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6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield


Postby b-illie » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:37 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaisgein Mor

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaisgein Beag

Date walked: 17/05/2010

Distance: 60 km

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6 days in Letterewe/Fisherfield

I felt inspired by the report of the 4-day hike in Fisherfield that was advertised on Facebook today, so I'll put up my story and photos as well, even if the trip dates back to May. A friend and I set out for a multi-day hike through Letterewe and Fisherfield in the middle of May, camping for five nights and staying at Shenavall bothy for the final night. Even though climbing the Munros there is for the most part beyond our abilities, we found the the trip reports and the photos on this site both incredibly helpful and greatly inspiring, and we decided to say thank you by writing our own trip report and letting you see some of our pictures.

In detail:

Day 1 – Taagan campsite to a place with a view above Letterewe Estate off the path to Carnmore
Day 2 – from there to our „base camp“ on the shores of Lochan Cnapach where we stayed for three nights
Day 3 – A’Mhaighdean
Day 4 – circular route, taking in the Beinn A’Chaisgeins and then following Allt Loch Glubhsachain on the way back
Day 5 – Lochan Cnapach to Shenavall
Day 6 – Shenavall to Corrie Hallie

We would have loved to stay at the bunkhouse in Kinlochewe for our first night, not only because it would save a mile or so of walking along the road but also because we usually find that bunkhouses have a special charm, but it was already fully booked when we enquired in March. So instead we asked the busdriver to drop us off at Taagan (we actually got it wrong and made him stop at the Beinn Eighe visitor centre) and found very clean toilet facilities there and had a good night’s rest before setting off into the wilderness the next day.

Day 1
The weather was changeable that day but not too bad – we had a lunch break in warm sunshine, a snack break in hail, cold winds, lots of clouds, some showers, and a wonderfully sunny evening. It did not take as long as we had expected to walk from Taagan to the parking at Incheril, and the path along Loch Maree is mostly easy to follow and quite varied, with stretches of boggy grassland, fairytale forests with gnarled trees, a mossy gorge, and good views across the Loch. After we had reached Letterewe and found the path uphill towards Carnmore, the sky cleared up and we climbed that path for another 45 minutes or so in golden late afternoon sunshine, past the picturesque ruins of a building, until we found a suitable spot for pitching the tent, with a beautiful view to the mountains on the far side of Loch Maree. We were overtaken by a cyclist, who was the only other person we had seen that day.


Day 2
The next morning, we followed the path up to Bealach Mheinnidh and down to the causeway between Fionn and Dubh Loch, which we found somewhat underwhelming as we had for some reason imagined it to be a lot longer. The weather was mild but dull at that point, and soon started to rain quite heavily. In the firm belief that this would only be another shower, we refused to put our raingear on, but it went on for quite a while, so that eventually we gave in and changed into Goretex. Five minutes later it stopped, and by the time we had found the only relatively dry and slightly elevated spot at Lochan Cnapach to set up our „base camp“, the sun had come out again. This is probably not a good place to camp later in the year because of the midges, but when we were there they were only some baby midges hovering over the water that were quite harmless. Instead, the ticks attacked, and we would recommend anyone camping up there to check your body for these bloody tiny pests each night and bring pincers to remove the beasties.

Day 3

Our third day saw us climbing A’Mhaighdean, which we had been particularly looking foward to, and we were not disappointed – not a single drop of rain all day, and while we could see showers coming down nearby, they never reached us, and despite the unsettled weather the view down to Fionn Loch and the sea and the mountain range on the other side was breathtaking. We took a few photos with ourselves spoiling the awesome scenery and spent quite some time on the summit, having lunch and taking in the amazing 360° panorama.

Day 4

Splendid hot sunny weather and a long but oh so rewarding circular hike across the Beinn A’Chaisgeinns and back along Allt and Loch Ghlubhsachain. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Breathtaking. Sheer bliss.

Day 5

The walk down to Shenavall was quite uneventful; another overcast, but dry and mild day.
As we knew that the walk down to Corrie Hallie would be the final day of our trip (followed by two relaxed days in Ullapool), we did not bother taking off our shoes for the river crossings and squealed at the sensation of cold water pouring into our boots through the gaiters. The water was not higher than shin deep, the current negligible, so the crossings were easily done. Making our way across the boggy, soggy flatlands turned out to be a lot more challenging, with no clear path and plenty of deep puddles and mudholes and not enough dry tussock, and we both stepped into knee-deep bogholes at some point. Scary how a walking pole can virtually disappear in what seems just a patch of wet grass. As the tent was dry at that time (and would not be used for a few days, as we would spend the next few nights of our holiday in Scotland in hostels) and there was apparently just one other person staying at the bothy that night, we decided to sleep indoors. Later that evening, the sun came out and we marvelled at the sight of deer grazing in the ruins below the bothy, with a glimpse of Loch na Sealga shining golden in the background.

Day 6

Next morning we met Robbie, the kind Englishman who had spent a night bivvying somewhere on the summits of the Fisherfield 6 and instantly offered to give us a lift to Ullapool from Corrie Hallie. So we set off, cast a last glance back to the beautiful sight of Shenavall with the Beinn Deargs in the background, and soon changed into raingear, and the rain stayed with us for a good part of the way.
Attachments
river crossing.jpg
River crossing below Shenavall
beinn a chaisgein beag.JPG
Beinn A'Chaisgein Beag
allt a loch ghlubhsachain.JPG
Allt A Loch Ghlubhsachain
loch ghlubhsachain cover.JPG
Loch Ghlubhsachain
view from maiden 3.JPG
View from A'Mhaighdean 3
view from maiden 2.JPG
View from A'Mhaighdean 2
view from maiden 1.JPG
View from A'Mhaighdean 1
view from lochan cnapach.JPG
View from Lochan Cnapach towards Ruadh Stac Mor and A'Mhaighdean
lochan cnapach dusk.JPG
Lochan Cnapach at dusk
Last edited by b-illie on Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:54 pm

b-illie wrote:Even though climbing the Munros there is for the most part beyond our abilities


Erm, I can assure you that having the ambition, mental strength and (for lack of a better word :lol: ) "balls" to undertake such a trip is no mean feat and beyond many "weekend" munroists - and I would include myself in that. Well done :) .

Your "ascent" muscles can be fairly quickly built-up with a quick uphill walk or two per week - soon you'll be adding Munros, Corbetts etc to your backpacking trips :) .

Anyway, really enjoyable report and some lovely pics 8) .
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby monty » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:04 pm

A nice report B-illie.
Thats some length of time out in the wilds. The pictures from a A'Mhaighdean bring back recent memories. Top class effort well done :D
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby mountain coward » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:32 pm

Great report and pics - so is there a path alongside Loch Maree all the way to Carnmore? I know there's a path as far as the start of the route to Slioch but that's when you've only just reached the loch - I have to admit I didn't look at the time whether the path continued - had my Munro blinkers on!
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby mountainstar » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:40 am

Top pictures, great area for backpacking, In fact I have just come back from there on a 4 day trek, first half similar to yours, I have also just posted a trip report on my trek.
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby b-illie » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:26 am

Thank you everyone ! :D
Mountaincoward, yes there is a path along Loch Maree all the way to Letterewe Estate and from there to Carnmore. And actually, we believe we met you on A'Mhaighdean ... :D We were the two girls who asked you if you'd like to have your photo taken.
The main reason why we chose Fisherfield was actually not to bag as many Munros as possible (we spent about an hour in complete awe watching people ascend and come back down from Ruadh Stac Mor and just couldn't believe how it was possible to negotiate the bare rock walls at the bottom; and we have no head for heights) but to have that "alone in the wilderness" experience, with no shower, yummy porridge every morning ("Rise & shine!"), brushing your teeth with a view towards some of Scotland's most awesome scenery, and crawling into a comfy sleeping bag and listening to the rain drumming on the tent as you switch off your headtorch at night and go to sleep.
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby mountain coward » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:48 am

b-illie wrote:Thank you everyone ! :D
Mountaincoward, yes there is a path along Loch Maree all the way to Letterewe Estate and from there to Carnmore. And actually, we believe we met you on A'Mhaighdean ... :D We were the two girls who asked you if you'd like to have your photo taken.


Oh Wow! we're both famous now :D I remember you well - nice to put a face to a name

b-illie wrote:The main reason why we chose Fisherfield was actually not to bag as many Munros as possible (we spent about an hour in complete awe watching people ascend and come back down from Ruadh Stac Mor and just couldn't believe how it was possible to negotiate the bare rock walls at the bottom; and we have no head for heights) but to have that "alone in the wilderness" experience, with no shower, yummy porridge every morning ("Rise & shine!"), brushing your teeth with a view towards some of Scotland's most awesome scenery, and crawling into a comfy sleeping bag and listening to the rain drumming on the tent as you switch off your headtorch at night and go to sleep.


Ruadh Stac Mor, should you ever decide you want to do it, is extremely easy from the other side to where you were looking. There's a stalker's path (which I think you will have followed for quite a way as it joins the path up from Carnmore) which takes you round to the other side - you then head off through the bogs past a lochan to the right of Ruadh Stac Beag, follow the burn up to the next level on more bog, you will then reach a rocky area with 2 lochans. Head between the lochans and go straight up the grassy hillside. Head right to the righthand side of the boulderfield at the top where it is then an easy slope up to the summit with no scrambling (although plenty of clambering on the boulders). Return the same way...
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby magicdin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:44 am

the way up and down Ruadh Stac Mor from the bealach is a doddle Image

Oh and by the way a great report b-illie Image
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby mountain coward » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:50 am

Might be a doddle going up - wasn't much fun coming down it! Still needs someone to go up and put a cairn at the point you're supposed to descend - you really can't tell from above - hence those chappies in front of us getting stuck and having to retreat and retry further along!
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby magicdin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:55 am

there is a cairn at the top :D

sorry MC I was in Friday morning wind up mode :oops:
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby b-illie » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:20 pm

MC, Cheers for the route description up RSM. Will include it in route planning when we do the Fisherfield Six one day (quite determined to do so). :) Looks like a good option to circumnavigate the more difficult sections on the Western slopes - it was the same intention that made us ascent A'Mhaighdean via the SE grassy slopes instead of the NW ridge. :) By the way, thanks to Kinley, as it was one of his trip reports that inspired us to take that route.

LeithySuburbs, thanks for the warm words! Alas, building up muscles is not so much a question of time and patience but of distance as we are currently located far away from decent mountains let alone Scottish Munros! But they'll be in our hearts till we come back. :D
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby mountain coward » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:42 pm

The bad bit/craggy bit is probably okay to go up and there's a tiny cairn at the bottom of the route - would be easy enough but a bit loose in places. Our difficulty was that we were coming down so couldn't see where we were heading from above... If you do the Fisherfield 6 all at once, I'd suggest going clockwise so you go up the normal route up Ruadh Stac Mhor and then go down the route I recommended above...
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby kinley » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:49 pm

Cracking report! 8)

Such a beautiful place to spend a few days.

The view from Beinn a Chaisgein Mor is one of my favourites.

Thanks for sharing :D

I want to go back now!
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Re: 6 days in Letterewe / Fisherfield

Postby b-illie » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:05 pm

And a personal special thanks back to you, kinley, for the inspiration and advice we could gather from various of your previous trip reports. The only thing we couldn't quite figure out was how on earth you guys came down from your camping spot above Dubh Loch on your loop walk across the A'Mhaighdean massive. Any path down seemed exceptionally steep and we certainly were in awe.:)
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