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Maoile Lunndaidh - Watch out for the cows!

Maoile Lunndaidh - Watch out for the cows!


Postby Emmanuelle » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:20 pm

Munros included on this walk: Maoile Lunndaidh

Date walked: 23/08/2014

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 26 km

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I was walking with my usual walking partner, Alan. We set off on our bikes at 9.35am. We knew the track (as we camped at the Pollan Buidhe in June ), so all we needed to know was where to cycle to. I had already prepared a route and thought we should cycle to Glenuaig Lodge, a 9km trip. A tough cycle, with a long steep climb to the watershed, without any opportunity for warming up. We cycled to the plantation which is where the Walkhighlands description suggests we start the climb. I favoured continuing to the lodge as from the plantation we would have to walk over a knoll in fairly boggy and rough terrain and I didn't fancy it at all. It just looked like a lot of hard work from the vantage point of my saddle, even though my rucksack was digging into my spine. We agreed that we should 'attack' the hill from the lodge and so cycled on. There we met a guy outside the shelter (which has room for two, electricity and heating!) who almost proceeded to tell us how to get up the hill (unbidden). Initially I thought he was local and knew a nifty way but I realised he was making it up. So I took my compass out and took a bearing to signal we'd find our own way up. However he had a very nice and professional looking pair of binoculars (no sniggering at the back :lol: ). Neither of us fancied tackling the buttress which appears to be the usual route up. It seemed steep but also as there was no path that we could discern. My legs were still a wee bitty tired from the previous day's effort! So we chose a different approach. I borrowed the binoculars (yes, you!) and figured that going up the western corrie to the top of the burn would make for a marginally easier ascent. We would then veer north east/left diagonally towards Carn nam Fiaclan . This proved an excellent choice. So we hurled ourselves across the bit of bog and headed to a footbridge which we knew nothing about until the man with the binoculars mentioned it. We had to stick to the right of the herd of cows - yes, cows. Bear the cows in mind.
We found the footbridge and started walking up the western bank of the burn. The sun came out as we started the ascent proper and it was almost too warm! After a pretty fast climb we soon crossed the burn easily high up in the corrie. Then we headed up towards the Fiaclan. I had estimated we would reach the true summit by 3pm but we were well ahead of that. After a lunch break, we headed for the cairn and enjoyed the views. The cloud base was high so we had 360 degree views. We then walked east towards the next cairn (Creag Toll a'Choin) and admired the beautiful corrie with its suspended lochans. It's very complex and wild. We also wandered towards the eastern corrie and admired its basin shape, wondering what glacier had carved such a regular shape (I got confirmation later, at the British Festival of Science, from the coordinator of the Geology Section that it was indeed a basin carved out by a glacier. The scree deposited on the slopes would be splinters which would have become detached from the rocks weakened by the disappearance of the ice).
From there we walked on to the summit. The views were stunning. We could discern part of the Cuillin ridge in the gap between Sgurr na Chaorachrain and Bidean an Eoin Dearg, An Teallach to the north, with the Fisherfield hills to its west, the Fannaichs, the Coulin Hills and Beinn Eighe. I think I made out Ladhar Bheinn to the SW. Brilliant. We headed for the bealach and walked down the fairly easy north ridge of Maoile Lunndaidh. At the bealach we headed diagonally (West) to the edge of the spur which looks over the Fuar Thoill Mor (rather than stay close to stream) . We decided to descend north, avoiding the crags which abruptly arrest the spur. We picked our way down towards the floor of the glen and soon met up the path which came from further up the burn. We forded the Allt, then the Am Crom-allt and headed for the ruins for a snack and to enjoy the warm sunshine. We then rejoined track which leads to the Lodge. The man with the binoculars was still there, so we had a chat with him, as well as a couple and their dog who had followed in our footsteps for some of our route, and collected our bikes.
The couple cycled off before us and got the better deal. Indeed the herd of cows had decided to go for their evening amble and what better and more comfortable way to do it than to use the track. By the time we caught up with them, at the plantation, they had strayed onto the track and there was no way we could get past them. So we had to follow them for the next 4km before they deigned move aside, just before the long climb to the watershed. They were quite nervous at first, some of the adults turning around and looking at us meaningfully (ie don't mess with the calves or else) for the first km. Then they simply ignored us and kept their own deliberate pace. Sometimes they taunted us by stopping or one would move to the side. We thought our bid for freedom was near. But no, largely the others ignored the individualistic cow and it would return to the fold. Thankfully, the weather was lovely. The sun was fairly warm and lighting the whole glen with a nice warm glow. As there was no way past them, we could only bide our time. suddenly, just before the works for the hydro generator came into view, in the wide sweep of the bend, they paused and moved aside. It seems they had found their spot for the night. So Alan and I pedalled frenetically away in case they changed their minds. They didn't and we made it back to the car, freewheeling back to the bridge in a jiffy! Whatever time we had gained by cycling out was almost all lost on the return but the freewheeling made up for it all...

2014-08-24 13.59.40 copy.jpg
Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor

2014-08-24 14.54.17 copy.jpg
Carn nam Fiaclan cairn
2014-08-24 15.18.25 copy.jpg
Sgurr a'Chaorachain and Bidean an Eoin Deirg

2014-08-24 15.21.00.jpg
East facing corrie, scoured by ice a very long time ago
2014-08-24 15.31.46.jpg
Summit cairn
2014-08-24 17.24.32 copy.jpg
the ruins
2014-08-24 17.24.47 copy.jpg
Looking back up towards the summit
2014-08-24 17.10.52 copy.jpg
Looking east down the glen
2014-08-24 19.13.31 copy.jpg
Sunset walk
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Emmanuelle
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Re: Maoile Lunndaidh - Watch out for the cows!

Postby dogplodder » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:39 am

This one's on my short list but without aid of wheels so still trying to persuade some willing soul to come with me! Had a similar cow situation when too tired to do a detour round them so adopted farmer mode and told them to get out of the way while walking confidently towards them - and amazingly they did. :wink:
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dogplodder
 
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Re: Maoile Lunndaidh - Watch out for the cows!

Postby Emmanuelle » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:26 pm

Yes, we tried that too but it didn't work! A couple of the larger cows kept turning around and staring us down, so we just complied :lol:
Emmanuelle
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 142
Munros:282   Corbetts:43
Grahams:2   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:4   
Joined: May 1, 2013

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