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Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean fae Invermallie bothy.

Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean fae Invermallie bothy.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:09 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean

Date walked: 10/05/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

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Scaled Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean fae Invermallie bothy on tuesday, having biked in fae Spean bridge - anither wan which Sir Simon P Derby quite liked, a bit [3971 hits].
Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 378
Joined: Jan 10, 2011

Slightly mair meaty TR for Cpt. Slow...

Postby Norman_Grieve » Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:11 pm

Had been planning to catch the 9am bus for a late afternoon / evening ascent, when the forecast deluge was expected tae dry up. Awoke at 3.45am & as I hadnae got back tae sleep 1/2hr later I decided tae get moving & an hour later was climbing aboard the Red-eye on The Drive.

I was greeted by an inscrutable smile fae the same young Indian Woman who I'd first encountered a fortnight earlier, again my sole fellow traveller. Once again I felt like David Mitchell's character in Peep Show, as I made my way past her to take up residence on the back seat.

Another hour saw us changing buses at Keith, where several guys climbed on then back off, as they were informed, much tae their surprise, that both buses were headed back tae Aberdeen. As precious time slipped by I was mindful of the few minutes I had in the Highland Capital, before the next bus left tae The Fort...

Fortunately the lost time was made up on the rest of the long journey, as we had a very quick pit stop at Elgin. However, as the bus tae The Fort pulled in, shortly after my arrival, the driver jumped down & staring at my bike, gravely dropped his bombshell - 'Ye can't take that aboard!' says he...

'But I've just come all the way fae Aberdeen on the 5 o' clock bus & there weren't nae problem', I whined. This evidently cut no ice, as he retorted 'It's in the 'Conditions of Carriage', it needs tae be wrapped up'!, says he.

Then a glimmer of hope - 'Go check with them in the office, if ye like', he said, his tone softening slightly, at my evident anguish. 'Can ye just hold on a minute then'? I pleaded, then dashed over tae the said office, where a fair queue was lined up at the desk.

Fortunately a spare female Ticket Officer, perhaps noting my bike called over 'Can I help you?' 'The driver won't let me on the bus tae The Fort & I've just come all the way fae Aberdeen', I replied. 'That's completely different, that's Stagecoach. It's in the Citylink 'Conditions of Carriage', it needs tae be wrapped up'!, says she.

'Well have you got anything I can wrap it up in'? I begged, without much hope. With this she sprang into action, dashed across the corridor & came back seconds later clutching 3 large black bags. 'See what the driver says, some of them insist on cardboard', she stated, as I gratefully grasped the bags.

Back at the bus I hastily started covering each wheel with a black bag, as I opined tae the driver 'They say it's OK if I use these'. Then, most relieved at his lack of protest, quickly shoved my faithful steed into the cavernous, empty back luggage hold, as instructed.

Following a few hold-ups gang doon the Great Glen, including wan at Fort Augustus for a craft tae make it's way along the Caledonian Canal, I alighted into a rainy Spean Bridge. The driver, complete with shiny earing followed me down, sagely offering the advice that I should get myself a 'cheap tarp, tae cover myself', meaning the bike.

I offered that I was away 10 miles tae the bothy, the implication being that tarps could be a wee bit thin on the ground thereabouts. I then made my way to ye auld village shoppe, where I enquired about candles, there beng only large yellow, ornamental ones in glass jars, that I could see.

The assistant directed me to large, heavy bags of 50 Tealights, close beside which I spotted equally heavy, bulky boxes of firelighters. I purchased both, sure in the knowledge that the bothy would undoubtably be fully stocked with both items.

I was dismayed at the counter to see that there was no sign of their usual display of Kodak disposable cameras on the wall behind & had to settle for a cheap & doubtless far inferior alternative. To this I added a very expensive can of Spam, 1st carefully checking that it included a key with which tae open it.

With that I was on my way back up the hill towards the Commando Memorial,
getting off my steed half way up beside the cemetery, lest I prematurely join it's occupants. I was saved the final wee bit o' the climb tae the Gairlochy turn-off by a wee lane passing below the fine statue.

This was followed by a long, fast descent, into the teeth of the wind & rain, passing Gairlochy Holiday Park on the left near the foot of the hill, where I crossed the bridge high over Mucomir Cut, beside it's power station on the right.

A short stretch beside the broad tranquil waters of the River Lochy then took me over the swing bridge over the Caledonian Canal, between picturesque locks. Here I joined the Great Glen Cycle Route & [briefly], the Great Glen Way, following the B8005 for a couple of miles through the woods above the SW end of Loch Lochy.

I then took a left turn to Achnacarry, where the first of several large signs pronounced that it was on longer possible to drive to Loch Arkaig. I laboured up a hill, then sped down the other side, scattering a couple of walkers as I approached the Clan Cameron Museum, complete with cannon & bright red phone box outside.

The tarmac continued all the way tae the loch, making for swift progress over the mile fae the B road. Here I turned left along the track, past the impressive long bridge over the River Arkaig at the outflow of the loch. Here things got much tougher as the track got rougher & climbed up into the woods above the loch.

I recalled RCFC's TR as commenting on how good the track was, so started to get concerned that I'd taken the wrong track back at Achnacarry. However, as remembered our different views recently on how wet a Glen Albyn Marilyn was, my mind was eased somewhat.

Dropping down closer to the lochside I passed beneath some impressive falls, the Dearg Allt being in spate. Thence the track improved somewhat & emerging fae the forest, close to a padlocked, luxuriously furnished estate cottage, I was relieved to see the bothy away over to the right.

The new track crossed a bridge over the Allt a' Choire Dhuibh , beyond which I cut off right down an old, wet, grassy track, which led to a ford back over the burn. Here I left the bike then got my right foot wet crossing the large stream.

A short distance below I then passed a wooden footbridge, it's far side perched precariously on the eroded streambank. A few minutes walk on a grassy path then took me to the large bothy, with adjoining corrugated iron woodshed, within which were lying some live branches.

Just inside the bothy door I read a sign stating that branches with leaves on were live & wouldn't burn, urging one to refrain from cutting down such branches, thus spoiling the lovely surrounds... I was pleased to see the prescence of twa saws & a wee axe.

Inside were twa small & 2 large downstairs rooms, wan o' which contained a table upon which were stood 4 cans o' Tennants, 4 cans o' Stella, 5 o' Strongbow & a 2L bottle, plus a 1/2 bottle o' Gordons Gin. My heart sank at the sight, as I assumed this meant there was a party planned for the night, most probably by the live woodcutters.

The fireplace was rather a mess, with a 1/2 empty, 1/2 burnt carton o' orange juice, plus a couple o' burnt burgers & balls o' silver foil. As expected there was also a very large, thick candle, plenty of firelighters & T Lights.

Upstairs were twa large bedrooms, one blue, wan red. I dumped my excess baggage, including my twa sleeping bags & karrimat, in the latter, together with my damp trainers, having changed into some el cheapo boots I'd been given.

Back outside, just gone noon, I took a double-take as I thought the stream had risen a couple o' feet, until I realised it was the River Mallie I was looking at, rather than the sidestream I'd crossed earlier. I soon crossed over the rather precarious footbridge over the latter, which I'd missed earlier & followed a faint, grassy wee path back tae my steed.

I biked in low gear back up the wet, auld overgrown track tae the brand, spanking new wan, where I turned right & soon reached a bridge over the impressive, swollen, raging torrent of the River Mallie. I made good progress at first up the fairly gentle , well surfaced track over the far bank.

The track turned sharp left over the bridge, leading up the glen, not far above the river. It began to climb more steeply after a mile or so, as it rose up the lower southern flank of Mullach na Briobaig, the western top on the long ridge leading up to my still distant objective.

Across the river were the fine old Scots Pines of An t-Seann Fhrith, on the lower northern flanks of the Corbett Beinn Bhan, a remnant of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest. The track levelled out again at a much smaller wood, with a few large pines, which gave a brief respite fae the wind & rain into which I was headed.

Down below the floor of the glen & river, widened out above the narrows of the Eas Bhuidhe rapids. Beyond this stretch, known as Croit an t-Seann Duine [any translation welcome], the track dropped back down to the river, after a relatively level mile or so, passing an ATV track heading up the hillside en-route.

Here the track rapidly deteriorated, as a short, flat grassy stretch led between old dry stane walled enclosures to the ruins of Glenmallie cottage. Here I stopped for a breather & tethered mine steed tae a handy auld iron fence post.

I was pleased to see it had only taken me an hour since the bothy & was happy to see some shafts of watery sunlight up the glen, with the cone shaped Corbett Meall a' Phubuill making an appearance through the mist, up Gleann a' Cham Dhoire.

Given the wind & rain I thought I'd continue on foot up Glen Mallie, rather than scale the steep, craggy flank rising straight above up to Druim na Guibhsaich, the mid section of the long east ridge of my objective. There were wooden sleeper bridges along the auld track, over the many wee burns cascading down the hillside.

I soon passed a sagging wooden bridge stretched over the raging rapids of the River Mallie on my left, relieved that I didn't have to cross it to reach Gleann a' Cham Dhoire, which forked leftwards from the confluence nearby. Another mile or so led along beside an awesome succession of falls & rapids, which I snapped with my ailing el cheapo disposable camera.

This was clearly not enjoying the rain, it taking longer & longer to wind on, 'til it finally gave up the ghost. At length I reached a fine old walled enclosure, stretching a few hundred yards up the steepening hillside. Around it the improved grassland was much greener than the surrounding bog & I cursed the camera as it was lit up by shafts of bright May sunlight.

Over to the left of the Allt an Ruighe Mhoir, the burn named after the enclosure, the steep hillside seemed devoid of the broken crags, which had formed a barrier along most of the north side of the glen thus far. The crest of the ridge above also appeared to be dropping, as it led west towards the col with the mist shrouded Munro, Gulvain.

The rain, which had briefly relented threatened to return with a vengeance, as I could see dark lowering clouds approaching fae the SW, over the low col with Gleann Fionnlighe. Several small herds of Red Deer traversed the steep hillside above below half height fae right tae left, seeming in nae hurry, with long pauses en-route.

I kept well to the left of the parallel streams draining fae the very steep headwall of Ciore nam Fuaran, tucked into the south flank of the summit slopes. Lower down, over to my right, there were some sizeable scattered broad leaved trees, most probably oak.

The grass was slightly tussocky but gave fairly good going, despite the high angle. This improved further, the grass shortening, as I turned rightwards above a high flat col with an unnamed western top. Here I entered the mist but not before getting a good view north & NW, where the weather was evidently brighter, Gairich & Sgurr Mor being in the clear.

The angle rapidly eased towards the summit, which was adorned with a very small cairn, although I thought the ground a few yards to it's south was slightly higher. The mist enveloped summit was gained at the ridiculously early hour of only 3.10pm & I reflected that had I stayed in my bed, catching the 9am bus as planned, I would no doubt have enjoyed glorious evening sunshine...

As it was, with no view & cool, rain bearing stiff wind, there was little temptation tae linger and I sloped off eastwards, doon the broad, gentle slopes of Carn a Chaisteil [translation also welcome]. At first there was a wee grassy path, then even a wee grassy track but I soon lost both as the ridge broadened & levelled out further.

I traversed left, closer to the edge of Coire nan Geur-oirean, as I emerged fae the mist, tae get a peek over towards the rocky ridge of Monadh Ceann Lochairceig. This I would have had to traverse had I attempted the much shorter but more challenging approach fae Strathan at the head of Loch Arkaig.

With the rivers in spate this would only have been possible if the twa key bridges, low down on the Allt Camgharaidh & WNW of Kinlocharkaig were still serviceable. The threatened rain now blew in on the strong wind & the way ahead towards Druim na Guibhsaich looked slow going with peak hags.

Thus I took a last look over Loch Arkaig towards Simon P's novel short southern approach to a most exciting pair o' Grahams, then turned south, opting tae bail out, exit stage right. The ground soon dropped away sharply & to avoid hitting the bands of scattered broken crags I'd seen fae below, I turned right again to traverse down towards a grassy wee subsidiary ridge.

I passed below an upper band of broken crags, where I could see further right towards the cascades of a wee stream to the east of the Allt an Ruighe Mhoir, close to my ROA. The rain had now ceased & as the sun came out I stopped to admire the view, whilst scoffing a can o' sardines.

I carefully made my way slowly down a very steep wee spur, dropping into the open oakwood, disturbing another wee herd of Red Deer. By now I could see the old enclosure of Ruighe Mor, just a few hundred yards up the glen. I crossed a wee tributary between cascades on a wee deer track, thence traversing further right, the larger stream below the cascades I'd seen fae above.

Further down to the left I joined a larger deer track which descended more gradually, then cut off right towards the track of my ROA. The water level in the cascades of the River Mallie seemed to have dropped considerably over the past 2 or 3 hours since I'd last passed them earlier on my way up the glen.

For the first time all day the mist cleared briefly off the steep pyramid of Gulvain up beyond the head of the glen. Half an hour took me back to my faithful steed at the ruins of Glenmallie cottage. Another half an hour of exhilarating descent, following an easy initial wee climb, took me back tae the bothy.

At one point I raced past the white bike helmet of a fellow traveller, although I was going too fast to see if their skull was still held within. Back at the bothy at only 5.30pm, I tethered my steed & set off down to the shore of Loch Arkaig, doon a wee grassy path, alongside the River Mallie tae gather some wood.

This proved quick & easy, as there were several dead wee trees, which were rotten & easily snapped off near the base. A couple of loads later, including a half burnt log fae an outside circular fireplace of rocks & I soon had a roaring fire in the hearth. This was aided by a few of the firelighters, although the wood was surprisingly dry in the main.

I made good use of wan o' the saws & had the fire going well for over 4 hours, eventually succumbing to the temptation of a couple o' Tennants Lagers. The bothy book only covered the past 2 months but having left my novel 'Bad Luck & Trouble', on the Inverness bus, I was disappointed to find not one account involving any hill climbing!

Other than someone who'd canoed across the loch & another who'd biked in fae The Fort, the entries were almost entirely fae party goers, concerning such fascinating info. as how many cans they'd imbibed. There were also some by others who's arrived in the aftermath, detailing their efforts to clear up the mess left behind by the aforementioned bright sparks.

A guy fae Canada had left some Maple Syrup bars & someone else had left teabags, which I located after tiring of the lager & wishing for a cuppa. I managed to lose half a panful of water in the fire when a stick collapsed under it but still had enough for a mug. In the morning I even discovered a stock of milk powder, better late than never?

I awoke at six to the sound of heavy rain beating on the roof & left at 7.20am after it had slackened off. I watched the 8.30am bus as it sped past above the Commando Monument over an hour later, then had a 2hr wait for the next one, just a mile doon the A82 road in Spean Bridge.

I spent sometime wrapping up my steed in the black bags supplemented by a karrimat overcoat, whilst waiting up the hill at the rail station. However, I needn't have bothered as the bus was a Stagecoach, who apparently don't suffer the same paranoia as Citylink! Exclamation Rolling Eyes
Posts: 378
Joined: Jan 10, 2011

Yon watery photos.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:16 pm

Herebe, by popular demand [Squiz et SP&FC], at vast expense [power o' the supermarket - didnae manage tae drive 'em doon on price at aa]... yon watery photos.

Posts: 378
Joined: Jan 10, 2011

Re: Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean fae Invermallie bothy.

Postby captainslow » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:30 am

The only report on here of this hill!

And it was more meaty, not sure how you remember it all :clap:
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