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Awesome Affric - even with random views

Awesome Affric - even with random views

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed May 18, 2016 4:02 pm

Route description: Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Carn Eige, Mam Sodhail

Date walked: 16/05/2016

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 28 km

Ascent: 1727m

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Following on from yesterday's little walk at Loch Mullardoch, a couple of the participants agreed to accompany me and tackle the Carn Eige three, namely Simon and Tommy. We knew were in for another tough day and just hoped we hadn't bitten off more than we could chew.
I was staying Drumnadrochit, Tommy was in Cannich and Simon was in Beauly so we agreed to meet at 9.30am, mainly because as I was in a B&B which as usual doesn't start breakfast until 8am. As usual I made sure I got my monies worth breakfast wise, cereal, toast and the full Scottish - I did quite well to be out of the door before 8.30 :lol:
The car knew the way to the start/meeting point at Chisholm Bridge, as I had passed over the bridge last week. Due to the nearby local construction work, available parking probably varies on a daily basis. When I arrived (early) there were a couple of vehicles already parked so I knew it was going to be a bit of squish. There was a young lady who was part of the construction team, attempting to sweep the dust from the road, my car was kind of dirty before and when we arrived back later it was rather dusty :(
Simon and Tommy both arrived early and we were on our way before the scheduled time 8)
I won't bother with a route map as we followed the WH route almost down to the inch, even when the path disappeared.
For those who have never been in the area, Chisholm Bridge can/is also used for the start point for the 2 nearby Munro's Tom & Toll. We were fortunate as the approach path was fairly dry after the recent dry spell 8)

Image Parking area

Image Chisholm Bridge, not sure why it's called that?

Image Good track initially

Image Then it gets a bit more challenging

Whilst we were marching along making quite good time, most of the chat was about yesterdays little outing and Simon was impressing us not only with his knowledge of the hills but also his amazing pronunciation :lol: We were also informed we were going to be ascending the 12th highest hill in the UK :lol: Just checked my blue balloons and it turns out I have now climbed the 72 highest hills and the 73rd will hopefully be scaled on Friday :wink:

Image Starting to go uphill, nice and easy 8)

Image Looking back once a bit of height had been gained

Image Looks like we are heading into the clouds!

Image Quick stop for a photo and a breather

Tommy has a great idea for the ascents and it certainly seemed to work, although a bit tough at times - every 100 steps stop to get your breath and off you go again 8) The one problem is sometimes you need to multi task, keeping counting and hold a conversation at the same time, shouldn't be a problem for the female species :lol: :lol: I always used to pick a landmark or something in the distance, but as Tommy said, sometimes the point you are aiming for doesn't seem to get any closer :(

Image The way up into the clag

Image Just about the last sight of Loch Affric for a while


Image Simon updating me on exactly where we were and how many inches we had left before the next descent

Image How to spoil a good backdrop

Image Getting a bit steeper


Image The peaks always look higher when in clag, but this one was quite high :lol:

Image Follow the path

Image Yes up and down that bump

Image Action shot, not sure what the drop was like, probably just as well

Image As above

Image As above again

Image Ditto

Image A well earned rest, Carn Eige summit

After reaching Carn Eige we knew we had quite a descent (over 350m - eeek) before plodding up the the next target Beinn Fhionnlaidh, whilst descending we met a couple heading in the opposite direction. Due to the poor visibility they had decided to re-ascend Carn Eige and head down the other side. We were determined not to do that, more of that later :wink:

Image The descent down to the bealach before the next ascent up the 2nd summit

Image Coire Lochan

We actually had the occasional view when we reached the bealach, so I would guess the cloudbase was about 850m :(

Image Tommy taking in the awesome view

The ascent up wasn't at all difficult and after 3 or 4 stops we reached the summit cairn.

Image One of Simon's many faces :lol: :lol:

Image Gleann a' Choilich peeking out under the cloud

Image As above but a wee bit lower down

Image Ascending again

Image Gives you some idea of what the traverse entails

Before reaching the bealach we were scanning the big lump ahead, known as Carn Eige and looking for any sort of sign that would indicate where we would turn off to traverse round the side. There was nothing obvious and a small cairn amongst a boulder field certainly wouldn't have been spotted by us :lol: We were using various forms of navigational aids and we managed to traverse round Carn Eige superbly, occasionally picking up a path - end result we avoided the extra ascent and then descent and arrived on the bealach between Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail 8) :clap: :clap:
Next was the ascent up Mam Sodhail, which as Simon informed us was number 14 in the height parade, it was probably just as well we couldn't really see the way ahead. From our experience there seemed to be quite a few false summits, through the clag :(
The reward of reaching Mam Sodhail was a unique cairn, which was apparently constructed by Ordnance Survey and was very impressive. We certainly appreciated the cosyness and had a bit of fun climbing up, down and walking round the top of the cairn 8)

Image Told you it was a bit cairn


Image The interior


Image Simon telling Tommy how many stones were used to construct the cairn :lol: :lol:


Image 3 laps of the cairn

Image The way downish

The descent off Mam Sodhail is straightforward, there are a couple of spanners in the works, just to make sure your legs get a proper workout there is a 'top' and a demoted Munro to ascend and descend before the final descent :( We still couldn't quite work out why An Tudair at 1074m had been demoted, as in the clag it certainly seemed to quite a distance from Mam Sodhail, maybe it was the tired legs talking :lol: :lol:

Image Loch Affric re-appearing

Image Still rather high up

Image Plenty of snow up in the clouds

Image Still no sign of descending yet

Image Western end of Loch Affric

Image Some huge cornice'

Image Penny for Tommy's thoughts? :lol:

Image Descending for real at last

Image Going down

Image Once on the track it is easy going back to the cars

Image Affric Lodge zoomed

Image Quite a nice setting


After passing Affric Lodge it is then just a matter of following the track/road back to the bridge.
For the record Tommy's navigational aided recorded him doing 40,000 steps for the Mullardoch 4 and 47,000 steps for the Carn Eige 3.
A fantastic day and we were unanimous that we would visit these hills again in better weather, however we wouldn't bother with Beinn Fhionnlaidh again :lol: A huge thanks to Tommy & Simon for their great company again :clap: :clap:
Next stop for me a slice of Cheesecake and Lurg Mhor tomorrow (Thu), not looking forward to the cycling bit, but it may turn out to be great fun - watch this space :wink:
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Awesome Affric - even with random views

Postby simon-b » Thu May 19, 2016 10:43 am

Another classic Martin, on the highest hills north of the Great Glen. We did get some awesome views, if not from summits. I would like to add, the only reason we needed to rest every 100 steps is the pace Tommy and you were ascending at!
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Re: Awesome Affric - even with random views

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 19, 2016 4:51 pm

I'm always sentimental about Mam Sodhail/Carn Eighe as they were my first two Munros. The clag was so thick we struggled to find the big cairn on Mam Sodhail :lol: :lol:

You wondered about An Tudair, I wonder about Sgurr na Lapaich, it should be a Munro, it's just as significant as Beinn Fionnlaidh.

Now, I'm waiting for the serving of Cheesecake :wink:
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