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Every Tom, Toll and Harry ;)
by BlackPanther » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:55 pm
Route description: Tom a' Choinich and Toll Creagach, Glen Affric
Munros included on this walk: Toll Creagach, Tom a' Choinich
Date walked: 17/10/2015
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 17.5 km
Ascent: 1109m4 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).
Having recently read reports on WH showing the peaks of Affric in autumnal, "nostalgic" mood, I suggested to Kevin, we should visit the area again. Lucky us, living only down the road!
I have already climbed Mam Sodhail ridge twice, using different combinations of routes, so this time we picked Toll Creagach and Tom a'Choinich, the easiest Munros in this area. I was still taking Kevin's injury under consideration and didn't want to push him too far too quickly. He did surprisingly well on Bynack More, but this was much steeper climb with more ascent/descent. We agreed it's as much as he can cope with at the moment.
Therefore, our way up and over Tom & Toll (sometimes I call them "Tom, Toll and Harry" though I haven't got a clue who Harry could be ) followed the classic WH route:
Up Creag na h-Inghinn ridge is not exactly the easiest way up the Affric Boys, but we went up this way during our previous visit here (spring 2011) and I didn't remember any difficulties. it is, indeed, an interesting, quite narrow, rocky ridge with some optional scrambling, pure delight for any hillwalker.
We parked by Chisholme Bridge and took the track along the east side of the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh. The morning mist still lay down in the glen behind us, there was also some patchy cloud drifting around mountain tops, but the day was bright and we knew all clag should burn off before we reach any summits.
For the first 2km or so, the track/path is decent...
...but higher up the glen we encountered some really annoying bog. Well, it wasn't exactly as bad as Strath Nethy the previous weekend, but still we swore a lot, trying to find a dry way across countless muddy puddles, overgrown with moss and grass. Strange, after a long period of dry weather I expected this glen to be relatively dry. Funny, I didn't remember it being so swampy the previous time we walked along this river, and it was in early April after the snow has just melted... Possibly, during the last few years the path was eroded by walkers/stalkers? Hard to say, but this was the only part of this walk we didn't enjoy...
I even started singing a silly bog song...
Lapaich here, lapaich there, there's lapaich everywhere... - it refers to the two Sgurr na Lapaich hills nearby as much as to the local bog
Looking back along the wet glen, it looks innocent but try it yourselves!
Only when we turned onto the path climbing along Allt Toll Easa, conditions underfoot improved, if only a bit.
Still wet but manageable:
Kevin was struggling a bit on the ascent, possibly he's lost some fitness during his time-off, so I had to adjust my pace to his... which, I must admit, was frustrating. I was bursting out with energy, eager to run up the path and reach the rocky ridge, but as a good and caring wife I had to stay at my husband's side
At least I had plenty of time to admire the views. In 2011 we didn't see the full extent of the panos as the day was very hazy and we could hardly see Sgurr na Lapaich across the glen! No such problem this time.
Gleann nam Fiadh from above:
The path now dry, I was enjoying myself, hopping and jumping about like... well, like a true wild panther.
From the height of about 600m the slope steepens and the true fun begins. As Kevin was slower today, I took advantage to investigate all rocks and boulders on the way up
Waiting for Kevin to join me:
Tom a' Choinich and Corrie Toll Easa. No snow this time:
We had fun on Creag na h-Inghinn, it is indeed the superior way of climbing Tom - one could follow the path into Toll Easa to the col between the two Munros and then turn left up the slope, but this way you'll miss the most entertaining part of the traverse.
Besides, from the ridge we had tremendous views to the main bulk of Affric peaks, from Sgurr na Lapaich to Carn Eighe:
View down the ridge. The path is easy to find and can be followed all the way up. It avoids all difficulties, though I admit I took a few detours to haul my a** up a few more interesting-looking boulders.
Tom a' Choinich Beag and An Leth-chreag in autumn sunshine:
Our second target, Toll Creagach, the round one:
The impatient Panther waiting again!
Good Morning, Tom! From this perspective it reminded me of Ciste Dhubh:
The final meters are less steep and very enjoyable, with superb views around, Kevin picked up a better pace and soon we arrived on the summit of Tom a'Choinich. It was a repeat for both of us, but forget the statistics, it's not why we climb mountains!
Tom's summit cairn:
We dropped our rucksacks and spent about 30 minutes on the top. It was cold but rather quiet and we couldn't resist taking far too many photos once again!
Lucy's 9th Munro!
Now only the best bits of what we saw. For the first time we had the perfect photographic conditions on this hill so could play with our equipment
This is one mouth-watering ridge! one to return to and explore properly when days are longer again...
Distant Strathfarrar Munros:
Beinn Fionnlaidh, at least from this side it looks like a Munro... When I did it, I wondered why such a boring outlier was put on the list, possibly to annoy Munro baggers?
Faochaig and Sguman Coinntich. A fantastic pair of Corbetts, we enjoyed them on a crispy winter day in blazing sun.
Loch Mullardoch (not much water in it!) and the remote Munros: An Socach and An Riabhachan. I still remember my Mullalrdoch round... painful... boiling hot and blistered feet
Lapaich here, Lapaich there... Here is Sgurr na Lapaich the Munro:
Another pano to the west:
Tom a'Choinich is the higher of the two boys and maybe the better viewpoint, but we couldn't omit the shy brother Toll. After much longer than we should have spent on the summit of Tom, we got on our way, me leading down the steep path to Bealach Toll Easa:
A patch of last years snow still present on the eastern slopes of Choinich, what a surprise!
We crossed the bealach and followed the path up the much less steep slopes of the second Munro. The descent ridge was basking in sunshine (notice the patch of snow high up):
The gentle Toll was waiting for us and I hardly noticed we did any ascent whatsoever
Summit Toll Creagach - Lucy celebrated her 10th Munro, she is now into double digits and seriously addicted Soon she will have to retire from climbing until next spring. Winter mountains are not a safe place for little fluffy lambs... She's not happy about it though
We had another far too long break on the second summit, but having checked our watches we discovered, we had more than 4 hours of daylight left... A good excuse to stay high for longer
My little camera has a panoramic shot option which I tested a few times, but this was the first time I actually managed some decent panoramas - north across Loch Mullardoch to the mountains on the other side:
Sgurr na Lapaich, Carn nan Gobhar and Panther busy taking photos:
The very distant views might have been a wee bit hazy, but I got a good zoom to the hills up north. Not sure what we're looking at here - the Fannichs or Beinn Dearg?:
The hills of Strathfarrar:
Looking down Glen Cannich:
Boooah! I don't want to go home just yet!
The descent from Toll Creagach is pretty straightforward, just aim due south from the summit and down back to Gleann nam Fiadh. The first 300m of descent are on dry terrain, and we wondered how small Beinn a'Mheadhoin looked from above... I'd love to revisit this one in winter, but getting up the glen when it's snowed-in could be a problem. We had to abandon trips up Glen Affric road a few times in deep winter.
Autumn nostalgia - Tom a'Choinich in shadows:
Creag na h-Inghinn from the east, now it looks very steep indeed
The lower slopes on descent turned wet again, but we located a sketchy path and followed it all the way down to the glen:
Some more bog hopping and we were back on the track we started from. I knew we wouldn't break any time records, but it didn't matter this time. The Indian summer may not last much longer so we took the opportunity to enjoy the day to the full.
Last moments of autumn nostalgia - but we will be back!
Over 7 hours, again we took it at snail's pace but I'm never in a hurry in Glen Affric. Such an amazing place it is. I'm glad that the recent attempt to build windfarms in Affric failed. It would be a real shame if this lovely corner of Scotland got spoiled.
Can we have one more lovely weekend, please?...
by Gordie12 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:18 pm
I need to stop going up to this glen and just walking round the loch (I've done it 3 times now and never climbed a single hill).
by mamoset » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:04 pm
by ChrisW » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:56 am
by SecretSquirrel » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:48 am
Can we have one more lovely weekend, please?...
Finger n toes crossed, but its not looking promising
by basscadet » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:23 am
by Mal Grey » Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:48 am
Nice hills these, I too love Affric.
by K-Burn » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:22 pm
by BlackPanther » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:27 pm
Gordie12 wrote:I need to stop going up to this glen and just walking round the loch (I've done it 3 times now and never climbed a single hill).
We walk around Loch Affric at least once a year - I lost my count of rounds for this route It's such a special place for us. The Corbetts on the south side are superb hills if a bit neglected, we visited both in winter conditions, fantastic long ridges.
basscadet wrote:Was up that glen recently, and thought the bog awful too
Your earlier report actually reminded me of Affric hills Originally we planned to do Maol Chean Dearg in Torridon, but this was just as good if not better. And we clocked in 30 Munros this year (that including repeats).
SecretSquirrel wrote: Can we have one more lovely weekend, please?...
Finger n toes crossed, but its not looking promising
This weekend no amount of digit crossing will help, I'm afraid But let's just hope weather will improve again for the WH meet (which I'd love to attend this time as it's in my neighbourhood).
I think I have solved all my internet issues now and will have no problems posting. I got rid of nightmarish Windows 8...
by jamesb63 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:53 pm
but you second pic just stands out I love that one
by goth_angel » Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:50 pm
by simon-b » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:32 pm
by litljortindan » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:26 pm
by dogplodder » Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:46 pm
by past my sell by date » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:29 pm
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