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Losing my way - and finding it again!

Losing my way - and finding it again!


Postby NevJB » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:00 pm

Route description: Fionn Bheinn, Achnasheen

Munros included on this walk: Fionn Bheinn

Date walked: 15/06/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 7 km

Ascent: 815m

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This was to be the day we were to attempt Sgùrrs Choinnich and à Chaorachain – the walk seemed straightforward enough: long walk in; a steepish, but not desperate climb; little bit of a ridge; down and up to the second peak; steepish, but not long descent; followed by a long walk out. With good paths most of the way this should have been OK. But, as you may detect, a degree of uncertainty had crept in my mind and from the outset I wasn’t sure whether or not I could do this; or, more likely didn’t want to do it.

The morning air was dripping, stifling almost as we assembled our kit in the forest car park at Craig. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the little highland tormentors were out in force – just the spur we needed to get going. It was raining lightly on-and-off as we made our way across the railway and on through the forestry section; the cloud was down to the 400m mark, maybe lower. The ground seemed very hard on my feet and my legs felt like lead; all I could think of was the 5-6km walk back along this track at the end of the day. Neill said his legs felt heavy, but whereas he would improve as the day progressed I knew I would become ever more tired – whether that was real I’m not quite sure, I think much is in my head.

Well, by the time we reached the forestry gate I’d decided that I did not want slog for 20km with every chance of seeing very little from the 400m contour onwards. I get my walking buzz from not just reaching the top, but by taking in the panorama and all the glories of the natural scene. Too often in the past we have reached the top only to huddle briefly out of the wind and rain and add to my collection of cairn pictures. I am not a hardened highland walker in that sense. Neill, didn’t mind, or at least he didn’t show that he minded as we walked back down the forestry track.

Back into the car and off to Achnasheen for a cup of tea; time to reflect and regroup. The sun came out and the tea did its trick – we would do Foinn Bheinn this afternoon. Set off from the car park around 12.30 making our way through the farm yard and across the field. Felt much better. Was this because the sun was shining; the walk shorter and so in my head, manageable; or I had just woken up. Probably all three.

Once we started up beside Allt Achadh na Sine the path was very wet and badly eroded in parts. It was warm with the sun on our backs, but the walking was, for the most part, easy going. In fact, so much so that we weren’t paying much attention and generally just following the path so walked well past the point when we should have turned northwards towards Creagan nan Laogh. Basically as soon as the gradient eases and Creagan nan Laogh comes into view – turn towards it. The penalty for meandering blithely onwards is having to cut back across a lot of peat hag – ugh!

Made it over Creagan nan Laogh and turned to see that the sun had disappeared, the temperature had fallen and the wind was rising. A fairly heavy squall was on its way from Beinn Eighe. Waterproofs on just in time! Visibility went from 20km to 100m in 10 minutes; however, despite what I said earlier, we were now at 720m and only 1km from the summit. Were we going to turn back; absolutely not! From there on it was take a bearing on a lump of rock about 100m away and walking to it; wipe glasses, take another bearing and so on. A little doubt crept in when turning west on reaching the summit ridge as there is the very slightest of descents before the final rise to the trig point. It makes you wonder if you’re going the right way.

It stopped raining just as we reached the summit – took a couple of pics and turned around rather quickly.

47_Nev_Fionn-Bheinn-Summit.jpg
On the summit - a rare pic of me

No sooner had we made off the summit than the cloud cleared, so I did manage to see the top and the rest of the Fannichs to the north.

49_Fionn-Bheinn_2.jpg

Made our way down very quickly shedding layers on the way – too quickly it seems, as I turned my ankle on an ill-judged tussock just before we reached the path beside the burn. Walked off the initial pain [although this has turned out to be more long term than I first thought] and began the final part of descent. The sun was now back out, it was warm so life didn’t seem that bad at all!

Back at the car by 5.30: it had taken us a lengthy 3½ hours to make the summit, but only 1½ on the return leg. Some have said this walk is boring and is to be completed in a minimal amount of time; I would disagree as there is plenty to see at your feet and all around whether in ascent, or descent. Just choose your day and take the time to look.
NevJB
 
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Re: Losing my way - and finding it again!

Postby Graeme D » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:42 pm

I agree with you Nev - it's certainly not a boring walk. A very under-rated hill in fact. Shame you didn't see much from the top as it's a cracking viewpoint on a good day like we got. Hope the ankle is OK!
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Graeme D
 
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Re: Losing my way - and finding it again!

Postby monty » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:22 pm

Hi NevJB. I think we have all absent mindeldy walked passed an important junction one time or another :lol: Topical hill because i might walk up there on Friday. Mind you the forecast is not looking good. :D
monty
 

Re: Losing my way - and finding it again!

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:43 pm

Good to see a photo of you at the top- must have felt great!!!

So easy to miss turnoff :( :(

Hope resting your ankle x
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pollyh33
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Re: Losing my way - and finding it again!

Postby NevJB » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:15 am

Thanks for the positive comments - ankle on the mend, but far too slowly for my liking. Probably shouldn't have walked on it on the Thursday.
NevJB
 
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