This Augusts Hostelling Scotland Torridon Munro’s was a bit more challenging, weather wise, than our May trip!
The forecast was pretty unsavoury for all three days with a brief weather window on Monday which gave us the chance to scoot over Liathach, however the weather for Tuesday was going to be grim.
We started up the Beinn Alligin track, the first of our objectives, on Sunday Morning. The weather looking more promising than expected with only a few showers to deal with and the tops just clearing of cloud.
The group coped well with the scrambling on the approach to the Horns, all being experienced scramblers and I knew that they would have no problem traversing all three horns. The traverse was stunning with the mist enveloping us for a time then opening up to reveal the beauty of this stunning area.
The group were very fast and we were able to reached Tom Na Gruagaich by just before three leaving us plenty of time for a leisurely descent into the coire.
Monday morning and weather had improved slightly. The tops were in mist but the wind had abated making for a pleasant traverse of the Am Fassern pinnacles of Liathach.
The ascent up the east end is relentlessly steep with only a short section of flat walking about half way up to the ridge. With the cloud base covering the high tops but still above the east end of the ridge we had some views northward into Coireag Dubh Beag. Unfortunately the summit of Spidean was in cloud, we had a quick bite to eat then proceeded down the Southeast ridge and after reaching some flat ground I realised that we had come a bit too far. This is a classic error to make on this part of the ridge and there have been several rescues where people have continued down only to become crag fast on Pyramid Buttress. A quick 5 minute traverse brought us to the start of the pinnacles.
Once again the group made short work of the scrambling and we were soon on the summit of Mullach an Rathain. The descent was a bit slower than the previous day, some legs were feeling tired now.
The forecast for day three was not good with high wind and prolonged periods of rain becoming increasingly worse as the day progressed. For that reason we started Beinn Eighe from Coire an Laoigh to get the high section of the day completed before the weather really kicked in.
Everyone moved quickly knowing that the slower we went the longer we were going to be in the bad weather for. We raced up the coire to the trig point and did the short scramble that leads to Spidean Coire nanClach. We reversed our steps and made our way along the ridge taking the bypass path to once again minimise our time high up.
At the top of the stone shoot the wind was gusting 40mph and we had a brief period of decision making as to whether it was worth trekking out to Ruadh-stac Mor given the foul weather and lack of visibility.
Fast group, we’re here, let’s do it! We headed off into the mist with a strengthening wind blowing over the exposed plateau. We reached the summit but could spend no more than a minute there as the wind was now gusting 50 to 60mph. We quickly made our way back to the shelter of the stone shoot and the relative warmth of the coire below. Now just the long slog out on the Coire Dubh Mor path which took us safely back to our vehicles, thankful that we were not still on the tops.
blog by Dunc Maclennan, nineonesix-guiding
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