Cuillin Ridge 2007; Camp in Coire a Ghrunnda

Second Visit this Summer
The Approach
We travel to Sligachan overnight and leave the bags at the Sligachan Hotel as soon as we arrive. We then book a room for the night after next and get a taxi to the campsite at Glen Brittle from where we walk up to Coir’ a Ghrunnda.. Obviously all this activity has been carefully planned for many months preceding; each of us having packed three bags, (nestling one inside the other). There is the big total luggage sack, the camping sack, and finally the very much pared down sack for the 1 day attempt on the ridge. This bag and the camping bag are the product of weeks of carefully weighing every item contained within it and buying the lightest, smallest version of all articles. So, as a result, the day bags, including climbing gear, food and water weigh 6 kilos each. We have also been practising walking, scrambling and – particularly difficult – climbing with these bags on. The sun is shining and we find that the path has been improved up to Coir’ a Ghrunnda.

We start up the path to Coir' a Ghrunnda

We start up the path to Coir’ a Ghrunnda

The path now leads us higher up the sides of the Corrie, thus avoiding many of the bogs that we habitually plunged through in past walk-ins. We debate the ethics of tourist paths in wild places but we are glad of it today as, miraculously our feet remain dry throughout one of the historically boggiest walks in Scotland. This is important to us as we are wearing our shoes for the traverse of the ridge and it would be good for them to be dry.

Approaching Coir' a Ghrunnda

Approaching Coir’ a Ghrunnda

The scramble up into Coir' a Ghrunnda lies ahead

The scramble up into Coir’ a Ghrunnda lies ahead

Coir' a Ghrunnda Skyline

Coir’ a Ghrunnda Skyline

View of the Cuillin Ridge

View of the Cuillin Ridge

View of Sron na Ciche and the Cioch

View of Sron na Ciche and the Cioch

High up the scramble into upper Coir'a Ghrunnda

High up the scramble into upper Coir’a Ghrunnda

At Loch Coir’ a Ghrunnda we spend a while scouting for the best site for our tent and agree on a pitch enclosed by a convenient wall of stones which includes a handy cooking platform and level stones for mugs and plates. Jim puts up the new tent – a Terra Nova Voyager, with gossamer-thin walls and we make a brew, using water from a charmingly fashioned spigot in a small spring’s stream, only about 10 metres away. The location is stunning, the lonely bowl of my favourite corrie, with only deep blue sky and acres of rock above us.

Loch Coir' a ghrunnda

Loch Coir’ a ghrunnda

Looking for a camp spot, Coir a Ghrunnda

Looking for a camp spot, Coir a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir' a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir’ a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir' a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir’ a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir' a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir’ a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir' a Ghrunnda

The camp in Coir’ a Ghrunnda

Noodles for tea, which we cook through mosquito nets. Two different types of noodle, to keep the excitement levels high, then Chorley cakes. All food is severely rationed, so there is no point wanting more than is allowed for each meal. Having said that, one usually finds that once you understand there is a limit, you are quite happy with what you have got and don’t bother even thinking about what you don’t have. However a mysterious red Sigg bottle has appeared on the cooking stone and this later proves to contain Glenlivet.

The Kitchen at Coir' a Ghrunnda

The Kitchen at Coir’ a Ghrunnda

mmmmm Noodles again and mosquito nets

mmmmm Noodles again and mosquito nets

Jim has a go at the noodles

Jim has a go at the noodles

We have to walk around all the time to evade the midges

We have to walk around all the time to evade the midges

The View from our tent up to Caisteal an Garbh Choire

The View from our tent up to Caisteal an Garbh Choire

We spend some time in finding a path up through the giant monster shaped boulders that lead to the Bealach and leave a big arrow in the sand at the bottom of the way so that we won’t get lost in the dark tomorrow morning.

The View from Coir' a Ghrunnda as evening falls

The View from Coir’ a Ghrunnda as evening falls

We are alone, in the wilderness of rock and water, the ridge towering above us, and the weather is good, the sky gradually darkening to night and stars appearing to our eyes one by one.
The night sky is possibly the most stunning display I have ever seen, the Milky Way clear, the whole heaven full to bursting with points of light, the more I look, the more I see; shooting stars, Pleiades, Andromeda. We sleep well, and my groovy telephone alarm wakes us at 3 am, ready for the 4am start.

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