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An Teallach - where it all began

An Teallach - where it all began


Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:28 am

Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell

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

Date walked: 25/06/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1438m

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Years ago, whilst on holiday near Ullapool, I came across a book called "Hamish's Mountain Walk". Apparently there were hills called "Munros" and there were hundreds of them, and there was a guy called Hamish Brown who'd done them all in a single epic trip. "Look", I said to my brother-in-law, "there's one near us, it's called an-tellac. Let's do that." And so in our blissful ignorance - we did. It was a searingly hot day, and I was completely knackered and seriously dehydrated by the time we got back to Dundonnell. But it was unforgettable and the next year we went back and did "an-tee-alach" again, but this time starting from the Corrie Hallie car-park.

A working-life passed, a few more Munros got done (mostly in Wester Ross), eventually I learned how to pronounce "An Teallach" correctly, and finally an opportunity arose to do the hill again with my nephew Euan. We chose to start again from Dundonnell largely because my right knee was feeling a bit dodgy so that we could bale after the two summits if needs be. We left one car at Corrie Hallie, and the other at the Dundonnell car-park and were on up the hill by 09.15.

The climb up Meall Garbh is steepish but eventually the gradient eases into pleasant walking on the way up the Coire a' Mhuilinn to the intermediate summit at Sron a' Choire.

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Looking back from Meall Garbh over Little Loch Broom to Badralloch and Beinn Ghobhlach.

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The conical symmetry of Glas Mheall Mor.

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The long trudge up Coire a Mhuilinn towards Sron a Choire

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Final stage of the ascent up the shoulder of Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill with Ghlas Mheall Liath in the background.


I wasn't recording times so I can only estimate that the ascent from Dundonnell to the trig-point at Bidean a'Ghlas Thuill took somewhere between two and a half to three hours. This included many stops for photos and a snack at Sron a' Choire. On a good day such as this, the views are simply stunning ...

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Euan squeezing the last few feet of ascent out of the trig point.

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Looking over to Sgurr Fiona and the main ridge from Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill.

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Ghlas Mheall Liath stretching east from the main massif.

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One of the truly spectacular views in the north-west highlands. The track up to Sgurr Fiona is just about visible.


There's a choice of tracks over to the next summit at Sgurr Fiona: right on the edge, close to the edge, and dead-safe. Although steepish, on a windless day the tracks nearest the edge give fantastic views down into the corrie and Loch Toll an Lochain.

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The best swimming pool in Wester Ross? Loch Toll an Lochain.


The final stages of the climb up to Sgurr Fiona were steep enough to require the occasional use of hands, so the poles had to be stashed. The walk over from the Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill summit to Sgurr Fiona took somewhere in the region of fifty minutes, but this included many stops to be awe-struck.

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Looking back to Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill from Sgurr Fiona.

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Looking on from Sgurr Fiona towards Lord Berkeley's Seat and Corrag Bhuidhe.


After the usual summit rituals we headed off but stopped in our tracks when we realised that Lord Berkeley's Seat was actually occupied. The guy was down by the time we got over there. "How was it?", we asked. "Warm", he smiled, "are you going to try it?". The debate was short. Thanks - but no thanks.

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Lord Berkeley's Seat. Thanks ... but no thanks.


I've done a little scrambling and even an enjoyable stint with Euan on a climbing wall, but I know my limits and so a suitable by-pass path was sought round the base of Corrag Bhuidhe. It was steep and despite the near perfect weather, you could be caught off-guard by the occasional strong thermals rising from the corrie below.

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The view up Glen na Muice and Fisherfield.

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The path continues on its way towards Sail Liath. Fannichs in the background.

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The Beinn Deargs: Mor on the left and Bheag on the right.


Finally it was time for lunch and a spot of contemplation.

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Euan suitably impressed.

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Contemplation ...


One of the memories I had of my youthful trips was of a large boulder wedged improbably within a narrow cleft in the cliffs. It was still there, and Euan saw an opportunity to garner some brownie points. "Ok", I said, "I'll take the photo and then you're out of there!".

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Look - no hands!


On the way over to Sail Liath we came across these rocks sculpted presumably over centuries by the Scottish weather. There are similar features on Ben More Coigach to the north.

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The "Old Men" of An Teallach.

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Look carefully - the rock appears to be smiling.


Finally we were on Sail Liath. I don't have a panorama feature on my ancient camera so these two shots looking back at ridge are the best I can do.

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Needless to say, we could have stayed up there all day, but we were expected back at base and so finally we had to drag ourselves away. The descent off Sail Liath had to be taken carefully. Legs were tired by that stage and the going was rough, but we made it down with nothing more than a grazed shin when my right leg slid through a clump of heather and under a boulder. Could have been nasty, but thankfully wasn't.

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The junction of the Sail Liath and Shenavall paths. Downhill all the way from here to Corrie Hallie.


This day will live long in the memory and I was glad to be able to introduce Euan to the hill. A fortnight later and back in Embra, I realised that I'd got "the bug" rather more seriously than I had thought. And so onwards and upwards as they say ...
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iandg
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby PerthAlly » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:53 am

Super photo's .

You were lucky with the weather. This summer has served up limited good views from summits. :(

Need to bump An Teallach up my list
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:47 pm

Aye, you got a fine day for it.
good photos
liked the story of your youthful self just nipping up because you happened to be nearby :D
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:28 pm

What a place to start your walking career, and a grand day to return to it!
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby ancancha » Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:32 pm

Nice report with scenic photos, good luck with the rest of them :)
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby dav2930 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:58 pm

You certainly picked a super day for it. Well done for doing the traverse rather than just settling for the two Munros. Some mountain trips are so good that once is not enough, and An Teallach is definitely one of those; you began with one of the very best, so it's no wonder you decided to do it again. I think I'll have to return there as well; the clag was down when I did the traverse (in the opposite direction) back in 2004, so I missed all those fabulous views you've captured so well in your photos. I'll be well pleased if I get a day half as good as you got! :)
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:01 pm

PerthAlly wrote:Super photo's .

You were lucky with the weather. This summer has served up limited good views from summits. :(

Need to bump An Teallach up my list


It's well-worth waiting for the weather and you'll be rewarded with an unforgettable day. Actually, I'm looking at An Teallach right now, and the tops are clear. Cheers.
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:06 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Aye, you got a fine day for it.
good photos
liked the story of your youthful self just nipping up because you happened to be nearby :D


We'd done most of the hills in Assynt and just assumed it would be like Stac Polly only a bit bigger! It was definitely a case of benefitting from "unknown unknowns"!
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:09 pm

Mal Grey wrote:What a place to start your walking career, and a grand day to return to it!


Thanks Mal. Life got in the way for about forty years, but I'm getting back to it now. I hope I'll get up there again sometime.
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:12 pm

ancancha wrote:Nice report with scenic photos, good luck with the rest of them :)


Thanks ancancha. Managed to do the Beinn Dearg group last week and the total is creeping up - but oh so slowly. And this lousy summer isn't helping!
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Re: An Teallach - where it all began

Postby iandg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:21 pm

dav2930 wrote:You certainly picked a super day for it. Well done for doing the traverse rather than just settling for the two Munros. Some mountain trips are so good that once is not enough, and An Teallach is definitely one of those; you began with one of the very best, so it's no wonder you decided to do it again. I think I'll have to return there as well; the clag was down when I did the traverse (in the opposite direction) back in 2004, so I missed all those fabulous views you've captured so well in your photos. I'll be well pleased if I get a day half as good as you got! :)


Thanks dav2930. It is well worth waiting for a good day. The views take in the Cuillins, Fisherfield, the Fannichs, Lewis and Harris, Coigach and Assynt, and north to Ben More Assynt and beyond. I hope you get back sometime. I've done the traverse in both directions, and on balance prefer the Dundonnell start. But a car or a bike left at Corrie Hallie is a very welcome sight.
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