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For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbours

For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbours


Postby Mountainlove » Mon May 08, 2017 9:47 pm

Route description: Maoile Lunndaidh

Munros included on this walk: Maoile Lunndaidh, Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich

Date walked: 30/04/2017

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 1952m

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Loch Monar- for me it sounded like a magical place and I was thoroughly looking forward to my next trip. When the day arrived, I managed to drive 3 x past the hidden car park at Craig, :roll: before I luckily spotted a car who drove ‘up’ a forest road. How odd I thought, but soon realized that it was the way to the car park. :lol: 8) Once I had my bag ready and shouldered I set off and once I crossed the railway track I spotted a dead horse. OMG! :shock: With all sort of thoughts racing through my brain the horse suddenly lifted its head and looked at me with tired eyes…I was laughing :lol: …it had been fast sleep. Relived I crouched down and patted it and wished him a good morning before I continued along the path.
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The not so much dead horse

A few people cycled past me, but looking at the path I was glad to be on foot, as it was pretty steep! The path however was great and so I continued the long 10 km road until I reached Glenuaig lodge.

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The path 8 kilometers in

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Glenuaig lodge

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The ' garden shed'

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Inside the 'shed'

The lights were on in the lodge and walking past the windows to see inside, I walked slowly towards the ‘garden shed’ . Opening its door a gush of warm air hit me and instantly I decided to stay for a while and have lunch. I looked around, it was a small place with 2 wonky chairs, a table and some seriously worn out, lumpy mattresses on a bunk bed. I lay on one while not trying not to imagine what creatures might life inside. :think: :wtf: I was however impressed with the radiator and light. Tempting, :thumbup: but looking out of the window the mountain was calling.

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The massive lump of Maoile Lunndaidh

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Follow a straight line towards the hill in the middle

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Bog is guaranteed :roll:

Once I finished lunch, I continued along the path which led me down to the burn. With plenty of big rocks to choose from, I threw some into the burn, to assist my crossing and made it to the other side dry. What followed was a relentless slog through bog and soft spongy grass land. At times it was never ending and I could feel my heavy pack pressing down on my shoulders. Why is it so hard carrying 14 kilos of gear I thought frustrated. 5 hours into my walk I finally stood on my first Munro of the day.

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Half way up, looking down back at the lodge

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Pretty views on the way


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The way up

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Myself

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Bleak countryside

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The summit looking east

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Things started to look more interesting with Loch Monar in the distance

I did not linger, as it was far too cold and walked towards the second cairn. From there onward deep cornices fell down the steep mountainside and the views improved. Walking on I marveled when I saw Loch Monar in the distance and stopped at a massive cornice, but the joy was short lived when an icy bullet hit my arm. Ouch I cried when the second one hit my jar. I was in pain and saw the third ice bullet flying towards me, I dodged and looking closer I saw that I was standing at the shooting range of ‘gale force wind meets cornice’. The wind freed tiny icy particles and catapulted them to anyone standing in its range. Quite impressive, but painful! I moved out of the range and checked my map. I had completed the big mass of Maoile Lunndaidh and the weather had deteriorated dramatically from the sunny morning. Dark clouds were looming in the distance and I started to feel the first drops of rain – vertical with the force of the wind up the ridge.

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Gale force winds at Loch Monar

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Looking back and the cornices which turned out to be a shooting rage

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Looking down towards Fuar-tholl Mor

I rushed on and climbed down Fuaran a Bhuigich, the wind was bitterly cold and relentless. When Coire Dearg Mor came into view I saw a lovely patch of grassy ground in the distance. My mind was racing, should I continue, or should I camp already? I continued the down climb and arrived when the sun, for the last time that day, basked the area in warm sunlight. Walking around I found a perfect spot right next to a pretty burn. Snow flanked its edges in places, but the area was sheltered from the strong winds. My decision was made, I would stay and enjoy the camping experience.

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My camping spot at Coire Dearg Mor in the distance


I just had set up my tent when the rain started again. Quickly I crawled into my tent and listened to the soft rain drops outside. As Alteknacker had mentioned in one of his previous reports, there is something about camping which is so enjoyable. You either love or hate it and I certainly love it! I grabbed my bag and pulled out my map, a packet of Jaffa cakes and in the dim light I looked at the couture lines and shapes a map is made from. I tried to gather how high I was up (my GPS later confirmed 585m) and how long the climb up Sgurr a Chaorachain would take during the next day.

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Things to do in a tent..read maps and eat Jaffa Cakes

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For some a cramped environment, for others its heaven on earth

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My camping spot

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Myself and tent

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Once the shower outside had stopped I went for a wander. Clouds covered most of the sky and I guessed it was around 3C. There is something magic about pitching your tent high in the mountains knowing that not many people, if any, have ever camped at the exact same spot. It was too cold to linger outside and so I got ready for a much needed wash. I heated up some water and filled my metal water bottle. Once this was wrapped inside my sleeping bag, I walked down to the burn with my face cloth and bar of soap in hand. With a deep breath I quickly took most of my clothes off and had a rather fast wash. It was bloody freezing, but a sure way to toughen up! Teeth clattering I raced back to my tent and put my PJs on and crawled, my hot water bottle clenched to my chest, into the warm depths of my sleeping bag. It was magic! As strange as a wash in 3C might sound, it’s a sure thing to get you warm and worth a try (if you dare it)

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Time for a wash

I read my book and had some dinner, while I listed to the sound of the burn outside my tent. It is amazing how many different sounds water can make when you take the time to listen to it. It’s a gushing sound at the start, but when you start to listen you can hear a trickling gurgle when the water flows around rocks. Listening even closer you can hear a burble of bubbles rising to the surface and the dripping sound of water from an unknown source drip into the bigger stream .
I had once read that the slow sound of water is a non-threatening to humans and calms us, so for me its certainly the answer why I tend to camp next to burns if I can.
Warm and cosy I finally drifted off to sleep, waking a few times through out the night due to rain and wind, but all in all I felt great when I woke just before 7am the next morning. Getting dressed I collected some water from the burn. Inside I dissolved my milk powder in it and poured in my mix of porridge oat, sugar and cinnamon. I ate it cold, as I was too lazy to heat it up and looked up the mountain. Time to get ready .

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On the way up Sgurr a Chaorachain

It was 8am by the time I was finally packed and made my way up Sgurr a Chaorachain. The closer I got to the top the stronger the wind got and I was soon struggling to walk in a straight line. Leaning against the easterly wind, I felt as if I walked in a diagonal angle, while the wind tried to push my backpack off me. It was horrendous. Higher up the wind pushed my walking poles to the side each time I lifted them off the ground and for the first time ever, I was scared that the wind would rip them out of my hand. I was only 100 yards away from the summit when one of the strongest gusts of winds I had ever experienced, threw me over and I landed painfully on my hands and knees. Ouch. Struggling to get up I was now worried. This wasn’t good. I inched myself forward until I had reached the summit and took shelter. The morning which had started sunny was now a hazy grey and visibility was pretty had. Seeing the ridge towards Sgurr Choinnich I was not sure what I should do. If the wind would be any worse, I could get thrown off it. I decided to give it a try and otherwise return to find another way down.

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The cairn

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Hazy views down towards Loch Monar

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Looking towards Sgurr Choinnich

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On the way down

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Looking back up towards Sgurr a Chaorachain

I was now walking into the wind, which made it a bit easier and luckily some large boulders on the way down gave me some protection. It was still gusty, but nothing in comparison to the gale force winds up the Munro. Looking up I saw a person standing on the second Munro and hoped it would be a sign for calmer conditions. I was right, as by the time I met the woman who had stood on the top, she told me that the walk up had been not to bad. I warned her about the conditions from where I had come from and we parted ways. Soon after I stood on the second Munro and looked back the way I had come from. It was a shame that the visibility wasn’t better, but one can’t have all.

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Looking across Lurg Mhor and Bidean a Choire Sheasgaich

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The summit

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Summit views toward Morsuig

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The way ahead

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Looking back

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Looking back up towards the summit


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Bealach Bhearnais

I continued until I reached bealach Bhearnais. Sitting down I had lunch, while watching another walker and his dog approaching. The dog was barking like mad when it spotted me and I was amused watching it. Racing a few meters towards me it stopped every few seconds to look back at its owner, as if to say…ok what should do now? When he dog was close enough it circled me suspiciously and was only assured when I patted it. The owner told me later his dog had been spooked by my yellow jacket :lol:

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The rope bridge

I stood up and made my way down to the path when about 45 min later I spotted a rope bridge. Oh cool I thought. Not wanting to make the first attempt with all my gear I took off my backpack and made my way across. It was easy once I got the hang of it. Placing my camera on the other side, set to time laps I went across again to gather my gear…at least I wanted some photos :D

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On the way across

Once across and back on the land rover track, I met the women again, who confirmed that she had also struggled in the wind up the second top. We walked a while together until she reached her bike. The way back was easy and yet again the white horse stood at the gate watching me as I approached. Patting it good bye I walked back to my car. Happy to have had another great time up the hills.

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The track back
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Mountainlove
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby scoob999 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:09 pm

Nice one :clap:
Had me laughing at the start there :D Undoubtably up there in my top 10 mountains these ones 8)
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 09, 2017 7:50 am

Superb, really nicely described and your camp spot sounds like heaven.
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby montie » Tue May 09, 2017 9:35 am

Excellent report. Love this vast wide area. I fed a white horse apples on two occasions near the railway crossing and was most surprised to find 4 more on top of Beinn Tharsuinn at over 800 metres :shock:
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby BlackPanther » Tue May 09, 2017 9:51 am

Fantastic :D I never thought of camping in this area, maybe because it's so close to home... We biked up the track to Maoille Lunndaidh... Hard work on the way up, but what a delight on the way back!

That car park in Craig has the worst swarm of midges I have ever experienced. They bite through clothing, they are not deterred by heavy rain... You were lucky to avoid them :wink:
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby Mancunian » Thu May 11, 2017 9:15 am

Mountainlove wrote:Image


Great walk ML and an enjoyable read.
What I find even more interesting is that my mates and I have camped in exactly the same spot only 5 days later. See pics below.

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Tents were already packed in this photo but were standing on the left bank of the burn...
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby David-Main » Thu May 11, 2017 11:10 am

Not far from the finishing line now ML
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby Mountainlove » Thu May 11, 2017 12:38 pm

scoob999- I agree, although the walk in from Attendale I did the weekend after was even better (walk report shall follow soon)

Mal Grey- many thanks

montie- that must have been quite amazing to find horses that high...lol a ride back would have been brilliant

BlackPanther- Oh tell me about it...I am dreading when the midges are back...saying that I now own a midge jacket which hopefully will make things easier

Mancunian- how brilliant is that! and there was me thinking no one had camped there before...but as they say if you leave no traces its the way it should be done.

David-Main- I know :-) Saying that I shall relax more when I finished the Cullins.
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby Alteknacker » Mon May 15, 2017 10:34 pm

Excellent report, with some really atmospheric pics. I've got this area marked down to do, though maybe not this year.

I couldn't agree more with your comment about the pleasure of campling in the wilderness, the sound of flowing water in the background, and "...knowing that not many people, if any, have ever camped at the exact same spot." (though not in your case, as it turned out :D ).

BTW, what is your tent? I'm on the verge of getting a lightweight solo tent, and edging towards a Terra Nova at the moment...
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby wally » Tue May 16, 2017 10:28 am

Good report, great pictures. We climbed Maoille Lunndaigh a few years ago from Loch Monar on a good path. Like you when we reached the summit it was extremely windy :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: For the love of camping - Maoille Lunndaidh and neighbou

Postby malky_c » Sat May 20, 2017 10:20 pm

Someone told me at the meet last month that it was your ambition to go up a Munro on a horse. The link you put up to this on the Talk Highlands page had the horse photo next to it - for a moment I thought you'd done it :lol: .

Fuar-tholl Mor is a really nice corrie, and I like the look of your camp spot. Almost thought to head out this way tomorrow, but I'm feeling lazy and wNt a shorter walk.
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