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Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift

Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:14 pm

Route description: Fuar Tholl

Corbetts included on this walk: Fuar Tholl

Date walked: 05/11/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14.7 km

Ascent: 963m

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Birthday mountaineering has already become out tradition. Even though I was unlucky to have been born in November. Last year we strolled up to Sgurr Mhic Bharraich and I had the best possible birthday gift: stunning views of Five Sisters covered in snow. Made me meow :D :D
Another 12 months have passed and the first wish on my birthday list was granted: mother Nature gave us a lovely weekend. From all the hills to-do and hills not-to-miss I picked one of my favourite places in Scotland: a mountain with a nose :lol: We actually tried to climb Fuar Tholl in early days this year, ended up on the summit of the neighbouring Munro, Sgorr Ruadh. On our second visit in this area we conquered another Munro, Maol Chean-dearg, but the Nosy Mountain kept bothering me... A bit like Suilven used to in the past, before I eventually tackled it: ha-ha-ha try me! Climb me! Can you do it? No, you can't!!!!
Of course I can, I thought to myself, and on a special day! Actually, my b'day is on Wednesday (that's tomorrow :D :D ) but now with Christmas rush already coming, no way Kevin could take a day off during the week, he's so busy that I hardly see much of him... So celebrations were moved to weekend.
Originally we intended a trip to Torrindon on Sunday but last-minute change of plans saw us driving north on Saturday morning. The usual and most popular approach to Fuar Tholl starts in Achnashellach, where cars can be left at the layby on the A890, just next to the road to the railway station. Parking space is limited though - half the layby is now occupied by a large pile of gravel (only temporarily, I hope).

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We walked to the station, crossed the railway line and continued up the track, turning left on the first crossing. Soon we emerged from the woods to be met by a familiar shape:
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Oooops, of all the mountains in Scotland that day, why oh why does this one have to be clouded????? Especially when other surrounding hills look so nice and clear:
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The track up the glen:
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To join the proper path up to Coire Lair, one has to find a branch turning west, it can be easily missed when you don't pay enough attention. A wooden signpost marks the way:
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After a short walk along the river Lair we left forest behind and started climbing the steeper section. First good views back south showed up:
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The nice shape of Creagan Dearg (429m) with the path below it (is the path there??? yes, it is! :lol: :lol: ):
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The path is good all the way up to Coire Lair, and in a short time the secrets of the hidden glen were revealed, like the long ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor:
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Fuar Tholl playing pick-a-boo with us: can you see me? Yes, we can! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Posing with rocky cliffs - can there be a better birthday gift than releasing the cat out on the hills?
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We stopped for a few minutes to observe small fluffs of cloud moving upwards along the steep outcrops of Fuar Tholl - a weird view, hard to catch in a still picture:
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Some more cloud hung over the summits but I had my fingers crossed for a bit of wind to disperse them - I expected an extraordinary adventure!
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This time we learned from our previous experience in Coire Lair and made sure we took the right path:
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Fuar Tholl still cloudy:
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But surprisingly, Beinn Liath Mhor was completely clear! That's not fair!!!!!!!!
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Crossing river Lair turned out to be a bit of a nuisance, we spent a few minutes wandering along the banks of the stream, looking for an appropriate place to get to the other side. We both managed to do it, but Kevin wasn't happy about his boots, he complained that they were so worn out he couldn't get any grip on wet stones. Guess it's time to replace them...
My knee felt OK at that point (I still wear knee support though, better safe than sorry) so I hurried up the path towards Fuar Tholl, eager to see THE NOSE. What I was leaving behind, was a magnificent pano of Beinn Liath Mhor and Coire Lair:
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Sgorr Ruadh - and this one is clear, too! Whatta bad luck!
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That's where Wellington's Nose should be... Well, at least that's what they say :lol:
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As I got closer to Coire Mainnrichean, something began to emerge from cloud... Like a ghost from the shadows... Booooooo :shock: :shock: Another weird, creepy feeling down my spine...
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Still hoping for some clear sky on the summit, we turned left off the path and climbed over a steeper section to a small plateau with a few small lochans. We were inside the thick, milky cloud and we couldn't see a thing. Suddenly, as we passed the lochans, a dark, steep wall materialized in front of us... the famous Creag Mainnrichean, aka Wellington's Nose. The ground was wet and in the mist it was really hard to say where the summit was - we stopped again for a while, studied the map carefully and then picked our way up the wall. In dry conditions it's probably fun scrambling but we didn't have that bonus.
Oddly enough, I found out I absolutely loved the experience, climbing in complete silence, seeing very little, hearing my heart beat like crazy! The adrenaline rush was great! I guess most people will consider us, mountain maniacs, insane, how can you have any pleasure from a scrambling struggle, risking a broken limb?
When I reached more even ground, I was surprised to see a glimpse of blue sky above me:
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Wind picked up and the big cloud hanging over Fuar Tholl started moving, revealing parts of the panorama to the north-west. Even a brocken spectre appeared for a short while... Unfortunately, Kevin was still half way up the wall and he had the better camera, so all I could do was to take some snapshots with my camcorder, therefore pics are not of the best quality...
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By the time Kevin caught up with me, the spectacle was gone and once more we were surrounded by thick mist...
Kev complained again about his boots and their lack of grip, so I promised him that on Sunday we'll visit Inverness and buy him a new pair. Wait a moment... It's my birthday and he's getting the gift???? Something is not right here! :lol: :lol:
Kevin and Mainreachan Buttress:
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We quickly reached the top of Mainreachan Buttress and found out we still could see zilch. The cloud looked quite persistent and all my hopes for summit views were now gone... Shame. Still, the cloudy-creepy experience felt absolutely fantastic and I quickly left Mainreachan Buttress to descend to a col and then to climb easily to the main summit, which has a shelter and a trig point. Or at least, the sad remains of what once was a trig point...
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As I was filming, a blue ghost emerged from the mist... No, it's just Kevin in his blue coat :lol: :lol:
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We waited on the summit for about 20 minutes, hoping in vain for some reward, but the cloud stayed put. So it was time to pose for a summit-shot...
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...gather our staff and go! We both agreed we didn't fancy going down the way we came, especially the slippery steep section, so we decided to descend the scree gully just to the left of the great Mainreachan Buttress. It turned out to be a good option and just as well we could have climbed up this way. As we were maybe 1/3 way down the slope, the nasty cloud lifted up a wee bit, just enough to give us the long awaited views of Torridon... Or some of Torridon, to be precise.
On the way down the scree gully, with Sgorr Ruadh in the background:
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The col between Fuar Tholl and Sgorr Ruadh:
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Beinn Liath Mhor:
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Mainreachan Buttress:
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Looking back up the scree gully:
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Whatta nose, whatta nose...
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Yep, it's definitely a good ascent option:
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The mist coming back:
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We crossed Coire Mainnrichean and joined the path heading down to Coire Lair. It was getting late but we deliberately slowed down, just to enjoy some of the views we missed higher up. Here are some pictures of the area as the sun was setting... Isn't Torridon an absolutely enchanting place?...
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Once down in Coire Lair, we had to cross the river again. As we stopped for the last time before leaving this amazing landscape, we noticed the cloud was gone completely from Fuar Tholl :evil: :evil: :evil: Well, just bad luck, as I'd said before, but one should take what nature gives without complaining. Besides, the sunset views were just as beautiful:
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The Moon, NOT a target for another trip:
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So... I had fantastic time out on the hills again, don't regret a single minute! And if I'm stubborn enough and conditions are good, I can have another b'day walk next weekend :lol: :lol: Meow!
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
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Re: Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift

Postby soulminer » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:39 pm

Now, now BP don't get greedy with the birthday walks- only one a year mind :lol:
Never walked this one, but leaves a lasting impression on the way past to BLM and SR. Maybe I'll do this on my birthday, or even ones more fitting to my age( a plan has been hatched) :)
Cheers.
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soulminer
 
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Re: Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:57 pm

Oh Oh so stunning BP, loved this. Your photographs are amazing :D

Looks like a fabbie day out :D :D

PS Happy Birthday X
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pollyh33
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Re: Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift

Postby magicdin » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:14 pm

Good report and nice photos
Pity you didn't get it totally clear at top
I'm sure if it had been this patch of scree would have caught your eye
CIMG0471.JPG
Looking down from Fuar Tholl
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magicdin
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Re: Nosy Fuar Tholl as my b'day gift

Postby Boulderdash » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:20 pm

Followed your route today and in the blazing sunshine and I can honestly say that I can`t remember the last time I enjoyed a hill so much! Next time though I will be going UP the scree as well as down. A hill that ticks all the boxes. :clap:
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Boulderdash
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