Streap and Beinn an Tuim – the ups and downs of Corbetteering. December 2008.

Date: 27th December 2008
Distance: 18km
Climb: 1500m

After 4 Munros on Friday thought we’d go for a nice easy bimble on Saturday over 1 Corbett.

Streap has been high on the “to do” list for a while, in particular to include Beinn an Tuim. I’m often surprised that the “suggested” routes favour approaches through enclosed, boggy corries to save a bit of climbing rather than striking for high ridge lines early. Have to say that one of my maxims for route selection is “get high and stay high”.

Beinn an Tuim has the grandstand view at the head of Loch Shiel and seemed daft to slog round the lower reaches with no view rather than climb this fine top.

Drove through the freezing fog to the start point at NM 931 799.

Headtorches for the first we bit, taking the track up Gleann Dubh Lighe to NM 944 817, breaking through the fog after about 20mins.

At this point we took the left fork heading uphill through the forest and ignoring a left hand branch to hit a gate at the forest edge at about NM 942 822.

From there struck straight uphill. This was hard work – would be harder in summer as the lower slopes had the remains of ferns – all dead now.
Pushed uphill with dawn arriving behind us:

Gleann Dubh Lighe pre-dawn:

Dawn sky and Sgurr a Mhaim:

Alpenglow on Streap and Streap Comlaidh:

Dawn breaks over Stob a Coire Chearcaill:

Dawn light washed down the hill as we walked up – I really love these walks catching dawn from elevation – the light is remarkable.

First view of Loch Shiel:

Disturbed a few deer:

At about the 600m mark broke through the haze layer – kind of a double inversion – low cloud inversion on Loch Eil and temperature inversion at about 600m:

Achieved the S ridge line of Beinn an Tuim to get the view we’d been looking for – down the length of Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan viaduct in foreground:

The ascent is steep and knobbly – typical of the terrain from Ardgour through to Knoydart.

Lovely views of layered hills and low light:

The views from Beinn an Tuim are worth the extra few hundred metres of climb though and far better than the enclosed corrie.

From Beinn an Tuim it’s about a 145m drop N down steep grassy slopes to the bealach and then up Meall an Uillt Chaoil – about 175m steep climb.

You lose the view of Loch Shiel from here:

Lochaber and the Loch Eil inversion:

Nice view along to the rather hidden Loch Beoraid.

From here a steep 100m descent to then climb (steeply) 150m up Stob Coire nan Cearc.Finally there’s a clear view of Streap and Streap Comlaidh.

From here (you guessed it) there’s a 100m drop before the gentler climb up Streap.Back along the ridge:

The much vaunted arête was rather tame in the absence of any snow or ice.

Big areas of slope failure have obviously slid off Streap into the corrie

Achieved the summit with legs well aware of all the ups and downs.

Still great layered hill effects from the summit:

Great views to the fog flowing along Loch Arkaig

From here a 100m descent (!) and a 90m reascent of Streap Comlaidh. Views over to Gulvain:

And savour the last wide views to Lochaber:

View of Streap from top of ridge:

then down the S ridge of Streap Comlaidh. This is nosebleedingly steep in parts and a real knee-jangler.

Reached the track at the foot which looks pretty wet (crusty ice for us).

Last light on the hills:

then yomped back to the car arriving about 45mins after sunset.

4 munros of the South Shiel ridge the day before had been about 1400m ascent – today’s 1 Corbett was 1500m – go figure.

I really commend the view from Beinn an Tuim – it’s the downside of the lists that some great viewpoints are ignored as “tops”(for want of 5m extra height). Beinn an Tuim has grandstand views down Loch Shiel and gets the views early in the walk.

Streap itself is a grand hill – glad to have saved it for an excellent day.

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