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Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe


Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 06, 2014 1:00 am

Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mor, Sgurr Ban, Slioch

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlaidheimh

Date walked: 28/04/2014

Time taken: 34 hours

Distance: 74 km

Ascent: 5377m

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In my thinking about Munros, the Fisherfields have always had an almost hallowed specialness to them, remote and romantic, river crossings, bothy nights, is there time to do them in one day? Well not for us. So I'd been looking at alternate routes from the south, partly cos I wanted to avoid getting stuck with a problematic river crossing and partly cos I like to try different routes. I'd been inspired by Spiderwebb's recent report as well as Scoob & Fi's mad dash to do this route in a day. I had a week off from work and had originally intended to spend the time Corbetting around Glenfinnan and Moidart, but Allison announced her availability for each of the long weekends, so I hastily planned this and another trip that would edge us nearer to the end of the rainbow, Munro wise.

One thing that everyone I've heard talk about the Fisherfields say is plan to see them in good weather. The forecast was a bit iffy for the Saturday, though better for the Sunday, so I hoped we'd see something along the way. Drove up to Shiel Bridge on Friday night for a night of heavy rain and headed up the LochCarron road to Kinlochewe early on Saturday morning in clag and rain. Drove past a hiker thumbing a lift with a big pack just after Achnasheen station and felt a bit guilty, but the car was full of kit for 10 days... Arrived at the roomy car park at Incheril and kitted up in waterproofs, making last minute checks to the contents of our packs before setting off into the dreich morning up the long track, all mist and wet with the summits hid well away. Not the most auspicious start.

Starting out
ImageP1010225 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010226 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010229 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The track runs up to the Heights of Kinlochewe, past a straggle of cottages, some derelict, some not, then through a gate into Letterewe estates with a re-forestation scheme. We passed a solitary sodden walker and exchanged brief greetings. I was feeling out of sorts, maybe all the stress of trying to get everything at work tied up before leaving on a week's break, and I was sluggish and tired, plodding my way along. After a couple of hours the rain stopped, but the mist stayed low. We reached the eastern end of Lochan Fada and prepared to set off up towards the lower regions of Creag Ghlas Mhor, aiming for Bealach Odhar. There's a faint path in places, following then crossing the stream. We stopped for a bit of lunch which helped to revive me, then got sight of the bealach. The mist started to clear just then, giving tantalizing glimpses of the hills beyond. We'd decided to go clockwise from Beinn Tarsuinn, a wise decision in my opinion, and set off west up the easy slopes of BT. After a short pull we were at the rocky top - this was my 250th Munro and something of an oddity for Allison to be there - she's never been at any of my "big number" hills - 50, 100, 141, 150 or 200, which is weird given that we almost always walk together. So it was nice to have company for this particular milestone. We headed down towards the famous "tennis court" although it would be a pretty short game on that surface and the ball-boys would have a hell of a job retrieving those that went off the edge...then for some fun on the pinnacles despite the big packs. The sky had cleared by now, giving views over the full round of hills, just fantastic.

Something there...
ImageP1010232 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010235 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up to bealach Odhar
ImageP1010236 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Starting to clear
ImageP1010239 by 23weasels, on Flickr

a'M & RSM come into view
ImageP1010241 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BT's Tennis Court
ImageP1010242 by 23weasels, on Flickr

250 up
ImageP1010244 by 23weasels, on Flickr

North along BT's ridge
ImageP1010247 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010248 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010251 by 23weasels, on Flickr

MCMF
ImageP1010254 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Time for pinnacle fun
ImageP1010256 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back along BT
ImageP1010258 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We headed down towards Pollan na Muice, ahead lay the surprisingly grassy slopes of a'Maighdean. As we began our ascent, an eagle rose from the summit and hung for a short while before gliding away, the white tail feathers indicating a sea eagle. Over to the south across Lochan Fada, on our left, were the imposing dark cliffs of Beinn Lhir. A very special place this. We got the the rocky top and sat drinking in the scenery, surprised to see the house over to the west at Carnmore on flat grassy land amidst all this wildness. After we began to chill a bit in the wind we packed up again and set off down steeper stony slopes towards Ruadh Stac Mhor. It's remarkable how the rock changes from grey/white to the red sandstone of RSM so abruptly. We started up the steep scree slopes, wending our way through the crags on the lower part of RSM. After a few slips and slides we reached the easier grassy slopes to the summit and enjoyed a truly memorable vista with An Teallach the centrepiece, though the fantastic Corbetts of Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beag were also remarkable.

Beinn Lhir
ImageP1010271 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BaC, SB & MCMF
ImageP1010268 by 23weasels, on Flickr

MCMF & BT
ImageP1010269 by 23weasels, on Flickr

West from top a'M
ImageP1010275 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010276 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit a'M
ImageP1010277 by 23weasels, on Flickr

An Teallach in the distance
ImageP1010279 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Lhir
ImageP1010282 by 23weasels, on Flickr

RSM
ImageP1010286 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Crags
ImageP1010289 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Scree path
ImageP1010292 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Slioch finally out of the clouds
ImageP1010295 by 23weasels, on Flickr

west from RSM
ImageP1010297 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit RSM
ImageP1010298 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our original plan had been to descend into Glen Muice and camp beside the river, or if we were doing well for time, climb up to lochan a'Briseadh and camp there. As it was, it was getting latish, about 6.30, SK's knees were feeling the strain and we decided to look for a spot at the lochans between RSM & RSBeag. This proved a bit marshy but serviceable. The wind had risen quite a bit and it was chilly in the evening air. It was quite a problem getting the cooker sheltered from the wind and the tea took longer to prepare than usual :( Afterwards we headed up to RSB to enjoy the setting sun and reccy the route down for the morning. Being a bit put off by the steepness of the main slope down to Gleann Muice, we decided to follow the stream from the East of RSB. As we huddled watching the sun sink, the cliffs and jagged pinnacles of An Teallach glowered like Mount Doom - I almost expected to see a giant red eye arise above the peak searching for us...

Lochans, RSB
ImageP1010303 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beag
ImageP1010305 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BDB
ImageP1010307 by 23weasels, on Flickr

An Teallach
ImageP1010309 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sunset
ImageP1010314 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010315 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010317 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010321 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010322 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sleep was hard to come by as the tent was pummelled by the wind all night til around 5am. I'd hoped to see the morning sun glowing on the red rocks of RSM, but clag covered all the tops instead. We were off by 7.45 knowing we had another long day ahead. It took a while to descend the steep grassy slopes to the valley floor, but after an hour or so we made it. Plenty of suitable camp spots down here. Crossing the river wasn't a problem and we began to climb up the steepish slopes to the col between Ba'C and SB. Wild flowers, frogs and the occasional lizard decorated our way, but the sky remained resolutely free from any more eagles, which was a little disappointing. The going was actually easier than it had looked and we enjoyed the frequent cascades of the river as it flowed from Lochan a'Briseadh. Made the most of the water to fill our drinking bladders and headed round to the north of the lochan over rough ground to join the path to Ba'C. I know it's no longer a Munro, poor thing, but surely you can't do the Fisherfields without including this fine mountain? It took a bit longer than anticipated, but the final cone to the summit was especially pretty. We gazed over towards Shenavall and An Teallach before retracing our steps and had lunch at the lochan.

Morning cloud on lochan a'briseadh
ImageP1010323 by 23weasels, on Flickr

gleann muice
ImageP1010326 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lizard
ImageP1010327 by 23weasels, on Flickr

waterfalls from lochan a'briseadh
ImageP1010328 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgurr Ban
ImageP1010329 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up to the bealach
ImageP1010330 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BaC, BDM
ImageP1010332 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit BaC
ImageP1010334 by 23weasels, on Flickr

SB
ImageP1010337 by 23weasels, on Flickr



Our original plan had been to return to Incheril by our approach route and then head off to climb Slioch the following day. As I looked at the map over my piece, I noticed a track running down from the eastern end of Lochan Fada, down Gleann Bianasdail that would take us right to the start of the route for Slioch and save numerous kilometers to boot. Result! Fortunately I'd packed (and carried) food for an extra night's camping, so we were delighted with this observation. Back to the job in hand - we now had to traipse 2km over the boulderfield that makes up the shoulder of Sgurr Ban, which seemed never ending but the tedium was relieved by the fantastic views all around. Eventually we reached the flat rather featureless summit and gazed around, bewitched by the beauty of these hills, each so individual. We could see a cluster of tiny figures on the summit of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, the first folk we'd spotted since early the day before. Descending from SB was a lot easier and quicker than its ascent and we reached the bealach with MCMF, looking up at the steep path snaking its way through the white sand and boulders to the summit. Steep it was, but easy enough and I nipped off ahead of Allison to make the top. Like the ascent of RSM, I'd rather go up this path than come down it. Standing on the summit, Beinn Tarsuinn dominated proceedings, the steep northern cliffs and unusual profile.

Ascending SB's boulderfield
ImageP1010339 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010340 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit SB
ImageP1010341 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BT
ImageP1010344 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descending towards MCMF
ImageP1010345 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ascending MCMF
ImageP1010349 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to SB
ImageP1010350 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010351 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit MCMF
ImageP1010352 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010353 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010354 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Once again the descent from MCMF was easy enough down a clear path and we made for the bypass path round the north slopes of Meall Garbh, passing a gaggle of foreign walkers with a guide who had a map strapped across his chest. Not one of the walkers carried anything - no pack, no water, just a light jacket - well one had a camera - a bit underprepared for these hills in April, surely? Anyway, we returned to Bealach Odhar and had a much easier time descending to Lochan Fada in good visibility compared to stumbling through clag on the way up. At the easternmost end is what looks like a sandy beach and we were hot enough to fancy a wee paddle, however as we drew closer we could see it was all pebbles, and quite big ones at that. We got onto the path that would lead us to Gleann Bianasdail, passing a second, sandier beach, all the while being in awe of the towering Slioch rising to our left. Looking over the lochan the views to the Fisherfield hills and Beinn Lhir were superb - I just love that combination of water and mountains. We crossed the Abhain Fhascigh on the stepping stones then had an irritating bit of re-ascent to do before turning south into the high reaches of the glen, the river chundering away through a deep gorge below us. Towards the bottom of the track we searched for a flat place to camp and as we were doing so met a ?Belgian walker who turned out to have been to wet man trying to hitch a lift the day before. he didn't seem to bear a grudge at us not picking him up after I owned up to driving past, and we chatted for a while - he'd been coming over to do these hills for years and years. tent pitched, fed and watered, we watched the sun go down behind the hills and got an early night, both being fairly tired after an 11 hour day.

ImageP1010355 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back from Bealach Odhar
ImageP1010359 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010360 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to torridon
ImageP1010362 by 23weasels, on Flickr

"beach"
ImageP1010363 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Slioch & Beinn Lhir
ImageP1010365 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Slioch
ImageP1010367 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010369 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stepping stones
ImageP1010371 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Gleann Biansadail
ImageP1010372 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Slioch again
ImageP1010373 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Watchers
ImageP1010375 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Primula
ImageP1010378 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Campspot
ImageP1010379 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sunset
ImageP1010381 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up early the next morning, deciding to leave the tent pitched with most of the stuff in it and travel lighter up Slioch. A wee cut across the hillside on a faint path brought us to the veritable motorway of a track going up to Slioch. Although not yet 8am, the warmth of the sun was considerable on our backs - it was going to be another cracking day. We headed up the steep rocky path to Sgurr Dubh then rounded to corner and were amazed to see the hollowed out space of Coire na Sleaghaich. This resembled an amphitheatre of the gods - I could imagine Zeus setting his Titans to a wrestling match in these surrounds. We set off across the marshy terraintowards the flat topped ridge with the first cairn atop it, then up and on another twice til we finally reached the summit. The views south to Torridon, west to the sea and east over to the Fannaichs were stunning, the hills enveloped in a fine blue haze. Looking down, impressive cliffs and ramparts caught the eye to the west and north as we made our way along to the fine rocky ridge to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain. Although it was only 10.45 we stopped here for an early lunch as the views were simply too good to hurry. Every one of the Fisherfield jewels was spread before us, glowing in the sunlight. A really special moment in a really special place.

Fellow inhabitants, no kidding
ImageP1010382 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stob Dubh
ImageP1010385 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010386 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010388 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to torridon
ImageP1010392 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Fannaichs
ImageP1010393 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe
ImageP1010394 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010395 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010396 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010400 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010401 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010402 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Rocky ramparts
ImageP1010406 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010411 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Fisherfields
ImageP1010412 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010413 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BT & AT
ImageP1010414 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back to slioch
ImageP1010415 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010416 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eventually we dragged ourselves away down to loose scree path to the boggy flatlands. On the return apth we met a group of older Scottish walkers and spent a while sharing tales and memories before returning to the tent and packing up. The final few kilometres of Gleann Bianasdail are surely some of the finest and most beautiful anywhere - old Scots pines populate the steep river banks, the river cascades in waterfalls, plunge pools and rapids along the way, roaring beside you. Superb. Finally we came to the bridge and set off east along the path back to Incheril, going along the shores of Loch Maree. There's a lovely sheltered cove, luminous with the new green leaves of birch and the yellow broom, which would make an idyllic camping spot. Further on the land is rolling and grassy as it accompanies the Kinlochewe river back to our starting point. A truly magnificent outing in the best weather we could have hoped for, a walk that will live long in the memory.

Gleann Biansadail
ImageP1010422 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010425 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010427 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Maree
ImageP1010428 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010429 by 23weasels, on Flickr


So if thinking about doing the Fisherfield hills, do give consideration to heading in from the south, choose your weather well and take the time to really enjoy this marvellous place.

Our trip wasn't quite over however, we had unfinished business in the Fannaichs, with Mr Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich in particular. We decided to head on up to Ullapool for the night to try out the curry house Morecambe Monkey had recommended when at Inchnadamph recently and were not disappointed at all - a tasty meal indeed. Then camped next door at the Broomview Caravan park, our last experience of wild camping down by Loch Droma being marred by midges, roadnoise and very stony ground that made pitching difficult. No such problems with pitching at the campsite, and a beautiful sunset, but the noise from the Western Isles ferry did go on long into the night and didn't enhance sleep.

Sunset in Ullapool
ImageP1010437 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010439 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Up and away by 6.30 as Allison had to be in Ft William by 4pm. Twas a misty morning as we drove the dozen or so miles down the road, but the mist steadily cleared as we walked along by the riverside, over marshy land, following the righthand tributary up towards the lower slopes of Beinn Liath Beag. We could see the shoulder of BLMF ahead of us, and An Coileachan & Meall Gorm emerged from the mist, a rim of snow still along their northern edges. After 2 and a half hours we were at the top of BLMF, looking over at the steep cliffs of Sgurr Mhor and the rounded hump of Meall a'Chaisagh. Full sun, roasting weather, the Beinn Dearg hills blue and beautiful to our right. Did think about nipping up to Sgurr Mhor for the hell of it, but time was pressing on and we had driving to do, so we retraced our steps basking in the sunshine. What a special long weekend this had been...

Misty morning
ImageP1010440 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010441 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010442 by 23weasels, on Flickr

BLMF & SM beyond
ImageP1010444 by 23weasels, on Flickr

SM
ImageP1010445 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit BLMF
ImageP1010448 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Dearg hills
ImageP1010450 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1010451 by 23weasels, on Flickr

SM
ImageP1010452 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sunset, Loch Linnhe
ImageP1010455 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Last edited by weaselmaster on Tue May 06, 2014 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue May 06, 2014 8:12 am

Wonderful wonderful effort, now that was Epic! :clap: :clap: :clap: fabulous photographs of some classic views :D :D Al you must tell me any idea of the weight of your filled rucksacks? I walked in with 22k on the back to Barrisdale Bay then climbed a Corbett and was absolutely shattered :( :crazy: .Ta for posting looks a good way to start from :D
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby ceaser » Tue May 06, 2014 12:52 pm

excellent read as always ,with some cracking pictures , looking to get FF done soon , got to agree with you about the walk out from Slioch , heard a few folk moaning about the long walk out .....but I absolutely loved it :clap:
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby Hill-loving lady » Tue May 06, 2014 2:48 pm

Simply WOW WOW WOW!!! This is one of your best reports yet Al, well impressed.

Your photos are stunning, and your report says it all, just perfectly. Thank you for inspiring me (and Bob the Dog too obviously :-) )
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue May 06, 2014 5:00 pm

With the risk of sounding clichéd, that truly was an epic adventure and a fantastic read. It's definitely worth looking through the photos on Flickr too. You guys are really doing a service for the rest of us documenting all these hills.
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue May 06, 2014 8:00 pm

Nice haul there Al and SK...and some topping images..liked the giant tent pegs :clap:
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 06, 2014 10:18 pm

scottishkennyg wrote:Nice haul there Al and SK...and some topping images..liked the giant tent pegs :clap:


Yeah, custom made, them ones!!
We've now invested in green fluorescent guy lines for that tent, which look a bit incompatible with the blue :roll:
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby dogplodder » Wed May 07, 2014 1:01 pm

This is an awesome achievement and so well documented. You two must be so fit and I humbly suggest your daughter needs a new name! :lol:
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby rockhopper » Wed May 07, 2014 1:08 pm

Graet result but a lot of effort.....too much for me ! Think I'll be taking it a bit easier when I get here :roll: - cheers :)
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby jonny616 » Wed May 07, 2014 4:25 pm

Great stuff Al. Well done to both of you. 9 days and counting before my next date with the fisherfields. Going the trad route as i love a swim :lol:

Magic to see your pics with very little snow, just crossed off my ice axe from my kit list :clap:
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Wed May 07, 2014 5:56 pm

Well what a belting report Al,a proper adventure indeed. Superb photo's as always,nice to see what the views are actually like from Slioch after mine & London Walker's clag filled visit in March. Glad you enjoyed the curry house. :D
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby mrssanta » Wed May 07, 2014 8:50 pm

fantastic!
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby Collaciotach » Wed May 07, 2014 9:12 pm

Great stuff yer some fella :clap: :clap:

Really enjoyed that and reckon I may follow ur footsteps later this month
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby bar72 » Wed May 07, 2014 9:54 pm

great report and a nice insight into FF as i'm setting my sights on them for august.
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Re: Fisherfield Six Plus 1 from Kinlochewe

Postby spiderwebb » Thu May 08, 2014 7:15 am

Great report WM, superb pics, glad the weather held up :D
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