The Madness of the Monar 8 - a Dooterbang and Jaxter special
by Jaxter » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:14 pm
Route description: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor
Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor, Maoile Lunndaidh, Moruisg, Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Tharsuinn, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
Date walked: 18/06/2016
Time taken: 17 hours
Distance: 43 km
Ascent: 4300m23 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).
Other than the predictable Friday evening traffic around Stirling we had a good trip up. An eclectic mix of Peppe Deluxe, Flight of the Conchords, Zero 7 and Blondie accompanied us to Inverness for a quick food stop and then along the road to Craig where the midgey welcoming committee was out in full force to greet us
Midge nets on and spray cans of repellent at the ready we quickly got stuff together for the morning, put the tent up and dived in. I barely made it into my sleeping bag before falling asleep but it turned out that Doots had been kept awake most of the night by an owl...
The alarm went off at 5 the next morning; we hurriedly dressed and got everything possible ready in the tent before venturing outside. Grabbing packs and bikes, we made a dash for it in an attempt to leave the swarms of midges behind.
Today’s Mission Impossible: trying to keep up with Dooter-pace on a bike
The initial cycle was tough; steep up on a bumpy track. It turned out it was extra hard for me as I'd had a brain malfunction and turned my gear lever the wrong way - I was in gear 7 instead of 1....once this was sorted I made much better progress, at least managing to keep Super-Dooter in sight We passed through the gate and could see the track stretching out....downhill....this was not such good news for later on as we had thought it would be a free-wheel back to the tent. Still, on we went, eventually reaching a wire bridge where we dumped the bikes and crossed the river.
As if river crossings weren’t scary enough already
Heading uphill on a vague path, we were thrilled to be finally midge free and heading uphill for our first target, the bealach Bhearnais. As it turned out, we weren't really heading there at all...we came over a crest and saw a much better and easier path heading up far below us. Our bearing had been good but we had left the main track too early (we discovered later that we should have continued to the 2nd wire bridge ) so we had been heading up Sgurr na Feartaig! Still, a bit of extra ascent never hurt anyone, right....
As we met the path we also met 2 walkers with dogs who were planning to climb the 6 munros....that was until we pointed out that Bidean an Eoin Deirg was only a top Continuing onwards, we followed a vague path up to the top of Beinn Tharsuinn, our first summit of the day! From this Corbett, the magnificence of Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaich was revealed, alongside a view of the first half of our walk. Dropping off the summit to get out of the wind, we had a quick refuel.
“Hey Jaxter why don’t you stand on the end of that big drop”
Ahead to Sheasgaich
The route ahead…
As we descended to the bealach we checked out our route up the impenetrable looking face of Cheesecake - there were a couple of gullies that looked doable and once we got there the path confirmed this. Excited to be scrambling again (but trying not to look down) we fired up the gullies and reached the final pull to the summit, passing a couple of tiny lochans on the way. It was an unbelievable view and we stopped to enjoy it for a few minutes.
The final ascent
Blocking the view
And the more traditional poses
Panorama from the top
Knowing we had a long way to go, we followed the ridge down and along to the impressive looking Lurg Mhor, which was looking stunning in the sunshine.
From the summit of Lurg Mhor, we could see this ridge stretching ahead
We refuelled on protein bars and checked the route. Eyeing up the awesome looking ridge, we were thrilled when we realised that this was our route! The two men and two dogs caught us up here and decided to follow us. They may have regretted this later, but to begin with the ridge was a joy! We elected to scramble along the top of the ridge but there were a few moments where we had to backtrack and drop down a little as we were halted by sheer drops. Reaching the Munro top, we checked the map and started heading down very steep pathless ground.
“look, nae hands!”
This was tricky, but we carefully made our way down to the side of a gully. Looking ahead, the gully looked a safer option and Doots even thought he could see a path. Dropping down into the gully, the ground was very slippy and unstable with rocks sliding around. It was a case of find your own route; every man for himself here. There was plenty of bum-shuffling and a few wee wobbles.
Eventually a choice was before us; continue to the left on more of the shingly slippy stuff or head right to pick a way around rocky crags. The other 2 went left but we opted to go right - plenty of things to stop a slip seemed preferable to a potential slide all the way to ground zero...
Our route was by no means easy, and there were a couple of dodgy moments but coming out at a stream we could see that the worst was over. We had a nice long drink and refilled our various water vessels before continuing down steep but slightly firmer grassy ground to the river, crossed without incident and paused on the other side.
Looking back up – doesn’t do it justice at all!!
The others had come out further East but we were heading for the left hand side of Sgurr na conbhaire, the steep obstacle ahead for a slightly less brutal climb back up to the ridge. The sun was hot and we were warm so stopped for a quick wardrobe change here - it was time to get the shorts and sun cream on and top up the tan
Refreshed, we made for a track which looked to be heading for the bealach and followed it around the base of the ridge for a short distance before turning right and heading straight uphill. Doots set the pace and we were making good progress. The sun was beating down and there was no breeze, but after the crazy descent we were so happy to be heading back uphill! However, I was in the presence of a legend and as such, began to fall behind a little...
Finally we were on the ridge and we stopped for a wee breather. A welcome can of Pepsi materialised and we enjoyed it alongside some chocolate. We could see the 2 Sgurrs ahead along a very welcome and pleasing looking ridge.
Dooter-pose in front of the Sgurrs – is he looking a bit tired?
Off we go! It’s a path so Jaxter is in the lead!
We decided that we needed to be at the 2nd one by 4 to avoid running out of light. Easy peasy I said, and off we went. Two "men" on a mission and we managed to bag ourselves a brace of Sgurrs in under an hour
Sgurr Choinnich summit
Incredible views of Torridon
A 15 minute break was in order! I brought out my can of Pepsi this time and we shared that along with some chocolate. Photos were taken and we consulted the map for the route ahead.
The summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain had us over the half-way point – summit 5 of 8!
Jaxter’s second attempt – after falling off the trig the first time
Doots demonstrating the art of balance (with the advantage of standing on 2 legs…)
Panorama from the summit
The route ahead – Maoile Lunndaidh, with the munro top Bidean na Eoin Deirg pointing up on the right
Fortunately the route was pretty obvious and we headed North before bearing East towards the bealach below Maoile Lunndaidh. There was a certain amount of bog hopping on our way down, not too much of a problem for me in my boots but Doots was being more of a pussy as he had his trail runners on
Towards the bealach
We stopped for a drink and refill at another waterfall before reaching the bealach where we met a guy heading in the opposite direction having been over Lunndaidh. He confirmed that the route was fine and mainly pathed, a relief for us as we must have crossed 3000m ascent barrier at around this point
Heading up Lunndaidh – nae path so Doots in the lead!
The ascent to Maoile Lunndaidh was in three main sections - grassy/heathery with vague path, steep and loose rock, mainly pathed and the final part bouldery with little path. Once on the plateau it was a simple but lengthy (felt like it anyway!) walk over a few lumps and bumps to the 3rd and largest cairn. This was summit 6 of 8 so we sat a for a well-earned wee rest to devour some more calories.
The summit cairn, with the incredible Torridon skyline behind
The Jaxter pose
Very serious looking Dooter-pose
Looking at the time, we reckoned we would be in trouble if we weren't back at the bikes in 4 hours. It looked doable....but then it all depended on how the big ascent up Moruisg was - an ascent of around 600m at the end of the day could be a killer...
Heading down…Moruisg and Ceannaichean ahead…
Checking the map we headed off Maoile Lunndaidh; the route was fairly obvious and after climbing through a boulder field, route-finder Dooterbang found us a path that saw us all the way down to the river. It wasn't without excitement though - I fell on my ass on a patch of scree and Big Dooter had a knee incident.
Looking back up to Lunndaidh and the impressive coire
Moruisg and Ceannaichean
We had a refill at a stream before the final stretch, crossing the river and marching along the track to the big mess of rocks below the zig-zags which would take us up Moruisg.
Unfortunately we couldn't find any evidence of a path amongst this mass of detritus so instead of wasting time, we tanned a can of Lucozade between us and headed straight up, knowing we would meet the zig zags before long As it was, we met the path fairly soon and initially Doots set the pace, and a pretty impressive one at that given what we had already climbed. About half way up we switched over, me in front leading the way. It was tough work but we were in a good rhythm and before long we came out the top of the steep section feeling much better than either of us expected to
The final grassy pull was reached and the path disappeared which gave Doots the advantage as we pushed on. This was reminding me of the final ascent to Fionn Beinn from 3 weeks ago - soft, grassy, never-ending, but finally, just as Doots was starting to pull away from me, the summit appeared, as did the wonderful evening panorama of Torridon.
We had made it up Moruisg in less than an hour, pretty good going for two knackered bodies We were actually feeling amazing, so paused only to change into trousers as it was getting cold and a quick summit photo.
We had one more summit to reach before the return to the bikes - the Corbett Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, which at the time we weren't sure if it was a Corbett or a Munro top - the map and the instructions disagreed on this point! But we would climb it anyway as it looked a belter of a mountain
The final ascent, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean
We marched off along the ridge, it was several kilometres to Ceannaichean and we were hoping to achieve it in under an hour. The ridge was an absolute joy and 45 minutes later we had made it to our final summit. 8 out of 8 for the team We had a quick pause as we felt we had deserved it. Taking in the awesomeness of the evening we could see most of our route and it looked (and felt) like a long way.
He definitely looks tired now…
Panorama from the final summit
And it was far from over - checking the compass we headed off the summit hoping to meet up with another zig-zag path which would take us down to the bikes. Something didn't quite work out as we ended up descending steep grassy slopes before seeing the zig-zags way off to the left, but it got us down safely and quickly as well as allowing a stop at a water source. Reaching the track, we walked a short way along it to the bikes which were fortunately still there.
The midges were starting to appear now we were lower down, so coupled with the failing light, we downed a bottle of Irn Bru between us and jumped on the bikes.
Back at the bikes – Doots protecting his wee face
Although initially uphill, the cycle was great - a nice wee warm down for the legs which were surprisingly still feeling fabulous. From the gate it was a free wheel down to the tent; however the lack of visibility due to light and midge nets (as well as Doots non-existent front brake ) meant that we were a little cautious
Arriving back at base camp at 10.50, it was swarming with the most midges either of us had ever witnessed Grabbing a bag of food and some water, we dived into the tent. After the standard midge extermination and a bit of food, I was out like a light and not even the owl and a mysterious nocturnal sheep could keep Doots awake tonight
The next morning we took it a bit easier. After a few rain showers we got up, packed the car and headed to Tarvies for breakfast, where who should we meet but Scoob and Fi - the North-West of Scotland is a very small place!!
After a refuel (sausage, bacon and haggis roll for me, less exciting veggie option for Doots ) we headed down the road to Bruar, where we stretched our legs up the gorge walk before having an ice cream and returning home.
What a weekend!! Bring on the next adventure
by kaye.cantlay » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:36 am
I set off from Craig just before 7 so was a bit behind you.
I think I saw your bikes near the wire bridge and left mine close by.
I just did the 2 Corbetts (Tarsuinn and Feartaig) and the 3 Munros (Sgurrs and Lundaidh), but felt sure it would have been possible to do Cheesecake and Lurg Mohr too....
I wish I had now!
by Guinessman » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:34 am
by dooterbang » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:39 am
That was certainly one big challenge of a day, but we kept each other going to the very end
Thank goodness for the mix of path & pathless terrain
Looking forward to the next "biggie", as I'm sure you are
by jackfrost » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:17 pm
That is some amount of ascent in one hot day.
Did you not go over Bidean an Eoin Deirg? Looks like a good connecting ridge from SaC.
by Collaciotach » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:36 pm
by rockhopper » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:43 pm
Wouldn't catch me doing long days like this - oh to be young and fit enough to manage them though
As mentioned elsewhere, a couple of cyborgs - cheers
by old danensian » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:32 pm
Congratulations on maintaining the theme throughout - looking forward to the sequels - or even prequels
by old danensian » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:37 pm
by malky_c » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:36 pm
by ancancha » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:54 pm
120 first officer a galactic number if ever there was
by dooterbang » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:16 pm
Ha ha, thanks Nigel...easily done to get reports mixed upold danensian wrote:Informative, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable - and the walk must have been good as well
Congratulations on maintaining the theme throughout - looking forward to the sequels - or even prequels
by Mrs Scoob » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:32 pm
Great to see you both, and looking incredibly fresh too Look forward to hearing of next adventures
by Alteknacker » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:16 pm
But what really blew me away was sunset pic 437 - absolutely fabulous!
How long can this weather continue..???
by dav2930 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:50 pm
I don't think it would ever have entered my head to attempt all those in a single day - not even when I was young and reasonably fit! How you managed to keep up those smiling poses I'll never know!
Quite an achievement both of you, and some cracking photos too