The Western Affrics, 3 Munros and hitting a century
by GillC » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:17 pm
Route description: Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan group, Alltbeithe
Munros included on this walk: An Socach (Affric), Mullach nan Dheiragain, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
Date walked: 02/08/2014
Time taken: 11.1 hours
Distance: 31 km
Ascent: 1785m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Getting up at stupid-o-clock we arrived at Glen Affric at about 7:50am, quick change of plan with us grabbing our stuff and jumping into Deans car as there were now 3 of them lol Hello to Stevie Matt and Mike! (forgot our poles and our phones in the rush, must say, the thought of a long day without my poles worried me slightly)
Off down the rough but beautiful road to Strawberry Cottage.
What a glorious morning as we pulled up beside the mini bus, booted up and headed along the path, over the river and up to the cottage to meet up with Scoob, Fi, Allan, Gill, David, Chantell and George. Some introductions done and a quick look round the cottage and we were ready for the off. Allan, Gill and David were off to do a Corbett or 2 while the other 9 of us headed along the track towards Alltbeithe SYH to take on the 3 Western hills of Sgurr nan Ceathreamnnan, Mullach nan Dheiragain and An Socach (my 3rd and last An Socach)
Its more than a few miles along the track to Alltbeithe and we mingled and chatted as we went. Weather so far was good, muggy and humid but no sign of rain at the moment. Passed over the Allt Coire Ghaidheil burn with its impressive waterfall. This was also the point we would come down off the hills later in the day. At around 10:30am we arrived at the YH and had a look around. Price list on the front door, bit pricey considering you're in the middle of nowhere. Off round the back and straight uphill.
Following a very clear path up by the Allt na Faing burn, our discussions turned to which route to take. WH has you heading straight out to Mullach nan Dheiragain then back to Ceathreamhnan before nipping up to An Socach and returning by the same path to Alltbeithe but under supervision of the compleaters, we opted for S n C, then out to Dheiragain then back over An Socach and continue down to bring up further up the track towards the cottage. By now, our group was breaking up a bit, with the young crowd of Dean, Mike and Stevie heading off at a blistering pace. We couldn't remember if they had been involved in discussing our route so there was a possibility they were going to head either straight over or up to An Socach and we had no way of knowing as they disappeared up Coire na Cloiche and with low cloud now moving in.
Our band of 6, taking up the rear spent time wandering, chatting, falling down muddy holes etc and sauntered on to the beallach before turning left and heading up to Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. We could now see the 3 boys ahead, think they stopped briefly but were too far ahead for us to catch up.
George was having issues with his leg and hung back a wee bit and Fi kindly administered some physio as it got worse. Stopping to get our waterproofs on gave us a chance to regroup, George and Chantell decided to hold back a bit to allow him to take his time and try working through the leg pain. I was a bit concerned as we had no way of knowing if they got into trouble or he wasn't able to continue. After a short way, George opted to push on to the top of S n C and then for he and Chantell to head back down. This left Scoob, Fi, John and myself to head on up. Our group of 9 was fast diminishing lol
Cloud, rain and wind had moved in as we reached the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan at 1151mtrs, the highest of todays 3 peaks and the highest in the area. Pictures taken quickly then a sit down for our first food stop of the day. Cant remember our times for these hills but think it would have been around 1pm by now, (feel free to correct me if anyone in the group knows differently)
Heading off the summit to the North East, we headed down a good ridge towards Bealach nan Daoine. We had no further sight of the 3 walkers ahead but as the low clouds moved around, as we pushed on, we had great views over to our route up to the South and eventually caught sight of George and Chantell heading down. Stopping to give a full 2 arm wave, we saw them, or at least one of them, stop too but couldn't see if they were responding to our mad arm waving lol
Further East, we could see An Socach, our last climb of the day but, got a bit to go before then
As we dipped down and crossed the Bealach, we spotted something Orange on the path up Carn na Con Dhu, thinking it might be the 3 trailblazers, stopped to see if they were moving. Quickly realised it was a couple of packs that had been left,,not exactly hidden as we saw them from several hundred yards away lol.
Passing the abandoned packs (2) we hatched some devious schemes, hide them? fill them with rocks? put our spare kit in them ? lol then realise they might not actually belong to our guys lol
Shortly after, we saw 2 chaps coming towards us, no more than a quick "hello" in passing. We could still see George and Chantell heading down too, that route looked a lot longer from here.
The path out to Mullach na Dheiragain is long, good,,but looooong. It seemed to just keep coming and we could see the summit at the end of the long ridge which dipped and rose ahead. There was another top beyond, hoping in my heart that the first one was the summit lol
Dropping down a rocky section, we met up with Dean, Stevie and Mike on their return and stopped to have a chat before letting them carry on with their double speed trek. I think at this point, we were still over 2km from the summit, did I mention this was a loooooooong path?
Wind and rain kicked in as we soldiered on, nothing hard and it was good to catch glimpses of the hills around as the clouds rose and fell. This was going to by my 100th Munro and its been a longer time coming than I thought, having hit 96 on the hills to the East of here at the end of June but every weekend since seems to have been plagued by rain with several trips washed out before they had even begun. From the approach, we saw 2 or 3 people at the top of Dheiragain but they hadn't come up our route and before we reached the top, they disappeared back off to the North towards Mullach Sithidh, not sure what route they were on.
The ridge climbs up and broadens and the last few yards covered a rocky top then up to the summit. Mullach na Dheiragain, 982mtrs at the cairn, Munro numero 100! I was last,,whats new? Reaching the top, Scoob said he had meant to video me getting there and I was more than happy to nip back a few yards and redo my approach lol Epic video,,what a natural,,almost looked like a run up to all my summits lol
Pretty wet and windy but sheltered down and had another spot of lunch, I (and John) weren't expecting the length of the walk out to this summit, and, we had it all to do going back the way
Theres a shortcut down into the Coire nan Dearcag which is just before the path starts to climb back up to S n C so we headed off back along the several km ridge.
After what seemed like an age, we dropped down and found the route off. The lochans ahead under the slabbed rocks of Stob Coire na Cloiche indicated the way across, there was no path to see but we just picked our way across bog, streams, hillocks and peat hags. Don't think the shortcut route is used enough for a proper path to have developed. The rain was pretty hard by now as we passed round the lochans. I think it might have been here that Scoob took an epic fall, face down in the water. All I heard was the splash, then the 2 feet sticking out either side of Fionas lol Sorry Scoob,,have to laugh. Its a long way down when you fall as an adult, and its even longer when you're that tall. Nothing hurt, pride possibly but hey, whats a soggy face amongst friends?? hehe
The diagonal scramble up to the bealach was wet wet wet. Very boggy, the odd footprint could be se.en but by now, my feet had been sloshing around for about 7hrs and it wasn't cold so just powered on.
Earlier, the climb across a shoulder then up to An Socach looked fairly short, prob less than 1km from the bealach but as we got closer and the clouds shifted, the last push up suddenly seemed a lot bigger lol. Coming to the end of hard day though,,maybe it was in our heads.
I adopted the short game here, head for the next boulder etc. I use this if I get the feeling it's going to be a slog. Pleasant surprise as it passed fairly quickly and we soon hit the top, Munro 101. At 921, this was the baby of the trio today and the 3rd An Socach in the Munro list that I've done, well that century didn't last long lol
Leaving the summit and heading North East over the 906mtr top the rain was getting pretty bad, but visibility remained fairly good under the low cloud. The path veers frequently to the North and down so we cut short a few corners and headed straight down before the path then turned South and stretched out in front of us, disappearing round corners on the hills before reappearing further on. The sun was up there,,somewhere and it was strangely bright but still dull and wet. The path was like a streambed and shone out ahead.
This path would bring us back out at the waterfall we had seen on the way up the track earlier in the day but we couldn't yet see to the bottom of the glen and it just seemed to go on forever into the distance. Nothing for it, pick up the speed and head down.
I mentioned earlier that we hadn't taken our poles and I was worried about such a long day without them but so far, no problems and John had actually commented that my descents were actually a bit nippier without picking my way with the poles.
I tried to avoid looking too far ahead as it just went on and on so we just chatted our way down. As the glen narrowed I could see trees in the dips and this became my focus. Strangely,,this last bit fled by
The river beside us, lower down crashed its way down to the waterfall as we slithered down on the boggy path and soon came down to the bridge and the track back to the cottage. Turning left, 7:30pm with hopes to get back by 8pm. The track did just the same as the hill path, curling round the hillsides, appearing and disappearing in a seemingly endless roll. Arrived back at the cottage around 8:10pm, over 11 hrs in the hills and a car full of dry kit, food and drink. Smashing.
We were the last to return and the rest had or were eating already. Quick dash to the car to get our dry kit, wipe down with a baby wipe and a change of clothes before enjoying a drink, dinner, more drink,, champagne, crisps, whisky, more champagne and a well earned comfy sleep in the loft bunks.
Fantastic location and 3 fabulous hills in the bag. Great group of people too. Thanks all.
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by rockhopper » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:40 pm
by Tomsie » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:00 pm
GillC wrote: I was a bit concerned as we had no way of knowing if they got into trouble or he wasn't able to continue. l.
Dont mind her George she was only interested in hitting the 100
by SAVAGEALICE » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:23 pm
by scoob999 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:37 pm
we're happy you could come and enjoy the celebrations and the area
I actually put a couple of bad scratches in my new phone when i fell luckily they're on the back so it's ok
How many you on now then?
by pollyh33 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:23 pm
Jings that was a looooooooooooooooooooooooooong walk!!!
Well done for bagging these three big beasties
by Mrs Scoob » Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:35 pm
Very well done on passing this milestone and thanks also for your company at the weekend
thanks again AliceSAVAGEALICE wrote: ..and congratulations again Scoob and Fi
by AnnieMacD » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:47 pm
by martin.h » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:44 pm