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The Fannichs and Fisherfields in 4 wet days
by Mancunian » Fri May 20, 2011 8:28 am
Munros included on this walk: An Coileachan, Meall Gorm, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Sgurr Ban, Sgurr Mor
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chlaidheimh
Date walked: 20/05/2011
Time taken: 96 hours
Distance: 57 km
Ascent: 3500m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
For almost a decade now a few friends of mine are coming each year for a couple of days to Scotland to go on a several day long hiking tour. This time I joined them and we decided to start on May 12th and finish our tour on May 17th. After a long journey from Berlin (I forgot to mentioned that we are from Germany) by plane and hired car we arrived at Loch Glascarnoch at around 7pm. By then two pretty sad events had happened. First: It was raining. Second and far more serious: When i opened the boot of our hired car three beer cans fell onto the tarmac and developed cracks through which the precious liquid poured out. What a bad start!
The first half of our group headed of to Beinn Liath Mhor while the rest drove with the two cars to Corrie Hallie where we left one and returned with the remaining one to Loch Glascarnoch (on the way back another beer can ruptured when it fell from the seat onto something sharp under the seat which left the car smelling like a pub). By that time it was constantly raining and our spirits were quite low. For several weeks we were looking forward onto this tour but now it was just cold, windy and raining. We catched up with the other half of our group on the saddle between Meall Dhaim and Beinn Liath Mhor where we the six of us put up our tents and spent the night.
The next morning the weather was better (no rain) and we headed off into a southwestern direction around Beinn Liath Mhor and past Drochaid a' Ghiubhais Li and reached the bottom of An Coileachan after a few hours. After a short lunch break we scrambled up to the top of the munro and were happy to reach its top where we met some other walkers. They mentioned that the weather today was so far the best day in the current week which lifted our spirits alot.
We then continued along the Fannich Ridge to Meall Gorm and had planned to descend somewhere near Loch an Fhuar but the slope was determined as being to steep and so we left the ridge at 6pm past Meall nam Peithirean where it was just a little less steep.
As we slept in tents we were looking for some even space and found that on around 830 meters altitude behind a very large rock which provided some shelter. The weather conditions had deteriorated by then and a strong wind blew and made it difficult to put the tents up. Not to mention that it was raining again. We had pasta for dinner and went then straight to bed which was a good idea because the night was horrible. The wind got stronger by the minute and was very gusty. In the morning we were surprised to find snow everywhere and assessed the damage to out tents.
The larger one had several bend poles and the strap for one stake was ripped off. It was still snowing when we set off and after 45 min we found ourselves on top of Sgurr Mor were we didn't even stop because it was freezing cold.
On the way down to Carn na Criche there was snow on the moss which made going difficult and because of the bad view (well there was no view at all) we had to rely on our Garmin units for orientation. Beyond the Carn things improved slightly and once we were in the Allt Breabaig valley the wind had gone and even the sun peeked through the clouds. But that was not to last long and at the boat house at Loch a'Braoin it was raining again.
The remainder of the day we trotted along the loch, saw sun, rain and rainbows and in the end found an nice place to put up our tents just past the Lochivraon house.
That night was much better than the one before but the morning still welcomed us with ... as you may have guessed ... more rain. After a short breakfast we followed the path to Loch an Nid where we turned west and scrambled up to Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair. After 400m meters altitude the first member of our group headed back to the Loch because he found the ascend to strenuous. We agreed to meet at the bothy near Shenavall. At 700 meters altitude we reached the cloud ceiling and the view was lost again.
The rain which was just a light drizzle in the valley became a downpour and the wind blew again with gale force when we reached the top of the munro. The walk along the ridge to Sgurr Ban was no fun and on top of Sgurr Ban we had even difficulties to find the cairn and had to rely again on our GPS units to take the right direction to Am Briseadh. At first I enjoyed walking on the rocks and stones of the scree slope but after a while me knees where aching and i wished for moss and heather. At the small lakes on the saddle of Am Briseadh our group split up again and only my friend an me decided to continue along the ridge while our three friends descended down the eastern face of Beinn a Chlaidheimh. The ascend to this munro was not as difficult as excepted and soon we were on the top. As there was still fog everywhere we were wasting no time and started our descend. While we had planned to descend on the eastern slope as well we followed the path from the summit to the north. That turned out to be a mistake but at that moment we thought it is better to follow the path than to scramble down the rocky slope. And so the path descended over the steep nothern face but for some reason unknown to me it was lost at an altitude of about 650 meters. From there on no path could be seen and we were forced to stumble down the steep northern side of the munro which seemed to be soaked with water. Down at the bottom where I hoped everything would change for the better we had to cross the Strath na Sealga bogs which was exhausting and a very wet affair. Once on the northern side of the bogs we were confronted with the river which was full of water because of the last days rain. I would go as far to say that it was dangerous to cross the river but we had to reach the other side anyway. So i rolled up my trousers and put on my Teva sandals and crossed the cold river. Finally we reached the bothy at Shenavall but our hopes to find our friends there were squashed because they werent there and the dutch walkers who were in the bothy hadn't seen them either. So i tried to use my cell phone to call them but of course the was no network available. Therefore we decided to follow the path to Loch an Nid and finally the long day came to an end when we found them on the meadows where the path forks off to Corrie Hallie.
The next morning was as good or bad as the previous ones and so the six of us went straight to Corrie Hallie instead of climbing up An Teallach which we had considered doing before we had four days of wind and rain.
After all this was a great experience and I would have loved to see the great wilderness in sunshine while admiring the great views. But I must admit that having done that tour under these weather conditions it gives me the feeling to have completed more than just an ordinary walk. So maybe ... no, surely next year we'll be back...
All the best,
I am heading up that way tomorrow (Saturday). The weather is not going to be very nice but after reading your report I cant make any excuses
Its a shame that you did not have good weather. But then thats Scotland, some times its good sometimes its not.
Top effort in the conditions.
Here are the views you should have had. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4829
by kevsbald » Fri May 20, 2011 9:40 am
by Mancunian » Fri May 20, 2011 12:57 pm
monty wrote:I am heading up that way tomorrow (Saturday). The weather is not going to be very nice but after reading your report I cant make any excuses
So all the best and good luck. But the forecast doesn't look too good. Anyway I hope you have a good weekend up there...
monty wrote:Here are the views you should have had. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4829
Its a shame I didnt see a bit of it. Its a great landscape which cannot be compared to anything we've got here in good ol Germany.
by Ian Johnston » Fri May 20, 2011 1:14 pm
What an adventure and what a great report. You've had the best and the worst of Scotland by the look of it, but it's never boring! If it's any consolation, last time I crossed at Strath na Sealga the water was waist deep - I didn't see much either
Hope you get better weather next time you're here!
by ChrisW » Sat May 21, 2011 9:35 am
by Mancunian » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:08 am
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