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Aultguish Meet Weekend

Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:04 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Wyvis, Meall a' Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Each

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Liath Mhor a'Ghiubhais Li, Meall a' Ghiubhais, Ruadh-stac Beag

Date walked: 09/08/2015

Time taken: 25 hours

Distance: 68.7 km

Ascent: 5337m

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The keenly anticipated meet up had me footering with plans to try and get maximum benefit from the weekend in terms of my schedule, whilst leaving enough time to be sociable. The weather looked to be awful and getting worse as the weekend approached. I had hoped to get Meall Dearg on Liathach captured, maybe with the help of Scoob and Fi, but reckoned I needed dry conditions without big winds...hmmm

We'd taken Friday off work, so set off late Thursday afternoon with the plan to head up Beinn Liath Mhor a'Ghiubhais when we arrived and pitch upon it - better than trying to camp near one of the laybys on the A835. Midges were out in force as we set off over the boggy ground to Meall Daimh. Climbed over a fence by the wooden gate and just plodded up hill. At the north top of Meall Daimh there's flattish ground that's dry enough to pitch, which we did then headed up to the summit of Beinn LMaG. I'd hoped for a sunset over the Beinn Dearg hills, but the sun poked out as a fiery eye for about a minute before retreating behind clouds. At least the drizzle went off and we had some nice cloud formations against the fading light as we returned to the tent. A quick little hill this one.

Gazing out from the summit of BLMa'G
ImageP1090230 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090232 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090236 by Al, on Flickr

Morning view over Beinn Dearg hills
ImageP1090240 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090241 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090242 by Al, on Flickr

The following day had been slated to do the middle Fannichs, taking in Carn na Criche, a Top that had eluded me on earlier visits. However the forecast seemed perkier than previously stated and it seemed wiser to go and do something a bit more interesting :) A visit to Torridon wouldn't go amiss and with the prospect of views, Meall a'Ghiubhais and Ruadh Stac Beag seemed a good bet. We failed to breakfast in the tent as I'd managed to omit a lighter in my kitchenware department, hence no porridge. Coffee and a cearal bar back at the car would suffice, then Off to Torridon!

We parked up at the beinn Eighe Visitor Centre past Kinlochewe overlooking Loch Maree and the mighty Slioch. Dodging the midges, we headed for one of the forest tracks, through beautiful Scots Pine forest. As we gained height, Slioch continued to dominate the landscape behind us, and we had fond memories of our trip into Fisherfield, ending with a climb up Slioch. Ahead of us the terrain became stonier and the side of Meall a'Ghiubhais came into view. There's a path that weaves in and out of the scree/boulders. As we climbed the North eastern top of Beinn Eighe - Creag Dhubh - hove into view, proud and pointed with scree lined flanks. Climbing higher, Ruadh-stac Beag appeared along with a vista west to Beinn Dearg and peaking out behind that, Beinn Alligan. What a place this is. We went over to the cairn on the North part of the summit firstly and gazed down across Loch Maree to a'Mhaighdean and beyond. Turning round, we marched over to the main summit, where another walker was taking his rest. Coire Ruadh-staca dominates the view and we looked over at the marvellous mountain of Beinn Eighe for a long while.

over to Slioch
ImageP1090247 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090249 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Maree
ImageP1090251 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090252 by Al, on Flickr

Fault line
ImageP1090254 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Ghiubhais
ImageP1090256 by Al, on Flickr

Creag Dhubh on Beinn Eighe
ImageP1090258 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Maree
ImageP1090261 by Al, on Flickr

View across to Fisherfields
ImageP1090263 by Al, on Flickr

A'Mhaighdean on L
ImageP1090265 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe, with summit of Meall a'Ghiubhais on R
ImageP1090266 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Meall a'Ghiubhais, Ruadh-stac Beag behind
ImageP1090269 by Al, on Flickr

View showing river leading up into the coire that marks our route
ImageP1090272 by Al, on Flickr

We dropped down the SE flank of Meall a'Ghiubhais, aiming for the stream that flows down and eventually joins the Allt Toll a'Ghiubhais. Various paths appeared and disappeared. We followed the river up into the coire, to the East of Ruadh-stac Beag, following a path on our left. In places the water rushed and foamed over the slabs of rock, creating plunge pools and jacuzzis. Over to our left, the Black Carls of Beinn Eighe grasp the eye- like pointed decaying teeth on the lower jaw of the mountainside. When we'd got to the southern end of Ruadh-stac Beag we found a cairn marking where to cross the river then set off up the scree/bouldery slopes of RSB. The views over to Ruadh-stac Mor were superb. Coming to the top of the boulderfield, I expected to find the summit a narrow pointy thing, but instaed a wide stony plain opens out and it's another fiver minutes or so to walk over to the cairn - we passed a group of 3 walkers coming back. Our earlier hill, Meall a'Ghiubhais looked impressively steep from here. Behind us, the might of Liathach was rearing up behind Beinn Eighe, masked by clouds, menacing. We retraced our steps and headed back down the scree. Crossing the river, we decided to keep a bit more height and followed a gentle shoulder of Creag Dhubh back towards Lethain Bhuidhe cairn, where we rejoined the track. I am all for well constructed paths in places that get a lot of visitors, but this seemed a bit over the top - the slabs crossed hatched to avoid slipping, even arrows cut into the steps to point the way and enough cairns to have employed generations of cairn builders - seriously a cairn every 10 feet at times :lol: All a bit much IMO. Anyway, back to the car where we met an American woman who was asking us some questions about the local area and seemed amazed that we'd been "hiking" for 8 hours.

Ruadh-stac Beag, Ruadh-Stac Mhor behind
ImageP1090275 by Al, on Flickr

Looking back at Meall a'Ghiubhais
ImageP1090277 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090280 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090281 by Al, on Flickr

The Black Carls
ImageP1090284 by Al, on Flickr

South flank of Ruadh-stac Beag
ImageP1090287 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe
ImageP1090288 by Al, on Flickr

Black carls
ImageP1090290 by Al, on Flickr

Ruadh-stac Mhor, Liathach behind
ImageP1090294 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Alligan in the distance
ImageP1090298 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe pano
ImageP1090299 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090300 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Dearg, Alligan
ImageP1090305 by Al, on Flickr

Summit RSB
ImageP1090303 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090314 by Al, on Flickr

torri2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Drove back to Aultguish and met up with the usual crew at the meet. Very comfortable rooms - nice to get a shower coming off the hill, good facilities, good craic. Relatively early night, having decided against trying for Meall Dearg due to the weather forecast suggesting 50mph winds and heavy rain. Ah well, another day for that.

I reverted to my previous plan of the central 4 Fannaichs plus Carn na Criche. Various folk were doing the Eastern Fannaichs, and another group had set out for ours a bit earlier. We drove to the usual starting point for these hills and strolled down the track towards Meall na Chrasgaidh. I remembered this as being a steep slog for about 400m and so it was today. Winds did feel a bit fresh, and as we neared the top of the hill I was surpriesed to see Fife Flyer's group heading down from the summit. My first thought was "surely they can't have climbed all 4 already" but no - they were baling out due to the high winds. We took a reading at the cairn and yes, 50mph constant speed. I reckoned it was going to be worse up Sgurr Mhor, having gained 200m, but there was no way I was missing out on Carn na Criche. I winked at Allison - we're keeping on going. She knew to expect that. The wind dropped as we dipped down before climbing up from the 819 bealach to Carn na Criche - a mere pimple against the dramatic Sgurr Mhor behind. Another Top in the book - now would we head up the side of Mhor? It seemed rude not to, given that we were so close. The wind surprised by steadily dropping, so that at the top of Sgurr Mhor it was a gentle breeze. As I stood there a line of walkers came up from the Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich side - Barry, Colleen, Nigel, Hugh, Sue, Davy and Scoob & Fi. Nice timing! We milled about for a bit then sat and had lunch by the cairn, whilst they headed back down to do the (frankly rather dull) Eastern section.

ImageP1090315 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090316 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Meall na Chraisgaidh - quite windy up here!
ImageP1090321 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090322 by Al, on Flickr

Carn na Criche with Sgurr Mhor behind
ImageP1090323 by Al, on Flickr

Ripples in Loch a'Mhadaidh
ImageP1090324 by Al, on Flickr

Notches lead to Sgurr nan clach Geala
ImageP1090326 by Al, on Flickr

Meall na Chraisgaidh in backdrop
ImageP1090328 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr nan Clach Geala
ImageP1090331 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090333 by Al, on Flickr

Motley crew on Sgurr Mhor
ImageP1090335 by Al, on Flickr

Scoob & Fi finally arrive
ImageP1090337 by Al, on Flickr

Off to do the boring eastern ridge :lol:
ImageP1090343 by Al, on Flickr

We, on the other hand, had the impressive ridge of Sgurr na Clach Geala to consider. Given that the wind had dropped it seemed reasonable to attempt, so we trotted back down Sgurr Mhor and set off up the notched crest to the halved trig point on Clach Geala. After gazing down into the depths of the coires below we nipped down to the afterthought on the ridge that is Sgurr nan Each, retracing our steps to the bealach and dropping down to meet the track returning through the glen. Last time we did these hills we added on the 2 Western Fannaichs, so it was a relief when we got to the valley floor not to have to climb straight back up for another 500-odd metres, just wander out along the track. The sun even came out as we returned. Forecast had been inaccurate and I was mildly peeved not to have tried for Meall Dearg, but at least we enjoyed these hills.

An Teallach
ImageP1090345 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr nan Clach Geala coire
ImageP1090347 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090348 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090350 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Mhor
ImageP1090351 by Al, on Flickr

Down to Loch Fanniach
ImageP1090352 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090355 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Sgurr nan Each
ImageP1090356 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe (zoomed)
ImageP1090358 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090361 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090363 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090365 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the Bunkhouse there was time for food and a chat before The Quiz, where we started brightly, but nosedived in the last round :lol: It became insufferably hot in the sitting area but the vigilance of The Midge outside made it impossible to open windows for a breeze...

Theresa, Rod Jelena
ImageP1090366 by Al, on Flickr

Polly & Malky arrives
ImageP1090368 by Al, on Flickr

Quiz in progress
ImageP1090369 by Al, on Flickr

Sunday's forecast was for 35-45mph winds and clag down to 550m all day. Just the perfect conditions for Ben Wyvis :D We bade our farewells to the others in the group, with some having sore heads from a late night, and set off to Wyvis car park. Our aim was to include the two Tops lying at the northern end of the mountain. I'd been unable to come up with a workable loop route for the walk, so it would be out and back the same way - something I dislike. We met up with Heather (Qunicy) at the start of the climb up An Cabar and she accompanied us up to the summit of Wyvis. Thereafter, we set off for the first Top, Tom a'Choinnich - well named as the going underfoot was the most pleasant, luxuriant moss - a delight to walk on (and to camp on should you feel so inclined). The weather was much better than forecast, we even got views of the hills we were climbing, and the wind was barely present. It's a long walk from Tom over to the second Top, Glas Leathad Beag. From here you can look into the rugged coire on the eastern flank of Wyvis which is all much more serious than the grassy slopes elsewhere. It makes little sense to have this nominated as a mere Top when it is so far removed from the parent summit, whilst the likes of Sgurr nan Each gets full Munro status....chunter, chunter. :roll: As we headed to the Top a runner came out of nowhere - the first of several we saw on our walk back. ben Wyvis - the outdoor Gym it would seem. We made fair time on the return leg, but it does add a good amount of time (2 hours in our case) to add the Tops on - less, obviously, if you run :lol:

ImageP1090372 by Al, on Flickr

Heather joined us for the summit
ImageP1090379 by Al, on Flickr

Tom a'Choinnich (L) and towards Glas Leathad Beag (R)
ImageP1090384 by Al, on Flickr

What a nice walking surface
ImageP1090386 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Tom
ImageP1090387 by Al, on Flickr

Long way to Glas
ImageP1090389 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090391 by Al, on Flickr

Wyvis Lodge
ImageP1090394 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090395 by Al, on Flickr

Signs of industry in the Cromarty Firth
ImageP1090397 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090398 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1090402 by Al, on Flickr

wyvis2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby PeteR » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:22 pm

Some superb photos Al, especially the Slioch shot 8)

Just love Torridon - must get back there again sooner rather than later.
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby Borderhugh » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:47 pm

Good to meet you and Sick Kid albeit very briefly.

Some great pictures there, in particular Slioch and Sgurr Mor (from the west).

I really enjoyed those 'boring' clag-free Eastern Fannichs. The good visibility and company always helps!
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby jamesb63 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:52 pm

Great report :clap: :clap: and certainly did look a tad windy in some of your pics
Torridon and its vistas never cease to amaze me thanks for sharing :clap: :clap:
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby rockhopper » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:00 pm

Nice one, wm - another productive trip. Looks like a good time was had by all :thumbup:

One of these days I'll make it to a meet :roll: - we were on our way home from 2 weeks in Coylumbridge - so just missed it again - cheers :)
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:43 pm

Stunning photos Al, I like the Black Carls pic :D
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:32 pm

Your some machine :clap: :clap:
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:23 pm

I do doff my hat to you hardy folk that go out in all weathers - but I can see that one can often be "surprised by joy"!!

The Black Carls pics and the Slioch pics (in fact all of Torridon - it's just a brilliant place :D ) are really excellent. :clap: :clap: :clap:

When you finish all the tops, do you see yourself heading out to the Alps to get your mountain fixes...???
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby malky_c » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:54 pm

When you described this lot it sounded like a 'relaxing' few days (as you might have put it) but there's actually loads in there :lol: . Usual eclectic mix then - Torridon looked good in particular :) .

I know some good circular routes for the eastern top of Ben Wyvis, but they aren't short (even with a bike). The annoying thing about that lovely grassy plateau is that unless you approach by the normal path, you have to cross miles of peat bogs to reach it.
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:26 pm

Alteknacker wrote:
When you finish all the tops, do you see yourself heading out to the Alps to get your mountain fixes...???

No - nothing abroad...Donalds it is :lol: :lol:
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Re: Aultguish Meet Weekend

Postby Petr Dakota » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:03 am

Great report and some fabulous pics, especially the Slioch - magnificent ! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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