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Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals


Postby Gordie12 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:58 pm

Route description: Beinn Dearg - the Four Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean

Date walked: 12/09/2014

Time taken: 9.9 hours

Distance: 29.7 km

Ascent: 1665m

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My Munro map shows my focus on the Grampians, Perthshire and Angus with only the odd trip further afield but new hills are hard to find now and the time has arrived to head further afield.

So, where to start?? As always, I've read loads of reports on this site and the one that has always stuck in my mind was Huff_n_Puff's day out at Beinn Dearg in July. Decision taken, alarm set for 4am and on the road by 4.40am. Heading through Blairgowrie I took a short cut on to the Glenshee road so I could take the road from Bridge of Cally over to Pitlochry. Arrived in Bridge of Cally, road closed for overnight repairs :shock: :shock:

So after a wasted twenty five minutes I was back in Blairgowrie and heading over to Dunkeld to pick up the A9. Decent journey up the road thereafter, in and out of fog but I was lucky that when I got to the car park (or should I say when I fired past it at 60mph) the mist had cleared and it was a beautiful if hazy morning.

Once booted, I set the Garmin - 57ft above sea level :shock: - no Ben Lawers car park start today!

I was walking by 8.30am, leaving the large car park and heading for the telephone kiosk and then picking up the track heading towards the woods. The first couple of miles are straight forward, a gentle incline on a wide forestry track. After crossing a river the track continues to climb slowly, passing a stone walled enclosure at Glensguaib and then a further half a mile later passing through a gate on to the open hill. The track narrows now and is more of a stalkers path with the incline still being easy as it climbs slowly through Gleann na Sguaib with the River Lael down below me on my right hand side.

2.jpg
Looking back towards the start having left the woods behind


3.jpg
Beinn Dearg ahead


The first couple of hours were directly in to the low sun so not much chance to photograph the route ahead. There wasn't even the hint of a breeze, completely still and very warm - short sleeves all day.

I was watching for the cairn marking the track where the path split and as I was doing Beinn Dearg first I took the right hand option and continued to gently climb. The path gets close to Coire Mathair Lathail and it has some great little waterfalls.

4.jpg
Looking back down Gleann na Sguaib


5.jpg
Coire Mathair Lathail


6.jpg
Waterfall


The track crosses the Coire Mathair Lathail and the incline steepens but is still easy walking. It doesn't take long to reach Lochan Lathail which is just a great spot, enclosed by the steep slopes of both Beinn Dearg and Meall nan Ceapraichean it's worth the walk to here even if going no further.

7.jpg
Lochan Lathail


The section after the lochan looks like it will be difficult but the zig-zag path takes a lot of the pain out of it and before long I was on the bealach where I could also now see Cona' Mheall.

8.jpg
Small lochans before the bealach


9.jpg
Target 3 - Meall nan Ceapraichean


There is now a good view of the famine wall and the climb ahead up the shoulder of Beinn Dearg and boy does it look steep :shock:

10.jpg
Beinn Dearg


Having reached the bealach I had been hoping for a breeze to cool me down but it was still flat calm even on more exposed ground so it looked like it would be a warm and long day.

The climb up Beinn Dearg was tough, I always seem to suffer far more when there is no breeze to cool me down and today was no different so it was a slow plod following the wall till it veered off towards Creag a' Choire Ghranda.

11.jpg
Looking over towards Meall nan Ceapraichean


12.jpg
Famine wall heading off in to the distance


Leaving the wall behind the gradient eased and it was a gentle if slow wander over to the summit.

13.jpg
Beinn Dearg summit


The haze meant there were no views to be had, it was a great day, warm and sometimes sunny but no distant hills to be seen.

Heading back down Beinn Dearg some care was needed on the steeper sections. A couple of deer on the far side of the wall didn't seem bothered by my presence. I was telling them that in 3 days time if someone pointed something at them it would probably be a gun but I'm not sure they were listening to me.

14.jpg


15.jpg
Loads of frogs around today


Once back at Bealach an Lochain Uaine the walk over to Cona' Mheall is straight forward, dropping down to the 813m point on the map then a stalkers track heads up the wide slope.

16.jpg
Cona' Mheall


I kept well to the right on the ascent so I could pick up the ridge line and have a look over at Loch na Still and Loch Prille on the way up. My legs are feeling a bit better now after a difficult climb up Beinn Dearg. The summit views again are disappointing due to the haze.

17.jpg
Cona' Mheall summit


18.jpg
There are two (or maybe three) Ptarmigan in this photo - can you see them?


Back down at the 813m point my next target was Meall nan Ceapraichean.

19.jpg
The deer around here seem very laid back


The walk to the base of the climb was harder than the climb itself which was pretty straight forward. I kept close to the ridge line higher up to appreciate the views down in to Gleann na Sguaib.

20.jpg
Looking towards the summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean


21.jpg
Summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean looking over to Beinn Dearg


Three down, one to go. I headed over Ceann Garbh and to be honest took a line down the rocky slope too close to Lochan a' Chnapaich. I should have headed further east towards Ceann Garbh Meall nan Ceapraichean before dropping down to the bealach but I was committed to the descent so went for it. It was a bit more exciting than I would have liked, the boulders were wet, the ground was just mud that couldn't be relied on and care was needed with every slow step. On finally getting down to the bealach and looking back at the descent I was relieved I was down but it was a daft mistake as it was obvious from the map that the further east you go the easier it is.

The climb up Eididh nan Clach Geala was straight forward. The slopes are grassy and the gradient isn't too steep, higher up I found myself on a narrow track and followed it to the summit.

22.jpg
Summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala


It was now 4pm, the sun was out and the views were improving. I could see Ullapool in the distance down Loch Broom and some of the more distant hills were starting to appear. The WH route suggests heading 1 kilometre west off the summit before dropping steeply south to pick up the stalkers path coming down from Loch a Chnapaich but I preferred the option of dropping more steeply down towards the loch as it looked like a really good spot so I headed off down the grassy slope and then taking a route down the grassy slope which would bring me out a couple of hundred yards down from the loch. The descent was steep but after the descent of Ceann Garbh it was straight forward.

23.jpg
Lochan a' Chnapaich


There is a good stalkers path to follow from the loch back to the track through Gleann na Sguaib so navigation issues were over for the day. The later in the day, the better the visibility so it was a fantastic walk back to Gleann na Sguaib and then back down the glen to the start.

24.jpg
Meall nan Ceapraichean on the left and Beinn Dearg to the right


25.jpg
Cairn where the paths split


The legs were a bit weary on the descent and I was pleased when I got back to the woods and on the forestry track where I could pick up some pace back to the car park.

26.jpg
Loch Broom with the light just starting to fade


Time wise, it was 5 minutes under 10hrs - 8hrs 20mins on the move and 1hr 35mins catching breath, taking photos and eating grub. I was reading about deer ked on other threads recently and I encountered them for the first time ever today - boy they are ugly! Not too many of them but they aren't easy to flick off your arms.

Great day, great place even if I didn't get the views I've seen in other reports. Didn't see another soul all day but there was another car in the car park when I got back so someone else must have been out and about.
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Gordie12
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:30 pm

Lovely report - shame you didn't get the clear air for good views - these northern hills are wonderful. Loved the photo of the Ptarmigan, so far I've spotted one (I think) and 1 perhaps - great camouflage :lol: Glad to know my account encouraged your trip - that's some early morning drive :clap:
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Silverhill » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:26 pm

These hills look very tasty! And your pictures show their character very well. Good job done on a warm and sticky day like you had. :D I bet all those lochs and waterfalls must have been very tempting.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Beaner001 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:24 pm

We'll done Gordie. I agree you and Huff_n_Puff did a great job for these :clap: enjoyed that report, many thanks for that :clap:
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:39 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Lovely report - shame you didn't get the clear air for good views - these northern hills are wonderful. Loved the photo of the Ptarmigan, so far I've spotted one (I think) and 1 perhaps - great camouflage :lol: Glad to know my account encouraged your trip - that's some early morning drive :clap:


Hi Huff_n_Puff

Looks like I'm going to have to get used to the early starts - to be honest, getting up early to go walking seems so much easier than getting up early to go to work.

There were three Ptarmigan together, I can see two and I'm not sure if the third disappeared outwith the frame or if it's there and I just can't see it.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:45 am

Silverhill wrote:These hills look very tasty! And your pictures show their character very well. Good job done on a warm and sticky day like you had. :D I bet all those lochs and waterfalls must have been very tempting.


Very, very tempting especially on the way back. Although there is plenty water around in the pics there is actually know where to top up supplies after Coire Mathair Lathail before Beinn Dearg until after Lochan a' Chnapaich (reached after Munro 4) so on a warm day I had to be careful not to run out - never easy for me.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:51 am

Beaner001 wrote:We'll done Gordie. I agree you and Huff_n_Puff did a great job for these :clap: enjoyed that report, many thanks for that :clap:


Thanks, and in a sharing caring way I enjoyed your report on Carn Bhac (I took your notes with me in case I got myself lost but it would have been nearly impossible on such a wonderful clear day).
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby rockhopper » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:58 pm

Enjoyed that - good views even if a bit hazy. :thumbup:
Had a good trip up here a few years back but didn't get weather as good as yours - camped just up from Lochan Lathail.
It's not until you're close up that fully realise the extent of the famine wall - cheers :)
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby litljortindan » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:34 pm

Pity about the haze but you still got some good pictures, a good walk and some wildlife. Been in from the west about nine years ago and got a clear Cona Mheal but a cloudy Ben Dearg. Once out of the cloud on Dearg did geta nice view north to Coigach. Might head back up this way next year.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:58 pm

rockhopper wrote:Enjoyed that - good views even if a bit hazy. :thumbup:
Had a good trip up here a few years back but didn't get weather as good as yours - camped just up from Lochan Lathail.
It's not until you're close up that fully realise the extent of the famine wall - cheers :)


Hi rockhopper - what a wonderful place to camp (if the weather was decent).
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:00 pm

litljortindan wrote:Pity about the haze but you still got some good pictures, a good walk and some wildlife. Been in from the west about nine years ago and got a clear Cona Mheal but a cloudy Ben Dearg. Once out of the cloud on Dearg did geta nice view north to Coigach. Might head back up this way next year.


Hi litljortindan - well worth another trip, great place.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:55 pm

Good trip , hoping to circuit these with Seanna Bhraigh and Am Fhaogach with an overnight camp soon as weather allows and before the snow :D
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:09 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Good trip , hoping to circuit these with Seanna Bhraigh and Am Fhaogach with an overnight camp soon as weather allows and before the snow :D


I like your plan!

Was looking at Seanna Bhraigh last night - like the look of that one so definitely a return trip at some time.
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Re: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) & Pals

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:45 pm

Another good report Gordie, you had very similar weather to what we had on Saturday :lol:

The long drives north west are soon going to have to wait till next year, the last thing we want is diversions :lol: :lol:
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