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Loch Mullardoch Round

Loch Mullardoch Round


Postby Keefers » Fri May 12, 2017 2:31 pm

Route description: The Loch Mullardoch Munros

Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Mullardoch), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Carn Eige, Carn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Mam Sodhail, Mullach nan Dheiragain, Sgurr na Lapaich, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich

Date walked: 12/05/2017

Time taken: 74 hours

Distance: 66.2 km

Ascent: 6047m

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This trip has been some time in the making. As I work my way through the Munros I am always looking for opportunities to create multi day trips that will last long in the memory ... and a round of Loch Mullardoch had already been on my mind for five years.

Having had amazing weather over the early May Bank Holiday in the past, I targeted the same week and started to contact friends to see who was up for it. Much to my surprise I found three willing volunteers, dates were set, flights booked, kit packed. It was on.

Having spent the first half of the week 'breaking ourselves in' on some of the Kintail Munros, we set off for the Dam at the end of Loch Mullardoch. Our original intention had been to leave on Wednesday 3rd May arriving back at the Dam on Friday 5th May, but with the weather having vastly improved from earlier in the week, we decided to head off on the Tuesday evening and get the first 5km under out belt.

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So ... we parked the van in the north car park and set off up the track at 1645. There is some construction work in the area and what looks like a fairly new and substantial track which runs along side the Allt Mullardoch. We followed the stream heading for our first objective - a flat, preferably dry spot in Coire an t-Sith.

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Day Two

After a good nights sleep we woke to see cloud gathering in Glen Cannich below us. We decided to break camp and continue our way up to the saddle of Corn nan Goghar before the cloud reached us.

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This made for a relatively simple walk up to the first Munro, Carn nan Gobhar, and we were staggered as we reached the top to see that there was not a cloud in the sky in any direction.

Looking across to Sgurr na Lapaich was a little daunting. We could see the route up its rib directly in front of us but with patches of snow on what we suspected to be out route to the top and the apparent steepness (with heavy packs), we knew this was going to be one of the big elements of the day.

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We made our way down to Beach na Cloiche Duibhe (noting that it would make a cracking place to camp) and started the ascent up the other side.

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To be fair, although hard going, it was not as bad as it had looked from the other side. Negotiating the slushy snow and the boulders towards the top was a bit of a pain, but eventually we found our way through, and were rewarded (once again) with stunning views in all directions.

From here it was about 4.5km to the next Munro. The route took us across a lovely ridge made all the better by the continuing good conditions. It was whilst sitting in a sun trap at the 1129 point that we met a chap from Berwich who had come up from the Dam in the other direction, and after chatting briefly we set off again in the direction of An Riabhachan.

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The wind picked up slightly (for the first time that day) but it remained easy going to the summit and then onto our last objective of the day An Socach.

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The final stage of the day was an easy decent to Meall Shuas and then onto the Gobh-alltan in the glen below, where we had already sighted a grassy spot to pitch the tents for the night.

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Day three - and it was another belter in terms of the weather. We were up and away at 0700 in order to meet the member of the group who couldn't make the first day due to a meeting in Edinburgh. Good commitment was shown however, and she arranged with Angus to get a lift on his boat from the Dam to the end of Loch Mullardoch where we were camped.

We duly met up and started the ascent up to the Munros on the south side. There is a track which can be followed up the side of the Allt Cam from where it is a relentless (but not horrific) ascent up to Mullach na Dheiragain.

I guess this munro didn't seem so bad as it was hard to take our eyes off Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan in the background. Not only did it look massive, it looked daunting and a long long way away. :shock:


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[Eyes on the prize .... Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan}

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[Final approach to Mullach na Dheiragain with Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan looming in the background]

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[final few steps up Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan]

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[Looking back as we head on towards An Socach]


We were definitely feeling the effects of the last couple of days as we made our way down from Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan and the ridge that would take us to An Socach and eventually Mam Sodhail. We had been carefully looking after out water (as there is very little to be found on the south side of Loch Mullardoch) and still had to complete Mam Sodhail and carry on a further 2.5km to Bealach Beag where we planned to pitch the tents.

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[Looking across to Mam Sodhail from An Socach]

Two things happened that were not in the plan.

Firstly the wind picked up as we skirted round towards Mam Sodhail following a good but intermittent path. We took the decision to continue along this path rather than head for the 1068, this is where the second unexpected event took place .... we found some running water!

There were a handful of large snow patches up above us, and we had hit the jackpot. We replenished our stores of water and carried on the path until directly below the 1108 point, where we decided it was best to hack up straight up to the summit.

Wow! Windy! And suddenly our proposed camping spot was in doubt. We made the summit of Mam Sodhail (unpleasant in the wind) and decided to come down from the summit in a northerly direction and head for the (slightly) flatter area at 980m directly opposite Loch Uaine midway between Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe

It provided sufficient shelter from the wind, and although not exactly flat, we were all sufficiently exhausted that it didn't really matter. We pitched the tents, had some food and were treated to a fantastic show as the sun went down.

End of walking: 1915hrs

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Day Four
Start 0630hrs

We all woke up in good fettle on day four having agreed we would leave at 0630 to walk over to Beinn Fhionnlaidh before returning to have some breakfast, pack the tents away and put the rucksacks on our backs.

It turned out to be a good plan. Not just because we were travelling with no rucksacks, but because we were treated to a stunning view on the summit.

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[First glimpse again of Loch Mullardoch]
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[Looking back to the tents]

Having repacked out rucksacks it was relatively straightforward to the summit of Carn Eighe and real feeling that we were on the final straight.

We followed the ridge which proved to be a real mixed back of jaggy rocks, sections of airy ridge and round grassy mounds.

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[One of the many interesting sections as we made our way between Cars Eighe and Tom a Choinnich]

That said, it was hard work, especially the down and ups between An Leth-chreag, Tom a Choinnich and Toll Creagach, and certainly few never ending on slightly tired legs.

As we reached the summit of Toll Creagach (in the heat of the day) we collapsed at the final summit and reflected on the distance travelled so far and the final descent back down to the Dam which although straightforward, was certainly not going to be easy.

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[Almost home, the lovely although boggy forest leading back to the Dam]

As expected, slow and steady progress was made. We had a wee bit of trouble finding our way through the forest back down to the track, but eventually navigated the gates and stiles to reach the road and the final march back to the vans.

Thanks to my three mates for their good humour and sense of adventure. Where shall we go next!?

Finished: Friday 1847hrs
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Nigels3011 » Fri May 12, 2017 3:50 pm

Its a great expedition. I did it in two days.
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Jaxter » Fri May 12, 2017 11:04 pm

Absolutely wonderful stuff :clap: :clap:

I've a very similar thing planned, all ready to go but just waiting for time off and good weather to align :lol:

It's a very special place isn't it. :D
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby steven65 » Fri May 12, 2017 11:14 pm

Well done :clap: , this epic is on my radar hopefully very soon. My main concern is whether 2 or 3 days , I`d rather enjoy it over 3 days - than rush it and push myself too much over 2 days.
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby jupe1407 » Fri May 12, 2017 11:15 pm

Awesome :clap: I've got these planned for the next available 3 days of good, relatively windless weather.

Somewhere around 2019 imo :lol:
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Keefers » Sat May 13, 2017 10:10 am

steven65 wrote:Well done :clap: , this epic is on my radar hopefully very soon. My main concern is whether 2 or 3 days , I`d rather enjoy it over 3 days - than rush it and push myself too much over 2 days.


To be honest we had the same thought and decided that we wanted to enjoy it and have a laugh .... hence taking the extra day
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Alteknacker » Sat May 13, 2017 1:23 pm

A cracking read :clap: :clap: :clap: . And what wonderful weather you had! I had a similar kind of cloud inversion when I did it, and could see 30 miles plus in every direction - the Cuillin Ridge was absolutely clear.

Also planning to do it again over a couple of days with my son (May Bank Holiday didn't play ball last year...).

This must be one of the best rounds in the country!
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Giant Stoneater » Sat May 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Its a great hike especially with the weather you got,one that makes you specially proud.
When I done it I started from Cluanie Inn in Glen Shiel which certainly adds a few extra km and put it this way it wasn't sunny.
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Keefers » Sun May 14, 2017 8:37 am

Alteknacker wrote:A cracking read :clap: :clap: :clap: . And what wonderful weather you had! I had a similar kind of cloud inversion when I did it, and could see 30 miles plus in every direction - the Cuillin Ridge was absolutely clear.

Also planning to do it again over a couple of days with my son (May Bank Holiday didn't play ball last year...).

This must be one of the best rounds in the country!




Thank you - and yes I agree, cracking location for adventures with the family
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby rockhopper » Sun May 14, 2017 11:23 pm

Hard to beat this sort of trip esp when you get sun and an inversion mixed with good weather - cheers :)
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby Tonic83 » Sat May 20, 2017 5:06 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Loch Mullardoch Round

Postby kaf2546 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:50 am

Great report. I had done the western 3 from Glen Affric before, so did rest over over 2 days (just back). Took earliest boat with Angus to as far as he would go (just before the narrows of the Loch), first day walking back the south Mullardochs in order of Beinn Fhionnlaidh, skirting round to Mam Sodhail, back over Carn Eighe then Tom a' Choinnich and Toll Creagach on record hot day so on way down to dam went via Allt Fraoch-choire to get a dip in the water but it was hard going that way, down the ridge to the east of that would be better. After night in camper van with roof up for welcome ventilation, again took boat and climbed above amazing cloud inversion (as you got on your first ascent) to An Sochach and then your route in reverse although descended south east ridge from Mullach na Maolle back to new track at Loch back to dam (very steep down last bit).
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