(note: this blog entry contains one image that some may find disturbing - you have been warned!)
|Fuar Tholl catches the morning sun above Achnashellach Station|
So, at 7.20am, I set off up to the station, crossed the line at the level crossing, and up the forest track towards Coire Lair.
Already, the morning sun was striking the cliffs of Fuar Tholl.
|Fuar Tholl comes into full view|
|climbing steadily, and Beinn Liath Mhor comes into view for the first time|
|looking up Coire Lair|
At 9am, I began the ascent up a steep path, in short zigzags between rocks, grass and scree. Hard going, but gaining height very rapidly. The views across to Fuar Tholl encouraged frequent stops!
|Fuar Tholl, with the prominent Mainreachan Buttress, |
viewed from the path climbing towards Beinn Liath Mhor's southeast top
|southeast top of Beinn Liath Mhor (876m)|
|looking north over Sgurr nan Lochan Uaine to Liathach's pinnacled ridge|
|the eastern tops of Beinn Eighe behind Beinn Liath Beag (right) and Sgorr Dubh (centre)|
|the western tops of Beinn Eighe (Sail Mhor, Coinneach Mhor and Ruadh-Stac Mor)|
The 2km ridge walk to Beinn Liath Mhor's main top looked an enjoyable prospect, and so it proved, with fine views to left and right. Firstly, a couple of small ups and downs led to the middle top (887m) in 25 minutes.
|main summit of Beinn Liath Mhor from the middle top|
|looking back along the summit ridge to the middle top and southeast top|
|the rocky summit of Beinn Liath Mhor|
|to the NW, the view was dominated by the great southern walls of Liathach, |
with the Am Fasarinen pinnacles standing out against the blue sky
|and, at Liathach's western end, the dramatic fires still burning, sending up a huge pall of smoke|
|to the north, the eastern tops of Beinn Eighe, with A'Mhaighdean in the distance|
|dramatic views across Coire Lair to Sgorr Ruadh from Beinn Liath Mhor|
|the cairn showing the way down to the first bealach|
A small path seemed to be heading directly towards a cliff edge, but a small cairn (left) indicated where a path dropped steeply down to the first bealach at 700m.
I descended carefully down to the lochan, and followed a faint path which contoured round the south side of the small rocky (un-named) hill ahead. (You can see this in profile on the earlier picture looking up Coire Lair)
From this vantage point at the head of Coire Lair, the view of Beinn Liath Mhor's south face was particularly striking.
|Beinn Liath Mhor seen from the path round the un-named hill at the head of Coire Lair|
|looking north through the second bealach towards Liathach and Beinn Eighe|
|retrospect of Beinn Liath Mhor from about 800m on Sgorr Ruadh's NW ridge|
|and Sgorr Ruadh's northern cliffs, from the same vantage point|
Sgorr Ruadh proved to be another fine viewpoint, which deserved a 15 minute rest! (No sign of the man and dog - my guess was that he had decided that the dog had suffered enough, and headed back down Coire Lair).
|Maol Chean-dearg and Beinn Damh from Sgorr Ruadh|
|Beinn Liath Mhor's middle and southeast tops from Sgorr Ruadh|
The dramatic cliffs of Fuar Tholl beckoned, but the Corbett would have to wait for another day. Fuar Tholl means "cold hole", probably referring to the deep northern coire that never sees any direct sunlight (below).
|Fuar Tholl from near the the summit of Sgorr Ruadh|
|Fuar Tholl, with the forbidding Mainreachan Buttress, from the Bealach Mor|
|just one of the many lochans on the Bealach Mor between Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl!|
What a joy to take off the boots, and plunge my hot tired feet into the cold water!
(sorry, I warned you there was a rather disturbing image to come!)
All that was now left was to speed down the excellent path from the mouth of Coire Lair back to Achnashellach and the car.
What a superb day!
|the lovely shady wooded path on the way down to Achnashellach|
- Beinn a Claidheimh
- Sgurr Ban
- Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair
- Beinn Tharsuinn
- Mullach Fraoch-Choire
- A' Chralaig
- Aonach Beag
- Aonach Mor
... and back home to Selkirk at 9pm, via the best pizza ever at Dingwall!