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Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expect??

Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expect??


Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:36 am

Route description: Beinn Dearg - the Four Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean

Date walked: 08/09/2011

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 26 km

Ascent: 1591m

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I set off early on Wednesday 7th September for an overnight stay at the Inchbae lodge hotel, just beyond the village of Garve, in the highlands on the A835. I was hoping to arrive early enough to give me time to relax and unwind from the long drive, pooter about on my laptop and such stuff. The lodge was easily found, just off the main road, and I checked in and unpacked my gear. The first shocking news was that they had no wifi access..."but my blog" I stammered, barely believing this revelation!! The second blow came with the discovery (or lack there of) that there is a rubbish phone reception in the area...how can this be in this day and age!! There was a television in the room (which upon investigation appeared to only have three (3) channels) so as long as I didn't mind watching some crappy game show on ITV then I was sorted!! Thank goodness I had the foresight to take a book with me...pity I hadn't taken a film to watch!! The room itself was old and stale, the bed made me itch as soon as I climbed in it; but at least the shower was working and was warm. An early night ensued as there was nothing else to do!! Up early the following morning I was disappointed in the breakfast on offer, but ate it anyway thinking that as I had already payed for it I deserved it. The final nail in the coffin for the Inchbae came when I checked out and was informed that breakfast was not part of the deal and they charged me 7 quid for a tasteless sausage and some imitation scrambled egg...never again!!
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The car park at Inchlael


I grumbled away to myself all along the A835 until I reached my destination, a walkers car park on the right hand side of the road just beyond Inverlael bridge. The drive was actually more pleasant than I had been expecting, long straight stretches of road rather than the usual tight bending corners that these roads provide. The views, or what I could see through the mist and rain, looked plentiful along the way; lots of other Munro's to attempt up here...especially the two up by Dundonnell (An Teallach) on the A832.
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Signs on the way up...just in case you didnt know


The walk from the car park follows a well constructed path past a waterworks, through a couple of cattle gates, up through the old forest plantation until a gate is reached on the edge of the forest leading out into open hillside.
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From here I followed the stalkers path (how apt) along the side of the river Lael up the Gleann na Squaib. Follow this for approximately another 1.5k until the path forks off to the left. This is the path that will take you back down at the end of the traverse of the four Munro circuit.
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Waterfall


Stop to admire the Eis Fionn waterfall on your right as it cascades down through the gorge. Carry on taking the path ahead as it climbs then descends closer to the river Lael on your right. Unfortunately (and this is unavoidable) the river has to be crossed a total of three times on route to the bealach ahead. The current was fast and strong for such a shallow river but lots of deepish pools to fall in if you slip on the slimy rocks beneath the surface (normally you would find some rocks to hop across without getting wet but if there were any then I didn't find them!!). The crossing was not aided by the incessant rain that was falling on me at this time, which in turn brought enough of a chill to me that I adourned a fleece for the first time this year under my jacket. All happed up warm I continued on my merry way...dodging through large puddles and small lochans...across slippy boulders and some scree...all the way up to the lochan Lathail (which would have been idyllic but for the weather).
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Lochan Lathail and the coire wall


The cliffs of Coire Mathair Lathail are an impressive backdrop to this spot and the fear that I would have to find a route up through them struck me as concerning in these conditions...but fear not for long as there is a bealach just up from here...the bealach an Lochain Uaine...which has access routes to all three Munro's branching off in different directions ahead.
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The 3 Munro bealach


There is a stone wall leading up to Beinn Dearg, follow it as far as you can, staying on the right hand side of it, until it levels out higher up and a gap appears where the 'path' crosses it.
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The wall leading up Beinn Dearg


Go through this gap in the wall and follow the rough path to the left all the way across rough scree to the summit plateau where you will find a large cairn at its highest point. The summit cairn of Beinn Dearg is the highest of the day 1084m and by far the most impressive.
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Jelly McBaby on the summit cairn of Beinn Dearg


The only down side of today was the weather and the lack of views across to An Teallach from this summit...oh well I will get plenty opportunity when I climb some of the other Munro's around here I'm sure.
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Me...on Beinn Dearg


Jelly McBaby pics taken I set off back to the wall and down to the bealach again. Once down at the bealach I headed off to my right at the foot of the wall and out towards Cona' Meall.
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Cona Meall


This involved a wet trudge across boggy ground until the Munro starts to rise out of the mist, up grassy slopes until you reach a small boulder field, then up through some more grass then more boulders until you reach the summit top. It is said that this used to be one of the few Munro's without a cairn on top, but this has been rectified of late and there now sits a small but acceptable form on its narrow steep sided summit at 980m.
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Coire Ghranda


The views are meant to be fine across to the Coire Ghranda and its Loch and also back towards the cliffs of Beinn Dearg...but not today unfortunately (I guess I will just have to come back and do it all again in my second round in better weather).
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Jelly McBaby on Cona Meall


Pics taken I departed the summit to follow my path back to the bealach again, for the third and final time today. Once back at the wall I set off across the bealach, avoiding the lochans in the mist, and found the path leading to Meall nan Ceapraichean. This is an easy climb up through some loose rocks and grassy slopes, though not good in the wet, keeping close to the corrie edge until you come across some larger rocks to slip and slide across. Follow these until the summit cairn comes into view through the mist. The summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean lies at 977m and has a steep slope on the left leading into the corrie below.
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Jelly McBaby on Meall nan Ceapraichean


The temperature appeared to be dropping each time I stopped for any length of time so I didn't loiter at the summit for longer than it took to snap Jelly McBaby at the cairn. Head off the summit following the line of the corrie rim, or in poor visibility take a rounded bearing to your right and drop down gradually to Ceann Garbh. There is a lochan strewn bealach to the north-east which must be reached via a sharp descent down boulders and grassy slopes, taking care to avoid the bands of crags that lie in wait for the unsuspecting. The going was exceptionally wet here and the mist got thicker, making for an uncomfortable traipse through terrain that was loose and slippy going downhill and then treacherous when the bealach is reached as the potholes are many and not always noticeable until you are in one. There were times that, were it not for the GPS telling me I was on the right path, I was severely doubting myself as having dropped too low for comfort, not helped by the crags now being above and around me and adding to a feeling of being hemmed in on all sides as the mist thickened further. It is rather disorientating to not know if you are heading in the right direction and to start doubting yourself and your GPS...but eventually I started to rise again up grassy slopes and felt happier when the mist started to dissipate. By the time I was halfway up the slopes to Eididh nan Clach Geala the mist had started to clear off the surrounding slopes and I felt more at ease with myself again, now for the first time today seeing some of the lochans and slopes around me clearly. There is a large cairn on top of Eididh nan Clach Geala but it is not the summit cairn...strangely enough...this is a little further along down a dip then back up through some rocks and on the edge of some boulders. It is a lot less impressive than the other cairn and I was tempted to return to the previous cairn to get a better pic.
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Jelly McBaby on summit of Eididh nan clach Geala


I decided against this and settled for the poorer looking cairn as it was after all the true summit at 927m. Descend off the west ridge until a small lochan is in sight, turning left at the edge of this and carefully picking a route down grassy slopes until the path below is in sight, head towards this and join it turning right. Hopefully, if the weather is clear, you should be able to see Lochan a' Chnapaich on your left before you join the path back down to Gleann na Sguaib and the Eas Fionn waterfall.
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Lochan a' Chnapaich


From here you rejoin the access path and head back to the car. Unfortunately the weather cleared too late and low for me to get pics of anything other than the Munro's I had just climbed...except Beinn Dearg...the mist just refused to budge off her.
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Almost back at the car


I was back at the car in a respectable 7hrs 30mins...the suggested time being 9-12 hrs...soaked through with sweat, though my jacket did its job perfectly. Once back at the car park I met a couple that had been walking on Seana Braigh, so had a brief chat with them about their day. When they had departed and I thought the car park was clear of inhabitants I got stripped off at the side of the car...and succumbed to the temptation to relieve myself in the way that men do outdoors...and failed to spot a couple in an old fiesta ogling me as I did so...they certainly have a tale to tell when they get home...

Besides from the rubbish weather and poor accommodation I had a wonderful time away and gained another four Munro's to add to the tally (136 now)...until next time friends...the only way is up.....
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby SusieThePensioner » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:25 pm

jstalker66621 wrote:Jelly McBaby pics taken


Is it the same Jelly McBaby in each photo? :D I love Jelly Babies and they certainly wouldn't survive reaching the top with me :lol:

Enjoyed your report.
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SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1542
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Location: County Durham

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby jstalker66621 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:49 pm

Its a different one each time...but I use the same colour (mostly) to give the impression of being only one true Jelly McBaby :D
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby ChrisW » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:57 pm

Brilliant J, great effort and great report. Love the jelly baby....damn I want some of those now :lol: good pics too for a miserable weather day :D
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ChrisW
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Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:16 pm

Excellent!!!

So well detailed!!! Thanks for doing this, it's so helpful for newbies like me :D


Jelly McBaby is a cool dude! Is he a bit hit with the ladies??? :lol:
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pollyh33
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Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby SusieThePensioner » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:21 pm

jstalker66621 wrote:Its a different one each time...but I use the same colour (mostly) to give the impression of being only one true Jelly McBaby


If you've got any of the other colours left over I don't mind receiving a parcel of jelly mcbabies in the post. I'm sure they'll be quite happy coming south of the border :lol:
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SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1542
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:108
Wainwrights:156   
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby jstalker66621 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:05 am

pollyh33 wrote:Excellent!!!

So well detailed!!! Thanks for doing this, it's so helpful for newbies like me :D


Jelly McBaby is a cool dude! Is he a bit hit with the ladies??? :lol:



Well there is no Mrs Jelly McBaby...he is a free spirit and it is a time consuming quest bagging Munro's when you are so small...essentially I think he is quite a tease...all sugar and sweetness when you meet him :)
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby jstalker66621 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:07 am

Susie...like me he is a bit of a home boy and wants to get the Munro's done before contemplating crossing the border, or heading overseas, before he reaches his expiry date... :)
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Wet wet wet, well its Scotland, what else would you expe

Postby monty » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:03 pm

Great report jstalker66621. Thanks for the info on the hotel. I was iching just reading it. Shame about the weather too. And as for stripping of in the car park :lol: :lol: .Interesting report on a range of hills that are not often visited/reported on. :D
monty
 

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