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"Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

"Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:55 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn a'Mheadhoin, Beinn na Muice, Beinn na Sroine, Carn Gorm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Meall Innis an Loichel

Date walked: 11/12/2016

Time taken: 13.25 hours

Distance: 34.86 km

Ascent: 2633m

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I was a wee bit concerned that we might not get away this weekend. Allison was living up to her name and was smitten by some cold bug that made her a living snot machine. Sent home from work on Wednesday I wasn't optimistic about our chances. I had picked several short routes that even an ailing Sick Kid might manage and she gamely opted to give it a go. I picked her up around 8 on Thursday (it's great, this phased retirement milarky) and we set off up to Cannich, which would be our base for the weekend. She seemed alive enough for a wee daunder on the way up - Beinn na Sroine, probably the quickest Graham of them all, just a few miles along the Dalmally road from Tyndrum.


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



We parked up in the small layby and got togged up - it's just a straight up and down this one, no Simms or other interesting deviations to add on. We ploughtered up the grassy slopes into mist - Ben Lui, that nemesis of mine hiding her upper slopes away. We made the trig point in under an hour and paused for an early lunch in a hollow on the return leg.
ImageDSC02228 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02229 by Al, on Flickr

No quite deid yet :lol:
ImageDSC02231 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02233 by Al, on Flickr



Back at the car it was a case of get out of damp rain gear and drive on to Fort William for a visit to Morrisons to stock up on Pie (apple this weekend, since you ask). Then on up the road to Drumnadrochit, the "Land of Cheese" and beyond to Cannich. We'd stayed at the campsite here before and pitched in amongst the pines. Arriving early enough to pitch in the light, we had tea and headed off to The Slater's Arms for a Guinness. We spoke to Matt, the campsiteman who told us that it had been -11 at the site on Monday - was nowhere near that this weekend.

Campsite
ImageDSC02234 by Al, on Flickr


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



Friday's hill was Beinn na Muice, deep in Glen Strathfarrar. The previous twice we've been in the Glen, we've walked - this time we were going to drive - excitement! I'd phoned the MCofS midweek for the combination code and felt all prepared when we got to The Gate... numerous padlocks, of which only one seemed to be of the combination variety. Problem was - this one had 5 digits whilst the code we had was only 4 digits. After trying a 0 at the start and end and any other combo I could think of, we were still stuck outside the gate. Damn. Allison noticed another padlock, black, with numbers underneath - this was The One. The code worked and we were inside The Glen :D

A pleasant morning for a spin up Strathfarrar. The famed potholes seemed to have been fixed in all but the last 3 or 4 miles of the route. We drove towards the dam, parking by a wee wood. Beinn na Muice was straight ahead of us, to the left the northern Mullardoch hills - Sgurr na Lapaich catching the eye. We wandered up the track round to the east of Muice, gaining some 150m in the process. Further north sat the imposing bulk of Sgurr na Muice, with Sgurr Fhuar -Thuill beyond. We crossed some boggy ground before beginning up the steep slopes of Beinn na Muice. And they were steep - heather, wet grass and slippy crags. Some tricky moments. After about 550m the pace lessened a bit, there were still a few more knobbles to climb before we were on the summit plateau. Good views west along Loch Monar to the Achnashellach hills.

ImageDSC02236 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn na Muice
ImageDSC02237 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Lapaich
ImageDSC02238 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02240 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02241 by Al, on Flickr

Steep ascent
ImageDSC02243 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02244 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02246 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02249 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Muice and the Strathfarrar Munros
ImageDSC02250 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching the summit
ImageDSC02252 by Al, on Flickr

View along Loch Monar
ImageDSC02254 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02255 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02256 by Al, on Flickr

The diminutive Meallan Innis an Locheil
ImageDSC02257 by Al, on Flickr

We continued the east-west traverse then headed down NW - a much easier route than the ascent - to meet the road by Monar Lodge. We'd decided to tag on Meallan Innis an Locheil, a dinky little Marilyn on the other side of the dam. This involved walking over the dam, straight up and back down. Gave some fine views of Beinn na Muice. On the return route Allison's obsession for Trig Points was excited :roll: Back along the glen, passing any number of fine specimen stags, through the gate and back to Cannich in good time. A shower proved reviving before we settled down to a long winter's night.

View to Monar Lodge
ImageDSC02261 by Al, on Flickr


ImageDSC02262 by Al, on Flickr

Our Marilyn
ImageDSC02265 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02266 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02267 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn na Muice
ImageDSC02269 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02271 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02272 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02273 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02276 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02277 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02278 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02279 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02280 by Al, on Flickr

The Gate
ImageDSC02281 by Al, on Flickr



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



Saturday we'd chosen Carn Gorm, the hill just to the north of Cannich. Most routes are given from Craskie, but I'd noticed an old route of Malky's that ended at the campsite, so had decided to give that a bash, tagging on 3 Simms for good measure. We walked through the village and up the Struay road for a little, crossing a river and immediately turning steeply uphill through a gate onto what is probably a stalker's track. Entering a fenced off area of regenerating woodland took us to a higher gate and onto the open hillside. There's an ATV track to follow that headed roughly the way we wanted to go. It's quite boggy and featureless, but it was a fine morning with blue sky, although a chilly wind. We made for Carn Cul-sgor first of all, then continued along to Carn Gorm. Further west, the distinctive sharp top of Sgurr na Diollaid razors the sky. The wind strengthens, we take shelter behind a peat hag to have lunch then continue over to the two tops of Sgurr na Ruadhraich - it's so cold that I reach for my Dachsteins to stop my fingers freezing. Some rain spatters, just to add to the mix.

ImageDSC02286 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02288 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02290 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02293 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Cul-sgor
ImageDSC02296 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Gorm, Diollaid in backdrop
ImageDSC02299 by Al, on Flickr

Summit
ImageDSC02302 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Ruadhraich
ImageDSC02305 by Al, on Flickr

The Simms done, we return to the south of the lochan and contour round the southern slopes of Carn Gorm to meet with our outward route. We get some moody views down to Glen Affric, a finger of sunshine picks out Cannich as we wander back to the tent. A pleasant meal and some Old Pulteney to assist with slumber :wink:


View down Affric
ImageDSC02308 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Gorm
ImageDSC02314 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02315 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02316 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02317 by Al, on Flickr


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



Sunday - well I'd planned to climb Beinn a'Mheadhoin down in Glen Affric. This was another very short hillwalk, only around 5km. I'd considered adding on the adjacent Simm Am Meallan which involved a considerable re-ascent. It was also going through my mind to drive to Cougie instead and climb Carn a'Chaochain instead - fearing the Cougie road would be vulnerable to wintry weather - but I hadn't charted a route for that hill. In the end I decided we'd go with the original plan and we drove along lovely Glen Affric - lovely, that is until all the works widening the road, laying new pipeline etc came into view. A real scunner. We parked at Chisolm Bridge, the car park having been subsumed by machinery, and set off, the skies looking leaden and rain laden. The mountain tops were obscured by clag, another disappointment.

Chisolm Bridge
ImageDSC02318 by Al, on Flickr

Am Meallan
ImageDSC02321 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02323 by Al, on Flickr


Walking up the track we turned off to our right up the nondescript slopes of Beinn a'Mheadhoin. Over to the left rose Am Meallan, but the river crossing involved in heading that way looked far from inviting. It's a steady and easy pull up Mheadhoin, there are twin prominences at the top, of which the southern is the higher. There are also two cairns on this one, neither marking the true summit it seemed to me. By this time it was raining steadily and plans for doing anything else were abandoned. On the way down the clag cleared a little, revealing a smattering on new snow on the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich. We were back at the car for lunch. I briefly thought about driving round to Cougie, but as Allison's coughin made her sound more in need of the sanatorium in Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain rather than another Graham, I decided home was the best option. Managed to be in the house before darkness fell, which I wasn't expecting either.

Ascent of Mheadhoin
ImageDSC02325 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02328 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02329 by Al, on Flickr

New snow on Sgurr na Lapaich
ImageDSC02330 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02331 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02332 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02333 by Al, on Flickr
So not the sort of weekend one might expect in mid-December in the Loch Ness area- no snow and unseasonly temperatures of 10 degrees or more (excluding Saturday's wind chill). Although it hurts my winter purist's mind I'll be glad if the snow stays away a bit longer, to assist with "the schedule" :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Re: "Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:20 pm

Quite an adventure! Sick Kid looks remarkably unsick - clearly a very high level of determination :clap: :clap:

BUT: how on earth did you reach a maximum speed of nearly 20 kph????? I suppose these new fangled things tell the truth??!!??
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Alteknacker
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Re: "Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:23 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Quite an adventure! Sick Kid looks remarkably unsick - clearly a very high level of determination :clap: :clap:

BUT: how on earth did you reach a maximum speed of nearly 20 kph????? I suppose these new fangled things tell the truth??!!??


Walking fast :wink:
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weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1895
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:354   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: "Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:38 pm

weaselmaster wrote:
Walking fast :wink:


Well, that is seriously fast! Watch out Usain... :roll: :roll:
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Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2995
Munros:169   Corbetts:30
Hewitts:237
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Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: "Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:30 am

Alteknacker wrote: Watch out Usain... :roll: :roll:


Watch out, Weaselbolts are coming! :lol:

"Winter" is the best way to describe this year's winter. Looks more like a dull October day. Funny how temperatures jump so quickly. I recorded -8 in Beauly on Monday the 6th, +14 two days later!!! That's madness.

We were lucky to have climbed Beinn a'Mheadhoin before the hydro work started. There is also a second worksite up by Loch Affric, sadly one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland is being destroyed :( Only a short time ago the Cannich community fought a long battle to stop a big windfarm (thankfully successful!), now this...

As for Carn a'Chaochain - we still haven't done it. The road to Cougie is a serious undertaking for any car, especially in winter. The best way would be to park in Tomich or by Ploda falls and walk, but it makes a long day just for a single Graham.
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BlackPanther
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Re: "Winter" in Strathfarrar, Cannich & Affric

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:35 pm

BlackPanther wrote:
Alteknacker wrote: Watch out Usain... :roll: :roll:



As for Carn a'Chaochain - we still haven't done it. The road to Cougie is a serious undertaking for any car, especially in winter. The best way would be to park in Tomich or by Ploda falls and walk, but it makes a long day just for a single Graham.


thanks BP
I hope the Yeti 4x4 would cope with the road if it's not under snow - might just make it back up this weekend to find out if the weather stays non-cold :D
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weaselmaster
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Posts: 1895
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
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Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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