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The Monadhiliath Munros

The Monadhiliath Munros

Postby seamus0 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:27 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Càrn Dearg (Monadhliath), Càrn Sgulain

Date walked: 28/03/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 26 km

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This route was an excellent walk to do in the winter. Although the distance was long for a winter day there was plenty of time to complete the 3 Munro circuit and once the first climb was made, there was not much more climbing to do for the rest of the day….and easy 3 Munros !
Start of walk

We started at the carpark on the hill behind Newtonmore (691998) at 8am and followed the wee path heading north behind the hillock. This climbed slowly for around 2km following the Allt a' Chaorainn.
Walking up Glen towards bothy

The track was a bit of a midden with all the melting snow. I think there was some mention of a footbridge in some of the guides. We couldn't find it, but crossed the river easily jumping boulders when we saw the wee bothy on the other side at 688022.
Crossing the stream

We reached the bothy in about 1hr and was in descent condition. I guess you could sleep in here if required.
The wee bothy

From here we headed NW climbing steadily but easily up the slopes of the first Munro A' Chailleach. We saw plenty of wildlife on our ascent, white hares, and ptarmigans were a common feature.
A bit of wildlife

We arrived at the top after 2 hrs from the start.
Walking to top of first Munro

Top of A' Chailleach

At this point the weather was starting to turn, and we had a brief interval of blustery wintry conditions. After some refreshment we didn't hang about, and headed N to the next Munro Carn Sgulain. The small decent down between the 2 hills was trickier than expected in the snow, so we decided to put on crampons just to be on the safe side. After crossing the dip, we took them off once at the top of the 2nd Munro, 3 hrs from the start which had a rather depressing excuse of a small cairn at the top.
Walking to 2nd Munro

Rather depressing cairn on Carn Sgulain

By this time the weather was starting to clear and we were fortunate to get blue sky for the remainder of the walk. We were also thrilled that no more uphill was required for the remainder of the day, although a 15km walk was still required to complete the circuit.

Fence posts lead all the way to 3rd Munro

Following the posts

We followed the line of fence posts, some of which were covered in snow for 7km heading west then SW crossing over several tops.
Carn Dearg in the distance our 3rd Munro

By the time we got to Carn Dearg is was approaching 2pm. We could see the large cornicing as we approached it, which looked pretty unstable in the warm climate.
Climbing up Carn Dearg

Sport the cornice!

Cornicing along ridge

It looked like it would break off at any minute. We had a decision to make how to come off it. Although some guides suggest backtracking and heading down Gleann Ballach, we thought that would be a rather boggy option given all the snow melt. So we decided to head off the ridge heading S, and come off the bealach towards Loch Dubh.
Top of Carn Dearg (right beside the cornice)

walker in the distance

Loch Dubh

Considering the amount of snow up top, there was little or no snow on this grassy ridge. By this stage the sun was out and the wind had completely dropped. It seemed summer had arrived early! We basked in the sunshine overlooking the Loch and then made our way down in the hope of picking up the track from the Loch.
Route back from Loch Dubh

I think the maps need updating a bit. Although there was evidence of some tracks and grouse butts, I wouldn't recommend following this route to pick up a well-defined track (which is what is inferred in the maps). the track was pretty much non-existent and for the majority of the time, we were walking in heather or bog.

We continued round the Gleann Lochain towards the River Calder. The old cottage at Dalballoch made a nice pitstop but we were glad to follow a defined path at the end. Again this whole area was considerably boggy again most likely due to the winter melt. We followed the Calder east which led us back to the carpark.
Route back to carpark

All-in-all a super day to bag 3 easy Munros although the walk and bogginess was a bit tiresome in places. Its not very often you get to 'explore' a cornice in sunshine!

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Re: The Monadhiliath Munros

Postby Silverhill » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:10 pm

Nice one Seamus, I enjoyed reading your report! Good plan doing these hills in winter on such a lovely day. I’m slightly envious, as I will be doing them in summer. I like the pictures of the cornices. :D
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