Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Knoydart trip days 3-

Again it rain in the night, and again head to toe in waterproofs but not for long this time. Just down from where I'd camped is a gorge and waterfall, I was on the left bank which turned out to be a mistake. The path descended to the riverbed and I carried on scrambling over bolder and climbing along the side of the gorge. All of a sudden this was getting hard, I must have gone wrong somewhere. I climbed out of the gorge to try and find the path but couldn't see it, then I looked over to the other side of the river - there was a nice wide well made path. Sheepishly I re-climbed down to the river and up the other side. 
At Sourlies bothy there was the usual resident nutter, this one was still in his sleeping bag with a rather large sheep-dog pup! I didn't stop but climbed up following a stream behind the bothy up to the main Druim a Ghoirtein ridge of Sgurr na Ciche. At first I seemed to gain height quite quickly up to the Lochan at 450m. After that the clouds closed in and visibility was down to 10m or so. It just felt like one lump after another, up one side down the other with no height gained at all. Eventually I came to one lump higher than the rest 750m said my altimeter, this one is marked on the map which was reassuring. Up one side so it should be down the other side only where had the ridge gone? I must be dropping off down one side of the ridge. I retraced my steeps and got the compass out, sure enough I'd been 90 degrees out.
Onward and upwards, the ridge now started to get steeper more scrambley with scree and rocks intermingled with vertical grass and heather. By now it was raining and the wind was getting stronger, at one point I was bridging wide up a wet chimney. "I thought your on your own, with a big pack on, it's raining what are you doing?" I climbed down and tried again around the corner, a little easier this time.
The summit, it was already past 4 o'clock, the plan had been to traverse the mountain and descend the Loch Quoich side. No time for that now not in this weather. Then I found a path, it lead off right (southeast). "If there's a path there should be a way down". It lead to a bealach (col) between Sgurr na Ciche and the neighbouring peak Garbh Chioch Mhor. I could see nothing on the Loch Quoich side but there was a faint path leading down toward Glen Dessary. I took it and soon found myself down climbing a waterfall in true gill scrambling style. I was very glad to reach the bottom of the fall and the gentle angled coire floor. I found a flatish, firmish bit of ground by a stream, "it'll have to do". tent up, kit in, water bottle filled, I'm in my little nest for the night.  

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Owen! sometimes when the route doesn't "go" as expected it gets to some great hidden corners.... and what is it with Sourlies; I don't think I've ever been there and not encountered a resident oddball?!

    Really enjoying this series of posts:-)