Ling Hut, Torridon – 23rd/24th/25th July

There had been some debate as to whether a Club Meet in July would take place due to the holiday season with many members being tied up with family commitments. In the event, three members headed up to Torridon to enjoy a few days in the Ling Hut. This SMC hut is situated a few hundred yards south of the main road running through Glen Torridon at the foot of Coire a’Cheud-chnoic – the corrie of a hundred hillocks, and looks out to two of the great Torridonian triptych, Liathach and Beinn Eighe.  Members attending:

George Henderson, Susan Henderson and Norrie Shand.

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The forecast, in line with the generally wet summer so far promised some low pressure and more damp weather so it was more in hope than expectation that the  three headed north on Thursday morning. Sure enough, there was some rain in the air when they turned west and they settled for the relatively modest target of the Munro of Fionn Bheinn from Achnasheen. Soon they were heading up the right side of the Allt Achadh na Sine. Bizarrely, a vehicle track has been constructed on the left bank of the burn but walkers are directed to the boggy indistinct path on the other side for some reason. A mixture of watery sunshine and showers finally saw them splodge onto the summit ridge before eventually the misty summit trig point was attained. A few tantalising glimpses appeared of the vista from this great viewpoint but not for long enough to get the cameras out.

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One short car journey later saw them making several gently clinking journeys along the 500 metre path to carry in all the essentials required for their three day stay. A gourmet meal of pizza and garlic bread was soon consumed washed down by cider and red wine. Before too long the Ling Hut became the Sing Hut with Susan having to endure George and Norrie’s harmonic (?) duets as well as another bottle of the truly vile Chateau Shand.

Having obtained details of Friday’s forecast from the nearby Youth Hostel which promised improving weather as the day progressed they decided to exercise their renowned patience and leave their ascent of Beinn Alligin until the afternoon. The morning was whiled away with a trip along the road to the tiny settlement of Lower Diabaig nestling serenely by Loch Diabaig. After some sustenance taken at the Gille Brighde restaurant they headed back east to the car park at the foot of the mountain.

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The walk up Coire MhicNobaill was glorious with great views of the joys ahead – the Horns of Alligin, the main summit of Sgurr Mhor and the imposing gash of the black cleft Eag Dhubh. The scrambling up and over the three Horns was fairly straightforward but enjoyable and the stupendous viewpoint of Sgurr Mhor was soon reached.

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An easy walk took them round by the hugely impressive Eag Dhubh and then round to the second Munro, Tom na Gruagaich. The path down from this summit has been impressively upgraded and George and Susan shot down in double quick time while Norrie who was listening to a different drummer ambled his way back in his own time.

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Another convivial evening was enjoyed in the hut with a late stovie supper and Norrie “treating” George and Susan to some half-learned songs on the guitar.

Saturday had a similar forecast to Friday and again a late start was planned with the target being Beinn Eighe’s two Munros via Coire Mhic Fhearchair. The walk into the Coire from the car park was quite long but straightforward with a gentle rise,  then past some lovely waterfalls up to the Loch at 550 metres. Coire Mhic Fhearchair is probably the most jaw-dropping Coire in the Scottish Highlands with the imposing triple buttress and sheers cliffs dropping down to the Loch.

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A walk around the east side of the loch leads up past some more pools and waterfalls to a curtain of scree stretching up to the col which takes the walker onto Ruadh-stac Mor. The scramble up the scree slope was tortuous and the needle on Norrie’s pechometer nudged eleven before he finally emerged onto the ridge where George and Susan were waiting. A short stroll then took them up to the summit where the breath-taking 360 degree views were soaked in.

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From there it was a very pleasant high level ridge walk round passed the trig point to the second Munro, Spidean Coire nan Clach. The weather threatened to close in at this point but fortunately the threat dispersed as George and Susan headed further east along the ridge heading for the demoted Top of Creag Dhubh. Norrie took a fairly direct descent down to the road and picked up the car before driving along to Kinlochewe for the planned rendezvous at the Hotel.

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Another excellent day in the hills was celebrated with a beer followed by a very enjoyable meal in the Whistle Stop Café in Kinlochewe before heading back to Glen Torridon. The tired leg muscles ensured that anyone watching them walk across the moor to the Ling Hut would have thought that the John Wayne Appreciation Society had booked the hut.

Tiredness ensured that a more subdued evening followed but enough nonsense was spouted to see them through to beyond midnight.

The unexpected good weather continued into Sunday morning – Norrie’s hill-avoiding rain dance having failed to work – and agreement was reached on a relatively easy stroll up the Corbett of Little Wyvis to round off the trip. The Ben Wyvis path is another that has been improved immensely – unfortunately for the group they had to break off the path and splash their way through grass and heather to reach the summit of the much less visited Corbett, Little Wyvis.

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The damp pathless terrain at least made for a quick and easy descent and in next to no time they were back in the car and heading south after a tiring but hugely satisfying few days in surprisingly good weather conditions.

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