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Aultguish Meet Weekend
by 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: 5337m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
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
P1090230 by Al, on Flickr
P1090232 by Al, on Flickr
P1090236 by Al, on Flickr
Morning view over Beinn Dearg hills
P1090240 by Al, on Flickr
P1090241 by Al, on Flickr
P1090242 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
P1090247 by Al, on Flickr
P1090249 by Al, on Flickr
P1090251 by Al, on Flickr
P1090252 by Al, on Flickr
P1090254 by Al, on Flickr
P1090256 by Al, on Flickr
Creag Dhubh on Beinn Eighe
P1090258 by Al, on Flickr
P1090261 by Al, on Flickr
View across to Fisherfields
P1090263 by Al, on Flickr
A'Mhaighdean on L
P1090265 by Al, on Flickr
Beinn Eighe, with summit of Meall a'Ghiubhais on R
P1090266 by Al, on Flickr
Summit Meall a'Ghiubhais, Ruadh-stac Beag behind
P1090269 by Al, on Flickr
View showing river leading up into the coire that marks our route
P1090272 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 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
P1090275 by Al, on Flickr
Looking back at Meall a'Ghiubhais
P1090277 by Al, on Flickr
P1090280 by Al, on Flickr
P1090281 by Al, on Flickr
The Black Carls
P1090284 by Al, on Flickr
South flank of Ruadh-stac Beag
P1090287 by Al, on Flickr
P1090288 by Al, on Flickr
P1090290 by Al, on Flickr
Ruadh-stac Mhor, Liathach behind
P1090294 by Al, on Flickr
Ben Alligan in the distance
P1090298 by Al, on Flickr
Beinn Eighe pano
P1090299 by Al, on Flickr
P1090300 by Al, on Flickr
Beinn Dearg, Alligan
P1090305 by Al, on Flickr
P1090303 by Al, on Flickr
P1090314 by Al, on Flickr
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.
P1090315 by Al, on Flickr
P1090316 by Al, on Flickr
Summit Meall na Chraisgaidh - quite windy up here!
P1090321 by Al, on Flickr
P1090322 by Al, on Flickr
Carn na Criche with Sgurr Mhor behind
P1090323 by Al, on Flickr
Ripples in Loch a'Mhadaidh
P1090324 by Al, on Flickr
Notches lead to Sgurr nan clach Geala
P1090326 by Al, on Flickr
Meall na Chraisgaidh in backdrop
P1090328 by Al, on Flickr
Sgurr nan Clach Geala
P1090331 by Al, on Flickr
P1090333 by Al, on Flickr
Motley crew on Sgurr Mhor
P1090335 by Al, on Flickr
Scoob & Fi finally arrive
P1090337 by Al, on Flickr
Off to do the boring eastern ridge
P1090343 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.
P1090345 by Al, on Flickr
Sgurr nan Clach Geala coire
P1090347 by Al, on Flickr
P1090348 by Al, on Flickr
P1090350 by Al, on Flickr
P1090351 by Al, on Flickr
Down to Loch Fanniach
P1090352 by Al, on Flickr
P1090355 by Al, on Flickr
Towards Sgurr nan Each
P1090356 by Al, on Flickr
Beinn Eighe (zoomed)
P1090358 by Al, on Flickr
P1090361 by Al, on Flickr
P1090363 by Al, on Flickr
P1090365 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 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
P1090366 by Al, on Flickr
Polly & Malky arrives
P1090368 by Al, on Flickr
Quiz in progress
P1090369 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 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. 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
P1090372 by Al, on Flickr
Heather joined us for the summit
P1090379 by Al, on Flickr
Tom a'Choinnich (L) and towards Glas Leathad Beag (R)
P1090384 by Al, on Flickr
What a nice walking surface
P1090386 by Al, on Flickr
P1090387 by Al, on Flickr
Long way to Glas
P1090389 by Al, on Flickr
P1090391 by Al, on Flickr
P1090394 by Al, on Flickr
P1090395 by Al, on Flickr
Signs of industry in the Cromarty Firth
P1090397 by Al, on Flickr
P1090398 by Al, on Flickr
P1090402 by Al, on Flickr
by PeteR » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:22 pm
Just love Torridon - must get back there again sooner rather than later.
by Borderhugh » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:47 pm
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!
by jamesb63 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:52 pm
Torridon and its vistas never cease to amaze me thanks for sharing
by rockhopper » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:00 pm
One of these days I'll make it to a meet - we were on our way home from 2 weeks in Coylumbridge - so just missed it again - cheers
by Beaner001 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:43 pm
by Alteknacker » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:23 pm
The Black Carls pics and the Slioch pics (in fact all of Torridon - it's just a brilliant place ) are really excellent.
When you finish all the tops, do you see yourself heading out to the Alps to get your mountain fixes...???
by malky_c » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:54 pm
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.
by weaselmaster » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:26 pm
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
by Petr Dakota » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:03 am
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