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Ben More Assynt and Conival - a different route

Ben More Assynt and Conival - a different route

Postby GariochTom » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:10 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 02/07/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 924m

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Approaching on the road up Glen Cassley

We started the trek from Duchally Lodge, 17km up Glen Cassley from Rosehall on the A837, having received permission to park by the lodge. The Duchally Lodge sounds grand, but actually looks like an extended 1960s bungalow. However as we were later to discover, it is more 'lodge-like' in the inside!

The resident deer of the lodge who was very tame, introduced himself – apparently he was orphaned several years ago and had relied on food from the stalker, and is now a permanent resident.
The resident deer of Duchally Lodge

We then set off up the track in 4x4s – we had already obtained permission from the stalker to do this. The track initially followed the River Cassley; then went alongside an ugly aqueduct, and then into more open landscape. The drive was exhilarating in itself – especially during the negotiation of a narrow and steep metal bridge!

We eventually reached the top of the track, where the actual walk began. It looked as if we were half way up the hill already, but looks can be deceptive...

Rather than 'attacking' the hill directly, we traversed along the path towards Loch Bealach a Mhadaidh, taking in views of small lochans to the north and east.
Panorama 2.JPG

On reaching a bend in the path and a small cairn, we started the gradual southerly ascent of the ridge towards Ben More Assynt. We soon started recognising the hills behind us to the northeast, including Ben Klibreck and Ben Hope.
Northern ridge of Ben More Assynt

The views down Glen Cassley and Loch Shin were also extensive.
Glen Cassley and Loch Shin

The ground became increasingly rocky the higher up we went, which slowed our progress, but eventually we reached the summit of Ben More Assynt.
Panorama 2.JPG

From near summit of Ben More Assynt

Panorama 3.JPG
Ridge to Conival

We had lunch just below the summit of the Ben, before heading along the rocky ridge towards Conival, passing Dubh Loch Mor, a dark loch in the corrie to the south.
Dubh Loch Mor

From approach to Conival

The glen containing the River Oykel to the south was particularly picturesque.
Glen Oykel, south of Conival

The ridge to Conival

Nearing the summit of Conival, we saw a series of lochs, each feeding into the next.
Looking north from Conival

One final pull up the slope brought us to the summit, from which there were grand views....
...across to Ben Mor Coigach, Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mor and Canisp to the southwest and west...
From Conival

From Conival 1

...across to Loch Assynt and Quinag to the northwest...
Loch Assynt and Quinag from Conival

...and down the Gleann Dubh to the west...
At the summit of Conival

After a debate about our return route, we decided to retrace our steps to the summit of Ben More Assynt and then head down the eastern corrie from there.
The later parts of the ridge were 'airy' (and therefore hairy!) and there were several awkward steps to be negotiated. We were glad that the rain was only light, as the quartzite rock would have otherwise been very slippery.
The airy ridge down


Panorama 7.JPG

At the bottom of the ridge, the walk back to the 4x4s was relatively easy although boggy in places... and I found my first antler in one of the bogs - only a 2-pointer, but now taking pride of place on my windowsill!
After a bumpy ride back to the lodge, we were kindly invited in to the lodge by the stalker and his wife who generously provided us with drinks and shortbread - a proper highland welcome!

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Re: Ben More Assynt and Conival - a different route

Postby kev_russ » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:29 pm

Stunning :)
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Re: Ben More Assynt and Conival - a different route

Postby soulminer » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:14 am

A cracker of a route for these two fine hills.Both times I've walked them have been loops, once back down Allt a' Bhealaich a 'canyoning' type of route :lol: An enjoyable report, cheers.
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Re: Ben More Assynt and Conival - a different route

Postby LeithySuburbs » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:26 am

Cracking looking day - great stuff :D .
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