Tuesday 19 May 2015

TGO Challenge 2015 Day 2 Sat 9th May

Sourlies to Lochan (NN061983)  25.5km - 2136m ascent - 2009m descent

This would be the hardest planned day of my Challenge, and in-fact I walked further than planned. I was pretty tired by the time I pitched my tent, after over 13 hours on the hills. It had been an excellent day, over some great mountains.

I'd slept well, and rose early...well early for me! The day looked exactly as forecast.

Loch Nevis was flat calm

I was away by 7am and took the stalkers path east. past the ruins of Finiskaig and climbed beside the Finiskaig River. 

I soon reached the junction of paths, my route heading into Coire na Ciche. There were lots of Red Deer everywhere (as indeed there were almost everyday) They grazed contentedly as I passed

Higher up in the coire the views opened up, the Corbett Sgurr na n-Aide dominating to the South

Reaching the col required a bit of scrambling...good job the snow had gone! 

I left my sac just above the col and climbed over snow and scree to the summit of Sgurr na Ciche. What a view, here to the West down Loch Nevis with Eigg and Rum in the distance

Northwest to Meall Buidhe, Luinne Bheinn with Ladhar Beinn and Beinn Sgrithall beyond

To the East, Loch Cuaich and some of the hills I intended to climb during the day. I was able to get some texts, including a weather forecast from Peter Dixon (@munro277 ) tomorrow would be wet!
I retuned to the col, having a chat with another Challenger Russell on the way down, he's on this picture (gives a bit of scale!) As I descended I weighed up the route up Garbh Choich Mhor, the next Munro

It's rough ground between the two Munro's, there is the remains of an old drystone wall to follow over this section. although some of it was under snow

Looking down the empty Coire nan Gall to Loch Cuaich. Sgurr Mor is the large hill in the centre of the frame...and my hoped for last top of the day

It's rough going all along this section of the ridge, Here on Garbh Choich Bheag Loch Nevis is still in view. In the foreground is part of the old drystone wall

There's some punishing descents and ascents but here on Sgurr nan Coireachan I felt I was making progress. There was a cool wind, so I sheltered just below the summit for a snack.
Sgurr na Ciche was starting to recede into the distance at last!

But there was still plenty to do...Sgurr Mor looks a long way away still!

Looking West ,Sgurr na Ciche has a superb profile 

This is looking West from Sgurr Mor back along the ridge I'd walked during the day...not sure it's backpacking terrain if I'm honest! Even with a light pack...I was only carrying approx 8kg and it still felt hard work!

On my last summit of the day, the Corbett Sgurr an Fhuarain. It would be all downhill for the rest of the day. 

Here we look East to the Munro of Gairich and across Loch Cuaich to the Munro's of Glouriach and Spidean Mialach. I had made the decision that rather than camping in the col below Gairich I would drop down into Glen Kingie with rain forecast. 

The evening sun was lighting up the Corbetts South of Glen Kingie. On the right Fraoch Bheinn and on the left Sgurr Mhurlagain. Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries in the distance had a lot of snow on them

It was an easy descent down the long East ridge of Sgurr an Fhuarain, then on the stalkers track which I followed down the glen.

I was struggling to find anywhere to pitch for a while, but in the end found a good spot next to the ruined croft of Lochan. I got the tent up at 8.30pm 13.5 hours after starting from Sourlies...a long day. Sleeping would not be a problem , it had been a long day but one of the best mountain days I've had in Scotland

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