And so to the Western Fannich's after yesterdays storm. We enjoyed a few beers and some nice grub in the Aultguish Inn, happy in the knowledge tomorrow, couldn't be as bad as today, could it? Forecast actually showed it dry till 1pm, still whoora windy mind you. We reckoned we might at least make 3 dry Munro's if the weather was kind to us.
Found the start point no bother and conditions didn't look too bad, with views of most of our hills, though perhaps sussing out first hill, might have been better than focussing on latter pair. We'd decided to do eastern, western one's first starting with Meall a' Chrasgaidh, then the western, western pair, if you know what I mean. The route in till past the bridge over the outflow of Loch a Bhraoin, was pretty much to plan, but thereafter we didn't do too well, totally missing the "smaller, boggy ATV track." Not concentrating lads! That said, it is pretty obscure, as we observed on our return.
Anyway, sticking to the stalkers path we made good progress up the west side of the river, till gradually it clicked and we then crossed without much difficulty, onto the track on the other side. Had the river been in spate, it might have meant a long back-track. Our thinking now was that we were back on track, but of course, we were not and couldn't figure out why we were not seeing a cairn, or track, to indicate the course up Meall a' Chrasgaidh? Who was holding the route notes then? Who checked? Not me Had we done so, we might have noticed - "there is no path." Didn't stop me leading the boys a merry dance across the steep slopes in search of it
Oh, dear! I was then just praying that I had correctly put the right grid numbers onto our home printed map Either way, we gradually figured out we were not going to find a path and struggled up the worst part of the gradient, till things eased off. The rest of the walk from there to the summit was much more pleasant and quite enjoyable. Having led the guys astray on the steep bit, I then had the honour of reaching the top first It was still reasonably clear, though I think it was about this stage another layer was called for.
The walk over to and up the ridge to the summit of Sgurr nan Clach Geala was also quite pleasant although the constant buffeting kept one on edge, on the bits near the edge! Nice views over to Sgùrr Mòr and into the corrie. Things still looked dry for a while, so we took a quick grub stop at the summit, then made for Sgurr nan Each. Spied the first walker, in fact, only walker between yesterday and today. Dumped our rucksacks at the bealach, Cadha na Guite.
Subsequently bumped into this chap, who was doing the round in the oppo direction and had started off at half seven. Wise man! Just as we were getting to the summit of Sgurr nan Each, we felt the first innocent spits of rain. Exactly on time, 1pm! Just a few spits. It might take a while till it deteriorates? We didn't hang around to find out, but even by the time we were back at the rucksacks, we knew that was that! The deterioration was here. For once we correctly followed the route notes and I think it helped keeping a fairly high line, traversing right, avoiding descending too far into Fliuch Choire.
By now the wind must have been gusting upwards of 50mph and also raining quite heavily. Our assessement that it would be a long climb up from the bealach, up to Sgùrr Breac, was proved a considerable understatement. For me, it was just a case of head down, keep the wee legs pumping, one short step after another. Fortunately, the track was much clearer and easier to follow than I expected. Had we been relying on maps a lot, would have made life considerably more difficult.
Our next aim was to get to the top of Toman Coinich, where we planned to assess our possible route of descent. It was hard work just getting there and the summit, of A' Chailleach, shrouded in fog though it was, still appeared a long way off. We didn't deliberate much, if at all. Onwards, following Big Jasper, lead man for most of the day. It did indeed seem a long trek to Munro No.5, though am sure the fatigue of yesterday and gales today, were also a factor in that.
Finally, we found the summit in the fog. No time to celebrate, just get off there, out of the wind, hopefully. Finding the route over to Sròn na Goibhre, wasn't easy. Perhaps, could have missed it had we not spotted a fence post to lead us in the right direction. The walk along this ridge was a bit milder, but our hopes that the worst was by soon vanished. Our descent off that ridge, was pretty much hit or, a miss. Mostly miss, I think. Steep, awful ground on the whole, not helped by the equally awful weather which had resumed.
Again, we failed to follow route notes, when we ought to have crossed the burn high up, near the lochan. It was pretty boggy, awful ground on the west side of the Allt na Goibhre, till we finally crossed below a ravine and steeper waterfall. Alas, the ground remain splashy, down past the sheepfank, until at the lochside. The lochside is a bit splashy too, specially where the track detours into the loch 😁
Having been blown off my feet yesterday, it was but right that I repeat the act today, though in this case, I couldn't blame the weather. It was just a case of head down, trying to make good speed back to the car, when I slipped on large stones, doing a nice face-plant onto said boulders in the process. Fortunately, I had been able to partially break my fall, but still landed with a fair thump on my right cheek and eyebrow. I was pretty certain I would have been bleeding, but was surprisingly unscathed as Jaf and Andrew, came to my aid. I slowly got to my feet and gathered myself together. Wow, that was close. Well, I suppose if one is to fall, it is probably better near the motor, than miles from anywhere.
No more excitement as we made it back to the bridge and through the forest, as Big Jesper widened his stride just to ensure we made the trip in 8 hours. It wasn't long till we were back at Aultguish, enjoying all the comforts of home, especially the Goose Island and Talisker. It was a weary trio of lads who retired to bed that night!
Despite previous notions, none of us were enthusiastic of giving Am Faochagach a try, before our long trek back to Mid Argyll the following day. With all the rain there had been in last couple of days, the river may have been very tricky to cross anyway. For all that, we were all more than satisfied with having managed all the main Fannich's over the past two days, in some of the worst weather we have been out in. Summer?! Not as we know it.
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