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Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros


Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:58 pm

Route description: Glen Strathfarrar Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Date walked: 22/08/2015

Time taken: 6.9 hours

Distance: 26.3 km

Ascent: 1773m

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With the alarm going off at 4.45am I was in the car and away by 5.20am for a long drive up the road. I took the sat nav with me for the drive beyond Inverness as I hadn't been on the short bit after Beauly. The sat nav got switched on as I crossed the Kessock Bridge (decided not to go through Inverness) and there seemed to be a problem with it picking up a signal, by the time it did I was a few miles beyond Beauly and it thought it was approaching Inverness on the A9 resulting in a confusing ten minute period where it was telling me to take a left at the roundabout (just before the Kessock Bridge) when I was driving along a long straight section miles away from any roundabout - 5 minutes later it was switched off and I was flying solo (we used to do this you know, in days gone by :lol: ).

Arrived at Milton Cottage near Struy at 8.40 am and parked up behind a car and a camper van. Chatted to the guy in the camper van who was over from N Ireland, he and his dog had been here for 7 weeks doing various hills and was going home when he felt like it - sounds good to me. At exactly 9am the gate was opened and we moved up towards the gate, when it was my turn, the first words I heard were "another queue jumper then" - there were 4 camper vans in the car park area, sound like I should have parked short of the car park in case any of them were going in to the glen?. Anyway, I got my warning about the pot holes (not that bad and easily avoided) and was off up the road.

I parked up between Loch Beannacharan and Loch a' Mhuillidh and set off with one chap and his dog ahead of me. A beautiful morning with little in the way of breeze at the bottom of the glen.

1.jpg
The start of the walk


The initial stage is on a good track uphill, passing a small dam before taking a path to the left which is initially OK but deteriorates in to a muddy path with some boulders to hop between then higher up it becomes a bit of a wet grassy trudge. There is nothing wrong with the start of this walk, it's just the type of start I dislike, I find the boggy wet ground strength sapping and make really heavy work of it. As the gradient increases I catch up with the chap and his dog and we both comment on the welcome breeze on slightly higher ground.

2.jpg
Climbs to come


3.jpg
Looking back


4.jpg
Getting there, slowly


Finally, on the higher slopes of Sgurr na Ruaidhe it gets a bit easier on firmer ground but by the time I get to the top my legs feel like they are "gubbed" - not the start I wanted.

5.jpg
Sgurr na Ruaidhe Summit


There is a fairly strong wind blowing on the top so a few pics and off towards the obvious route to Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais.

6.jpg
Looking back to Sgurr na Ruaidhe


On firmer ground and a fair wind blowing I feel much stronger and I start to speed up a bit. The walk over to Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais is straight forward with a short boulder hop at the top. By this time the wind is blowing a bit harder and there are a couple of points where I was knocked off balance while rock hopping. I was just concentrating on my next step without checking my position so arrived at the top about 100 yards away from the actual top.

7.jpg
Final climb up to Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais


8.jpg
The top


9.jpg
The walk ahead of me


There is a gentle descent down to the start of the steep climb up Sgurr a'Chiore Ghlais but the climb up next to the edge of the ridge is really enjoyable (in a perverse way I suppose) and takes less time that I thought when looking up at the start of the steep section.

10.jpg
Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais


11.jpg
The top


So, three down and one to go. It's now fairly cloudy and the wind is cold but like the idiot I probably am I stick with the single short sleeve top as I'm fine while I'm on the move.

12.jpg
On Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich looking back


13.jpg
Looking down on a couple of small lochans


14.jpg
Looking back from the top of Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich


The views from the top of Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich were great so I stopped for a couple of photos before heading off for the final short climb to the top of Sgurr Fhuar-thuill.

15.jpg
Last climb of the day


16.jpg
The top


Another short stop on the top and I was off to find the stalkers path that would take me back down to the Glen Strathfarrar road.

17.jpg
Looking down to Loch Toll a' Mhuic with Sgurr na Muice behind


18.jpg
Last view before losing height


There is a large cairn marking the start of the stalkers path which initially heads in the wrong direction before switching back and heading round the way I was expecting and could see the outline of on the hill ahead of me. Further down there have been a couple of muck slides and the path has disappeared a bit but with a lot of foot steps, another is forming. The path down to the point where it crosses Allt Toll a' Mhuic is hard going, muddy in places, boggy and wet in others and just as strength sapping as the initial climb of the day on Sgurr na Ruaidhe - I was glad to reach the stony track and even happier to reach the tarmac road at the bottom of the glen.

Some views on the way down.

19.jpg


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22.jpg


I've never started a walk where I have been on the clock (the gate is locked at 8pm) so this was a first for me. I reached the road at 3.15pm so just under 6hrs with just the last road section to come. To be honest, after the couple of miles down from the last top the road was really good as I could set a decent pace and it took me a further hour to get back to the car. Most of the road is flat with only a couple of climbs, there are short sections where I could see that people had used flat grassy bits by the side of the road but I couldn't be bothered and just kept plodding on. By now there was more cloud cover and a few drops of rain but it never amounted to anything and was actually quite refreshing, looking up, I could see that the tops were covered in cloud again so I had been lucky to get all four Munros clag free.

23.jpg


24.jpg


I checked my Garmin at the car and was surprised to see I had covered the route in just under 7hrs especially the way I was feeling on top of the 1st Munro. Just as I opened the car boot and was about to phone the boss and let her know when I thought I'd be home the bighting started (midge time). They were everywhere, the worst this year for me. I changed away from the car and tried to keep moving but they were in great form and my face, arms, legs and the base of my back were the favourite areas of attack.

In the end I jumped in the car (along with hundreds of midge) and once moving opened the windows to try and clear them out as I was still being eaten. Apart from stopping at the gate out of the glen I was on the A9 north of Inverness before I stopped in a layby to phone home. Advised the boss I'd be home by 8pm, jumped back in the car and drove two miles to join a large queue for the roundabout at the far end of the Kessock Bridge that took forty minutes to clear.

Home for 8.30pm, a long day, a tough trudge up the 1st Munro and slow descent off the 4th, midge madness at the end, long delays on the way home - great day, loved it.

End of report - time for more Germoline :( :( :(

PS - Sgurr na Ruaidhe was my 100th Munro (so much for it being Braeriach) and the 289th time I've stood on top of a Munro. A case of having a group of around 30 hills (mainly in Glenshee) I used to just keep going back to and enjoying without any thought of going further afield and seeking out new hills. I suppose WH has played a part in me changing my ways - any idea who I should bill for the increased diesel costs???
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Gordie12
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Posts: 1761
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby litljortindan » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:34 pm

Great stuff. Never been there but looks a grand set of hills.
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litljortindan
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:17 pm

Get yourself over there, but maybe wait till the end of the midge season :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Gordie12
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby ancancha » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:19 am

Nice report and infomative photos :clap:
I tried these earlier this year when they were a but snowy :roll:
Must have had a virus on the day as it took me ages to get to the top of the first peak, but I did park the car at the top so had already walked down the road. On the clock meant bailing out down the first bealach :(
Have since learned a possible way to do them is to drive up to the top carpark and hide your bike, so its a quick and easy return to the car.
Its a beautiful Glen, I will be back 8)
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ancancha
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:21 am

ancancha wrote:Nice report and infomative photos :clap:
I tried these earlier this year when they were a but snowy :roll:
Must have had a virus on the day as it took me ages to get to the top of the first peak, but I did park the car at the top so had already walked down the road. On the clock meant bailing out down the first bealach :(
Have since learned a possible way to do them is to drive up to the top carpark and hide your bike, so its a quick and easy return to the car.
Its a beautiful Glen, I will be back 8)


Hi ancancha

I noticed a couple of bikes secured to a pole when I got back to the car so assumed they had maybe been dropped off and some peeps had driven to the top and walked in a clockwise direction leaving the bike back along the road.

To be honest, the walk along the road was a pleasure after the walk down off the last Munro which I found to be hard going and never ending.

Had a read of your report on Beinn Bhuide as I seem to be doing a few Munros in that area at the moment - looked "interesting"!!!!
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Gordie12
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby Beaner001 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:41 pm

Nice one Gordie, may try to get these done from the North over the winter since the gate is not open to us minions then :lol:
Gives me an idea of what to expect up there
Cheers
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Beaner001
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:21 am

Beaner001 wrote:Nice one Gordie, may try to get these done from the North over the winter since the gate is not open to us minions then :lol:
Gives me an idea of what to expect up there
Cheers


Sounds like a long walk with limited daylight in the winter but on the plus side, no midge :lol:

Enjoy it, it's a great walk (once up on the ridge).
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Gordie12
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Posts: 1761
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:35 pm

Think the midge is making up for lost time with poor summer. They're mental just now. :shock:
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Re: Glen Strathfarrar (Glen of the Midge) Munros

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:09 am

dogplodder wrote:Think the midge is making up for lost time with poor summer. They're mental just now. :shock:


Just feels like there have been a lot of flat calm, warmish overcast days recently - no Germoline today, progress :lol:
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Gordie12
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Posts: 1761
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
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Wainwrights:24   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

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