Thursday, 8 May 2014

Knoydart weekend, April'14

Martin was leading an extended weekend into the heart of Knoydart. Read on....

The day started with the normal meet up of strangers with a common goal and interest in hill walking. This weekend the venue would be Knoydart.  Although attached to the mainland we would travel from the fishing town of Mallaig and take the “Western Isles” boat to the village of Inverie on the peninsula of Knoydart.
Six clients this weekend. Nick and Clive old friends from school who travelled up from Edinburgh with Dave. Also from Edinburgh were George and Lynn. Finally we also had Christina a ‘Merican from Virginia, US of A.

We arrived at Inverie late afternoon and walked to the Knoydart Foundation Bunkhouse accommodation. After sorting out gear we used the common room to meet up and plan our next day.  We decided to tackle Luinne Bheinn & Meall Bhuidhe. After agreeing the wake up time of 7am we went to the pub for a bit of socailising and getting to know each other.

The initial track out of Inverie is an old right of way very gently graded at first and offers good walking with footbridges over several side streams. Once at the loch good views are gained of  which looks impressive from here. Up to the high pass of Mam Barrisdale we followed a old fence line before before gaining Luinne Bheinn's ridge. Near the summit, great views open to over to Barrisdale and Beinn Sgritheall beyond. These two remote Knoydart Munros may be less celebrated than Ladhar Bheinn, but they still provide a superlative and challenging mountain walk. Rough, rocky summits packed with character and wonderful views. After lunch we continued towards the second of these Munros, Meall Bhuidhe. A twisting craggy ascent ! The first steeper section the ridge led to a complex mass of slabs, crags and grassy patches but a path has formed for most of the route and eases what would otherwise be very complex and difficult to navigate in poor conditions. But soon we were on the summit.

Time was marching on and we decided to use the long ridge westwards, looking to the Isles of Eigg and Rhum as we descended. Tricky ground at the nose of the ridge !  One down, a pleasant but long walk took us back to Inverie.

We were now in the pattern of food, pub and bed. Next day the jewel of Knoydart !

Regarded by many hillwalkers as amongst the finest mountains in Scotland, Ladhar Bheinn enjoys a superb position on western seaboard in the remote Knoydart peninsula. It has dramatic ridges, huge crags falling into Coire Dhorrcail and amazing sea and mountain views from the summit. It wasn’t going to disappoint.
We left early again. Today the weather was fantastic with blue skies all day. We ascended the Corbett directly behind Inverie, Sgurr Coire Choinnichean. Then along the roller coaster ridge to the top east of the summit. After the final slog up to the summit we were rewarded with uninterrupted views in all directions. Looking east we could see Ben Nevis and thge Mammores. Looking south towards Ben More on Mull, west to Barra in the Western Isles and North to the Torridons.

We dragged our selves away to the long descent and rough tracks back to Inverie. Another long day but a special one.

Once showered we all headed back to the pub for a final fling and a wonderful sunset !

All in all a great few days in Knoydart made memorable thanks to the people booked on to the weekend. A lot of hard work and determination for most. These aren’t easy mountains. Craggy, rough and long days.

Thanks everyone.

Photos courtesy of Nick Buchan.