Beinn Eighe - Spidean Coire nan Clach, Ruadh-stac Mor

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unknown2323
201022
2016781142
2017242724443334
201810131132321
20192634115189531
202017331
2021141111
20223321
20237113611
20243321

You have climbed 107/282 munros.

Climbed by year and month

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unknown11
2017111
201911
20203111
2021681211111
202223111
202323111
20242211

You have climbed 14/221 Corbetts.

I'd only planned to do the first munro on the ridge, Spidean Coire nan Clach - peak of the coire of stones and then head back down. However, it turned into a bit of a longer day. We set out slowly or rather I did, Skye ranging ahead but also doubling back to check on me; a behaviour I encourage. One of these days I should really put a GPS in her rucksack to see how much further she travels!

Date started:01/04/23
Distance:10.0 miles
Ascent:1142m
Descent:1236m
Time taken:9:02
Moving time:6:51
Average speed:1.46mph
Maximum speed:3.17mph

Beinn Eighe - I forgot to start the GPS until I'd already started out

We passed the faded Nature.Scot sign and pretty soon the path starts gently climbing. Gaining height I look around at the scenery. A slight haze in the glen, a little cloud high on the ridge ahead and the sun shining. It feels like a good day is about to happen. I plod on, I don't care to rush and try to settle into an alpine pace. I stop for a short breather and look around when a couple catch me up. One of them said I was setting them a good pace.

Beinn Eighe, near the start of a long walk
Beinn Eighe, near the start of a long walk

Coire an Laoigh, Loch Clair, Loch Coulin
Coire an Laoigh, Loch Clair, Loch Coulin

At some point I nearly stumble into rocks on the path, further on helicopter bags have been dumped right in the middle of the path. There's no way round above, or below the path as it's on a bit of a terrace. I've got to clamber over them whilst trying not to dislodge one or trap an ankle. Is someone saying "feck you, or what". There are more bags above. I long for walks where the description is 'follow the old stalkers path...".

We're largely following the Allt Coire an Laoigh which drains Coire an Laoigh - the coire of the calves, crossing it on the coire floor as the gradient eases for a short time. the headwall soon looms up above me. I catch up with the couple from earlier. As we walk on they find a path to the right of me. Eroded paths cross-cross the headwall don't look inviting at all so I keep to a ribbon of very steep, largely grass steps. I quietly contemplate the return journey down this not fancying it one bit. It doesn't take long to get to the ridgeline above the coire. It's no a bad viewpoint.

Skye on the steep headwall of Coire an Laoigh
Skye on the steep headwall of Coire an Laoigh

Liathach from the col above Coire an Laoigh
Liathach from the col above Coire an Laoigh

The couple ahead of me are already climbing the scree ahead towards the trig point on the main Beinn Eighe ridge. I pause take a few photos, Liathach is looking pretty scary, maybe not one for this summer. Skye is already waiting for me on the scree so it's time to carry on plodding. It's not too long before we're at the trig where we bear right for a wee bit of scrambling to Spidean Coire nan Clach. Skye races ahead along a narrow path along the ridge to a small steep rock face where she stops. It's a bit technical for her to 'on-spec' it and looks for direction. I spot the way the up and she bounces up like a pro following my pointing and gentle encouragement. We make our way to the summit area which is tiny, rocky and crowded. A stiff wind sweeps over it dropping the temperature markedly. The couple are here and offer me a lift back to my car park if I carry on and do the whole ridge. I realise it's hardly midday yet. I thank them for the offer and suggest I might take them up on it if we all end up at the end together, but not to hang around for me. Out of the wind back at the trig I message Paul to see if he fancies a drive out. Very surprisingly he does. So that's the new plan: do the whole ridge. I scarcely believe I'm really up for this but the day is still young, sunset not until 8pm and then on a nice day like this darkness not setting in till 9. I have a headtorch anyway. I think "okay, lets get this done!".

Maol Chean-Dearg across Lochan Neimhe
Maol Chean-Dearg across Lochan Neimhe

Stuc Coire an Laoigh
Stuc Coire an Laoigh

We leave the trig just after 12 following the rocky ridge vaguely westwards. There's an occasional bump on the ridge but it's largely a drop of 150m and then a climb up to spot-height 956m near Coinneach Mor. From there it's another 90m drop passing where the steep scree path drops through a gully into Coire Mhic Fhearchair, our way off this mountain. But we carry on upwards again to the second munro Ruadh-stac Mor - Big red stack. This is the tallest on the ridge and by now feels like it. Skye is still trooping on ahead, still very excited. She's doing well, giving me absolutely no concerns, and reminds me very much of Jessie. What a cracking good day.

Beinn Eighe eastern summits
Beinn Eighe eastern summits

Spidean Coire nan Laoigh
Spidean Coire nan Laoigh

By the time we reach the summit I'm feeling tired and it feels a long way to go still. Skye has already had her lunch but I've still got some chicken left. I share a bit with her, leaving some for when we're down at Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair and the walk out. Two young and obviously fit women join us at the summit and chat. They said someone told them it was 2.5 hours from there to the car park. Hmm, maybe for them but not for me. I guessed on 4 hours and was spot on. Skye and me spent 20 minutes faffing about before I'd felt it time to get going again. I still couldn't believe we'd got this far. Starting out this morning it seemed like a forlorn hope that we'd complete the whole ridge.

Beinn Eighe ridge to Coinneach Mhor
Beinn Eighe ridge to Coinneach Mhor

Ruadh-stac Beag
Ruadh-stac Beag

It was just after 2pm when we left. Paul was already at the car park at the end of the walk-out. Hamish, or Callum or whatever his name is, the stag, was in residence. Paul had left soon after our message exchange and bought himself an ice-cream in Torridon village. He'd got the internet and a book so he was set for a wait.

Ruadh-Stac Mor
Ruadh-Stac Mor

Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Back at the top of the scree gully I have to admit it looked horrendous. Steep and loose gravel scree, a multitude of paths heading into it. Loose looking friable side walls offered little but a wee bit of hope and maybe a handhold so we kept to the right hand side and with poles gingerly made our way down. Skye kept right on the wide-wall and found a good set of steps leading down, I followed her lead. We took our time, definitely not a time to hurry and slip or trip. Surprisingly we found ourselves at the bottom with only one rock dislodged between us which didn't go far.

Skye on Ruadh-stac Mor
Skye on Ruadh-stac Mor

Skye on the decent to Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Skye on the decent to Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Crossing the floor of Coire Mhich Fhearchair was the most tedious bit of the whole journey! It seemed to take ages. I'd headed left to pick up a path I'd spotted from above, but it soon petered out. I found odd other paths, an occasional cairn, a path round a lochan which then ended above a 10foot cliff, and repeat until thoroughly frustrated. We eventually managed to get ourselves to the inflow of the loch and the much more reasonable path round to the outflow. I actually managed to link a few strides together so it took only 15 minutes to the ford and the path out. I opted for a breather and the last of the chicken leaving only a wee bit of chocolate to get me through to the car park.

Skye looking a little tired at Coire Mhic Fhearchair
Skye looking a little tired at Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Tags: munro, outdoor, scotland Written 09/04/23 

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