This trip had been planned and cancelled twice during 2015, now David and I decided we would watch for a weather window and go for it. The plan was to drive as far past the dam on the west side of Loch Quoich load up the canoe and paddle the 8k to the east side where we would camp.
Tuesday 10th May David’s pickup was loaded to the gunnels and we left Broxburn about 9am and after a stop arrived at our preferred launch site around 1pm.
Before long we had the canoe loaded and in the water, the forecast was for 9 mph winds at our back all the way down the loch. No chance it was more like 15mph which created a swell and lots of water in the canoe. This might seem normal for some folk but for a canoe virgin like me it was not enjoyable.
After about two hours paddling we made it to the far end of the Loch and picked a great site to set up camp with flattish ground, a nearby burn and great views.
After setting up, the Barbie went on and the beer/whisky was cracked open. There are no well-worn paths from our campsite to the summit of our first Munro Sgurr na Ciche so a while was spent pouring over the maps planning a route.
Wednesday dawned bright and sunny blue skies and just enough wind to keep the midges away, a quick breakfast and we were off about 8.30am.
The route we had chosen turned out to be ideal with a nice flat section to start followed by steep ascents and even some grade 2 scrambling.
On reaching the summit at 1040m all the pain was forgotten as we had a break and took in the awesome views. Half an hour later we reluctantly left our spot and headed for Garbh Chioch Mhor at 1013m. This was on a good path and a cracking walk which only took about 45 minutes to the summit, a few photos and we were off again to our 3 and final Munro of the day Sgurr nan Coireachan at 953m.
I must admit I found this to be a long hard slog requiring a big descent to the base of the top Garbh Chioch Beag where we had lunch out of the now cold breeze, before beginning the inevitable ascent to its summit at 968m then down and up again to the summit of Sgurr nan Coireachan. Surprisingly we met a group of 7 forces type guys practically trotting from the summit down towards us, however they did stop for a short chat. On the summit we met a Scottish walker who had come up from Glen Dessary and as we were leaving 3 walkers from North Wales arrived. Great that folks can enjoy the hills including us that was 13 walkers and only 3 scots.
Now it was decision time, do we carry on and do Sgurr Mor or make our way down and back to the camp. Thankfully we both decided enough was enough for that day and Sgurr Mor was planned for Thursday. A two hour walk out down grassy slopes saw us back at the camp about 4pm. The loch was so inviting and us being a bit sweaty it was off with the togs and into the ice cold waters of Loch Quoich, honestly it was cold but great and set us up for more barbeque grub and a cold beer which we had stashed in the loch.
Thursday’s plan was to paddle the canoe for about 3K near to the base of Sgurr Mor where we had identified a path on the map which would take us over Sgurr Beag and onto Sgurr Mor summit at 1003m. Once again we had fantastic weather and with little breeze it was a pleasure to paddle the canoe to a small inlet and the start of the walk. Imagine our surprise when as we neared the inlet we could make out two people waiting for us. Turned out they were a couple that had camped there the previous night and were making their way to Barrisdale and had waited to have a chat, aren’t walkers a wonderful group.
We pulled the canoe onto land and started up the path to Sgurr Beag, this was a very good path and although it was about 3 hours later that we summited our final Munro Sgurr Mor. It actually felt like no time at all. Another few photos and we headed down the way we had come up and back to our canoe for a leisurely paddle back to camp and a nice dip in the loch.
We managed to get a signal and were able to check the weather forecast for our paddle out the next morning as we knew the wind would be against us. According to the forecast it was to be 10mph with very little gusting, however, come Friday morning it was evident they had gotten it wrong again and the wind was nearer to 20mph with gusts and large swells. Well there was nothing else for it, we just had to go for it, and I can tell you it was hard work fighting against the wind, with the water crashing over the front of the canoe where yours truly was trying to paddle. We even had to stop for a rest and bail out the water from the boat, what took us 2 hours to come in was almost 4 hours going out.
Nonetheless we had a fantastic 4 days and a great adventure.