Sgorr Ruadh, Achnashellach

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You have climbed 93/282 munros.

Sgorr Ruadh means the red peak in Gaelic. It would be Skye's first taste of scrambling on Torridon sandstone. As well as probably the longest time we've been out so far, and certainly the roughest.

The Red Peak lies across Coire Lair from Beinn Liath Mhor which I had walked with Anna last year. She had an idea to include Sgorr Ruadh but when it came to it even she opted to escape back down through the Coire.

Date started:08/08/20
Distance:10.5 miles
Ascent:977m
Descent:977m
Time taken:29520
Moving time:6:36
Average speed:1.59mph
Maximum speed:3.48mph

Sgorr Ruadh

Skye with Fuar Tholl beyond
Skye with Fuar Tholl beyond

Fuar Tholl
Fuar Tholl

The scenery of this wee corner is, unsurpringly, very torridon-esq. Rock and scree push through the peat and heather moorland, seemingly congregating on the paths much to the detriment of the walker wishing to look after her knees. I'd really forgotten how horrendously rough the paths, every constructed step or drain served as an obstacle to progress. My knee was complaining by the time I reached the head of the pass.

Path to Coire Lair with Beinn Liath Mhor on skyline
Path to Coire Lair with Beinn Liath Mhor on skyline

Coire Lair
Coire Lair

I had planned to return this way but was having severe doubts that would be wise. I hoped the short easy scrambles to the summit would be okay.

Lochan at the head of Coire Lair
Lochan at the head of Coire Lair

Skye
Skye

Skye negotiated the boulder fields like a pro-hillwalker, completely un-fussed. Then came the rocky zigzags and a wee gully. She skittered about without focus with no attempt of mine to bring calm to the chaos worked. I put her on the lead and ensured she went a reasonable route. We found a gully blocked by a small chock-stone so I used the pack handle to hoist her up a little and scooped her back legs up and over the rock. She wasn't bothered in the slightest.

Skye at the summit windshelter on Sgorr Ruadh
Skye at the summit windshelter on Sgorr Ruadh

Fuar Tholl from Sgor Ruadh
Fuar Tholl from Sgor Ruadh

A windshelter took up most of the actual summit, but just the other side the ridge was of grass and moss. Quite the contrast. Views were all round stunning.

Given the scrambling and the path through Coire Lair I decided to continue forward and aim to pick up the track on Bhealaich Mhor, below Fuar Tholl, which ends up at the river crossing. I'd checked that out in the morning and decided, as expected, I would not be able to cross with dry feet.

Beinn Liath Mhor from Sgorr Ruadh
Beinn Liath Mhor from Sgorr Ruadh

Liathach from Sgorr Ruadh
Liathach from Sgorr Ruadh

At the river crossing the water was only calf deep or so at the natural fording point. I looked either side for a plausible stepping stone pathway without any success. So with nothing else for it I rolled up my trouser legs and went for it, carefully. Skye paddled about and then tried to rock hop. It wasn't too successful and with uncoordinated inevitability she slipped off. So we both got across safely but wet. She shook and was ready in an instant. Beside the river the midges were out in force so I quickly wrung my socks out and squelched along the path after her. Before the path dropped too far down to Achnashellach and on a breezy bluff I delved into the rucksack for Florence's key: I figured under the trees at the car park would be midge city and I didn't want to be faffing about.

Tags: munro, outdoor, scotland Written 20/08/20 

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