On a brutally hot day I set off from the car park at the W end of lovely Glen Banchor, to follow the footpath N between the E bank of the Allt a Chaorrain and a wooded area. Once past the woods the ground steepened and I had to be alert to find the tiny cairn which signalled the L turn leading to a small footbridge across the stream. From the bridge I followed a path of sorts N to a fence. From there the path petered out, so I headed off to traverse the contours NNW. The going was tough – the ground steepening further, with the tussock and heather still boggy - despite the dry spell. I pressed on, pausing frequently for breath and to gaze back across Drumochter, the Cairngorms, Laggan and beyond towards Rannoch Moor, Glencoe and Nevis.
Looking SE, I saw a bothy (not shown on 2007 1:25k map) so I headed NE, hoping to hit any path leading from it. I did hit a path - but it soon faded, so I took my position from my GPS and headed due N for about 1km, to spot the cairn almost as soon as I hit the summit ridge. I rested for longer than usual - because of the heat –to take on extra fluids and enjoy the views in the now hazy sunshine.
I then followed a path down the NE ridge. It soon faded and I wasted a few minutes looking for the best place to cross the steep sided slopes of the Allt Cuill na Caillich. The map suggested easier terrain and a gentler ascent to the W, but on the ground it seemed further off than indicated, so I opted to cross almost due N of the summit of A’C. A gruelling climb eventually got me to the broad flat top of Carn Sgulain, where there were 2 cairns. The larger, which I took to be the summit cairn, appeared to be the slightly lower - once I reached it - so I walked the 100m or so to the other. By this time another walker had arrived and he checked with his GPS but it was inconclusive.
We discussed the best return (as neither of us fancied going back the way we came) and he had a guidebook route which broadly matched my own thoughts. We differed in respect of whether to cross the Allt Cuill na Caillich. My preference was to avoid it by following the fence posts E beyond Am Bodach then head SW to rejoin the path back to the SP. In my tired state I opted for what I hoped was the easier option to descend SE from SG, cross the AC na C and head for the return path - as per my co-walker's guide.
We entered a steep pathless gorge of rocky cascades, risky enough on the dry day we had, but it would have been lethal if wet. Once we got past the dicey bits, my companion said he needed a while to recover. He reassured me he’d be OK, so I set off S across country in search of the path on the E bank of the Allt a Chaorainn. After about 2km slogging across boggy tussock I met the path and followed it a further 4km back to the SP.
Although these may not be classic Munros, I enjoyed the day – and whilst the heat made for hard going, I’d have complained more if was cloudy and there was no view!!
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