Sgor Gaoith in background, right
Sgor Gaoith is located on a long hill that is part of the Glenn Feshie hills. The hill connects to the Braeriach/Cairn Toul hill via Loch nan Cnapan, just south of Loch Einich. The contrast of the mountain is seen when hiking up the western gentle hills, and facing the immense drop to Loch Einich, when arriving the summit. On the other side of the lake, you see the steep rise of Braeriach.
Sgor Gaoith is the only Munro in the immediate neighbourhood, although another one can be found further to the south. For those collecting 'Tops', then Carn Ban Mor, Sgoran Dubh Mor, Meall Buidhe and Geal-charn is easy to collect along the route.
One can reach this hill from a variety of places, but the routes shortest in distance runs from the road between Feshiebridge and Achlean.
Sgor Gaoith's primary factor towards the higher Cairn Toul is 253m. The saddle is Loch nan Cnapan, just north of Tom Dubh. The drains from this lake can not be avoided on the way to Cairn Toul. The lake drains to Loch Einich in the north and the river Eidart in the south. The nearest 10m contour line from the lake is 870m, so the lake is interpolated to 865m.
Sgoran Dubh Mor's primary factor towards the higher Sgor Gaoith is 58m. The saddle is halfway between the two summits, defined as 1053m on the 1:25000 map.
Carn Ban Mor's primary factor towards the higher Sgor Gaoith is 40m. The saddle is just NE of Carn Ban Mor, defined as 1012m on the 1:25000 map.
Meall Buidhe's primary factor towards the higher Sgoran Dubh Mor is 36m. The 940m contour lines between Meall Buidhe and the top marked as 978 on the way to Sgoran Dubh Mor almost meet, so there is no reason to interpolate. The mystery here is the top marked as 978m. This top is for certain much lower than Meall Buidhe, so this is presumeably a map error.
Geal-charn's primary factor towards the higher Meall Buidhe is 54m. The saddle is defined to be 866m on the 1:25000 map, just south of the summit of Geal-charn.
For trail descriptions, refer to the comprehensive and well-written Scotland mountain books. Recommended reading for those interested in exploring the Cairngorms, is "The Cairngorms" by Adam Watson (ISBN 0-907521-39-8).
The below trip report should also provide some useful information about the mountains.
Route: Near Balachroick - Carn Ban Mor - Sgor Gaoith - Sgoran Dubh Mor - Meall Buidhe - Geal-charn - return to Balachroick
This would be my final day in the mountains. I had earned painful blisters on my heels, which would prevent me from any longer hikes. As such, Sgor Gaoith would be the perfect hike. The weather had finally changed. Clouds were partly covering the Cairngorms, but I assumed I would have clear views on the slightly lower Glen Feshie hills. As long as I can see the mountain, I don't care what kind of weather I hike in. It's just a matter of clothing.
The taxi ride into the back-country seemed endless, but didn't cost more than up to the ski-centre. And to my big surprise, there was cellphone coverage at the trailhead, which meant I could call the taxi at will. Leaving the trailhead at 09:50AM, it was easy to find the trail going up into the valley. The trail was actually a forest road, which forked into two roads further up the road. The map suggested the leftmost road was the right one. This road ended near the first river ford, and I noticed also a trail forking to the left. I would later be coming down this way.
It was quite windy, and I to put on some more clothes. I had by now left the forest behind, and had a long valley ahead of me. The trail was quite good, and parts of the trail was clearly being reworked. They had even put up roadwork signs! The map indicated that this trail would end at 600m, south of Sgor Gaoith. I was curious how a well-traveled trail like this could end. Surely, hikers on this trail wouldn't turn around at 600m!. Well, the trail didn't end, but was significantly less visible, as it climbed up the ridge leading towards the saddle between Sgor Gaoith and Carn Ban Mor. I visited Carn Ban Mor first - an incredible flat hill with a great view towards Sgor Gaoith. The wind was now ferocious. Every piece of clothing I had brought was put on. The wind sounded just like the jetfighters I had heard over the Cairngorms earlier. On top of this, Sgor Gaoith means the "Peak of wind". I then hiked over to Sgor Gaoith and reached the summit 12:00PM. The GPS suggested that the route so far had been 8,4Km.
I had been looking forward to the steep drop towards Loch Einich. I had seen this face on my way to Braeriach a few days earlier. From the east, Sgor Gaoith looks like a magnificient mountain. Despite the lack of particular drop towards Sgoran Dubh Mor, further north on the ridge, Sgoran Dubh Mor actually looked much more impressive than when viewed from the east or the west. Sgoran Dubh Mor will also look impressive from the Gleann Einich valley, when the Sgor Gaoith summit isn't seen.
I had hardly seen anyone in the mountains all week, but from Sgoran Dubh Mor, I saw 5 people. Three were on Sgor Gaoith, while two were hiking the hills over Meall Buidhe and Geal-charn. These hills would also be my return route, and this was a fairly easy walk until I came to end of the ridge. The descent from Geal-charn to the pass south of Creag Mhigeachaidh (these names).. was done over boulderfields and deep, soft moss (guaranteed to make you stumble) in a sweet combination. Not long after, I was back on the forest road near the first river ford, and arrived the trailhead at 14:20PM. A great week of hiking was now over.
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