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Five Munros in Monar

Five Munros in Monar

Postby woody1958 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:17 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhòr, Maol Chean-dearg, Sgùrr a' Chaorachain, Sgùrr Chòinnich

Date walked: 12/05/2010

Time taken: 30 hours

Distance: 44 km

Ascent: 2900m

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Five Munros in Monar

This report describes a two day walk in May 2010 tackling five Munros round the head of Loch Monar. The starting point was Craig in Glen Carron and the mountains climbed were Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich, Lurgh Mhor, Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr a’Chaorachain and Maoile Lunndhaidh. The route was planned using the excellent Walking The Munros Vol 2 guide from Cicerone, as well as the GPS route planner in walkhighlands.co.uk

View of Fuar Tholl & Beinn Liath Mhor from track to Glenuaig Lodge

Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr Chaorachain from Glenuaig Lodge track

It was a lovely clear May morning with warm sunshine when we were dropped off at Craig at about 9:20am. Despite heavier packs than usual we made pretty good time up the track towards Glenuaig Lodge. After rising quite steeply the track drop gently into the valley bottom and eventually runs close to the river. A small cairn marks the start of the stalkers path to Bealach Bhearnais. This narrow path leads down to the river and a wire crossing. Luckily it had been dry weather so we were able to hop across the rocks rather than trusting the wires. The path ahead is easy to follow and leads directly to the Bealach (about 2 hours 40 mins from Craig). We found a good dry spot for the tent, dumped our overnight gear and had a brew.

Camp site at Bealach Bhearnais

Setting off again with much lighter sacks we headed up Beinn Tharsuinn, traversing past its lower tops to arrive at the col below the main summit. This gives you a fine view of the surrounding hills, with the pointed top of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich dominating the view to the south. Unfortunately you now have to lose a lot of height to reach the col below Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich’s north face.

Lurgh Mhor & Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich from Beinn Tharsuinn

As you approach the col take time to study this face as it presents a formidable barrier to the walker. It is a serious place and needs approaching with caution. This was especially true on our ascent as a late season snowfall a couple of days earlier had left loose snow on the face and some of the rocks were iced. The small path starts just right of the end of the wall which runs across the col. Follow the path carefully! It leads up through some very steep ground, generally trending to the right. A very steep groove is then climbed on good but often dubious holds to a large terrace half way up the face. Walk left along the terrace to a large cairn which marks the start of a rightward slanting rake (the obvious wide snowy gully in the photo below). On the day we did this route the new snow on the rake gave it a distinctly dodgy feel.

North face of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich

The rake pops you out at a small lochan and easy ground which leads to the beautiful summit ridge of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich. We were blessed with fantastic views of the northern Highlands, right to the Outer Hebrides.

Looking east to Loch Monar

The view west towards Skye

From the summit we dropped off easily to the southeast to the col below the second Munro of the day, Lurgh Mhor. This was a straightforward ascent to a top with a very remote feel. If we had had more time a scramble along the east ridge to the subsidiary top of Meal Mhor looked tempting. Instead we began our return trip by going back to the col below Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich.

From here we dropped down northeast into the bottom of the corrie then traversed around the lower part of the southeast ridge of Beinn Tharsuinn into the valley running up to Bealach Bhearnais. Picking a route through the heather and following the odd deer track we crossed the burn and worked up its right bank, with a steep final ascent to the bealach and our campsite. We arrived at the tent at about 6pm. The weather was obviously turning now. Cloudy skies and a cold wind meant we hurried our meal and were in our sleeping bags by 7:30pm.

Return to camp

Next morning there was a blustery wind and the ground was covered in a thin coat of hail stones. We struck camp and left at about 8am, climbing onto the misty west ridge of Sgurr Choinnich with heavy packs. Starting from the bealach at 600m meant that the summit was arrived at without too much pain. The traverse of the ridge to Sgurr a’Chaorachain was accompanied by swirling mists and impressive views of late cornices guarding the northern corries. Luckily the wind was not as strong as we had feared and we made the summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain at around 10am.

Harsh conditions on Sgurr Choinnich

From the summit we headed down the broad north ridge out of the mist, then swung right down a slope north of Lochan Gaineamhach, crossing the valley floor to reach the level boggy area of Drochaid Mhuilich. From here a steep pull up rocks and heather took us onto the west ridge of Maoile Lunndhaidh. After several steps in the ridge we arrived at the subsidiary top of Carn nam Fiaclan, once more in thick mist. From here a broad, featureless plateau curves round to the main summit. We were nearly fooled into thinking that a lone cairn was the top, but found the large summit cairn some distance further on.

To descend we headed down the north ridge, almost to a watershed, then turned left beside the burn where we picked up a faint path. This led us down beside the waterfalls of the Allt an Fhuar-thuill Mhor to the main valley floor east of Glenuaig Lodge. We struck west, crossed the river and had a tea break at a small bothy (actually a garden shed) next to the lodge.

Glenuaig Bothy

From the lodge we followed the track back out towards Craig. By now we were pretty tired but after half a mile we spotted our wives, who had come to meet us. So with some renewed energy we made it back to the car at around 3:30pm.

All in all an excellent expedition, with the high camp meaning we could bag all five summits in two days, rather than the usual three.

Monar5.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by woody1958 on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby malky_c » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:00 pm

Love these hills - good way of doing them all in one go there! Also good to see what that bothy is like. I've heard it mentioned before, but I'm glad I didn't roll up to it with a notion of staying in it overnight - could be a bit cramped... :shock:
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Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby kevsbald » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:10 pm

Imaginative and original - I might have to do something similar - like your style.
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Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby gaffr » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:30 pm

Nice camp at the 'triple col'. I can remember staying overnight at a wee building near to the the Lodge in the eighties when we came in from the Conon Glen side. Could be that which is shown as a ruin on the current map? The wee wooden shed looks good enough for two. On another occasion I used the Eric Beard Bothy for the overnight stay.
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Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby monty » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:10 pm

Nice walk with some excellent photos. May was a good time to be out with all the sunshine. My garden shed is bigger than that bothy :lol: well done. :D

Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby magicdin » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:14 pm

there used to be a open room at the end of the lodge
think it was closed after somebody nearly burnt it down
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Re: Five Munros in Monar

Postby bootsandpaddles » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:28 pm

Looks like a great trip. These hills are moving up my to do list!
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