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Mullardoch Round in a day (Part Two)
by ketzster » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:40 am
Route description: The Loch Mullardoch Munros
Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Mullardoch), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Carn Eige, Carn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Mam Sodhail, Mullach nan Dheiragain, Sgurr na Lapaich, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich
Date walked: 01/07/2014
Time taken: 18.35 hours
Distance: 58 km
Ascent: 5003m3 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).
An Socach (Mullardoch) is a very special hill. It easily makes it into my top 10 list. Again we had stunning views out towards Torridon and now we could also see Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich, my favourite munro, rising above Loch Calavie.
From here we were also able to really appreciate how far we had come. Before us we could see the south side of Loch Mullardoch in all it’s glory. We looked back to the first hill, Toll Creagach, which we had been on twelve hours ago,
and followed the ridge along all the way to Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan which now looked miles away.
We paused to take it all in. I don’t think either of us could quite believe what we were doing. Even Dan, who would normally say 'It's Mickey Mouse this Ketz,' said 'Ketz, it's ridiculous isn't it, it's epic.'
On the way up An Socach I had told Dan, “don’t worry, An Riabachan is easy from An Socach. Once we get up here we just have the 300 metres of Sgurr nan Lapaich to worry about and then we are home and dry.”
Unfortunately my lie failed when Dan saw An Riabachan.
He instantly worked out it was a long way. The drop to the Bealach Bholla is roughly 200 metres and the climb back up from there is roughly 300 metres. The ascent up An Riabachan is good fun as it is a nice ridge with a little bit of scrambling if you pick the right route. At this point I was feeling full of energy. Not a fan of boxing but a regular viewer of Sky Sports News, I knew that Carl Froch before his recent fight with Saint George Groves kept talking about the championship rounds. This I believe is where a boxer comes good at the end of a fight. I told Dan I was now entering the mountaineering endurance equivalent. I stormed up hill at full pace, looking back across to the other side of the lake at Carn Eighe and Beinn Fhionnlaidh as I went,
with the spectacular An Socach behind us.
Dan was still struggling, and then suddenly near the top of An Riabachan my energy ran out and my ‘legs went’. Dan of course pointed out that I evidently wasn’t very good in the championship rounds after all. We both struggled along the flattish section that leads to the top. When on the top, the view of the south side hills was the best we got all day.
With Tom a Choinich on the left of the photo, An Socach (number 6) the small hill just to the right of centre and the double topped Sgurr nan Ceathreamnan to the right, we could virtually see our whole route.
To the north we could see across Loch Monar towards Maoile Lunndaidh and further west towards Applecross and the wonderful Corbett Beinn Bhan
We were both desperate now to see the finish line. I dived into my bag for anything I could find to eat
After annihilating the remainder of my Kettle Chips and the rest of the lemon cake, getting back up after sitting on the cairn was hard work.
I had known all along that by doing the route the way we had, that the section from An Riabachan to Sgurr na Lapaich would be the hardest section of the day. Because of the fatigue and the 300m ascent up Sgurr na Lapaich, it was the section I had told Dan the night before that would have him in tears.
As we headed down the narrow ridge of Creagan Toll an Lochain, the 300 metre drop was looking huge and I was looking apprehensive
and Dan behind the camera looked like a ghost. The col wasn’t far from here and we were determined to knock the climb up to the top of Sgurr na Lapaich off as quickly as possible. Once over the bog at the col we eventually found a good path and made excellent progress up the steep slope. Fortunately, as we had hoped, it didn’t take us long to reach the top.
My attention immediately turned towards the grand finale. I couldn’t remember from the first time how far Carn nan Gobhar was from here. My feet were burning terribly and the rocks were starting to hurt as they poked through my trainers. We could see that we still had a long way to go judging by the left hand arm of Toll Creagach which was in view and that we knew led to the dam.
After one final glance back to where we had come from,
we carried on. The descent across massive boulders was hell and especially frustrating as I had missed the path coming down from the top. It took what seemed like forever to lose the 354 metres of height down to the Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe. From here Carn nan Gobhar was a 200m ascent up more rocky ground and again, we both seemed to find this far easier than going down hill. The slope was reasonably gentle and within 25 minutes we had the final top and our goal for the day within our sights.
Dan was totally broken now and not even the sight of the finish line could spark him into life. Quite how he had managed it after his previous 48 hours was a mystery to me. Upon reaching the summit cairn and seeing how far the Mullardoch dam still was from here, he broke down.
Both of us were too exhausted to celebrate too much. We were all too aware that we still had to get down. I had been down the recommended route from Carn nan Gibhar to Mullach na Maoile and off the end of the arm before and absolutely hated it. Instead we headed east towards Creag Dubh and dropped into Coire an t-Sith. Dan was highly unimpressed. It was steep, wet, boggy and there were small cliffs everywhere meaning we had to keep re ascending small sections to get round them. Our feet were soaked from the bog. I kept telling Dan that we would hit a path soon as there was one marked on the map. It took a while, but as promised, the path appeared just after 7pm in the lower coire. By now we were moving pretty fast, virtually running down next to the Allt Mullardoch to the finish. Unfortunately for me I had quite a big slip in the mud to lose the daily falls contest 1-0. This photo was taken to prove I lost, but it also shows the evidence that I had carried my empty Morrison’s Value Bitter can for the whole round
Shortly after this we reached Loch Mullardoch and the final mile of the walk along the lakeside. We reached the car at 8pm and took an end of walk selfie
A stunning 18 hrs and 35 minutes that neither of us will ever forget. I have always said that the hills between Glen Affric and the A890 down Glen Carron are easily the best in Britain and this route confirmed that belief.
Now we need a new challenge!
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by Mountainlove » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:23 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:07 pm
by basscadet » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:28 pm
Blinding effort.. Wow
by gammy leg walker » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:53 pm
by weaselmaster » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:54 pm
5000m ascent - wow!
And doing it that way round with the biggest hills for the last 4.
Well done guys
by Alteknacker » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:51 am
I was really amused at your bivvying theory: alarm? Naaahhh!!! Just be so uncomfortable you can’t sleep, so you’re bound to get up early.
I must say, I’m impressed that you did it with no sleep! It’s a pretty hard round, even with sleep.
I was interested that you took the anti-clockwise route also: for some reason I never gave any thought at all to this and automatically took the clockwise route. As a result, just like you guys, found the 2 ascents either side of Carn Eighe following the run out to Beinn Fhionnlaidh very tough going because it was the end of the day. But the benefit is that Tom and Toll are pretty OK at the end of a long day!
The cloud inversion pic is amazing: I experienced exactly the same phenomenon when I did it (this pic taken from the summit of Carn Nan Ghobar).
My picture was taken with a lousy mobile, but there are some wonderful pics in other WH reports
…some even taken by people on the same day (June 8th 2012).
As for the next challenge, there are some heavy routes around Glen Shiel - eg whole of South Ridge, including the Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine, plus the North Ridge.....
I've looked at that a few times, but it would be a long day...