Sgurr nan Cnamh via Ariundle Oakwoods. May 2011.

Date: Saturday 7th May 2011
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 840m

Saturday morning saw us in Strontian – my family had been staying the week in a cottage there (and what a week). Had come up for the Friday night for a gathering and pine marten viewing.

With everyone departing Saturday a.m. we took the opportunity to climb Sgurr nan Cnamh – a Graham near Garbh Bheinn.

The walk through Ariundle oakwoods is a favourite and well worth saving for May-July.

No sun on the trees this year didn’t show the green to its full – a shot from 2009:

The vegetation seems a bit ahead of average – the long-leaved sundews are surging upwards:

It’s about 3km through the woods to a split in the track. The right fork leads down to the ruined farm at Ceann a Chreagain and about 1km further.

Sgurr na h-Ighinn:

Sgurr na h-Ighinn and Sgurr a Chaorainn:

Forded the Strontian River here easily (low water levels), and headed up the rocky ridge of Sgurr a Bhuic.

Spotted a Golden Eagle hunting low over the slopes – good views too, quite often they are just a shape but this one was low enough to see the head colour and hung around a while.

Poor shot but shows the head colour:

A bit better:

Worth the day out just for this.

Carried on up Sgurr a Bhuic – some fun easy scrambling, all avoidable up to the 461m mark.

Beinn Resipol and Ariundle:

Glen Gour:

The ascent of Sgurr nan Cnamh is an enjoyable wander over mixed grass/heather/rock. A bit bobbly but very easy. Took our usual elongated wanderings looking at frogs/deer/lizards.

Spotted my first dragonfly (4-spotted chaser) of the year but the first picture will have to wait on a less active beastie.

Photogenic lizard:

Beinn Resipol:

From the summit there’s a view of a looming Garbh Bheinn – not the best aspect of this hill but still impressive:

Our first view of Rum since last week’s traverse – amazing how much more context there is to a view when you’ve actually walked over what you’re looking at.

There was cloud building and spreading from the south so we took our leave. For variation headed WSW from the summit for 500m then NW following the developing Allt as it drops to the farm.

Violets:

Descent from summit ridge:

Following the Allt:

Dropped down easily back to the glen. Heard numerous rumbles of thunder and saw 2 lightning strikes a few miles to the SW over Morvern.

Picked up the pace.

Glen and farm:

Sgurr na h-Ighinn:

Ariundle:

Started to rain for the last 1km – heavy enough for the first waterproof used for a month. Summer may be here.

We had a provisional plan to camp in the oak-woods but thunder and a forecast for a windy, rainy Sunday saw us jump in the car and head home on very wet roads. Great visit to a favourite area though.

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