Monday, 4 July 2016

A Couple of Affric Munros

After my efforts of the previous day on the edge of Knoydart, I'd in effect gained a day on my plans. Plan B was to walk/climb the Creag Meagaidh group....however the forecasts (yes I consulted several!) were speaking of thunder and of course lightening. So another plan was required....
Plan C? saw me driving round to Glen Affric from Invergarry, and parking adjacent to the Chisholm Bridge. It was raining as I left the car but very humid. I knew I'd spend the day cloud watching, keeping an eye and ears open for signs of any thunderstorms. On with the photos/walk




The old track round into the Fiadh glen has been "improved", there's a couple of hydro schemes going in. Although its at an early stage at the moment.

Beyond the new hydro track, the glen takes on a real wildness...and wetness. Its very wet underfoot! On a plus point the rain had stopped.

Once across the Allt Toll Easa, the path heads up through the heather gaining height quickly.

Its a really pleasant ridge along and up Creag na h-Inghinn. The view back along the glen opening up.... 

Whilst to the West the Carn Eighe group dominated the scene.

To the East was the my second Munro, Toll Creagach looked extremely exposed should lightening occur.

The summit of Tom a Choinnich, looking West, again to the Carn Eighe hills

From Tom a Choinnich,East to Toll Creagach. I didn't linger, crammed some more cereal bars in my hipbelt pockets and descended to Bealach Toll Easa.

There is a section of stalkers path as you start the descent, but it was covered by one of the laarge snowfields in the photo above. There was no difficulty in following the crest of the ridge though.

The path from the bealach to the summit of Toll Creagach is intermittent, easy ground does that! The hills North of Loch Mullardoch were impressive, good to see them in clear weather. It was cloudy and a bit wet when I backpacked over them in 2004. I can't believe its that long ago!

Again I didn't stop at the summit for long. A descent was basically a bee-line back to the Gleann nam Fiadh. I was surprised that I didn't come across a path, although the ground was fairly easy going...if rather wet.
A last look back up the glen before returning to the car the same way I walked earlier in the day.
So that was effectively the end of my week, I'd enjoyed it immensely, and hope anyone who's happened by has found something of interest here. Cheers!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Two Walk, Two Munro Day.....Silly Old Fool!

I've not done 2 separate munros on 2 separate walks before as far as I can remember....athough I am getting on a bit and might well have forgotten! But today the weather was almost perfect and there was a target in mind which pushed me on. Lots of photos....sorry!

Having parked just west of the bridge over the Northern arm of Loch Cuaich, I picked up the stalkers path up the long easy graded ridge of Bac nan Cannaichean. Another one of the superb old tacks in this part of Scotland. 

Over to the East I got a good view of Gleouraich, Clear of cloud today not like the day before. 

There was a stiff breeze blowing the Bog Cotton, The summit of Sgurr a Mhaoraich seemed a fair way off.

Once on the ridge beyond Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallaich, the top looked a lot closer, I was looking forward to this next section.

Its a hands in pockets stroll of course....except I had poles in mine!
Great views down to Alltbeithe and Easter Glen Cuaich.

Almost at the summit and a chance to glance back to Loch Cuaich and Gairich beyond.

But once on the top of Sgurr a Mhaoraich its the view West which commands attention. Loch Hourn and Ladhar Beinn in the distance.

There was good shelter from the wind behind the cairn, but I had to leave. I changed my plan for the route back, heading down the steep Northern ridge to the col below Am Bathaich rather than an easy Southerly ridge back to the road.

There's a great chance to see this pinnacle towering above a huge jumble of fallen rock. 

The ridge of Am Bataich which would form the basis of my route back.

A short pull up on to the ridge, gave me a great opportunity to look back at the Munro I'd just walked over. 

And a last look back at Loch Hourn.

It was easy going along the ridge, I then picked up a long disused stalkers path down to the valley floor near to Alltbeithe. There is alot of work going on hereabouts with small hydro schemes being installed. Gilkes vans where much in evidence, turbine manufacturers from back home in Kendal.
I personally much prefer hydro to windpower, the tracks will blend in in time and are generally in the glens not high on open ground visable from miles away.
From here it was back to the car along the recently improved track, it made for easy fast walking. I arrived back at the car just after 2pm. 

Back along the road a few miles to park at the Cuaich Dam. Gairich looked a long way off at this point!

The path from the dam to the stalkers path was wet beyond belief, but things improved from then on and soon I was high on the moor able to look back at Glen Garry and a distant Ben Tee.

In front was Gairich, still a lot of climbing still to do.

But as always the top arrives eventually. A shower passed just to the East producing a rainbow over Loch Cuaich

The summit, and a great view to the peaks of Knoydart. This image doesn't do it justice I'm afraid.
Gairich completes a large section of Munros for me. It might be a while before I'm in this area again I savoured the moment.

I took the chance to look at the Corbetts South of Glen Kingie, Gulvain was there with its twin tops as well.

Back the way I'd come, it was really warm, the wind had dropped....we all know what that means...Yes the midges and clegs had come out to play!
Little time was spent not moving, thank goodness for Avon Skin-so Soft. I arrived back at the car at 6.30 feeling rather pleased with myself, there's life in the old dog yet!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach

Tuesday evening I had moved on from Glen Nevis SYHA to Saddle mountain Hostel in Invergarry. This moved me closer to the next batch of Munros I wanted to climb. It also had the added benefit of a decent nights sleep! No 3peaker pillocks here :-) The weather was forecast to improve as the day progressed, so a later start should pay benefits. However it was chucking it down when I arrived at the foot of the stalkers path below Gleouraich....and with no wind the midges were out in force.

Its a wonderful stalkers path which eases you up towards the summit....sadly it rained every step of the way.

This would be the last I'd see of Loch Cuaich for a while.

Another Munro, another mist shrouded summit. Gleouraich was not a place to linger today, The rain was still beating down, seemed like the forecasters had got it wrong.....

....But as I dropped down to the unnamed col, the rain stopped and the clouds started to break up from the Southwest.

The route onwards appeared in front of me, always a morale booster.

To the North the South Glen Shiel ridge....I walked that in the rain as well! Almost 30 years ago!

Northeast into Easter Glen Cuaich

Having climbed up from the col I was enjoying the views at last. At this point I thought I was going to get a clear summit.....

.....However Spidean Mialach had other ideas. Mist shrouded again, it wasn't raining though :-) 

As I lost height down the Southwest slopes things looked a lot better. Excellent views across Loch Cuaich to the Knoydart Hills, made the earlier toil in rain and mist all worthwhile

I picked up the stalkers path across Coire Mheil, and didn't quite make it back before a heavy shower passed through The path brought me down to the road just a couple of hundred metres from the car.
A really great day.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Gulvain

Tuesday morning and an early start.....no problem with the 3peaker pratts at Glen Nevis SYHA! saw me out on the Mallaig road again. It was dry this morning though, I parked just beyond Loch Eil at the foot of Gleann Fionnlighe. It was a midgy footwear change, and off up the LRT I strode.....

It goes on for a bit...I can understand why many will choose to bike to the foot of the hill.

However for much of the way the track is close to Fionn Lighe, and in my experience you always see more on foot than by bike.

Soon after leaving the wooded section, Gulvain appears ahead....it was shrouded in mist. What I could see looked steep!

Track left behind, and Munroists path underfoot....yep its steep. Thank goodness it was dry, I think I would have melted dragging myself up here.

Of course if you keep at it you'll reach the top!....only this trig (which some wag had made an addition to) is only the South top.....

There is like so many hills a descent followed by a re-ascent along a pleasantly narrowish ridge to the proper summit.

The substantial cairn on the summit of Gulvain offered shelter for a spot of lunch. I knew it would be back against the strong wind, as I left the top the rain started....Great!!

Thank goodness for Event! I received a real dousing on the descent. Of course once back at valley level the summit was clear of cloud. isn't it always the way?
Just about an hour from this point back to the car, I really rather enjoyed Gulvain.