24th May 2012
Bit of a photo heavy post this time but as I`ll probably never be up this hill again in weather like this I absolve myself 🙂
As usual we were ready at a days notice to take advantage of any settled spell of good weather which hit the west coast hills with Knoydart high on the list.The Bruce Watt ferry from Mallaig to Inverie adheres to it`s own timetable which is not so good for hillwalking forays but there are now a few private water taxi services available with more amenable timetables including weekend sailings.We went over with this guy here….
£10 each way and the bikes went over with us for free which is just as well as it was to prove the warmest spell of weather this year and we were glad to be biking rather than walking to the campsite at Long Beach.Nah,not the Californian one although it felt like it today in the heat 🙂
A slight breeze kept the dreaded midge to reasonable levels as we loitered around the tents that evening.There were only a few tents around and we got talking to the couple nearest us who turned out to be a couple of Marilyn baggers from Moffat,well,at least Alan was.I`m not so sure about Beryl 🙂 Alan had over 1200 under his belt and was on the last leg of his Corbett round.Down for a couple of pints and then back to bed for an early rise in the morning.
We hung around more than usual in the morning,a nice change to have breakfast in the sun for once.Up along the shady track,through the plantation and onwards for a mile and a bit to the monument where Bob decided it would be more pleasurable to dawdle around low down on what was promising to be a scorching day.We parted company here and he headed up the small hill for a look at the monument.
Alone now I could set my own pace and passed the Druim bothy and on up a brilliant path heading towards the Mam Meadail.
My ambition to get there without stopping was thwarted by the need to escape the sun for a bit so I had a couple of breaks whenever I could find a bit of shade.Finished a litre of water just before the col and filled up at the stream as I reckoned the ridge would be waterless.Never thought I`d say that in Scotland 🙂
Alan was about 20 minutes behind me as I hit the col so I thought I`d head up to the 610 top and wait for him there as the view would be better.
Found a nice wee lochan with a view to Sgurr na Ciche and waited for him there.After 30 minutes or so with no sign of him I decided to head off up on to Meall Bhasiter.
View back to Sgurr na Ciche on the way up.
View back from Meall Bhasiter.
Lounged around the summit for half an hour here as there was a hint of a breeze 🙂
Looking west along the ridge….
Looking down to the head of Loch Nevis you can make out the house at Camusrory and Sourlies bothy further along.
Still no sign of Alan.It turned out that he had diverted at the Mam Meadail to go up onto the Meall Buidhe ridge and out to bag Sgurr Sgeithe which apparently is a CTM,a CTM being a Corbett Top of a Munro as I`m sure you will all know 🙂 And Bob thinks I`m bad.!
Off along the typical Knoydart ridge of ups and downs.Here`s three photos looking back east along the way.
Meall Buidhe on the left,the Mam Meadail in the centre with Ben Aden lurking behind.
Enjoyed another half hour seeking a bit of shade behind the trig point at the summit along with the last of my water.From the trig point I had still a few tops to go over to Sgurr Coire nan Gobhar.
God only knows what came over me here but instead of making a beeline down to Loch Bhraomisaig via the stream in Coire nan Gobhar I decided to head down the opposite side of the hill towards Loch Nevis and away from the tent to visit the old Knoydart mica mine.I`d fancied a visit for years and reckoned it was now or never as I`m getting on a bit 🙂 From Sgurr Coire nan Gobhar down the ridge to the col below Tom an Neoil and traversed from there along to the spoil heaps.I just hadn`t the energy left to go to the top of the hill to see the remaining machinery so contented my self by raking around the scrapings for some mica samples.
The mine has an interesting history.The mica was used in airplane construction and supplies dried up in the Second World War so they reopened the Knoydart mine,this being the only one in Britain.Had a chat later with an old boy in the bar who actually worked up here in days gone by.If you scroll down near the bottom of this link below there is some info and pictures….
A bit more here…
Some mica samples were added to my rucksack 🙂
From here I went down to the lochan and was much relieved to find some decent looking running water at the western outlet.Drank my fill and filled the water bottles and then traversed the southern ridge of Sgurr a`Mhadaidh-ruaidh at the 550 metre contour and so down to the southern edge of Loch Bhraomisaig.
Pic of Sgurr an Eilein Ghiubhais with Rum in the background taken on the way.
Oh well I thought,having come this far I might as well finish off the ridge at it`s natural conclusion on A`Chruach 🙂
View west over Inverie Bay from A`Chruach.
From the top I followed the first obvious stream to the east all the way down to the bridge at Kilchoan taking a few more photos on the way.
On arrival back at the campsite I was pleased to recognise Gibson and Lynne.They were doing the same hills as myself but had a days advantage on me.Think they were down to single figures or thereabouts.That was that,cooked dinner and went to the pub.
A pub with a sunset to admire rather than a crappy tv blaring out 🙂