Torridonian Wanders

Beinn Eighe was in our sights for the day and we set off on a clock-wise route which in theory would take us first to the impressive corrie at its rear, Coire Mhic Fearchair, where we intended to linger and admire views of the cliffs before ascending the mountain and all its peaks. That was the plan, however the weather deteriorated a tad from the outset and none of us saw much point going up in to the mist, drizzle and gusting wind when these mountains and the views from them should be enjoyed to the full in much better conditions.

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Leaving the cars we were hemmed in almost immediately by the rising bulk of Liathach on one side and Beinn Eighe on the other, but following the gently rising path we were soon given views out on to a more open landscape with smaller island-like hills (Inselbergs) rising steeply out of the moor to the north. Deer were making their presence known with their vocals, below us and surprisingly above too, the first sign of the rut this year for us.

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Dampness and winds had us take our lunch quickly behind a large, slightly overhanging boulder at the entrance to Coire Mhic Fearchair. An impressive place, even based on the views from just one corner, but it was a shame we got no further as it was here we decided against further ascent, the tops seemed to be getting mistier if anything and so we decided soup and a pint was a more appealing way to spend the afternoon. About turns and retreat …

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… almost. A comical debate arose part way out about the potential of actually saving some face and earning our dinner properly with an ascent of Beinn Dearg, seemingly close enough to get up and down in no time and being lower than the giants in the clouds around us, with potential for clear views. In the end, three carried on out and two of us struck off across some rough ground to our new target.

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Some fast work got us up to the low point on the top where some good views were taken in behind a small cliff sheltering us from the winds, which were pretty strong and chilling at this height.

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Heading for the summit still involved a fair amount of ascent from this point and soon enough we were in the mists, losing sight of anything remote from the peak itself. The ridge leading to the summit soon narrowed and and steepened and to our surprise we were soon scrambling our way up and along between gusts with a drop of unknown height off on both sides, great fun and nothing too taxing but our attention to foot and hand placements was definitely focused.

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We may not have had views up top, but we had signal and so we arranged for a pick up close to Torridon House which would allow us to get a traversing route as well as saving us a couple of kilometers and some re-ascent to get back to our starting point. We descended a steep gully down to the path which follows the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil, our route out.

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Dusk was on its way as we descended and headed out and the lowering sun was casting a nice light on the sea out in front of us, a nice end to an unexpected walk.

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After a pretty sensible night at the Torridon Inn’s Real Ale Festival, we woke to conditions which were much more hungover than any of us, so plans of an ascent of Ben Damph were shelved in favour of something lower, a coastal walk from Diabeg to Craig Bothy.

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Craig sits in a lovely, sheltered setting close to a river and seems to be well looked after and respected, somewhere maybe for a return visit for an overnight stay. Not all pleasant though, beasties lurk in the bracken, notes in the bothy had warned of ticks in the area and sure enough we did pick up at least one between us on our short walk.

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