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Feisty day for the farrar four

Feisty day for the farrar four


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:30 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Date walked: 03/08/2013

Time taken: 15.1 hours

Distance: 51.5 km

Ascent: 2227m

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This weekend was supposed to be my long awaited climb up Ben Nevis via the CMD. However, the weather forecast with gales put paid for that and had me scurrying around looking for alternatives for the weekend. The Glen Strathfarrar hills came to mind as a possibility despite high winds - we could take the weekend and do them in a leisurly style - walk up the glen on Friday night, do the hills on the Saturday and return on Sunday - no rushing about trying to jostle for position to get "in the gate" in the morning nor having to be back before the gate closed for the night. We'd bypass all that using footpower.

Winds were gusty when we left Greenock in the late afternoon and headed north. It was important to get there early enough to have a couple of hours to walk in and I was pleased that we arrived by 8ish. Donning the full packs we set up along the road into Glen Strathfarrar. There's something of the fairy-tale in setting off into the evening up a quiet glen with your pack on your back. The evening air was strangely calm, nary a rustle from the tree tops and some late sunshine made it a very pleasant wander - unfortunately we were going at brisk pace to get to our destination, my feet were sore on the tarmac and I'd forgotten the extra weight of walking with a full pack.

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P1030483 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030484 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030485 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030486 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030488 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sheep guards
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P1030490 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030491 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030492 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030493 by 23weasels, on Flickr

About 10.15 we passed the power station at Deanie and started to look for a place to pitch. The wind had re-appeared by this time and was blowing strongly from the NE - the forecast predicted gales from the SW overnight. A bit confused as to the best plan of action I pitched in preparation for the forecast wind direction which mean enduring full on winds into the front of the tent initially. Not the best night's sleep as I was edgy waiting for the pegs to get blown out and our little blue home go twisting off up into the sky like the Wizard of Oz :lol:

Bright skies initially with some mist on the mountain tops - we were late in setting out and didn't get onto the hills until after 10.30, tsk tsk. The path up to sgurr na Ruaidhe was steady going, a bit boggy in places.

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P1030495 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030496 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030498 by 23weasels, on Flickr

As we reached the top the clag came down as did the temperature and the wind rose considerably. We were relieved to find a stone shelter north of the cairn to take refuge in as we munched our sandwiches. We could see the next hill, Carn nan Gobhar, over to our left, a small descent then up a grassy shoulder to a boulder strewn top.

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P1030501 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030502 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030508 by 23weasels, on Flickr

On the way over we met the only other walker we saw all day. The clag allowed some views to Strathconnon in the North, wind farm towards Dingwall and the curved edge rising steeply to our next hill, Sgurr a'Choire Glais. The wind continued to gain strenght and was blowing right across our direction of travel :shock:

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P1030510 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030511 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030513 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bit of a scramble over the boulders at the top of this hill followed by an interesting walk along the coire edge - on a good day this looks like it would be a cracking walk.

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P1030519 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030521 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030524 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We got to the summit having done our best to keep left of the path when it wound too near the edge in case a gust blew us off our feet :crazy: There are 2 cairns and a trig point on the top of this hill - bit of overkill on a small summit area really :wink:

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P1030526 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030527 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030528 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030529 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I'm guessing views are normally top notch from here, but clag was the order of the day so we pressed on to the last summit of the day, Sgurr Fhuar-Thuill - hill of the cold hole and they got that name right :D The weather had saved its most extreme blasts for this part of the day - wind blew ferociously across us, clag down and what felt like hail, but was probably just cold raindrops being propelled by a furious wind pelting our cheeks. I was particularly sorry not to have my snow goggles in my pack. Gloves soaking, hands cold, body wind-chilled and not really any cover to stop and add another layer - this did not feel like summer!

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P1030531 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Horrible conditions at the top!
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P1030532 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Another cracking ridge edge to follow which on a better day would have merited lingering, but today it was all about surviving the wind blast and getting down to lower altitude pronto. The path heads along to Sgurr na Fearstaig then turns down to the left at a cairn and curves along the inside of the coire, past Loch Toll a Mhuic.

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P1030536 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030539 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Following the Allt down past a pretty waterfall and some old Caledonian pine trees on the way then onto a more defined track that leads down to the mysterious Braulen Lodge - an immaculately maintained house with various bits of high-tech, tennis court etc. Hmm.
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P1030541 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030542 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030543 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030544 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Braulin Lodge
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P1030546 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I had hoped to walk back at least to the start of the track where we'd camped last night, but battling the high winds and getting used to a big pack once again had taken its toll and I was feeling knackered. By this time it's about 7.30 and I'm also famished. A rainbow up ahead spells rain on the way and we decide to look for a place to put up for the night - finding a suitable flat area at Collie garhb-leac and getting the Mexican feast on to cook :)

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P1030548 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030549 by 23weasels, on Flickr

At least the wind has its uses, keeping the midges away while we set up the tent and eat our tea, but it also makes it too cold to sit out for long.

The wind dies away overnight and we wake to mixed showers and sun with no breeze - midge heaven :shock: I put my hand outside the mest inner to get the breakfast stuff in and within seconds it's almost black with the creatures and subsequently peppered with red bites. Fortunately by the time we're ready to move off the breeze has got up enough to keep them away and the walk - all 18km of it back to the car - goes without insect menace. We do spot what i think is a Fox Moth caterpillar though.

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P1030552 by 23weasels, on Flickr

There are a few cars and bikes at the start of the ascent track as we pass, and there's some sort of meet of men in waxed jackets in Benachran Lodge. Weird folk up to no good with guns :(

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P1030555 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030556 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It takes about 3 and a half hours from tent to car and it's been a pleasant if rather footsore weekend. I'm glad we did the walk up the glen which allowed a chance to experience more of this lovely place, and I didn't actually mind the stormy conditons which allowed a taste of the changeability of our weather. Will have a look at some of the other long walk in hill groups now to tackle over a weekend.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby mrssanta » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:36 pm

phew that is a long walk in and out with heavy packs. but another four blue balloons! and no worries about getting back before the gate is locked.
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mrssanta
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:15 pm

What I want to know is - you can't leave your car overnight in the glen, and you have to be out before the gatekeeper refuses to open the door anymore, so what does happen if you turn up half an hour after the "closing time" on the way back from the hills? Your car gets dematerialised?
As you say, MrsS, no worries about any of that when you do the walk in :lol:
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby mrssanta » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:22 pm

weaselmaster wrote:What I want to know is - you can't leave your car overnight in the glen, and you have to be out before the gatekeeper refuses to open the door anymore, so what does happen if you turn up half an hour after the "closing time" on the way back from the hills? Your car gets dematerialised?
As you say, MrsS, no worries about any of that when you do the walk in :lol:

Been wondering that myself, given that I'm not a fast walker
Hm
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:02 am

That looks tough going on the boulderfield with a buffetting wind! :clap: :)
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby dooterbang » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:31 am

Great report and a nice way to do these. Read a report from Kinley last month who came in from a different direction to also avoid the car carnage.

Looks a great walk this, and one I've still to do.

Glad you enjoyed the change in conditions, think we all got complacent :wink:
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:52 am

The Rodmiester wrote:That looks tough going on the boulderfield with a buffetting wind! :clap: :)


"Buffeting" - yes that was the word - beloved of MWIS - that I meant to include in my report. There was more than a bit of buffetting going on, I can tell you! :roll:

dooterbang wrote:
Looks a great walk this, and one I've still to do.

Glad you enjoyed the change in conditions, think we all got complacent :wink:



Knowing you, you'll romp the whole 51km walk in a single afternoon :wink:

They were better hills - well the last 2 anyway - than I'd been expecting and I think anticlockwise makes for a more impressive trip as they get better as you go onwards. As for the weather, it felt like being reminded that you are only a speck of nothingness in the bigger scheme of things and that the weather suits itself - a reminder that it's your call to cope with it :shock:
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Re: Feisty day for the farrar four

Postby rockhopper » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:00 pm

Jings - that's a long walk even in good conditions - well done for sticking it out in such weather ! Did this walk last year - good forecast but ended up in clag almost all day - however, I took took the easier way driving down the glen and then using the bike. Lovely glen with a lot of visitors that day - would like to go back some time - cheers :)
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