Alone on Gairich

Gairich stands alone on the south side of Loch Quoich. It is a hill you gaze across when driving to Kinloch Hourn to get to Barrisdale and think “Hmm, must do that one day…” This mid summer day was that ‘someday’. It was a perfect day for an easy mid-week day out on my own.

Gairich
Looking to Gairich (919m) across Loch Quoich.

The usual route up the hill starts by crossing the dam on the south end of the loch.

This hill presents no difficulty with navigation as it stands quite alone and has a path which leads you to the obvious ridge. I parked near the dam at the eastern end of Loch Quoich at NH068024 and walked across the dam.

Gairich
The ascent route scrambles up the ridge in the centre of the picture

There was an obvious path heading west from the south side of the dam. I had read this has a reputation for being extremely wet and boggy. It certainly was. It had been a week of dry weather, but still this was wet. This path alongside Loch Quoich was a bit like walking on day-old porridge in places and very boggy in others. In one place I sunk down up to my thigh! After extracting myself from this bog I rolled in the heather in a vain attempt to get rid of the mud, and rubbed myself with sweet-smelling bog myrtle in a useless attempt to disguise the smell. I continued on my way hoping I wouldn’t meet anyone. As it happened I didn’t see anyone on this path, but later met one guy at the summit.

Gairich
Lochan an Fhigheadair

At the path junction I took the path heading west and had a fairly easy ascent up the Druim na Geid Salaich ridge. When the path ended it was straightforward to continue along the gently rising ridge to the final steeper bit just before the summit. Here it was a case of heading directly uphill with a wee bit of scrambling over the crags below the summit and a few rocky steps which led to the flat summit.

Gairich
From the summit looking north over Loch Quoich to Glen Shiel

Gairich
Bookcrossing on the summit

I chatted to a guy who had bagged Sgurr Mhor as well as this Munro, but I was happy enough to have an easy day and leave that hill for another trip.

Gairich
Looking SW to Sgurr Mhor

I returned by the same route, but stopping to take photos of the Club Moss, the masses of insectivorous plants (Butterwort and Sundew) which were thriving in the wet boggy ground and the Bogbean growing in the wee Lochan an Fhigheadair.

Fir Club Moss (Huperzia selago)
Fir Club Moss (Huperzia selago)

Sundew (great or oblong-leaved)
Oblong-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia)

Gairich
Looking back east from the eastern ridge of Gairich

(All information is given as correct when this walk was undertaken in 2006)

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