Beinn Sgulaird – an atmospheric traverse. October 2014

Date: Sunday 12th October 2014
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 1500m

Beinn Sgulaird – a munro set-off to the SW flank of Glen Coe with a combination of superlative sea views one way and hill views the other.

Add a couple of minor reascents to the SMC red route and a substantial proportion of the bagging public refer to it by epithet.

Quite informative I suppose.

Ascended on a grand day back in 2004 it has been on the back boiler for reascent for quite a while. During our little loop of the S2K Beinn Mheadonach and Beinn Trilleachan we’d been looking at the eastern arm of Sgulaird with interest. The plan for a traverse was whetted further by Adrian’s report earlier in the year.

Parked up at Druimavuic NN 009 451 – the start of another eyesore hill track which climbs up to the Sgulaird/Creach Bheinn bealach.

At about 150m elevation there is the start of a path up the SW ridge of the 488m point NN 025 450. Far preferable to climb the ridge, affording as it does splendid views of Loch Creran.

From the 488m point there are nice views along Glen Creran to Sgorr a Choise and beyond to the Mamores:

As we ascended the ridge the sun came out…..but further low mist swirled. Made for some interesting conditions:


Approaching the top of the first of Beinn Sgulaird’s bumps – the 863m point NN 043 448 – the high cloud returned cutting out the sun and patchy mist came and went.

Out to Mull:

H and Loch Creran:

Decided to take a break at the 863m point – the forecast had been for an improving day so no hurry.

Beinn Cruachan:

The route from the 863m point to the summit involves a couple of short drops and climbs – nothing of any great difficulty.

Trilleachan and Mheadonach remained modestly mist-clad:

Accompanied by a choir of stags and ptarmigan (bass and tenor gargling) we pressed on to the summit.

Another break – hoping for the clouds to clear. Jigsaw views instead – Beinn Mheadhonach and Loch Etive:

Loch Creran:

Decided to head along the ridge east – a drop of 60m to step up onto the crest of the large hanging east coire of Beinn Sgulaird. The east ridge:

South to Trilleachan and Starav:

Beinn Mheadhonach and on to Loch Etive:

The decent was a little rough in places, nothing difficult though. Clearing skies opened up some distant views including out to Rum:

Stob Gaibhre on the E ridge, An Grianan and Beinn Fionnlaidh:

Stob Gaibhre had a complement of goats (everything in its place 😉 ):


The E side of Sgulaird looks a little more impressive from below:

An Grianan and Beinn Fionnlaidh from Stob Gaibhre:

We headed down the ridge as far as NN 075 468. The direct descent into Glen Ure looked too steep and slidy so we headed WSW to NN 081 467 to pick up the estate track round Airigh nan Lochan.

It was a lovely evening for reflections – the lack of a single midge in such conditions suggests the season is well and truly over.

Beinn Trilleachan:

Clouds:

Glen Ure is a rather steep cleft between An Grianan and Beinn Sgulaird – wooded with deciduous trees:

Once down in the lower glen the cleft separating An Grianan from Beinn Fionnlaidh is seen. An Grianan looks a fine hill for another day.

An evening for lovely reflections:

Tore ourselves away to follow the farm track round into Glen Creran for the remaining 5km back to the car – mixed deciduous and pine woods in lowering syrupy light.

Fraochaidh:

Beinn Sgulaird:

Insects in the sun – soon to be absent for the winter:

Back to the car before sunset. Able to drive back along the loch to take a picture of red, red hills. Wishing we were up one of them in a tent.

Beinn Fionnlaidh from Loch Creran:

A really enjoyable walk over a great hill. I’d wondered if we should have done it in reverse to get the best conditions on the W ridge descent, but on reflection I think the views in Glen Ure and the sunny glen return were more than worth it.

Still a lot of interest in this area – definitely one for a camping trip. As for Beinn Sgulaird and its unflattering sobriquet…..if it keeps the hill quieter then who am I to argue?

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