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Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:08 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire

Date walked: 30/07/2015

Time taken: 6.1 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1150m

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Another wait for a weather window, this so called summer has been very frustrating, especially for those of us who set ourselves 'reasonable' targets :lol:
I advertised the fact that I was heading out & got 2 interested parties Tommy & Jelena. Tommy was planning to kip in his van in Glen Shiel and meet us at the start. I had arranged to pick up Jelena in Inverkeithing at 6am, the plan being to start walking at 9am 8) This meant Jelena getting up at 3.30AM and then heading north into Fife, very commendable :wink:
The drive north was uneventful and I pointed out numerous Munro's on the journey along with the parking & start points, sorry to bore you Jelena :lol: Hope you manage to make the short drive to Creag Meagaidh when you are up at Pitlochry :wink:
We arrived at the start point ahead of schedule & Tommy was sitting in his van and waiting patiently, after brief introductions we kitted up and set off. The weather looked OK but out to the west it looked a bit threatening :(
After the short walk along the main road, we reached the small signpost indicating the start of the walk so we then headed uphill. The path was generally pretty good and improved as we got higher, the gradient was unrelenting but not too steep.

ImageDSCF3906 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, The initial ascent with Loch Cluanie in the background

ImageDSCF3909 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena enjoying the climb

ImageDSCF3916 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking down on Loch Cluanie & across to the South Glen Shiel Ridge

ImageDSCF3920 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Our first sight of our first target and it's monster cairn

ImageDSCF3919 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, The final part of the ascent up to A'Chralaig

ImageDSCF3922 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Very impressive cairn

ImageDSCF3924 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena appearing out of the clag

ImageDSCF3925 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Tommy surveying the way ahead

Once we reached the summit of A'Chralaig (the highest summit it Kintail), unfortunately the clag was interfering with the views so not too many photo's were taken, apart from a few of the monster cairn. I did consider climbing to the top for a photo but it wasn't overly warm so after a quick bite to eat we set off to our next destination. Jelena set off first and seemed to be on a mission and she said she was struggling on the first climb :lol:

ImageDSCF3926 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena well ahead

ImageDSCF3929 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

As we set off leaving the monster cairn behind little did we know what lay ahead, initially the descent was a rocky, then we started the long walk along 3 different ridges to Mullach Fraoch-choire. The first part was along a wide ridge, then we descended onto a narrow ridge & the final ridge was a bit like a mini Aonach Eagach. The views for the next hour (between the summits) were incredible, with umpteen summits and steep glens to make you want to stop for more photo's 8)

ImageDSCF3933 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Tommy about to reach the first part of the descent

ImageDSCF3935 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, The way ahead, not zoomed

ImageDSCF3936 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, The final ridge looking very impressive

ImageDSCF3944 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, The second ridge, with a good path

ImageDSCF3945 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back, Tommy & Jelena catching me up

ImageDSCF3948 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back to A'Chralaig

ImageDSCF3950 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3949 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena posing

ImageDSCF3952 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back

ImageDSCF3956 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena appearing

ImageDSCF3957 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Tommy racing uphill onto the final ridge

ImageDSCF3959 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

Once we got onto the final ridge and the approach to Mullach Fraoch-choire we stopped umpteen times to get numerous photo's.

ImageDSCF3962 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Jelena with a superb backdrop

ImageDSCF3961 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Tommy waiting for us

ImageDSCF3962 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back

ImageDSCF3967 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Tommy leading the way

ImageDSCF3968 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Don't look down

ImageDSCF3969 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3972 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Hands needed

ImageDSCF3976 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Posing

ImageDSCF3978 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3979 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Posing

ImageDSCF3981 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3982 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3987 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

ImageDSCF3989 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back

ImageDSCF3992 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Loch Shiel

ImageDSCF3994 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Zoom to Skye in the distance

ImageDSCF3996 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Looking back to A'Chralaig

ImageDSCF3997 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Summit of Mullach Fraoch-choire

ImageDSCF4002 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, Group photo

ImageDSCF4003 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/, A couple of caves?

ImageDSCF4008 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/126167535@N05/,

On the second ridge towards the summit of Mullach Fraoch-choire we noticed the small cairn that indicates the descent route. So once we had taken numerous photo's we commenced the journey back to the vehicles, which meant backtracking along the pinnacled ridge to the start of the descent.
The descent was straightforward initially, a zig zag path makes the steep gradient seem fairly easy. The next bit was down steepish grassy slopes, we all had slipping mishaps, luckily Tommy & I managed to prevent ourselves from hitting the deck. Just as I mentioned the fact, Jelena slipped onto her backside :lol: :lol:

It was now a matter of trying to pick our way across the boggy damp ground, it was such a shame that the bogfest tried to ruin what had been a fantastic walk. The last 3km of the walk back are on a track which enabled good progress to be made and it wasn't too long before we were back on the road walking back to the vehicles.
These 2 hills have everything any walker could ask for, nice steep ascent, fabulous views, broad and narrow ridges, a bit of scrambling and unfortunately a bogfest 8)
A big Thank You to my 2 companions for the day, I really did enjoy the day :clap: :clap: :clap:
As usual the forecast isn't great for the next few days, was hoping to head to Fort Bill but that may have to wait :(
So the next outing could be the gathering of the WH clan, really looking forward to that (as usual), let's all hope the summer weather arrives soon :wink:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby dogplodder » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:12 pm

I agree these hills have everything you could ask for! :D
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby jupe1407 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:17 pm

Nice one Martin. A cracking pair of hills these, though somewhat traumatic memories for me. I dropped my camera on a rock on A'Chralaig :lol:

I can't remember that exposed-looking path at all. :lol:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby dav2930 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:41 pm

I totally share your enthusiasm for these two hills. I did them on a similar sort of day in August last year and I was well impressed. Loved the pinnacled ridge up to Mullach and thought it would be quite exciting in winter conditions. On the descent I managed to avoid the worst of the bogs by keeping quite high below Coire Odhar, though it was rough, tussocky going - hard on the knees! :lol:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby jelena » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:03 pm

I enjoyed it,too, Martin. Thanks a lot for organising it and for your great report and super photos. And I'm not even going to mention your driving on the way home from that lovely mountain with the adrenaline in your tank! I hope to walk with ypu again. :lol:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby Graeme D » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:41 pm

The way you're holding those poles up in the air, I'm guessing there was no thunder and lightning rumbling around! :shock:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby simon-b » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:07 am

Two nice hills, Martin, and some good photos from them. Mountains have a habit of frustrating us all when we set targets, so just enjoy great days like these! Jimmy and I did this pair three days before I first met you and Karen at Loch Lochy. Mullach Fraoch-choire was Jimmy's 100th Munro. That boggy walk out put me off the idea of doing the Ceathreamhnan three from the Cluanie. I'm sure there will be a few more weather windows before the summer's over, and you'll be getting up plenty of hills again.
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby martin.h » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:13 pm

Nice one Martin, we did these in clag :roll: , it looks like a nice ridge walk between the two and I didn't realise how exposed that path is on the way up Mullach Fraoch-choire. :shock:
Great photo's for a grand day out. :D
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby tommyatr » Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:08 pm

Thanks for a great day out martin and jelena,thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

Cracking report and pics as always, unfortunately I didn't get out again Friday morning as weather was pants.

Until the next one.
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby Beaner001 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:24 pm

So that's what the bypass path looks like, it was snow when I went over and couldn't see it, funnily enough I'd say it looks worse without the snow :lol: :lol:
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby jmarkb » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:30 pm

Nice one! Did these a few weeks ago in much the same sort of weather.
One option to avoid most of the bog is to return to Stob Coire na Cralaig, descend the SW spur, cross the stream gully around the 650m mark, and then making a descending traverse to the end of the track. Also take care on the bypass path - there's at least one section that's ready to collapse.
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby Driftwood » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:33 pm

jmarkb wrote:Nice one! Did these a few weeks ago in much the same sort of weather.
One option to avoid most of the bog is to return to Stob Coire na Cralaig, descend the SW spur, cross the stream gully around the 650m mark, and then making a descending traverse to the end of the track. Also take care on the bypass path - there's at least one section that's ready to collapse.

A fine walk (weather excepted) and a great pair of hills, these got me hooked on the Kintail ridges last year.

Having kept to the ridgeline approaching Mullach Fraoch Choire (except for one or two sections when returning) to do these, I have to say that the bypass path looks more exposed and scarier :shock: than the scrambling! That may just be me looking at photos compared to being on a hill and filled with adrenaline.

I also avoided the boggy path/track by reversing the path all the way over A'Chralaig, which does add ascent but minimises the length of road-walking.
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Re: Kintail - 2 hills that have everything

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:52 am

Despite some cloud this ridge looks amazing and no wonder you had so many happy moments!

I agree that the bypass path is more exposed than the ridge itself. We tried both routes and much preferred scrambling over the rocks.
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