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Easter...Grahams and Tops

Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:27 am

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Liath (Creag Meagaidh)

Grahams included on this walk: Creag Ghuanach, Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean

Date walked: 17/04/2017

Time taken: 28.5 hours

Distance: 95.4 km

Ascent: 4680m

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Feel it closing in...at the start of the weekend we had 3 Grahams left to do - Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean on the south shores of Loch Arkaig, Creag Ghuanach near Loch Trieg and Mullach Buidhe on Arran. With it being Easter weekend it wasn't really practicable to get from Fort William to Arran, so we decided to settle for the two northernly hills and add in some Munro Tops (Allison having decided she wants to tick that particular box). Both the Grahams were longish walks - I decided we'd make use of Invermaille Bothy for Geur-oirean and tackle Ghuanach from the wee minister in the north rather than rely on trains to Courror station.

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

We arrived at the car park at Eas Chia-aig at a reasonable hour and set off into the gloaming. I'd packed the small tent in case the bothy was packed out, but hoped we'd not have to use it. The track is of good quality although does undulate quite a bit, the rain was staying off. I must have missed the turn off for the bothy, as I could see it across the field, getting no closer...a bit of squelchy field crossing had us at the front door. No-one else inside - recently renovated and a good size of a place, 5 useable rooms. We managed to get a small fire going using bits of rubbish and charred wood in the grate and enjoyed a late meal by candle light.

Loch Arkaig
ImageP1150266 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150268 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150270 by Al, on Flickr

Nice and warm overnight, no ghosts or unwelcome scampering visitors to disturb the slumber. Up early and off into the morning. We see a bridge marked on the map just behind the bothy - um, well a bridge it may have been a long time ago but now just posts either side of a fast flowing river. Fortunately there is a good bridge back on the track we took last night - there's a path leaving from the bothy to this. Up Glen Mallie for a couple of kilometres then we turn north up the heathered hillside of Sron nan Leac at the eastern end of Guer-oirean. Across the glen the deep corries on Beinn Bhan are scooped out of the hillside. Meall a'Phubuill stretches to our left, a reminder of a good, long day on Corbetts. Back to the task in hand, up to the flattish tail end of our mountain at around 360m. We can see the back of the hill stretching off into the distance. To the north, the hills of Kintail are white with snow.

Our hill
ImageP1150276 by Al, on Flickr

You don't want to wade this - River Mallie just up from the bothy
ImageP1150277 by Al, on Flickr

Scooped coire on Beinn Bhan
ImageP1150278 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Phubuill
ImageP1150279 by Al, on Flickr

Guer-oirean from halfway up
ImageP1150280 by Al, on Flickr

More easy walking over an increasingly mossy surface takes us finally to the top of Guer-oirean. Ahead are the twin peaks of Gaor Bheinn, to the north Loch Arkaig embraces the Glen Dessarry hills. We nip further along the ridge to the west top (a Simm) then start to make our way steeply down into the upper reaches of Glen Mallie, aiming for a walled sheep enclosure. After lunch, we begin walking back along the glen, the rounded form of Beinn Bhan ahead of us. The track is quite rough but reasonable, with several bridges of varying quality crossing the river. We remain on the north side, pass the ruined buildings at Glenmallie and some impressive waterfalls. Back at the car around 3pm, not bad for a long day.

Approaching summit - Gaor Bheinn in backdrop
ImageP1150282 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150283 by Al, on Flickr

Looking north
ImageP1150284 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Arkaig
ImageP1150285 by Al, on Flickr

On Simm business
ImageP1150286 by Al, on Flickr

The long walk back along Glen Mallie
ImageP1150289 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150292 by Al, on Flickr

One of several interesting bridges
ImageP1150293 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150295 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150297 by Al, on Flickr

We have decided to camp at Bunroy campsite - it's just changed hands - hopefully it will remain as friendly as of old. Despite it being Easter weekend there are not many tents when we arrive - although several parties of kayakers soon change that. Knowing the next day will be quite long too, we grab an early night.

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

Saturday - we notice a fair amount of new snow on the tops - down to around 650m. Shouldn't trouble us too much as Creag Ghuanach is a feeble 621m. Up the Coire Choille road to the wee minister where we meet a guy taking a lot of supplies to a bothy - with help from a Landy/Argocat combination. Cheating! We set off along the track passing the always impressive pair of Cruach and Sgurr Innse - the latter especially dramatic when viewed from the south. We pass the bothy at Leacach, where the Landy is parked but the Argocat it was trailing has gone on. From here we cross the river and begin to walk down the Lairig Leacach which ends at the southern end of Loch Treig. The path isn't up to much - boggy and frequently crossing streams. And it down downhill :roll: I mutter something about job creation for the unemployed...

Saturday morning snow on Aonach Mor tops
ImageP1150298 by Al, on Flickr

stob ban
ImageP1150301 by Al, on Flickr

Creag Ghuanach in distance, Meall Mor to R
ImageP1150302 by Al, on Flickr

Leacach Bothy
ImageP1150303 by Al, on Flickr

sgurr Innse
ImageP1150304 by Al, on Flickr

The Innses
ImageP1150305 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150306 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150309 by Al, on Flickr

At length we reach the slopes of Creag Ghuanach - a mountain that is craggy on the north/eastern aspects, but docile from the west. An easy lope up the slope takes us to the summit cairn. Visibility is quite poor with bands of snow coming and going, but there are nice views to the Mamores and Glencoe beyond. We descend towards Feithh na Ghleannain, on our way to climb Meall Mor. This Simm is a full 100m higher than our Graham, which seems a bit weird. The weather closes in as we pull up to the summit, almost - but not quite - hiding the dramatic Grey Corries behind snow clouds and permitting a fine full profile view of Stob Coire Easain. Descending towards the track we join up with the outward track at the bothy and return to the car. Neither of us can quite believe we have only 1 Graham left now.

easy ascent of Ghuanach
ImageP1150313 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150316 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Mor with the Grey Corries behind
ImageP1150318 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150322 by Al, on Flickr

meall mor from meall beag
ImageP1150323 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150324 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150325 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Coire Easain
ImageP1150326 by Al, on Flickr

Another band of weather incoming
ImageP1150328 by Al, on Flickr

View north from Meall Mor
ImageP1150330 by Al, on Flickr

Weasel on a Simm
ImageP1150331 by Al, on Flickr

Distance and time are wrong as battery ran out - distance is about 28k, time 8 hours, but ascent is correct
ImageP1150334 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the campsite I rustle up an impressive tofu green thai curry and we contemplate what to do on Sunday. I had thought of doing the 2 Tops east of Aonach Mor, but worry there might be too much snow (we have no winter gear with us). Similarly, Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Beag and Sgurr a Bhuic from Steall Meadows might be a bit awkward, especially the scramble up to Sgurr a Bhuic. Other nearby Tops still needed include Stob Coire Dubh (off Carn Liath) - I know that will pose no problems being a very flat whaleback and we decided to go for that one.

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

Sunday has clag down and it feels cold - hard to believe we were being roasted this time last week. We drive the few miles to the Creag Megaidh car park which is strangely quiet. We walk towards Coire Ardair, Allison turns and asks if we've missed the path up Carn Liath. I say no, my route takes us straight up from the path. Expecting a path to follow (this is a Munro after all) rather than 300m up heathery steep trackless hillside she is none too impressed and tells me she hates me. Such is life - but the routes I took for my Munro Tops did not tend to be the easiest ones :lol:

Towards Carn Liath
ImageP1150335 by Al, on Flickr

We get to the top of the ridge and have an easy saunter up the path now that we've reached it, making for the large cairn at the top of Carn Liath. It's quite cold up here - we don't linger but set off NE towards A'Bhudheanach. Whiteness all around, nice spongy surface to walk on. I'm about 50m ahead of her and spot a figure coming towards us from the Munro Top. Pretty odd to see anyone out there on a day like this I think. We say hello and as he passes I notice he's wielding a stick or staff. I think I recognise the stick and start to turn round just as he reaches Allison and recognises us - my Mad-Bagger hero Robert Phillips in person :clap: I guess it had to happen at some point that our paths would cross on the hillside - he's come up from Melgarve and is doing Humps, Simms and Munro Tops. We have an animated chat and I'm delighted to learn he's getting round to finishing his Munro Tops and Furths as well as the many other challenges. Great to meet up.

Summit Carn Liath
ImageP1150337 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150338 by Al, on Flickr

Weasels and Mr Phillips
ImageP1150339 by Al, on Flickr

We trot down to the dip before the Top and have a bite to eat - summer boots get you rather cold toes in snow it appears. Quick nip up to the Top then across to the nearby Simm of Meall a'Chaorainn Mor - I'd planned to include this when I did the Top first time, but it is quite a tramp over peat hags and one needs to contour round the Allt Coire an t-Slugain, so I'm not surprised I abandoned it then, when Simms were less valuable. We return to the top of Carn Liath. It's gone 2.30 by now and I don't suggest heading round to Stob Poite Coire Ardair as I suspect there will be quite a lot of snow in The Window on the descent - actually it didn't look too bad when we looked over on our way down Carn Liath.

ImageP1150342 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Chaorainn Mor
ImageP1150343 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150344 by Al, on Flickr

Snow Gate
ImageP1150346 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Creag Megaidh
ImageP1150347 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150350 by Al, on Flickr

Our final night at the campsite, rain showers irritate by starting up every time we try and sit outside. Not sure what to do tomorrow, decide to leave it and see what kind of weather arrives. Sunshine and clear skies greet us. from what we can see of the nearby hilltops from the campsite it doesn't look as if any of the overnight rain fell as snow - I decide to do the 2 eastern tops of Aonach Mor - when I climbed them last time clag prevented good views of Aonach Mor.

aonach2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Back to Coire Choille and park in the lower place, into the forest where timber operations are in progress and along to the dam. From here it's a walk over boggy hillside then a steady 400m ascent up Tom na Sroine.

ImageDSC03151 by Al, on Flickr

Our 2 tops
ImageDSC03152 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03153 by Al, on Flickr

Up the slopes of Tom na Sroine
ImageDSC03154 by Al, on Flickr

The two tops are markedly different - the first, Tom na Sroine being a grassy lump contrasting with the imposing black cliffs of Stob a'Chul-Coire. When we get onto the back of Tom na Sroine, the deep coires dividing us from Aonach Mor come into view, the foreboding cliffs of that mighty mountain topped with icing sugar snow. We have our lunch at the top of Tom na Sroine and notice there's another climber on top of Chul-Coire. We head on over, in his footsteps. When we reach the summit - snow starting to consolidate underfoot we see he has gone on up Aonach Mor. If we'd had full winter kit with us, I would have been tempted to follow - although it did look a somewhat steep ascent - but as it was we turned around and retraced our steps, stopping every so often to check on his progress and giving a little cheer when we saw him reach the top.

First view of Aonach Mor
ImageDSC03158 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03160 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Tom na Sroine
ImageDSC03162 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03166 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03167 by Al, on Flickr

Aonach Beag
ImageDSC03169 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03170 by Al, on Flickr

Spur up to Aonach Mor
ImageDSC03172 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr Choinnich Mor & Beag
ImageDSC03174 by Al, on Flickr

Aonach beag
ImageDSC03175 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC03180 by Al, on Flickr
I quite enjoyed doing 1000m tops again after the lowly altitude of Grahams, and I suppose if I am going to do the 88 she has left I will be well on my way to a second round of Munro Tops, which probably isn't a bad thing :wink:
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Re: Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:37 pm

You did not achieve much this past weekend then :wink:

I have met Robert twice over the years on the hills. The last time on a lonely coll below Sgurr Dhomnuill (Sunart) in December. Glad to hear he is bagging away yet :clap:

Only kidding bout your achievements , your some fella :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby robertphillips » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:09 am

Another great report, :clap: it was great to finally me you and allison on sunday :) you and allison are are the real mad baggers, camping out every weekend through the winter year after year. :clap: :clap:

Good luck on arran on your final graham. 8)
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Re: Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:54 pm

Smashing read, and some really cracking panos!

Most interestingly, I see that speeds are up above 30 kph - definitely something about being North of the border :-).
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Re: Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby Beaner001 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:55 pm

Good luck with your last hill weasels, it gives some great views of the Arran Corbetts but is a simple wee hill so prob take you two purebreds no time at all. Really enjoyed catching your Graham adventures ATB :clap:
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Re: Easter...Grahams and Tops

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:05 am

It takes a particular kind of madness to motivate yourselves for finding and climbing all these summits, impressive stuff.

Enjoy your last G!
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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