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The Day I Met Monty
by bootsandpaddles » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:47 pm
Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor, Maoile Lunndaidh, Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich
Date walked: 25/07/2012
Time taken: 2 hours
Distance: 42 km
Ascent: 3000mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I wasn’t going to do a walk report for this trip (mainly because I left my camera in the car so there are no photos) but in honour of the momentous occasion mentioned above I thought I would add a few comments to Monty’s excellent report.
I enjoyed the walk in. Lots of people seem to make a big deal of having to walk a few K to reach the hills but I like the idea that some hills are a bit inaccessible. They are hidden away and you have to put a bit of effort in to get to them. If nothing else it keeps the numbers down – go to Ben Lomond on a sunny weekend and you’ll see what I mean!
Taking the tent and making a bit of an expedition of it adds to the adventure as well. I didn’t realise at the time that I had parked next to Monty (I think he was still asleep in his van!) but he soon overtook me and I managed to keep an eye on his yellow rucksack cover bobbing along in the distance most of the day. I had it at the back of my mind that you cross the river near the wire bridge. Nobody said there were two wire bridges did they? – or if they did I wasn’t listening. So over I paddle at the first wire bridge and then have to flog across the hillside through heather and bog to reach the main path up to the Bealach Bhearnais. This is when he lapped me. But I had the last laugh (see later).
The walk up to the bealach was fairly easy going and I soon had the tent up on an elevated bit of flat ground not too far from the path. Then off up the steep grassy slopes of Beinn Tharsuinn. The low cloud that had hung about earlier on had lifted and I was surprised to see a group of lovely white ponies in the distance. As I passed one came over but it wasn’t getting MY apple! I was soon at the summit of the Corbett. There is a little rocky step that leads down to the ridge that takes you towards the west top. From the ridge you can see the stone wall that leads towards the bottom of the north ridge of Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich. On the descent from Beinn Tharsuinn you can pick your route through the crags (if you can see them on the day that is!). In fact the path delivers you to the bottom of the obvious routes up. The scrambling is easy enough so don’t be put off by some of the descriptions you might read.
The ridge narrows towards the top and leads to a very small cairn – I would have expected something a bit bigger after all that effort. Time for lunch. Then I caught sight of that yellow rucksack cover away in the distance heading up the slopes of Lurg Mhor. There was very cold wind so I put on gloves even though it was nearly August. As I approached the summit of Lurg Mhor I met Monty (still unaware that it was the great man himself!). We discussed how we were going get back and decided on going across the Bealach an Sgoltaidh rather than going back over the other two peaks. It didn’t look that far – in fact I could almost see my tent from where we were standing! As I descended from Lurg Mhor I met another guy going up. We also had the “how are you getting back?” discussion and he opted for repeating the outward route because everything he had read suggested that it was the better option.
Nothing daunted I set off down what initially was a reasonable path. It rapidly petered out into rough boggy ground – was this such a good idea after all? But I had already lost quite a lot of height so on I went. It wasn’t actually that bad really. I kept a lookout for that yellow rucksack but there was no sign of it. I crossed beneath the crags on the southeast ridge of Beinn Tharsuinn and then contoured across its slopes with the bealach firmly in my sights. OK there were lots burns running down the hillside that had to be crossed but it wasn’t that bad. I had a short climb up to the bealach and my tent. I reckon I had saved about an hour over going back over the summits again. As I sat on a rock having a cup of tea and a sandwich Monty appeared over the ridge. “How did you get here so quick?” he shouted over. He had descended to the burn and had to climb about 350m back up to the bealach. He said he was knackered and then sprinted off down the track. Should have offered him a cup of tea!
The next day I woke up and couldn’t see a thing much beyond the tent door. “I expect it will have cleared by the time I’ve had breakfast” I told myself. And indeed it did for about 10 minutes. But there I was at the foot of Sgurr Choinnich so I thought I might as well carry on. Strangely it was quite enjoyable just concentrating on my immediate surroundings. The poor visibility made it a bit difficult to pick a way through the crags but the going was fairly easy if a bit on the steep side. The ridge levels out and narrows higher up and I guess the views would have been great.
After the cairn I carried on along the ridge before turning northeast and descending quite steeply to the bealach. There was a rocky climb up to the summit of Sgurr a Chaorachain where there are the remains of a trig point. From there I headed north for about 600m and I could just about make out the ridge of Sron na Frianich breaking off from the main ridge to the east. I was looking for the lochan that nestles between the two ridges and I could see it looming out of the mist below me. The cloud lifted while I sat eating a little something and I then followed the burn that leaves the lochan in an easterly direction. I could actually see the slopes of Fuar tholl Beag ahead so was able to put my compass back in my pocket for a bit.
It was quite hard going up the steep slopes which were rocky at the top but then I was on a plateau for a while but back in the clouds (compass out again!). Then after another little climb the cairn of Carn nam Fiaclan appeared out of the mist. Then on in the same direction for about 1km before turning northeast. It seemed a very long way to the large cairn at the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh. It was like being in the Cairngorms: walking across an enormous grassy plateau in the clouds with no features at all. By this stage I must admit I was getting a bit fed up with the clouds and taking bearings etc and I was rather glad to drop down towards the north and get a bit of visibility. I found the descent from Maoile Lunndaidh the most trying part of the two days. If there was a path I didn’t see it. There were boulder fields, heather, bog, tussocks etc etc that seemed to go for ever but eventually I reached the glen and crossed the river near the ruin.
Another bite to eat and then I walked out – needless to say the sun had come out by this time and all the hills were out of the clouds. I hadn’t seen anyone all day and didn’t see anyone on the walk out either.
After a Magnum at the post office in Strathcarron I made for home. It wasn’t until I looked at the walk reports today that I realised that I had not only met Monty but overtaken him!!!!
by Graeme D » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:11 pm
bootsandpaddles wrote:As I sat on a rock having a cup of tea and a sandwich Monty appeared over the ridge. “How did you get here so quick?” he shouted over. He had descended to the burn and had to climb about 350m back up to the bealach. He said he was knackered and then sprinted off down the track. Should have offered him a cup of tea!
Yep, that sounds like Monty!
by Stretch » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:29 pm
by icemandan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:50 pm
by bootsandpaddles » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:15 am
by jonnoh » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:51 am
- Munro compleatist
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by mrssanta » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:19 am