Wednesday 17 September 2014


It's been at least five years since me & Andy started mentioning Gairich in dispatches, as one of those hills that'd be good for a longish drive/shortish walk option, perhaps for the dog days of summer. Part of the reason it took us so long to actually get round to taking said option was a fondly held belief that we'd take the canoe (a) out my garage, (b) to Knoydart and (c) into some watter.

Fondly held, yes - ever going to happen, no.

And the Yes/No conundrum leads us timeously - if inelegantly - to a very brief trip report...

The walk begins at the Loch Quoich dam; there is parking just west of the dam on the left side of the road. 

Begin the walk by crossing the top of the dam. 

There is a good view of the day's objective, Gairich, across the waters of the loch, its craggy northeast face looking impressive. 
(Not at this point there wisny. Ed.)
Once across the dam, follow the rough and very boggy path which keeps close to the shore of the reservoir at first. 

After about a kilometre the path begins to climb away from the water, and passes the southern end of Lochan an-Fhigheadair. 

The going improves as the path crosses a low bealach on the moor before descending towards the forestry below the Bealach na Faire, where it joins another old path. 

Don't go through the gate into the trees, but turn right on a rough path which climbs uphill beside the forest fence; this soon joins the stalkers path up from Glen Kingie.

The path, now thankfully dry and easy to walk, ascends Druim na Gaid Salaich in a series of zigzags. 

It peters out to just a faint peaty trail once the ridge flattens out into an extensive plateau of Bac nam Foid. Continue towards Gairich to the west; the path becomes clearer once more at the foot of the steeper slopes.

The stalkers path keeps well to the left of the ridge at first before zig-zagging sharply to the right to ascend to the foot of the steep nose. The original stalkers path cuts left again from here as shown on the OS maps, however a new path worn by Munro-baggers continues up the ridge and is the clearer of the two routes these days. 

The east ridge of Gairich is very steep higher up...

 ...and there is one section of very simple scrambling up knobbly rock...
(Camera was not to hand at that point! Ed.)

 ...the summit is reached not too far beyond. 

Overall, depending on the result of tomorrow's referendum, I'm thinking about heading back up there for a party this weekend. It had a cracking clientele. ;)

(The large cairn is at 919 metres on a small plateau, making Gairich one of the smallest of the Munros. The isolated position makes it a superb viewpoint however, particularly for the vast waters of Loch Quoich and into Knoydart and the Glendessary mountains to the west. The return is by the same route.)
And on the return, even the stretch across the dam feels like a long way!

We even had time for a pricy pint at Invergarry, and had it not been for a closure of the A9, leading us to try and get home via Edinburgh, resulting in our getting tangled up in the Forth Road Bridge's bloody birthday party, we'd have been home at a reasonable hour!
Maybe there's something to be said for canoes as a form of transport...  

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