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North Cluanie Munros

North Cluanie Munros


Postby rockhopper » Tue May 21, 2013 7:45 am

Route description: A'Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch-choire

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Carn Ghluasaid, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 19/05/2013

Time taken: 10.6 hours

Distance: 31.4 km

Ascent: 2031m

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Munros: Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Sail Chaorainn, A' Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire
Date: Sunday 19 May 2013
Time taken: 10hrs 40mins (incl stops 2hrs – afternoon sunbathing, food, photos, bike footering, dawdling etc)
Distance: 31.4km (walk – 26.4km, bike 5km)
Ascent: 2,031m
Attendees: me

Original wild camping plan for this weekend was thwarted due to the weather forecast and snow coverage. Was looking like a weekend at home until, on Saturday afternoon, Sunday’s forecast was looking more promising particularly for the afternoon in the north west.

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So, up very early on Sunday, quick breakfast and drove up to Loch Cluanie. Parked in the lay-by north of the A87 at NH086121. Set off about 0715 and cycled back down the road – hard going against the strong wind. Stopped at NH131103 and locked the bike to a tree in amongst a group of trees to the south of the A87. Then headed NE up the open hillside until reaching the old military road.

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The map showed a track up past An Cruachan but couldn’t really find it so just kept going until I joined the main stalkers path up to Carn Ghluasaid.

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Not much to say about the journey to the fist three munros. The forecast was right – very low cloud and fog so I spent most of the time not being able to see more than a few metres ahead.

First up Carn Ghluasaid

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Then Sgurr nan Conbhairean

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Then Sail Chaorainn

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After leaving Sail Chaorainn, I thought I’d have a go at contouring round by Toll Easach and then up to Bealach Choire a’ Chait. This would avoid having to climb most of the way back up Sgurr nan Conbhairean. All was going fine until out of the fog loomed a large, steep snow patch around NH128146. I had all my winter gear but didn’t really fancy the steepness and the soft snow – also couldn’t see just how big it was. Opted instead to climb back up and rejoin the main track round Drochaid an Tuill Easaich.

When I got to the point where the track returns via Meall Breac, I was starting to think about giving up and going home on account of the weather and lack of views. Around this time though the weather brightened up a bit so I set off along the ridge in a north westerly direction.

Now you don’t see it

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Now you do

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Gorm Lochan

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Views appearing and disappearing in the cloud

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Pleasant enough walking, fair bit of snow round the top of the corrie but not much where I was walking. First sight of A' Chralaig.

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Then had to drop back down into the mist at Bealach Choire a’ Chait and saw where I would have rejoined if the short cut had worked.

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After the initial climb, this is the low point at just over 700m and is the benefit of covering the five munros in one trip. Then started the climb up to A' Chralaig with the weather improving all the time.

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Around the point where the track from the A87 joins, there was a steep snowy section – stopped for some food and to get the ice axe out for the first time. Snow was soft enough but there are steep drops to either side.

Unfortunately the top was shrouded in cloud. Impressive cairn.

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From here there’s a drop down before beginning the ridge.

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Met some walkers further on as the weather continued to improve.

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Looking back

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Cloud kept rolling in and away

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Looking back again

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Passed the point where the return path starts before heading up the approach ridge. No snow on the track but kept the ice axe out just in case.

Views looking up the ridge

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Used the bypass track which goes down to the right then up and over to the left. One steep bit where there were footprints in the snow but I opted instead to use the grass and rocks to the side.

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Got to the top which once again was in cloud – still a fair bit of snow up here.

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Then it was just a matter of retracing my steps back down to the ridge before dropping down westwards via Coire Odhar.

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Sloping snow patch on the descent meant that I could slide a wee bit. Clearer view to the north.

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Needless to say the weather cleared completely and I could see back up to the ridge and Mullach Fraoch-choire.

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Now a beautiful day, sun out, sky clearing, very hot. Stopped for a break and to repack my ice axe – filled up my camelbak in a burn.

Puddock

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Wet and boggy with all the snow melt until I got down to the main track. Lot of boggy sections on this as well which slowed up progress until reaching the start of the landrover track.

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Long walk out and met another walker who was heading up the way. Clearing weather in the afternoon and the resultant views more than made up for the morning in the cloud and clag – glad I trusted in the forecast.

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Back to the car, changed, had some coffee, took some more photos and then drove back home remembering to pick the bike up on the way.
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rockhopper
 
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby wjshaw2 » Tue May 21, 2013 9:07 am

I love the photo of the icebergs in the lochan.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby Fudgie » Tue May 21, 2013 9:32 am

Your usual short walk I see :wink: Some of your pictures are excellent, particularly the one's of the ridge snaking along in front of you.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue May 21, 2013 10:34 am

Another epic although you are slacking a bit, you could have came out over Am Bathach :o I need to start looking over my shoulder, you're catching me up :lol:
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby kevsbald » Tue May 21, 2013 11:45 am

You're like a patient python! Wait a few weeks and then boom, you grab that goat for slow digestion. :clap:
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby pigeon » Tue May 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Another stoater RH,heading up there next weekend so i'm really looking forward to it now after seeing your pics :wink:
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby andyroog » Tue May 21, 2013 7:17 pm

Just awesome report and great photos RH a big very well done from me the conditions
alone shows me up ha ha
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby PeteR » Tue May 21, 2013 8:04 pm

I'd just been thinking to myself earlier today that a return to Kintail was in order.......and then your report appears :-)

Shame about the lack of views early on, but some great views later on. One Hell of a trip too, picking off the five in one round.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby pollyh33 » Tue May 21, 2013 8:33 pm

Wonderful wonderful wonderful RH !!

Still have A'C and MFC to do. I was dreading them because of the leg burner at the start but looks well worth it for that ridge walk. Although maybe I'll wait until the rest of that snow has disappeared- more in the forecast for tomorrow!!!

PS love the mosaic ice puddle
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby basscadet » Tue May 21, 2013 8:53 pm

Oh that was a joy to read :)
Might do the same route myself, as these ones are the last kintail ones left for me.. I'm glad Dougie still has a couple more so I will have ample excuse for repeats.. love kintail :D
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby Collaciotach » Tue May 21, 2013 9:30 pm

Your a hardy cratur ,took me two rounds for these five ,but hey im no greedy :D

Mullach nan Fraoich Coire I did on ice n snow she is a cracker and good drops indeed !
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby simon-b » Tue May 21, 2013 10:48 pm

Excellent views well captured as ever, rockhopper. It's nice to see that the clag cleared later on. I don't blame you for not following those footprints across that steep snowfield.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby gammy leg walker » Wed May 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Another epic RH route right out the top drawer,next stop Mulardoch by any chance.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby quoman » Thu May 23, 2013 8:04 pm

A very good read RH and some quality pics i still have A'Charlaig and Mullach Fraoch-Choire to do i cant wait to get up there again magic place.
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Re: North Cluanie Munros

Postby rockhopper » Fri May 24, 2013 11:52 pm

thanks all - much appreciated :)

Johnny Corbett wrote: you could have come out over Am Bathach
:lol: I did think about it, honest.....for all of five seconds maybe :wink:

gammy leg walker wrote:next stop Mullardoch by any chance.
a bit of a sore point, gammy :lol: suggested it on the meet-ups page then got thwarted by the weather - shouldn't have tempted fate, I guess :shock: (need to get fitter anyway....) 8)
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