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An Teallach – a new route up and down

An Teallach – a new route up and down


Postby Mountainlove » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:33 pm

Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 17/09/2011

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 15 km

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For years I have simply loved the name – An Teallach. So when my friend Lee asked me if I fancied climbing it, I agreed to it straight away. The drive up to Ullapool was rather exciting, as we nearly managed to run out of petrol, and I had images in my head of camping right next to the road in the middle of nowhere-hilarious! Well who could have guessed that petrol stations are closed by 20:00h up there! Luckily a detour to Dingwell saved us and we managed to arrive in Ullapool around 21:30.

The night was challenging, as strong gusty gale force winds can make a hell of a noise, especially when you are in a tent and the noise kept me awake for most of the night (perfect conditions for hillwalking the next day) :lol: . Getting up the next morning after a few short hours of interrupted sleep was hard going, but porridge, coffee and a hot shower did work wonders.
DSCF6116.jpg
An Teallach from the road...its huge!

Starting point:
We finally arrived at the car park close to Corrie Hallie and set off at 10:30. With 4 guidebooks, and 2 maps between us we were well equipped and set off with one guidebook and 2 maps. The starting point was 400m down the road, through some trees and up to the open moorland along an easy to follow path up the burn Coir’ a’ Ghiubhsachain. It was an obvious path to follow along the burn, so we put the guidebooks away and carried on towards to the mountain. What we didn’t realized at the time was, that we followed the wrong path to the left, which lead us towards Sail Liath (book said to walk up path to the right towards Glas Mheall Liath)
Well I have to admit that I didn’t really pay attention to the book and the path description…after all a clear path towards the mountain you want to climb, does not leave any doubt.

Along the way and up the gully to Sail Liath:
The path along the valley was lovely and a nice hike towards An Teallach. To our left we had a natural wall of rocks leading all the way towards the mountain and the path was great at times.
DSCF6010.jpg
The easy to follow 'road' towards Sail Liath

We came to a bit where a river crossing was required, but as the water was shallow so it was pretty easy to cross. We reached the the bottom of Sail Liath about 1.5h after setting off from the car and by that time the path continued towards Loch toil an Lochain.

I think by that time we became rather confused. After all we had to go up and not walk to the loch. By that time we checked the map and realized our mistake. Reading the map and looking up the cliffs, I spotted a very faint path* up a gully, which looked like gullies I have scrambled up before hand. Easy! Convincing Lee to go up the gully was a wee bit harder, but he finally agreed to go up with me.
*The faith path was maybe used by some mad deer in the past, but definitely not by any walkers!
DSCF6014.jpg
Half way up 'Blueberry Gully'
DSCF6026.jpg
Pretty steep!!!!

The gully was a really steep climb. The first part was a mix between big boulders, grass, heather and blueberry bushes. Taking my time I walked up and picked blueberries on the way (biggest ones I have found this year)…distraction when doing something hard is the best thing! About half way up the path became even steeper and consisted only of rocks and grass. By that time it started to rain, but I was sweating buckets anyway so it didn’t bother me. The last 1/3 of the gully involved a lot of scrambling over rocks and had some sections of small loose rocks, which all started to move downhill while I tried to walk uphill ( walking steadily and slowly is the way to overcome these) But all in all great fun.

By that time I have chosen a different route from Lee, as his ascent send a few stone flying down my way, so it made sense to keep away. The left route up the gully seemed to be the easier one, while the right side involved more scrambling and loose rocks…I enjoyed that part, but I should really recommend the left hand site up :)

We reached the top of the gully and from there you have to follow a boulder field up to top of Sail Liath. I didn’t check the time but from the bottom of the valley to the top of Sail Liath, I guess you need to calculate between 1 – 1.5h (with breaks)
When we had lunch and compared our experiences up the gully (Great fun) to (That’s the hardest I have done so far), we looked towards the peaks we still had to climb…incredible!!!
DSCF6040.jpg
Looking towards whats yet to come
DSCF6035.jpg
Can you spot the people????

Towards Sgurr Fiona:
As the gully took us longer than expected and left Lee a wee bit shaken, he didn’t wanted to do the scrambling part ahead, so we decided to follow the path around the worst parts. It was a good idea at the time, as it started to rain and left us with no visibility at that part of the way anyway. The path was really easy and we managed to make it in good time.

Towards Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill and down Glas Mheall Liath:
The walk to the last Munro was fun and easy and up Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill we had a well earned pint. The views you get from Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill to Glas Mheall Liath are the most spectacular ones and the path again is easy to follow. Reaching the top of Glas Mheall Liath, we decided to head straight down towards the burn we followed up. Bad idea!!!
An Teallach.jpg
It was very dramatic with the clouds

The walk down is longer than you can imagine from the top. The first 1/3 of the hill is covered by loose boulders and walking down the boulders which felt like hours was no fun at all. When we reached the end of the boulder field the heavens opened, standing under a shower at home, while being fully dressed, would not have made any different. The visibility was reduced to 15m and within 10 min the mountain slope was transformed to a river…I have never seen anything like it! Because the slope consists of lots of terraces the water just poured down them and walking down at the same time was a challenge. I was really glad at that time that I had my walking poles. Walking down the terraces was sometimes impossible, so you had to slide down most of them…they are not long…but it takes ages (also due to the soggy ground) and it gets frustrating as hell. As Lee pointed out horrible is far to nice…it was f….ing horrible. :D By the time we reached the burn at the bottom of the valley, it finally stopped raining, but the crossing of the burn proved a bit more challenging.
DSCF6096.jpg
The boulder field with the rain clouds coming in

The nice wee stream turned into a monster and walking along it, is was difficult to find a save bit to cross. The crossing had to be done in knee deep water and yet again I was glad I had my poles, as the current was very strong. After 8.30h we finally came to the path we followed up the hill and were back at the car 9h after setting off.
DSCF6125.jpg
Glas Mheall Liath...dont recommend walking down this slope

Conclusion:
I enjoyed the walk in and the scramble up the ‘Blueberry Gully’ up Sail Liath. I guess that anyone who enjoys going up gully would like it as well. The ridge walk from the south to the north was also great. But I would not recommend walking down Glas Mheall Liath. I guess next time I would try to walk down between Glas Mheall Liath and Glas Mheall More as described in one of my books.

YouTube video of the walk...[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIY_idj62Qw[/youtube]
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Last edited by Mountainlove on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Mountainlove
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby magicdin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:15 pm

adventurous stuff mountainlove :thumbup:
interested to know is your gully the one to left on this photo ?
CIMG0658.JPG
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:33 pm

It isnt that one it was even further to the left-before you reached the loch just below Sail Liath...your gully looks like the one below Cadha Gobhlach.
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby magicdin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:10 pm

Mountainlove wrote:It isnt that one it was even further to the left-before you reached the loch just below Sail Liath...your gully looks like the one below Cadha Gobhlach.


Cheers - your gully does look a bit narrower in the photos
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby Alastair S » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:12 pm

Sounds like you had a challenging day but that "Can you spot the people?" photo is epic. :clap:
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby rocket-ron » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:21 pm

an teallach one of my favorites could do this hill over and over again
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby Yipyipcoyote » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:49 pm

Really good photos - ghostly would be the word I would use. I did An Teallach in August 2006 and got a rotten day just like you. It was too risky to do the ridge but I will get back there and do it one day.
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby kw1980 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:34 pm

Excellent report! Some amazing pictures too. I think id prefer to leave this one for a good day, looks like an epic otherwise!
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby lomondwalkers » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:33 pm

That gully looks helluva steep!! :shock: My mate is off to do this at the end of the month. Jealous is too nice to describe how I feel, f***ing jealous :lol:
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby mgmt! » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:00 pm

nice report and pics ml, done an teallach a few weeks ago from shenevall going over the pinnicles with quite a heavy pack ( challenging ) bottled out of sitting on lord berkeleys seat. we met an old guy on bidein a ghlas thuill who swore by your descent route, we declined and went down via coire a ghlas thuill. good luck with your route finding next trip :lol:
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby JOHNGG » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:18 pm

Cracking report - shame you didn't get the weather for such a wonderful hill. I wandered past the foot of this hill en route to do the Deargs from Shenevall on a glorious day this year and the ridge looked amazing. Unfortunately the only time I did An Teallach I had miserable weather and decided against attempting the full ridge. Don't like the look of that gully - scary !!!

PS - Glenmore Lodge does a good map & compass reading courses - may be worth checking out ? :lol:
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby monty » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:09 am

Nice report Mountainlove. You should change your name to pathfinder or trailblazer :lol: Not sure thats a route I would have chosen but top effort. :D
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby Bonzo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:34 am

If you'd have carried on towards the lochain there's a faint path that leads up to the ridge between Gobhlach and Liath. It's steep but a lot easier than the route you chose.

P0000799.JPG
A slightly easier route?


Still, it probably made a nice change :)
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:50 am

@JOHNGG ...I guess I should -eventually...saying that...I can maybe write a book about alternative routes up
Munros at some point :-D
@mgmt! Cant believe someone actually likes that route!
@ Bonzo: Good to know for the next time!

All: Many thanks for your comment...the Youtube video is also available now (see above)
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Re: An Teallach – a new route up and down

Postby skuk007 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:38 pm

Another great report mountainlove, and some top class photos in there too. :)
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