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Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Those green hills - not so Farrar way


Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:51 pm

Route description: Glen Strathfarrar Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Date walked: 24/07/2014

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1567m

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We've been pondering these hills since moving to the Black Isle just over 3 years ago – almost every time we head west they appear on the horizon, along with their near neighbours in Glen Cannich. The reason it's taken so long for them to filter to the top of the to-do list is that Strathfarrar is a restricted area. Even in summer the gate is only open for a maximum of 11 hours and I am a slow walker – so we wondered about doing 2 of the hills from Strathfarrar and 2 from Glen Orrin, but then this year we've done some pretty long walks – which have done wonders for both my fitness and confidence (especially when I realised that part of the reason I'm so slow is the number of photos I take on the way – well sometimes its necessary to get a bit of a break :lol: :lol: ).

So we worked out timings for the walk and an escape route – at least 3 munros should be possible so if we weren't at the top of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais by 2:30pm we'd cut the walk short and do Sgurr Fhuar-thuill from the north. But it would mean no hanging about and a strict limit on the photo ops :shock: .

So we set off from home in thick fog, which was promising to burn off, (we did hope we might even get a cloud inversion on the early part of the walk.) Its about an hour's drive and we arrived at the gate for 8:45, first car there so we settled down to wait (it transpires we should have waited in the car park on the left which we hadn't noticed :shock: ) while we waited the faint remnants of mist disappeared – no cloud inversion then. A couple of SSE vans came along, their occupants let themselves in to the glen and locked us out. Then a mountain rescue vehicle came along – it transpired that a climber had been injured and was being brought off the hill – I hope the injuries aren't too serious and the person concerned is making a good recovery.

Dead on 9am we were allowed into the glen – would we be back by 8pm? :?

Strathfarrar is a beautiful glen, but it was clear that this was going to be a scorcher of a day – well we were prepared, got the sun hat, sun cream and lots of water, including extra water for the dogs. Parked the car, got the stuff out ready for the off – first disaster of the day – my platypus had leaked the best part of 2 litres of water all over the boot of the car :problem: OK fill it up at the first burn.

Several other walkers appeared, some, like us were parking at the east end of the glen, some going on to the far end. Most were sensibly using bikes to do the 6k of road work. We were planning to walk the lot (not sure how B&B would take to running after bikes – they might use it as an excuse to go in a completely different direction). One couple set off for the west end on bikes to walk the opposite way round from us, we would meet up in the hills later!

The walking started of very gently, lovely green landscape, filled up the platypus and gradually worked our way higher. As we did the day got hotter and hotter and the cleggs more and more vicious. My legs went slower and slower, the quads were really feeling the heat. At one point I wondered if I was going to bale out because it was too hot, in Scotland :crazy: :crazy: Eventually we got high enough to catch the breeze, and from then on things got easier, I even sneaked in a few (illegal) photo ops. These hills really were green and gentle. Height and breeze dealt with the cleggs.

Sgurr na Ruaidhe (right) and Carn nan Gobhar
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Looking back down Corie Mhuillich
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Some of the Mullardoch Hills
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Interesting view of Sgurr na Muice
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Spotted a cloudberry on the way – first time I've noticed one still growing!
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Sgurr na Ruaidhe
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Regulation cereal bar break at the top of Sgurr na Ruaidhe and a few photos,

Hot dogs?
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Classy head wear
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Mullardoch to Affric
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then off to Carn nan Gobhar – very straight forward descent / ascent. Quick break, enjoyed the views then off to Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais, where we planned to have lunch.

From Carn na Gobhar to Sgurr a Corie Ghlass
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No we weren't hanging about, the curfew at 8:00 pm was being taken very seriously!!

Heading towards the bealach between Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais we had the second disaster of the day – Biggles suddenly took off at great speed chasing down the south side of the hill. Much to our shame we hadn't noticed until a walker behind us shouted an alert – at which point Bertie decided to follow the pack leader's example. Called him back without too much effort, but Biggles on a mission is a different dog. :evil: Roger sped off down the hill after him, not knowing if the dog was chasing something or had smelt carrion. In the event Biggles came back before Roger got to him – wise move – but it has left us worried about what he did :oops: . The guy behind us didn't see a chase, but thought Biggles might have taken off to attack a young animal hidden in the grass below – theoretically possible but with hindsight unlikely as what ever it was was quite a way away and young deer don't have much scent. We certainly didn't see any other wild life in the area, so our suspicions are that it was carrion he went for, but even so his reluctance to come back was sobering :( :( . Roger was so angry with Biggles that he and the dogs made a very rapid ascent of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais.

We reached Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais by the back of 2, which is what we thought we'd need to do. if we were to do all four munros, so had lunch took a few more photos then off for the final hill of the day.

Loch Monar
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Looking north west
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Heading to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill
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On the way over to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill we met the couple we'd seen at the car park who had cycled to the west end of the walk and were doing the trip the opposite way from us. A quick chat about heat and amazing views then we all continued on our way. Looking down into Glen Orrin I'm glad we did these hills by the Strafarrar route – the north side of these hills looks like a complete bogfest!

The route to the top is easy and rewards with some stunning views – although as the afternoon wore on they were becoming very hazy.

The Torridons
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Sgurr na Muice and the south west
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The route down
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further down - where it is wet
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The route down was straight forward – although seemed to be longer than I had expected :shock: – and was wet in places, but the lack of water in the waterfall show how dry it is up there at the moment.

Waterfall
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We were back at the road by 5:30, so only 6 km to go then :roll: :wink:

From the start of the walk back along the road
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It isn't such a bad walk at all – beautiful glen, very few cars and the evening was lovely. Strathfarrar has clearly been more populated in the past – we passed various ruins.

Ruin
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Knowing we didn't need to rush so much made the walk back more leisurely, with Sgorr na Diollaid keeping a watchful eye on us.

Sgorr na Diollaid
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River Farrar
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Back at the car park we arrived just as the cycling couple did (7pm) – which really made our day, even Biggles was somewhat forgiven. :D :D
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby mrssanta » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:50 pm

oh that was lovely. I do worry about doing these within the 11 hours as I am not very fast. I wonder what happens if you are not back by the 8pm deadline?
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby litljortindan » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:13 pm

That looks like a great walk. We are quite familiar with the problem of selective spaniel hearing.
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby Steve B » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:21 am

Nice report. I did these in similar conditions, including the clogs, a couple of weeks ago. I thought the first hill was hard and a bit of a slog to start and the rest quite strait forward.
I was going to cycle first from west to east and pick the bike up at the end of the walk but a very generous offer of a lift from a family (from Glen Shee way) negated the need to cycle (result!). Thanks again if you read this.
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby rockhopper » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:38 pm

cracker of a day for it - it makes for a great walk and you saw so much than I did (on a day spent mostly in clag despite a good-ish forecast :roll: ) - now I see what I missed :crazy: - cheers :)
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:01 pm

mrssanta wrote:oh that was lovely. I do worry about doing these within the 11 hours as I am not very fast. I wonder what happens if you are not back by the 8pm deadline?


I've read enough of your reports to have no doubts that you can do this walk in the time, but I don't know what happens if you don't make the cut off time - sleep in the car the wrong side of the gate I guess :lol: :lol: The hills are quite easy walking, and what boulder fields exist are small.

litljortindan wrote:That looks like a great walk. We are quite familiar with the problem of selective spaniel hearing.


The walk was great - any tips for curing the selective hearing?

Steve B wrote:Nice report. I did these in similar conditions, including the clogs, a couple of weeks ago. I thought the first hill was hard and a bit of a slog to start and the rest quite strait forward.
I was going to cycle first from west to east and pick the bike up at the end of the walk but a very generous offer of a lift from a family (from Glen Shee way) negated the need to cycle (result!). Thanks again if you read this.


Lucky you - I guess that's what I was secretly hoping for, but it didn't happen :lol: :lol:
I'm tempted to go back just to wander round the glen, perhaps with the bike, and no dogs, the next time.

rockhopper wrote:cracker of a day for it - it makes for a great walk and you saw so much than I did (on a day spent mostly in clag despite a good-ish forecast :roll: ) - now I see what I missed :crazy: - cheers :)


Shame you didn't get the weather - I love this area of Scotland, but because I'm a relative newcomer its all new to me so I'm enjoying getting out in good weather to understand the layout of the country a bit better.
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:14 pm

Fantastic walk on a fantastic day. Your photos really show these hills as stunning. I just realized these are the hills which are to the south-east in the distance from the Torridon hills. I never knew what they were before.

I think I'd find the opening and closing of the gates a bit limiting as I'm such a slow-coach and I would be constantly worrying about getting locked in! Is there NO way out after curfew?

Oh, and love your title!
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:38 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Fantastic walk on a fantastic day. Your photos really show these hills as stunning. I just realized these are the hills which are to the south-east in the distance from the Torridon hills. I never knew what they were before.

I think I'd find the opening and closing of the gates a bit limiting as I'm such a slow-coach and I would be constantly worrying about getting locked in! Is there NO way out after curfew?

Oh, and love your title!


It took me a while to figure out which these hills were too. I wouldn't worry too much about the time - I'm quite slow on the hills, but managed to do this round in 9.5 hrs, but the fact that there is a time limit is oppressive I must admit. The hills themselves are a gentle walk in comparison with the hills you regularly climb.

Perhaps someone else can tell us what happens if you miss the curfew - with hindsight I should have asked the gatekeeper :?

As for the name - well it sums up my walking :lol:
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby dogplodder » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:24 pm

Beautiful photos despite having to keep going so you'd not be locked in! You did well to get the four done plus the road walk in the time frame. 8)

I can perhaps shed some light on what happens if you arrive at the gate a little after the time stated. I can't remember exactly what but something happened to delay us and we thought we might be doomed to stay in the glen all night. We weren't much over the time so we approached the gate-keeper's door with much grovelling and she simply came out and unlocked the gate - all very civilised and we thanked her very much. It perhaps helped that we'd had a friendly blether with her in the morning when we went in! :D
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:26 pm

Looking forward to these hills now :D
I feel your pain when the dogs chase things, I had a nightmare yesterday in Drumochter with the 'black and white' one whom decided to chase sheep (which I never saw) right after crossing the railway line, luckily he came back before going too far or getting close to them but it gave me a scare and both spent the rest of the day on leads which was not pleasant at all :( Just too many pockets of sheep around to risk :(
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Re: Those green hills - not so Farrar way

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:28 pm

dogplodder wrote:Beautiful photos despite having to keep going so you'd not be locked in! You did well to get the four done plus the road walk in the time frame. 8)

I can perhaps shed some light on what happens if you arrive at the gate a little after the time stated. I can't remember exactly what but something happened to delay us and we thought we might be doomed to stay in the glen all night. We weren't much over the time so we approached the gate-keeper's door with much grovelling and she simply came out and unlocked the gate - all very civilised and we thanked her very much. It perhaps helped that we'd had a friendly blether with her in the morning when we went in! :D


Thanks for that, its good to know that late leavers can get out, but I must admit the thought of the curfew really kept me walking when I'd rather have been soaking up the landscape ... and relaxing of course :lol:

Beaner001 wrote:Looking forward to these hills now :D
I feel your pain when the dogs chase things, I had a nightmare yesterday in Drumochter with the 'black and white' one whom decided to chase sheep (which I never saw) right after crossing the railway line, luckily he came back before going too far or getting close to them but it gave me a scare and both spent the rest of the day on leads which was not pleasant at all :( Just too many pockets of sheep around to risk :(


They are smashing hill Beaner - sympathy for the mix of spaniels and sheep, ours get put on the lead under those conditions too.
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