986 m. |
Translation: Big ridge stretching into the plain
Pronuncation: loorak voar
6 June 2017 was a rather wet and windy day. It wasn’t too bad when we parked our Audi outside Attadale Gardens in the lot provided for hikers’ cars. Only later, on the hills, did the downpour really thrash us.
This early in the day, however, spirits were high. But we were also a little apprehensive of the task ahead since the cycle tour to the bothy at Bendronaig Lodge is no piece of cake. And after one kilometre on flat ground the 300m climb to the high point of the hydro road above Loch na Caillich and below Meall Ruadh (454m) started. This was steep in many sections but also had one or two stretches which provided some respite. Do I need to mention that we were overtaken by quite a few lorries making their way towards the hydro constructions further up the Glen?
From the highpoint of the road at about 330m it was a long swoosh down to the bridge over the Black Water where the hydro construction village was situated. Another kilometre on the new hydro road got us to the bothy. There we paused, changed into hiking gear and set off in the rain towards Loch Calavie. On a better day we would have enjoyed the remoteness of the surrounding hills and the setting of the loch but on 6 June 2017 the place looked dreary to desolate. Sorry to say.
At the loch we pause for a snack and then climbed the steepish hillside beside the Allt Coire Calavie. In fact there are several small streams but the Allt Coire Calavie is the biggest and most easterly burn. For me the going was tough as the ground was soaked and the wind hit us front-on. I made it to the col between the two Munros: Cheesecake to the left (i.e. northwest), Lurg to the right (i.e. southeast). There I chatted to a group of three cheerful Scots who lifted my spirits with their kind words. I followed Frank towards Lurg Mhor first over a steeper and rockier section of the ridge then on more gentle slopes until the final steepening before the summit arrived in my limited field of vision as did Frank who was already on his way back from the summit. I did not linger at the summit of Lurg Mhor for long. Soon I was back at the bealach between the two Munros.
While Lurg Mhor has an open and rounded shoulder, the upper parts of Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich have a much more ridge-like, well-defined and steep character. Since the grass and the bare earth on the path were very slippery I had to be quite alert in order not to slip and fall. Again I met Frank on his way down from the summit (Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich’s this time) and we decided to meet somewhere in the glen or at the bothy at the latest. So I continued up to the stony and grassy summit, touched the cairn and turned round after 30 seconds of catching my breath and trying to see something else than the ground and the clouds. Not a chance.
So it was back down the summit ridge for me. I made it to the open corrie below and followed the developing track all the way down to the shore of Loch Calavie. There was nothing left to do but return to the bothy where I met Frank who was trying to keep warm in his damp clothes. A short break from the wind and rain was necessary but soon we straddled our bikes and headed for Attadale. The cycle back towards Loch Carron was easier since there is only about 150m of a climb. From the summit of the track the steep and initially rather twisted descent called for some caution. We both made it back to the flats of the River Attadale, Strathan and then Attadale Gardens and Attadale House. Me some 25 minutes later than Frank, but never mind. It was pure bliss to sit in the dry and warm car on the way back to Plockton.
When coming to Alba in 2017 we had thought that these two might be our final Munros where we would celebrate our Compleation on remote and benign sunny hills. It was not to be so. Quite contrary we did not finish our tick-list and a celebratory mood was not in our hearts and minds. Much rather a feeling of relief that we had braved this challenge under quite appalling conditions. At the end of this day our minds were definitely on the hot shower waiting for us!
Long story short: This is a pair of very remote hills in (probably) beautiful back country. But save them for a fine day.
Max elevation: 992 m
Min elevation: -4 m
Total climbing: 2756 m
Total descent: -2918 m
Total time: 09:11:31
Description These two mountains, rising above the head of Loch Monar, are among the most remote and inaccessible in the Highlands, being almost ten kilometres distant over intervening hills and ridges from the nearest points of access in Glen Carron. Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich is a fine pointed peak which can be identified from many distant viewpoints. Lurg Mhor, though slightly higher, is not so distinctive and is connected to its east top, Meall Mor, by a narrow rocky ridge.Of three or four possible starting points in Glen Carron, the level crossing at Craig is possibly the best. You can cycle for about 5½ kilometres from there along the private road up the Allt a' Chonais to the point where the glen leading to Strathconon turns east. Continue on foot up the path to the Bealach Bhearnais and traverse Beinn Tharsuinn. Descend to the Bealach an Sgoltaidh and climb steeply up the craggy prow of the north ridge of Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich to a lochan on the crest. Continue up the rocky ridge to the summit. The traverse to Lurg Mhor is straightforward and should be continued to Meall Mor only if you have time to spare and are prepared for a little serious scrambling.On the return to Glen Carron, the quickest way to reach the Bealach Bhearnais from the Bidein - Lurg Mhor col is by a descending traverse round the foot of the south-east ridge of Beinn Tharsuinn followed by an ascent up the glen to the Bealach Bhearnais.