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No. 2 & 3 - Tom a'Choinich and Toll Creagach

No. 2 & 3 - Tom a'Choinich and Toll Creagach


Postby David182 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:26 pm

Route description: Tom a' Choinich and Toll Creagach, Glen Affric

Munros included on this walk: Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich

Date walked: 27/09/2015

Time taken: 7.3 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1199m

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After much deliberation of how to follow up our first Munro last weekend, I let my friend know that I thought Tom a'Choinich and Toll Creagach would be a good bet. He seemed quite happy to go along with that. Until Friday night when things "came up" on both Saturday and Sunday! Luckily my dad declared himself quite keen to revisit the aforementioned peaks, so Sunday morning, after various warnings about my dad's blood pressure from mum, we went up Glen Affric shortly after sunrise. And what a beautiful morning it was to be!

It was shortly before 8am when we left the car, the skies were blue, the sun was warm, and the the backpack was heavy. We very quickly got our first good look at the first summit we would be climbing, and more importantly, the very impressive ridge that curls round up to it.

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Tom a'Choinich on the left, the summit above the patch of snow, Toll Creagach towards the right

After half an hour we went through a gate in the deer fence, leaving the trees behind. Shortly after this we were overtaken by a hill runner, who we both marveled at for the next hour or so. Thanks to his bright red shirt, we were able to watch his ascent almost all the way up Tom a'Choinich, in wonder and disblief, that any human being could maintain any sort of speed whilst climbing such a slope. This was a welcome distraction through some very boggy ground, but after an hour of walking, it was our turn to begin the ascent.

Following the burn up the hill is very straightforward, and has a fairly good, clear path all the way. The views behind start to become more and more fantastic, and they become a good excuse to stop and catch your breath!

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Looking up towards the ridge that leads up to Tom a'Choinich

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Looking south-west at Sgurr na Lapaich

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Looking back south-east, along the river we had been following

We reached the start of the ridge a lot quicker than we had anticipated, it was maybe only 20 minutes from the river. From here though, progress became really slow. The ridge initially starts as very steep in places, and muddy in others. It was sapping, and at times the summit just didn't seem to get any closer. But the views just kept promising to get better and better, as we gradually got higher, above the corrie.

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South-east to north-east

Soon we were high enough to just make out the summit cairn on our second target of the day, Toll Creagach. Comparatively, it looked like a walk in the park compared to the rocky ridge we had been travelling along.

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Looking over to Toll Creagach

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Looking back along the spiny ridge

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Looking along the ridge towards the summit, a lot more gradual!

Mercifully the ridge soon gave way to much grassier areas, which were a welcome relief. Soon the grass gave way to flat, jaggy rocks, and soon, the summit cairn was in sight.

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Hooray!!

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Munro numero 2 - Bagged!

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Loch Mullardoch and it's Munros

After grabbing a few bites to eat next to the cairn, and marveling at the views, it was time to start heading towards Toll Creagach. We had a brief period where we struggled to find the path to lead us in that direction, but for future reference, there's a single fence post very close to it. The path starts with steep slopes to one side, passing a large sheet of snow and ice, then gradually peters out to become a much more straightforward jaunt down.

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The descent from Tom to Toll. Reminded me a lot of "The Lord of the Rings" sequences! (Don't tell my dad he reminds me of a hobbit please)

The ascent to Toll Creagach is such a contrast to Tom a'Choinich. Where Tom was steep and rocky, Tom is gradual and grassy. The grass does eventually give way to flat, rocky ground, which is nowhere near as craggy as Toll.

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Looking up towards the summit

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Looking back to Tom

As we were climbing Toll Creagach, we could see 2 people climbing up from the south side. At the time we thought this was pretty unusual. They reached the summit before us, and passed us, as they seemed to head towards Tom. We didn't envy the ascent they had in front of them. I'm pretty sure there's a reason most people do the 2 summits in a clockwise direction, but each to their own!!
Soon the wind really picked up, just as the summit cairn, and then the trig point, came into view. We both ended up putting on our jackets, and in my dad's case, balaclava.

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The summit cairn for Toll Creagach

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Munro number 3!!

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Mullardoch panorama

The descent from here is pretty straightforward. Just keep heading south basically, back to the river we followed in. I must confess, I was a little out of my comfort zone here. I'm unsure if that was down to my footwear or just inexperience, but I just felt like one bad slip and I could end up hundreds of yards away. It wasn't too steep or anything, but it was close to it!
We were constantly looking to our right, marvelling at the beautiful ridge leading up to Tom a'Choinich, struggling to believe that we climbed it, only a couple of hours ago.

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The beatiful ridge!

It took us almost an exact hour to descend Toll, and reach our original path again. We were pretty weary, and in another hour, we were back where we started at the shores of Loch Beinn a'Mheadhoin. Of course we had to look back a few times to admire the profile of the beautiful hills we had just conquered. And we may have treated ourselves to a couple of ice creams at the small Cannich shop on the way home (don't tell mum!).
An overall success, I'd say!
David182
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Re: No. 2 & 3 - Tom a'Choinich and Toll Creagach

Postby rockhopper » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:17 pm

Rather nice - you certainly picked a great day for these hills :thumbup:

David182 wrote: (Don't tell my dad he reminds me of a hobbit please)............. And we may have treated ourselves to a couple of ice creams at the small Cannich shop on the way home (don't tell mum!).
:lol: :shh: :shh: :silent: :silent: :wink:
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