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fannaichs - jaws of the north

fannaichs - jaws of the north

Postby paul2610 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:20 pm

Route description: Sgùrr nan Clach Geala, near Braemore

Munros included on this walk: Meall a' Chrasgaidh, Sgùrr nan Clach Geala, Sgùrr nan Each

Date walked: 20/11/2011

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The Fannaichs, 13 miles, 1600m ascent – lord knows how often I’;d driven past these mountains on my way north or to An Teallach, always saying ‘one day’. Well that day had finally come and was’nt even planned, I only ended up doing this walk because of some O/T being dashed the night before. I had looked up routes into this huddle of mountains whose spiraling peaks hide a glen within their circle (like the cullians) but that route involved a 30km walk and a total ascent of over 2000m, a distance I was unlikely to cover in the 9 hours of daylight. see panoramic of cloouds over torridon and an teallach

So I made up this route starting/ending at NH162761 (OS 20, on the A832 between corrieshalloch gorge and parking for An teallach) a small lay following a track passed the dark loch (well would be in twilight of sunrise) of Loch a bhuaion through a very quiet pine wood following a route for awhile that is sign posted from the road to Loch Fannaichs over a sturdy bridge below the woods then head upto the outcrops of rocks of Laiti fhearnie. These outcrops are literally straight above you and the path takes you up around and amongst them. I had started up using some tracks left by quad bikes (obviously left over from the recent stalking) but I think that the real path should be joined right after the bridge to your left.

The walk upto tomain coinich (first peak along route) looks worse than it was on the ground, but I guess the views that opened up as I climbed towards An Teallach. (seen most of the day) were fantastic enough to take my mind off the trudge up as its dark mass looked fantastic around the swirling masses of dark cloud and clear sky that roamed above it all day.

As I walked wets from tomain, most views went out the window as cloud dropped, thin and swirling it might have been, but it cloaked most surrounding Munros in dense haze. This did allow for some snippets of views especially of the torridon hills but all I saw all day was their dark mass under the west coast storm clouds although they did get about 20 seconds of sunshine – probably a real treat to anybody that was on them that day, cause later in the day it looked like they were being pounded by heavy rain.

From tomain headed to sgurr breae which was the last top of this finger of hills from the main fannaichs circular peaks from where I descended down to a high pass which separated the two. Down a massive 500m which I had to climb up again to reach sgurr a chadha. There is no path upto this peak (or not that I found) so I just headed straight up for awhile until I’d reached the start of a small stream marked on the map then headed diagonally towards the peak. Despite walking over rough ground, it was quite easy as for some reason most of the slopes I walked along this route, there was no thick coverings of heather, just short grass and moss.

From this peak I was looking straight towards the sun (that was within cloud, never saw it physically all day) whose rays of light that broke through the cloud bathed the hills and mountains towards the south in a glase on spot lights. As mesmerizing as it was it did allude detail of the peaks in that direction as the dark cloud did else where.

From there turned north and went down and up, down and up to sgurr nan clach geala (the only other peak that was in the cloud until I’d walked down from it!) this in gealic translate as peak of the white stones and there are places along this route covered by white stone, the crystal type which from a distance looked like a lite covering of snow. On the map this part of the walk did not seem to exciting and being that the only vertical cliffs were on the hidden glen side, the ridge was fairly easy but these three peaks (including the one I was on) were like huge pyramid shaped points thrusting above and over into the hidden glen (which most of these peaks were around the glen looking like jagged teeth) and the views I got from all of them were fantastic of the torridon and an teallach whose masses were constantly in view. Apart from when I asended the 300m upto geala but this time on a well marked path, the best I encountered along the entire route.

The walk down from geala is again more interesting then what is shown on the maps down a sharp ^ shaped ridge past rugged outcrops, stones and boulders where you occasionally get great views into the hidden glen through deep steep corries. I could still see the sun rays plummeting onto the far hills in the south but also their was one lighting up a small part of this glen revealing sharp colours that looked great amidst the drab grays – added to by the river whose surface reflected the bright sky.

From below geala I walked onto a’ chrasgaidh, then made my way down its north slope to the river, crossing it by stepping stones near to where I found the waterfalls.

Despite the high winds I encountered during the day, which for some reason would blow like a tornado then disappear leaving eerie silence (which frizzled my hair up good and proper making it look like I’d put my finger in a plug hole) and the constant threat of the dark clouds to the west of me, it did not rain the entire day which is always a good thing. I even enjoyed the usual soaking of my feet thinking that it could be worse as it was on a walk I did the same time last year into the cairngorms in knee deep snow. Today it was +15 at 07.00 in the morning and even the bog was dryer then normal – sometimes climate change is a good thing.

Fannaichs.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: fannaichs - jaws of the north

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:36 pm

Enjoyed the report and the pictures...specially the one with the black and while waterfall. Need to keep these hills for the time when the days are longer as the views look great! :)
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Re: fannaichs - jaws of the north

Postby Bod » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:48 pm

Yep, know some of these spots well....nice report, enjoyed very much. I see you have a fine walking companion there.. :D
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Re: fannaichs - jaws of the north

Postby Huck Finn » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:23 pm

I have to agree with ML, the Black & White pic is cracking, the other pics really good as well. Enjoyed reading the report :)
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Re: fannaichs - jaws of the north

Postby paul2610 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:26 pm

cheers for the comments - the black and white photo was edited from raw format - I was surprised it actually came out looking clear and in focus as I used the branch of a rowen over hanging the river opposite the falls to get that extra height using my trusty bean bag to rest the camera on.
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