Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 6 April 2009

Sunday 5 April 2009 - The Slowest Munro - Beinn Sgritheall

Nine of us set out from Arnisdale, after over an hour in the cars, only David (birding in Applecross), Max (dossing in Plockton) and Avril (arthritis) being absent from today's minor epic (in timing anyway).

Setting off from Arnisdale in fine fettle for a week in the hills

The sun was shining at 10.20 as we left the eider ducks and the gentle lapping of the water in Loch Hourn.

The first 3 km, along a road lined with bright yellow gorse, a third of today's total mileage, were covered in 40 minutes. Our pace then slowed drastically after leaving the road at Creag Ruadh to bushwhack our way past two dying deer (do they catch Lyme's Disease?), through juniper and bramble, lesser celandine, dog violets and primroses, squidgy bogs and across streams.

A dying deer - its mother was in a similar state nearby - David thinks malnutrition may be the cause

We eventually reached a deer fence at 300 metres. Someone had created a way under it. We used this route, then filled the gap with rocks before heaving ourselves up a steep narrow gully to reach the ridge, just above a lochan.

It was windy.

Chris stands on the easy ridge after all the hard work getting there - Beinn Sgritheall's 974 metre summit is on the right, with the minor 928 metre summit that some of us ascended to directly, on the left

A ponderous ascent of Beinn Sgritheall followed, with lunch at 12.45, in a lovely sheltered spot out of the wind.

Some of us had spent a lot of time waiting, so we popped up the minor 928 metre outlier before reaching the main summit, where the four of us still had to wait for all bar Chris, despite being distracted by a hare that had tried to be invisible as we walked past it.

The well camouflaged hare, just before it streaked off

We left the summit, with its fine views to many Highland regions, four hours after starting the walk, not expecting to take more than a couple of hours to descend the final 3 km to the cars.

Starting the descent from Beinn Sgritheall, with Loch Hourn and Knoydart beyond

But it was steep, and some found it difficult. Others pottered along then waited. Luckily the weather was clear and warm, if breezy.

Descending Beinn Sgritheall - the horizon is straight, but Janet and Andrew are bending in the wind

Some were fitter than others.

We saw four other people out on this hill today. Apart from one easy and avoidable snow slope near the 974 metre summit we encountered no significant 'white stuff'. Luckily the weather remained fine and clear.

After some moments of concern everyone made it back down over steepish ground, past waterfalls, ptarmigan and bluebells to Arnisdale by 5.30, three and a half hours after leaving the summit. We were greeted by smiles and waves from residents enjoying the warm afternoon sunshine, midge free, outside their cottages.

This cottage had no tea drinkers outside it, but did have a garden laden with daffodils

Sue found a tick. They like her.

Back at Duilisg we admired our banana mountain (gained due to the generosity of the other cottage, in return for some of our own salad mountain) and a fine meal was prepared, after David and Janet, the latter exhausted from this uncustomary exercise, had returned home to Inverness. Thanks for the delicious cake and the wine, you two.

The beef stew for six was eagerly consumed by five of us.

Andrew and I then visited 'the other cottage' where plans for tomorrow were hatched. The forecast is fine but few will be venturing high.

Today's walk calculates as being a 4 hour 50 minute trundle according to Naismith's formula. We took nearly double that - our slowest ever Munro, I suspect!

Here's our route - 11 km, 1170 metres ascent, taking us a leisurely 7 hours or so.


Alan Sloman said...


Had you planned to do anything els with all that spare time?

Lie back and smell the roses! Go with the flow!

Phreerunner said...

That's more or less what we did, Alan. It was mercifully warm. Just a bit of a shame to see people who used to be 'hill fit' struggling over relatively easy terrain.