M213 | 953 m. | 3127 ft.
Translation: Peak of the corries
Pronuncation: skoor nan korachan

Frank’s story: Sgurr na Ciche and his neighbours were Munros which we wanted to climbed for years now but there was never the right time. This year it was. We woke up at 6 am enjoyed an extensive breakfast and packed our stuff. Then we drove one of the most torterous single tracks roads in Scotland i have ever driven. The track along Loch Arkaig is a hell of a road. Finally we reached Strahan and prepared ourselves for a really long day.

The walk through Glen Dessarry is a really nice one, although the forestation to the west is not especially eyecandy. We had decided that we won’t follow the recommandations from SMC and McNeish and everyone else. Instead we aimed to climb Sgurr na Ciche first and then his easterly neighbours with the remote Sgurr Mor as the final and 4th Munro. On the way through the Glen we passed Dessarry House – a very remote and a very huge sporting lodge. The paths continued and we left it after aprox 9 km’s and headed up the bealach. The gorge we saw was a surprise, didn’t read anything about that. But there it was and we had to climb that steep and wet rock thing. Soon after that the bealach was reached and we traced our steps towards the summit of this very recognisable Munro. This ascent is in fact much steeper than that through the gorge and we had to descent it after taking a well earned lunch break on Sgurr na Ciche.

Almost at the same height the next summit Garbh Cioch Mhor waited for us after a steep and very direct pull. In no time we were there. What was going to follow was a not so funny up and down of tops and Munros which Cord ended on the 3rd Munro of the day – Sgurr nan Coireachan – he returned then the normal way down to Glen Dessarry. I felt good enough to gave the 6 km remote Sgurr Mor a try. Another solo. Always exciting.

So i descended and ascended and descended and ascended and descended and ascended and there i was. Sgurr Mor, the 4th and last Munro of the day. A short break, a last snack and then i followed the not so steep descent to Braigh a`Chorie Bhuide and then the very steep descent down the grass slopes of Doire nan Cluaniean. Down there was a huge herd of red deer which i successfully ousted. A short reascend and redescend – you get the story – along boggy and soggy moorland and i regained the Glen Dessarry path. Soon after that i reached our car where Cord cheerfully disturbed the silence with a car horn greeting 🙂

12,5 hrs
35 kms
4 Munros
2500 metres of ascend
Exhausted but happy
But then there came the hell of a road again

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Total distance: 32198 m
Max elevation: 1034 m
Min elevation: 58 m
Total climbing: 2554 m
Total descent: -2544 m
Total time: 12:20:45

 

Cord’s story: This is the tour Frank and I had been planning to do for a longer time than any other hillwalk in Scotland apart maybe from the Five Sisters of Kintail which had also been on our agenda for quite a while before we made them. But then, after having driven the car about 20 odd miles along the undulating single track road on north shore of Loch Arkaig we finally arrived at Strathan. We packed our rucksacks, laced our boots and off we went for this much coveted Munro adventure.

It was quite cold that morning when we set out on the track to Glendessarry. Progress was easy and in no time Glendessarry House – a really massive lodge – and Upper Glendessary were reached. There we left the Landrover track and continued on the path which runs along the north side of the massive pine plantation in the glen. After about 9 or 10 kilometres we started climbing up a grassy track in order to gain height and to finally reach the deep gully which separates Garbh Cioch Mor and Sgurr na Ciche. We finally reached this narrow and deep gash in the mountains’ south side and steadily climbed the gully over boulders and lingering spring snow fields. Where the gully opens up a bit and levels out below the Feadan na Ciche we paused for a snack. It was there when we met an English hillwalker who should be our on and off companion for the rest of the day. We chatted a bit and went on.

From the Feadan na Ciche col we followed the increasingly steep path through crags and boulders to the summit ridge of Sgurr na Ciche. A very nice scramble in places. Soon the summit was reached and we took a well-deserved break enjoying the clear views of Knoydart with Loch Nevis, Meall Buidhe, Luinne Bheinn and Ladhar Bheinn offering much to be marvelled at and to be remembered – Ladhar Bheinn had been one of the first Munros we had climbed in 1993! Oh, how time flies by!

After some twenty minutes on the cold summit we retraced our steps to the Feadan and climbed the rocky and interesting west ridge of Garbh Chioch Mor to the summit of the second Munro of the day. From there we walked along the rocky and knobbly ridge to Garbh Chioch Beag and further on to the col which separates Garbh Chioch Beag from Sgurr nan Coireachan. I needed a break so we rested for a short while on the grass in fine sunshine. Then we tackled the final 220 or so metres up the west ridge of Sgurr nan Coireachan on a steep but otherwise easy path. At the summit of Munro no. 3 of the day I more or less collapsed since my batteries had run empty.

Frank, however, was still energetic so we decided to split up our little group of two. Frank went on another four or five kilometres to Sgurr Mor in the company of our English companion. I returned to Glen Dessarry via the grassy and pleasantly sunny south ridge of Sgurr nan Coireachan after a nice break dozing in the sunshine at the summit. I reached the Glen at the spot where the Allt Coire nan Uth crosses the path we had walked upon on the way out. For me it was back to Strathan then on known paths and Landrover tracks. I reached the car about ten and a half hours after we had started the expedition. Frank returned to Strathan via Sgurr Mor, the Doire nan Cluainean side of the hill, the headwaters of the River Kingie, the boggy col between Glen Kingie and Glen Dessarry, and then Glen Dessarry House where he finally rejoined the Landrover track which delivered him back to the car after more than 35km and about 12 hours of walking.

The day fully lived up the expectations raised by the long wait Frank and I had “endured” before we finally did this tour. I am glad that I need to come back to Strathan since I still have Sgurr More on my list. The West is the Best (if the weather is ok 🙂 which it was all day!)


Description These three mountains are situated between upper Glen Dessarry and the head of Loch Nevis. They are the westward extension of the long ridge on the south side of Loch Quoich which starts far to the east at Gairich and includes Sgurr Mor. Sgurr nan Coireachan stands at the point where this long ridge changes its character dramatically, for to its west the peaks become extremely wild and rocky, in marked contrast to the smoother outlines of those further east. Garbh Chioch Mhor has a long rocky summit ridge whose north flank has great expanses of slabby rock dipping down to Coire nan Gall. The finest of these three mountains, however, is Sgurr na Ciche, whose steep conical peak is one of the most familiar landmarks of the western highlands. Rock is everywhere on this mountain, and from the water's edge at the head of Loch Nevis, the west ridge rises in a single sweep to the pointed summit.The traverse of these three mountains is a fine expedition. The end of the public road at the head of Loch Arkaig is one possible starting point, quite a long way from the mountains, and A'Chuil bothy a few kilometres up Glen Dessarry has the advantage of being a bit closer. Go up the glen to cross the Allt Coire nan Uth and climb the south ridge of Sgurr nan Coireachan. Traverse west along the very rocky crest of Garbh Chioch Mhor and descend north-west to the col below Sgurr na Ciche. The ascent of this peak from the col follows a tenuous path through rocks, crags and boulders. Return to the col and descend a narrow gully south-westwards. At its foot turn left and traverse south-east along grassy slopes to descend to the pass at the head of Glen Dessarry'