Hill: Sguman Coinntich
Date: Thursday 17th February 2011
Company: Myself and Beinn
The North-West Highlands MWIS forecast for today was: negligible wind, no
precipitation, greater than 90% chance of cloud-free Munros and sunshine. It is
quite rare to get such a good forecast from the often pessimistic MWIS, so
heading for the North-West Highlands today was a must.
I left home just after 4:00am to arrive at Killilan by dawn. My intention today
was to ascend both Sguman Coinntich and Faochaig, however due to some improvised
route-finding, to allow Beinn to get to the summit, we only had time for the one
Click here to see a map of
the route undertaken
I stopped to take a photo from the road in to Killilan.
Ben Killilan from Loch Long:
I parked in the car park circa 800m from Killilan. I then walked to Killilan.
I passed the red telephone box and then took the track next to the <1933> building. I then followed this track towards Glen Ling.
I missed the turn-off towards the Allt a Choire Mhoir, as I was a bit too pre-occupied with watching and taking photographs of a herd of deer.
Stags (Sguman Coinntich in background):
The track leading towards Bealach Mhic Bheathain is really good albeit not very pleasing to the eye.
Looking back from large cairn on track:
Track leading towards Bealach Mhic Bheathain:
Looking back (Beinn Sgritheall coming into view):
788m top and Sguman Coinntich:
The good track made for fast progress. I particularly liked the view across to Skye from the track.
788m top and Bealach Mhic Bheathain:
I reached the snowline at a height of 600m. The track continues further than marked on the map - heading towards the summit of Ben Killilan.
Once on the snow, I was lucky enough to get close to a number of ptarmigan.
View from upper slopes of Ben Killilan:
I eventually left the track and made my way towards the 788m top.
Heading for 788m top:
Ben Killilan/Sguman Coinntich are fantastic viewpoints for surrounding hills.
Loch Mullardoch hills:
Ascending 788m top:
Achnashellach hills including Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich [the pointy one] & Lurg Mhor:
After reaching the 788m top. I descended to the Bealach Mhic Bheathain.
The ascent out of the Bealach looked really steep.
The snow on and between the crags was quite deep in places and every footstep was breaking wee slabs of unstable snow.
I decided to go for it anyway.
After putting on my crampons I started to make my way up one of the possible lines of ascent however Beinn put on the brakes as if to say, “ Sod off, I ain’t going up that!” I then tried another couple of lines and got exactly the same response from Beinn.
I was a bit miffed that I had got to within 100m (height) of the summit but couldn’t go further with Beinn. Not good trying to ascend a steep icy crag with a 38kg dog pulling in the opposite direction.
However, I couldn’t really blame him. He was probably being more sensible than me!
Very steep rocky ascent out of Bealach Mhic Bheathain:
I decided to get the map out and check out the contours round the hill to see if there was any alternative potential ascent route without having to lose too much height. I reckoned that we could skirt below the crags for a couple of kilometres and get up onto the South-West ridge. The South-West ridge looked quite straight-forward on the map.
We proceeded with this improvised plan and managed to skirt below the crags, without having to drop below 600m
Skirting below crags of Sguman Coinntich:
Looking back to 788m top having skirted below most of the crags:
Heading for the SW ridge of Sguman Coinntich:
Final ascent onto SW ridge:
I was really relieved to reach the South-West ridge as I knew then that we would both manage to reach the summit.
The views from the ridge were fantastic.
Looking towards summit:
Torridon hills from SW ridge of Sguman Coinntich:
Glen Shiel hills and beyond from SW ridge:
View from SW ridge:
View from SW ridge:
Looking back along SW ridge towards Skye:
Approaching summit cairn:
We spent a bit of time at the summit soaking-in the views.
Summit cairn and trig point:
View from summit:
From the summit, I opted to descend the Glen Elchaig side of the hill making for the start of the stalker’s path leading out to Faddoch.
The descent was really easy albeit a bit wet in places.
Descending stalker’s path towards Killilan:
From Faddoch, we walked to Killilan and then out to the car park. Great day out