A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Bespoke days in Knoydart and Grey Corries

Late Jul 2016
We were asked to put together a few days of hiking over some Munros on Scotland's west coast. Knoydart, the Rough Bounds and the Grey Corries ended up being the locations. Mixed weather, but cracking days. Emma was the guide for most of the days, with Steven guiding on one. Here's their tales of the trip ...

Knoydart - Emma

photo 2 A wet day was forecast with high winds and we opted to climb Ladhar Bheinn from Gleann Guiserein for the first of our walks. It is quite a long approach to the foot of the mountain which is made relatively easy by good forest tracks to the ruins at Folach. It wasn't long before we were in the clouds and as we climbed higher the rain became increasingly heavy. However, it did not dampen our spirits as we climbed onto the final slopes towards the summit ridge which was to be an impressive 1st Munro for 1 member of the group.

With strong winds blowing across the mountain we took the sensible option and retraced our steps for the return journey as the ridge stretching towards Aonach Sgoilte was not appealing in the poor conditions. The descent was lightened by Moss, our 4-legged companion leading the way effortlessly down the slippery rocks, stopping to sit and look at us, as if saying 'what is taking you all so long'! The streams were absolute torrents cascading down the sides of the glen by the time we were crossing the bridge near Folach, and we were very happy to reach the shelter of Inverie a couple of hours later.

photo 2 Our next summits were to be Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe and the day couldn't have been more of a contrast. It dawned with blue skies and light mist drifting over the sea with the temperature soon climbing high into the 20s. Making use of the Knoydart bike hire facility we cycled up towards Gleann an Dubh-Lochain before leaving the bikes and continuing on foot up to the Mam Barrisdale. It was a hot, sticky climb with frequent stops to refill our bottles from the streams crossing our path. The views were stunning and they provided a very pleasant distraction as we followed the old track to the top of the pass.

The northwest ridge of Luinne Bheinn was a steep climb, with an ever widening panorama opening up as we climbed higher, and of course an opportunity to see Ladhar Bheinn for the first time. It was a warm lunch stop on the summit with plenty of time to take boots off and identify surrounding peaks. The traverse between Luinne Beinn and Meall Buidhe is one of the finest walks in Scotland, and we thoroughly enjoyed the wild setting as we scrambled over the rocks making our way towards our second summit. The descent route gives amazing sea views dominated by the Isles of Eigg and Rhum. It became incredibly hot as we reached the glen and we finished the walk with a wade across the river before picking up our bikes for the return to Inverie.

Rough Bounds part 1 - Steven

photo 2 On this day we had two groups heading into the Rough Bounds - Martin was leading an 'open' group and I was leading a bespoke day for Mick and Veronica. Martin's group had been out with me yesterday on Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarainn which had in fine conditions. Today we knew that up to around 2pm would be fine, then conditions would deterioate - sounds good to me - we'll get the bulk of the walk done, then a breeze to cool us down as we walked out ! So we hiked along the fine track past Dessary Lodge with Martin's group. Beyond Upper Dessary, Martin's group peeled away - they were a determined bunch, we opted for a more relaxed pace and blethered as we enjoyed the scenery.

Up to the foot of Sgurr na Ciche, we took the slightly wet clamber up through the gully towards the bealach, finding some interesting plants and rocks on the way. We met Martin and his bunch at the col - they were on their way down from Sgurr na Ciche's summit - I asked if they had any views - "Nope !" was the reply. Cloud was in, so we sat at the col and had lunch in the faint hope it would lift. The hike up is steep and recent weather errosion had make for careful progress. On the summit we met a couple of chaps, but alas only glimpses of views.

Returning to the col, we were caught up by one of the chaps on Sgurr na Ciche's summit and he shadowed us up Garbh Coire Mor, taking the secretive detours that we took. We let him pass and we continued at our pace. Up to our final peak - Sgurr nan Coireachean, a Hi-5, then down. Right on cue, just as we hit the path below, the rain came in - but, heck, we'd done the work and just had a pleasant walk back to the road-end with the breeze behind us.

A fine day in good company bagging some cracking peaks !

Rough Bounds part 2 - Emma

photo 2 Today's destination was to be Sgurr Mor from Loch Arkaig. Sgurr Mor is located in very wild country and is not easily accessed, requiring a long walk from the road end to reach its summit. Heavy rain overnight had raised the water levels on all the rivers and we sensibly decided to avoid crossing the lower reaches of the River Kingie. Our climb was wet! Wet underfoot through long grass and over boggy ground, and wet from above, with increasingly persistent and heavy rain falling out of the sky. Mist shrouded the mountains above approximately 700 metres, and there was a strong wind blowing too.

Once we attained the ridge the going was a little easier and a lot more enjoyable! A fine stalker's track zig-zags its way over Sgurr Beag and onto the summit of Sgurr Mor. Unfortunately the rain was at its heaviest on top of Sgurr Mor so we didn't stay long before retracing our steps back across Sgurr Beag making the most of the stalker's track. We were rewarded with a temporary break in the weather on the return, allowing time for a bite to eat, change of socks and a few photos to be taken. It was soon back to wet, boggy ground and a boot-off crossing of the Kingie before the long walk back to Glendessary and onto Strathan. A long day and a very well-earned Munro!

Grey Corries - Emma

photo 2 The climb up the south ridge of Stob Coire na Gaibhre felt surprisingly easy after our long day in the Rough Bounds of Knoydart less than 48 hours ago. The weather was dry and bright, with light winds and cloud above the summits. Once past the Munro Top, as the underfoot conditions changed from green, grassy slopes, to grey-white quartzite boulders we were rewarded with incredible views of the Grey Corries Ridge. It's a high level traverse that remains above 900 metres for several kilometres, with views stretching across the West Highlands and beyond. An east to west crossing meant that we were to be walking towards the Aonachs and Ben Nevis, creating an impressive backdrop.

Our first Munro of the day was Stob Choire Claurigh, at 1177m the highest point of the ridge, it provided an excellent spot for an early lunch. The continuing ridge traverses 3 more Tops before climbing to Stob Coire an Laoigh, 1115m. We almost had the entire route to ourselves, except for 1 person who descended from the ridge behind us to explore the snow patches in the corrie below An Caisteal, and a second hillwalker who passed us on the summit of the second Munro. Basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun we savoured the setting and views from the last Munro. We were seeing Scotland at its best, and a great day to be on the hills.

Our descent took us north from the Top Stob Coire Easain following grass slopes all the way to the Leanachan Forest, and we were busy planning next year's walks as we walked back through the forest. A memorable day to end 2 weeks of exploring the West Highlands.

More photos by Emma and Steven are here on Flickr.

Share this page

« next    |    previous »