbs steeply up to the S arm of Spidean Coire nan Clach. The view to the west was beautiful although seeing Applecross, N. Skye and the Cuillin all bathed in sunshine was frustrating.

Short pull from here to the trig point then E about 150m on rough rock to the summit. Could hear the stags in the Coire Ruadh-stac and the views were jigsaw a bit here and a bit there through mist. A good view of Loch Maree from here.

Return to the trig and then WSW along the ridge over easy rock over 2km, paralleling Liathach which seems very close. Nothing technical or troublesome. Can just make out sunny Applecross and Skye behind Liathach.

The Munro path carries on but we detoured from NG 950 601 west across flat grassy slopes to Coinneach Mhor.

Some machine parts in the cairn – possibly from the crashed Lancaster bomber below. Now we started to get the weather – the clouds rolled back E and suddenly it was blue sky and sun. Spectacular views round Torridon and Flowerdale with sea views to Skye and Lewis.

Returned via the tops of the Triple Buttresses, you can walk out onto the top of the buttresses – some drop off!

Easy drop to the bealach over Coire Mhic Fhearchair and then on to the other munro Ruadh-Stac Mor. Nice spot for lunch. The clouds that had hung around over towards Fisherfield started to break giving views of Slioch and A’Mhaighdean.

Flowerdale:

Returned to the bealach. There’s a rather eroded chimney dropping down to the corrie. Lots of loose rock in the middle. Sticking to the right hand side on descent keeps you on solid rock making going much easier. A path forms around 100m below the lip leading down through a boulder/scree field to easy ground.

Descend through the Coire Mhic Fhearchair – this would be worth the walk in itself (and many do this walk without visiting the tops). Waterfalls and lochans with views back to the mammoth buttresses.

Cross the final loch outflow and join the good path running back round Sail Mhor to the Coire Dubh Mor. Views then rotate from the open country of Flowerdale to the enclosed corries of Torridon, between Beinn Dearg, Liathach and Beinn Eighe. Beinn Dearg ridge nicely seen.

Skies remained blue showing off the scree of Beinn Eighe.

Finally views S to Sgurr Dubh and the terminal moraine hummocks of the Coire a Cheud-Chnoic.

2km back along the road to the car and then back for a curry at the excellent Cinnamon in Inverness.

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