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Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich


Postby dogplodder » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:05 am

Route description: Am Faochagach

Munros included on this walk: Am Faochagach

Date walked: 31/10/2011

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We were getting desperate. After bad weather aborting plans with kath098 several times already, the clocks changing wasn't going to help. The weekend was out but on Monday she didn't start work until 5.00 pm and we figured it's dark by 4.30 anyway so we could fit in a shortish one.

I've been thinking about Am Faochagaich for a while and had a sudden urge to do it. I'm like that with hills - they can be sitting there unconquered for ages and then suddenly I have to climb them! I figured with an early start we could be up and down this one and have Kath home in time for a shower before work. But incase of delay I suggested she bring her work stuff so I could take her straight there if need be. So I picked her up at 7.00 am and we were up at the Torrandhu bridge on the Ullapool road around 8.00 am.

Ready for off, reflected sun in the western sky
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Cloud sitting low on our hill
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Every time anyone has spoken about this hill they've mentioned the very wet walk in so I wasn't surprised by the waterlogged path. But constantly avoiding going knee deep in mud does slow you down. :o

Loch Glascarnoch and the waterlogged path
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Next obstacle after the boggy ground is the Abhainn a'Ghrabainn river. I've read so much about this river. Butterfield says it presents major problems in spate and should only be attempted in drought! :shock: WH reports varied from crossing waist deep to getting over dry shod so I wasn't sure what to expect. I decided to carry wellies in as far as the river then stash them for the return crossing and since it was likely the water would be above wellie level I'd take off my socks and don bin bags which I'd attach to my jacket with pegs. :roll:

The river not looking too bad
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I got myself all kitted up but couldn't find the pegs to stop the bin bags falling round my ankles (found them later) so they were jettisoned. The exposed rocks on the way to the island were lethally slippy making me a bit nervous about the submerged rocks so I went over very carefully thankful I wasn't doing it bare foot. The current was quite strong so I was glad of the poles for balance. In places the water level was mid thigh :o and I wondered how much deeper it would go! Once across I got dried off and left the wellies beside a green mound of moss that would be easy to spot on our return. My Paramo trousers were great as opening the side zips meant they dried off very quickly.

Kath had seen how deep it was where I crossed so tried a place where there were protruding rocks.

Kath crossing on rocks
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But there was a strong current between the rock she was perched on and the bank so she turned back and found another place to wade across.

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By the time we were both across and dried off it was one hour after we had left the car!

Loch a Gharbhrain
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We followed the muddy path up the east side of the Allt na h-Uidhe.

Waterfall on Allt na h-Uidhe
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As we climbed views were opening up to the west
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An Teallach
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We kept to the path as it climbed more steeply to the bealach where there was a small cairn. At this point we headed north along the ridge on grassy ground with stones. Ahead of us was thick cloud so we couldn't see Beinn Dearg, apart from occasional glimpses. The wind was strong and looking back the cloud appeared to be chasing us fast along the ridge.

Cloud blowing in fast from south
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Occasionally the clag cleared to give us views. At one point it suddenly cleared and we could see a flock of ptarmigan standing perfectly camoflaged among grey and white rocks but before I got the camera out they spotted the dogs and took to the air.

The dogs checking the ground where the ptarmigan had been
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Sunlit AnTeallach
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The ridge rose up to a broad dome then there was a gentle descent before climbing again.

A break in the cloud
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We followed a path that didn't go straight up Am Faochagaich but traversed a bit round to the north. The flat summit was in cloud and we couldn't immediately see the cairn. Then we saw two, so headed for the larger one.

Kath at summit cairn
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Disappointingly we couldn't see Beinn Dearg and Cona Meall, although they were so close, so there was little point in going further. The wind was so strong we decided not to linger at the top but head for lower ground to find some shelter.

Woman on a mission to get out of the wind
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After reaching the summit I think we both relaxed about direction and inadvertently walked off on a more easterly bearing than we should. We hadn't seen anything on the way up so it didn't immediately register that we shouldn't be seeing what we were now seeing!

View north
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I haven't yet identified which hills these are
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It was when we arrived at a well constructed cairn we realised we shouldn't be there. We were on the south easterly ridge that led to Meall Gorm. So we returned to the col, found some shelter and had lunch.

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Jack enjoying his carrot
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What we should have done after lunch was climb back up to join the path heading along the south ridge but instead we headed west along the side of a burn thinking we could get round the hill to the col leading to the correct ridge. It wasn't the best idea as it was hard work over rough ground and we ended up climbing a very steep grassy slope to avoid crags so we could reach the col from a higher level. :? At this point the wind was very strong and we were both feeling scunnered with ourselves that after getting to the top so easily we'd got it wrong coming down. :( The detour had cost us a lot of extra time and it now looked like Kath would be late for work.

Once we were back on the right ridge all was fine except for the thought of that river crossing. It was now raining so would the water levels have risen much? :? Another concern was one of my new Leki poles refusing to lock at its joints so being no use. I wondered how I'd manage the river with just the one pole and reckoned a broomstick would be more useful to get this old biddy over the water and back to the car so Kath wouldn't be late for her work!

When we reached the river Kath (who had already had a couple of falls in mud and gone thigh deep in bog :o) walked into the water without further ado and was soon across. She then flung one of her poles back to me and having donned the wellies I gingerly followed the line she had taken. I then kept on the wellies swishing full of water for the last 20 minutes through the bogfest back to the car.

I probably hadn't drunk enough and was low on salt as I know that can cause cramp. While pulling the wellies off I got cramp and was stamping around the parking area in agony. Then while driving and at traffic lights with foot on clutch the cramp returned in that leg and I drove through the lights yelling until I could put enough pressure on the foot to stop it! :lol:

Kath was a bit late for work and only after dealing with several people did she notice her nails were black and broken - perfect for a hallowe'en witch! :lol:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby ChrisW » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:46 am

Epic stuff dogplodder, a great and memorable excursion with a little bit of everything thrown in, lovely photos to capture the event and some great tales to tell as a result :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby skuk007 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:38 pm

Nice report dogplodder - I have made a mental note to do this on a bright summers day, don't fancy the wet trip in/out much. :)
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:26 pm

ChrisW wrote:Epic stuff dogplodder, a great and memorable excursion with a little bit of everything thrown in, lovely photos to capture the event and some great tales to tell as a result :D


Thanks Chris. You're right, it's the things that don't go quite to plan that make the best stories! :D They say we learn from our mistakes but I reckon I'm just as likely to go and do something equally daft again! :lol:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:32 pm

skuk007 wrote:Nice report dogplodder - I have made a mental note to do this on a bright summers day, don't fancy the wet trip in/out much. :)


I fully intended doing this hill on a summer's day after a long dry spell but this year there wasn't one (apart from April) and then because it's one to do on its own it seemed a bit of a waste to do it on a day with long daylight. But now having done it I would repeat that advice - wait for a long dry spell. :D :lol: Or go in a wet suit.
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby kath098 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:19 pm

Love your report! Despite everything it was a great day out. Thanks, Dogplodder. :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:45 pm

I was beginning to think you'd left the doggies at home for this walk, then they eventually appeared. I bet they enjoyed this one with all the water that was involved :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:07 pm

Fantastic report DP!!!

You must have the fittest friends (and dogs!!) ever!!

A zillion apologies, I think Ive been calling you Kathleen in error!! :lol:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:35 pm

kath098 wrote:Love your report! Despite everything it was a great day out. Thanks, Dogplodder. :D


Despite the hairy moments I'm so chuffed we did it! :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:41 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:I was beginning to think you'd left the doggies at home for this walk, then they eventually appeared. I bet they enjoyed this one with all the water that was involved :D


Oh yes, they always come when it's me driving. They're so intuitive - at the end when wading the river they stayed close as if they knew I wasn't too confident. And you're right, water's no problem to them - both strong swimmers. :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:53 pm

pollyh33 wrote:
You must have the fittest friends (and dogs!!) ever!!

A zillion apologies, I think Ive been calling you Kathleen in error!! :lol:


Kath098 is certainly fit - cycles to work every day - and she was in the lead most of the day. I'm not sure I'm all that fit and being no spring chicken I can't achieve the speeds the guys on here do. :? But I'm not for giving up and like to get there in the end - have been described by one less flattering friend as a stubborn old goat! :lol:

Polly have I met you somewhere in a former life? Because you're spot on - I am a Kathleen - though I don't think I've ever declared as much on here! How strange. :think:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:34 am

dogplodder wrote:
pollyh33 wrote:
You must have the fittest friends (and dogs!!) ever!!

A zillion apologies, I think Ive been calling you Kathleen in error!! :lol:


Kath098 is certainly fit - cycles to work every day - and she was in the lead most of the day. I'm not sure I'm all that fit and being no spring chicken I can't achieve the speeds the guys on here do. :? But I'm not for giving up and like to get there in the end - have been described by one less flattering friend as a stubborn old goat! :lol:

Polly have I met you somewhere in a former life? Because you're spot on - I am a Kathleen - though I don't think I've ever declared as much on here! How strange. :think:


I have no idea how I know your name, you do look really like a girl who was in the senior year when I went to secondary school and her name was Kathleen. I don't suppose you went to a girls' school in Bothwell???

Maybe when I figure than one out, I'll be able to remember where I've put half of my belongings, latest victim is my iPod!!
Had it this morning, no idea where it is now!!!! :lol:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:31 pm

pollyh33 wrote:I have no idea how I know your name, you do look really like a girl who was in the senior year when I went to secondary school and her name was Kathleen. I don't suppose you went to a girls' school in Bothwell???

Maybe when I figure than one out, I'll be able to remember where I've put half of my belongings, latest victim is my iPod!!
Had it this morning, no idea where it is now!!!! :lol:


Nope, I went to a girls' school in Yorkshire. Polly it's very sweet of you to think we might have been at secondary together but when I left school in 1966 you wouldn't even have started primary!! :lol:

How's it going with the ipod? :D
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:58 pm

dogplodder wrote:
pollyh33 wrote:I have no idea how I know your name, you do look really like a girl who was in the senior year when I went to secondary school and her name was Kathleen. I don't suppose you went to a girls' school in Bothwell???

Maybe when I figure than one out, I'll be able to remember where I've put half of my belongings, latest victim is my iPod!!
Had it this morning, no idea where it is now!!!! :lol:


Nope, I went to a girls' school in Yorkshire. Polly it's very sweet of you to think we might have been at secondary together but when I left school in 1966 you wouldn't even have started primary!! :lol:

How's it going with the ipod? :D


Yippee, found it! Pocket of my housecoat! Just got about another 50 things to locate now!!! :lol:
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Re: Bin bags, wellies, broomsticks on Am Faochagaich

Postby dogplodder » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:58 pm

Glad you located iPod! :D
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