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An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

An early start for the Mullardoch circuit


Postby senca » Wed May 26, 2021 5:45 pm

Route description: The Loch Mullardoch Munros

Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Mullardoch), Càrn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Sgùrr na Lapaich

Date walked: 23/05/2021

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 2100m

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As I promised my wife to be by 3pm back at home I had to start quite early. I wanted to avoid all the wildlife on the road when driving at night, so I set off the day before and climbed Ben Wyvis by the way. Not really worth writing anything more than use the stairs to climb up, admire a magnificent view all round and get back to the small car park.
Anyway, I arrived about 11pm at the Loch Mullardoch flat grassy you can leave your car area, spent 2 hours in a sleeping bag in the car, turn my torch on and started my walk at 1.30am.
First steps easy enough on a hydro track, then turn right and on a half-path half-burn I pushed myself up. The way is quite steep, but it wasn't as wet as I thought it would be. There is some flat rocky area after reaching Mullach na Maoile and some steep rocky surface as you reach the summit. I conquered Carn nan Gobhar after 2,5 hours, which is not too bad in the dark. The sky brightened by that time, as the dawn started, so I could see nice views around me, Strathfarrar hills and Sgurr Mor to the north and Affric/Mullardoch hills to the south. After taking a few pictures I put my hat and a warmer jacket on, because of the cold wind, and started descending towards Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe.
20210523_043732.jpg
Sgurr na Lapaich from the bealach
From there after a brief break I began my 350m ascend to the next hill with another quick break to admire the sunrise from above the Strathfarrar hills.
20210523_044812.jpg
The sunrise

I reached the highest of them 4, Sgurr na Lapaich at 5.30. Nice hill, good views, but the wind was really cold, so I started the walk again. Walked down to the bealach with the view of two lochs cleverly named Big Loch and Small Loch, as one was in fact bigger than the other and pushed myself slowly up again to, in my opinion, the finest of them all four An Riabhachan. Not only the name sounds somehow strong, An Riabhachan, but it's guarded by some steep ascend from both sides with some minor scrambling and the top is a long, narrow ridge with excellent views.
20210523_070024.jpg
Sgurr na Lapaich from An Riabhachan
20210523_070029.jpg
Monar hills
20210523_070038.jpg
Mullardoch/Affric hills
I got to the top after an hour and started tackling An Socach right away. That was my second An Socach, as one near Braemar was one of my first hills.
20210523_084924.jpg
The other An Socach from An Socach

I must say that there is a very good path between those hills and up to the west shoulder of An Socach. From there I could see the horror that was still waiting for me.
20210523_084920.jpg
Loch Mullardoch and a long way back
Giant peat bogs, crossing Allt Coire a'Mhaim and getting down to the loch on a path, that had more water and mud, than solid ground. But, I suppose that's something you could expect in the Highland, not everywhere you get Ben Wyvis stairs, the worst was meant to come. The so called 'path' along Loch Mullardoch back to the dam. Yes, I did read other reviews about it and that's why I'm writing mine too. If you have a choice, don't take it. Get a boat, or, as I read today, there is apparently a decent path from Strathfarrar. That one is long, tiring, eroded, wet, muddy, going up and down, disappears often and I even saw at least 4 sheep skeletons on the way and that means something. But, I suppose it's still better than if I had to walk 8km on uneven rocks on the tide line.
Anyway, the walk is excellent, great path on top, very muddy west ascent, not too bad east side, so I would maybe recommend going straight away up and then coming down from An Socach and then taking a boat back? If they do that.
There's a break in my gpx as well, because my phone died, but I connected it quickly to a power bank.
Attachments

4M Loch Mullardoch 23 May 2021 01_36_56 (30p) 2100m.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

senca
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby Fairweather Softie » Thu May 27, 2021 2:21 pm

Planning this round on 05th June with a boat to far end of Loch and return to car. Have you got a rough estimate of how much time this will cut off the route?
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby senca » Thu May 27, 2021 10:07 pm

Fairweather Softie wrote:Planning this round on 05th June with a boat to far end of Loch and return to car. Have you got a rough estimate of how much time this will cut off the route?

It took me 2,5h from reaching the loch to the car park, so I would say about 1,5h, since you still need to get to the boat place, gear up and whatever it takes in a boat.
senca
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby Fairweather Softie » Fri May 28, 2021 2:17 pm

senca wrote:
Fairweather Softie wrote:Planning this round on 05th June with a boat to far end of Loch and return to car. Have you got a rough estimate of how much time this will cut off the route?

It took me 2,5h from reaching the loch to the car park, so I would say about 1,5h, since you still need to get to the boat place, gear up and whatever it takes in a boat.


Thanks, boat picks near the Dam. From the picture it looks like its quick so hopefully 2hrs saved and no doubt a trudge alone the Loch. :lol:
Fairweather Softie
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby baggervance » Fri May 28, 2021 3:52 pm

Took me 7.5 hours by getting the boat to the end of the loch and walking back to the car over the mountains with the dug. The wee boat ride made it a little different from the usual walk
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baggervance
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby Alteknacker » Sun May 30, 2021 10:54 am

Nice one!

I guess an alternative might be simply to return the way one came, adding about 1100m to the total ascent???
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Re: An early start for the Mullardoch circuit

Postby gammy leg walker » Sun May 30, 2021 12:38 pm

Nice one, I’ve got to boat booked for Saturday 19th June for these 4
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