Date: Saturday – Sunday 28th-29th April 2018
Distance: 15 + 11km
Ascent: 1400 + 400m
The forecast had been examined with some interest – light winds and a good chance of sunshine, albeit with a showery theme.
As usual the details swirled and changed in the run up as to where would be best…..we decided on the Friday night and for once didn’t change our minds.
We’ve assembled quite a collection of Western seaboard summit camps, but still have a few on the “to do” list. Amongst these is Beinn Sgritheall which has been on the list for years.
We’ve been up this one a few different routes in the past, our least favourite being the steep standard SMC version. For a camping trip we decided on the approach from Gleann Beag to the north, allowing visits to neighbouring Corbett and Graham.
Parked near Balvraid, put the car on solid ground off road about 400m west of the public road end.
Off walking at about 0930 – a lot of hours of daylight for not too long a walk.
We carried on past the bridge at NG 866 158 and round Strath a Chomair to walk up Gleann Aoidhailean. From Strath a Chomair there’s a good view of Beinn Sgritheall and the long east ridge of Beinn a Chapuill.
To the east the complex ground around the Saddle was becoming more obvious. This is another hill where much of the complexity is rarely visited on the Red Route. We have a couple of possible routes for this one sometime.
Once at the top of Beinn nan Caorach we had some lunch. The clouds were very slow moving. On Harris at Easter you could see the clouds approaching for miles, and when they passed over they were gone in minutes. Here the clouds were creeping around and once you were under one it was half an hour or so before it moved away. Quite a contrast.
In terms of route planning we had dismissed descending from Beinn na-h-Eaglaise to Bealach Arnisdale. Neither side of Bealach Arnisdale is fun, being very steep. We’d provisionally planned to dog-leg Beinn na h-Eaglaise before dropping northwards to ascend into Coire Min.
In the event we dispensed with Beinn na h-Eaglaise which would add little to the day and took a falling traverse from the low point between Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Druim nan Bo (NG 860 125) to ascend the Allt Mhic a Phearsain into Coire Min. The ascent route here is reasonably easy ground.
Filtered our 3L of water for the night from the highest spring and then carried on with the remaining 200m of ascent to the summit. The Coire headwall is steep at one point but manageable.
Beinn Sgritheall has the kind of views we like best – a mix of hills in one direction, and sea views in the other. A fantastic viewpoint.
Snug in the tent we got some sleep. A very quiet night with almost no wind. I set an alarm clock for 0100 to look out….moonlight greeted me and I went out for a wander.
A near full moon meant no need for a headtorch – identified the lighthouses on view and the distant lights on Coll, Tiree and out to the Hebrides.
There was a lot more cloud inland. To the south Mull, Rois Bheinn and Ardnamurchan were overcast. To the east lower cloud shrouded a lot of the hills.
Sgurr nan Eugallt backed by Sgurr Mor and Gairich:
Lounged around in the tent – the air temp was still pretty chilly, whereas in the sun the inside of the tent was roasting. Sat with the door open and the sun pouring in and napped for an hour and a bit. High camp heaven.
Eventually decided to have a leisurely breakfast before packing up. A decent cocoa and a bit of food had us ready for the day.
Nipped round to the 928m summit to the north. Must say that this has a great view, potentially a better sea view pitch than the one we’d picked, albeit with the summit blocking a bit of the view south.
The whole summit area had a good population of Ring Ouzels – no chance of a picture but their songs and calls had punctuated the visit.
The best route back was up Beinn a Chapuill and then down its long east ridge back to Srath a Chomair. The ascent of Beinn a Chapuill from Bealach na h-Oidhche is steep, but easy….and distracting lizards took our minds off it, turbocharged in the heat.
Once on Beinn a Chapuill we sat and had lunch for a while. Not very keen to rush given the conditions. These sort of days are best savoured.
Eventually we started off – heading across the highest point of Beinn a Chapuill and then on to the long east ridge.
…..and across the wee bridge at Srath a Chomair and back to the car.
Potentially a day walk, but a great one to make a full weekend out of. Back to route planning for the next camping weekend.