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An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness


Postby Beaner001 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 11/10/2014

Time taken: 26 hours

Distance: 25 km

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It had been over two months since I’d been near any hills so this was either going to go one of two ways, dipping my toes in on an easier type route or straight back into the deep end with a dive bomb. The latter won out. The chosen opponent was An Teallach and what a fine adversary they were to be. The team composed of me, Craig, Stuart and the Springers Roy & Lochy. Craig had called ahead to ask if the Shenevall Bothy would be free for the Saturday night, the game keepers wife called him back to thank him for asking and that yes we could use it. Boost, meant we did not have to carry tents.
Craig and Stuart drove up to Dundonnell on the Friday night while I opted for an early start on Saturday morning, leaving home at 5am. I had packed the car the night before luckily as the dogs sensed something was up and they were flying all night and when I went down in the morning they were still up to high doe. Nice quiet drive up to Elgin where I stopped at the 24hour McD’s for a coffee. Let the dogs out to stretch their legs then on my way again to Dundonnell for 8.25am.

Met the lads and we packed our bags.
The chosen equipment for the overnighter was: IPhone 4S, Garmin GPS, Map, Compass, 2 pairs gloves, hat, T-shirt, soft shell jacket, waterproof jacket, walking troosers, water proof breeks, sleeping bag, emergency medical kit, foil blanket, pot noodle, Boil in the bag Chicken Tikka, 2 x sandwich, 1 x bag of crisps, haribo sweets, m&m’s, spork, fire lighters and matches, 3L of water in the platypus, 2 x bottles Lucozade, 3 x pork pies. The other two had the kettle and burner in with their stuff as well as the 2 x bottles of Whisky (for medicinal purposes).
For the dogs: 2 x dog harnesses, 2 x collars, 2 x small cat bells for alerting unsuspecting victims (got idea from Electricfly, cheers), 2 x leads, one joining lead, 6 x dog food pouches, 2 x pigs ears, unknown amount of gravy bone biccies, 1 x dog bowl.

We decided on an anti-clockwise route starting from the car park beside the Mountain Rescue building, parked one car here and another at Corrie Hallie.

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The day started by crossing the road heading to the right of two log cabins through the shrubs and over a wee stream and then the path starts up the hill. We saw lots of stags going around so I kept the mutts on the lead for now. We decided on the path to the right up to Meall Garbh.
photo 1.JPG
Me and the Mutts (carrying a bit of post wedding weight)

We got great views back to Little Loch Broom and the surrounding hills and wilderness.
photo 3.JPG
Stuart overlooking Little Loch Broom

photo 4.JPG
Craig looking a bit tired (already)

photo 7.JPG
Dugs smelling the deer that were going about

This initial climb on the path was taking its toll on us as none of us had been out on the hills for a while; although once the second wind came it was fine. We reached Meall Garbh and had a rest and noticed two people whom were in the car park and left after us on the lower route to the left which follows the stream up were actually ahead of us, we wondered if that route was quicker?
photo 8.JPG
Looking up to Sron a' Choire

Anyway they got to the top before us and maybe they were just faster walkers. The next section was an easy walk along to skirt the edge of Sron a’ Choire and head South East up the lower path to the top of Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill.
photo 10.JPG
Looking up to Bidein a' Ghlas from Sron a' Choire

The reason was I noticed sheep higher and did not want the dogs chasing them so we stuck to the lower route rather than the ridge up.
photo 12.JPG
Spot the Springers on Bidein a' Ghlas

We made the top and met the couple from earlier. They were from Bonar Bridge. We got a few snaps and had the first bit of lunch.
photo 13.JPG
Summit with Roy, the other one was seeking out food

photo 14.JPG
Lochy appeared in time for a summit photo

The mist was up so no real views, however it did open up now and again so we caught sight of the col between here and the next Munro. We set off for Sgurr Fiona but stopped on the col for a few photos as the mist dropped and we got the great views of the An Teallach Pinnacles, they would look supreme in any weather.
photo 17.JPG
Me & Mutts on the Bealach between two Munros

photo 19.JPG
Craig, Roys expression is priceless

The mist dropped again so we carried on our journey along to the next summit. The ground was really rocky but the dog’s pads were holding out, during the week I do a lot of pavement walking with them so the pads are quite hard, I was worried they’d crack a nail (I know this seems ridiculous but it can be quite sore for a dog and bleed like running water). The route up to Fiona was quite steep but if you pick your way carefully no scrambling is required, however you may need a head for heights but due to the mist we did not get that feeling today. Reached the summit and three guys from Napier University Walking Club were already there, they were missing around five of their group, when the mist broke for a second we noticed a couple of guys coming over Lord Berkley’s Seat but they never appeared. We stayed on the summit about fifteen minutes getting our bearings as the mist made everyone on the summit doubt what they were seeing etc. Hope they all got down ok, I think a few of them must have realised the extremity of the pinnacles and opted out, no shame in that, it’s not for everyone. We took our bearing off the summit and headed south, we planned on heading down to a waterfall described in Superman Fallons website then onto Shenevall. However this did not go to plan and we ended up on the bypass routes and went too far meaning we dropped into one of the gullies.
photo 20.JPG
Boys on the Bypass

photo 22.JPG
Mist making views bad, or good if your feart of heights

photo 24.JPG
Stuart & Dogs prior to the Gully

photo 25.JPG
Stuart and Roy making way down the crest of a ridge, our destination below

This was hard work and took a couple of hours; we made poor time due to the terrain. Our main thought at this time was not wanting to set any rocks off down the gully therefore stayed together so if we did we’d not hit each other, the dogs were great and behaved impeccably, staying in close. One incident of note that almost ended in tears though; we had to lower the dogs down a wee section of about 2 meters of rock by their harnesses. Roy down fine, next it was Lochy’s turn. He was beside me and decided he’d rather try himself, he jumped but caught his paw in the heather which turned him sideways, luckily Stuart was below and caught him as he would have landed on his side and probably catapulted down the gully, best case scenario a couple of broken bones. Phew. Little bugger has always had a bit of Evil Knieval in him, he once jumped off a twelve foot wall and landed and ran on like nothing had happened. Once out of the gully the terrain became somewhat worse, slippy grass and heather, not as steep but still meant you had to be on it 100%.
photo 26.JPG
Our route off, looks horrendous from below

We were glad to reach the fenced off section before the waterfall, we did not feel like climbing deer fence and no stiles were available so we shot under the gaps where the water ran through. The waterfall was beautiful, and the views into Fisherfield and Loch na Sealga were tremendous. I can’t wait to visit Fisherfield, although I am dreading the walk out!!
photo 27.JPG
Dogs pleased with their days work

Once passed the waterfall the terrain was still hard, long grassy clumps with random holes everywhere, we jarred our knees, went over ankles and fell into the grass more times than I can count. Craig was threatening to strip off and do his Baywatch impression into the loch when we got there but he didn’t have the energy, thank god. We noticed two people coming down behind us except to the West of the Allt a’ Ghambria, the correct side!! We wondered if we’d have company in the Bothy tonight. Making the path to the bothy felt great, but still a couple of clicks to go. The mist made it seem darker than it was and we made the bothy by 4pm. Nobody home so we had the place to ourselves.
photo 29.JPG
back at the Shenevall Bothy

Plenty firewood and peat lying about which was a nice result. Fed the dogs them got the kettle on and had a pot noodle and then made a fire. The other couple then came in and they were planning on heading straight out, however it was no raining hard so we advised against it and they should stay in the bothy till daylight. They decided to go for it but returned after 20 minutes as their torches were out of battery and rain got too bad. We gave them some water and food and then we cracked open the Whisky.
photo 30.JPG
Stuart enjoying a swig of Talisker

Had a good night with some tunes playing on the iPod and good crack reading the Bothy book, we all had a laugh at this particularly cheeky/ironic comment:
photo 31.JPG
Ironic to call a Marine a coward....

photo 33.JPG
Tired dogs

photo 32.JPG
Finished Whisky bottles

Went off to bed around 10 and got a broken night’s sleep, this was partly due to the dogs being restless as they knew outside there was some sort of deer convention, when I took them out for a comfort break the noise those horny beasts were making was incredible. Shining the torch into the abyss and all you could see were eyes looking back at you, jeeper’s creepers we shot back into the bothy like a rat up a drainpipe. Craig, whom like us had taken much Whisky tried to get out the bothy window for a pee during the night, haha. What goes through the tired, boozy mind?
photo 34.JPG
Morning after the day before

We rose at 7am and got our kit together for the outward journey, we decided to take the path all the way to Cnoc nan Righreon where we’d meet the Land rover track outward, and we didn’t fancy the Stalkers path over the edge of Sail Liath. The outward journey was not the best; my phone had run out of battery so no photos but got great views into Fisherfield. The land rover track was easy going however all that is on your mind is having a bike or catching a lift with a group of stalkers, neither of which happened. We got back to the car knackered, but pleased with the way the weekend turned out.
photo 35.JPG
Back at the car

After a night of reflection we are all planning the usual winter weekend we have had the last couple of years, 2 years ago Bidean nam Bian, last year the AE Ridge and this year???? Any suggestions? We like a good scoof in the Clachaig so it’ll need to be near there!! BTW Talisker 10 year is a very fine Whisky indeed.
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Beaner001
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:20 pm

Really enjoyed your report ...great descriptions and photos :clap: ...made me chuckle hearing stories about your dogs .....dropping off a 12 ft wall and running off ...crazy Springers! sounds like a lucky escape with the gorge :? I've one myself, but thank goodness she's calmed down now (mind you she is 13!) ! :lol:
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:51 pm

Great report, enjoyed reading it :clap: :clap:
Great to see dogs that are looked after & enjoying the hills, no better exercise :wink:
Thanks for posting 8)
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby martin.h » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:15 am

Great report Matthew, that looked like an enjoyable outing, :D can't think of a better way to walk the dogs even if they do give you one or two heart stopping moments. :shock:
We're hoping to give An Teallach a go in 2015, it's one I've wanted to do for years, I'm not sure about the pinnacles tho', I've done the Aonach Eagach but that was a good few years ago when I was a bit more flexible :lol:
Thanks for sharing.
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby litljortindan » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:07 pm

Love the pictures of the dogs. Did something like your descent route in the dark way back in 1995.
First trip to Shenavall was in 1992 when torches failed in the rainy night, we lost the path in from Corriehallie and ended up in sleeping bags on the grass above the crags before the bothy. Warm enough though.
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby dogplodder » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:59 pm

Well done those dogs and well done humans for surviving a night in bothy with said dogs agitating to get out after the deer! :clap: Shame you didn't get the views but sounds like quite an adventure without them... :D
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Silverhill » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:46 pm

A great adventure, doing this hill in the mist with 2 dogs and a big pack! That descent sounds like hard work…. I love the picture of the morning after the day before! 8)
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:11 pm

What a return to the hills, well done to the whole team :clap: :clap:
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Beaner001 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:42 am

SAVAGEALICE wrote:Really enjoyed your report ...great descriptions and photos :clap: ...made me chuckle hearing stories about your dogs .....dropping off a 12 ft wall and running off ...crazy Springers! sounds like a lucky escape with the gorge :? I've one myself, but thank goodness she's calmed down now (mind you she is 13!) ! :lol:

Yep, you could write a book on their escapades! It can be draining then they do something that reminds you why you love them :D

Fife Flyer wrote:Great report, enjoyed reading it :clap: :clap:
Great to see dogs that are looked after & enjoying the hills, no better exercise :wink:
Thanks for posting 8)

Thanks FF, the problem with the hills is the fitter they get the more they want and they get fitter quicker than me meaning i am struggling to keep up most of the time :lol:

martin.h wrote:Great report Matthew, that looked like an enjoyable outing, :D can't think of a better way to walk the dogs even if they do give you one or two heart stopping moments. :shock:
We're hoping to give An Teallach a go in 2015, it's one I've wanted to do for years, I'm not sure about the pinnacles tho', I've done the Aonach Eagach but that was a good few years ago when I was a bit more flexible :lol:
Thanks for sharing.

I'd like to go back for the pinnacles but in better weather and no dogs. Although my list of returns is as big as the list of hills i've actually done. We'll see. Good to hear from you Marts, thanks and take care.

litljortindan wrote:Love the pictures of the dogs. Did something like your descent route in the dark way back in 1995.
First trip to Shenavall was in 1992 when torches failed in the rainy night, we lost the path in from Corriehallie and ended up in sleeping bags on the grass above the crags before the bothy. Warm enough though.

Thanks litljortindan, that sounds like some adventure, i found the bothy quite comfy, well better than sleeping int he heather :lol:

dogplodder wrote:Well done those dogs and well done humans for surviving a night in bothy with said dogs agitating to get out after the deer! :clap: Shame you didn't get the views but sounds like quite an adventure without them... :D

Cheers DP, It is up there in the top few of hill adventures i've had I must admit. The dogs were a tad tired on Monday but back to their usual demanding selves yesterday. No rest for the wicked :shock: :lol:

Silverhill wrote:A great adventure, doing this hill in the mist with 2 dogs and a big pack! That descent sounds like hard work…. I love the picture of the morning after the day before! 8)

Hi Silverhill, my whole body was feeeling it on Mon/Tues from the soles of my feet to my shoulders but been stretching and take fish oil tablets and feel back to normal today. Already planning a wee scout soemwhere this weekend, maybe not the hills but something of note. Cheers

Huff_n_Puff wrote:What a return to the hills, well done to the whole team :clap: :clap:

All or nothing Liz :lol: :lol: Thanks
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:38 am

Great read!!
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Beaner001 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:52 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Great read!!

Thanks Alteknacker, the adventure was better than I can convey in words. Cheers.
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:02 am

Wow, that was quite an adventure. I can't believe you carried TWO bottles of whisky all over An Teallach and down that ridge ... :crazy: (Hope it was worth it!)
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Re: An Teallach & Shenevall - Skirting the Great Wilderness

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:49 am

AnnieMacD wrote:Wow, that was quite an adventure. I can't believe you carried TWO bottles of whisky all over An Teallach and down that ridge ... :crazy: (Hope it was worth it!)


Haha, yeah i suppose it was, it was agony carrying out the two empty bottles as well as a black bag of rubbish, especially while Craig nursed a fairly sufficient hangover!! :lol: :lol:
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