An Epic... Camping out on the Remotest Munro of them all...
by andrewdoggett » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:06 pm
Route description: Fisherfield 6, from Shenavall
Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mor, Sgurr Ban
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlaidheimh
Date walked: 24/03/2012
Time taken: 14.1 hours
Distance: 43.1 km
Ascent: 3140m14 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
For a while now I've had plans for this walk, and I want to avoid Shenavall, my plan has always been to camp on the summit of A' Mhaighdean widely regarded as the remotest munro of them all... It looks like a plateau on top so I'm thinking a perfect campsite and the forecast is for 10-20 mph winds.. No problem...
There's a couple of things to tidy up before the off... I'm going to be doing this on my own so in preference to the Hilleberg Nallo 3 I've decided it's time to buy the one man Akto as I want to be as light as possible. A shout out to Graham in Tiso, Stirling who is off to the Warehouse to pick one up for me in red as they've only got one in green and I prefer the red, plus it reflects heat better... So whilst I'm busy flying up to Edinburgh he's busy sorting out my house for the weekend... Thank you!
Saturday morning; an alarm that pierces the night; but one where I'm excited and I set off on the 200 mile route from Bridge of Allan to Dundonnell... In not very long I'm there and ready for the off... I know this is going to be a big walk and there's a couple of spots of steepness that give me a little nervous trepidation, but of a good kind...
The walk in past An Teallach is stunning; and after everyone else peels off to climb that beauty I carry straight on toward Beinn a'Chlaidheimh and from here on I'll not see more than two souls all weekend... Perfect... iPod on, and I loose myself in thoughts, and various herds of deer whom I disturb...
You earn Beinn a'Chlaidheimh; you'll have climbed over 1200 metres by the time you stand aloft it's summit after an easy walk in, a river crossing, and then a pathless ascent over increasingly steep terrain to the summit ridge. But it's beautiful. I can feel the weight of the pack and I'm thinking this could be a hard day...
The views are a little hazier than I'd like but stunning nonetheless, not the type of weather to be complaining about in March that's for sure.
The hoof over to Sgur Ban is a decent one at 4 km or so and the terrain is pretty much like rubble; quartz like rock and difficult to get any kind of rhythm up so progress is slower than I'd like but not to worry. In a little over an hour I'm climbing the final slopes and arriving at the flat summit plateau... I can see A' Mhaighdean off to the West and it's looking like a good camp site.
In all directions there's nothing... Nothing man made that is, just miles upon miles of wilderness. No paths, just pure unspoiled remoteness... It's epic
A rare sign of a path indicates a steep ascent of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair but as it turns out it's nowhere near as steep as it looks and I'm not at all uncomfortable on the ascent despite the trepidation on the approach...
From there it's a long steep descent pretty much due South and I choose to bypass the lower top of Meall Garbh via a good path to the North West flank before ascending Beinn Tarsuinn... I'm at the top in a wee while though definitely feeling the weight of the pack now...
From there it's a short trip along an easy ridge before a steep but not uncomfortable descent to the boggy beallach. I take a tumble and bust one of my walking poles which irritates me a) because they're new and b) because they were taking some weight off the ankle which by now with the rough terrain I can feel a bit... Nevermind.
I'm also thirsty; there's no rivers to top up the water bottle on route and I didn't fancy the mountain lochans offerings. A quick check of the map and I can see rivers will permit some water take on in the beallach to follow. That'll sort me for dinner as there'll not be anything on the summit camp site!
The ascent up A' Mhaighdean is a slow one; my shoulders are killing now from the pack though the legs themselves are okay... Still, in not too long I'm there and it's only 18:00.. I enjoy the view for a while, before setting of to make camp slightly to the north on the plateau like lower top...
I find a good spot, the terrain is mossy, and in no time the Akto is pitched for the first time... Near the edge of a cliff... A check of the stats after I've pitched the tent and I see I've climbed over 2,500 metres today, so not surprising I'm feeling it a little bit with the roughness of the terrain thrown in for good measure...
Time for some dinner, I'll do another shout out for the Mountain House Spaghetti Bolognaise, it's my staple diet when camping on the hills... Trust me it's good after a long day, and with a touch of Applewood Cheese to add some flavour coupled with a small bottle of wine courtesy of my welcome gift at the Marriott Hotel I'm thinking life is good as I gaze out towards An Teallach...
Reception is good and I exchange some messages with my lovely lady telling her I'm well and sharing some pictures of the pitch, and then things start to get noisy... As a peg blows out and one corner of the tent collapses I ask hr to check the forecast for me, and typically we're now at 45 mph winds, typical I think... I'm not bothered about the tent, these Hilleberg's are awesome things, but I am worried about the pegs, so torch on I head off to the summit to grab a handful of boulders from the summit cairn to weight them down. A good decision I think, aside from the worry of will the tent be there when I get back - fortunately it is...
Despite the noise I sleep well and the Rab Alpine 600 Goose Down Bag keeps me toasty warm all night... I have no condensation issues in the tent widely reported in the reviews, though in this wind I'd have surprised to get any in any case...
So before I know it it's morning, and I'm greeted with a pretty but hazy sunrise... I pack up pretty much straight away with the only casualty being the Hilleberg Tent Bag which gets blown off to nowhere off the cliff... I decide not to dive on after it... Irritating, but could be worse!
The walk over to Ruadh Stac Mor is straightforward, as is the climb, only a light spot of scrambling required and nothing particularly unnerving... Is it a munro, yes no, we'll see, either way I'm now six summits in to the Fisherfield Six and to me it'll always be six... That's 100 left then, we're getting there!
Still it's a long walk out though, but a beautiful one that remains remote all the way back to An Teallach. There's a fabulous path that takes you back to Larachantivore before two river crossings and some very boggy terrain sees you arrive at Shenavall...
From there, it's a hop skip and a jump up the hill, and back down the path to the car... I'm pleased to see it; it's been a tiring trip but I'm there for midday and back in Bridge of Allan with a cold pint at the pub for 15:00...
Overall, some of the remotest scenery Scotland has to offer, and a stunning place to spend the weekend... The summit views from A' Mhaighdean are certainly not bad, though personally I think those from Sgurr na Ciche on the edge of Knoydart are better...
However you look at it, my wilderness fix is complete...
See y'all in Kintail this weekend... I'll have the Monters in tow; seems young Megan fancies a music competition with Monty, as Mum has just found out she plays the Violin!
Good weather and amazingly no snow in march on these remote munros. Looks like perfect weather. Not to windy, not to hot and tremendous views. Brings back memories. Superb
by tamw51 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:47 pm
by KeithS » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:51 pm
When I did the circuit I camped at Shenevall, no wonder you had a heavy pack, carting all your stuff round. That is impressive. I had a hard day doing the round with just a day pack. You will have earned your views from the top of A'Mhaidgean. I got no views from the top. I had another try when walking from near Dundonnell to Poolewe but got washed off in a storm and had to escape in the middle of the night. I had another go a couple of years ago and had a couple of fleeting views from the top when the clouds parted for a moment or two. I am having another go in a few weeks and am determined to keep on trying until I get a day with views like yours.
by PeteR » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:09 pm
by Collaciotach » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:51 pm
by mountainstar » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:10 pm
See you in kintail
by LeithySuburbs » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:13 pm
andrewdoggett wrote: seems young Megan fancies a music competition with Monty, as Mum has just found out she plays the Violin!
Assuming she's not tone deaf, she'll have no problem taking on Monty .
Great report Andrew - well written (i.e. not too long for me to read ) and nice pics. Looks like a grand trip .
by Bod » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:58 pm
See you soon
by Mountainlove » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:48 am
by iainwatson » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:46 am
see you tomorrow!
by Graeme D » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:47 am
by dooterbang » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:10 am
Ive still to do these and had thought of doing them in one day but your TR has me thinking a wild camp should be the way to enjoy this remote area.
Thanks for posting - this will be used for when i get around to doing them.
by SAVAGEALICE » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:23 pm
by ChrisW » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:29 pm