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Sgurr Mor & Friends

Sgurr Mor & Friends


Postby jupe1407 » Fri May 08, 2015 4:38 pm

Route description: Sgurr Mor and the eastern Fannichs

Munros included on this walk: An Coileachan, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Meall Gorm, Sgurr Mor

Date walked: 04/05/2015

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 23.1 km

Ascent: 1436m

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The first week of May usually heralds a week of annual leave, and a few days away in a bunkhouse somewhere with a few mates climbing the area's hills. Last year, despite some wet weather, we had a great time in Kintail, getting out into the hills pretty much every day. This year, the plan was to head to Fort William first, to tackle Ben Nevis with a few friends, then i'd head up to the Forest Way Bunkhouse near Ullapool for a week.

The weather didn't exactly play ball :lol:

The weekend started as planned, as we tackled the fairly easy Geal Charn (Drumochter) as a warm up on Friday then headed through to the Glen Nevis campsite for the night (a bargain £24 for a 2 man tent pitch). After getting the tent sorted, we headed along to Corpach to demolish a tasty fish supper and admire the views of Ben Nevis.

Nevis-1.jpg
Ben Nevis etc from Corpach


After a ridiculously cold and miserable attempt at sleeping in a tent, we met up with friends before attempting Nevis, getting to around 900m before calling it a day. It was pretty unsafe, with compacted, icy snow on the path, and 40mph+ winds whipping up spindrift on the last few hundred feet to the summit, where the visibility looked poor. We overheard a guide deciding against taking his party up, so quite sensibly headed back down to the Ben Nevis Inn for a welcome coffee. I then had a joyous 2.5 hour drive to Ullapool before finally getting to the Forest Way bunkhouse and settling in.

Sunday's weather was absolutely atrocious so we spend the day in Ullapool, sampling a fine establishment on the seafront, which i think was called The Frigate, before finding an outdoor shop and failing to resist the urge to spend money on waterproofs. Monday looked promising though, and we settled on the Eastern Fannichs.

Morning arrived, and after a conflab with Ian, the very informative and friendly owner of the bunkhouse, decided to head through the "forest" and cut across a few boggy bumps to tackle An Coileachan first, then drop off the last hill to an ATV track, rejoining the outward route in the forest.

W Fannaichs-1.jpg
The Start


Unsurprisingly, the rain started the second we set off to the start point at Torrandhu :lol: This wasn't a disaster though, as it provided a fine test for my newly acquired waterproof jacket which performed superbly. Quickly getting through the forest, we emerged onto the side slopes of Cnap a'Ghiubias Li. It was a complete bogtrot from here until the path was re-joined at Loch Gorm. We stopped here for a quick bite to assess our options.

W Fannaichs-2.jpg
Loch Gorm


W Fannaichs-3.jpg
The route in


W Fannaichs-4.jpg
.... aaaaaaand the route up. *gulp*


A massive cornice blocked the route up to the bealach, so we decided to make a beeline up the steep slopes to the summit. It's only a 340-odd metre ascent, but after very little hill action due to a worryingly persistent knee injury, it was an absolutely calf-burner. I eventually arrived at the summit cairn, before being almost blown off my feet when clambering up to take a photo :lol:

W Fannaichs-5.jpg
An Coileachan Summit


After ducking for cover to have some lunch, we get up and fought the stiff wind to Bealach Ban. It was fierce, cold and causing considerable buffeting. The view towards Sgurr Mor however looked fabulous, if a little daunting.

W Fannaichs-6.jpg
A Distant Sgurr Mor from An Coileachan


We started climbing up to the subsidiary top, and although it's an easy climb, I was feel pretty well stuffed, and not really enjoying things. I resolved to do the second summit and consider my options there. The second summit, Meall Gorm, is a pretty unspectacular bump, and here the wind was at it's most fearsome. I took a very quick couple of photos before the hands turned into blocks of ice.

W Fannaichs-8.jpg
View to the end of the walk


We decided to get a move on, and in descending towards Meall nan Peithirean, we were very relived to get out of the wind. I was beginning to not enjoy things as my fitness felt a mile out and I was really struggling, and Sgurr Mor looked huge. Once arriving at it's slopes however, it didn't seem quite as bad, and i decided to give it a go. I plodded up the bizarre-looking mini-terraces to the top (eventually). The sun came out and the views were breathtaking.

W Fannaichs-2-2.jpg
Wyvis from Sgurr Mor's cairn


W Fannaichs-1-2.jpg
The Western Fannichs


It's incredible the effect of rejuvenation that some sunshine, a good view and a good hill can have. I instantly felt better, although i was now discovered my boots were no longer waterproof. Mindful of cold, wet feet on a cold and windy summit, I left the summit to get down to the next col fairly quickly to get some heat into them. It worked well and i was at the curious stone shelter in no time, enjoying the now stunning views.

The ridgewalk from Meall Gorm to the foot of Sgurr Mor looked pretty special from this angle. In the other direction, the walk to the final summit looked fairly straightforward.

Coileachan to Gorm.jpg


W Fannaichs-4-2.jpg
Route to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich


I also took this shot of Sgurr Mor, a truly magnificent mountain, and surely one of the classic Scottish hills.

W Fannaichs-5-2.jpg
Sgurr Mor


After a good break here, and some faffing around in the shelter, we headed for the final summit, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich. The usual path to the side seemed to involve some thigh deep snow drifts, so we headed up the bouldery face which made for excellent going. We were at the top in no time. The hill itself is fairly average, but the views from it are sensational.

We spent about 45 minutes here taking it all in. I must have stared at An Teallach for ages :lol:

W Fannaichs-10.jpg
An Teallach


W Fannaichs-9-2.jpg
A last look at the epic Sgurr Mor


W Fannaichs-8-2.jpg
Assynt Pano


After our extended break, it was time to face the long tedious descent, initially over decent rocky ground, which then became a final bogtrot until picking up the ATV track on the way back to the forest. On the plus side there were a couple of big snow slopes which were perfect for nice long glissades :lol:

A quick march through the forest in the evening sun, and a truly memorable walk had come to an end.


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Sadly that was it for the week. The weather on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings was dreadful so we chucked it and headed home :(

Still, it's the perfect excuse to return in August 8)
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby BlackPanther » Fri May 08, 2015 6:08 pm

What a change in scenery. We did the very same route two weeks ago (in the opposite direction, up MLMF first), there was next to no snow on the Munros! Lovely to see them in winter conditions for a change!

Loch Gorm is an enchanting spot :D
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 08, 2015 9:16 pm

Fabulous, the clarity of the air on that day is captured superbly in your pictures.
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby PeteR » Sat May 09, 2015 10:50 am

Some great photos JP :clap:

I really enjoyed these 4 the time I did them, although didn't have quite the clear views as you enjoyed, if I remember correctly.
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby dogplodder » Sat May 09, 2015 10:55 am

Fabulous photos! :D
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby jupe1407 » Sat May 09, 2015 12:46 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Fabulous, the clarity of the air on that day is captured superbly in your pictures.


Thanks Mal. It was quite a day, starting in driving rain, through a bog. I though the camera would spend the entire walk stuffed in a drybag, never to emerge :lol:

PeteR wrote:Some great photos JP :clap:

I really enjoyed these 4 the time I did them, although didn't have quite the clear views as you enjoyed, if I remember correctly.


It's a fine round, though I wasn't really enjoying the first two much, mainly due to poor physical condition. Sgurr Mor is a fantastic mountain however, and the panorama from BLMF is quite something. Cheers.

BlackPanther wrote:What a change in scenery. We did the very same route two weeks ago (in the opposite direction, up MLMF first), there was next to no snow on the Munros! Lovely to see them in winter conditions for a change!

Loch Gorm is an enchanting spot :D


It's an awesome place. Such a change in conditions over the last few days though, snow looks good though 8)

dogplodder wrote:Fabulous photos! :D


Thanks very much :D
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby Collaciotach » Sat May 09, 2015 8:49 pm

Superb photos and unlucky with the weather on your other days eh ?

bloody Summer , overrated :wink:
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby Silverhill » Sun May 10, 2015 9:45 pm

At least you had one good day! Love the picture of An Teallach. 8)
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby Beaner001 » Mon May 11, 2015 8:42 am

Cracking report and pics as usual Jupe :clap:
Will come in handy for me as still to do these 4 :D
Cheers
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby kevsbald » Mon May 11, 2015 9:27 am

Some outstanding photos there, Jupe.
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby jupe1407 » Mon May 11, 2015 1:21 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Superb photos and unlucky with the weather on your other days eh ?

bloody Summer , overrated :wink:


What is this "summer" you speak of? :lol:

Beaner001 wrote:Cracking report and pics as usual Jupe :clap:
Will come in handy for me as still to do these 4 :D
Cheers


Thanks mate. They're fine hills indeed. I'd definitely tackle them from the An Coileachean side first. Ascending to BLMF through a seemingly unending bog would be long and tedious. We stayed on the forest track as long as possible and tried to traverse the bumps above the riverside path, which is a mush at the best of times. There are traces of a path higher up, and you eventually converge with the proper route at Loch Gorm.

Sgurr Mor is worth the wait. A truly outstanding mountain. :D

kevsbald wrote:Some outstanding photos there, Jupe.


Thanks Kev. Not seen you since Slioch. How's tricks?
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon May 11, 2015 1:36 pm

Fantastic photos - love the one of An Teallach - classic. Sounds like a good if tough day out.
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon May 11, 2015 4:01 pm

Nice report JP :) . I enjoyed these 4 a few years ago and the walk in the other way wasn't too bad even during a similar spell of weather.

jupe1407 wrote:Sadly that was it for the week. The weather on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings was dreadful so we chucked it and headed home

We had a similar weekend to you but saw the forecast for the rest of the week and headed home to book a last minute trip to Mallorca 8) .
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby jupe1407 » Mon May 11, 2015 5:52 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:Nice report JP :) . I enjoyed these 4 a few years ago and the walk in the other way wasn't too bad even during a similar spell of weather.

jupe1407 wrote:Sadly that was it for the week. The weather on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings was dreadful so we chucked it and headed home

We had a similar weekend to you but saw the forecast for the rest of the week and headed home to book a last minute trip to Mallorca 8) .


Thanks mate. That sounds considerably better than playing Scrabble in a rain-battered bunkhouse :lol:



AnnieMacD wrote:Fantastic photos - love the one of An Teallach - classic. Sounds like a good if tough day out.


Thanks Annie. I struggled a lot for the first half, but good weather and good views do seem to act as a spur :lol:
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Re: Sgurr Mor & Friends

Postby rockhopper » Mon May 11, 2015 8:27 pm

turned out rather nicely in the end - great set of photos as usual :thumbup: - cheers :)
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