Saturday, 5 August 2017

Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin

Baosbheinn from the walk in

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Ascent:     1561 metres

Distance:  26 kilometres
Time:        9 hours 50  minutes

Baosbheinn          875m       2hrs 58mins

Beinn anEoin      855m        6hrs 18mins 

The best day of the week in Gairloch with good visibility forecast and no rain. The two corbetts in the Flowerdale forest were the obvious targets. We started at 8:30am from the parking space next to the green hut east of Loch Bad an Sgalaig. The still air meant the midges were breakfasting on us as we climbed the obvious but rough track. We caught a walker from Manchester who was accompanied by a Border Terrier and chatted for a while but we were on a mission and pushed on before a difficult crossing of a burn. The stepping stones were covered by the fast flowing water so it was a deep paddle with shoes on. Shortly afterwards we were wading across the foot of the Loch na h-Oidhche, we figured that trousers would too dry as it was almost knee deep after recent rains. We had decided to climb Baosbheinn first and headed for An Reich Choire. It was a steady slope, grass, heathers and eventually a steep ramp up to the ridge below the summit.

Baosbheinn's summit is flat and surprisingly boggy but there is a rock platform that provides a good seat. The views were good but not as clear as we had hoped. We had made good time so spent twenty minutes recognising the splendid vistas of mountains that occupied the whole skyline circumference from our focal point. There is a steep descent from the summit with loose rock and worn scree formed from the old red sandstone. It is followed by a similarly steep climb of a hundred metres to the adjacent top at 804 metres. This is a better view into the heart of the Torridons than the summit.

We dropped down another fierce slope to the bealach before Ceann Beag and from here decided to drop to Loch na h-Oidhche. As so often with these apparently quicker descents it was a false assumption. Deep heather and boulders made for a hard slog and sore feet. We reached the head of the loch and stopped for some lunch on a small designer sandy beach. Then there were some small lochans to find a route through before we reached the locked bothy at Poca Buidhe. It was reserved for fishermen and stalkers owing to alleged misuse by walkers. A claim that seemed at odds with the way that walkers normally treat bothies as a shelter that must be left as it is found. Round the back, we found a large tip between some boulders that was filled with hundreds of empty whisky bottles, beer cans and old mattresses. I suspect that these were not left by mountain walkers.

We were now faced with almost 500 metres of ascent up an unrelenting rocky slope covered with deep vegetation. The blaeberries provided some encouragement but it was perseverance that really mattered. Almost an hour later we were on the fine summit that has some of the best views from any Scottish mountain. The narrow summit ridge culminates in a platform that looks over the triptych of Torridonian giants. We lingered hoping for some sunshine to reveal the full splendour of the views. It didn't oblige so we began the long walk out. The 3-kilometre long ridge is a fine walk and the trick was to find the exit to the north. This required turning to the east and finding the route that skirts round the crags and eventually follows a burn to the slopes below.

The burn that we had struggled across in the morning had revealed its stepping stones as the waters escaped. it made for a far easier crossing before the final 7 kilometres back to the road. We passed a family on an evening walk and then were passed by a Swedish cyclist who was negotiating the rocky descent with great aplomb. When we arrived back, he had installed his full suspension mountain bike on his car and described his ride to the bothy and back as absolutely outstanding ride. Our walk had been pretty good too and only lacked the blue skies that would have made it outstanding.

Baosbheinn summit plateau

Beinn Alligin from Baosbheinn

Baosbheinn ridge to north west

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Beinn an Eoin and Beinn Eighe from Baosbheinn

Ceann Bega from Baosbheinn

Lunchtime at head of Lochna h-Oidhche

Poca Buidhe bothy

The Torridons from Beinn an Eoin
Baosbheinn from Beinn an Eoin

Liathach from Beinn an Eoin
Beinn Eighe from Beinn an Eoin
Beinn Eighe and Liathach & KY on Beinn an Eoin
Baosbheinn from Beinn an Eoin

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