Hill: Slat Bheinn
Date: Friday 22nd July 2017
Company: Just myself
Distance: 25.4km, Ascent: 910m
Time: 9Hrs 30Mins
I have pondered over the map many times in recent years considering route options for an ascent of remote Slat Bheinn.
Guidebooks suggest either walking from Kinloch Hourn into Barrisdale and then approaching Slat Bheinn from the
west, or starting from Coireshubh and ascending
Meall nan Eun and then Slat Bheinn with a considerable drop in between them. I opted for a different approach, starting from Loch Quoich and
walking round its shoreline before picking up the stalker's path in Gleann Chosaidh.
On Friday morning, I set off from home at 3.30 with a view to arriving at the start nice and early. The weather forecast for the north-west highlands was fairly good.
From the outset, the terrain was wet underfoot. Thunderous deluges the day previous probably did not help. According to the map I had to skirt round the loch but there was no loch. The level of Loch Quoich is currently very low exposing much ground that is normally underwater.
Loch level so low there is no loch:
On driving along Glen Garry to get to the starting point there was a fair bit of temperature inversion. Despite being July, it was only 3C. There was unfortunately however only wisps of inversion as far west as my walk.
View towards Gairich:
The terrain was in fact so bad it took almost a full hour to walk the first mile. I was however being careful to keep my feet dry and avoid twisting my injured knee.
It was a great relief to reach the 0.5km section of track marked on the map. This short section of track seems to appear out of nowhere. I suspect it was once part of a much longer track that is now mostly submerged since the flooding of the glen to make the artificial loch, Loch Quoich.
Onto the short section of track marked on the map:
The short section of good track provided great views of the Corbett, Sgurr an Fhuarain, and the Munro, Sgurr Mor. I last did these hills in 2005 so they are due a revisit.
Sgurr an Fhuarain and Sgurr Mor across Loch Quoich:
Beyond the short section of good track the path skirting along the lochside was awful. I stuck with the path for a few hundred metres before dropping down onto exposed shoreline of Loch Quoich. As there was at least 10m of exposed sand and pebbles, this made for relatively easy walking compared with the awful path.
View towards Knoydart from very rough path:
Dropped down onto the shore of Loch Quoich:
Walking the shoreline of Loch Quoich:
As I progressed along the shore of Loch Quoich, I passed a number of very interesting bands of rock. I posted the following photo on Twitter and it was retweeted by Professor Iain Stewart of whom I am a great fan. I also received a great explanation, "Billion year old sediments that have been mangled as plates collide around 5 different times."
Nearly two and a half hours after setting off, I reached the Abhainn Chosaidh outflow. I used a number of stepping stones to get across the outflow.
Abhainn Chosaidh outflow into Loch Quoich:
Abhainn Chosaidh waterfall:
The next circa one kilometre was trackless. I was looking forward to picking up the Gleann Choasaidh path but was a bit worried when I reached where it was marked on the map but it wasn't there. Thankfully I located it a couple of hundred metres further on.
Slat Bheinn still looked a long way off!
Into Gleann Chosaidh with Slat Bheinn in the distance:
Picked up the narrow stalker's path leading towards Slat Bheinn:
The Gleann Chosaidh path is variable in quality. Good bits and not so good bits.
About three and a half hours into the walk, I reached the base of Slat Bheinn. Now to head up.
Arriving at the base of Slat Bheinn:
If approaching Slat Bheinn from the west, it is a very rocky hill. However, approaching from the east, it is mostly grass.
Heading up into the grassy Coire Slat Bheinn:
Looking back to a now distant Loch Quoich:
On reaching the upper coire you have to head up one of the grassy gullies. I would recommend heading up the first gully on the left which is fairly straight-forward and leads to the col between Slat Bheinn's tops.
Coire Slat Bheinn:
It was nice to see Sgurr a' Choire-beithe from the col. It is one of the highest Corbetts just falling short of being a Munro.
Sgurr a' Choire-beithe from col between Slat Bheinn's tops:
Looking across to the Drium Chosaidh ridge:
It was great to reach the summit. Slat Bheinn is an outstanding viewpoint. It definitely makes it into my list of the fifty best hills in Scotland.
At the summit of Slat Bheinn:
Panorama from the summit of Slat Bheinn:
I spent a good fifteen minutes at the summit taking photos and a short video. It was a tad windy though.
Videoclip from summit:
Ladhar Bheinn from the summit of Slat Bheinn (zoom):
Sgurr a' Choire-beithe from summit of Slat Bheinn:
View over Meall nan Eun towards Druim Fada and Beinn Sgritheall:
View from summit of Slat Bheinn:
As it had taken five hours to reach the summit, I was conscious that I now had a long walk out (long in time but not that long in distance).
Gleann Chosaidh from Slat Bheinn:
I didn't take many photos during the walk out as the weather was deteriorating and the light was not as good as it had been during the walk in. However, I did spot a young inquisitive fawn with its mother.
Red Deer fawn:
Fantastic to get Slat Bheinn done. It is definitely one of the best Grahams due to it being an outstanding viewpoint.