Beinn Alligin – the sun returns! August 2016.

Date: Saturday 20th August 2016
Distance: 17.9km
Ascent: 1300m

With the beginning of the week spent bemoaning the injustice of splendid weekday weather and a poor weekend forecast it became clear that Saturday might just deliver some decent weather in the NW highlands.

With the western seaboard looking best we pitched up to the Beinn Alligin car park at 0700 to try to grab some weekend sunshine.

Midge nets needed to boot up and then we were off, with some rather dramatic looking hills on view.

Beinn Dearg:

The obligatory stop at the Allt Toll a Mhadaidh waterfall.

Alligin and waterfall:

A quick yomp on the path to ascend the Horns, really enjoying conditions. If Pokemon Go players think they have to cover a lot of ground to capture their beasties they should try capturing Scottish weekend hill sun!

The sun was picking out a straight border down in the glen – wondered if the jumbly ground was a lateral moraine.

Horns ascent – possible lateral moraine:

Never tire of this ascent – so much on view.

H and Beinn Damh:

At about 600m the ascent briefly flattens an a view opens across Toll a Mhadaidh to Tom na Gruagaich.

Tom na Gruagaich and Beinn Bhan:

Just before the final Horns ascent there is a bypass path on the inside (SW) of Na Rathanan. We wandered along this, a goat track but quite easy.

Sgurr Mhor and Na Rathainan:

H and Mullach An Rathain:

Sgurr Mhor and Tom na Gruagaich:

Once past Na Rathanan the views open a bit across Flowerdale. From there it’s about a 200m pull to the summit of Sgurr Mhor.

Baosbheinn:

Beinn an Eoin and Beinn a Chearcaill:

Nearing Sgurr Mhor summit:

Up to the summit we sat down and enjoyed an hour looking at the views. One of our favourite summits.

Tom na Gruagaich from Sgurr Mhor summit:

Air clarity was good – we could easily see Beinn Mhor on South Uist behind MacLeod’s Tables.

Beinn Mhor South Uist over MacLeod’s Tables:

The Uist chain down to Barra was just eyeball visible to the left of Portree. Looking out over the Sound of Harris with binoculars a dark shape was just discernible, a quick look on the smartphone mapping software confirmed that this was Boreray at 176km!

Nerdy stuff, but I like it. 😉

Got back to enjoying the immediate views. As we’d been having lunch the hills to our north had cleared their tops, so it was a fairly unobstructed view.

Horns of Alligin:

Out to Slioch:

People were beginning to appear in the distance from both directions, so we headed onwards to the second munro.

The notch:

Some path work is appearing on the descent here, somewhat needed in view of the erosion.

Passed a few people on the way across to Tom na Gruagaich.

Sgurr Mhor, the Horns and Beinn Dearg:

Through Coire Mhic Nobuil:

Had a decent wander around the summit of Tom na Gruagaich, identifying pitch sites. Came up with a couple. Certainly on our to do list of summit camps – the night views off this one would be fascinating.

Head of Loch Torridon:

As the sun had turned the clarity out to sea was better. Nice views of Skye and Harris.

North end of Skye:

Tarbert and Clisham:

Boreray is obscured by the N end of the Trotternish from this munro though.

With the sun shining in Torridon we didn’t fancy simply dropping down direct to the car. Decided instead to drop back towards Sgurr Mor and take our other route round Beinn Alligin’s north side via Loch Toll nam Biast.

East to Beinn Eighe:

The slope runs from NG 861 611 (a part reascent of Sgurr Mor). An easy-angled descent by Torridon standards.

Slope off Sgurr Mhor:

The easiest ground here is to head to the cairn at NG 855 620 and then head on the well-drained ground north of Loch Toll nam Biast.

We skirted south of the lochs, partly to visit them and partly because I’d forgotten that it was a bit rougher.

Gave some nice views of the lochs and hills though.

Stuc na Cabhaig and Loch Toll nam Biast:

Baosbheinn:

Na Rathanan:

A few trout swimming around in these lochs.

Dropped down the slope on the north side of the outflow to pick up the path marked on the 1:25000 map at NG 87555 62117.

This path is faint at first but runs south through Bealach a Chomhla to join the Horns path.

Baosbheinn is eventually obscured as the path descends, while Mullach an Rathain looms ever nearer.

Baosbheinn:

Liathach:

The midges were a bit ferocious whenever the wind dropped or the sun was obscured, grabbed a bite to eat in a breezy spot before heading back to the car. Not too disappointed not to be camping as the chance of horror midge levels seemed high.

Beinn Dearg from bridge:

By the time we’d returned to the car we’d managed to fritter away a full day. Not the most elegant of routes on the map – but exactly what we wanted.

Great to have had a clear view out to sea from this one, and seeing Boreray from the mainland breaks my line of sight record. 

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