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The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall


Postby dogplodder » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:05 pm

Route description: Beinn Dearg - the Four Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Cona' Mheall, Meall nan Ceapraichean

Date walked: 08/05/2010

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Moira and I had one Munro left to climb of the Beinn Dearg group. I first climbed Eididh nan Clach Geala in 1996 with David, Douglas, William and Mike during a family holiday, then again with Moira in 2009 on a day so windy we had to crawl to the summit. We climbed Meall nan Ceapraichean with Chris, Janice and Tim in 2007 and Beinn Dearg for Moira's 100th in 2008. But Cona' Mheall remained unconqered and we were keen to get back up there.

Cona' Mheall's southern cliffs from Beinn Dearg
Hillwalks 2008 175.jpg


Nancy was at that time the senior fitness coach at the Inverness Curves (circuit training for women) and had bravely agreed to come out on a hill walk with us. She'd done some serious hiking in her native California so we reckoned she'd be happy with the stalker's path up Gleann na Sguaib to tackle Cona' Mheall. We left the car at the now familiar parking spot near Inverlael Bridge and followed the private road through Inverlael Forest past the ruins at Glensguaib and on to the stalker's path heading up to the high bealach between Meall nan Ceapraichean and Beinn Dearg.

I didn't have my camera with me but Moira had hers. I've been trying to persuade her to write up the report of this walk but she's insisting that's my job so I'm doing this on Moira's behalf as they're all her photos. :wink:

View up the glen to the bealach
Hillwalks 2010 005.jpg


Nancy in her element
Hillwalks 2010 007.jpg


Meall nan Ceapraichean
Hillwalks 2010 009.jpg


Eididh nan Clach Geala
Hillwalks 2010 010.jpg


Whenever we took a break, fitness trainer Nancy reminded us of the importance of stretching muscles while they're still warm to avoid stiffness the next day!

Nancy and her stretches :D
Hillwalks 2010 012.jpg


The snow was melting but there were still pockets in gullies and snow fields to cross higher up.

Burn partially clogged with snow
Hillwalks 2010 018.jpg


Lovely Lochan Lathail
Hillwalks 2010 023.jpg


Crags of Coire Mathair Lathail
Hillwalks 2010 024.jpg


Nancy on rocky pavement of Bealach an Lochain Uaine
Hillwalks 2010 025.jpg


Fannichs behind Moira's head
DSC03344.JPG


Nancy had kept up a good pace but she now admitted her knee was playing up and becoming more painful the further we went. She didn't think she could go any further. :( I gave her Ibuprofen and an elasticated knee support and we discussed our options. Nancy didn't want to stop us climbing our hill and would have felt bad if we aborted it. The weather was fine, it was excellent visibility and there was a good path. So we made a plan. We would have lunch then Nancy would take the car keys, a map and a compass and start retracing her steps down the stalker's path as slowly as she needed to with lots of rests for the complaining knee while Moira and I nipped up Cona' Mheall as quickly as we could.

At Lochan Uaine shortly before we split up
Hillwalks 2010 026.jpg


Hillwalks 2010 027.jpg


Hillwalks 2010 028.jpg


Meall nan Ceapraichean from Bealach an Lochain Uaine
Hillwalks 2010 029.jpg


Cona' Mheall from Bealach an Lochain Uaine
Hillwalks 2010 031.jpg


From Bealach an Lochain Uaine there was a slight descent over snow to a lower bealach from where there was a great view down into Coire Ghranda.

Loch a' Coire Ghranda and distant Loch Glascarnoch
Hillwalks 2010 032.jpg


I had misgivings about leaving Nancy to start the descent on her own. Although not a novice she was a long way from the car and hadn't done this route before. So I was keen we bag our hill as quickly as possible and get down to rejoin her. The problem for Moira and me when it comes to speed on the hills is that I'm faster going up and she's faster going down so if we stick together the result is slow! :lol: Normally that's fine as speed is not an issue.

But today I was anxious so put it to Moira that we shouldn't stick together for the climb. I would go up as fast as I could and come down more slowly while she went up at her pace and made up time on the descent and we'd meet again at the bealach where we'd parted with Nancy. Moira wasn't ecstatic about the idea and asked what would happen if she broke an ankle (did she have a premonition about what was going to happen a couple of months later? :shock: ) to which I replied if she didn't reappear I would go back for her. It was just one of those dilemmas trying to do the best thing in the circumstances. :?

The snow was soft enough to manage without spikes but I remember carefully traversing a patch as there were rocks at the foot of the slope it would not be a good idea to slide into. Then it was a case of choosing a line up the scree slope, following the grass as far as possible. At the top of the ridge it was a left turn over boulders, giving the cornice a wide berth, and along the ridge to the rocky summit.

Looking south along summit ridge
Hillwalks 2010 034.jpg


Beinn Dearg from Cona' Mheall
Hillwalks 2010 035.jpg


Zoomed to famine wall
Hillwalks 2010 037.jpg


Zoomed north to Cul Mor and Suilven (I think)
Hillwalks 2010 036.jpg


For many years Cona' Mheall had the reputation of being one of the only Munros without a summit cairn but there is a small one there now.

Summit cairn and fin of Seana Bhraigh
Hillwalks 2010 038.jpg


Moira and I crossed paths briefly as I was walking back along the ridge then I made my way down to the bealach to a vantage point from where I could see her descending to join me. I reckon splitting up and going at our own speed saved us about 20 minutes.

Moira back at Lochain Uaine
Hillwalks 2010 040.jpg


Tess waiting for me to cross the burn
Hillwalks 2010 041.jpg


All the way down the path we kept our eyes peeled for Nancy who we imagined sitting somewhere in the sun with her leg up. :lol: But there was no sign of her. I wasn't going to relax until I'd set eyes on her so when we reached the track through the forest I jogged most of the way back to the car and arrived there just as Nancy was doing her stretches and taking her boots off. So it was perfect timing and she was none the worse for her adventure! :D
Last edited by dogplodder on Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

Postby dogplodder » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:32 pm

For contrast a few from the day we climbed Meall nan Ceapraichean in August 2007.

Beinn Dearg in cloud on the way up
hillwalks 2007 030.jpg


Lochan Lathail
hillwalks 2007 031.jpg


At the lochan we met a long line of walkers up from Edinburgh to climb Beinn Dearg and as sometimes happens on the hill I knew one of them. :wink:

Being a Saturday in August the top was busy
hillwalks 2007 032.jpg


Janice and Tim enjoying a cuppa
hillwalks 2007 035.jpg


Chris and me looking like it was chilly at the top
hillwalks 2007 036.jpg


Zoomed to Loch Broom and Ullapool
hillwalks 2007 033.jpg


East to Lochs Tuath and Prille
hillwalks 2007 034.jpg


Once again, thanks to gizmogirl for her camera work! :D
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Re: The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

Postby shredder » Fri May 17, 2013 1:02 pm

At least the gammy knee didn't stop you reaching your objective. :wink:

Some good photos here. :D
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Re: The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

Postby weaselmaster » Fri May 17, 2013 2:55 pm

Good pics - looked like a great day out.
Intending to be there in a fortnight so the descriptions are helpful :D
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Re: The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

Postby dogplodder » Mon May 20, 2013 11:36 am

shredder wrote:At least the gammy knee didn't stop you reaching your objective. :wink:



Nancy was determined it wouldn't - that girl's no lightweight! :wtf:
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Re: The day we all split up at foot of Cona' Mheall

Postby dogplodder » Fri May 31, 2013 1:24 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Good pics - looked like a great day out.
Intending to be there in a fortnight so the descriptions are helpful :D


Wondering if you've been yet or just about to? :wink:
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