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Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:42 pm
by bootsandpaddles
Day 1

At the last minute we decided to make this a backpacking trip – what a great decision! If we had done these hills as two separate days we would have missed the best bit – the ridge above Coire Domhain. We had a late start after the 4 hour drive to Glen Affric and were glad to be stretching our legs on the walk up Gleann nam Fiadh. After about 2km a narrow path leaves the main track and heads across a bog – don’t go that way! – carry on to the foot of Beinn Eun and take the decent track that goes northeast under the crags. Once beyond the crags we climbed very steeply up to gain the broad south ridge of Toll Creagach.
Ascending Toll Creagach
This seemed rather never ending but was made more interesting by the discovery of a clutch of ptarmigan eggs in a neat little rocky hiding place and the sighting of a couple of mountain hare. The summit afforded great views of Loch Mullardoch and its Munros.
Summit Toll Creagach
Loch Mullardoch
This was followed by a long descent to Bealach Toll Easa and then a much more interesting ascent to the summit of Tom a’ Choinich.
Tom a'Choinich
Then the best bit of the day – the walk around the rim of Coire Domhain to Carn Eighe.
On to Carn Eighe
First there were the impressive cliffs of An Leth-chreag, the stiff climb up to top at 1131m and then the magnificent corrie itself with its lochan.
Coire Domhain
Looking back along the ridge
Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe
Above the lochan the ridge narrowed and there was a bit of scrambling to be had over some rocky pinnacles (if you weren’t carrying camping gera that is!)
before gaining the broad plateau that sweeps round to the summit of Carn Eighe. Brilliant. To the north we could see Beinn Fhionnlaidh
Beinn Fhionnlaidh
and we headed in that direction. We found a good place to camp on Bealach Beag with a small burn trickling down the hillside nearby.

“I bet there’s nobody else for miles” I said. Then as I went down for water for the soup I noticed another tent about 50m away! So much for splendid isolation!
After dinner we strolled up Beinn Fhionnlaidh, glad to be free of our rucksacks.
Summit Beinn Fhionnlaidh

Day 2

An early start saw us at the top of Mam Sodhail by about 8.30am.
Summit Mam Sodhail
We didn’t go back over Carn Eighe but contoured round on the west side to reach the bealach above Loch Uaine.
En route for Mam Sodhail
Then we made for Sgurr na Lapaich down the long undulating south east ridge.
Ridge to Sgurr na Lapaich
There were spectacular views all round.
Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe
The descent from Sgurr na Lapaich was a bit of a trial – is there a good way down? – very steep, loads of heather, bracken and bog and a deer fence to negotiate before finally reaching the track just west of Affric Lodge.
Loch Affric
Then it was an easy back along the lochside to the car.

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Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:39 pm
by davetherave
You guys must be up there for most experienced campers on WH. It seems that every other report you guys seem to have the big packs fitted. Ever thought about a mule!!

Another fine report with quality pics.

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:47 pm
by rockhopper
Looks a great route :D Haven't got this far yet but this whets the appetite. Great "pinnacles" photo.

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:38 pm
by icemandan
Someone sent me this recently - it explains the remains of the building on the top of Mam Sodhail

In the mid 19th century the Highlands became enormously popular as a sink for the ill gotten gains of the industrial barons. The shepherds who replaced the cleared clansmen soon followed them into history as vast swathes were parceled off into what were in effect private game reserves, a process that has yet to run its course. The new owners often spent large sums of money improving their sporting heritage and had access to a large pool of labour. This was the era of the pony tracks that we find so useful, the great lodges, bridges and the keeper's bothies. Much of the infrastructure we use in the hills date to this time, and some of the most extravagant works are to be found on the land covered by OS sheet 25. (for example the bridge over the Uisge Dubh, and road to Bendronaig Lodge shown at the top of this page).

In the midst of this fashion an American tried to close off Glen Affric and installed a watcher on the summit of Mam Sodhail to keep the likes of us out. Sir Hugh Munro was reputed to have given advice on avoiding him. To his north another American by the name of Winans rented the sporting rights to Glen Strathfarrar from Lord Lovat. Soon he had added Pait and Killillan to his estate and thus gained the stalking rights to a vast area of Wester Ross. This estate was reputed to have employed 300 men, and one of the jobs he gave them was to build a fence from Loch Monar to Loch Carron. Problem, he needed to get a large tonnage of iron stakes and wire up to Pait Lodge. The solution was to lug a boat up to Bendronaig Lodge, sail it down Loch Calavie and then cart the several tons of shipping over to the string of lochs lining the boggy strath to Pait. Some portage. The boat, having played its part in building the 'great fence of Killilan ' was later to sink in Loch Monar,(in the service of Mr Winnans' successor ).

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:45 am
by bootsandpaddles
That is very interesting. Do you know what book the quote comes from?

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:02 pm
by monty
Nice report bootsandpaddles. Some great photos. Looks like a good walk. :D

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:22 pm
by csimbad
Welldone Bootsandpaddles, a must do route for me during my holidays looks excellent.
Great report and pics thanks for posting :D

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:27 pm
by icemandan
That is very interesting. Do you know what book the quote comes from?

My mate found it here in the section on Beinn Dronaig

Re: Five Munros in Glen Affric

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:15 am
by bootsandpaddles
Cheers. Looks like an interesting website.