Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Section 12 - Glen Cannich to Glen Carron

Loch Monar
Loch Monar
Glen Carron
Glen Carron
Loch Mullardoch
Loch Mullardoch
Loch Beannacharain
Loch Beannacharain

This section refers to the hills and mountains from Glen Cannich to Glen Carron and include the remote mountains of Loch Mullardoch and Loch Monar. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams and Munros that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns that I have climbed in this section can be viewed here while the Humps are located here.


Section 12 - Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros
An Sidhean An Cruachan An Riabhachan
Aonach Buidhe Beinn Mheadhoin An Socach
Bac an Eich Beinn na Muice Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich
Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard Cam na Breabaig Carn nan Gobhar - Glen Cannich
Beinn Dronaig Carn Gorm Carn nan Gobhar - Strathfarrar
Faochaig Carn na Coinnich Lurg Mhor
Meallan nan Uan Creag Dhubh Mhor Maoile Lunndaidh
Sgorr na Diollaid Meall na Faochaig Moruisg
Sguman Coinntich   Sgurr a'Chaorachain
Sgurr a'Mhuilinn   Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais
Sgurr na Feartaig   Sgurr Choinnich
Sgurr nan Ceannaichean - Demoted from Munro status September 2009   Sgurr Fhuar-thuill
    Sgurr na Lappaich
    Sgurr nan Ceannaichean - Demoted to Corbett status September 2009
    Sgurr na Ruaidhe


Section 12 - Trip Reports

Beinn Dronaig

15 September 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 8.5 hours.
(cycle 4.5 hours)
Distance - 31.5 kilometres.
(cycle 24.5 kilometres)
Ascent - 1310 metres
(cycle 720 metres)

We parked at the entrance to Attadale, located just off the A890 south-west of Strathcarron, where the Estate had constructed a car park for walkers. Once geared up we commenced the cycle to Bendronaig Bothy initially along a tarred road but it later reverted to an estate track. The bridge over the River Attadale was crossed then the track zigzagged and it became a steady climb so there was more pushing of the bikes than cycling. The keeper passed us stopping briefly to ask where we were headed.

On reaching the highest point on the track it was then a long downhill stretch to the bridge over the Uisge Dubh. The track was quite rough and there were areas where holes had recently been filled with rubble. Beyond the bridge the keeper was working on repairing the track so we stopped and spoke to him. He was a friendly chap and advised us that there were cattle round the next bend. He said if they were on the track not to cycle through them although the shorthorn bull liked to be stroked! They were off the track but on our appearance they started to run around and through the stream but fortunately stayed far enough away for us to reach the bothy safely where we stopped for a break.

Afterwards we continued on foot along the track to its junction with another leading to Loch an Laoigh and here we left the track and followed the east side of a stream that flowed from the west ridge of Beinn Dronaig. It was steep in places but no real problems except the low cloud that was floating about and eventually engulfed us. It also started to drizzle. On gaining the undulating west ridge we walked out to the summit trig point but with no views we about turned and retraced our route back to the car park.

previous ascent

Beinn Dronaig Corbett third ascent 797 metres

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Aonach Buidhe and Faochaig

13 September 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 9.25 hours.
(cycle 2.25 hours)
Distance - 38 kilometres.
(cycle 25.5 kilometres)
Ascent - 1645 metres.
(cycle 410 metres)

We were staying at Plockton so this made accessing Killilan, the starting point for the Corbetts, Aonach Buidhe and Faochaig, relatively short. On leaving the A87 Kyle of Lochalsh to Dornie Road just west of the Dornie Bridge we drove along the single track road on the west side of Loch Long to the car park just before the hamlet of Killilan.

Bikes were used for the approach route so once organised we set off along the tarred road, which took us through Killilan and into Glen Elchaig. After several miles the tarred road was replaced by an estate track, then not far along this route to a locked gate in a deer fence. It was just possible to get the bikes through the adjoining kissing gate. The route thereafter was rather undulating as we continued up the glen above the River Elchaig and Loch na Leitreach to Carnach. It was then through Srath Duilleach to just above the house at Iron Lodge where we left our bikes.

On foot we continued up the glen crossing the An Cromm-allt and towards the Doire Gharbh before leaving this path and making the steady climb initially mainly on grass, although higher up it was mixed with boulders, to reach the summit of Aonach Buidhe. Nearby we found some shelter from the wind to take a break looking north towards Beinn Dronaig and Lurg Mhor.

Once on the move again we descended west then south-west to avoid the crags then lower down located a quad vehicle track which led us to the stalker’s path that ran from Iron Lodge across to the bothy at Maol-bhuidhe and beyond. We followed this path north to the start of the stalker’s path onto Faochaig although initially it wasn’t obvious. This path wound its way onto Faochaig’s north-west ridge then it was an easy stroll to its summit.

After a short break here we descended south-east to some lochans then to Cadha Ban before the gradient increased then it was a fairly steep drop, avoiding the rocks to return to near Iron Lodge and our bikes. The midges were horrendous here so once ready we headed off back down the glen occasionally cycling through swarms of midges to reach our cars as a few spots of rain began to fall.

previous ascent

Aonach Buidhe Corbett third ascent 899 metres
Faochaig Corbett third ascent 868 metres

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Creag Dhubh Mhor

16 August 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time - 5 hours. Distance - 14.25 kilometres. Ascent - 785 metres.

My plan was to climb the Graham, Creag Dhubh Mhor and a few minor tops from the hamlet of Achintee, south-west of Strathcarron. Parking was quite restricted here and on a previous visit I left my car beside the electrical sub-station located next to Park Cottage so did likewise on this occasion.

The midges were out so I got booted up as quickly as possible and set off eastwards through a gate in the stock fence and onto the track that crossed the hillside to Bendronaig Lodge. Several metres from the gate I came to a signpost for Bearneas and followed this route, a narrow path, to a stile over a deer fence. Once over this obstacle I crossed the Allt an-t-Sagairt to join the original path for Bearneas.

This path was in fairly good nick and took me to a small cairn marking the junction of paths. Here I took a left and walked along the path above the River Taodail. It was wet and boggy in places and on reaching the Allt na Creige Duibhe Moire the path was followed up its west side, passed the waterfall, then below the crags of Creag Dhubh Mhor. Here a few minor diversions were required to avoid some waterlogged and boggy ground to reach the lochan at the bealach between Creag Uadhall and its North Top.

I climbed the North Top where I had views east to the Corbett, Beinn Tharsuinn and the Munro, Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich before returning to the bealach to climb Creag Uadhall. A short descent then took me to the col with Creag Dhubh Mhor and once over a section of bog I commenced the ascent of this Graham, avoiding most of the rock as well as making a diversion to take in its North-East Top.

On reaching the cairn marking the summit of Creag Dhubh Mhor I had good views out across Loch Carron although unfortunately the Skye Cuillin was in cloud. There was a slight breeze here so I sat at the top for a while without being pestered by the midges. Later I descended north-east to locate a break in the crags before rejoining the upward route and following it back to the start meeting a couple of Graham Baggers on their ascent.

previous ascent

Creag Dhubh Mhor Graham second ascent 611 metres

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Sguman Coinntich

18 March 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 12.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1040 metres.

The group of hill walkers I was staying with were planning to climb Sguman Coinntich, from Killilan at the head of Loch Long. I was interested in a re-ascent of this Corbett but keen to climb it on a circuit of Coire Mor taking in the Graham Tops, Sgurr na Cloiche and Ben Killilan.

Killilan was reached from the A87 just west of Dornie along a single track road on the north side of Loch Long to the parking area just beyond the bridge over the River Ling. We then walked along the tarred ‘private’ road to the hamlet of Killilan then up a path on the north side of the Allt a’Choire Mhoir which later in the year, from past experience, will be overgrown with bracken. The path later joined the estate track coming in from the north and it was here I left my companions to continue up the glen.

The route to the first Graham Top, Sgurr na Cloiche, was up a heather clad hillside which was rather steep although I did occasionally find a few animal trails which made it a bit easier. Muir burning had recently taken place here but it appeared to have got out of control as a large area of the hillside had been burnt. Higher up the heather was longer and the gradient increased slightly making progress slow however there were good views back down to Loch Long. The west ridge was reached where the steepness eased and the heather was replaced by grasses, mosses and some boulders. It was then a pleasant stroll to the summit cairn where I had a rest looking across to Loch Carron although it was a bit hazy.

I later walked east along the undulating ridge to Ben Killilan’s West Top then Ben Killilan itself, both Graham Tops. En-route I spotted my walking companions on the summit of Sguman Coinntich. It also appeared that the scramble route onto this Corbett was covered in snow. From Ben Killilan I descended south round the head of Coire Fraineach disturbing a herd of deer then climbed to the pointed summit of Sguman Coinntich’s North Top, a Corbett Top.

It was then a short drop to the Bealach Mhic Bheathain where I was able to suss out a route onto the north-east ridge of Sguman Coinntich avoiding most of the snow. Fortunately there was less of the white stuff than appeared from the distance. Once over a few rocks the ascent wasn’t a problem and I emerged onto the mainly snow covered north-east ridge which made for a pleasant and easy ascent to the cairn and trig point marking the summit of Sguman Coinntich. Here I stopped for lunch with views down towards Killilan and the route I had just taken.

There now appeared to be less of a haze so I walked across to a small knoll where I could view Glen Elchaig and across to the Munros to the east. I then descended Sguman Coinntich’s West Ridge before locating a gully which was steep in places. This took me to more level ground then the crossing of the Allt a’Choire Mhoir which wasn’t a problem. The vehicle track was followed down the glen then the path to Killilan before returning to my car around an hour after my companions had departed.

previous ascent

Sguman Coinntich Corbett third ascent 879 metres

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Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain

17 March 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 8 hours. Distance - 20.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1305 metres.

My fellow walker’s plan was to climb the Corbett, Beinn Tharsuinn, from Craig in Glen Carron. I had climbed this hill on some of my ascents of the remote Munro, Lurg Mhor, so decided to accompany them as far as the Bealach Bhearnais then head onto the Munros, Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a’Chaorachain.

We parked in the small forest car park on the north side of the A890, where there was evidence of recent storm damage, then walked across the main road and a level crossing to reach the vehicle track on the south side of the railway line. There was a slight loss of height as we headed east to the bridge over the River Carron passing a construction site where a power house had been built for the hydro power scheme on the Allt a’Chonais. The cabling for this scheme had obviously been buried on the west side of the vehicle track but hopefully the ground will recover in a couple of years.

The track, which appeared to have been improved for the construction of the dam, headed south-east on a steady gradient and led to a gate in the deer fence. Beyond this gate the track turned south and once past the new dam and on a fairly flat section it became rather rough as stones had been used to level it out. Not ideal for those cycling up the glen! As the track turned to head east we left it and followed a wet path to the Allt a’Chonais and to a two strand wire bridge. The water was fairly low so some used the bridge while others walked across.

A rough and in places wet path led up the north side of the Allt Leathad an Tobair to the Bealach Bhearnais. Just before reaching this col I left my fellow walkers and climbed onto the west ridge of Sgurr Choinnich, shown on a map as Streangan nan Aon Pacan-deug. The ascent of this ridge entailed a couple of easy scrambles but with very few snow patches good progress was made. Sgurr Choinnich’s summit cairn was reached with views across to Beinn Tharsuinn and Lurg Mhor.

A short walk south-east took me to the start of the descent where there was a small area of hard packed snow to cross but once over this obstacle the stony path was clear until lower down where there were a couple of larger snow patches to cross but here the surface of the snow was softer and gave a bit of grip. There were more snow patches to cross as I ascended Sgurr a’Chaorachain with some small areas of snow and ice on the higher rocky sections. On reaching the summit cairn I stopped for a break.

The ground around this cairn was icy so I decided to fit crampons before commencing the descent of Sgurr a’Chaorachain’s north ridge which initially made for an easy descent. Once out of the snow and ice I removed my crampons and descended more steeply towards Pollan Buidhe. Lower down the going was rough with several peat hags to cross as well as the Allt Leathad an Tobair before I reached the path near the wire bridge.

On arriving at the bridge I only had around five minutes to wait until I was joined by my friends. I had spotted them through binoculars on their descent from the Bealach Bhearnais as well as on their ascent of Beinn Tharsuinn. We then followed the vehicle track back to Craig.

previous ascent

Sgurr Choinnich Munro sixth ascent 999 metres
Sgurr a'Chaorachain Munro sixth ascent 1053 metres

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Maoile Lunndaidh

28 June 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 9 hours. Distance - 28 kilometres. Ascent - 1160 metres.

I’ve climbed Maoile Lunndaidh from Craig in Glen Carron and from Loch Monar Dam so on this occasion I planned an ascent from Strathconon. I parked at the end of the public road where the map showed a parking area but the signage said turning area. Anyway there was sufficient room for both especially as there was no other vehicle around.

I walked west along the road on the north side of Loch Beannacharain to Scardroy Lodge then estate tracks passed several properties to the last house at Corrievuic where the track split. I remained on the vehicle track on the north side of the River Meig and shortly thereafter it crossed the Allt Coir a’Bhuic. I used the footbridge but it wasn’t really necessary as the burn was very low. The track then followed the edge of this stream before returning to the north side of the River Meig.

The vehicle track slowly deteriorated and in the long grassy vegetation it wasn’t easy to follow. There were areas of bog although most of it had dried out but the underfoot conditions would be a lot different during spells of wet weather. A path eventually replaced the track as I entered Gleann Fhiodhaig although I wouldn’t like to say at what point it started and Strathconon ended, possibly at a rusty gate and downed fence.

I continued west along Gleann Fhiodhaig to beyond the path on the opposite side of the river which led to Gleannan Allt an Amise. I was reluctant to go as far as the start of the stalker’s path that led onto Creag Dhubh Bheag as there was no guarantee I would find a suitable point to cross the River Meig which in places was slow moving with some large pools. An area of gravel and a few boulders permitted me to cross dry shod before making my way across rough ground as I commenced the fairly easy ascent of Creag Dhubh Bheag. Higher up I came across the little used stalker’s path which led almost to the summit where I visited a couple of points but the small pile of rocks appeared to be the highest one.

From this Graham Top a short descent west took me to the col with Creag Dhubh Mhor but there was no sign of the lochans shown on the map, possibly they had dried out. It was then a steeper climb to gain the Corbett Top, Creag Dhubh Mhor, where the highest point was apparently 15 metres south-west of the cairn.

An easy descent south-west took me to the col with Maoile Lunndaidh where I heard the warning noises of golden plovers. The ascent of Maoile Lunndaidh was over a mixture of grassy vegetation and stones and on reaching the large cairn I stopped for lunch. I was later joined by a couple of chaps who had come up from Craig, initially by bike.

I later left them and walked across to the small cairn marking the summit of Creag Toll a’Choin passing another chap who had cycled in from Craig. The reason for this diversion was that Maoile Lunndaidh was recently measured at 1004.7 metres while Creag Toll a’Choin registered 1005.2 metres which if ratified may mean a change of status. I then returned round the south-east side of Maoile Lunndaidh spotting the only deer I saw all day, and located the start of the East Ridge which was a bit rocky but fortunately clear of snow, although there were some pockets nearby.

The rocks were avoided and I descended to the outflow from Loch a’Chlaidheimh then round some boggy ground to reach the rough and little used path in Gleannan Allt an Amise. The path crossed and re-crossed the Allt an Amise several times but this wasn’t a problem as there was very little water in the burn. Lower down the path kept to the east side of the stream and became less obvious as it entered the long grass. I reached the River Meig and walked along the south bank before I came to an area with lots of boulders. The crossing was very easy but in normal conditions you may get wet feet and after heavy rain it could be difficult. The outward route was then followed back to the start.

previous ascent

Maoile Lunndaidh Munro sixth ascent 1004 metres.

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Sgurr nan Ceannaichean and Moruisg

22 August 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time - 6.25 hours Distance - 15.5 kilometres Ascent - 1175 metres

Studying the map and looking for a different approach to the Munro, Moruisg, I recalled that a couple of years back I viewed what I thought would be an interesting ascent route to the then Munro, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, which was subsequently reduced to Corbett status.

I parked at the usual lay-by on the A890 in Glen Carron, west of Loch Sgamhain, and set off through the gate and across the footbridge over the River Carron. Since my last visit slight improvements had been made to this section of the path. I then followed a wet All Terrain Vehicle track to the railway underpass and once on the other side I was surprised to find the hillside closed off with a deer fence. A sign on the gate indicated that during 2012 and 2013 tree planting was taking place.

My plan was to use the usually wet path west to the Alltan na Feola but the line of the deer fence meant I had to follow wet and boggy ATV tracks instead and only on approaching the stream did I locate a short section of the path. Prior to the stream I came to another deer fence with a kissing gate.

A bridge assisted in the crossing of the Alltan na Feola and once on its west side I commenced the ascent of the Hump, Meall an Fhliuchaird, initially following more wet and boggy ATV tracks. I then wandered through new tree plantings before reaching its summit where the ground was rather wet with pools of water. I decided that a clump of grass was the highest point. Just west of the summit there was another deer fence which I clambered over before descending some rough ground to the vehicle track in the glen of the Allt a’Chonais.

I followed this track, which in places had been roughly repaired, south. The local farmer, the only person I saw all day, was moving his cattle across the Allt a’Chonais but he didn’t acknowledge my presence. On approaching the Pollan Buidhe I took the path, a shortcut across the hillside, but the path later disappeared in the long grass. Once across one of the streams flowing from Sgurr nan Ceannaichean I located the stalker’s path which had interested me a few years back.

This path, which appeared little used these days, zigzagged north making the ascent relatively easy despite a few sections being lost to landslips over the years. High up on the hillside the path ended and it was here that I disturbed some deer. A gradual ascent over grass and stony ground took me to the large cairn at the summit as cloud floated around the top. I walked out to the smaller cairn overlooking Coire na Tuill Bhain which apparently was the highest point on this new Corbett.

I descended its north-east ridge to the col with Moruisg and commenced the easy ascent of this Munro which was in cloud. The summit area consisted of three cairns but I suspected the middle one was at the highest point. There was a cool breeze blowing so I found some shelter for a late lunch before descending north and out of the cloud. Eventually I came to the top end of the deer fence, located the kissing gate, and followed the mainly wet and boggy trail through the new plantation. This led me to the lower gate beside the railway underpass and the short stroll back to my car.

previous ascent Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

previous ascent Moruisg

Sgurr nan Ceannaichean Corbett fifth ascent 913 metres
Moruisg Munro sixth ascent 928 metres

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Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr na Ruaidhe

21 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 8.75 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 1650 metres.

Access to Strathfarrar was restricted with the gate at Inchmore only open at certain times. However during the month of July opening hours were extended so I decided to make use of the extra couple of hours to climb three of the Strathfarrar Munros in a circuit of Coire Mhuillidh. I would also need the extra time as the forecast was for some warm weather which would no doubt slow me down.

I arrived at Inchmore early to be joined by a couple of other vehicles waiting to gain entry to the glen. At precisely 9am the gate was opened, I received my pass and headed for the grassy area at the foot of Coire Mhuillidh where parking appeared to be permitted. One of the other vehicles, containing two chaps, also parked here.

It was misty as I walked west along the glen road before crossing the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. I then followed animal trails through some long and wet vegetation as I headed north round rocky outcrops shown on my map although I couldn’t see them for the low cloud. The flies were swarming round my head and face but more annoying were the biting clegs. Once beyond the rock I climbed steeply west through long heather to clear the cloud and gain the north ridge of An Carnais. I then walked south through some peat hags to the summit of this Sub Highland 5 watched by some feral goats. The tops of the surrounding mountains could clearly be seen above the cloud.

After a few minutes at this summit taking photographs I headed north along the ridge initially losing a bit of height before making the long easy climb to Meall a’Gheur-fheadeain. The walking was over mossy vegetation and peat hags which were dry and made for good progress. Nearer the summit of this Graham Top, the ground was a mixture of stones, grasses and heather. The highest point was marked by a few stones.

A fairly steep descent followed and this took me to the col with Sgurr a ‘Choire Ghlais. I then walked round the rim of Coire Glas Mor where below there were lots of deer, some feeding while others were resting amongst the peat hags. It was a while before they became aware of my presence and ran off towards Coire Mhuillidh. It was now rather warm but thankfully I had left the clegs behind although there were still a few flies around. Sgurr a ‘Choire Ghlais, my first Munro of the day, was reached with its two cairns and trig point, the latter being the highest although it wasn’t obvious. From here I viewed numerous mountains including Ben Nevis.

I wanted to add another hill before stopping for lunch so descended the path on the East Ridge of Sgurr a ‘Choire Ghlais to the Bealach Sneachda then commenced the ascent of Carn nan Gobhar. The upper reaches of this Munro were a mass of boulders and it was here that I met the only folks I saw all day, the two chaps from the parking area. At the summit cairn I had lunch looking towards Glen Orrin.

Afterwards I re-crossed the boulder field and descended to the Bealach nam Botaichean before making the easy ascent to the third and final Munro of the day, Sgurr na Ruaidhe, although I felt the heat was slowing me down. My next hill was off the circuit of Coire Mhuillidh, out to the east, so it was a bit of thought to add another couple of kilometres to take in a Corbett Top. However the descent took me passed an area of glacial landslip before ascending Aonach na Resie where I visited a couple of spots as I was undecided which was the highest point.

I thereafter returned to the col with Sgurr na Ruaidhe but decided to I follow deer tracks round its south-east side rather than re-ascend it. The tracks soon disappeared in areas of small landslips and once across them there were a couple of rocky gullies so in the end I did a bit of re-ascending before dropping to the col with Garbh-charn. This time the deer in the peat hags of Corry Deanie saw me first as I heard them bark before spotting them running off.

Garbh-charn, a Corbett Top, was a rather rocky hill with a few boggy areas that hadn’t dried out. I located its summit cairn before heading for its South Top. The descent to the col involved walking through some long heather, avoiding cliffs and rocky outcrops.On eventually reaching the col I climbed to an area of rock which appeared to be the highest point of this Highland 5.

The descent was through more heather but on this occasion there were a few animal trails to follow. The path beside the Allt Coire Mhuillidh was reached just above where I had left my car. I wasn’t long back at my vehicle when the two chaps I had met earlier returned having managed to get a lift down the glen after successfully climbing all four Munros.

previous ascents

Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais Munro sixth ascent 1083 metres
Carn nan Gobhar Munro sixth ascent 992 metres
Sgurr na Ruaidhe Munro sixth ascent 993 metres

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Bac an Eich

9 June 2013

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

Searching for a hill to climb where I didn’t have to return to Inverness via the Kessock Bridge as long delays were being experienced there due to roadworks on the bridge, I settled for a trip up Strathconon to ascend the Corbett, Bac an Eich. Strathconon is a very scenic glen if you can ignore the electric pylons and now the windfarm.

On my last visit to this hill I climbed it from Gleann Chorainn to the east then descended to Corrievuic followed by a walk along the road beside Loch Beannacharain to my car. On this occasion I decided to tackle it from the north taking in the Graham Top, Meall Buidhe and Corbett Top, Creag Coire na Feola.

The hills were blanketed in cloud when I arrived in the large parking area at the end of the public road in Strathconon and set off along the private tarred road on the north side of Loch Beannacharain to Scardroy Lodge. Once beyond this large house the cloud began to break up with glimpses of blue sky. As I progressed west, now along an untarred track passed habitations and deer feeding on the hillside, the cloud continued to dissipate. I reached the property at Corrievuic where I left the track which was a Right of Way to Achnashellach and Achnasheen and used the bridge to cross the River Meig although it was rather low.

Once over the bridge I crossed the meadow passing a couple of ruins before commencing the steady climb of the heathery hillside on the north side of the Allt Coire na Feola Ravine where there were traces of animal trails and later an All Terrain Vehicle Track. It was now sunny and warm work so with views to the north opening up I stopped for a cuppa. I was lingering there when I was surprised to see a walker appear just below me. I thought there was more than one as there was a voice but no just one walker having a chat to himself.

He stopped and we spoke for a few minutes before we both continued up the side of the ravine where I learned that after his ascent of Bac an Eich he was headed home to Dumfries, a rather long drive. We parted company near the top of the ravine and he headed for the Corbett while I climbed onto the Creag Achadh an Eas Ridge with views down to Scardroy Lodge and Loch Beannacharain. I followed this ridge then wandered round some peat hags to reach the cairn marking the summit of Meall Buidhe.

After taking more photos I left this Graham Top and headed east avoiding some bog to reach the watershed below Bac an Eich. It was a fairly steep ascent avoiding loads of rocks to reach its summit cairn and trig point where I met up again with the chap from Dumfries who was just about to head off for Coire Mhoraigein. The weather remained sunny with blue skies so there were good views of An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich where I had been the previous day, the Strathfarrar Hills, west as far as Skye and north to the mountains of Torridon, Fisherfield and the Fannaichs.

A leisurely lunch was had at the summit before descending north-west then climbing the Corbett Top, Creag Coire na Feola. There was a cairn here but I visited a couple of other points which I thought were slightly higher. I had planned now to descend towards Coire na Feola and work my way round the tops of the ravines but changed my mind to a more direct and steeper descent to Corrievuic.

Initially the descent was fairly easy and a small herd of deer ran across the hillside. The gradient soon increased and I had to change direction several times until I located a corrie where the walking was a bit easier. It was here I spotted a hind and its calf running across the corrie. The calf was very small and couldn’t keep up and disappeared from my view. The hind then came back barking passing the spot where its calf was and headed uphill in my direction before deciding to run off. I continued my descent but before reaching the area where I had seen the calf I spotted another calf hiding in a small bank. I took a few photos getting as close as possible without forcing the calf to run off being aware that the mother would return later in the day. Seeing this deer calf close up made my day.

I continued down the corrie then changed direction to avoid the ravine. Here the terrain was rough with lots of dried out deer hoof prints making walking awkward. Eventually I reached the ruins at Corriefeol and followed the morning’s route back to my car.

previous ascent

Bac an Eich Corbett third ascent 849 metres

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An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich

8 June 2013

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25 Time taken - 8 hours. Distance - 16.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1400 metres.

I first climbed An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich back in 1997 from Gleann Innis an Loichel with subsequent ascents being from Loch Mullardoch to the south. In the Spring of 2011 I climbed the Sub 2000 Marilyns on the north side of Gleann Innis an Loichel and thought then it was time to make a northerly re-ascent of these two interesting Munros.

With fair weather forecasted I decided it was the appropriate time to tackle these two mountains from the north. Accompanied by my brother I set out from Inverness and reached the locked gate at Inchmore, which blocks the entrance to Strathfarrar, just before its opening time at 9am. The car park before the house was already full, we counted at least 13 vehicles, and more arrived prior to the gate opening. I estimated there were around 20 vehicles headed up the glen that Saturday morning, there being a limit of 25. It being June the gate didn’t close until 8pm which gave us plenty of time on the hill.

It was a rather slow journey up the glen until the starting points for the Munros on the north side where some of the drivers parked up. On reaching Loch Monar we drove across its two dams then along Gleann Innis an Loichel where around forty minutes after gaining access to Strathfarrar we parked beside the sluice for the Power Station. One other vehicle stopped there while a 4x4 continued west for a further kilometre, although that section of road wasn’t tarred.

Once geared up we walked west along the track to the small water intake where the 4x4 was parked. The track then became rougher and steepened and after around a kilometre and a half we spotted the cairn marking the start of the stalkers path for Coire Gnada. The path was initially obvious but we soon lost it although its line could be seen further west on the opposite side of the Allt an Eas Bhain Mhoir. On regaining the path we followed it and climbed into the coire although the path eventually disappeared amongst the peat hags, which were pretty dry.

We crossed over to Loch Beag, walked round its south side, and climbed onto Meall Garbh. From here it was a steady ascent of An Riabhachan’s North-east Top with snow still hanging around the top of the corrie. On reaching its cairned summit it was an easy stroll out to the larger cairn marking An Riabhachan’s highest point. There had been a few walkers on the Coire Gnada route although they seemed to head for the Bealach Toll an Lochain rather than take our route. However the hills were now busy with walkers who had obviously ascended from the south.

After lunch at the summit taking in the views of the numerous mountain tops we returned to An Riabhachan’s North-East Top before descending the Creagan Toll an Lochain Ridge, which narrowed in sections, to the Bealach Toll an Lochain. It was then a rather steady climb to the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich where we spoke again to other walkers who were continuing out to the Munro, Carn nan Gobhar.

Our descent took us over some boulders before making the short climb to Rubha na Spreidhe. Beyond there was a snow field which was surprisingly firm and made for easy walking before returning to the mountain vegetation. Lower down the ground was steeper and we reached a deer fence enclosing a small area of woodland. We descended to the west but the terrain was steep with deer hoof prints and a few rocks making for awkward walking. On reaching the north-west edge of the woodland we followed the fence east then went under a large pipeline to reach the bridge over the Uisge Misgeach. Here we were sprayed by water pumping out of the sluice but the bridge crossing wasn’t really optional as the car was parked on the other side.

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Carn Gorm

30 April 2013

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map OS Landranger 26. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 9.75 kilometres. Ascent - 775 metres.

With the weather forecast showing a better day I decided to head for Glen Cannich and re-climb the Graham, Carn Gorm. I managed to get my car off the road and onto the north verge just east of the bridge over the River Cannich at Craskie.

I walked across the bridge then along the road leading to the house at Craskie which I by-passed to the left using deserted fields where the gates had been left open. This led to the Craskie Burn which I crossed then followed traces of a track up its west bank passing a waterfall. Once beyond the tree line I went through a deer fence without difficulty as the wire strands were slack. I later left the burn and made the short climb to the summit of the Sub Highland Five, Carn na Toiteill where the highest point was a rocky spine. There were views of the nearby Corbett, Sgorr na Diollaid and west to Loch Mullardoch.

After a few minutes at the top I descended east, crossed the Craskie Burn, and ascended the Graham Top, Sgorr na Ruadhraich via its south-west ridge. The hill was rocky in places but there were no difficulties reaching the summit marked by a stone on top of a slab of rock.

On the descent south-east I avoided a number of rocky outcrops to reach the col with Carn Gorm before making the easy ascent to the cairn marking the summit of this Graham. I spent a few minutes here before commencing the return route. This involved descending to and walking round the north side of Loch Coir’ an Uillt Ghiubhais then a climb of around 30 metres to reach the col between Sgorr na Ruadhraich and its South Top. However an additional 50 metres of easy climbing took me to the South Top, a Graham Top, with reasonable views to the west.

From the South Top I made for the edge of the forest beside the Craskie Burn, re-crossed the fence, and descended to the house at Craskie where there were a number of deer feeding in the fields but they soon took off into the woods as I headed for my car.

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Carn Gorm Graham second ascent 677 metres

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Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

29 October 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1185 metres.

It was back to Glen Strathfarrar this time to climb the Munro, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, with a plan to include a couple of lower hills. I arrived at the locked gate at Inchmore a few minutes early and had to wait until 9am before being permitted access to the glen. I then drove to just west of the Allt Toll a’Mhuic where I parked up.

I encountered a few snow showers as I walked north along the track on the west side of Allt Toll a’Mhuic until it crossed this stream. I remained on the west bank and traversed below the north-east face of Sgurr na Muice gaining a bit of height. There were quite a few boulders to cross and I think it would probably have been better to have stayed closer to Loch Toll a’Mhuic before ascending the gully, which was fairly steep with rocky outcrops.

Cadha Raineach, the col between Sgurr na Muice and Sgurr na Fearstaig was reached during a snow shower which lasted for around an hour restricting visibility. I headed north, crossed the 880 knoll, and descended to the Bealach Dearg. I initially commenced the ascent of the Munro Top, Sgurr na Fearstaig but on gaining a bit of height traversed round its west side to just above the col, Fhuar-tholl Mor. I dropped to this col and in the snow came across what appeared to be an old television aerial.

Visibility was still poor as I headed along the ridge, over Aonach nan Clach Mora, to the trig point surrounded by a cairn, marking the summit of the Corbett Top, Carn Eiteige. As the snow continued to fall I decided there was little point in remaining at the top and returned to Aonach nan Clach Mora where the snow ceased and the cloud began to lift giving me a few decent views.

On reaching Fhuar-tholl Mor a herd of deer crossed the hillside so I watched them for a few minutes before ascending the west ridge of Sgurr na Fearstaig to its summit cairn. With more cloud gathering in the west I didn’t linger here and descended it’s east ridge, which was initially a bit narrow and slippery. The ridge soon widened and I reached the col then made the easy ascent to the Munro, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill.

I had lunch sheltering behind the summit cairn before returning to the col with Sgurr Fhuar-thuill as another snow shower threatened. I located the snow covered path and followed it into Toll a’Mhuic then to the crossing of the Allt Toll a’Mhuic where I followed the upward route back to the car.

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Sgurr Fhuar-thuill Munro sixth ascent 1049 metres

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Beinn na Muice

27 October 2012

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Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 7.5 kilometres. Ascent 575 metres.

The Graham, Beinn na Muice in Glen Strathfarrar was the plan as it looked possible we could traverse this hill before the weather deteriorated, if the forecast was accurate.

At 9am we arrived at the locked gate at Inchmore just as the gatekeeper opened it to permit the first vehicle of the day through. We received our permit, passed through the gate, and drove along Glen Strathfarrar to beyond Inchvuilt. At the vehicle track beside the Allt Toll a’Mhuic a suitable parking spot was located.

We walked up the track on the west side of the Allt Toll a’Mhuic to beyond its waterfall. Here we left the track and began an ascent of Beinn na Muice’s east ridge looking for the easiest route as the gradient was reasonably steep and there were a few rocky outcrops to avoid. As height was gained there was also some lying soft snow. Higher up the gradient eased and it was a relatively easy walk to the summit cairn where we had good views of Glen Strathfarrar.

After a short break at the summit we continued along the ridge where despite a bit of cloud cover there were some good views west to Loch Monar and its surrounding mountains. On reaching the end of the west ridge we descended south to near Monar Lodge and followed the tarred road back to the start just as a few spots of rain fell.

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Beinn na Muice Graham second ascent 693 metres

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Carn nan Gobhar

26 October 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 14.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1045 metres.

I was staying with a few friends at Tomich, near Cannich, for the weekend so it was only a short drive to Glen Cannich and the start of this walk. We parked on an area of ground just below the Mullardoch Dam, which is commonly used by walkers. I had devised a route that I thought was interesting and bit unusual as it took in a Graham Top followed by a Corrbett Top, then a Munro Top before ascending the Munro, Carn nan Gobhar. Well I can’t recall doing anything similar although I’m sure there must be other Munros in this category.

It was a bright and cold morning when we set off in a northerly direction over a mixture of terrain, initially on a fairly steep gradient. However this eased as we changed direction and headed to and over the Allt Coire Eoghainn and its eastern tributary, Allt Ruigh Eoghainn. There were lots of roaring stags and we spotted several deer in Coire Eoghainn. We made our way towards the Graham Top, Mullach Tarsuinn, encountering the first snow shower of the day. On reaching the summit cairn, where there was a cold wind blowing, we sought shelter behind rocks for a cuppa.

After our break we descended Mullach Tarsuinn’s west ridge before commencing the ascent of the Corbett Top, Creag Feusag. On gaining a bit of height the gradient eased and we headed across the plateau as one of the snow showers turned out to be prolonged which meant that the approach to the summit was tougher than expected. At the cairn it was time to put on more gear and thankfully I had my goggles.

We walked along Creag Feusag’s west ridge then changed direction as the cloud broke briefly to allow us a view of Carn nan Gobhar. The 815 knoll was crossed to reach the Bealach na Creige Duibhe and this was followed by an ascent of the Munro Top, Creag Dubh. On reaching the cairn there was another change of direction as we descended to the col with Carn nan Gobhar. It was then an easy ascent to Carn nan Gobhar’s north cairn, apparently higher than the larger south cairn, although in the cloud this wasn’t apparent.

The south cairn was visited before descending the bouldery south ridge stopping for lunch once we found a bit of shelter from the cold wind. After lunch we continued over the boulders as the cloud began to lift with views towards Loch Mullardoch. Beyond the boulder field the walking became easier as we crossed the Bealach an Tuill Ghaineamhaich and ascended Mullach na Maoile.

The descent of Mullach na Moile was by its south-east ridge which was relatively easy until lower down when it steepened and we made use of a gully to avoid some rocky terrain. On reaching the Allt Mullardoch the stream was crossed via a bridge and we then followed one of several paths along the north shore of Loch Mullardoch back to our starting point. I was expecting the paths on the final stretch to be a bit of a quagmire but was pleasantly surprised to discover that they weren’t any worse than some other worn trails I’ve followed.

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Carn nan Gobhar Munro seventh ascent 992 metres

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Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a'Mhuilinn

26 August 2012

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Map - OS Landranger 25 Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 14.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1360 metres

It was a lovely sunny morning when I met a couple of friends outside the old church just south of Strathanmore in Strathconon. The plan was to ascend the Corbetts, Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a’Mhuilinn and I was hopeful of a view on this occasion as on the two previous visits I never saw a thing. I also fancied including the Corbett Tops, Sgurr a’Ghlas Leathaid and Sgurr a’Choire-rainich, which are well seen from the Achnasheen road.

From the parking area outside the church we walked back along the road before leaving it and heading west, crossing some wet ground, then following paths or animal trails as height was quickly gained. The paths disappeared as we made our way onto and up Creag Ruadh’s heathery north-east ridge. The summit cairn of this Graham Top was reached where underfoot conditions became easier as we descended its north-west ridge then climbed the south-west ridge of Meallan nan Uan, the summit area being a bit rocky. There were some good views of the route ahead and of the mountains for several miles around.

I wanted to include the Graham Top, Creag Ghlas, which was off the planned route, so I left my companions and walked towards the head of the Allt a’Chair. Once over this stream I gained the north ridge of Creag Ghlas which was riddled with peat hags. It was easier to wind my way through this maze as some were in fact quite dry. Afterwards I made the short ascent to the summit cairn where I had a quick bite to eat looking across Gleann Meinich towards the hills surrounding Loch Monar.

After my break I re-crossed the peat hags, descended to and crossed the Allt an Droighinn before undertaking the steady climb to the summit of Sgurr a’Ghlas Leathaid. As expected there were good views including across Strath Bran to Loch Fannich and its Munros. I left Sgurr a’Ghlas Leathaid and made the short descent to the Bealach Gaoithe followed by an easy climb to the summit of Sgurr a’Choire-rainich where I met up again with my walking companions. From this summit there were views of Ben Wyvis and over towards the Black Isle.

We dropped to the Bealach na Siunnachair and made the relatively easy ascent to the final hill of the day, Sgurr a’Mhuilinn, and with the continuing fine weather there were some excellent views. The descent from Sgurr a’Mhuilinn was by its south-east ridge but where it became narrow and rocky we kept to the heather on its south side. A large boggy area was reached and we followed traces of a path through the middle. This led to the Allt an t-Srathain Mhoir which was crossed before descending to the road in Strathcaron and the short walk back to our vehicles.

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Meallan nan Uan Corbett third ascent 838 metres
Sgurr a'Mhuilinn Corbett third ascent 879 metres

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Carn na Coinnich

13 June 2012

slide show

Map OS Landranger 26. Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 910 metres.

I’ve visited Strathconon on several occasions and consider it to be a scenic glen, possibly superior to the more popular Glen Affric. However it is spoilt by electric pylons and now the windfarm at Fairburn. On this occasion I was back to re-climb the Graham, Carn na Coinnich.

At the point before the single track road crossed the River Meig we parked on an area of waste ground beside a large deer gate. Here there was a friendly sign welcoming walkers. We set off, passing through the unlocked gate, along an estate road as far as Home Farm Cottage and up a vehicle track beside a small forested area. The track then continued uphill across open hillside. At the crossing of the outflow from Loch a’Choire Riabhaich my walking companion decided that she wasn’t taking a diversion to include the Graham Top, Meall Doire Fheara, and headed up the track.

I wandered up the side of this stream disturbing a few deer. One of the rain showers I encountered became rather prolonged but most of the boggy ground I crossed was dried up. The gradient steepened and it was hard going through some long heather before reaching an area north of Loch a’Choire Riabhaich. Meall Doire Fheara was protected by rocks on its east side so I climbed it from the north and on reaching the summit the prolonged shower eased. There were good views of the Strathconon Corbetts.

As we planned to meet up on the summit of Carn na Coinnich I didn’t linger long here and set off down Meall Doire Fheara’s south ridge and round the north side of Loch Gruamach as my walking companion arrived on the summit of Carn na Coinnich. I then ascended this Graham where I had views of the Strathfarrar Munros.

I ate lunch at the summit before heading for some of the Graham Tops to the east while my walking partner returned to the car by her ascent route. I descended steeply through long heather to the Allt a’Choirr’ Aluinn then climbed the Graham Top, Carn Uilleim as another rain shower passed through the area. From this Top I worked my way round the south and east sides of Meall a’Bhogair Mor before going out to the Graham Top, Meall a’Bhogair Beag where again it was raining.

There wasn’t much point in lingering at this summit so it was back along the ridge before ascending the final hill of the day, the Graham Top, Meall a’Bhogair Mor. Once the summit was gained I descended north-west to reach the vehicle track around half a kilometre north of where I left it earlier in the day. The approach route was then followed back to the car.

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Carn na Coinnich Graham second ascent 673 metres

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An Sidhean

28 October 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1000 metres.

We were at Inchmore in plenty time for the opening of the gate at precisely 9am which was followed by a half hour drive up Glen Strathfarrar to the Monar Dam. Signs advised that there was no parking beyond this point so best not to upset the few locals and keep vehicles out of sight.

It was windy with showers as we set off along the road to Monar Lodge where I got a reasonable photograph of a stag. Signposts indicated the route around the property but for some reason they have barbed wire on top of the gate which caught my clothing on a previous visit so I was extra careful this time.

The path was obvious as it passed through a field containing a couple of ponies and headed along the shore of Loch Monar and through a gully. We were now in wild and remote country with the next habitation being Pait Lodge which could occasionally be seen away in the distance at the other end of the Loch. A rainbow appeared over Loch Monar so I had to stop and photograph it.

We continued along the path which crossed the Allt a’Choire Dhomhain and the Allt na Cois by bridges. Just beyond the latter stream we left this stalker’s path and took the path that headed up Gleann Dubh. It actually climbed onto the south ridge of An Sidhean before according to the map swinging round into Gleann Dubh and following the east bank of the Allt na Cois. However I’m not sure it still exists beyond the south ridge as it appeared to disappear here.

The south ridge of An Sidhean, Mullach a’Gharbh-leathaid, was a steady climb before the gradient eased. At this point we had a heavy rain shower and it was quite windy. However despite the discomfort of the rain and being buffeted by the wind it was a relatively easy stroll to the summit cairn of An Sidhean where we found some shelter for lunch.

After lunch we descended south-east to the bealach at Clach a’Chomharraidh spotting some ptarmigan en-route. While the others climbed over the north-east shoulder of Meall Dubh na Caoidhe I climbed to the summit of this Graham Top before descending to Coire Domhain where I rejoined my walking companions. Here another good stalker’s path led down the side of Allt a’Choire Dhomhain to Loch Monar. We followed the path back to the dam and had plenty of time to leave the Glen before 6pm, which was ‘closing time’.

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An Sidhean Corbett fourth ascent 814 metres

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Sgorr na Diollaid

27 October 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 7 kilometres. Ascent - 665 metres.

The forecast was for a wet and windy day so the plan was to climb this Corbett as it was a relatively short ascent.

From the village of Cannich we drove west along the single track road through Glen Cannich to just beyond the point where the road bridge crossed the river of the same name. Here there was a vehicle track leading to the property at Muchrachd where there was a large bell-mouth which was wide enough to allow for some parking.

Once the waterproof gear was on we set off heading north, initially following animal paths or routes taken by fellow walkers. However the ground was rather sodden and boggy in places. The rut was obviously still in progress as the stags were roaring.

It was rather windy with some heavy showers and higher up we used gullies to gain a bit of protection from the wind. The final climb onto the east ridge was rather exposed as we worked our way round some rocky outcrops. A small pinnacle was crossed with the wind buffeting us before making the final climb to the summit of Sgorr na Diollaid where strangely the wind wasn’t as strong.

The return was slightly to the east of the ascent route as we tried to keep out of the strong wind before cutting across towards the ascent route and descending to the car.

Later in the day we visited Plodda Falls west of Tomich.

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Sgorr na Diollaid Corbett third ascent 818 metres

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Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard

26 October 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 26. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 16.5 kilometres. Ascent - 980 metres.

My walking companions wanted to climb this Corbett, which although in Glen Strathfarrar, does not require vehicular access beyond the locked gate at Inchmore. In any case, it was Tuesday and the gate keeper’s day off so access wouldn’t have been possible.

We parked in the car park east of the Gatekeeper’s House and walked along the road with the trees in their autumnal colours and reflecting in the River Farrar. At Culligran Power Station we walked up a path on the west side onto a vehicle track which we followed westwards and below some power lines.

At the end of the vehicle track we came across a couple of estate vehicles so it was possible the occupants were out stalking deer hinds, the stag season having finished a few days earlier. A very wet and boggy All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) track ran along the east side of the Neaty Burn and we followed this ATV track trying to avoid the worst sections of it. At the Allt Doire Bhuig we crossed this stream and headed onto the west ridge of Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard across a mixture of rough vegetation and heather.

The cloud was coming and going as we walked along the west ridge of this Corbett and while at the summit trig point I was fortunate to capture some photographs including a thin veil of cloud over Sgurr a’Phollain. The stags were roaring below but there had been no sign of the stalker.

We headed over to and ascended the twin tops of Sgurr a’Phollain before following the stalker’s path down to Carn na Gabhalach. Lower down the path disappeared amongst the vegetation and we didn’t find it again until just before Loch na Beiste.

The final section of the descent involved walking through fields of farmed deer. Although they were fenced in it didn’t prevent them from taking off. The route exited the deer farm directly opposite the car park at Inchmore.

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Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard Corbett third ascent 862 metres

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Sgurr a'Chaorachain and Sgurr Choinnich

2 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 22.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1575 metres.

I was supposed to meet a couple of friends to climb these two Munros but they were unable to make it. I was therefore on my own as I set off from the car park on the north side of the A890, crossed the main road and then the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh railway line, at a level crossing. There were a couple of other vehicles already in the car park and two arrived as I commenced the walk along the vehicle track on the south side of the railway line.

After three quarters of a kilometre following this railway line, the track turned and headed south over the River Carron and up through the forest on a steady incline. I have previously taken my mountain bike up this route but have to admit pushing it most of the way until well beyond gates that need to be negotiated. On this visit I found changes had been made to the wicket gate at the side of the deer gate to enable cyclists to pass through. Beyond these gates the track levelled out along the plains of Ardach, passed a cairn marking the route to the Corbett, Sgurr na Feartaig, and below the west face of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean.

At the point where the track made a major change in direction towards Pollan Buidhe a small cairn marked the start of the stalker’s path which led to a wire bridge, the crossing point of the Allt a’Chonais. This stream was relatively low but I used the bridge and followed the rough stalker’s path as it gained some height. I left the path and crossed the Allt Leathad an Tobair beside the waterfall as I had decided to climb Sgurr a’Chaorachain, by its north ridge, first. I had ruled out Coire Choinnich, which was my route last time, as there was still a fair amount of snow in the corrie.

It was a steady climb as I headed towards Sgurr a’Chaorachain avoiding boulders and snow patches and I eventually arrived on its summit, just below the cairn to find it surrounded by snow. From the summit cairn I had views across Loch Monar to Lurg Mhor.

I descended the west ridge of Sgurr a’Chaorachain, which involved a couple of easy rocky steps, to the Bealach Coire Choinnich. The Corbett Top, Sgurr na Conbhaire, which is an extension of the south ridge of Sgurr Choinnich, was my next target but rather than climb this Munro and walk out its south ridge I dropped into the corrie to the south of Bealach Coire Choinnich and traversed below the south ridge. This necessitated crossing a few boulder fields before reaching the col north of Sgurr na Conbhaire. It was then an easy climb to its summit cairn with good views down Loch Monar and across to Lurg Mhor.

I took some photos here before returning to the col and climbing the south ridge of Sgurr Choinnich, spotting several walkers doing these Munros in an anti-clockwise direction, as per some of the handbooks. From the summit of Sgurr Choinnich, I had views of Loch Carron and across to the Islands of Skye, Rum and Eigg. The mountains to the north were also clear of cloud and included the Torridon, Slioch and the Fisherfield Munros.

I had my lunch at the summit cairn before descending the west ridge. Here again there were a few easy rocky steps, before I reached the Bealach Bhearnais and the stalker’s path back to the wire bridge over the Allt a’Chonais and then the outward route to Craig. This is where a bike would come in handy especially the long downhill section through the forest. However today, possibly due to the bright weather, the walk didn’t seem as long as normal and just before re-crossing the River Carron I met the first walker of the day, a backpacker heading in the opposite direction. On my return to the car park it was almost full.

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Sgurr a'Chaorachain Munro fifth ascent 1053 metres
Sgurr Choinnich Munro firth ascent 999 metres

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Moruisg and its Corbett Tops

23 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 16.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1315 metres.

The start for the ascent of the Munro, Moruisg, was the A890, Achnasheen to Lochcarron Road west of Loch Sgamhain at grid reference NH080520 where there is a lay- by. This parking area is marked on the map. I passed through a gate and descended to the River Carron where there is a bridge over the river and a short distance further on a railway underpass. Once beyond these obstacles the open hillside was directly in front of me. Normally this ground is quite wet and boggy but after overnight frost it was reasonably firm.

A gradual ascent took me over rough ground where the stream banks still held some snow. It was a fine morning with the sun shinning on the nearby mountains, other than those to the east which were cloud covered. However as I was ascending the north face of the mountain I was in the shadow of the hill. Prior to reaching the snow line which was around 550 meters I came across some deer who soon disappeared. Once at the snow line I was able to find some more bare vegetation before eventually fitting my crampons to cross the snow which was hard packed and initially quite steep. The crampons were left on until I returned to below this snow line later in the day.

The gradient later eased and I reached a cairn on the north-east ridge. The summit area was devoid of snow but covered in ice and there were a number of snow buntings flying around. From the summit cairn I had views of Slioch, the Torridon mountains and across to Skye while the mountain tops to the south were covered in cloud.

With the demise of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean to Corbett status I decided to explore the hills to the east, which consisted of four Corbett Tops. I descended to the col with Moruisg's East Top but the weather was starting to close in and the cloud base lowered and at times engulfed the summit of Moruisg. The route onto the East Top looked a bit risky with cornices and a large build up of snow so I climbed this Corbett Top by initially heading south-east to avoid these hazards and then onto the summit, which was marked by a a few stones.

There were several patches of bare vegetation and rocks visible but as I was still wearing my crampons I tried to find some snow as I descended east and made the easy ascent of the second Corbett Top of the day, Moruisg Far East Top. It was then out to Toll a’Ghobhain just a wee knoll but still classed as a Corbett Top and then Carn Gorm which did involve a bit more effort but nothing significant. By the time I reached this fourth Corbett Top the sun had disappeared completely. I sought some shelter behind the summit cairn from a cool breeze while I ate my lunch. During my break there was a light fall of snow.

I was tempted to descend north to the A890 and make the long walk back along the main road but as the terrain looked rather hostile I decided to return by my ascent route. This did involve several re-ascents but I was able to by-pass the summit of Toll a’Ghobhain. I encountered a few more snow showers and was engulfed by low cloud on a couple of occasions which made route finding a bit tougher compared to the outward route. However on the descent of Moruisg the cloud cleared and a ptarmigan took flight. On nearing the railway line the late afternoon train was heading for Kyle of Lochalsh. The early morning frost had lifted and the ground near the end of the walk was a bit wet and boggy.

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Moruisg Munro fifth ascent 928 metres

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An Cruachan, Cam na Breabaig, Faochaig and Aonach Buidhe

23 – 24 May 2009

photos taken on day one

photos taken on day two


Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken:
Day one - 9.5 hours.
Day two - 8.75 hours.
Distance:
Day one - 32.5 kilometres.
Day two - 27 kilometres.
Ascent:
Day one - 1450 metres.
Day two - 1420 metres.

An Cruachan is a very remote Graham, located in the Pait Forest, which is south of Lurg Mhor, one of the remotest Munros. The Graham, Cam na Breabaig stands opposite the Corbetts, Faochaig and Aonach Buidhe. I wanted to climb all four mountains but realistically it would take at least two days so I planned a backpacking trip. I had considered walking in from Attadale, in the west, and walking out to Killilan but I couldn’t arrange the necessary transport back to Attadale for my car.

I therefore had to start at Killilan around 9 kilometres from Dornie which is on the A87 Invermoriston to Kyle of Lochalsh Road. The road to Killilan is single track and a car park, which has recently been upgraded, is located just after the bridge over the River Ling.

Day One

As I was preparing to the leave the car park a couple of guys arrived back at their vehicles obviously having spent a night out in the hills. I set off along the tarred road passed the farm at Killilan, where goats were obviously reared. A black Highland bull was being fed by the farmer but the bull didn’t appear too happy when being patted by his food supplier. Another cyclist, this time with a dog, was headed back to the car park as I continued along the tarred road in Glen Elchaig. Beyond the property at Coille-righ the road changed to a good quality vehicle track with occasional sections of tar and I was now wishing that I had fixed and used my bike.

There were now lots of sheep with lambs, birds including the sound of cuckoos, Highland Cattle and their young calves together with a few deer which kept my mind occupied and away from the bike issue. The track eventually reached Loch na Leitreach and I could now see the area where I intended pitching my tent. Beyond Loch na Leitreach I came to the house at Carnach and then entered Srath Duilleach where there were loads of stags with their velvet and sheep with their lambs. I continued along the Srath looking for a suitable camping area and found a reasonable spot just before Iron Lodge and beside the Allt na Doire Gairbhe.

It was quite a showery morning, as forecasted, and I had to pitch my tent in the rain. It was also time for lunch and after around an hour I continued up Srath Duilleach passed Iron Lodge to a junction of tracks. They were now rather rough compared to earlier and I took the right hand track which continued up the side of the Allt na Doire Gairbhe through Doire Gharbh to Loch Mhoicean. By this time the track had reverted to a rather wet path. There were three guys fishing in the Loch and I presumed they were from the Range Rover that passed me earlier in the day and was now parked beside Iron Lodge.

There had been a short dry spell but heavier rain had arrived and the cloud was now low down on the mountains. The rain was forecasted to only last a couple of hours so I was hoping that it and the cloud would disappear by the time I reached An Cruachan. Once beyond the loch I decided to try and retain the height I had gained rather than follow the path and descend slightly into Coire nan Each. However this was an error as I was forced to climb higher to avoid frequent gullies. In the end I was too high and had to descend slightly to the peat hagged col between An Socach and An Cruachan. I climbed to the summit cairn of An Cruachan but due to the low cloud there were no views.

I returned to the col and gradually descended to the path in Coire an Each and returned to Loch Mhoicean. It was still raining and I had a decision to make whether to return to my tent or to tackle the Graham, Cam na Breabaig. I decided on the latter and at the north side of Loch Mhoicean I left the path and made a gradual ascent to loads of peat hags which had to be worked round before climbing the north-east ridge of Cam na Breabaig. The cloud was now thicker as I reached the summit cairn. There was no point in hanging around in the cloud so I set the compass for the track running from the west end of Loch Mullardoch to Iron Lodge and immediately on leaving the top scared a deer which was very close in the low cloud.

The track was eventually reached and I followed it towards Iron Lodge. As I began to descend the rain ceased and the cloud later started to break up. The couple of hours of rain that had been forecasted lasted around 6 hours, so the forecast wasn’t very accurate. From Iron Lodge it was only a short walk back to my tent and time for supper and some sleep.

Day Two

In the morning the weather was fine but I had to wait for a fellow Corbett Bagger who was driving to, and cycling in from Killilan. I moved my tent and pitched it at the north end of Loch na Leitreach as the plan was to climb Faochaig first and that meant starting at Carnach. I sat around enjoying the views, watching several cyclists heading up the Glen and partaking of a few cups of coffee.

Late in the morning my walking companion arrived and we set off up the path on the east side of the Allt Domhain. The path was badly eroded in a couple of sections with steep drops into the stream so care was needed at these points. The path was followed to its end as the cloud lowered and the rain started. Apparently, according to my walking companion, it was only to be showers. However as we worked our way up the south side of Faochaig the rain became heavier and it was rather windy.

The summit cairn was reached but there was nothing to see. We navigated and paced the route to the knoll to the north-west and spotted a ptarmigan which quickly flew off. Another bearing took us to the stalker’s path on the west side of the mountain, which is rather rocky. The rain did not ease and lower down we met a chap commencing the ascent of Faochaig having already climbed Aonach Buidhe.

The path joined another that ran between Faochaig and Aonach Buidhe and we walked south on this path to its highest point. Here we found what looked like an attempt to build a track on the west side of Aonach Buidhe although there didn't seem to be a proper starting point and it just suddenly ended. However it did allow us to gain some height. We worked our way in the low cloud and rain to the summit cairn of Aonach Buidhe.

We descended the south side of Aonach Buidhe and not long after leaving the summit the rain ceased and the cloud started to break up. If we had waited a few minutes on the summit of Aonach Buidhe we might have had a view for a change. Several Golden Plovers were heard and we saw one of them flying around the hillside. The cloud continued to rise above the mountain tops as we descended into Doire Gharbh and to the track beside the Allt na Doire Gairbhe, which I had used the previous day to reach An Cruachan. This track was followed back to Iron Lodge and Carnach.

My walking companion was cycling out and heading home. I was told that the forecast was for rain the following morning so I decided to pack up my tent and gear as it was still early evening and I had a few hours of daylight left. It was a long two hour walk out on a deserted track except for cattle and sheep. On reaching the car park at Killilan my vehicle was the only one left.

previous ascent of Faochaig and Aonach Buidhe

An Cruachan Graham first ascent 706 metres
Cam na Breabaig Graham first ascent 678 metres
Faochaig Corbett second ascent 868 metres
Aonach Buidhe Corbett second ascent 899 metres

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Sgurr na Feartaig

23 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 974 metres.

This was the third day of a long weekend staying at Plockton and was Shona's walk. Unfortunately, weather wise, she had selected the poorest day of the weekend as it was windy with sleet and snow showers. Even driving to the start, part of the road had a covering of sleet. Not surprisingly there were no other vehicles in the car park opposite the level crossing at Craig on the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron Road.

Once dressed for the inclement weather we crossed the A890 and the level crossing before walking along the track that followed the railway line east. Soon the track left the railway line, crossed the River Carron and headed up through a forest. Beyond a deer gate we were onto the open hillside but stayed on the track for another kilometre before following a wet and boggy path to the bridge over the Allt a'Chonais, which was a bit wobbly and the wooden slats slippery.

The path on the west side of the stream wasn't obvious but as we climbed the hillside we regained the path and followed it onto Na Meallanan Buidhe. The weather conditions, as expected, were now worse with some strong winds, sleet and snow showers. Occasionally we were brought to a halt by the wind but no one complained and it was just head down and keep going as the path was still fairly obvious despite a covering of snow and some ice. On reaching the shoulder of Sgurr na Feartaig's North Top the path disappeared in a white wilderness so bearings were required firstly to reach Loch Sgurr na Feartaig and then the summit cairn.

It was rather unpleasant at the top so once I had taken a couple of photographs it was time to head back to Craig by the route of ascent. However all the ladies had bagged a new Corbett despite the poor weather conditions.

previous ascent

Sgurr na Feartaig Corbett third ascent 862 metres

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Sguman Coinntich

14 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 25. Time taken – 5.5 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 930 metres.

A few days before this walk I contacted Inverinate Estate regarding stalking restrictions as we wanted to climb this Corbett in conjunction with the Corbetts, Aonach Buidhe and Faochaig. However the person at the Estate Office was rather unhelpful and in fact stated that they would have three shooting parties out, one on each of these mountains, despite the fact that the Estate is massive and contains many more mountain and stalking areas. On questioning him further he did relent a bit saying I could contact the stalker to confirm where they would be shooting on 15 September. He blamed the Deer Commission for the cull of stags when it is more likely paying guests who they are catering for. I decided to alter our plans and climb Sguman Coinntich on its own the previous day as it was a Sunday when there was no stalking.

We left the A87, just west of Dornie and drove up the single track road signposted Sallachy and Killilan. Just beyond its junction with the road to Camas-luinie there was a public car park and warning signs about a working estate and high powered rifles. It was bright with some high cloud, well above the summits, when we set off from the car park and walked along the road to the buildings at Killilan. Just before the bridge over the Allt a’Choir Mhoir we followed its north bank where there were traces of a path through bracken, some of which was almost six feet in height.

Higher up we came to the estate road that headed up the glen towards the Bealach Mhic Bheathain. At the Coire Mor we left this estate road, crossed the Allt a’Choire Mhoir, and some wet ground before the going became steeper and drier. We worked our way through some rocks before reaching the summit cairn and trig point, which was badly eroded and was virtually only standing on metal stilts.

There were views of the Rum and Skye Cuillin, Plockton, Lurg Mhor, Faochaig, Aonach Buidhe, the Kintail and Knoydart mountains and Beinn Sgritheall.

Rather than descend by our upward route we decided to head south-east towards the Allt a’Ghlas-choire through obvious deer grazing areas and a large herd ran off. The stags may be fortunate to miss the following day’s cull, if they were actually shooting in that area as mentioned earlier. Lower down we came to the stalker’s path and followed it to the tarred road in Glen Elchaig, east of Faddoch. It was then a walk along the tarred road to Killilan, where it started to rain but we managed to reach the car without getting soaked.

previous ascent

Sguman Coinntich Corbett second ascent 879 metres

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Creag Dubh Mhor and Beinn Dronaig

20 – 21 July 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Day one:
Time taken - 8 hours.
Day two:
Time taken - 2.5 hours.
Day one:
Distance - 18.5 kilometres.
Day two:
Distance - 9.5 kilometres.
Day one:
Ascent - 1360 metres.
Day two:
Ascent - 330 metres.

I had visited Bendronaig Bothy on a couple of occasions en-route to or from Lurg Mhor and on my first ascent of Beinn Dronaig. It is owned and maintained by Attadale Estate and I always considered it to be an excellent place for a rest and a brew. I also thought it would make an ideal stopover if I was ever in the area again.

A plan was hatched as I needed to make a second ascent of Beinn Dronaig and I didn’t fancy the long cycle from Attadale on estate tracks, which involved a fair bit of climbing in and out. I decided on an approach from Achintee on the A890 Lochcarron to Kyle of Lochalsh Road, just south-west of the hamlet of Strathcarron. For those who prefer public transport the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh train stops at Strathcarron. On checking the map I found that I could include the Graham, Creag Dubh Mhor which meant I didn’t have to walk in and out by the same path.

Achintee itself is just off the main road and consists of a few houses. Signs mark the route to the ‘Hill Paths’ and after a bit of searching I found a suitable overnight parking spot beside the electric sub-station. This was on the signposted route so I only had a few yards to walk before I passed through a wicket gate where there was another signpost. I took the one marked ‘Bearneas Bothy’ which passed through a fairly new plantation. This led to a stile and a stream, which I crossed. Thereafter the path became fairly indistinct due to the long vegetation, including bracken. However at the start I had viewed the path’s location and was soon able to re-join it. Thereafter it was fairly obvious.

The first destination of the day, the rather craggy Creag Dubh Mhor, could be seen from well down the path. I soon reached the River Taodail and followed its south bank. Further along I took the left fork which continued above this river before following tributaries to the south that led to a couple of waterfalls. Here I saw some deer hinds and a calf. The path was followed, below the cliffs of Creag Dubh Mhor, to its bealach with its easterly 544 summit. I could now see Beinn Droniag, Bidean a’Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor. Initially it was an easy climb as I headed towards the summit of Creag Dubh Mhor but it later it became quite steep. However I was soon on the summit of this craggy mountain with views as already described, of the Torridon Mountains and the Island of Eigg.

The forecast had been for a reasonable day but unfortunately it wasn’t correct. I had brief showers and there was a cold wind blowing. It was time for lunch so I found some shelter looking at the fairly complex mountain and the trig point of Carn Geuradainn. Once fed, I descended to the triple lochans, at the head of Coire Odhar, and made the short ascent to Carn Geuradainn. The trig point collectors hadn’t been here yet as its metal plate was still intact.

I descended south-east over relatively easy terrain which was obviously a favourite feeding area for hinds and stags, some of whom ran off, others just continued to eat. A mountain hare ran off. The path from Bealach Alltan Ruairidh was soon reached and I followed it down to the vehicle track from Attadale, although the latter stages the path disappeared in boggy grasses. The track was followed to the Iron Bridge over the Uisge Dubh and onto Bendroniag Bothy where I was welcomed by the laird, who had been out for a Sunday drive with friends.

A lengthy rest and brew was the order of the day before setting off for Beinn Dronaig. It was a steady climb, seeking the easiest route, onto the west ridge, then an undulating walk along this ridge to its summit. Here again it was cold and windy but I had views of the Glen Elchaig hills, An Socach, An Riabhachan, Loch Morar, and the Islands of Eigg, Rum and Skye.

The descent route north-west was rather steep and rocky to the vehicle track well below Coire na Sorna. Just short of the track I came across some resting hinds and a calf but unfortunately they spotted me as well and were up and running very quickly. Once on the vehicle track it was a short walk back to Bendronaig Bothy for an overnight stop. The only downside on a very well kept bothy, with inside loo, was that on lighting the fire the bothy filled with smoke so I gave the idea of a fire a miss.

Early the next morning I retraced my steps along the vehicle track towards Attadale and then the path, which was still difficult to find in the lower stretches even knowing its location, to the Bealach Alltan Ruairidh. The path passed above Lochan Fuara and it was a lovely sunny morning and the fish were jumping. The path continued passed several other lochans before finally descending to Achinte and the end of interesting backpack.

previous ascent of Beinn Droniag

Creag Dubh Mhor Graham first ascent 612 metres
Beinn Dronaig Corbett second ascent 797 metres

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Carn Gorm

14 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 3.25hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 640 metres.

The Graham, Carn Gorm, is located between Glens Cannich and Strathfarrar and although there is a path shown on the map rising out of Glen Strathfarrar there is the problem of access to this glen via the locked gate at Inchmore. However I decided to climb this hill from Glen Cannich, which is accessed from the village of Cannich on the A831. The River Cannich flows through Loch Craskie and just west of the loch there is a small concrete road bridge leading to the houses at Craskie. A small parking area can be found just east of this bridge.

I crossed the bridge, by-passed the houses to the east by walking through a field and following the line of the forest to the north of the dwellings. The going beyond here was quite awkward with long heather and bracken to wade through but the occasional animal tracks helped. On this ascent I encountered the first rain shower of the day.

Once beyond the forest line I came to a fence, which wasn’t quite as high as the normal deer fence I am used to, but it wasn’t a problem to cross as some of the wire strands were broken. Another section of rough vegetation was crossed before things improved and the going became quite pleasant as I headed for the 638 point following some grassy rakes. A dotterel was disturbed by my presence, in fact I saw three dotterel on this walk. On the ascent of the 638 point I had views up Glen Cannich to Loch Mullardoch and the nearby Corbett Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard.

The next section involved a descent to the north side of Loch Coir’an Uillt Ghiubhais before the final ascent to the summit cairn of Carn Gorm where there was a cold wind blowing. It felt closer to winter than mid-summer.

I found some shelter for a break before setting off for the return by the route of ascent although I by-passed the 638 Point to the north thus avoiding some re-ascent. The bogy areas were still relatively dry despite a week of rain showers so the going was fine except the final section through the long heather and fresh bracken mentioned earlier.

Carn Gorm Graham first ascent 677 metres

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An Sidhean

8 May 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25 Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 890 metres.

The Corbett An Sidhean is located on the north side of Loch Monar. However access to this remote mountain is greatly assisted by the private road up Glen Strathfarrar, although times of access are restricted by a locked gate at Inchmore. Details can be obtained from The Mountaineering Council of Scotland. Inchmore is just off the A831 Beauly to Cannich Road.

It is requested that vehicles are not driven as far as Monar Lodge but parked beside the dam. It was a short walk to the Lodge and a signposted route around the property. The path headed along the shore of Loch Monar, climbed through a gully before returning to near the shore line. It then crossed the Allt a’Choire Dhomhain and the Allt na Cois by footbridges. During this walk we had great views down the loch to Lurg Mhor. Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich was a bit hazy as were the Glen Cannich Munros. The snow filled gullies of Maoile Lunndaidh were very prominent.

Beyond the Allt na Cois another footpath climbed north then north-west before it swung round to the north-east as it gained height and became indistinct. At that point we headed onto the Mullach a’Gharbh-leathaid ridge. Initially this was a steady climb before the gradient eased. The summit was eventually reached with additional views of Moruisg, the Strathconnon Corbetts and the hazy Fannaichs. It had been a warm and sunny ascent so the breeze, while seated at the summit eating lunch, was welcome.

Another couple arrived at the summit before our departure to the bealach at the head of Gleann Dubh. Once beyond this point we crossed the shoulder of Meall Dubh na Caoidhe before descending to the path on the west side of the Allt a’Choire Dhomhainn. We followed this path to Loch Monar and then returned to the start by the outward route.

previous ascent

An Sidhean Corbett third ascent 814 metres

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Carn na Coinnich

9 February 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 640 metres.

The BBC mountain forecast the previous evening indicated that it was to be very windy, around 70 miles per hour with gusts as much as 100 miles per hour on the higher peaks. In these circumstances the chances of reaching the summit of this Graham was fairly remote. However the forecast in the morning gave the wind speed as 40 – 50 miles per hour with no mention of gusts so things were looking up.

The start of the walk was in Strathconnon which is reached from Marybank on the A832, west of Beauly. An unclassified, single track road runs along the south side of the River Connon to Loch Achonachie, Loch Meig and then the River Meig. Just before the bridge over the River Meig an estate road continues along the south side of the River with a large gate. Signs indicate that the road is private although it does say that walkers are welcome. There was a parking area beside the gate.

I walked west along the estate road for over a kilometre and just before Home Farm Cottage took the vehicle track which headed south up the side of a forest. Beyond the forest and at a junction of tracks stags, which were being fed by the estate with hay or silage, ran off up the hillside.

The vehicle track continued across the open hillside before it followed the side of a stream. This track was shown on the map as a path but had obviously been upgraded to allow stalkers to gain access to the hills by vehicle rather than on foot. Crossing the stream was a bit awkward due to the recent rain and snow melt. There were good views back across Strathconnon to Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a’Mhuilinn. Beyond that were the Achnashellach mountains where a search was on going for a missing climber. Unfortunately at lunch time that day he was found dead near Sgorr Ruadh.

I disturbed more deer as I headed up the track which was in reasonable condition until I came to a steeper section where there was a bit of erosion. The gradient eased and the track became wet in places. I was being watched by some deer on Carn na Coinnich's north ridge, their head, ears or antlers protruded above the sky-line.

At 600 metres I left the track and crossed some peat bog before climbing onto the north ridge of Carn na Coinnich where an All Terrain Vehicle track went to within metres of the rocky summit with its trig point.

It was windy on the summit but nothing near the 50 miles per hour forecast. I had views down to the Orrin Reservoir, the cloud topped Strathfarrar Munros and west to Bac an Eich, An Sidhean and Maoile Lunndaidh.

After a coffee break I headed across peat hags, some filled with snow, to the south side of Loch Gruamach and descended north-west towards the Allt Baile na Creige across some wet and slippery vegetation. I was hoping to find the path shown on my map but even looking down into the glen I couldn’t see it. I followed the stream downhill until it entered a gorge. Occasionally I thought I had found the path but it appeared to be deer tracks. I am fairly certain that the path does not exist.

Lower down I had to regain some height to avoid the gorge before descending into the forest where there was a track. I followed this track which took me to the south side of the River Meig and thereafter to Dalbreac Lodge, Home Farm Cottage and back to the start where I spoke to a local couple, the only people I met all day.

Carn na Coinnich Graham first ascent 673 metres

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Beinn na Muice

29 October 2007.

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 6.5 kilometres. Ascent - 580 metres.

It was another sunny morning in Inverness with a light covering of snow on the top of Ben Wyvis. I was en-route to Glen Strathfarrar to climb the Graham, Beinn na Muice. Access to Glen Strathfarrar is from the A831 Beauly to Cannich Road at Struy Bridge. A locked gate prevents access to the Glen but a gatekeeper, who resides in the adjoining cottage at Inchmore, is employed between April and the end of October to permit access during certain days and times.

Once I had received my permit and accessed the Glen I headed west with views of snow topped mountains. I parked just off the Glen road where it crossed the Allt Toll a’Mhuic and walked up the vehicle track on the west side of this stream. After around a kilometre I left the track and commenced the ascent of Beinn na Muice. The going was fairly steep over a mixture of grasses and heather avoiding some rocky outcrops with views over to the snow capped Sgurr na Lapaich and Carn nan Gobhar. During this ascent I disturbed a couple of deer. Higher up, I had views to the north of Carn an Daimh Bhain and Sgurr na Muice.

During this ascent route I was sheltered from the westerly wind and this continued as I headed along the east ridge of Beinn na Muice as there was a gully on the north side running parallel to the ridge. I later climbed onto the rocky ridge and followed it to the small summit cairn with views west to Loch Monar, Lurg Mhor, Bidean an Eoin Deirg and the snow covered Maoile Lunndaidh.

From the summit of Beinn na Muice I continued west along its fine west ridge with improving views of Loch Monar although shower clouds were drifting across its west end. At the end of the ridge, with views down to Monar Lodge, I commenced the descent towards the road east of Monar Dam. This descent was fairly steep and quite tricky as the vegetation was rather wet and slippery with lots of rocky outcrops to avoid. A couple of stags, who were now friends again after the rut, spotted me and ran off.

It took me a while to get down onto the Glen Road which was followed by an easy and pleasant walk of around 1.5 kilometres east to my starting point and the end of a short day on a fine wee hill.

Beinn na Muice Graham first ascent 693 metres

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Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor

8 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 10 hours. Distance - 24 kilometres. Ascent - 1400 metres.

Frances had attempted these two Munros on a previous occasion staying overnight at Bendronaig Bothy. However a situation arose that they were unable to climb these mountains.

Attadale Estate own the bothy and ensure that it is well maintained and even supply some wood. There is also an indoor loo which requires the cistern to be filled with a bucket of water from the nearby stream. It is probably one of the best bothies in Scotland.

I was booked by Frances, who had only four Munros left to climb, including these two. She wished to tackle them from Bendronaig Bothy as she had transport arranged. For me this would be a new ascent route to Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich although I had been to Bendronaig Bothy before when I climbed the Corbett Beinn Dronaig.

We set off from the bothy and walked along the vehicle track towards Coire na Sorna but soon left the track and climbed over rough and wet ground towards the west ridge of Sail Riabhach. The forecast was for the unsettled weather to continue so it wasn’t a surprise when we entered the cloud base and later had to don waterproof clothing due to the light drizzle.

The west ridge was reached and we walked to the summit of Sail Riabhach and onto the south-east side of Bidean a’Choire Sheasgaich where we joined the path that led from its bealach with Lurg Mhor. We followed this path to the summit cairn of Bidean a’Choire Sheasgaich. As was the case in my previous visit in July there were no views so we returned along the path and descended to the bealach with Lurg Mhor.

The weather conditions were deteriorating with rain and wind as we ascended Lurg Mhor. At the summit we sought some shelter behind the cairn for lunch.

Afterwards we returned to the bealach and commenced our descent crossing numerous small streams and eventually cleared the cloud base before reaching the vehicle track at the west end of Loch Calvie. My map showed it as a path but this is incorrect.

The track was followed to Coire na Sorna and onto Bendronaig Bothy where we took another break. Thereafter we commenced the long return route which involved following a vehicle track that climbed over another bealach before the long descent to the car park at the entrance to Attadale Estate on the A890 Strathcarron to Kyle of Lochalsh Road.

previous ascent

Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich Munro fifth ascent 945 metres
Lurg Mhor Munro fifth ascent 986 metres

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Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mor

15 – 16 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken:
Day one - 3.5 hours.
Day two - 8.75 hours.
Distance:
Day one - 11 kilometres.
Day two - 23 kilometres.
Ascent:
Day one - 600 metres.
Day two - 1420 metres.

We met in Inverness on the afternoon of the 15 July and drove to Craig near Achnashellach where we parked in the car park within the forest on the north side of the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron Road. The car park had recently been reduced in size and a height barrier installed at the entrance.

We left the car park, crossed the main road and the railway line and followed the vehicle track east to the bridge over the River Carron. At the split in the track we took the one heading west through the forest and along the south bank of the River. After over three kilometres we reached the signposted path for Bearneas.

The path climbed through the forest and in places long grass on either side of it hid deep trenches. Beyond the forest the path, which was boggy in places, wound its way uphill above Coire Leiridh, where we met a couple descending from the Corbett, Sgurr na Feartaig. The path led to a small bealach south of Carn Mor and then through some rocks to a wide area, which without the path would require some careful navigation.

The path descended the side of a stream and some old fence posts to Bearneas Bothy. The bothy, which was situated in an idyllic location, was tidy and larger than expected but I had carried my tent so I pitched it nearby while my clients, Kay and Norman set up in the bothy. We cooked our meal and sat outside in the sun enjoying the weather conditions and the remoteness of the location, until the light breeze disappeared and a few midges decided to join us. The rest of the evening was spent in the bothy chatting and drinking tea and coffee.

I was awake early and with the tent door open I watched the clouds change colour to orange as the sun rose. There was no problem from the midges as there was a breeze blowing but the higher hills were cloud covered. After an early breakfast we set off from the bothy and crossed the Abhainn Bhearnais by a few stones I had placed the previous evening. Beyond that the ground was fairly boggy and sections were impossible to cross and required slight deviations. Once the ground started to rise it was a bit drier underfoot. A stream was reached and a suitable crossing point found as it ran through a small gorge.

We aimed for a tributary of the stream we had just crossed and followed it into Coire Seasgach and into the cloud. We spotted several deer in the area. In the Coire it was very atmospheric with the mist and rock making everything outsized. We followed the stream, which changed direction several times, until we reached a small lochan. Well the lochan was actually quite difficult to see in the thick cloud. Just beyond the lochan we came across a path that led along a narrowing and rocky ridge to the summit of Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich where it was fairly windy.

There was no advantage remaining at the summit so we continued on the path, which disappeared at times to the bealach with Lurg Mhor where it was very windy and a few minutes later the rain that was to last the rest of the day started. The ascent of Lurg Mhor commenced and before ten in the morning we had reached the summit of our second Munro of the day. Lurg Mhor was in fact Kay’s final mainland Munro while it was Norman’s one hundred and ninety seventh.

The return to Bearneas Bothy was by the route of ascent. The cloud base hadn’t changed but the level of the streams had risen. Once back at the bothy we had some lunch and hot drinks before packing our overnight gear. Unfortunately I should have taken my tent down in the morning as it was now very wet.

We were about to leave the bothy when a chap walking from Cape Wrath arrived so we spoke to him for a few minutes. He was the only person we saw that day. After around an hour at the bothy we left to return to Craig by the route used the previous day but the path was very wet in places as the rain continued to fall.

Kay plans to climb Sgurr nan Gillean next which will leave her with a visit to Mull to complete her Munros. Norman’s next walk was an ascent of the two Munros of the Aonach Eagach.

Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich Munro fourth ascent 945 metres
Lurg Mhor Munro fourth ascent 986 metres

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Mullardoch Munros

23 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 9.5 hours. Distance 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1685 metres.

This walk involved climbing the four Munros on the north side of Loch Mullardoch and was for the benefit of Tony who had only five Munros left to climb and Kay who had only four mainland Munros to do. Unfortunately for Kay she had already climbed Sgurr na Lapaich and Carn nan Gobhar.

Access to these mountains was along the unclassified single track road from Cannich along Glen Cannich to the dam at the east end of Loch Mullardoch. There was ample off-road parking just before the dam. Tony had arranged for Carl the boatman to take us along the Loch to West Benula, which is located at the junction of the streams Allt Coire a’Mhaim and the Allt Socrach. Carl was a bit concerned about the level of the loch as in ten years he had never seen it so low. Apparently Hydro Electric was reducing the level to carry out repairs to a tunnel.

On leaving the boat at West Benula, in the rain, the first hurdle was to cross the soft sandy soil, normally under water, before passing the side of the remote West Benula Lodge. I think it is possible to rent this Lodge but there is no access to it other than on foot or by boat. Once beyond the Lodge we walked up the path on the north side of the Allt Coire a’Mhaim, as the first shower of the day ceased. There were a number of cattle grazing near the Allt Socrach so it is good to see that some Estates are using hill ground for these beasts which were mainly cleared from the Highlands in the late eighteenth century to be replaced by sheep. Now the sheep have also gone so that Estates can concentrate on deer. The only downside from the cattle is the deep holes they make on the paths with their hooves.

After a couple of kilometres the path disappeared and we crossed the stream, then some peat and boggy ground to the south-east ridge of An Socach. This was followed by a steady climb into the cloud with the corrie edge forcing us further west until we eventually reached the summit trig point where we took our first break. However it was a bit cold on the summit so we didn’t stay long before we headed down An Socach’s east ridge, which changed direction several times and in places dropped steeply.

Once at the low point on the ridge we climbed onto the West Top and the South-West Top of An Riabhachan, both Munro Tops before the easy and gentle ascent of An Riabhachan.

A further cairn was located further east before the descent of Creagan Toll an Lochain. On this walker’s path I almost stood on a young ptarmigan chick which squealed and ran off down the path and into the cloud. There was no evidence around of its parents or other siblings. On the descent it appeared that the cloud may break and as it was reasonably sheltered we stopped for lunch in anticipation of some views. However we were disappointed as the cloud did the opposite and actually thickened.

On finishing lunch we were in the process of packing up when we heard voices and two walkers appeared heading west. The had come up from Innis an Lochiel at the head of Glen Strathfarrar but were only climbing Sgurr na Lapaich and An Riabhachan before returning to their vehicle to get out of the glen before the gate at the entrance to Glen Starthfarrar was closed for the night.

At the bealach below Creagan Toll an Lochain we commenced the climb of Sgurr na Lapaich’s south-west ridge. I think this was the hardest part of the day for Tony and Kay who required a few stops en-route to the summit trig point. The descent from this Munro was initially rather awkward as it was over some large boulders but eventually we found a reasonable path which we followed to the Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe.

The ascent of Carn nan Gobhar, Tony’s penultimate Munro, was relatively straight forward and we took our final break here before crossing to a slightly lower but more substantial cairn and descended towards Mullach na Maoile. Not long after leaving this second cairn we spotted a mountain hare, a dottrel and its young and a ptarmigan before emerging out of the cloud. Here we saw another couple of walkers who were headed uphill with their backpacking gear.

The descent over Mullach na Maoile was relatively easy before we headed own its south-east ridge which was fairly steep and with some rocky outcrops which were not shown on the map. Eventually we reached the rough path along the north shore of Loch Mullardch and walked long it, in the rain, to the dam and the end of the walk.

There were several other cars now parked beside the dam, the occupants still out on the hills we had climbed. Tony had arranged for the boat for 8am as according to Carl others had booked the boat at 9 and 10am but from previous experience the earlier the start the better as this walk taking in all four Munros on the north side of Loch Mullardoch is a fairly long day.

Tony had his last Munro in Glen Coe planned while Kay had a trip to Skye booked for the following week to try and bag all twelve Munros on the Island, which would leave her with three left to bag.

previous ascent

An Socach Munro fifth ascent 1069 metres
An Riabhachan Munro fifth ascent 1129 metres
Sgurr na Lapaich Munro fifth ascent 1150 metres
Carn nan Gobhar Munro sixth ascent 992 metres

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Meall na Faochaig

10 June 2007

Time taken – 2.45 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 530 metres.

This was my day off but once again the forecast was for sunny weather away from the east coast so I decided to get out and make the most of the fine weather. I was hoping for some views as I have never had any in all my visits to the hills of Strathconnon but unfortunately I was to be disappointed.

Strathconnon is almost as scenic as the popular Glen Affric but with less tourists. However there are power stations, lots more habitation and even a primary school in the glen. Access to the glen is from Marybank on the A832 along a single track road.

I parked my car at the road end to Inverchoran and continued along the road on foot for around four hundred metres to a track that headed uphill. The track later changed direction and ended at a mast near Creag Iucharaidh. As I walked along the top section of this track I came across a lamb and ewe. Nothing unusual in that but unfortunately the ewe was on its back in a dip at the edge of the track and obviously had been there for a while. However it was still alive and bleating as was its lamb so I had to try and right it. Once I got it on its side it managed to stand and staggered off with its lamb. This assistance is obviously not appreciated by farmers and estate owners as they are unaware that some good comes from the Access Code despite their reservations.

From the track I headed up a ridge and into the cloud where the visibility was poor. I subsequently reached the west ridge of Meall na Faochaig where there were old fence posts and I followed them towards the summit. There were several peat hags to traverse and old fence wire to avoid before I reached the summit. Well the actual summit was difficult to determine in the mist as there were several small knolls some with a few stones placed on top.

I wondered round these knolls before I returned to the start by the ascent route. The weather had not improved but at least the ewe was still upright.

Meall na Faochaig Graham first ascent 677 metres

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The Sgurrs

9 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 6.5 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1100 metres.

I had an unexpected day off due to a cancellation and being based up north and with fine weather forecasted I decided on an ascent of Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a’Chaorachain, easier to call them The Sgurrs.

On the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron road at Craig there was a parking area on the north side of the road, within the forest, which would probably take around a dozen or so vehicles. There were already several cars parked there when I arrived and a couple were getting their mountain bikes ready. Unfortunately my bike was back at home.

I set off across the A890 and the railway line and walked along the track to the bridge over the River Carron which I crossed. It was only 9 o’clock but it was already hot with no wind so I needed to cover up as there was no doubt in these conditions I would easily get burnt.

The track steepened and although one of the cyclists passed me a couple of times his female companion had to push her cycle uphill. In fact I never saw them after the locked gate higher up. I caught up with a lone female cyclist and her dog at the locked gate. She wasn’t happy as she thought the locked gate was contrary to the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003 but my interpretation is that the access legislation refers to ‘on foot’ only, although the track was a Right of Way. There was a kissing gate at the side which afforded access to those on foot.

I offered to assist her to throw her cycle over the six foot gate but she was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to do this on her return. I left her and the two other cyclists with their access problem and continued uphill and then along a more level area to the Pollan Buidhe. I was overtaken by the lone cyclist who had managed to get her cycle through the gate due to a loose slat.

At the Pollan Buidhe I crossed the Allt a’Chonais by a twin wire bridge and took the footpath towards the Bealach Bhearnais. A group of four walkers were out in front of me but I left this path and crossed some rough ground and streams to enter Coire Choinnich as I fancied a different approach to these mountains on this trip.

I kept to the east of the stream coming out of the corrie as the rocky outcrops were easier to climb round but the going was tough and it was still hot and sunny. I eventually reached the bealach between The Sgurrs and ascended Sgurr Choinnich first. A path led to the summit where I met a couple of guys from Inverness who were out for four days backpacking, walking from Torridon through to Beauly climbing several peaks en-route. While having a snack we were joined by the sole female walker/cyclist and then by a group of four who were climbing Sgurr Choinnich for charity as part of Water Aid.

I later left this peak and returned to the bealach and climbed to the summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain where only part of the trig point was left.

I descended the north ridge of Sgurr a’Chaorachain before dropping down to Pollan Buidhe and the walk back out along the track. This was where the cycle would have been of great benefit especially on the descent from the locked gate. However I stopped on a grassy section at the side of the Allt a’Chonais and had a pleasant lunch in the sun before continuing my return to the car park.

By the way the black bull that frequents the area at the start and finish of the walk doesn’t seem to be bothered by walkers although it may be different if you are accompanied by your pooch.

Unfortunately I had to dump a lot of my photographs of this walk as the lens must have got a spot of water on it.

Sgurr Choinnich Munro fourth ascent 999 metres
Sgurr a'Chaorachain Munro fourth ascent 1053 metres

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Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

25 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 1000 metres.

It was wet as I set off from the lay-by on the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron road around a kilometre west of the bridge over the Allt Coire Crubaidh. The parking area was marked on the recent addition of the OS Landranger Map 25.

A gate beside the lay-by gave access to a field where since my last visit the path leading to the bridge over the River Carron had been improved. Unfortunately the improvements stopped at the river crossing and thereafter it was, as usual, wet and boggy. A further short distance took me to the railway underpass and ahead the open hillside. Here also the lower section of the hillside was wet and boggy but it improved higher up.

It was a steady plod and I stuck to the side of a burn for some interest as there isn’t much going for this approach route other than the nearness to the main road. However as height was gained, the rain ceased, and I had views of the North Achnashellach and Torridon mountains and to distant Loch Maree.

The weather was improving with glimpses of the sun but there was a cold wind blowing which was stronger the higher I climbed. I could also see dark clouds forming to the north. I reached the summit cairn of Moruisg where there were good views across to Maoile Lunndaidh. I sought some shelter behind the cairn for coffee and sandwich taking in the views to the south but being aware of the cloud building up behind me.

I packed up and was about to set off along the ridge when horizontal snow, light at first, struck the area. I headed over to a smaller cairn but I am not sure which of the two cairns is the highest point. Here I was blasted by snow and a strong wind which made for difficult walking conditions and with reduced visibility it was hard going for around ten minutes. I negotiated to the 854 Point and was heading for the Coire an Tuill Bhain as the snow stopped and the cloud lifted which allowed me to spot a couple of ptarmigan who were trying to detract me from my descent route.

From Coire an Tuill Bhain it was a short climb, a bit rocky higher up, onto the summit cairn of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean where I had some good views especially from a small cairn slightly to the south of the summit. Maoile Lunndaidh was white after the short snow storm.

I returned down the north-east ridge of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean before heading down its north ridge. This ridge was fairly steep lower down and I had to avoid some rocks before I reached the Altan na Feola. I crossed this stream and followed the path on its north side. It was in poor condition higher up but lower down the path wasn’t as wet and boggy, except in the final stretches around the railway underpass. It was then the short return to the lay-by and my car.

Moruisg Munro fourth ascent 928 metres
Sgurr nan Ceannaichean Munro fourth ascent 915 metres

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Strathfarrar Four

10 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1535 metres.

Access to these Munros is normally from Glen Strathfarrar where a tarred road, apparently private, runs through the Glen to Monar Lodge. At the cottage beside Inchmore there is a locked gate which prevents public access to the Glen except at certain times.

I arrived at Inchmore early to meet my clients for the day, Tony and Norman. At precisely nine o’clock, don’t expect to obtain access any earlier, the gatekeeper permitted us access and we drove to just west of Inchvuilt where we left a vehicle before returning down the Glen to east of Loch a’Mhuillidh. Although cloudy it appeared to be breaking up so I was hopeful that the forecast for better weather in the afternoon was a bit out time wise.

We set off on a vehicle track up the side of the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. However the track soon became a boggy path as we headed for Sgurr na Ruaidhe’s south west ridge. The ascent of this ridge was a bit of a slog and we soon came to the cloud base and my optimism for an improvement in the weather diminished. The higher we got the windier and colder it became and there were traces of some lying snow. Before reaching the summit cairn we encountered one of those snow showers.

After a few minutes at Sgorr na Ruaidhe’s summit we descended to its bealach with Carn nan Gobhar where we had a brief view into the Glen of our approach before climbing back into the clouds. Norman was keeping us up to date with our progress as he had a guide to the time it should take to climb each of the Munros. However the top of Sgorr na Ruaidhe soon put paid to reaching the summit within the stipulated time as it is covered in large boulders which were made slippery by a mixture of rain and sleet.

On reaching the cairn we sought some shelter from the cold wind and the showers for a bite to eat before completing the traverse of the boulders and heading for the foot of Sgurr a’Choire Ghlais’s east ridge. A fairly steep climb soon took us to its summit which has a trig point and two large cairns. I have never been able to decide which is the highest point so a visit to all three was necessary.

It was cloudy and windy with the occasional rain or hail shower as we headed to the final Munro of the day, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, over the Munro Top, Creag Ghorm a’Bhealaich. It was unfortunate that visibility was so poor as it would have been an interesting ridge walk if we had had some views.

On reaching Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, according to Norman five minutes behind schedule, we dropped to the col with Sgurr na Fearstaig and followed the stalker’s path to Loch Toll a’Mhuic, where we came out of the cloud. Beyond this Loch the path is actually a vehicle track and we followed it to the road in Glen Strathfarrar where we had left a car earlier that day.

We exited the Glen at the locked gate, well before the 7pm deadline.

previous ascent of Sgurr na Ruaidhe, Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais

previous ascent Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

Sgurr na Ruaidhe Munro fifth ascent 993 metres
Carn nan Gobhar Munro fifth ascent 992 metres
Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais Munro fifth ascent 1083 metres
Sgurr Fhuar-thuill Munro fifth ascent 1049 metres

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Maoile Lunndaidh

24 February 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 8.5 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1030 metres.

I contacted the Offices of the Mountaineer Council of Scotland in Perth a few days earlier to obtain the number for the combination lock for the gate at Inchmore which would give us access to Glen Strathfarrar. Opposite Inchmore there is a deer farm with lots of hinds in the field.

During the drive up Glen Strathfarrar we saw numerous stags, young and old, as this Estate feeds them during the winter. We also saw a lone walker setting off up the track to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill having been conveyed there by taxi.

We eventually reached the dam south of Monar Lodge where we parked our vehicle. Parking beyond this point is discouraged. The vehicle track to Monar Lodge was followed before taking the signed diversion route round the property. Here there are some new gates but the Estate still has the barbed wire round the initial gate. This barbed wire readily catches your gear as the bolt to open the gate is rather stiff.

Once beyond the Lodge an undulating path was followed for around four kilometres to the Allt a'Choire Fhionnaraich. En route we saw a wren fluttering about below a small heather embankment beside the path. On reaching the stream we followed it towards Corie Fhionnarach where a new footbridge crossed the stream a few meters beyond the one shown on the map. This slight diversion meant a return down the other side of the stream before we rejoined the path on the north side of the Allt a'Chreagain Bhuidhe.

This path was followed as it climbed to the Allt Toll a'Choin, crossed the burn and followed its north bank until around 630 metres when it disappeared in the peaty terrain. En route we had spotted some deer and grouse. The weather was mild for the time of year with some light drizzle. There was some low cloud although we did have some views of the lower reaches of Sgurr an Lapaich on the south side of Loch Monar.

A compass bearing was followed as we climbed more steeply into the cloud and ascended Creag Toll a'Choin where we spotted a couple of pairs of ptarmigan. Earlier we disturbed some snow buntings. There was very little snow on this ridge but there was a cornice which showed signs of collapse.

We followed this ridge to a knoll marked by a cairn and took another bearing to the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh. There was evidence of a few bootprints in the patchy snow and in places there were traces of a path. It was an easy ascent to the summit cairn with very little height difference compared to the knoll. However there was a cold wind blowing so rather than stopping for lunch we descended the south-east ridge.

Around 700 metres we stopped for a break with brief views into Gleann Fhiodhaig as the cloud swirled around. Afterwards we headed across some rough and boggy ground to the path beside the Allt Toll a'Choin used earlier in the day. This was followed by a long walk back to the start following the paths used on the outward route. Once again we spotted the wren which kept in front of us for several hundred meters as we headed along the north shore of Loch Monar.

Between April and November the locked gate at Inchmore is manned by the gatekeeper and the access hours are a bit restrictive at times especially as you cannot get access till 9am. The advantage of this trip in February meant that there was no pressure to get off the hill and out of the Glen before the gatekeeper finished for the day.

previous ascent

Maoile Lunndaidh Munro fifth ascent 1007 metres

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Sgorr na Diollaid

22 October 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 6 kilometres. Ascent - 550 metres.

Two lady clients joined me for this walk which had to be reasonably short as one of the ladies required to return, by bus, to the central belt in the afternoon.

I selected the Corbett, Sgorr na Diollaid as it was a half day walk and if the weather was fine there are good views from the summit.

The start of the walk was on the unclassified road from the village of Cannich to the dam at Loch Mullardoch at the point in Glen Cannich where the road crosses to the north side of the River Cannich and where a track leads to Muchrachd Farm.

Initially we crossed some wet ground and climbed through long heather there being no path other than a few animal tracks. Unfortunately the clear weather that I had hoped for didn’t materialise and we were soon into the cloud. The two ladies didn’t seem to mind as they were busy chatting most of the time. There were several roaring stags and I later spotted a group of hinds and a stag before they ran off into the cloud.

We continued heading north round several rocky outcrops and eventually came to the rocky summit which necessitated some easy scrambling. We sought some shelter for a snack and it appeared that the cloud may break up but this did not happen so we did not have the views I had hoped for.

The descent was uneventful and lower down we came out of the cloud and returned to our vehicle in Glen Cannich and the lady caught her bus south.

previous ascent

Sgorr na Diollaid Corbett second ascent 818 metres

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Maoile Lunndaidh

20 August 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1030 metres.

This Munro was planned for the Sunday as no stalking was permitted that day and during August, Sunday access to the private road up Glen Strathfarrar was from 9am till 8pm which would be sufficient time to climb this mountain and get out of the Glen. Although I had climbed Maoile Lunndaidh on previous occasions this was my first ascent from Glen Strathfarrar although I had climbed the nearby Corbett, An Sidhean, using part of the approach route.

I was at the locked gate at Inchmore in Glen Strathfarrar just before 9am and while waiting for the gate keeper to appear I met a fellow running club member who was there to climb the Corbett Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard.

Once permitted access to Glen Strathfarrar I drove to the dam at Loch Monar where I parked my car. Although the road goes as far as Monar Lodge signs warn of no parking beyond the dam.

We set off on foot along the road to Monar Lodge and then the path that ran along the north shore of Loch Monar as far as the Allt a'Choire Fhionnaraich. The path was in good condition, albeit slightly undulating. There were good views down Loch Monar despite the light rain showers we encountered.

At the Allt a'Choire Fhionnaraich we crossed it by a footbridge which obviously replaced an old bridge and was a few metres further north. (This should not be mistaken for the bridge nearer Loch Monar which gives access along the lochside).

We took a short break at the footbridge but not for long as the midges were a nuisance so we set off over some rough ground to reach the stalker's path that lead from the old bridge. This path, which was still in good condition, initially followed the north bank of the Allt a'Chreagain Bhuidhe then over moorland and up the side of the Allt Toll a'Choin.

The path then became a bit boggy and ended in the heather and bog. We spotted some mountain blackbirds (ring ouzels) as we climbed onto the south-east ridge of Maoile Lunndaidh where the going was a lot easier on short vegetation with a few stony sections. The rain was now heavier and the cloud had covered the summit as we headed up the ridge to the cairn. Near the summit we spotted around ten ptarmigan, which was probably the largest group I had ever come across.

As the summit was in cloud there was little point in walking round the head of the corrie so we returned by our route of ascent. The weather cleared on the descent and the wind dropped to allow the midges to be out in force as we walked along the shore of Loch Monar. However there were some fantastic views down the loch, it was just a pity we couldn't stop long enough to enjoy them.

On returning to the car we drove back to Inchmore with around two hours to spare until the gate keeper finished work. I am not sure what would happen if we were late but I don't intend to find out.

Maoile Lunndaidh Munro fourth ascent 1007 metres

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Mullardoch Four

29 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 11.75 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1685 metres.

The boat from the dam at Loch Mullardoch in Glen Cannich was due to head up the Loch at 8.30am and we arrived in time to see the boat being launched. It was full and it was a pleasant sail in calm and sunny conditions to East Benula Lodge about two thirds of the way up the Loch. This is far superior to walking along the Lochside on a muddy and sometimes indistinct path which takes around two hours, as I have walked this route before.

On alighting from the boat we followed the path on the north side of the Allt Coire a'Mhaim before fording this stream, crossing some peat bogs and onto the south-east ridge of An Socach. It was a steady climb on this twisting ridge but as we gained height the views of the surrounding mountains became more extensive. Higher up we crossed some snow fields and noted how dangerous the cornices were as they were cracked and ready to collapse.

Just before arriving at the summit a chap, who had come up from Iron Lodge, was headed towards the summit cairn. He was one of probably around thirty people we passed on these remote hills that day.

After a short stop at the summit to take in the views and some food we descended the snow covered east ridge of An Socach and climbed the Munro Tops of An Riabhachan before strolling along the level ridge to the actual summit. Beyond that there was a small knoll, with a cairn, where a few walkers were gathered. We continued to the narrow ridge of Creagan Toll an Lochan which was still covered in some deep snow so some care was required and once again the ice axes were in use.

Once at the bealach between An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich we had another fuel stop taking in more food and liquid before the ascent of Sgurr na Lapaich. We were able to avoid most of the snow until nearer the summit, where again there were several walkers surrounding the cairn and trig point.

I was aware that the initial descent from this summit would be a slight problem as it is narrow and was full of snow but once we were round the first rocky section we were able to descend through the deep soft snow. Occasionally it was too deep and we had to wriggle our way out. On reaching the bealach the ground was free of snow and it was a steady climb to the summit of Carn nan Gobhar.

It was now getting late so we crossed over some more snow fields to the bealach between Carn nan Gobhar and Creag Dubh before descending to the path beside the Allt Mullardoch. The path was wet and boggy in many places and it took a while to get back to the north shore of Loch Mullardoch. The final stretch along the Loch's shore was on muddy paths through long heather but after nearly twelve hours we eventually returned to our cars parked beside the dam. It was the end of a pleasant but tough day on the hills with some spectacular views with the higher mountains still covered in snow.

An Socach Munro fourth ascent 1069 metres
An Riabhachan Munro fourth ascent 1129 metres
Sgurr na Lapaich Munro fourth ascent 1150 metres
Carn nan Gobhar Munro fifth ascent 992 metres

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Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

23 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1100 metres.

It was the this time last year when, with the same client, I tackled the four Strathfarrar Munros from east to west. However due to the snow conditions, which slowed us down, we only managed to climb three of them. We were now back to bag the final one, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill.

Access to the Glen is restricted by a locked gate at Inchmore which is only opened by the Gatekeeper at certain times, (see The Mountaineering Council of Scotland for details) so this was our first obstacle. We arrived minutes before the nine o'clock opening time, and stopped at the gate to wait for our permit. The 'friendly' Gatekeeper came out and asked me to move my vehicle as I was obstructing anyone leaving the Glen. I would have moved if that occurred but to prevent any argument I reversed clear of the gate as she returned to her house. She later reappeared, made some comment about stopping outside her house, gave me my permit and opened the gate to allow us through. So beware, stop before reaching the house or you upset the Gatekeeper.

I drove up this scenic and obviously very quiet Glen to around a kilometre west of Braulen Lodge where there is ample parking. We then headed up the track beside the Allt Toll a'Mhuic which has some lovely waterfalls. The vehicle track changed into a path and crossed the Allt Toll a'Mhuic, which was in spate, so we decided to walk round Loch Toll a'Mhuic and rejoin the track further north. We even managed a short break at a sandy section of the Loch which was sheltered from the wind. There was a lot of avalanche debris and we heard a roar and saw snow and a few boulders tumble down the side of Sgurr na Muice. It made us more aware of the dangers within the corrie and to make sure we took a suitable course.

We climbed towards the path and found traces of one where it crossed another stream but it followed this stream as it headed into the Corrie. The path on the map doesn't but due to extensive snow cover it was easier to follow the stream. We soon lost this path in the snow which was soft and deep and hid everything including the stream. We were being caught by another walker but when he reached the snow he also slowed down and followed the trail I was making. The walking became very slow as the snow wouldn't hold my weight and I never knew how deep it was. It was also difficult to work out the snow banks and drifts due to the lighting.

Once beyond the stream I headed towards where the path should be and the walker behind changed direction and headed towards some hanging cornices, which was a bit of concern to me especially with all the avalanche debris in the area.

It was hard work climbing through the steep snow below Sgurr na Fearstaig but we eventually reached the ridge east of this mountain as the cloud descended and it started to snow. It was also windy. We headed towards Sgurr Fhuar-thuill but the weather got slightly worse and as everything round about was now white it was very difficult to see as visibility was now almost zero. Some rocks were located which helped vision and we eventually reached the summit cairn, which was surrounded by drifting snow or ice.

We commenced the return towards Sgurr na Feartaig and met the other hill walker following our tracks. He did not have an axe and was just using his poles. Shortly thereafter the cloud cleared and we had some good views. It was decided that we would return down the south ridge of Sgurr na Feartaig and over Sgurr na Muice rather than go back by the ascent route.

This route gave us some fantastic views of the snow clad mountains and of the contorted cornices which the other hill walker had come through. I could see his boot prints but I wasn't going to risk going too close to the edge to see how he managed to climb through the cornice. The walk over Sgurr na Muice was sometimes over bare ground or some snow but it wasn't very deep and gave reasonable walking. Once over Sgurr na Muice it was a fairly steep descent avoiding some rocky outcrops and lower down we disturbed some deer, the first we had seen on these mountains.

Once below the rocks we crossed over some wet and boggy ground to the track used in the morning and an easy walk back to the start. My client found the walk very tough and said it had been one of the hardest days, condition wise, that she had experienced and she has completed over 230 Munros.

Sgurr Fhuar-thuill Munro fourth ascent 1049 metres

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Bac an Eich

29 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 700 metres.

The start of this walk was from near Inverchoran in Glen Strathconon where there is limited parking at the side of the road. From here a walk to Inverchoran, with a slight diversion to avoid the farmhouse leads to the vehicle track up Gleann Chorainn. This track was followed until the end of the forest where we crossed the stream and headed up towards Loch Toll Lochain watched by deer on the ridges above us.

Once we reached the gullied stream flowing out of the Loch we followed it upstream until we found a suitable crossing point. From here frozen boggy ground was crossed to the foot of Sgurr Toll Lochain. A steep climb ensued on a lightly snow covered surface avoiding several rocky outcrops.

From the summit of Sgurr Toll Lochain we had to negotiate some peat hags before the walking became easier as we headed to the cloud covered summit of Bac an Eich. There were no views from this summit so we set off down the ridge above An Leth-chreag before crossing to the north side of the stream to avoid some deep gorges. At this point the cloud broke and the sun came out. Unfortunately it was a bit too late for us although it did enhance the views for the rest of the walk.

We subsequently found a vehicle track and followed it down to two ruined houses at Corriefoot, which were probably part of the Highland Clearances. From Corriefoot we crossed the bridge at Corrievuic and found somewhere in the sun to have lunch.

After lunch we walked along the vehicle track to Scadroy where we joined the public road along the north shore of Loch Beannacharain with its reflections of the forest and hills on its mirrored surface. From the end of the Loch it was only a short distance back to our car near Inverchoran.

previous ascent

Bac an Eich Corbett second ascent 849 metres

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Sgurr na Feartaig

28 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 19.5 kilometres. Ascent - 950 metres.

We set off from Craig on the A890 Auchnasheen to Lochcarron Road, crossed the railway line and along the track parallel to it avoiding the black bull. The track then headed uphill beside the side of the Allt a'Chonais, where we passed a backpacker, the only person we saw all day.

Once higher up we used the footbridge, which has slightly awkward slats, to cross the stream and join the stalker's path that headed up towards Na Meallanan Buidhe. This path was in good condition but we had to avoid some icy patches, especially higher up where a light covering of snow concealed the ice.

I popped out to the Corbett Top, at 819 metres where I had some good views of the Torridon mountains and the north Achnashellach hills. I rejoined the path beside the frozen Loch Sgurr na Feartaig as cloud was floating around the summit of Sgurr na Feartaig. As we approached the summit the path disappeared under some old snow fields but we eventually arrived at the summit with some limited views due to the cloud cover.

We continued west along the ridge and spotted a couple of ptarmigan which moved onto a nearby rock which made a good photograph. The views of the summits of the surrounding Munros were covered in cloud but the view west over Lochcarron to the Islands of Skye and Rum were terrific and the view slightly further south including the Island of Eigg was awesome with a bright orange glow in the distance.

We continued along the ridge over two further Corbett Tops before reluctantly commencing the descent into Coier Leiridh. This path wasn't in such good condition with a couple of steep rocky and icy sections which we had to avoid. Once into Coire Leiridh we followed the twisting path into the forest just above Lair. This was followed by a three and a half kilometre walk through the forest mainly in the dark.

At the end of the day we had the bull to pass but it was dark so thankfully we never saw it before the railway crossing and the end of a stunning day on the hills.

Sgurr na Feartaig Corbett second ascent 862 metres

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An Sidhean

27 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 770 metres.

I had arranged earlier in the week with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland for the number of the combination lock for the gate at Inchmore to enable access to Glen Strathfarrar.

I was surprised and a bit annoyed when I arrived at the gate to find the combination lock I required wasn't amongst the numerous other locks that secure this gate. I was weighing up my options when a lorry driver, who was going up the Glen, arrived and permitted me entry and saved any embarrassment with my client.

On the drive along the Glen there were well over one hundred stags at various locations feeding from piles of silage and this took my client's mind off my earlier problem with the gate. At Monar Dam we parked up as it was very obvious from the signs that we weren't welcome beyond this point, well not in the car.

It was cold, frosty and a bit cloudy when we set off along the track to Monar Lodge, followed the signposted route round the property and towards and through a small gorge. Beyond this gorge everything was still and silent, the only noise being from a waterfall miles away. We also had views of the mountains at the head of Loch Monar including the remote Lurg Mor, although the summits were covered in cloud.

The path above the north shore of Loch Monar was followed to Gleann Dubh where another path heads uphill towards our destination, An Sidhean. Once higher up we headed along the ridge Mullach a'Gharbh-leathaid disturbing some hinds in the distance. Here there were traces of snow and there was now a cold wind. What a difference to lower down. On approaching the summit we spotted a lone hind through the cloud.

On the summit the cloud was trying to break up a bit but as it was cold we headed off to the bealach beside Clach a' Chomharraidh and climbed over the north shoulder of Meall Dubh na Caoidhe and out of the cloud. This was followed by a descent to a stalker's path that led to the Allt a' Choire Dhomhain and back to Loch Monar and from there we retraced our steps to the Dam and the car.

During the drive out of the Glen we again saw lots of stags feeding and also spotted some feral goats. The gate wasn't a problem on this occasion as I used the combination numbers, for another lock, supplied to me by the lorry driver.

previous ascent

An Sidhean Corbett second ascent 814 metres

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Strathfarrar Munros

14 April 2005

We arrived early at the locked gate at Inchmore to gain access to Glen Strathfarrar. The gate keeper allowed us through a few minutes early and we drove past large numbers of deer to just before Loch a'Mhuillidh.

Leaving the car we walked up the track to the small dam on the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. We then followed a boggy and wet path to the stream flowing down from Sgurr na Ruaidhe.

The stream was crossed and we climbed the south-west ridge of Sgurr na Ruaidhe, which was also wet and boggy in places. It appeared that the weather was going to improve as the sun shone on the east corrie of Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais. However it was only a glimpse as it clouded over and later started to snow.

A steady climb took us to the summit cairn of Sgurr na Ruaidhe followed by a descent of the snow clad north-west ridge in poor visibility. On reaching the bealach it had stopped snowing but the low cloud and snow covered surface made it difficult to see.

Beyond the bealach we climbed up to the east ridge of Carn nan Gobhar where it started to snow again as we reached the boulder strewn summit. Here walking was rather awkward with the soft snow hiding some of the boulders.

The next section of the walk required several navigation legs to reach the foot of the north-east ridge. It was then a steep climb up the snow covered ridge towards the summit of Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais. Progress was slow as my client was tiring in these winter conditions and it started to snow again reducing visibility even further. The last section of the climb was over a large snow bank where it was difficult to make out what was snow and what was fresh air.

We visited both large cairns and the trig point. It was decided not to continue the walk and to descent the south ridge of Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais. The descent was pleasant down soft snow and lower down we had good views of the corniced ridge. North of Meall a'Gheur-fheadain we dropped down to Coire Mhuillidh, walked round a large area of peat hags before reaching the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. It was flowing fairly fast but we needed to cross it to reach the path on the other side. My client opted for the easier option of wading the stream rather than boulder hopping.

Once across the stream we followed it back to the start and the drive out of Glen Strathfarrar. We reached the locked gate with ten minutes to spare as the gate keeper finishes work at 6pm.

Sgurr na Ruaidhe Munro fourth ascent 993 metres
Carn nan Gobhar Munro fourth ascent 992 metres
Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais Munro fourth ascent 1083 metres

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Re-visit Strathfarrar

28 March 2005

The cloud base was a bit higher than the previous day as we parked near the locked gate at Inchmore in Glen Strathfarrar. We walked up the road to the power station at Culligran, which is undergoing some work. It appeared that the power station was in fact being decommissioned. From here we followed a track along the side of the Neaty Burn and through a birch wood.

On clearing the trees we commenced the climb of the south ridge of Beinn a'Bhaach Ard. It was an undulating ridge and we had to avoid rocky outcrops, peat hags and bogs as we slowly climbed this hill. The client had obviously become fed up with my conversation and dropped back to be with her own thoughts and plans probably for retribution, but only time will tell.

Higher up we entered low cloud and the wind picked up so it was a slow plod to the summit trig point. This was my client's 49th Corbett and this was significant to her but I am not allowed to divulge the reason. However some of her friends will be able to work it out.

The plan for this walk was to continue to Sgurr a'Phollain and pick up the path back to Inchmore but as this meant walking into a head wind it was decided to return by our ascent route.

There was no improvement in the weather and we were well down the hill before we found some shelter for lunch. Afterwards we continued the descent to the track beside the Neaty Burn and the walk back to Inchmore.

Beinn a'Bhaach Ard Corbett second ascent 862 metres

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Back to Strathconnon

27 March 2005

This was the Easter weekend and I had been booked to take clients to the Grey Corries but unfortunately they had cancelled. My regular Corbett bagging client stepped in and kindly booked me for some Corbetts around the Inverness area.

We parked beside the old church just south of Strathanmore in Strathconnon and commenced the climb up towards Creag Ruadh. It was a dull and damp morning and within about fifteen minutes of the start we were in low cloud. Visibility was probably at a maximum of thirty metres as we climbed steeply avoiding some rocky outcrops.

Once we reached the cairn of Creag Ruadh we followed the ridge along towards the first Corbett of the day Meallan nan Uan. It was very windy on this ridge and together with some rain and the poor visibility it wasn't ideal hill walking weather. Just below the summit we spotted the only wildlife of the day, three ptarmigan, one whose plumage had almost changed back to the dark shade for summer.

The descent was the north-west ridge as far as Carnan Fuar and then a change of direction to climb Sgurr a' Mhuilinn. Here we had to avoid snow patches but their extent is unknown to us due to the poor visibility.

We reached the ridge and then easy walking to the summit cairn where there are still traces of the old trig point. We didn't stay there long and headed along and then down the south-east ridge. The wind was strong here and it was hard work walking into it. However once lower down the wind eased. On reaching leveller ground we headed across to the Allt an t-Srathain Mhoir which we followed to near the start.

After over five hours navigation in poor conditions we suddenly emerged out of the cloud and for the last fifteen minutes or so we could see where we were going as we headed across to the car.

Meallan nan Uan Corbett second ascent 840 metres
Sgurr a'Mhuilinn Corbett second ascent 879 metres

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Bealach Bhearnais

15 March 2005

It was a wet and miserable morning when we set off from Craig in Glen Carron. The overnight snow had turned to rain lower down so everything was very wet.

We crossed the railway line at what appears to be a legal crossing point and followed the track through the forest and up the side of the Allt a'Chonais. The lying snow was wet but it didn't cause any problems at this time. Higher up, and at a more level section of the track deer, were obviously on the search for food.

Prior to the track turning to head east we followed the path down to the Allt a'Chonais. Here the snow was a bit deeper with plenty of slush. We reached the wire bridge which was to be the crossing point. Well it was either use the bridge or get totally soaked wading the stream. My clients opted to take the drier route so after some encouragement they crossed the stream using the wire bridge.

Once on the other side we were initially able to find the line of the path but as the snow became deeper this wasn't possible. The best line of ascent had to be found but this frequently led to boots and legs disappearing down peat holes. We weren't getting off with dry feet on this walk.

Progress became pretty slow but at long last we reached the Bealach Bhearnais. It was at this point that one of my clients, who wasn't happy in these conditions, decided he had had enough and wanted to return to the shelter of his car. The intention had been to climb the Munros Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain so that was the end of that plan.

The return was by the ascent route with the rain becoming heavier and the streams quickly filling up with rain water and snow melt. By mid-afternoon we had returned to our starting point and off to dry out and a hot shower.

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Attadale

12 September 2004

On a wet and windy Sunday morning I arrived at the car park just off the A890 near Attadale House with the intention of bagging the remote Corbett, Beinn Dronaig. Attadale Estate obviously try to make hillwalkers welcome with the 'walker's car park', notices saying that hillwalkers are welcome and they don't mind bicycles being used on the track as far as Bendronaig Lodge. There is also a large map of the area with recommended walking routes which the Estate would like you to use during the stalking season.

I set off on my mountain bike for Bendronaig Lodge, past the holiday cottages at Strathan, where the tarred section of the track ceases. The rough track remains fairly level to the bridge over the River Attadale then climbs up the side of the forest and rises from sea level at the car park to around 300 metres, so in my case I pushed my bike most of the way uphill. It is hard going as the track is fairly steep in sections and it is here you wonder if it would be easier just to go for the long walk in.

Once at the high point, the track gradually dropped to the Black Water where it crossed an Iron Bridge before heading for Bendronaig Lodge. There are two buildings, one for stalkers and the bothy open to walkers. They are both maintained by the Estate and the bothy is in excellent condition, wind and water tight with four rooms, three of which have a fireplace. There is an inside loo and sink although water has to be carried up from the river. It was a great place to stop for a cup of coffee before I set off on foot up Coire na Sorna. For those who like views the Estate has even left a bottle of 'Windolene' so that you can clean the windows.

The weather had improved on the cycle in and the sun even tried to break through the clouds. From a high point in Coire na Sorna it was a steady climb up to the summit of Beinn Dronaig. Unfortunately as I approached the summit the cloud base lowered, it rained heavily and was very windy.

On reaching the summit trig point, I touched the summit and immediately headed back to Bendronaig Lodge for my lunch. It was pleasant sitting at a table in the wilds having something to eat. However my thoughts were on the long cycle back to Attadale.

The cycle back was into the wind but with a bit of cycling and pushing I reached the high point on the pass. From here it was downhill, but not as easy as it sounds. The steep sections on the descent were rather tricky but once these were over it was an enjoyable descent back to the car and another new Corbett visited.

Beinn Dronaig Corbett first ascent 797 meters

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Weekend in Kintail

2 - 4 July 2004

I had a day off on the Friday but had to move my base from Crianlarich to Ratagan, so I only had a half day to collect another Corbett. I settled on my final Corbett in Glen Elchaig, Sguman Coinntich, mossy peak.

I left my car in the car park near the turn off for Camas-luinne and walked up the tarred road to Killilan. The start of the path up the north side of the Allt a'Choire Mhoir was very difficult to find due to the height of the bracken, which in places was about five feet high. I went through the wood and joined the track higher up. The OS Map shows this as a path but it is in fact a track and climbs to near the Bealach Mhic Bheathan.

Once higher up I left this track and climbed to the summit of Sguman Coinntich, avoiding several rocky outcrops. I found some shelter on the north side of this hill to have a late lunch and enjoy the views. To the west, the tops of the Cuillins were in cloud but to the north the Lurg Mhor Munros, the Strathfarrar Four, An Socach, An Riabhachan and the other two Glen Elchaig Corbetts were clear of cloud. To the east the Glen Affric Munros, including Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and the Munros on the north side of Glen Shiel were all visible.

I would have liked to stay longer but the cloud in the west was threatening to head in my direction so I set off down the south ridge back to the track I used on the upward route. I was hoping that for once this summer I would have a dry day but I did get some spots of rain before reaching the track.

I found the path down to Killilan but it was very overgrown and in places difficult to follow so no wonder I had a problem at the start.

The next day I was out with Laila, who is a Munro Bagger, and wanted to be guided along the South Glen Shiel Ridge which would boost her tally of Munros by seven.

Laila doesn't drive so she had travelled by bus from Edinburgh to Shiel Bridge and I collected her from her overnight accommodation. We drove to the finish of the walk where I parked my car and we waited for the Portree to Glasgow bus, which took us up the glen to the Cluanie Inn.

From the Cluanie Inn we walked along the tarred road, which led to Tomdoun before Loch Loyne was created for Hydro Electric power. We disturbed three hinds who were now in their summer coats but they didn't run far so I suspect they had young nearby.

Once beyond the highest point on the road we took the stalker's path up Creag a' Mhaim, crag of the large rounded hill. We had donned waterproofs earlier due to some rain but the climb up to this Munro was very warm and the sun even tried to appear so I had to remove them. However on reaching this summit a cold wind was blowing and another rain shower was spreading in.

The next Munro, Druim Shionnach, the ridge of the foxes, was soon reached as was its South Top. Beyond it we found some shelter for lunch before climbing Aonach air-Chrith, the shacking height, and we met four males who were only doing the eastern section of the ridge as they were late in starting due to a drinking session the previous evening. They were anxious to get back to the Cluanie Inn for a pint.

The descent from Aonach air-Chrith is rocky and narrow in places and met members of the RAF Mountain Rescue Team who were on a weekend training exercise. They were walking the ridge in the opposite direction. The next and fourth Munro was Maol Chinn-dearg, the bald redheaded hill, followed by Sgurr an Doire Leathain, the peak of the broad thicket.

We had been reasonably fortunate with the weather as the cloud and showers quickly passed through. However on reaching the sixth Munro, Sgurr an Lochain, the peak of the little loch, the cloud was down and it was starting to rain. This rain got heavier and heavier until it was bouncing off our gear. The path was like a minor stream as we climbed the seventh and final Munro of the day, Creag nan Damh, the rock of the stag.

From here we continued west to the Bealach Duibh Leac. En-route a family of ptarmigan was perched on a rock and took flight as we approached. A couple, the male was in his shorts, passed us and they were also soaked. These were the only people we met walking the ridge in the same direction as ourselves. On a Saturday in July you would expect the ridge to be busy but walkers were obviously put off by the poor weather we are experiencing this summer.

I was a bit concerned about the amount of rain that had fallen as we had two rivers to cross prior to getting back to the car. The descent from this bealach was along a twisting path which was very wet and slippery and extreme care was required. The Allt Coire Toiteil was reached but thankfully the crossing wasn't too difficult although the stepping stones were submerged. The path continued down the east side of the stream which becomes the Allt Mhalagain. However at the junction of this stream and the Allt Coire Mhalagain we had to cross the former. Laila was a bit apprehensive due to a bad experience at a river crossing. However we stuck together and crossed the river without removing any of our gear as we were already wet although it depends on your definition of wet as we were absolutely soaked after the river crossing.

Once across the river it was a matter of metres to the main road and the car. It had taken us 11.5 hours to complete the walk but well done Laila for completing the ridge in one outing. Reference books indicate that it is only possible for fit walkers to do all seven Munros in a day.

The next day Laila wanted to climb A'Chralaig, the creel, and Mullach Fraoch-choire, the top of the heather corrie, on the north side of Glen Shiel, so once again I collected her from her accommodation and we drove to east of the Cluanie Inn beside the An Caorann Mor. From there we climbed steeply up onto the south-east ridge of A'Chralaig and to its large summit cairn. As we ascended the low cloud started to rise and from the cairn we had some views.

The next part of the walk took us along the north ridge to the Munro Top, Stob Coire na Cralaig, and we met a chap who had come up from the Alltbeithe Youth Hostel where he had spent a couple of nights. We then walked along the narrowing ridge between this Top and south ridge of Mullach Fraoch-choire. The climb of this south ridge involves some careful footwork on the narrow paths that by-pass the pinnacles, some of which are collapsing.

On reaching the summit of Mullach Fraoch-choire good views were had while we ate our lunch. We returned along the narrow path and came across a Ring Ouzel (mountain blackbird). It was obviously a bit concerned about our presence and wouldn't fly off, so I can only presume it had a nest nearby.

On returning to the Munro Top, Stob Coire na Cralaig, we descended its west ridge to reach the wet and boggy path that runs through to the Youth Hostel. This track was followed southwards back to the start of the day's walk.

Laila was very tired after the previous day's effort but was determined to finish. She has now climbed 179 Munros and hopes to finish them in 18 months or so when she becomes 65. Well done Laila and I hope you are successful.

Sguman Coinntich Corbett first ascent 879 metres
Creag a'Mhaim Munro fourth ascent 947 metres
Druim Shionnach Munro fourth ascent 987 metres
Aonach air Chrith Munro fourth ascent 1021 metres
Maol Chinn-dearg Munro fourth ascent 981 metres
Sgurr an Doire Leathain Munro fourth ascent 1010 metres
Sgurr an Lochain Munro fourth ascent 1004 metres
Creag nan Damh Munro fourth ascent 918 metres
A'Chralaig Munro fourth ascent 1120 metres
Mullach Fraoch-choire Munro fourth ascent 1102 metres

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Glen Elchaig

13 June 2004

There are three Corbetts located on the north side of Glen Elchaig and today I planned to tackle the two remotest ones with the use of a cycle.

I set off on my cycle from Killilan and headed up Glen Elchaig with several stops to push the cycle on the inclines. On reaching Carnach I left the cycle and continued along the track to Iron Lodge and took the path which runs across the south side of Aonach Buidhe. The weather wasn't very promising as it was windy with cloud shrouding the mountains.

I climbed up the south ridge onto the summit of Aonach Buidhe disturbing a large herd of deer en-route. The weather was abysmal higher up with driving rain, strong winds and low cloud with poor visibility.

The next section meant remaining on bearings as I descended to the path which leads from Iron Lodge to the bothy at Maol-bhuidhe. Visibility was slightly clearer down here and I located the stalker's path on the east side of Faochaig. The climb up this path took me back into the poor weather conditions and onto the north ridge of Faochaig. I followed this ridge to the summit cairn.

The descent was reasonably straight forward as it just required me to head south to the streams before picking up another stalker's path which took me back to Carnach. Here I was able to have a very late lunch sitting at the side of Loch na Leitreach out of the bad weather I had experienced for most of the day.

The final section was the return cycle down Glen Elchaig, avoiding all the sheep and lambs, to Killilan.

Aonach Buidhe Corbett first ascent 899 metres
Faochaig Corbett first ascent 868 metres

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Glen Cannich

16 February 2004

The weather was fine so prior to returning home I decided to bag another Corbett. This one was only a half day of effort and would allow me to return home in the afternoon.

I drove from the village of Cannich up Glen Cannich towards Loch Mullardoch. At Muchrachd I parked my car and alighted into a very still and pleasant morning. Two stags were fighting close by and were unperturbed by my presence. Sheep gathered round me hoping that I was about to feed them.

Once organised I headed up the steep hillside to the summit of Sgorr na Diollaid where a little scrambling was required to reach the top. A coffee break taking in the views of the surrounding mountains was far superior to those poor soles taking their break surrounded by four walls in a canteen or at their workstation. Oh it’s great to be on top of a mountain on a fine day.

Once I had my fill of views I headed over to Sgorr na Diollaid’s West Top before descending back to my car and the end of a great weekend Corbett Bagging.

Sgorr na Diollaid Corbett first ascent 818 metres

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Glen Strathfarrar

16 July 2003

I had a day out in Strathfarrar in midweek. I headed for Loch Monar dam. I walked along the side of the loch before climbing An Sidhean. Just before the summit six stags, of various ages, walked across my path before sensing my presence and running off. These stags were the best of pals but that won’t last as October approaches and the rut begins.

An Sidhean Corbett first ascent 814 metres

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Strathconnon

15 July 2003

My next trip was to Strathconnon where I climbed the Corbett Bac an Eich and the Graham Beinn Mheadhoin. Prior to doing so I consulted with the Gamekeeper at Inverchoran but he wasn’t very helpful and gave the impression that he wasn’t happy with me walking across his land even though he wasn’t stalking there.

On approaching the Trig Point on Beinn Mheadhoin I came across two hinds and a fawn resting in one of the several hollows there. The hinds rose immediately and ran off downhill. However the young fawn stood up and we stared at each other for several seconds before it too ran off downhill. These few seconds are one of the reasons I walk and work in the hills and the memory of this fawn will remain with me for some time.

I thought myself lucky to get so close to the fawn but I got even closer to a family of grouse on my descent from Beinn Mheadhoin. Two chicks rose as I approached them and I was surprised that there were no adult birds taking off. I stopped in my tracks and on looking down into the heather I saw a third chick cowering in the heather and blending well with its surroundings. It then decided to fly off and the two adults rose from nearby and the family flew off. Another great nature experience.

Bac an Eich Corbett first ascent 849 metres
Beinn Mheadhoin Graham first ascent 665 metres

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