Fantastic 2 days in the office
by Fife Flyer » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:13 pm
Route description: Beinn Dearg - the Four Munros circuit
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Seana Bhraigh
Date walked: 01/10/2015
Time taken: 14.8 hours
Distance: 55 km
Ascent: 2900m5 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).
Beinn Dearg 4
Distance - 29km
Time - 8hrs 5mins
I don't want to rub it in but being able to head out when I want especially if the forecast is favourable, life doesn't get much better than this
Having been up and down the A9 on Sunday (Central Fannichs), I had a chat with my other half and I decided rather than drive up and down the A9 twice I would search for accomodation in and around Ullapool. I did my usual searching, first port of call was the bunkhouse at Aultguish, but that is shut this week Managed to find a B&B in Ullapool so once the walk on day 1 was finished I would only have to drive 12 miles - what a treat.
My plan was to tackle the Beinn Dearg 4 Munro's on Wednesday and then the remote Seana Braigh on Thursday and then head back down the road.
If anyone is contemplating using the A9 beware things aren't going to improve for many years The dualling process has almost started between Kingussie & Aviemore, well cones have been carefully placed at the side of the road. To save motorists colliding with the cones the speed limit has been reduced to 40mph, monitored by yet more Average Speed Camera's There are 2 lots of other roadworks, one with traffic lights, I think you can guess what the queues are like?
I left Fife at 4,30 and used the cruise control for most of the drive and arrived at the nice car park, which is even signposted for "hill walkers". I brought my bike with me so in the early morning chilly air it was a matter of attaching the front wheeel & then inflating the tyre. I would like to thank Martin (martin h) for the advice re bringing my bike.
I set off about 8am, the outside temperature was 2deg and it felt like that too. It wasn't long before I warmed up, the cycle to the edge of the forest was a real leg warmer. I reckon the ascent was over 150m and it certainly felt like it, the main plan was to make life much easier on the return leg
Nice car park, plenty of room - bit out of focus, sorry
Siberia? The temperature felt like it
Plenty of assistance in the forest
The track through the forest was good for cycling on, a bit of care is needed as there are plenty of junctions. The cycle to the edge of the forest is just under 2 miles, it certainly took me longer going out than coming back. When my legs were complaining it was just a matter of dismounting and pushing for a few minutes
Once the edge of the forest is reached there is a deer fence and a gate to negotiate, this was my cue to abandon the bike & start the walk uphill
Deer fence and gate
Dry river bed
The walk to the bealach was straight forward and just a matter of following the good path. The path rises gradually and follows the River Lael uphill.
Looking back, long shadow
Looking back to the forest
2nd water feature
Once the bealach is reached the majority of the uphill trudging is out of the way. The bealach is certainly pretty unique, it is massive and has a series of lochans scattered around. From the bealach you access 3 of the 4 hills, I was following the WH guide so Beinn Dearg was to be the first port of call.
Looking down from the climb up Dearg onto 'part' of the bealach
The way up to Beinn Dearg, stay to the right of the dry stane wall
Looking out to sea from the bealach
The climb up Beinn Dearg from the bealach was certainly steep in parts and a bit of a shock to the system Once you reach the part of the wall where it bends to the right, there is a wee gap where you clamber over and it is just a short distance to the large summit cairn
The wall continues down, note the large patch of snow!
Looking across to the third summit Meall nan Ceapraichean
Summit cairn of Beinn Dearg
Looking down on Ullapool and beyond
After taking quite a few photo's it was time to head back down to the bealach, there are a few paths heading in all directions on the bealach, but I knew what direction I was heading and after another short descent from the bealach it was time to head uphill again
Quick stop for a photo of the 3rd summit
Summit cairn on Cona' Mheall
Looking down on Loch na Still
Looking across to Beinn Dearg and the next target
The descent down Cona' Mheall was easy and it was back to the bealach for the third and final time, there was a path down but that disappeared when I reached the bealach, so I just headed in the general direction of the next target, trying to avoid any unnecessary uphill bits
I was being watched on the way up
After a bit of huffing and puffing I reached the third summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean After a few photo's I set off on the way to my final target.
Summit cairn looking across to Beinn Dearg and her stone wall
I knew the descent downhill could be tricky so great care was the order of the day The descent itself was fairly easy and then it was a matter of crossing a different bealach before heading uphill for the fourth and final time Once on the summit it was time for a good sit down and take lot's more photo's
Final summit cairn
Not sure what direction this was taken!
The way down
Another water feature, nice lochan
Looking across to Stac Polly
The descent down to meet up with the main path up to the first bealach was easy going and very good progress was made
The path downhill
Just about all the way down you can see the forest and I was looking forward to be re-united with my bike The descent down through the forest by bike was pretty rapid, I think only needed to pedal a couple of times, my main concern was keeping my mouth shut otherwise I could end up devouring some of the local insect population. After just over 8 hours I arrived back at the car, the next port of call would be Ullapool for a fish supper Beinn Dearg is a great walk with outstanding views in all directions.
Ascent - 1095m
Distance - 29km
Time - 6hrs 55mins
After a nice relaxing evening in Ullapool and a great breakfast (that would keep me going most of the day) of toast, croissant and the usual Scottish fry up it was time to head back to the same car park.
Once again I was taking my bike, the cycle uphill seemed to be a wee bit easier, maybe my legs were getting back into cycling mode. After crossing the bridge you take a left turn and not soon after the path gets rather steep, so it was dismounting time. I pushed the bike up where you take a left turn onto a rougher path and abandoned it there.
Bike parked up
Looking back down the path with a bush growing right in the middle
Looking across towards Beinn Dearg through the early morning haze and clag
Deer fence gate
The path uphill was certainly a nice wake up call, the good thing is you gain height fairly quickly It wasn't overly warm but the exertion of going uphill meant I was anything but cold Once you reach the top of the stony path, the ground levels off and the next hour or so is then a matter of following the path across flattish heathery moorland.
The way ahead
Almost on top of the cloud
This shot highlights how dry it has been recently
Water feature, not the most exciting but there wasn't much water
The path runs alongside the burn
The locals feeding, nice pair of antlers
Interesting cloud layer
The walk across the moorland was very pleasureable, the path was dry and progress was good and then you come a flattish area with a few lochans. The winds it's way round one of them and then heads towards Meall a' Choire Ghlais.
Looking back to the lochans, note the cloud
Now the path disappears just after this little cairn
As you cross Meall a' Choire Ghlais you then swing left a bit and head down a gully, I kept to the left hand side as I knew from the route description that I would be heading to the left. This part of the walk was the most unpleasureable, the ground was damp and I couldn't see the way ahead as the cloud had descended on me I was following the WH route on my phone and it was working a treat
The visibility was so poor that I never even noticed the vast drop and open space on the left hand side of Gleann a' Chadha Dheirg and was amazed when I saw it on the return The photo's of the Glen were taken on the return leg
Gleann a' Chadha Dheirg
The next part of the walk was back to going uphill again, the ground was still damp in parts and the path appeared and then disappeared. About half way up the push up Cadha Dearg the cloud evaporated and I could see the way ahead and opted to head directly to the summit, there were a couple of paths leading up and I selected the most direct one
Another water feature, not the biggest waterfall
There were a few of these nice white rocks littering the hillside
Looking back to An Teallach who was peeking over the top of the clouds
The summit of Seana Bhraigh ahead
A lonely stag just below the summit
The summit shelter of Seana Bhraigh
Had to get another shot of An Teallach
Looking down on Loch Luchd Choire
Looking across to Creag an Duine
The cliffs of Luchd Choire
As you can see the views from the summit were definitely worth the effort, if you have an inversion it makes it even more worthwhile After taking umpteen photo's I headed down, what a difference it makes when you can see the way ahead. The path was much easier to follow heading down and just as I reached Gleann a' Chadha Dheirg I met a couple of guys heading up, so we had a chat, especially as they were the first human beings I had seen for over 4 hours. After passing the head of the Gleann I could see the gully and this was the bit I wasn't looking forward to, not only was it uphill but the ground was soft and uneven
The first glimpse I had of the Gleann
After much huffing and puffing I reached the top of the gully and knew the rest of the walk was a doddle I located the main path and then it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and the miles were soon gobbled up.
In what seemed like no time I was on the final descent back down to my bike, so the poles were packed away and it was back to the car at supersonic speed. The ride downhill was even quicker than the day before, probably because I knew the track better. I arrived back at the car in a shade under 7 hours. If you like remote hills Seana Bhraigh is a gem and you are rewarded at the end with amazing views
To sum up, 2 cracking days on some of Scotland's finest hills. Next is probably another visit to Kintail, so it will be back to watching the forecast
by simon-b » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:42 pm
by Gordie12 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:05 pm
Still to do Seana Bhraigh so good to get some info on this one.
by martin.h » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:00 pm
The four are a great day out, we enjoyed them, Seanna Bhraigh we've still to do but it looks a long day so I reckon it's gonna be a relaxed summer's day jaunt in a couple of years from now.
by Petr Dakota » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:50 pm
Probably I saw your footprints as I was there one day after you
by jamesb63 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:18 am
and the weather ,what can I say this Indian Summer has been great
for getting out
by basscadet » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:44 am
Seana Bhraigh is a beauty, although I would have to say that wouldn't I
by BlackPanther » Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:36 am
Kevin's aching to repeat the Dearg 4, he didn't see much on his previous visit due to cloud, but we are still in the "be careful not to overdo it" zone, so this walk will probably have to wait till spring.
by brpro26 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:09 am
Wouldn't mind a job in your office!!!
What's with blowing up the tyre? Just guessing but squeeze the brake caliper at the wheel and pop out the side-pull cable from the mounting and the wheel pops out past the brake blocks nae bother. Unless you had a puncture then forget previous.
by SecretSquirrel » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:27 pm
I've not ventured on any of the hills north of the Great Glen yet, so its good to get a taste of what to expect.