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4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!


Postby GillC » Thu May 01, 2014 9:15 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Mullardoch), Carn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Sgurr na Lapaich

Date walked: 27/04/2014

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 22.3 km

Ascent: 1886m

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Never saw this one coming! lol Following in the footsteps of such greats, as Bod & Val, Dave Webb, Johnny Corbett etc (who thinks getting the boat is cheating, pretty darn sure I don't agree lol :D )

With a weeks notice, John booked the boat trip up Loch Mullardoch for himself, me and Alice. Campbell made a last minute decision to join us directly from his Skye travels. Boat booked for 8:30am on Sunday morning, giving us plenty of time for this marathon hike.

I arrived at our campsite under the dam late on Saturday afternoon, with time for a wander round the dam, surrounding area before a huge pasta dinner, minimal alcohol and an early night.

After last weeks sufference on Beinn a Bheithir and the chilly sleepless nights in Glencoe, I'd added a self inflating mat and a spare sleeping bag to my kit. Thankfully, the temperatures were forecast to stay above freezing this week. I knew this would be a long day and my concern was that I wouldn't be up to the long haul, so careful attention to eating properly, sleeping and minimal alcohol would hopefully help me along.

The cloud dropped below the tops in the evening but by the 12:15am loo dash, we were under a totally cloud free, star filled sky. Amazing!

Managed to get about 8 hours sleep, almost unheard of even when im in a cosy bed, never mind camping.

Up before 7 with time for breakfast, booted up, tent down etc, and joined by Campbell and Alice, both before 8am.
We were at the pickup point around 8:20am,,,but no sign of Angus, the boatman til nearer 8:45 tsk tsk :roll:

The scoot up the loch was great, the wee boat bouncing on the water, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of clearing weather, spotted a bit of blue sky to the North, the shape of things to come???

1 Light above the dam.JPG
Light above the dam

2 All Aboard!.JPG
All Aboard!

3 Clearing skies above the route.JPG
Clearing skies above the route

4 Angus the boatman and John.JPG
Angus the boatman and John


We had asked to be dropped off slightly further round from the WH start, to avoid the peat hags Dave Webb had warned us about. (it might be better to start even further on, then go straight up to the ridge, as we still hit some of the outer hags)

5 View up the loch from the hillside above.JPG
View up the loch from the hillside above

6 On and up to a clearing An Socach.JPG
On and up to a clearing An Socach



The blue sky was ever increasing with the best forecast of the day saying a cloud free An Socach (first hill) around 9am with clag for the rest of the walk. With a general diagonal route ahead to reach the ridge under Coire Mhaim we headed off with the blue sky increasing above us and a bit of warmth from the April sun. Pretty soon, layers from the boat were off, hat changed to a bandana and up we went. This section was fairly steep but as we were heading up the diagonal, wasn't too bad at all.

9 An Socach hiding behind that top.JPG
An Socach hiding behind that top

10 Gorgeous hills for miles.JPG
Gorgeous hills for miles


The other hills on the route were now appearing from the cloud, fingers crossed, weather would stay with us for a bit yet.

As we climbed up towards Meall a' Chaisg, the steep slopes to our right still carried a lot of thick heavy snow, falling away from the cornices with large cracks or melt signs in evidence. Our path however was clear and dry, very little sign of much rainfall recently and boggy bits were minimal. Following the path as it turned East, we were soon at the open top of An Socach, 3hrs in which was pretty much in line with other reports we had read (Bod!!)

11 Disappearing cornices.JPG
Disappearing cornices

12 John having a good look.JPG
John having a good look

13 Campbell looking aloof and intrepid.JPG
Campbell looking aloof and intrepid

14 Happy at the first summit.JPG
Happy at the first summit

15 Time for some munchies.JPG
Time for some munchies


There is a roundal trig point here with a stone shelter, so we had a sit down, bit of food and some smashing pics of the views. Completely clear day now, cloud around but high and thin. The temperature changed dramatically, in the wind,,freezing, soft shell and woolly hat, sheltered areas. jacket off and back in to the bandana lol :lol: Gloves came and went too but cant complain, dry and sunny with views to die for.

16 Lesser spotted Tomsie hiding in the rocks.JPG
Lesser spotted Tomsie hiding in the rocks

17 up the rocky front on hill number 2.JPG
Up the rocky front on hill number 2

18 Looking back over the route so far.JPG
Looking back over the route so far


The drop between An Socach and An Riabhachan is pretty small, down to the Beallach a Bholla then a gradual climb back up to the southern tip of the long ridged summit of AR. Reaching the top at 1080mtrs its only a short walk to the summit at 1120 (or is it 1129? depends on the map you're reading) The summit cairn is in the middle of a long broad plateau. Didn't spent too long but a bit more fuel on board, some snaps and off we go again.

19 Maps consulted before leaving our second summit.JPG
Maps consulted before leaving our second summit

20 Amazing hills under fabulous skies.JPG
Amazing hills under fabulous skies

21 All going strong.JPG
All going strong

22  John on top of hill 2.JPG
John on top of hill 2


The route to Sgurr na Lapaich takes you onto a narrow shoulder above Creagan Toll an Lochain, above two lochans down to the left and into the Beallach Toll an Lochain. We spent some time debating, before dropping off into the Beallach, was the hill straight ahead Sgurr an L? did we then turn off to the south for the last hill? looked a bit too close to be the route, much checking of maps (and much mulling in my mind that the drop and rise between the 2nd and 3rd Munros looked, to be frank, BLOODY HUGE!) So far though, I was feeling good, legs fine, energy fine, feet fine. :clap:

Down into the Beallach then a relatively short flattish stretch before heading North East up the long shoulder to the 3rd summit. Again,,I surprised myself, this didn't seem as bad as it looked from the other hill, kept up with the group and as we reached the top, noted, this was Johns 200th Munro, Quite something to a mere novice like me.

23 First clag of the day, summit 3.jpg
First clag of the day, summit 3

24 Alice tripping lightly over one of the several steep snow fields.JPG
Alice tripping lightly over one of the several steep snow fields

26 A wee break on the way down.jpg
A wee break on the way down


We had seen some cloud coming and going over this top as we approached it but kept hoping it wouldn't settle in. Still nice and bright at the top but low cloud moving around so views came and went with comedic moments of trying to get a picture with a view. Few celebratory pics of John on #200 some smashing group pics (my camera packed in here so I had to switch to my phone, not ideal), another check of the map. The ground on this top was pretty rocky with no clear sign of the path.

Moving off the top, we had to pick our way down, over and through lots of boulders with steep snow fields of slushy slippy white stuff. We were on schedule to get in around the 10hr mark for the day but this section was time consuming so we upped that estimate a bit. As we neared the bottom (ish) of the Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe, the cloud was pretty thick and low, still bright though. We had a long debate about where we were, the lochan on the map was no where to be seen, a shoulder of land to our right was obviously sheilding it and I had a horrible feeling that in the poor visibility, we had gone off the wrong side and would have to climb back up and round to our right. Thankfully, the famous navigation lochan of Brigadoon appeared, as it by magic in front of us (it was NOT there a minute ago!!!) So buoyed by our new found visibility of the route ahead, we headed off towards the rising slopes to our last hill of the day, Carn nan Gobhar. Campbell took the snow fields to the right, with John, Alice and myself picking down over yet more minute munching boulders. Lots of which shifted and moved under our feet. At some point around here, Campbell pointed out we were already at 10hrs, how had we lost so much time? the bouldery sections certainly took time, but that much?

By the time I reached a small cairn at the top of Carn nan Gobhar, I had done some counting on my fingers, confirming that we were only at 9hrs. We were pretty spread out at this point, Campbell had pushed on across the flat summit and Alice was behind me so when I met up with John, took some pics here as we were not totally sure if this was the actual summit. Moving across to an even bigger cairn, Campbell confirmed our suspicions, the OTHER cairn was the summit, good job for the photos there then lol This larger cairn must be more importantly, a navigation point. Reaffirmed our timings etc and headed off across the moonscape.

25 Hill 4, true summit in the distance..jpg
Hill 4, true summit in the distance.


The rocks here seemed to have been placed into the ground at an almost vertical angle, like lots of little marker stones, slatelike in appearance. Again, picking our way down the shoulder to the Bealach an Tuill Ghaineamhaich too some time and was pretty tiring. Reaching Mullach na Maoile, we could now see the loch and the dam ahead.

Reports of the return path along the lochside were not good, so I was keen to avoid that by heading as diagonally as we could towards the dam, losing height over a longer distance.

Checking the map, we had a couple of choices, the Allt Mullardoch burn, running down to the loch had Fords marked in several locations. Johns had 2 marked higher up, with Alices map showing one down at the lochside.

After a bit of debate, we opted to head straight down the side of Coire an t-Sith and not follow the WH route. As we discussed this at various points, Campbell spotted a bridge further up the burn but it seemed a bit pointless to walk back up the glen just to cross the river, surely one of the marked fords would come up trumps. The route down was steep but stepped and we had to avoid some craggy drops. Several fairly boggy sections here too but whats a wet erse at this point in the day? :lol:

Pretty quickly, you are back down to level ground and only a short distance to the river. Campbell,,with his uber long legs was across in no time, John too. I walked a little further down but went back to where Cambell had just helped Alice cross. Few under water boulders, poles for support then a mighty haul by Campbell and I was over, feet dry, boots not so but we were now on the homestretch.

Theres a pretty vague path here heading down beside the bubbling burn, lovely. Sauntering down, lovely evening, clag had lifted for the last Munro. well after 7pm now and the thought of just putting the tent back up and chilling for the evening was more and more inviting (better than the long drive back to Glasgow)

The path soon becomes a proper track with lots of boggy/muddy sections. Poor John must be so used to me making faces because of my boot/feet issues, shouted back to ask if my feet were bothering me? No, I said, why do you ask? "your face was twitching!" lol think i was sniffing, itchy nose, breathing ,,,anything! but apart from feeling the heat of an 11hr hike, I was just fine.

We reached the boats departure point at about 2 minutes short of the 11hrs, with another few minutes to get round the dam and back down to the cars Fantastic!

Chips in Drumnadrochit and hitting the road by 10pm for the long run back to Glasgow. (which involved 2 short breaks for a bit of a snooze. Home at 2am and fell into bed. Thankfully I had anticipated a looooong day and took Monday off, so plenty of time to clear out the car and catch up on some 'domestic' stuff then.

This was an amazing day, long, but fruitful. only 1.5hrs longer than my painful Beinn a Bheithir experience only a week ago but much more satisfying. Thanks to the crew for a good fun day out.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Last edited by GillC on Fri May 02, 2014 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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GillC
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby Meatball » Thu May 01, 2014 9:29 pm

Cracking stuff!
Glad you had fun!
Cheers to JT for sorting the boat.
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby GillC » Thu May 01, 2014 9:33 pm

Meatball wrote:Cracking stuff!
Glad you had fun!
Cheers to JT for sorting the boat.


:lol: :lol: :lol: just realised that's you Campbell (meatball lol) love it
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby Silverhill » Thu May 01, 2014 10:15 pm

Well done Gill (and team)! That looks like a tough round, think I might steal the idea of hiring a boat! I'm glad your feet held out. :D You have been giving them a hard time recently!
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu May 01, 2014 11:13 pm

That was a huge day out, Gill. Don't know how you can keep going that long with such intensity. Glad you feet issues have been sorted out - feet are my weak point too! Don't think I'll ever manage 4 in one go though - great job :clap:
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Fri May 02, 2014 3:34 pm

great report as always Gill :) 'twas a fab day :clap: :D ...defo reccomend the boat to anyone planning these !
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby Meatball » Sun May 04, 2014 8:52 pm

GillC wrote:
Meatball wrote:Cracking stuff!
Glad you had fun!
Cheers to JT for sorting the boat.


:lol: :lol: :lol: just realised that's you Campbell (meatball lol) love it

Haha.
I'm not always serious!
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby Tomsie » Mon May 05, 2014 5:44 pm

Another good day out, and we were very lucky with the weather.

Does this mean you wont be getting rat asred night before every walk now :lol: :lol:
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby GillC » Mon May 05, 2014 5:46 pm

Tomsie wrote:Another good day out, and we were very lucky with the weather.

Does this mean you wont be getting rat asred night before every walk now :lol: :lol:


I will be the very essence of sobriety if it means I have that energy lol :D
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Re: 4 on the Northern Mullardoch 4, grand day oot!

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon May 05, 2014 7:08 pm

Great report Gill & some cracking photo's :clap:
Well done to all participants, 11 hrs is a long time - he says from experience :lol: :lol:
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