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EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp


Postby GillC » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:40 pm

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

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlaidheimh

Date walked: 14/07/2016

Time taken: 16 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 2254m

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Well,,,here we are at last, with a very short weather window opening on the West coast, we upped sticks from Aviemore and beetled west to Dundonnell. We were all packed up ,,wild camping gear, second tent again for stores. Arriving in the area we decided to go to the Dundonnell Hotel, had a decent lunch here to see us through.

HUGE burger later, we parked up at Corrie Halle and had to help each other get the packs on....2 night stay planned so plenty gear, dry food, stoves, bags, mats, tents etc,,,oh and John had 8 cans of lager!!!!

Headed off around 3:30pm with a plan to stop for 5 mins, every half hour to get a rest from the packs. This worked out quite well, defo made better progress with the breaks being a target to aim for. I think we had literally a spit of rain, like a drop ...but nothing worth stopping or layering up for. John had painted the picture, bit of a climb, flat bit,,really steep bit, flat bit, down hill bit.

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An Teallach in the background on the track in

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Up and up with a heavy load


The initial stage was indeed up, constantly up but not too steep so we plodded on. Nice wee respite and approach to the waterfalls with the zig zag path rising to the right. This was quicker and not as steep as it looked, in fact, I then asked John when would we get to the REALLY steep bit he told me about, "that was it" he replied, nice, relieved that the was pretty much the 'worst' bit and it wasn't that bad lol.

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Looking East to the Fannaichs

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Up to the Pinnacles and Sgurr Fiona on An Teallach


Lovely open moorland now and an easy stroll across. The views on this section of the walk were great, Fannaichs, Beinn Dearg etc, all visible under the grey skies to the East. An Teallach looked foreboding immediately to the West, clouds swirling around the pinnacles and covering the tops. We passed the offshoot which takes you to Shenaval bothy but as we were opting to camp at the Corbett end, we passed by and headed on. We could now see the Fisherfields in front, cloud low but only just covering the tops.

P1010460.JPG
A wee rest from the pack horse duties


As the path started to descend, views over to Ruadh Stac Mhor and the river below gave an idea of the scale of the walk. Theres a large (private?) house down low, Achneigie, and we could see a tent there under the gable end. Our path wound its way in the opposite direction to a very long sweep down to the valley floor. Following the path round, we found a spot near the alder trees and not too close to the river. Signs of others in the various hearths that had been put together for camp fires, lots of dead branches around, great,,campfire in the making. :wink:

Set up the two tents, stores and cooking gear etc in the smaller one and settled down with a beer. The midges were pretty much a no show. Had a wander round for some firewood, plenty going and made several attempts to start a fire. Dead gorse burns, small twigs burn, but apparently Alder wood doesn't lol Some was damp but even drying it out didn't seem to work. Just wouldn't catch,,so after much head down and blowing on embers etc,,we smelled like a hickory barbecue but had no fire lol (my camera still smells of smoke despite much airing since)

P1010467.JPG
Settled down at camp for the night


Up and breakfasted and the worst midges we had encountered all week,,not too bad if you kept moving and I had Smidge and the wee burny coil things on the go too. With an eye on the cloud which seemed to just be topping the Munros, we headed off from camp at 6:45am to tackle the Corbett first. Beinn a' Chlaidheimh lost its Munro status in 2012 but, as it was 2010 when I started walking (though not counting) the Munros, was only right it was included in this circuit.

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One of the locals keeping us in sight on the way up Beinn a Chlaidheimh

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Rocky ascent


Once over the Abhain Loch an Nid river,,shallow but wide, we struck out up the very boggy hillside, keeping the crags of Craig Ghlas to our right. A little further up, we spotted some cairns running up the crags and followed them. Laterally it steepened as we covered the last couple of hundred meters up a'Chlaidheimh, reaching the first top at 900mtrs before heading over to the summit at 916mtrs,,barely a Munro even in its time lol.

P1010510.JPG
Summit of the Corbett


We had reasonably good views around here, over to the Corbetts of Beinn Deargs Mor and Bheag. Looking over to Sgurr Ban, cloud was hovering threateningly. :shock: Sgurr Ban differs from much of the rest of the Fisherfields in that it seems to be made of rubble. The Eastern slopes are made up of huge slabs, down to river level, where the sides of the last couple of hundred meters to the summit is made up of boulder fields, very grey against the much greener surrounding hills.

The descent from a'Chlaidheimh is gradual enough with a descent path down to Loch a' Bhrisidh and you can see a line of ascent over on the boulder fields of Ban. This has a consistent gradient, but its a long, hard pull up the boulders, too small to make bounding progress but too big to plough through, so a bit time consuming and just seemed to go on forever, and ever, and ever. :shock:

P1010516.JPG
The never ending boulder field up Sgurr Ban


Stopped at the small shelter thats been built facing up the slope, entrance was big enough to crawl into,,but didn't bother. Could be tricky in heavy snow, the entrance could fill up easily, blocking you inside.

P1010517.JPG
Wee shelter half way up Sgurr Ban


Onward and upward we plodded, over the rocks, the cloud pretty much down around us now too, so no real views. Reached the rounded summit cairn eventually and with minimal views, we didn't hang around.

P1010521.JPG
Summit of Sgurr Ban and the worst views of the day


The distance to the next Munro was fairly short so we decided just to move off.

Again, boulder fields on the descent to Cab Coire nan Clach before what looked like an impossibly steep ascent. The saving grace here was, it was steep but short and the top was pretty much in sight. At this point, we lost a lot of the cloud and could now see pretty much the whole of the day ahead. Beinn Tarsuinn, the tennis court, the LONG haul between that and A'Mhaighdean and round to Stac Mor.

P1010523.JPG
Looking over to Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

P1010525.JPG
...and up the rocky scree


After a fiddly zig zag up the scree sides of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair we decided not to have too long a stop but to wait until we were on Tarsuinn for a lunch break.

P1010528.JPG
Summit of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair , second Munro of the day


So off again, down another steep, scree covered slope towards Meall Garbh. This was over to our left, and as I pointed out a fantastic path,,Waaaaaaay off below,,,John mentioned this was the bypass we would be taking. Great I thought, but it seemed a long way down. The descent was further than I was expecting here but, path looked good and again, with the views we could see the relatively short slope to Tarsuinn ahead,,,,LUNCH! All good.

It was picky making our way down but we soon reached the bypass path on the very steep side of Garbh. This would be treacherous in snow and the route over the top would be much safer in icy conditions too.

P1010538.JPG
The bypass path and heading over to Tarsuinn


Looking back, we saw 2 figures heading down off Fhearchair behind,,some distance off but I had no doubt they would catch up as they seemed to be moving at a fair pace.

Reached the Bealach Odhar and headed on up Tarsuinn. This is a uniform ascent, nothing complicated, just plod on up around 200mtrs from the Beallach and pretty soon, our 3rd Munro of the day Beinn Tarsuinn.

P1010544.JPG
Posers point

P1010549.JPG
Looking over to Suidheachan Fhinn under Tarsuinn


Theres a nice craggy top here,,lots of nooks and crannies and we decided to find a sheltered spot and crank up the stove. After our big lunch in Dundonnell yesterday, we weren't ready for a meal last night so we had a couple of Tiso dried meals going, Chilli con Carne it is then. Boiled up the water, had a great wee lunch and a 40 minute stop.

P1010550.JPG
John checking the online instructions for cooking dried chilli


Suidheachan Fhinn, likened to a tennis court lay below us as we headed off to the West. Following the ridge round, there's a slight scramble up to the flat section. If this is a tennis court,,I wouldn't like to be a ball boy :shock: . Its huge, surrounded by steep drops and is on a slant lol Massive slabby rock under some sparse greenery. Crossed over in a couple of minutes before eyeing the long distance between here and A'Mhaighdean.

P1010561.JPG
Johns impression of the locals

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Incredible cliffs


This was by far biggest slog of the day. The lowest part of the distance, between Eas Dheirg and the Pollan na Muice was hag ridden and very boggy. Had to negotiate wide peaty bogs which took up a fair bit of time, eventually getting to the lower slopes of A'Mh.

Aiming slightly West then North West, we climbed initially steeply, then less so on the shoulder up to the summit, which lies at the edge of crags leading down to Gorm Loch Mor to its West side. A short stop here at the end of the long slog from Tarsuinn, then off again.

P1010567.JPG
Summit of A'Mhaighdean


There's a lower top at 948mtrs, headed there with fine views to our last hill of the day, the aptly name Ruadh Stac Mor,,very red, in comparison to the green of the last two and the grey of Sgurr Ban.

The hill ahead looked ominous. The side facing us covered in very steep crags and I considered our route to be further west and up a long shoulder. Of course on checking,,no, it was straight up the crags :shock: This looked impossible from here but on checking and discussing with John, we could see a narrowing neck of scree that climbed up. John likened it to the descent we made some time ago coming off between Aonach Beag and Mor, under CMD,,,only this was UP lol

P1010570.JPG
Over to Ruadh Stac Mor with the path up through the crags obvious,,,once you know where it is lol


Sure enough, as happens with many of these routes, as you get closer, its easier to spot, not as steep and is an easily followed path up through the scree and rocks. This is short lived and after a gentler slope we reached the pinky red summit of our last munro of the day. Ruadh Stac Mor. Great!

P1010578.JPG
5th Munro, 6th Hill of the day, Fabby doooo


The descent now ,,back to camp,,was going to be a long one. Time had got away with us and we were already well over 12 hrs or so from what I remember.

Heading off Stac mor we headed between the twin lochans of Lochan a Braghad and heading North West under Ruadh Stac Beag. The WH route has you follow this round to the right into the hanging valley before crossing the burn. We crossed 'a' burn a little earlier, which knocked off the route description somewhat. We ended up looking for a point that wasn't there, so being on the opposite side from the very obvious path, we just crossed back over and joined it again lol

This path takes you across the Clach na Frithealaidh and on down to Gleann na Muice Beag. My knees and hip were starting to play up a bit here, making for an uncomfortable and slow descent but at least the path was good.

We reached the river and turned left to follow it down. With discussions around the swampy bog which covers the direct route to Shenaval, my preference was to follow the path all the way down to the river junctions, still crossing two rivers but avoiding the bog. But, as we passed Larachantivore, with its chalet and cottage, we decided otherwise. It was getting late and we just wanted off. Crossing the river here involved rolling up the trousers to above the knee, keeping the gaters on below. Still got wet feet but at least the only trousers I had with me were dry. :D

The ensuing bog lived up to its reputation, started off thinking it wasn't that bad, then you hit big sections of deep stuff. Long grass gave a false sense of security as they usually hid a deeper section beyond. We could see people milling around the bothy on the other side but it still seemed a long way off.

Reaching the Strath na Sealga river, we had to negotiate a crossing. Much of this river was slow flowing and fairly deep, peaty brown water flowing past us. We found a slightly shallower bit but one that involved crossing to an 'island' then over a second part. Again, trousers legs up, (had rolled them down in the bog to avoid, clegs, ticks, snakes, rats, swamp beasts etc) By this time I was on the verge of really not caring, ploughed over and into, yes,,another bog, short one this time and it lead up to the path past the bothy. The light was failing by now as we struck out on the path back to camp.

This is again a good track, not passable by vehicles but on reaching the cottages at Achneigie we spotted recent vehicle tracks, could have come in from Corrie Halle or from Kinlochewe, either way, they were NOT there to give us a lift back lol :?

P1010588.JPG
Heading back to camp in the gloaming


We could by now, see the trees around our camping area,, still seemed an eternity away. Plodded on and with a few more fordings of the burns running down the hillside, we eventually made it back to the tents at 10:45pm,,,16 hrs, 5 Munros and 2 sore knees later.

Tired but buoyed, we again attempted to light a fire, assisted by all the rubbish we had accumulated, plastic burns better than Alder wood, FACT! Dinner eaten, a wee can of lager and bed again, sleep of the just.

So, the Fisherfields were now bagged, this had been a bit of a worry, as in my last wind down, they were the only logistically tricky hills. But, it worked out well. The walk in was better than I had expected. The hills, a longer day but with better weather than expected, with only the walk out the next morning to go, I was feeling good.

Repacked up the nxt day, Johns pack being 8 cans lighter, we headed off. Return walk was around the same time as on the way in, including a 15 min chat with some guys out for a wander. Back to Dundonnell and headed for Ullapool for some much earned r & r. 5 nights in the grown up tent, chilling, wandering, eating, drinking, sunbathing etc,,before any more hills.

8 more to go!!
Last edited by GillC on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:59 pm

Now that's the civilised way to do Fisherfields :clap: :clap:

Well done Gill in getting these beasties out of the way. Although I have to say the hills aren't difficult hills or too much of a slog. Even the trek between Tarsuinn and A'M was fine. Its just the sheer size of the walk to and from the hills that sets them apart from anything else. As for that bog.......... not good!!!! If I was doing them again, and I'm not!, I would definitely keep on the track to avoid that energy sapping, boot soaking monster!!!!
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby GillC » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:26 am

pollyh33 wrote:Now that's the civilised way to do Fisherfields :clap: :clap:

Well done Gill in getting these beasties out of the way. Although I have to say the hills aren't difficult hills or too much of a slog. Even the trek between Tarsuinn and A'M was fine. Its just the sheer size of the walk to and from the hills that sets them apart from anything else. As for that bog.......... not good!!!! If I was doing them again, and I'm not!, I would definitely keep on the track to avoid that energy sapping, boot soaking monster!!!!


Civilised indeed ...if slightly longer too. Still, as you say, nothing HUGE cept that Sgurr Ban boulder climb lol. Now, I would go back again...do it in reverse and stick to the path by the bog. ...there, I said it lol :lol:
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:06 am

Nice easy read. Good effort Gill & John or should that be 2 Tents Tomsie! I am not too sure I would be up for lugging 8 cans of lager around the FF. :clap:
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby GillC » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:08 am

Borderhugh wrote:Nice easy read. Good effort Gill & John or should that be 2 Tents Tomsie! I am not too sure I would be up for lugging 8 cans of lager around the FF. :clap:


Cheers Hugh...ahhhh the lightweight only carried them in to camp..and we made sure they weren't carried back out lol
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby wilkiemurray » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:19 am

Fantastic - brought back memories - sure I saw the same deer at the same point on first ascent ;) Also missed the stone shelter when we went up Ban - an excuse to go back ad find it :D

Great effort and cracking repot

ATB

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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby kmai1961 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:25 am

Nice one, Gill. :clap:

Yet another member of the class of 2016 edges ever closer to compleation...

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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby Porterfield73 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:33 am

Looks wonderful, thanks for sharing
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby GillC » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:01 am

wilkiemurray wrote:Fantastic - brought back memories - sure I saw the same deer at the same point on first ascent ;) Also missed the stone shelter when we went up Ban - an excuse to go back ad find it :D

Great effort and cracking repot

ATB

Murray


Thanks Murray,,,keeping the old reports a bit shorter,,a)cos im backlogging them and my memory is rubbish and b)overloading you kind peeps means you'll just switch off any way lol

Id defo go back, do it the opposite way round, :D
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby GillC » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:01 am

kmai1961 wrote:Nice one, Gill. :clap:

Yet another member of the class of 2016 edges ever closer to compleation...

Karen


Thanks Karen

Keep your eyes peeled for compleation date lol
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:52 pm

Great report! :clap: :clap: :clap: And glad you got mainly fair weather - it makes such a difference when you have the views. I've had these on my priority wish list for some time - I just wish it wasn't 10+ hours drive away :-(.

I'm truly amazed by the stuff you lugged in there - pretty superhuman! I keep looking at single day alternatives in order to avoid having to carry too much, but having said that, the alternative of walking from a base already set up is pretty appealing.

But whatever route I go for will have to include Beinn Dearg Mor - one of the most iconic mountains I know, up there with the Cobbler, An Teallach, etc.
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby mrssanta » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:25 pm

oh such a big day! That looked like everest base camp not so lightweight! I still haven't worked out our ideal way to do this lot, but it will involve probably three or four glorious sunny days with gentle breeze and no midges
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Re: EPIC Fisherfields with a 2 night camp

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:39 pm

well done Gill and John, think that`s the way I`d like to do them, although think I`d bring my own firewood ! :lol:
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