An Teallach and the great deception!
by JimboJim » Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:47 pm
Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell
Munros included on this walk: Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgùrr Fiona (An Teallach)
Date walked: 30/08/2021
Time taken: 8.75 hours
Distance: 16.9 km
Ascent: 1432m18 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Had a shout from good buddy, Steve who has kept an eye on me over some of the trickiest hills I've done and knew I had An Teallach in my sights. Knowing I'm not keen on exposure, he reassured me he would bring along the mountaineering tackle and rope, just to be on the safe side. Sounds ok then, says I, although I wasn't so sure about the camping suggestion! Ah well, day before had a practice run and only took about an hour to remember how to put the damn tent up
Gathered some other gear together and met Steve, along with pal, Derek at the Green Welly, for the journey north. Departure time was fairly late in the afternoon and having had a prolonged pit stop at the Aultguish Inn, my angst that I might have to put up the tent in the dark, duly materialised. This could have the other two in knots, laughing! The embarrassment of having to ask others to assist put my tent up, was welling inside, as we cruised gingerly along the shore of Little Loch Broom, using the headlights to search for a place to camp. I didn't think it would be possible to even find a spot, but the lads know what they are doing and soon had picked somewhere flat, near couple of derelict, old buildings. Much to my surprise, I remembered most of the steps required and made a reasonable hash of getting the tent up, illuminated by the headlamps.
Didn't sleep too well, but that was not unexpected, having awful shoulder pains at nights, the sound of occasional passing lorry sounding like runway 2 at Heathrow and I hate sleeping bags Oh, and there was the small matter of how I'd get on with the traverse of An Teallach and more particularly the Corrag Bhuidhe! Anyway, the night passed and so did the wind, after Steve's hot cuisine of beans and sausage at 7am We then made for Corrie Hallie, intent on doing the route anti-clockwise.
Initial hopes of a good cloud inversion were very quickly scotched and to make matters worse, the hills were holding onto some serious looking cloud. Forecast from Met Office had been showing wall to wall sunshine, so nothing to worry about The walk up Gleann Chaorachain, was quite pleasant and the banter was good. Perhaps, the cloud cover shielded me from spying too far ahead and the ascent of Sail Liath, looked little cause for concern.
The lads were taking it easy and we made good progress up through the stony stuff, where we made the first contact with the many mountain goats of An Teallach. I had no idea there were so many. One wonders how long they have been resident there, are they growing/shrinking in number and when is their next bath due?? I don't smell too bonny after most of my days on the mountains, either, mind you!
About the top of Sail Liath comes the first inkling that this is no ordinary mountain, as steep gullies plummet toward Loch Toll an Lochain. Still, the road ahead to Stob Gadha Gobhlach, didn't look to hold too much terror and I still had no idea of where this Corrag Bhuidhe thingy was, as we stopped for some pics at a nice promontory, getting a look at some of the mountains in the Fisherfield. Beinn Dearg Mor, looking pretty impressive, although most of the others indistinguishable to the untrained eye.
By now the others were almost imploring the cloud to do one and disappear, though I was less keen to try the suggested cloud dance, or anything else which might reveal anything too scary, as we made a more prolonged and steeper climb up the more typical, rounded rock, requiring a bit more care here and there. Without me realising it we had climbed pretty high up Corrrag Bhuidhe, to the point where the lads had to make more considered decisions about how to proceed. To be honest, neither option offered appealed much. Derek, meantime was galloping up what he felt was the guide book route. I then looked at the bypass on the same level as where we stood. Looked round the corner, path vanishes, No, don't fancy that! I did fancy dropping to lower bypass I could see, but Steve thought I would manage a tricky 40-50 feet scramble up a bit of a cleft further along, especially if I had the rope on.
Ok, sounds good. Let's go! We both got helmet and harness on, as he explained how I'd need to remove the gear as we ascended, then he remembered Derek had the rope in his sack! Bleep, he said. He might be halfway along ridge by now! Anyway, perhaps wondering what was taking us so long, he soon appeared in response to a holler, or two from Steve. "Will you throw us down the rope. You've got the rope!" "Eh, what rope? I've not got any rope." I'll remember these words for a while I won't go into the rest of the dialogue, or my inner thoughts, as children might be reading, but any thoughts the guys were just bluffing were soon blown away. It must have been the beans
Mmmh?! I was quite worried. This had implications for the whole walk. What to do? How will I/we deal with me? Crikey, or something like it! I didn't want to ruin the guys day on the ridge, having to escort me round every bypass and miss out on the scrambling. Steve, suggested I try the scramble up and he would help direct me to the hand/footholds. The initial move/s were quite awkward, at my maximum reach and grip, but only because I am old, weak and inflexible. Once these steps were negotiated, it was relatively easy to get up on top and make our way along the first pinnacle. The lads were only too helpful with advice and guidance where needed. Test every hand hold is secure before putting weight on it. Don't push off with your feet so quickly.
A few awkward bits of downclimb with some guidance and that bit was done ok. I climbed a few other bits, but to be honest found the by-pass paths just a short distance below the pinnacles relatively easy and enjoyable enough for me, as the other two did some more adventurous scrambling. I must admit to being rather jealous seeing them cruise along no bother and wondered if I should really be missing out. Before I knew it, we were advancing toward Lord Berkely's Seat. I had already pledged on my ancient ancestor's graves I was going nowhere near that, but as Steve said, you can get right up there no bother. Ok, I never sat on the perch, or tried to look over the drop, but being near, was near enough for me
From there, it is on to the 1st Munro, Sgurr Fiona. Not much difficulty as I recall and about this time the cloud began to disperse a little and let some sun peep through now and again, allowing a better view of the cliffs and view back along the ridge. Think we had some grub, then made for the trig point on Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill, Munro 2, where a few more bods were hanging around, perhaps waiting for the cloud to lift, which it was in the process of doing, just as we had completed the traverse. C'est la vie!
I went away, tramping off the summit path to the north, but Derek soon alerted us to potential gaff, as they had planned to drop down east, via Glas Mheall Liath, thus saving the two and a half mile walk, along the road, back to the car. Some great rock formations and geology on display as we made our way along this ridge, of sorts. Then came a divergence of views as to best way down. Keep right on over the last top, then down, or divert south, down the very steep slope toward the lochan, traversing round, as we go. I am wary of anything steep when one can't see what is below, but managed to follow a good, grassy rake down toward Loch Toll an Lochain, though didn't do too much traversing, while Steve stayed higher and did more traversing and Derek, went for the direct route off the far end.
I felt comfy enough making my way round toward Coir' a' Ghiubhsachain and eventually rendezvous'd with the lads, then made our way over the burn, down to the sheepfold and back to the car, taking about eight and three quarter hours, if memory right. Then followed the long trek back to Argyll, which allowed me time to reflect on another special day on the mountain. All in all, I felt I had coped reasonably well and found An Teallach less intimidating and scary than Liathach. Was that because of the cloud cover, having Steve and Derek with their experience there, taking easier bypasses, or am I getting any better with exposure, or what? Who knows. The camping hadn't been a total disaster either. Thanks Steve and Derek!
So, only 12 more Munro's to go. Funny when one starts to think of how many to go, rather than how many one has done
by dav2930 » Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:06 am
by Anne C » Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:31 pm
by JimboJim » Sun Sep 19, 2021 12:58 pm
dav2930 wrote:Enjoyed reading your report of the classic traverse of AT. Well done for tackling Corrag Buidhe, and you had every right to be furious with Derek for forgetting the rope! Not much use donning harnesses without a rope Still, at least you got the added kudos of doing it unroped (about the same standard as the In Pinn, though maybe not quite as exposed) . Spectacular stuff.
Thanks, Dav. If I was furious it was more at myself and my edgieness near edges 😊 Just a misunderstanding, the sort of thing that happens. The bypass's were no bother, so the lads could get on without worrying about me.
Anne C wrote:Stunning photos and read Jim , a great achievement too, to have managed so much of the tricky , scary stuff!
Thanks, Anne, very kind of you. Thankfully, I've had good, experienced friends along the way and hired a guide for some of the Skye stuff. Wouldn't manage without them.
by JimboJim » Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:37 am
by weaselmaster » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:44 pm
You have 12 fine hills left too
by JimboJim » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:29 pm
weaselmaster wrote:We had clag to completely remove all the sense of exposure when we did it, that definitely helped me! I remember that Scoob helped me up the first wee tricky bit with his hand held out, after that it was all ok. I'm curious how I'll feel when I go along it again.
You have 12 fine hills left too
Incredible! I never imagined the great Weaselmeister, might have touch of nerves on the exposed stuff You seem to have been everywhere and anywhere, so perhaps it's a bit reassuring to know I'm not alone. Yes, I must admit, An Teallach turned out less scary than I imagined.
I hope your return trip is equally enjoyable, clag, or no clag, cleg, or no cleg (ok, it was a Ked we came across )
Aye, now 11, but might need more guidance for them as there will still be a fair challenge with most of them!
by Wanderlust7 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:41 pm
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?