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2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy way

2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy way


Postby Mountainlove » Wed May 18, 2016 10:10 am

Route description: Fisherfield 6, from Shenavall

Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mor, Sgurr Ban

Date walked: 11/05/2016

Time taken: 24 hours

Distance: 50 km

Ascent: 3156m

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A few years ago a friend told me, that I had to keep the 5 Fisherfield Munros for a good day and that I was not allowed to rush them. It was advice which I was glad to follow! I had looked into different approach ways and knew from the start that I did not wanted to do the 5 from Sheneval. I wanted something different. :D Looking at the map Lochan Fada took my fancy and playing around with routes, I decided to aim for a 15km walk in, to be able to set up basecamp at the end of the loch (maps are below)

Day 1

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The start and car park at Incheril

With a rough plan in my head I set off during Wednesday morning and walked the first 4.5 km on the wide path which was currently used by construction works. Once I passed a ruin and a lovely new build house the path split and a simple sign indicated that the lochan was 8 km away (6.7 based from my map).

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Looking back towards Beinn Eighe

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The first 4.5km is an easy path

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A great house and the place were the path splits. Turn left through the gate and up the hill

Changing path I walked through a gate and walked up the hillside. The countryside was lovely and I did not pass a single soul. 2.45 hours after setting off, I arrived at the lochan and the path stopped. The area was deserted and staying close to the lochan I walked on and crossed the massive area of heather bog which I would curse and love during the next few days. I continued for another 4 km which was hard going.

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The path once you turned left

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A good 10 km into the walk, the mountains come into view and the start of Lochan Fada

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The whole Panorama

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The walk along the loch, once the path stopped

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The walk ahead. Heather bog and some lovely 'beaches' at Lochan Fada.

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When I reached this area, I felt like the last person in the world, yet my campsite was still a good kilometer further ahead

I had originally planned to walk a bit further but once I found a suitable spot close to the loch and a burn I stopped and started putting my tent up. It was a beautiful day and knowing I had time I did not rush and had a late lunch and enjoyed being out in the mountains.

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Home for the next 3 days and 2 nights

It was late in the afternoon when I set off towards A'Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor. This was the wild countryside I had been looking forward to, but my romantic thoughts did not last long. Heather, bog, steep ground and no path brought me back to reality. Remote wilderness is what I had wanted and what I got, paths were certainly no part of it!

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The way towards A'Mhaighdean, looking back towards Lochan Fada

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Close to the top

The climb towards A'Mhaighdean took nearly 2 hours and by the time I reached the top I saw a tent which I later found out belonged to belonged to Electricfly (Eric) a follow Walkhighlander and his 2 dogs. Taking some pictures Eric approached and we had a chat. Things got even better when he asked me if I fancied a pint of lager! :D :clap: What a question :D certainly and sitting down it felt slightly unreal having a pint on one of Britains remotest Munros. Thank you Eric that was perfect!! :clap: Enjoying the pint and some good banter he then also joined me for the climb up Ruadh Stac Mor later on .

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The views were simply stunning

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Ahead to the west

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North-west

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Panoramic views

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Towards An Teallach

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Erics tent and Slioch in the distance

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Me happy

The second Munro of the day was very steep and looser boulders made the climb treacherous. I was however surprised how well Alfie and Tarsuinn managed and our banter about hills, soon moved on towards dogs.
Looking over towards the 3 Munros I had planned to climb during the next day, I realized that my original planned route was pants. :roll: Discussing the options with Eric, he reminded me about a bypass Spiderweb (Dave) had wrote about. I looked over towards Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair , but even with my camera I was not able to make out any paths? Mmmmm. Best to worry about that when I got there.

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On the way towards Ruadh Stac Mor, looking over towards Bein Tarsuinn

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Looking out towards the sea again

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From left to right - Sgurr Ban- Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Beinn Tarsuinn. My target for the next day

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Sooooo nice the views towards An Teallach


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Alfie and Tarsuinn

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Myself on Ruadh Stac Mor

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Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Trying to find the bypass Spiderweb wrote about :shock: ...looks kind of steep gulp! :shock:

During the return it was getting rather late and since I wanted to be back before darkness, I said good bye and made my way back down to my tent which I finally reached at 9pm.

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The return walk...where did I camped again? :lol:

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A pretty late return even for my liking

Cooking pasta and meatballs for dinner, I watched the sky turning all shades of pink while birds sang their evening concert. I crawled into my sleeping bag just after 22:00 and hoped to fall asleep quickly. There was no such luck, as half an hour into my sleep I realized that my air mattress had a puncture and I had no repair kit with me. Argh!!! :shock: :evil: How lovely it was waking up frequently throughout the night, having to blow up the bed each time. :wtf: On the plus sight my new selfmade camping pillow, which I had made from a ‘normal’ pillow was perfect and for the first time ever, I was able to sleep well without walking up with a stiff neck! :thumbup:

Day 2

I woke up at 8am and peeking out of my tent, the sun was shining brightly. I had a wash and made some porridge while watching the world ehm absolutely nothing go by :lol:
Looking up towards Beinn Tarsuinn I decided on a direct ‘up the gully’ approach.

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The direct 'up the gully' approach

Packing some food and water I set off and was walking through the heather bog once more. The climb was steep and further up grass was more dominant which made the climb a little easier. The views across Slioch were lovely and I took many breaks to simply enjoy the Fisherfields. Sitting down at an outcrop I suddenly became aware that 2 other walkers approach the mountain. They seemed to have spotted me, as they followed the same route I had taken. :D

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View back towards A'Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor

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View towards Lochan Fada and Slioch

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At the top, which was still quite a distance away from the summit

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The ridge walk ahead

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Looking back and the amazing views

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On the way

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Looking back along the ridge and the 'tennis court' *(the square area on the left on top of the mountain)

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Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban

Moving on I reached the top and lovely views stretched out around me. From the top the ridge of Being Tarsuinn reminded me about the Liathach and I had great fun scrambling over the rocks . By the time I reached the summit the 2 walkers I had seen in the distance had caught up with me. Sitting down they joined me for lunch which then resulted in me gate crashing their party and joining them on the next 2 Munros. Chatting away I found out that one of the two (age 67) would be finishing the Munros on Saturday . :clap: :clap:

Chatting away the time was flying and we met another girl from Walkhighlands with her partner/friend. Hello if you read this :wave:
The most surprising thing was how different the 3 Munros were from each other. Beinn Tarsuinn a Torridon look alike with a great ridge walk. Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair with the awful scree slope which would have fitted perfectly in the Glen Nevis area and last Sgurr Ban with the flat top which would not have looked out of place in the southern Cairmgorms region.

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Meall Garch the wee hill on the right, which you don't need to climb - a bypass can be used and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

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Towards the east

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The side of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair


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The walk towards Sgurr Ban

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Myself on Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

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The top of Sgurr Ban with heavy rain clouds looming above


Once I stood on the flat top of Sgurr Ban I said my good byes and walked down the mountain. The scree on the way down Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair had been awful and once I reached the point between the 2 Munros I looked for Spiderwebs path and found it.
To name it path would be too generous, its more a faint track which disappeared frequently, but I followed it. It certainly was better than climbing the Munro again, but the bypass is long and since it started raining! rather slippery at times. Towards the end it was winding around rocks and a few times I lost it and I had to take some rather dodgy climb down rocks, which could have been prevented, if I would have not lost the path. I was glad when I finally reached the normal path again which bypassed around Meall Garch on a proper bypass.


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The start of the bypass around Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair- easy to see at the start

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The much better bypass around Meall Garch

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Around Bealach Odbar

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Back 'home'

The rain which had lingered for a good hour stopped when I reached the Bealach Odbar. To avoid and bog I skirted around the mountain and staying high I slowly made my way back down the heather bog towards my tent. I had slightly more time than the previous day and tuna pasta was on the menu. My pocket knife had a ‘can opener’ on it, but to open the stupid can was another issue. :evil: :-x :twisted: Haha. I must have punched around 20 holes around the lid, without having any luck to open the stupid thing. At the end I somehow forced open a small opening in order to get the tuna out of the tin. I don’t think tuna will be on the menu in the future. :lol:
Settling down in the tent I was reading my book, while like the night before had to blow up the bed again frequently. :roll:

Day 3

Once I had packed up my tent during the next morning I changed my approach to walk back. Instead of sticking to the lochan I walked up the hill a bit, as I had found a rather great deer track the day before hand. Following the track, it certainly led me to the greatest grazing grounds, 8) but also bypassed all the peat hags and boggy areas I had to walk through on my approach. :thumbup: Yet I was more than happy when I reached the good track which leads away from the loch. The walk back was long, but once I walked through the gate and approached the wide path again, one of the construction workers stopped and asked if I wanted a lift. :D More than happy I agreed and saved the last 4km along the rather boring part of the track. :thumbup:

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The deer track

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Looking back towards the area which had been home

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One look back towards the lochan before it was time to head home

The walk in and walk out. 15km each way

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The walk towards A'Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor from my campsite. A 10km return journey

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The walk towards Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban. A 10 km return journey

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Mountainlove
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby kev_russ » Wed May 18, 2016 10:35 am

Braw 8)
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby jamesb63 » Wed May 18, 2016 11:40 am

Looks a great alternative to Sheneval ,definetly got me thinking
is there any problems on ascent for dogs ?? :clap: :clap:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby Mountainlove » Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am

jamesb63 wrote:Looks a great alternative to Sheneval ,definetly got me thinking
is there any problems on ascent for dogs ?? :clap: :clap:


Many thanks! If dogs are used to hill walks, they would not have any problems. The ridge on Tarsuinn can easily bypassed as well!
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby FromDownSouth » Wed May 18, 2016 12:03 pm

Brilliant report as always and a stunning area.

Of course a packing the puncture kit ( :oops: ) would have sorted the flat but another idea is to also pack some duck tape.

For such emergencies I have a length of duck tape wrapped around one of my water bottles in case in need it in an emergency.

Weight is near to nothing to carry and I can then take some off if needed to stick a ripped pack back together or hold a bandage around one of my appendages (has been done!) is needed. Just a thought.

Look forward to hearing more WR soon
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby Mountainlove » Wed May 18, 2016 12:10 pm

FromDownSouth wrote:Brilliant report as always and a stunning area.
Of course a packing the puncture kit ( :oops: ) would have sorted the flat but another idea is to also pack some duck tape.
For such emergencies I have a length of duck tape wrapped around one of my water bottles in case in need it in an emergency.
Weight is near to nothing to carry and I can then take some off if needed to stick a ripped pack back together or hold a bandage around one of my appendages (has been done!) is needed. Just a thought.
Look forward to hearing more WR soon


Many thanks and thats a great idea with the duck tape! Will actually prepare one of my bottles this evening, for any future emergencies :D Thanks!!
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 18, 2016 1:03 pm

I was considering this approach for one-day jaunt up Beinn Tarsuinn, but this looks like a superb base camp for all of them! Now just bring on good weather :D

it's always a bonus to meet other Walkhighlanders, especially when they offer a free pint :lol: :lol:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby PeteR » Wed May 18, 2016 1:05 pm

Looks superb. 8)

I'll no doubt be studying your maps to see how they might work for my planned trip over the Bank Holiday weekend.............although as I look out of the office window the weather suggests my plans might need to be put on hold, unless there is a serious improvement over the next week :roll:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby Borderhugh » Wed May 18, 2016 4:13 pm

Nice one ML. Really looking fwd to doing these this summer. Planning to cycle your route in from Incheril. As everyone says great weather is a must. Fancy that - pulling a construction worker on the way out! :clap:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby PerthAlly » Wed May 18, 2016 8:22 pm

Great photos. That's a useful 3 days for you :D

I'd love to tackle the Fisherfield 5. But I'm allergic to camping :lol:

One day I'll have to stump up for a tent etc and grin and bear it :D
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby malky_c » Wed May 18, 2016 9:19 pm

Perfection right there 8) . Ideal weather and a nice looking camping spot.

I got some mini tins of tuna for last weekend from Aldi that had ring pulls on them, as well as other stuff (like chillis and bits of onion) mixed in. Had that with some pasta and cheese slices melted through it - best camping meal I've had in ages!
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby Graeme D » Wed May 18, 2016 9:20 pm

Epic ML! Brilliant photos and stories, especially the pint of lager at the top of A'Mhaighdean.... 8)

Bit disappointing that there was no pink lilo in this report though, but that picture of Eric's camping spot more than made up for that. What a stoater! :clap:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby electricfly » Wed May 18, 2016 10:53 pm

When I arrived at Lochivraon Bothy at 10.30pm on Tuesday night, the other occupant of said bothy was all tucked up in his sleeping bag and in no great mood to be sociable. :roll: Because of this, my Tuesday allocation of alcoholic beverages rolled over to the Wednesday.

So, fast forward to Wednesday evening. I'd just stretched out in my tent after filling my belly and was thinking about cracking open a lager, my trail shoes were drying with insoles and damp socks kicking out a heady pong from the sheltered porch. I'd turned off my phone, camera and ipod but could hear little electronic bleeps coming from somewhere. "what the feck is that?" I asked the dogs, and they were quick to find the source.

Snapping away on the summit of A'Mhaighdean was the legendary "Mountainlove". The moment of startled barking quickly turned to one of tail wagging (the dogs not mine). :wink: Seeing as I now had surplus stock of lager, I thought it only fair to offer this weary hiker a fine alcoholic beverage to make up for my unsettling Yeti-like appearance and smell! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Can't believe you had such a long lie ML, I was passing by your way before 7am! :roll: :lol:
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu May 19, 2016 2:01 am

Hi mountainlove brilliant stuff. These hills deserve a few days and the great weather. Electricfly sounds like the sort of guy you want to meet in the hills dishing out the free beer. :D
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Re: 2 day basecamp at Lochan Fada - Fisherfields the easy wa

Postby FromDownSouth » Thu May 19, 2016 9:24 am

Mountainlove wrote:Many thanks and thats a great idea with the duck tape! Will actually prepare one of my bottles this evening, for any future emergencies :D Thanks!!


More than welcome :)

To be honest, I can't take all the credit as I got the idea myself from looking at too many US based ultra light hiking websites on how to hike with reduced pack loads. I am currently at 4.1 kg for everything and continue to look each time how to reduce more weight that I carry.

Also working on shedding a few kilos from myself as well to help ;)
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