First Torridon wild camp. A grey weekend on the Red Hill. May 2016.

Date: Saturday-Sunday 7th-8th May 2016
Distance:11.7 + 8.7km
Ascent: 1050 + 100m

I’m beginning to think that the weekend weather for 2016 is being planned by a cabal of retirees. Yet another nice looking Friday leading into a cloudy weekend as a preface to a working week of glorious weather.

Still – the NW Highlands looked worth a wander with the tent. A plan was hatched to reach what we hoped would be a sheltered pitch in Torridon.

Parked up at the Alligin car park. Overcast and breezy. Set off towards with a plan to revisit Beinn Dearg – one of the best Corbetts which despite 2 visits we’d failed to do justice to.

Headed out up the Coire Mhic Nobuill path – upgraded in the past 10 years. We spotted 2 wild campers descending from Sgurr Mhorafter their Tom na Gruagaich camp.

Always enjoy the view at the waterfall 1km up the path.

Beinn Alligin:

Spotted an eagle soaring near the Horns.

Turned off the Coire Mhic Nobuil path onto the path that leads to Na Rathanan and then a fainter path continues between Na Rathanan and Beinn Dearg.

Between Na Rathanan and Beinn Dearg:

At the top of the pass Baosbheinn comes into view.

Baosbheinn:

We were heading round to the north side of Beinn Dearg. We’ve traversed this ground before heading to Baosbheinn. It’s a bit rough but not difficult.

Sat and had some food at Loch na Cabhaig. Still pretty cool and breezy.

We’d wondered about heading out to Baosbheinn first (dropping the camping gear) however we’d started reasonably late and were aware that rain might set in from mid afternoon so we decided just to curl round Stuc Loch na Cabhaig to Coire Mhor of Beinn Dearg instead.

Stuc Loch na Cabhaig:

A steepish rising traverse across rough ground saw us reach Coire Mhor.

Lip of Coire Mhor:

Coire Mhor and Beinn Dearg:

The forecast had suggested rather stiff NE swinging SE winds overnight with rain. We’d identified Loch a Choire Mhoir as a likely sheltered pitch site. Found a decent spot after a bit of dithering and dumped the camping gear.

Plenty of time left for a slow wander up to the Corbett summit before the weather changed.

Another view of a Golden Eagle here – stoops and climbs as it passed over the ridge.

We headed up from the SW end of Loch a Choire Mhoir to the ridge (W of the rock tower that presents the scramble on Beinn Dearg). This ascent was a pretty steep 100m, rather squelchy too. No difficulty for ascent but I’m not sure I’d like it the other way.

Ascent from Loch a Choire Mhoir:

Once on the ridge there were reasonable, if rather grey views of Torridon.

Liathach:

It’s a rather fine looking hill.

Nearing the summit:

Identified a number of easy pitches on the summit – a great hill for a summit camp on a better day.

H at the summit:

We dropped W off the summit aiming to drop back into the Coire.

Coire Mhor:

This side of the Coire was still steep for about 50m but the ground was a bit better. Carefully picked our way down the steep bit.

The snow patches were better grip, but covering boulder fields there was a risk of bridging so we only used a couple.

Snow patches:

Easy wandering back to the camping gear to get the tent up. Remarkably we’ve never camped in Torridon before.

First Torridon wild camp:

With the tent up we wandered around enjoying the views while the sun struggled to peek through.

Stuc Loch na Cabhaig:

Flowerdale:

There’s easy access to the Carn na Feola ridge of Dearg from the Loch – about 50m of easy ascent to reach this ridge.

Loch a Choire Mhoir:

It’s a fine viewpoint for the N side of Liathach.

Liathach:

Dropped back to the tent and cooked up tea, it started to lightly rain not long after we finished.

We got a fairly quiet night, the rain perked up a little later on and we got some random strong wind gusts, but our pitch was generally pretty windless and quiet.

The clouds were fairly scudding over us in the morning with the cloud base just above our heads. Didn’t rush breakfast.

Misty morning:

Eventually set off after 9am with the sun starting to make progress in penetrating the grey.

Brightness emerging:

Reversed route out of the Coire. The wind picked up a bit once we left our sheltered corner.

Frog:

Takes a while to cover the ground back to Loch na Cabhaig. Slightly gnarly terrain.

Stuc Loch na Cabhaig:

Loch na Cabhaig:

We’d pondered returning via Loch Toll nam Biast and Tom na Gruagaich. Decided not to bother given that the air was so hazy that there were no distant views. Simply daundered back to the car.

Baosbheinn:

Na Rathanan:

As we passed the Horns the sun did actually come out for an hour. Sat around at the river for a while soaking it up.

An hour of sunshine:

The sun faded out again so we carried on. Enjoyed the start of the spring flowers – looking forward to a few months of colour.

Lousewort:

Gorse and the scent of coconut:

Alligin car park:

Back to the car and the long drive south. Good to get the tent out and explore Beinn Dearg. Still not done the hill justice however. Still on the revisit list.

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