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Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor


Postby BlackPanther » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:38 pm

Route description: Cul Mor

Corbetts included on this walk: Cul Mor

Date walked: 31/03/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 11.5 km

Ascent: 816m

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According to a Norse legend, Assynt was once a practice ground for mountain-building gods. That's why most of the hills in this area look a bit... unfinished, or clumsy :lol: :lol: Well, if Norse gods exist (???), I should thank them for creating such a splendid, unusual landscape :lol: :lol:
Climbing Quinag the previous weekend was obviously not enough and with weather change coming we gave Assynt mountains another go :D This time it was Cul Mor, one of the highest hills in the area. Kevin has once climbed its lower neighbour, Cul Beg, and he guaranteed we'd have superb views, especially towards Suilven and Stac Pollaidh, only if conditions allow.
Forecast suggested some cloud hanging around the north-west side of Highlands but it turned out weather was much better than predicted and we enjoyed a great, great day!

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The route is easy, staying on a stalkers path most of the time. No real scrambling, just a few boulders to jump up :lol: Really, this walk is relatively easy and not too long, one doesn't have to be fitness fanatic to climb this hill.
Cul Mor from A835:
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The "smaller twin", Cul Beag:
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The most convenient place to leave cars is a layby on A835 just north of the Knockan Crag (there were only two cars there when we arrived, but if this one is full, one could park at the visitor centre car park, just a short distance away).
The Cul Mor walk begins:
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One of many lochs and lochans:
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The path headed due north for about a mile, and very quickly, we got the true taste of Assynt, weird shapes and blue lochs mirrors all around...
To the north east, Braebag and its higher neighbours, Assynt Munros (to the right) and Canisp (to the left):
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Close up to Conival and Ben More Assynt:
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Peeking out just in front of us, the notorious Suilven:
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As we continued climbing the side of Meallan Diomhain, the path became boggier,but we could now see our target hill in its full splendour:
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It didn't take us much time to walk past the muddy obstacles (nothing bad enough to scare me off the hill :lol: ) Higher up, the ground is more rocky:
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Soon we arrived at the summit of the lower shoulder, Meallan Diomhain. Here, we took our first break by a small cairn. Not that we really needed a break. I was just warming up! Yet the views were already superb and we knew we had plenty of time to enjoy the walk, so we decided to take it easy. It was worth to stop for a minute and simply look...
Suilven and Canisp:
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View east:
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Meowing in Assynt: Panther posing with Suilven...
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From Meallan Diomhain, there are two routes up to the summit, which in this photo is the peak to the right. One can climb steeply up along the stream and to the col between the two summits. Or alternatively, take the north-eastern, less steep shoulder of Cul Mor. We decided to take the latter route, leaving the first one as a descent option.
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Obviously, the straight-up push is not possible due to vertical rocks:
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Cul Beag:
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Canisp and more distant Quinag. The day was definitely less hazy than the previous weekend and pictures came out sharper:
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We walked up the north-eastern side of Cul Mor, past a little lochan, to suddenly encounter the big drops of the northern corrie, Coire Gorm. This is one of the most interesting features of this Corbett, well worth another short break - and there are plenty of rocks to pose on!
To start with, another picture of me + Suilven:
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OK, I'll be boring and paste in some more photies of this unusually shaped mountain, my former menace. Ha! I can hardly believe I once climbed it :lol: :lol:
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Posing on the edge of vertical drops has already become my habit (a guilty pleasure, maybe), so here I couldn't help myself:
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Eventually, after photographing and recording every rock from every angle, we continued our climb to the summit. It may look steep...
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... and at some point we encountered some boulders...
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...but the views are well worth it!!!
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The summit has a trig point surrounded by a stone wall. It's a great place to sit and sink in the landscape. First, we asked another walker to kindly take a picture of us and the menace:
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Kevin at the summit:
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Gazing past the summit area, I could now see Stac Pollaidh:
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The lower summit of Cul Mor, with Cul Beag and more distant Ben Mor Coigach behind:
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The vertical cliffs of Coire Gorm:
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That would be one difficult scramble :lol: :lol: :lol: :
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One more Suilven:
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Ohhh, whatta day, I thought. Just a perfect moment to sit down, have a cuppa and forget about all the worries! Kevin must have had similar thoughts cause he unpacked our tea flask and a box of cheese and pate sandwiches... then another one with Easter "baba" cake (Polish tradition for Easter, yummy...) and a third one, with apples and pears (remember about your five-a-day!). Dear Lord, I didn't even know he packed in so much stuff!
"Are you going to eat it all?" I asked.
"Most of it!" he laughed "Just as well grab some grub before it disappears! Some tea?"
Ha-ha-ha. We spent half an hour having a summit feast :lol: :lol: It was surprisingly pleasant on the top of Cul Mor, not much wind and the sun was shining...
Eventually, having chewed and digested, we prepared to continue our walk:
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The lower summit looked interesting so we decided to pay it a visit. It's a quick detour and again, well worth adding to the route.
Propping up the boulders:
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Big rocks and Stac Pollaidh:
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View back up to the summit:
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The less popular side of Stac Pollaidh:
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I had an everlasting impression that I was surrounded by water... water... water everywhere. Indeed, wherever you look, there is always a loch or two in sight, some of them quite big:
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The lower top, Creag nan Calman, is, I must admit, much more impressive than the very summit of Cul Mor, and this is because of the sheer drop on its western side:
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One may feel a bit overwhelmed:
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The summit cairn of Creag nan Calman is tiny and situated just at the edge of the cliff:
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It offers superb views south, to Cul Beag:
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..and just as good pano to the eastern side:
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The descent route along the ridge looked a wee bit dodgy...
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...but soon I discovered it was easy enough:
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In next to no time, hopping from rock to rock, I reached the bottom of the corrie:
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Facing the giants:
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We descended slowly along the stream down to Meallan Diomhain - it was quite slippery in places, with lots of water dripping down the slope. At last, we were on more even ground again. The day was still lovely and I couldn't resist taking another break just to look up...up...
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Finally, we walked down the eastern shoulder to find the stalkers path again. It was time to say goodbye to the weird world of Assynt, Suilven in particular:
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Knockan Crag cliffs:
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It took us 5 hours to do this walk but honestly, I didn't care in the slightest about time. It was my day to enjoy, another adventure in the land of Norse gods and their odd creations... Just didn't want to go home a t all!
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Now, I'm not sure which Assynt hill is next on the list. Cul Beag, possibly, and from more northern ones, Arkle and Foinaven. I wouldn't mind re-doing any of the Assynt mountains I've climbed already, though, it's one of my favourite areas of Scotland and we're lucky to live close enough to be able to visit it in one-day trips. That is, as long as we can actually afford to pay for the petrol :?
So Happy Easter to all Walkhighlanders and hopefully - many adventures on the hills during the spring break. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby Avocetboy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:01 pm

Hi BP, fantastic report, as usual!! We are up that way in 6 weeks time. How difficult a walk is this? The reason I ask is that I shall be with my wife and 5 year old. He has managed Stac Pollaidh. Do you think it would be possible to get to one of Cul Mors summits and, if so, which one?
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:08 pm

Avocetboy wrote:Hi BP, fantastic report, as usual!! We are up that way in 6 weeks time. How difficult a walk is this? The reason I ask is that I shall be with my wife and 5 year old. He has managed Stac Pollaidh. Do you think it would be possible to get to one of Cul Mors summits and, if so, which one?

Thanks, Avocetboy :D I think you should all be OK on Cul Mor - both summits. The only awkward place, especially for the young generation, is the boulder area just below the main summit - but it actually looks worse than it is and even there you can see a worn-off path most of the way. You could also go up the way we descended, less rocky but boggier.
Fingers crossed you'll get good weather - this hill is best when climbed on a clear day :D
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby NevJB » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:40 pm

BlackPanther wrote:That is, as long as we can actually afford to pay for the petrol :?


Thanks for a wonderful report - lovely pics.

Yes, fuel is now a serious consideration - £250 for a round trip for us + a few miles driving around!!!!!

Sadly, will not be making it this year. As ever, work has conspired to prevent Neill and I from our week in the Highlands :( :(

Hopefully, next year :D
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby mrssanta » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:07 pm

Brilliant. One day I would like to take a month to go to Assynt. Unlikely, but I can dream.
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby SusieThePensioner » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:51 pm

So pleased to read another Assynt report from you and thoroughly enjoyed it :D
Wonderful photos and I never tire of ones of Suilven :lol:

Hope you don't mind but, this is one of Cul Mor I took in September 2010
Cul Mor, September afternoon.jpg
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby dooterbang » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:51 am

Another fab report and fantastic photos.

Assynt is one wonderful area.

Yous guys have been very fortunate of late...well done.
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:12 pm

A real cracker of a report BP with spectacular photos, what a beautiful area. I never get tired of seeing your reports of this stunning landscape.... though I think your picnic may have been the highlight of the day even in this beautiful area....left me feeling hungry :lol:
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby David-Main » Wed May 02, 2012 5:22 pm

Great report BP, i was planing this hill sometime soon, can you tell me about the boulder field ? the reason i ask is i always take my dog and that boulders look daunting for my wee dog.
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby monty » Wed May 02, 2012 6:40 pm

Superb report BP. Great photos of superb looking hills. Need to get up there sometime. :D
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 02, 2012 8:00 pm

David-Main wrote:Great report BP, i was planing this hill sometime soon, can you tell me about the boulder field ? the reason i ask is i always take my dog and that boulders look daunting for my wee dog.


Hi, DavidMain :D This boulder field actually looks worse than it is. I managed to hop up from one rock to another quite quickly, so I imagine a dog should be able to do the same. There is a second ascent route though, the way we went down, and there's even a faint path to the col between the two tops of Cul Mor. This way will definitely be suitable even for a small doggie - it's wet but it omits the rocky side of the mountain. I drew a line in the picture for this route - I hope it helps:
col mor route.jpg

Have a nice day on Cul Mor :D
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby David-Main » Thu May 03, 2012 5:47 pm

Your an angel, i might hit this one on sat if the weather is ok, only 2 hours and a bit drive for me but like you say the fuel is getting so expensive and i have a gutsy 4x4.
Thanks again for the info. 8)
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby blueyed » Thu May 03, 2012 6:31 pm

absolutely 'wow' factor!
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu May 03, 2012 7:31 pm

Cracking stuff :D . Can't think of anywhere I'd rather be on a day like that :) .
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Re: Back to Assynt: Saturday picnic on Cul Mor

Postby Alastair S » Thu May 03, 2012 9:02 pm

Another cracker there BP :thumbup: I missed this one first time round so glad it got bumped up. Like MrsSanta I would love to spend a month (at least) up there.


SusieThePensioner wrote:Hope you don't mind but, this is one of Cul Mor I took in September 2010
Great capture :D
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