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Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:18 pm

Route description: Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Mam Sodhail

Date walked: 11/08/2012

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 27.1 km

Ascent: 1784m

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Summer has arrived eventually and so has my appetite for big multi-Munro walks. The one I've had in mind for a long time was the Glen Affric Trio (Carn Eige group). Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail were my first two Munros, climbed in 2008 in total clag - I didn't see a thing so naturally I promised myself, I'll come back one day to finish the business and hopefully enjoy the views as well.
This time I was a bit more adventurous and decided to add Sgurr na Lapaich and Beinn Fionnlaidh - after drawing the route on the map, GPS planner said 27 km :shock: Not that I was afraid of long distance walking, I've covered such lengths before, but the day was forecast to be hot... So carrying enough water was crucial and as we experienced later, almost life-saving.
Our route:

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


I packed a few more important items: sunglasses, hat, a bottle of +50 factor, deet to keep midges away and a box with homemade muffins. The morning was still cloudy when we left Beauly but the cloud was slowly burning off and when we arrived at the car park in Glen Affric, it looked promising:
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Getting ready for the big walk:
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We took a short detour to photograph the river from the bridge:
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As we walked on the track to Affric Lodge, I noticed the cloud was almost gone and the sky looked bright and blue... It smelled like a good, good day on the hills!
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The first time I climbed these hills, we used the well-trodden stalkers path up Coire Leachavie, but this time I insisted on ascending via Sgurr na Lapaich. The latter one is not a Munro and I always wondered why. It's distinctive enough (the first summit you see when you start Loch Affric circuit), definitely high enough (1036m) and separated from higher Mam Sodhail by a long ridge. I climbed a few much less obvious Munros in my career. One more mountain mystery :lol:
It may not be a Munro but I have to say Sgurr na Lapaich gave us some real painful workout - more than some M mountains!
The ascent begins by turning to a track (stalkers road) uphill, just before Affric Lodge. Very quickly, lovely views down to the loch opened up:
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The cloud was definitely burning off and as I hoped, it eventually disappeared:
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Sgurr na Lapaich still striking a moody pose :lol:
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We followed the track until it turned abruptly east. After a short distance, a small cairn marked a narrow path which we followed to the little "viewpoint" with another cairn. From our position, the high plateau between us and Sgurr na Lapaich looked easy enough:
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A happy smile at the moment... Didn't realize what was still waiting!
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OK, a short hydration break and we set off towards the mountain. Very quickly we found out that what looked like an easy grassy meadow was in reality covered in little lumps and bumps, hundreds of puddles and small streams. Lots of tuft jumping involved! Luckily the bog wasn't too annoying on a dry day, I couldn't imagine crossing that area in wet weather :?
Further along, the terrain became steeper and as we came closer to the impressive northern cliffs of Sgurr na Lapaich, I wondered how to find a good route up the slope?...
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We did manage to pick something that looked like a good way up, soon it turned out to be steep, slippery and full of boulders. Another very painful workout, and the sun wasn't joking either. We sweated all our water out, huffed and puffed, spat out a few swear words nad eventually, tired and with sore muscles, we reached the ridge some 100 m below the summit.
Huff-and-puff route:
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It was worth the effort though, views were superb:
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Tom a'Choinich across the glen:
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For the final climb to the top we picked up a narrow path - now it was easy going though still hot...
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Nearing the summit:
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Looking down to Loch Affric... Aaaah wish I could take a dive down, I thought :lol:
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Almost there:
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The north face of Sgurr na Lapaich is really impressive, almost vertical 200m cliffs...
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The summit cairn in sight:
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This mountain is such a fantastic spot, it should be a Munro!
Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige from the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich:
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My summit photo:
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Views east from the summit towards Loch Benaveen:
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The twins and the ridge between Mam Sodhail and Sgurr na Lapaich:
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We dropped our rucksacks by the cairn and sat down to our lunch. Hard to believe, it took us 3.5 hours of painful trodding to reach the first top of the day! I was a bit concerned whether we were actually capable of continuing all the way to Beinn Fionnlaidh... Kevin said, well, we will definitely continue to Mam Sodhail and then see how we feel about it.
The ridge from SnL to MS provided us with some nice, easy walkig and as I continued along the well worn path, my confidence was slowly coming back:
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I was so happy to be able to see the views properly, now I knew what I missed the first time!
Back to Sgurr na Lapaich:
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Loch Affric:
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Gleann nam Fiadh:
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Mam Sodhail (left) and Carn Eige:
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Loch Uaine:
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A movie in the making... "A Panther who walked up a few Munros" :lol: :lol:
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The ridge is full of interesting sharp rocks...
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Up to Mam Sodhail:
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Loch Uaine from above:
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Loch Mullardoch hills showing up from behind Sron Garbh:
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Sgurr na Lapaich and the adjoining ridge from Mam Sodhail:
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More rocks...
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The first glimpse north to Beinn Fionnlaidh - from this perspective it didn't look too far at all!
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The huge cairn gave us some welcome shadow...
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It was time for another refreshment break and a decision had to be taken - should we continue? I was all for it now, having quickly recovered from the exhausting pull up Sgurr na Lapaich, Kevin was in similar mood. Let's do it!
At the moment, we enjoyed the breathtaking panoramas from Mam Sodhail...
Mullach na Dheiragain and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan to the west:
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Carn Eige:
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Our final target:
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By the cairn:
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The air was a bit hazy, like it often happens in summertime, but we could just about see the Cuillin ridge:
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To the far north - the mountains of Torridon:
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The long ridge of Beinn Eighe:
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We scrambled up to the top of the cairn only to find that it's hollow inside:
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Me on the VERY top of Mam Sodhail :lol: :lol:
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We were a bit late so Kevin suggested we skipped the summit of Carn Eige on the way to Beinn Fionnlaidh. At the end of the day, we skipped it altogether to save time, but it didn't matter to us as we have both ticked it off before. I was more concerned about getting to the outlier which I haven't done yet.
Loch Uaine from the col between the twins:
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Mam Sodhail from the slopes of Carn Eige:
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We marched along the western side of Carn Eige, carefully picking our way across scree and boulders. Soon we were on the grassy col between CE and BF:
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Coire Lochan... So blue... Again, I wanted to strip and dive down :lol: :lol:
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The final push to the summit of Beinn Fionnlaidh follows an easy, grassy slope and views back to Carn Eige are splendid:
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Gleann a'Choilich:
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I was feeling fine now and fully embraced the experience... Wow, whatta day!
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I think that Beinn Fionnlaidh was rewarded Munro status mainly for the views... Looking down to Loch Mullardoch on a good day like we had, simply takes one's breath away:
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Mullardoch dam:
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Mullalrdoch Munros: An Socach (left), An Riabhachan (middle) and the other Sgurr na Lapaich (right):
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The very remote Munro conquered and another walk from my to-do list ticked! Time to celebrate with some water and a muffin!
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It would be a perfect spot to rest but for the midges... The didn't really bother us much earlier that day but on the top of Beinn Fionnlaidh there was a whole swarm of the wee beasts, so I got up and walked around the summit area, filming some views... just to stay on the move!
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Eventually, having sunk in enough panoramas in this fantastic, remote spot, we set off to return to Mam Sodhail. We had next to no water left and in such case it would be stupid to push all the way up to Carn Eige - Kevin lead the way this time and picked up a sketchy path crossing the western slope below both summits,straight to the col between Mam Sodhail and Ciste Dhubh.
Half way across we found a little fast-flowing stream. Water was nicely chilled and we quickly filled both our stomachs and spare bottles :D I know, I know, there may be bacteria and God knows what parasites in it... Come on... We didn't care :lol: :lol: :lol: I drank water straight from streams many times before and never had any problems.
Looking back to Carn Eige from the bypass path:
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The bypass path can be clearly seen here, right in the middle of the photo:
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We emerged on the ridge just below the summit of Mam Sodhail...
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...and quickly joined the path going down into Coire Leachavie. Views from this spot are just as good:
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Another fantastic adventure! I felt like meowing!
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The return route was now simple: down Coire Leachavie to the path circling Loch Affric and along this path, past Affric Lodge, back to the car. We managed to get back before nightfall and the return walk along the loch was a pleasant experience (though we were both tired). We hoped to rest a while on one of the benches by the car park, but we had to admit defeat due to another swarm of hungry midges. :lol: :lol: 27 km, almost 1800m of ascent, 10 hours :sick: :sick: and to my own astonishment, I still felt like I WANTED MORE!!! You stupid woman...
The weekend didn't end there, on the next day we rushed off to climb another hill! Not a Munro this time but something just as great! TR will follow soon. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby IreneM » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Absolutely fantastic photos BP - and a great read too!

It brought back many happy memories of Affric, thank you! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby foggieclimber » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:42 pm

Nice :D
Sgurr na Lapaich was one of the original Munros in Hugh's 1891 list.
That possibly makes it more of a "Munro" than many of the ones that are now on the list, that weren't originally.
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby jonny616 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Lovely photos of a great looking walk. Saturday certainly was a hot one. Please stop trying to have mountains promoted i'm having enough trouble with the current list :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:19 pm

I'd heard a rumour.... :wink:
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:50 pm

Paul Webster wrote:I'd heard a rumour.... :wink:



Can you please expand this wee rumour Mr Webster if you dont mind.

PS....Another cracking TR,BP,with lots of stunning pics.
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby soapy27 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:58 pm

Great report and awesome photos :clap: . looks like an epic day in the hills can't wait to get up there now
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby Bod » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:40 pm

Well BP, what can I say other than what a lovely report of a great walk. Got this in my sights too after walking the neighbouring two to the east last year. Love your 6th photo of Glen Affric and the one looking northeast from Beinn Fhionnlaidh showing very nicely the Mullardoch 4 :D :D :D

I know what you mean about the mysteries of the Munros :lol: :lol: :lol:
My goodness and there are rumours abound :roll: :lol:
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby lochlaggan » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:59 pm

Great wee read this report!
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:11 pm

Wow! What a fantastic report with photos to match :clap: .
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby malky_c » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:45 pm

The ridge from Sgurr na Lapaich to Mam Sodhail looks really good :D . Still haven't done it all as I did Sgurr na Lapaich on its own for some reason.

Lovely clear photos of the rest of the walk too. Makes me want to go up there now.
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby jmarkb » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:11 am

foggieclimber wrote:Sgurr na Lapaich was one of the original Munros in Hugh's 1891 list.
That possibly makes it more of a "Munro" than many of the ones that are now on the list, that weren't originally.


But it's demotion in the 1921 revision was most likely based on Munro's own recommendation (though we will probably never know for sure the reason why).
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:50 am

Many thanks, everybody, and I must say I'm not finished yet, still have Sunday's TR to post :lol: :lol:

Paul Webster wrote:I'd heard a rumour.... :wink:

Wow, it would be great if SnL was promoted back to being a Munro mountain rather than just a top... My statistics would rise by 1 :lol: :lol: How serious is this rumour?...
Munro or not Munro, this top is worth doing even as a separate walk, lovely views. Steep and tiring climb it is, but a rewarding one.

This is what Irvine Butterfield wrote about SnL in "The high mountains of Britain and Ireland":
"Munro originally classified this peak as a mountain, later revising its status to that of a top. Distanced as it is from the parent Mam Sodhail, with crags guarding the eastern edge of the ridge below its cairn, the peak certainly does not lack character and many were disappointed to find that its original status was not restored in 7th edition of Munro's tables."
I've got an older edition of Butterfield's guide (1986) but the status quo hasn't changed since. Maybe we should take a vote on this one... :wink:
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:20 pm

I wouldn't put too much weight on it - a weak and faint rumour - I was teasing a little. I have heard a few people saying it should be promoted in the next revision, doesn't mean it will be (or even that there will be another revision! :lol: I agree I think it would be a good one to bring back.
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Re: Why oh why is Sgurr na Lapaich not a Munro??? Not fair!

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Thanks BP for yet another of your wonderful and comprehensive reports backed by stunning photographs. Reading it made me immediately want to get up there!

I've done Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige but not the far one so will need to go back and this has really whetted my appetite! :D
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