Sgurr nan Eugallt and Meall nan Eun. December 2009.

Date: Friday 11th December 2009
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 1600m

High pressure building and the World is our Oyster. Well – the NW Highlands at least. Time for the ritual swithering over the forecasts – go with BBC? Met Office? MWIS? The entrails of that pheasant I ran over? 😉

There was a suggestion of cloud in the west but we had our eye on another Kinloch Hourn trip so off we set in the dark and mist.

About -5C with freezing fog patches. The Kinloch Hourn road is a bit of a twisty one – careful in the dark. One possible owl flying across the headlights and one pine marten running along the road along with the ubiquitous Loch Quoich stags.

Parked up at the space at Coireshubh NG 958 055. Still dark at 0730.

Headtorches on and up the excellent stalkers path.

A Geminid shower meteorite screamed overhead (well that’s an assumption – in the upper atmosphere, as in space, no-one can hear you scream).

Early view of The Saddle:

The light was building from the SE with a nice crescent moon. Loch Quoich:

The path is a great escalator – rapid progress up the hill. Reached the 665m bealach between Sgurr Dubh and Sgurr nan Eugallt for dawn.

One of the disadvantages of an early start is the total inability to check conditions visually before starting. Thus the realisation that neither the ice axes or crampons were needed was a minor irritation. 😕

The final ridge to the summit is easy enough, a few icy patches to avoid.

Beautiful summit – an odd mix of low winter light and shadow – the promised cloud bank was to the south and west and we were (just) in the sun.

The Saddle:

The Ben:

Some great views towards Ladhar Bheinn and the remainder of the Eugallt ridge running to Cairn Mairi.

Carried on from the trig point along the ridge west over a few snow patches. Some breakfast at the summit.

Ladhar Bheinn and Loch Hourn:

Ladhar Bheinn:

The trig and the Ben:

Loch Quoich:

Loch Hourn and Beinn Sgritheall:

The Cuillin pano:

We had eyes on Meall nan Eun – passed close in April but held it back for this walk. So – off down the slopes.

This route has been a work in progress and has had more mutations than X-Men. The original plan was to ascend from Coireshubh and walk over the Corbett and Graham and camp on Cairn Mairi (we may come back to a version of this). The December route was to drop off Meall nan Eun north-west to the K-H to Barrisdale track and walk back. About 200m down the Corbett I thought “why return along the dark loch with 400m of climb rather than climb 400m back over the Corbett?” We had a confab and dropped the unnecessary kit and carried on.

A steep but easy terrained slope to the bealach – lots of deer here.

Meall nan Eun is just under 2km and 170m climb from here. Meall nan Eun and Beinn Sgritheall:

A spot 100m further west gives great views. Another food break here – fine viewpoint.

Reversed the route home. Intermittent sunshine but stunning views all the way.

Reascent of Eugallt:

A long slog back up Eugallt but rewarded again by the summit view – this area has some cracking viewpoints – this one rivals them all. In addition it’s one of the easiest to get to. This is a definite high pitch site and I just need to get it worked in to a walk.

Back to Meall nan Eun:

Down the stalker’s path as dusk approached. The sun was finally lost to the cloud bank. Unusual sight of bullfinches on the hillside about 200m up. Back to the car just at sunset.

Cracking day – I’d have to say the area in a 10 mile circle around Kinloch Hourn has provided some of our most memorable walks – this was up there.

Now to plan that summit camp 😀

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