Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Friday, 2 April 2010

A Great British Ridge Walk - Number 45 - Ben Mor Coigach

Perfect weather attracted Ken and me to this classic round, whilst four went home and Pam and Paul tackled a couple of Munros.

Sue, Anne and Janet (newly arrived last night) came with us to Culnacraig for their low level stroll back to Janet's car at Blughasary. They took longer than we did over their 10 km!

Ben Mor Coigach, at 743 metres, isn't a Munro. Nor is it a Corbett. But it's a fine hill that on all previous visits (four or so) I've ascended via the steep gully from Lochan Tuath. So Bill Birkett's route was a new one for me, and also for Ken whose previous experience of this hill had been via the Speicein Coinnich spur.

From Culnacraig we headed up Garbh Choireachan, the snow line being around 400 metres today. It was steep, leading to a flat-topped, narrow rock crest crowned with little tors and towers of sandstone. Delightful. We skipped along, enjoying every minute, with impressive views over Assynt to the north, and to the Fannaichs and An Teallach and beyond across Loch Broom.

Lunch was taken out of the wind on the 743 metre summit, from where the preceding two postings were snapped and sent. It's a great viewpoint.

The route took us onwards over the deserted hill to the spiky point of Sgurr an Fhidhleir, another fabulous viewpoint. The scenery in these parts compares with anything else I've seen in the world - perhaps I'm biased, or not well travelled, but that's how I rate it.

The walk back down the broad ridge to the car was simple. We were entertained by a couple encountered earlier at our parking spot, who could be seen slowly descending from half way along the Garbh Choireachan ridge. One of them had obviously encountered difficulties, and they hadn't managed to get as far as the main summit where Ken and I had savoured our lunch.

The above image shows Ken near the end of the 10 km, 960 metre ascent, 5.5 hour day, with the ridge behind.

All seven of us then regrouped for a final delicious meal (the larder is now bare), before preparing for tomorrow's long drive home.

There is likely to be a short interlude now, before some better images from this most successful (despite the weather) trip are uploaded.

And so, as they say, it's goodbye from me, and it's goodbye from Ullapool...

...until next time.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


Nick said...

Thanks for the memory Martin. I made this round while on camping trip to Achnahaird, one of my favourite sites. Must have been later in the year because I recall being plagued by midges as I left Culnacraig. Later, sitting alone taking in the extensive views from Sgurr an Fhidhleir, I had the feeling that I was being watched. Turning round I saw a large herd of deer just meters away. Not sure who was the more surprised. Wonderful.

Phreerunner said...

The deer were lower on the hill today, Nick, but Golden Plover were quite high, and on the way home we had fabulous views, with a Great Skua seen by Loch Osgaig. There were no midges, and just enough snow on the ridge to make it 'interesting', albeit pretty easy.

Ken's head got quite burnt!

Great to hear that you are moving from Shanghai to Zug, BTW. The Central Swiss Alps beckon...

The Odyssee said...

We have enjoyed your postcards from Ullapool.
Considering the weather you have done well.

We are looking forward to seeing your route plan from Aberfoyle now. We fancy this walk ourselves. regards - Alan and Sheila

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan, and Sheila, your comments are appreciated. Whilst I know quite a few people read the postcards, very few make comments (which may or may not be a shame), often because (unlike my elderly mother) they can't get their minds around how to make a comment!

The Aberfoyle route was designed by Markus the Austrian (TGO Challenger, but not this year)- it's part of his Cramond to Cape Wrath trek, on which I plan to join him for six days. Since you've asked, I'll try to put up the Aberfoyle to Fort Aggie section of the route over the next few days.

Paul said...

Nice write-up Martin. You've hit on another hill that's high on my "to do" list. Back in New Year 2003/2004, we were staying at the Ardmair Bay cottages just south of Ben Mor Coigach, and saw the hill in its impressive winter raiment. I still regret not climbing it then, but relish the opportunity when it next arises.

Anyway, I though you and your readers might like these pictures of the hill I took at the time. I don't think I've posted them on my own blog, so they're presented here on Picasa. Only four pics, but they should provide inspiration to anyone considering a winter ascent!

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Paul
Very good pictures...I commend others to view their slideshow.
I recall the reports from that trip - didn't Rupert have an adventure with his car?

Paul said...

Well remembered! I've added an extra picture to the slideshow that records the excitement caused by Rupert's impromptu rallying escapade (or just go straight to that picture)... :-)