Hills: Sgurr nan Cnamh
Date: Saturday 4th July 2015
Company: Myself and Kevin
Distance: 17.4km, Ascent: 940m
Time: 6Hrs

After an overnight stay at the Ariundle Bunkhouse, where both the Moray Mountaineering Club (MMC) and the Turriff Mountaineering Club (TMC) were staying, I set off walking directly from the bunkhouse with Sheena (MMC), Evelyne (MMC) and Kevin (TMC) towards the Ariundle Oakwoods.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On reaching the Ariundle Oakwoods car park we stopped briefly to say good morning to Graeme and Penny who had parked-up there for the night. Graeme and Penny are currently undertaking a 100-day round of the Munros. This is Graeme's 4th round and Penny (the Wonder Dog's) 2nd round.

Walk from Ariundle Centre towards the Ariundle Oakwoods:

We then continued on through the oakwoods. The Ariundle Oakwoods are a rare surviving fragment of the native oak woods that once spread along the Atlantic coast from Spain to Norway. While walking through the oakwoods, we stopped to say hello to Collaciotach (from Walk Highlands). I last met Collaciotach near the summit of Cairn Toul in June 2013. Thanks to Collaciotach for correctly pronouncing the names of Beinn Gaire, Croit Bheinn and Sgurr nan Cnamh.

Ariundle Oakwoods:

Approximately one kilometre from the end of the oakwoods we said farewell to Sheena and Evelyne who were to continue along the main track for an ascent of Sgurr Dhomhnuill. Kevin and I left the main track to drop down to the River Strontian.

Looking towards the Sgurr a' Bhuic ridge:

A short distance beyond a ruin with a red rusty roof, we crossed the River Strontian using a number of very slippery stepping stones. We both got across with dry feet.

Looking back after crossing the Strontian River:

We then made our way towards the base of the ridge leading up to Sgurr a' Bhuic. During the ascent of Sgurr a' Bhuic the heavens opened drenching us with torrential rain. My camera went into the rucksack for approximately the next hour.

Looking back along the Strontian Glen towards Loch Sunart:

We skirted round the very top of Sgurr a' Bhuic before making our way across undulating ground towards Sgurr nan Cnamh. Eventually the rain stopped and the cloud lifted so the camera came back out.

We ascended Sgurr nan Cnamh via the grassy section between the two crags in the next photo.

Ascent of Sgurr nan Cnamh:

During the ascent of the grassy slope we got increasingly good views out West towards Eigg and Rum.

Beinn Resipol with Isle of Eigg in the distance:

An Sgurr on Eigg is very recognisable; an outstanding wee hill.

Isle of Eigg (zoom):

Looking towards the summit of Sgurr nan Cnamh:

We visited both cairns at the summit area. The small cairn would appear to be higher than the large cairn.

At the summit of Sgurr nan Cnamh:

The views from the summit were disappointing. Neighbouring Garbh Bheinn was capped in cloud and Beinn Resipol looked as if it was being drenched with rain. We had several friends ascending Beinn Resipol including Bob, Malcolm, Lesley, Debra, Martin and Andy.

Garbh Bheinn capped in cloud:

It was nice to see Sgurr a' Chaorainn and Beinn na h-Uamha again. I traversed these hills from Ardgour to Ariundle in 2009.

Sgurr a' Chaorainn and Beinn na h-Uamha:

Looking towards Beinn Resipol:

We returned to the car via approximately the same route.

Descent to the Strontian River:

On reaching the Strontian River, it was at least one foot higher than circa three to four hours previous. As some of the stepping stones were now underwater, we got across but with wet feet.

Looking back to Sgurr na h-Ighinn and Sgurr a' Bhuic ridge:

On reaching the small ruin, Kevin stopped for a twenty-minute break while I continued on back directly to the bunkhouse. It was nice to get back, get dry and subsequently enjoy the company of friends both old and new.

A variety of walking, climbing, cycling and kayaking were undertaken by the MMC, with skiing also having been undertaken the day previous on Ben Nevis (following an ascent of Ledge Route with skis on backs!!!). Thanks to Kevin for his company on the hills; great to walk with someone who walks at almost exactly the same pace.