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Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Memories, Magic and An Teallach


Postby Huff_n_Puff » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:10 pm

Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 02/10/2016

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1395m

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An Teallach … An Teallach … sounds to conjure with … somehow it seems wrong to call this a mountain – its a whole mountain range, 9 peaks – 2 Munros and 7 tops.

One of my abiding memories is being on the 9am flight from Stornoway to Inverness in early January many years ago. Dawn was just breaking on a magical winter's morning – everything was crystal clear and with no wind the Minch was like a millpond. Even the pilot was impressed, he told us he had never seen this landscape looking so spectacular, so flew as low as possible to give us all a good view. There had been a full moon the night before and it hung low over An Teallach, as we flew east past it the sun rose above the horizon turning the snow covered upper slopes and the moon pink – the massive forge was warming up – everyone in the plane was in awe.

Well it's one thing looking at a beautiful mountain – it's another climbing it. To be honest I was afraid of breaking the magic of that flight … and afraid of the mountain itself – the brother of a friend lost his life there. I knew I'd have to go on a clear day, but not in winter, at least not for the first venture. As I've got older I've become a real feartie so that ruled out the pinnacles. So that would be it then, up and down the easy way. That decision made, it has still taken a long time to put boots on the hill – every year there was somewhere else to walk, different hills to bag, then as summer 2016 was ending we decided this autumn would be the right time, we aimed for the last weekend in September but the weather gods had other ideas; the first weekend in October came with perfect conditions. So, no excuses then? :o :o

Dawn breaking to perfect conditions on the east coast before we left
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Reflections on the way at Loch Glasscarnoch
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No problems finding the start of the walk and by 9:20 we were off and primed to find the old, and more interesting, route up.

Early views north
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We did debate turning off the path quite early onto a fainter path which led upwards, but our OS map showed the path up Meall Garbh further east, so east we went – and along the new route. I was not best pleased, particularly since the walk along the corrie could be almost anywhere, I wanted special here, this was my special mountain.

Glas Mheall Mor came into view and did its best to be special
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The view to the Beinn Deargs left me in no doubt that I was somewhere special, even if I couldn't quite see it yet.
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As we gained height the Assynt hills came into view
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Once onto the coll beyond Sron a Choire we stopped by a large cairn for sustenance – things were beginning to look exciting, I stopped being grumpy about the route up and began thinking of other things … like “can I really do this?” We walked over the sandstone pavement to get our first good look at the north side of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil. With the sun in my eyes all I could see was an enormous, steep, black rock face in front of me – immediate panic … “Can I get up that?”. “Yes”, said Roger. I shielded my eyes and saw the path … relief … “Yes, of course I can get up that!” A little voice deep inside said “that looks easy” but I didn't take any notice, I know that voice – it doesn't always tell the truth. :roll:

Path visible here (just)...
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From this point on I was just so happy to be here – no more doubts, the day was turning out just as I wished. Fabulous mountain and wonderful, wonderful landscape. :D :D

West to Gruniard Bay and Loch Ewe
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The fabled first view of the Fair Fiona and Friends ...
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… and closer
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From here the summit of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil was a gentle stroll and more photo opportunities ...

Glas Mheall Laith
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Little Loch Broom, Beinn Ghobhlach and the Summer Isles
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Looking out to the Western Isles with Clisham just about visible on the horizon
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Over to Assynt and Sutherland
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Ben More Assynt and Conival
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Ben Klibreck
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And 2 photos just to prove were were here, we did reach this magical place …
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We ate lunch part 1 at the summit of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil just soaking up the views until the chilly wind persuaded us to move on to our next goal.

That iconic view of mountains and lochan ...
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… sadly taken at the wrong time of day to do it justice.

A dramatic close up
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On the way up Sgurr Fiona, looking back at the descent route ...
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… then onto the summit and another classic view - this time to Corrag Buidhe
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The summit was occupied when we got there by a weaver from Skye, but there was room for the two of us to join her. Given that its a small summit it provided very decent rock armchairs, whose comfort belied the dangers of a quick exit downwards. Here we had lunch part 2 and a very amicable blether with the young woman from Skye.

South there was a stunning view down Strath na Sealga with the fetching Beinn Dearg Mor centre stage backed by the Fisherfields
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The ridge from Bidein a Ghlas Thuil to Glas Mheall Laith – with a Panama hat
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The same ridge zoomed with Ben Klibreck on the horizon
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Looking west along the Sgurr Creag an Eich ridge to Wester Ross and beyond
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Beinn Dearg Mor and the Fisherfields … looking forward to exploring here
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Eventually the cold wind got the better of us here too, and we headed down. A slightly different angle on Loch Toll and Lochan – somewhere that is inviting an exploration in its own right.
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The Fannaichs
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Farewell Fair Fiona and Friends
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And so we headed home … unable to spot the path that would take us over the ridge of Meall Gharbh we went back the same way we had come, with almost as much flack from me.

Route downwards
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At least on the return we had lovely views north, and the light was improving as the sun started to go down too.
The Beinn Dearg group with the flank of Glas Mheall Mor
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Almost down – looking over Strath Beag towards Ben Mor Coigach
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There is a maze of paths on these lower slopes, and several wrong choices left us following a route that was wetter and scramblier than the one we had come up. I can be stoical about it now, but made some choice comments at the time. Still we made it back to the car in reasonable time. Couldn't resist a final photo of An Teallach in silhouette

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As well as having a wonderful day hill bagging on this amazing landscape I feel that I've had an introduction to a world that requires much more careful exploration. Even if I never scale the pinnacles, or even the 2 Munros again, I'll be back to explore further.
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Huff_n_Puff
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:47 pm

Awesome place on an unbelievable day. What amazing good fortune! I really envy you! You both look disgustingly satisfied with the experience!! :D

I will get there in the not too distant future, probably when I've retired, and can spend a few days up there.
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:58 am

Alteknacker wrote:Awesome place on an unbelievable day. What amazing good fortune! I really envy you! You both look disgustingly satisfied with the experience!! :D

I will get there in the not too distant future, probably when I've retired, and can spend a few days up there.
Yes and we are still wandering around with those inane grins :lol: :lol: Retirement has a lot to offer, I really used to resent going to work on good hill days :?
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby rockhopper » Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:43 pm

Absolutely stunning ! Not that I'm in the least bit envious :silent: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
So much nicer a day than the one I had - well done - cheers :)
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby dogplodder » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:40 pm

Excellent report and photos to match! :clap:

You didn't mention seeing any goats - but did you feel it was the right decision not to take the dogs? :wink:
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby dav2930 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:56 pm

Stunning photos - what an amazing experience that must have been. I too was rather lucky with the weather when I did the traverse from Corrie Hallie, though it wasn't as good as you had. It remains one of my most memorable mountain days in Scotland. That was back in the 1990's - your pics persuade me that it's time I renewed acquaintance with this fantastic mountain.

Lovely report :clap:
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby jacob » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:43 am

Can't wait to be huffin' and puffin' up this mountain myself. Great weather for some great pictures. :clap:
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:23 pm

What an amazing day and your photos are just awesome :clap: I am sooo jealous. We are still trying to build up the courage and wondering if we ever will but your smiling faces has stoked the ambition maybe next year.
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:29 pm

rockhopper wrote:Absolutely stunning ! Not that I'm in the least bit envious :silent: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
So much nicer a day than the one I had - well done - cheers :)
There's something to be said for living close to An Teallach and being retired - we can pick the day :D :D Hope you get to go back :D

dogplodder wrote:Excellent report and photos to match! :clap:

You didn't mention seeing any goats - but did you feel it was the right decision not to take the dogs? :wink:
Thanks - we did look out for goats but apart from seeing some fresh turds (which I think were goat) that's as close as we came :wink: Yes going without B&B was a good call - if only because 3 humans and 2 dogs at the top of Sgurr Fiona might have been cramped :lol: I'm still wary about paw problems.

dav2930 wrote:Stunning photos - what an amazing experience that must have been. I too was rather lucky with the weather when I did the traverse from Corrie Hallie, though it wasn't as good as you had. It remains one of my most memorable mountain days in Scotland. That was back in the 1990's - your pics persuade me that it's time I renewed acquaintance with this fantastic mountain.

Lovely report :clap:
Many thanks - I think it is a mountain which rewards multiple trips - I certainly plan to be back :D

jacob wrote:Can't wait to be huffin' and puffin' up this mountain myself. Great weather for some great pictures. :clap:
It's worth every breath :lol: :lol:
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:32 pm

Cairngorm creeper wrote:What an amazing day and your photos are just awesome :clap: I am sooo jealous. We are still trying to build up the courage and wondering if we ever will but your smiling faces has stoked the ambition maybe next year.
Thank you - I'm sure you will get there, given the routes you do this will be fine for you - will look forward to reading your report :D :D
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby litljortindan » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:44 pm

Beautiful views/pics looking south. I can identify with that transition from fearful and apprehensive to (relatively) fearless!
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:19 pm

litljortindan wrote:Beautiful views/pics looking south. I can identify with that transition from fearful and apprehensive to (relatively) fearless!
:lol: :lol: Thanks, even at my most fearless I'm very cautious :lol: :lol:
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:44 am

Beautiful :D Brings back memories! This was one of my first Munros and I chickened on the pinnacles, took the bypass path :lol: So a re-visit is due, hopefully next summer and full-on scrambling this time...
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Re: Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:58 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Beautiful :D Brings back memories! This was one of my first Munros and I chickened on the pinnacles, took the bypass path :lol: So a re-visit is due, hopefully next summer and full-on scrambling this time...
Thanks, a mighty mountain to pick for one of your first Munros :D :D . Not sure that I'll be back for the pinnacles, but I'll certainly be back for more exploring.
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