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Perfect timing by Scotrail

Perfect timing by Scotrail


Postby NevJB » Sun May 04, 2014 5:31 pm

Route description: Maol Chean-dearg ascent, Coulags

Munros included on this walk: Maol Chean-dearg

Date walked: 26/04/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 932m

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Well, here we go again; our annual sojourn to the Highlands in the hope of climbing a few more Munros. It was ‘nil points’ last year owing to ‘severe upland gales’ [as the MWIS calls them]; snow, rain and hail; sometimes all at once! Or, so it seemed. This year the forecast was better, but experience has shown that forecast and reality in the Highlands often do not tally.

Got the sleeper and arrived in Inverness at 8:30. Coming over the Drumochter Pass it was tipping it down; but then it often is. Picked up our car for the week and headed straight to Lorimers for breakfast. Then off to Glen Carron. The weather was improving the further west we went – this was encouraging. The Achnashellach car park was chocker so Sgurr Ruadh was out; we drove on to Coulags which was less busy.

We managed to start walking by 11:30 and although it was dry the cloud was still heavy on the hills. We quickly made the junction on the path to Torridon and started up Bealach á Choire Ghairbh; still going well. Stopped about half way up – Neill had spotted an eagle, then two; probably the same pair we saw here last year. I’d packed my camera away owing to dismal light and low cloud, but quickly scrambled to get it out as one of the pair decided to glide over (they don’t seem to flap much) and give us look. Just managed to capture one image before it was no longer silhouetted against the sky and hence invisible to the camera. It may have been under exposed in the hurry, but a good omen for the week.
Neill_MCDeag.jpg
Eagle spotted

Golden Eagle.jpg
Golden Eagle

Made it to the bealach and had some lunch (pork pies and Tunnocks wafers – what else) before tackling the steep bit.
Neill_Bealach a Choire Ghairbh.jpg

Meanwhile had a good look at An Ruadh-Stac – could see all it this time and although it looked very impressive in mountain terms, it did not appeal to my overall sense of wellbeing as I imagined descending those grey, greasy looking slabs would not be easy.
An Ruadh-Stac.jpg

Anyway, we didn’t have time [or the energy probably] so the question remains unanswered and I suspect always will. Onwards and upwards. It was steep, but OK as the path zig-zagged up the shoulder before easing out onto a rocky, then grassy bit. The final push was over shattered rock; oh joy! Going up this stuff is fine; not my surface of choice, but then I was not offered a choice; it would be coming down that my legs would be tested. Had all those squats and dead lifts in the gym down the trick?

We timed our summit arrival to perfection – or at least Scotrail had. The cloud had lifted and although it was grey we could still see for miles.
Ben Damph.jpg
Ben Damph

Sgorr Ruadh_Fuar Tholl.jpg
Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl

We found the top to be quite busy [in a NW Highland context]. Four ladies had come up from the Torridon side – actually the Torridon Hotel for they were ladies and another guy from Glasgow who sounded as though he was from Edinburgh.
Nev_Neill_MCDearg Summit_2.jpg
At the top and happy

We chatted for a bit and took photos for each other, before turning our attention to more important matters; food and the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ question. Neill was conducting his own straw poll.
Neill_Other_MCDearg Summit.jpg
'Yes' or 'No'?

The ladies were all English and therefore didn’t count, but the Scot said ‘No’ and was quite vociferous which surprised Neill and I. It really would have helped a great deal if James VI/James I had seen fit to combine the names; Scotengland, or Engscotland. Quite how you'd fit Wales and N Ireland into that nomenclature I don't know - suggestions? Henry VIII didn’t help matters, but we’re really getting on dodgy ground with that one. I’m digressing and in danger of opening a very large can of worms amongst our readers.

It was 3:45 and time to get down. The Bistro and Red Cuillin were calling me all the way from Lochcarron. The shattered rock was hard work, but mercifully short in duration and all the gym work had paid dividends. However, we did suffer a casualty in this our first day on the hills. Neill lent on one of his poles and it, well, snapped; he’d bought (on advice) the heavier, stronger poles too! The rest of the descent was uneventful other than meeting a lean and keen young man who was virtually running up the steep bit from the bealach. He’d already ‘done’ the two Coire Lair peaks earlier in the day and was aiming to do this and get down to his tent (below Liathach) by nightfall. Although English, he lived in Ullapool and seemed to be on a mission [of sorts]. Didn’t have time to pop the question – he was gone; a bit like Road-Runner. At the car by 6:30 – 7 hours in all, about 6 walking. We would get slower – I could guarantee it.

The Bistro was excellent [as usual] and the Red Cuillin like nectar. I love reading ‘The Broons’ and ‘Owa Wullie’ whilst listening to the old tunes from TV and film. Great place, good atmosphere and food.

A good start to our week.
NevJB
 
Posts: 117
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Location: N Essex

Re: Perfect timing by Scotrail

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun May 04, 2014 8:22 pm

Enjoyable read & some good photo's, thanks for posting :wink:
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Perfect timing by Scotrail

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun May 04, 2014 10:00 pm

Ooooh, you really missed out by omitting An Ruadh-stac - I much preferred it to Maol Chean-dearg. MCD is at its best being looked at from all angles including the top of ARS! If you are interested I was up there on 19/4 and I thought it was magical! Here's my WR: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41321
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Re: Perfect timing by Scotrail

Postby Silverhill » Mon May 05, 2014 1:17 pm

Ha ha, enjoyed reading that! :D
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Re: Perfect timing by Scotrail

Postby NevJB » Mon May 05, 2014 3:44 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Ooooh, you really missed out by omitting An Ruadh-stac - I much preferred it to Maol Chean-dearg. MCD is at its best being looked at from all angles including the top of ARS! If you are interested I was up there on 19/4 and I thought it was magical! Here's my WR: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41321


Thanks for that Annie - great report. As you may gather from my past reports it's not the going up, it's the coming down that bothers me. I have this [largely unfounded] fear that my feet are about to slip from under me. At nearly 62 you don't bounce that well and I have years of pension to claim yet :) It does look impressive though - a 'proper' mountain.
NevJB
 
Posts: 117
Munros:55   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   
Hewitts:24
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Location: N Essex

Re: Perfect timing by Scotrail

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue May 06, 2014 8:17 pm

Nice day out there Nev..
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