The route starts up a fine tarmac drive, and just after the viaduct, we stopped to chat with Alistair, the estate manager, who was a breath of fresh air. He was interested in where we were going, what we were doing, which way etc, and we in turn about the developments on the estate since the Harry Potter phenomena. So different to the usual at best indifferent and at worse hostile reception you so often get from estate workers if you're a walker, and a fine ambassador for the estate.
We parted company at the stalker's path that cuts up the side of Sgurr a'Choire Riabhaich, and I watched the figures get smaller as they entered the wild country of Gleann Cuirnean en route for A'Chuil bothy. 230 miles seems an awful long way!
I made rapid progress up the ever more frozen and ever more rough ground, but there was a decent trace of a path most of the way. It is likened to the Rough Bounds of Knoydart on these two hills, and I concur - Much up and down over rocky knolls and peaty bog in between, made all the trickier by the abundance of much ice. Never enough for crampons, but requiring care. The drop and re-ascent to Sgurr nan Coireachan is irksome and bouldery, but the views from the summit were spectacular. Winter is definitely here.
The long broad ridge on to Sgurr Thuilm seems to take a long time as you wind amongst little knolls and crags. A nuisance in dry conditions, challenging in the ice, especially on a couple of little steps early on. Eventually you arrive at the broader final ascent to the summit, and the going gets easier. I passed two chaps all day, one with a very skittery greyhound on a lead who was most definitely pleased to see me, so we didn't chat long! Again, the views from the summit were wonderful, and I lingered as long as I could in the cold, taking pictures as the sun struck a distant Ben Nevis.
I decided to cut down the west flank of Druim Coire a'Beithe rather than stick to the ridge to avoid the rocky tops, and the softer ground was welcome, my knees feeling the frozen and rocky terrain previously. I must admit I would have chosen to cycle in the the bothy at Corryhully as I dislike road tramps, and the surface is so good, had I not been with the Webbs, and I was ruing the decision as I started the long walk out. Then I came across some grand stags who posed for photos, the very pleasant Alistair again, and finally despite the location, had a phone signal so was able to while away some time chatting to my daughter, so it soon passed!
A splendid couple of munro ticks, great weather, wonderful views, and nice to see off the intrepid duo. Almost worth all the driving! :)