Stay at home
Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Click for details
Conival and Ben More Assynt in the Heat.
by Euan McIntosh » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:05 pm
Route description: Ben More Assynt and Conival
Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival
Date walked: 27/07/2011
Time taken: 10 hours
Distance: 17 km
Ascent: 1258m4 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).
This walk is the last of my northerly exploits for this year and we wanted to end with a big one. Conival and Ben More Assynt may not be the shining lights of Assynt but they are the only two Munros and I didn’t want to leave with only Ben Hope under my belt. We arrived in Assynt at around 08:45 and were greeted with the top of Suilven poking up above a layer of low cloud to reveal its two tops. The parking is just inside the turn off for the Inchnadamph Hotel but the path starts at the end of the road for the Inchnadamph Lodge which is now a B&B.
There were no clouds at all by the time we set of and the predicted seventeen degrees was more like twenty seven degrees. I for some reason known only to the patron saint of stupidity I had only put sunscreen on my face and set of wearing a micro fleece over a t-shirt. The path leading on from the road to the Lodge is a flat and dry four by four track that looks like it is used regularly. It follows along the north side of the River Traligill which disappears underground at several points along its length. Although you can’t see Conival from the start after about ten minutes it appears round a bend and from there it never goes out of sight.
The views back were also impressive with Canisp featuring highly.
The path soon descends back down to the riverbank and it was at this point I realised the true size of my stupidity. I was cooking alive in the fleece and could barely see as sunscreen was mixing with sweat from my head and dripping into my eye. However there were also large numbers of clegs following us and attempting to bite. In the end I decided that not being able to see was the bigger problem and took the fleece of and rapped it round my head turban style as a sun hat. After the path splits to visit the caves it becomes a footpath that in laces is crumpling into the river and a fall would result in a bruised pride if not a broken ankle. The clegs at this point were terrible and it was hard enough to walk in a straight line while swatting them. Buy the bottom of the bealach not much height has been gained but enough for the views to have really opened out
The path splits into several routes for the climb up to the bealach all are fairly easy if a little rocky in places. You should stick to the left side of the burn until about a hundred feet before the band of crags that continue out from Conival’s cliffs. This is not really a scramble at all in the dry but if wet then use of hands may help those of a more nervous type. From there you emerge into a bowl between Conival and Beinn an Fhurain that is not quite the true bealach. From here the path splits and takes every possible line up the slopes of conival and as long as you follow one it’ll take you to the summit.
The climb up Conival is mostly boulder with the occasional area of grass or heather. It is not too bad to walk on as the path bypasses some of the worst bits. After about half an hour you reach the final ridge before the summit, this is entirely grassy and although not very narrow it gives great views down both sides.
Once on the summit you are greeted by a summit shelter and the base of an old trig point. The views down into both Coire a’ Mhadaidh and Garbh Choire; the source of the river Oykle. The views also extend from Ben Hope, Foinaven and Arkle to the north round to Ben Klibreck and all to the Assynt hills. But it is the ridge to Ben More Assynt that garners the most attention as it falls away in perfectly angles slopes into Garbh Choire and Coire a’ Mhadaidh. The south east ridge of Ben More Assynt looks rather intimidating and puts into context my Grand uncles advice of including it and descending to Dubh Loch Mor then walking round Conival as a nice day in the hills look a bit of an understatement. The Summit area of Conival is almost free of rock and is surprisingly flat.
I had read quite a bit about this walk before setting out, all said the ridge was rocky but not at all narrow. It very much lived up to its expectations. There is a little bit of hand work needed to descend from Conival onto the ridge and from there you are walking on very shard torso sized boulders that at times you must lead from one to the other. Everything either moves or is at an awkward angle for placing your foot on.
You descend a fair bit from Conival and by the time you reach the low point you have already had enough. The climb up to Ben More Assynt is perhaps slightly better as the boulders appear to be slightly smaller but it rises not in even slopes but in large hillocks with a climb down on the other side. It was now that the full sweeps of my stupidity was revealed; my arms were quite badly burnt on one side and the back of my neck to. Once the summit is finally reached there are two rocky knolls that could both be the top I believe it is the more northerly one but we visited both.
Lunch was had in the shade behind one before the return across the ridge.
The walk back was just as tiring but it felt great knowing I had done it. Once back at Conival the sun was getting a little lower and lighting up the few clouds moving in from the west. It was still just as windless as it had been all day, we saw a cleg on top of Ben More Assynt. The descent down to the bealach was perfectly pleasant looking out over the rest of Assynt and out to sea. From the bottom of the bealach the sun was shining on Conival and you could make out the bands and cliffs much better than on the ascent
By the time we were on the walk back the clegs were gone and it was a much more pleasant temperature. By the time we made it to the car i was rather glad to sit down and rest.
by GariochTom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:12 pm
by kev_russ » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:53 pm
by Euan McIntosh » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:03 am
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?