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Return to Strathconnon

Return to Strathconnon


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:07 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Meall na Faochaig

Date walked: 25/03/2016

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 8.3 km

Ascent: 536m

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This year, Easter holidays didn't spoil us with weather. Maybe because it fell so early in the year... I remember three or four previous springs - every Easter we were out and about, ticking off Munros in multi-top walks, enjoying the sunshine and crispy snow. This time, not so good :( We managed two Grahams.

Well, I'm not complaining, especially that my battered body is not 100% ready for big adventures. We did what we could, enjoying short sunny spells up here in the Northern Highlands. At least it wasn't a total disaster :D

On Good Friday, we popped in to Glen Strathconnon, to visit our last unclimbed hill in this area, Meall na Faochaig. The most practical way to get this one done and dusted is to combine it with a second Graham, just across the road, called Beinn Mheadhoin. We climbed Mheadhoin two weeks earlier by itself, as a half-days walk (the blessings of living so close), therefore, Meall na Faochaig was left as an awkward outlier, another 3 or 4 hours long "quickie". I was initially tempted to leave it for a winter outing, but Kevin was hooked on Strathconnon, hoping for good views to the infamous Strathfarrar Four. In the end, he wasn't disappointed.

We started from the very same off-road parking as for Beinn Mheadhoin and after a short walk along the tarmac, we picked a good stalkers track, which goes up to Creag Iucharaid. a simple up and down route:

Track_MEALL NA FAOCHAIG 25-03-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Getting ready:
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Looking down from the grassy track across the glen to Inverchoran:
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The track follows an old fence for a short distance, then takes a sharp turn east, towards the shoulder of Creag Iucharaid. The easiest route to the summit is just to pick your way across grass and heather, to the summit which is well visible from below. An obvious, easy jaunt:
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Not much to say about the climb itself, apart from the slopes being much drier (two weeks of dry weather did the job), so less "mushy tatties" this time :D
We didn't push it too fast, it was only half-days walk and we had plenty of time. Every 10 min Kevin stopped for another photo session :lol: :lol:
View down to Creag Iucharaid:
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Bac na Eich across the glen:
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Zoom to Strathfarrar Munros:
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As we gained height, more and more better views opened up. First, we spotted the familiar shapes of Torridon giants. Sadly, they looked a bit dull with dark cloud hanging above them:
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View to upper Glen Strathconnon:
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My knee was doing OK at the moment and I couldn't resist another short break to admire the panos...
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Still to-do, the Farrar Four are on the shortlist for 2016. Funny, how sometimes close neighbours get neglected. These are our nearest Munros (apart from Wyvis) and it's a kind of walk I like: long, lovely ridge with many tops to meow on :wink: Somehow, we kept putting them away for another time... and another... maybe it's something to do with the locked gate at the top of the glen, the whole hassle with getting to the start of the route... At the moment an alternative plan is hatching... more about it later.
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Arriving on the summit ridge, we both gasped with surprise. The long ridge of Meallan nan Uan - Sgurr a Mhuillin revealed itself, so close to us, I felt I could just reach out and touch them!
My little camera takes pretty good panoramic photos:
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Me and Lucy the Lamb on my 45th Graham! At this pace I'll finish the G's faster than the Munros :lol:
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This lovely view shows upper Gleann Meinich, the deep trench that separates Meall na Faochaig from the two Corbetts. On the horizon, Fionn Bheinn and the Fannichs.
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The most interesting feature of 'Connon Twins is invisible from the main road in the glen, and also won't be seen when doing them via the classic approach. Meall na Faochaig gives the best vantage point to this vertical rocky wall:
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Zoom to mighty Slioch:
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A great viewpoint, this modest Graham. We agreed, it's worth climbing again in full winter conditions :D :D :D
There are two tops on the summit ridge and the first (western) one is the higher, but we had time and felt like exploring, so we decided to traverse to the lower top. Easier said then done, considering the peat-haggy terrain between the two:
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It's best to keep to the left hand side, where all peat hags can be either avoided or jumped over.
The lower top gives even better views to the east and south, the Farrar Four stealing the show of course!
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Lower Glen Strathconnon:
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Sgurr na Lapaich and An Riabhachan:
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Really worth spending an extra 15 minutes to explore the summit area properly!
Despite sun shining through gaps in the cloud, we felt cold due to strong, chilly wind. Luckily, the lower top offers plenty of rocks and boulders to find shelter behind. Hidden from the cold gusts, we stretched our legs, dug up our tea and cookies. Good way to spend Good Friday!
The very view we had from our picnic spot:
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Kevin grabbed OS map and we began to talk strategies, how to tackle the Farrar Four. Maybe doing them from 'Connon is not such a bad idea? The only thing scaring me is the amount of ascent; I plotted a possible route on GPS when we got home: 1900m over 30km distance :shock: Not sure my knee is ready for such killing experience.
Having refreshed my cycling skills last year, I like the idea of cycling in from Struy, doing the classic circuit and then riding back to the gate. This way, we would not be restricted by gatekeeper's timetable :lol: and we could enjoy another bike & hike combo.
Of course we're talking about very distant plans, May-June at the earliest, but what else can you chat about, sitting on a mountain top? :lol: :lol:
Eventually, we returned to the main summit for another photo session 8) We will definitely return here in full winter, can't wait for the views in white!
Kevin working his precious camera:
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Happy cat posing with Bac na Eich in the background:
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Weather was improving slightly, more brightens on the western horizon:
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Zoomed Liathach:
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Farrar pano, a wee bit overexposed...
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Not ready to go home just yet!
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The descent was uneventful. I tested my left leg on steeper ground, putting more pressure on the knee, trying to feel how much I could manage. The news is pretty good - seems there's no permanent damage to the joint/bone. Slight aches and twinges must be the result of internal scars, they will take a while to disappear.
Almost back down in Inverchoran:
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I know technically we could have tackled something bigger and bolder that day, but Meall na Faochaig was such a superb viewpoint, I don't regret a single minute spent on the top. Highly recommended for Invernessians and other locals, good half-day hill in much overlooked area. Can be done in less than 3 hours - don't look at our time, half of it was spent faffing about :lol: :lol:

There is more to come from me, another Graham bagging adventure, again - a hill with fantastic views. TR to come soon.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3609
Munros:260   Corbetts:169
Grahams:119   
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Return to Strathconnon

Postby jamesb63 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:49 pm

Nice to see you back out and about now .and a very nice report :clap:
Some really nice pics also with great character to them
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jamesb63
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 397
Munros:218   Corbetts:3
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Joined: Apr 14, 2015
Location: Alexandria

Re: Return to Strathconnon

Postby Yorjick » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:14 pm

I am heading for Meall na Faochaig tomorrow. I would love to see the pictures. Is this a Flickr thing - charging for storage? :cry: I went through all my walk reports and where necessary uploaded the pictures. I think I have far fewer walk reports than you though! I am looking to head SE from the summit. Always prefer a more circular route.
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Yorjick
Stravaiging
 
Posts: 199
Munros:282   Corbetts:208
Grahams:55   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:20   Hewitts:158
Wainwrights:173   Islands:19
Joined: Sep 17, 2008
Location: Dornoch

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