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Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag


Postby clivegrif » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:45 pm

Route description: Cul Mor

Corbetts included on this walk: Cul Beag, Cul Mor

Date walked: 26/05/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1550m

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


After a very comfortable night in the amazing seaside home of fellow Walkhighlander Keith Sayliss, it was up early to make a return foray into the wilds of Assynt. I was there at the same time last year and had to bail out early due to blizzards and hurricane force winds, a bit different this year! Even at 7am the mercury was already shooting up and the midges were diving for cover – it was going to be a scorcher.
The rollercoaster road from Ullapool takes you into another world. Assynt is such a wild and wonderful place and the mountains there are like nothing else I have seen. This time the targets were Cul Mor and Cul Beag, twins but with a big drop between them.
Armed with sunhat and daubed in factor 30, it was already well into the 20's C when I left the car in the layby just along from Knockan Crag. The way onto Cul Mor is by an excellent stalkers path that winds northwards for a way, but stick with it, it is the quickest and simplest way. At this stage the views are all backwards towards Ben More and Connival but thats not bad, its just the best is to come. The path leads you towards the central lump of Cul Mor's highest point, with a shallow coire of Cadha nan Each to the right and the subsidiary top of Creag nan Calman to the left. I would recommend heading to the right, and onto the sandstone rim of the shallow coire, as this opens up the views northwards to Suilven, Canisp and Quinaq.
Image
P5262004 by cliveg004, on Flickr
The gentle bimble that curves round to the south has the most stupendous views, just as well there isn't anything to fall off because I was walking along with my jaw on the floor not looking where I was going. The weird and wonderful landscape of Lewisian Gneiss, all lumps and lakes, with the sandstone and quartzite towers jutting straight up is just something else.
Image
P5262020 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P5261997 by cliveg004, on Flickr
The final pull up to the summit is straightforward at first but becomes a clamber over quartzite blocks nearer the top, all the while the views open up even more.
Image
P5262010 by cliveg004, on Flickr
From the top yet more strange shapes come into view, Stac Pollaidh to the west; Cul Beag and Ben Mor Coigach to the south, and then there is the sheer beauty of the islands floating in a deep blue sea.
Image
P5262030 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P5262046 by cliveg004, on Flickr
It is a gentle walk down to the col with the subsidiary top, and it may be tempting just to drop back east towards the path, but it is far better to take a quick detour upwards. Creag nan Calman is a tremendous view point as it tops sandstone cliffs that drop away to the basement floor below. The views across to Stac Pollaidh and Cul Beag are outstanding.
Image
P5262031 by cliveg004, on Flickr
However it was by now getting very hot indeed.
I was originally intending to 'nip' across from Cul Mor to Cul Beag, but for the life of me in my overheated state, I could not see how to get up Cul Beag as it looked like an impenetrable cliff from this angle. The way down from Cul Mor is to go down the valley at the eastern end of Creag nan Calman and then across the rough ground between the two mountains. I couldn't work it out so my befuddled head said return to the car and then drive round to do that short route up Cul Beag that is in the Corbetts book. Oh dear.....
The walk back to the car was again straightforward, retracing my steps along that stalkers path. No problems, and I even popped in to the the Knockan Crag visitor centre as I love a bit of geology particularly if it is as peculiar as the Moine Thrust.

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


Drive round to the base of Cul Beag on the single track road that also goes past Stac Pollaidh. The Corbetts book describes a short route up from Loch Lurgainn that starts near Linneraineach and comes back down even faster near Creag Dubh. That means the quickest way up and down is to use the Creag Dubh route right?? No, wrong, it isn't, don't do it.
I went for the 'shallow valley' of the Allt Ceann na Creage Duibhe, and very quickly found it was very steep with knee height grass and heather with no path at all. In other words VERY hard work, particularly in this heat. By the time I reached the col between the man part of the mountain and the minor top above Creag Dubh I was gasping and sweating buckets. Fortunately the gradient and the ground eased from this point, and the rest of the climb was much less painful. Cul Beag is quite a rough little mountain, but the views from the top are just as out of this world as you would expect from its position. Ben Mor Coigach to the south; Stac Pollaidh to the west; Cul Mor and Suilven to the north, all on a fine clear day. Just fantastic.
Image
P5262053 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P5262063 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P5262062 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P5262055 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Looking down from the summit, the path up from Linneraineach was plainly visible, and it clearly led to the west ridge of Cul Beag and then steeply up. It appeared that the route from Cul Mor also comes up this ridge and it just has to be a better way up than the one I had taken. Returning the same way I came up was much easier was going down, but it was still rough and steep.
Image
Stac Pollaidh 2_edited-2 by cliveg004, on Flickr
The day ended with a couple of very welcome bottles of Welsh miracle water Brain's SA, sitting in Keith's garden overlooking the sea watching the rays of the evening sun set An Teallach on fire. Fabulous!
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clivegrif
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby Avocetboy » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:06 pm

Green with envy. 3 weeks ago it was 7. Degrees and snowing. Fantastic pictures. Hope to do both these when I am back up there next year.
Avocetboy
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby dooterbang » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:40 am

My favourite area in Scotland (so far) and have visited many times, was up the week after you...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.436730366347218.97159.100000307757280&type=1&l=7a03df8cf6

Stunning to see these mountains under the backdrop of blue skies, wonderful.

I agree that Assynt is like another world. A better trip for you than last 2011. I was there in 2011 same time and remembering it raining non stop.

I'll prob be back in 2013 same time.

Cheers.
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dooterbang
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby clivegrif » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:09 pm

Avocetboy wrote:Green with envy. 3 weeks ago it was 7. Degrees and snowing. Fantastic pictures. Hope to do both these when I am back up there next year.


I'd been watching the weather forecast in those weeks before with that sinking feeling - oh its going to be like last year... Fortunately it changed its mind.

dooterbang wrote:My favourite area in Scotland (so far) and have visited many times, was up the week after you...

I agree that Assynt is like another world. A better trip for you than last 2011. I was there in 2011 same time and remembering it raining non stop.

I'll prob be back in 2013 same time.

Cheers.


I agree - the area from Torridon through to Assynt is the best there is (with the obvious exception of Skye).

You never know - I could be back there myself next year! Cheers
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clivegrif
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby KeithS » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:16 pm

Brilliant Clive, I see what you mean about putting the pictures on Flicker, they are absolutely stunning and really do capture the area well.

Glad you like the house, until next year eh :D :D :D

Keith

(I am working on the A'Mhaighdean report, honest - hope you've got some pictures for it)
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KeithS
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby clivegrif » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:42 pm

Keith Sayliss wrote:Brilliant Clive, I see what you mean about putting the pictures on Flicker, they are absolutely stunning and really do capture the area well.

Glad you like the house, until next year eh :D :D :D

Keith

(I am working on the A'Mhaighdean report, honest - hope you've got some pictures for it)


Cheers Keith - your turn to bring the weather?!?!
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clivegrif
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby KeithS » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:45 pm

I'll do my best, I might try to drag you up An Teallach again (half of), if you could cope with that!
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KeithS
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 2, Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby clivegrif » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:12 pm

Oh what again?? Must I?? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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clivegrif
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