Our blog - Coulin Munros, Apr'17A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !
Coulin Forest Munros1-2 April 2017
A weekend of hiking up the Munros east of the Coulin Forest. Emma was leading...
It was a much brighter morning than anticipated with the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor visible as we walked along the excellent stalkers track past the Ling Hut. This path winds its way through a series of glacial drumlins and crosses a number of streams on its ascent, which were running high after heavy rain the day before and provided some good practise in rock hopping to ensure we kept our feet dry. We opted to leave the stalkers track before it reached Bealach Coire Lair and scrambled up onto the north west ridge of Sgorr Ruadh.
We were well rewarded for our efforts with some fine views across Torridon, although most of the higher summits were shrouded in mist, and a sighting of a pair of ptarmigan still in their winter coats. As we headed along the ridge the mist soon descended and some heavy rain followed, this stayed with all the way to the summit of Sgorr Ruadh. It was disappointing not to get any views, however, we were very happy to reach the summit of this fine mountain.
We descended to the bealach and stopped for some food and hot drinks in the rain before traversing over a subsidary summit on the way to Beinn Liath Mhor. The mist stayed with us but fortunately the rain eased, and the sun did make an attempt to break through the clouds whilst we sat by the cairn, but we were soon enveloped in thick mist again. A tough descent over rough, wet ground followed and everyone was relieved to reach the stalkers track as we walked out of the clouds and made our way back towards the Ling hut and Torridon road.
The forecast for Sunday was for a ridge of high pressure to dominate and we awoke to clear skies and cloud free summits. The approach to Maol Chean-dearg from Annat is one of my favourite routes in Torridon (and in Scotland!). It is along a well constructed stalkers path which in places crosses huge slabs of glaciated Torridonian sandstone en route to Loch an Eoin, all the while the large dome of Maol Chean-dearg gets ever closer.
There isn't an easy route up the north face of the mountain and the track traverses to the west with incredible views across to Beinn Damph, Beinn Bhan and the Isle of Skye, before climbing to a saddle at the foot of the south-east ridge. The way up from here is on steep, loose Cambrian quartzite, and the wind was whipping across the crest of the ridge. Once up the first section, it's back onto the sandstone for the final climb to the summit. We took our time with some weary legs in the group from yesterday's excursion, and we savoured the views.
On the summit everyone took lots of photos - we could see hundreds of mountains! All the Torridon summits were clear, with Liathach looking particularly impressive, and Cameron and Julie couldn't quite believe where they had been yesterday as we traced the route we had covered in the cloud. We were just about ready to set off after lunch when a sea eagle flew across the summit at eye height, about 3 metres from where we were sitting! It was quite incredible - and definitely the closest I have ever been to any wild eagle. All that was left then was to re-trace our steps back to the saddle, admiring the quartzite cliffs of An Ruadh-stac and its glistening lochans as we went and make our way back to Annat and the end of a highly memorable day.
More photos by Emma are here on Flickr.
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