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Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby andygunn23 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:58 pm

Route description: Fisherfield 6, from Shenavall

Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mòr, Sgùrr Bàn

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chlaidheimh

Date walked: 28/07/2017

Time taken: 44 hours

Distance: 45.1 km

Ascent: 3102m

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Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

The Fisherfield 6 can only be described as an "epic" route plucked straight from page 1 of the textbook! I'd like to think I am far from a stranger to the long, exhausting, multi-day, multi-summit outings, and this one has always been high on the agenda.

With two weeks granted away from the office before my first offshore visit, the second week was strictly sidelined for some fine Scottish mountains. First off I had the luxury of a week in the Croatian heat. The perfect relaxation prior to the Fisherfield 6 - that was until the sea urchin decided to have a romance with my foot... :roll:

Technically by this point in time I was not aware of the sea urchin and made the assumption it was some form of painful sea splinter (arguably correct) which would easily be solved with tape, cotton wool & crammed into a hillwalking boot.

Connor, Andrew and I set off from Aberdeen at the luxurious time of 11am and made way to Corrie Hallie to begin.

My brother once said, "I never read the reports but I like looking at the photos! Well I just (by accident) found out if you click on the first photo it will enlarge, minimise the text, and give you the option to flick through the photos! Feel free to avoid my rambling tales!

Skipping the story a bit but here is the introduction for Connor and Andrew who are about to drop the sickest hit single of 2017.

The plan of attack for day 1 was to park at Corrie Hallie, make steady progress and set up tent around the summit of the Corbett (Beinn a' Chlaidheimh), which will for the rest of the report be referred to as "the Corbett" (it's easier to type!)

Progress was acceptable towards the first river crossing, however my foot was feeling far from ideal. Considering I had just dragged two mates to the other side of the country I knew pulling out was not a real option! I must admit on the first part of the walk the thoughts of "imagine having to get mountain rescue out because of a splinter" were swirling through my head...

Thankfully Connor, the Croatian connoisseur, shed some light on sea urchins - that sounded more manly than a splinter so I have since stuck with that version of events!

It was moody but pleasant - a welcome break from the 30 degrees!

Now that I was aware I had been savaged by a crazy sea monster it was time to tackle the first river. Shoes on? Shoes off? Researching previous walk reports had varying levels of success but most seemed to agree this was the most suitable sections for the shoes to remain on.

Thankfully a few stepping stones and minor detours meant all three of us made it across intact.

It wasn't all this plain sailing.

We tackled the Corbett based on the Walkhighlands recommended route and headed up from the east side. It is claimed this is slightly easier, so I would dread to imagine how steep coming from the north would be :shock:

Difficult to photograph the incline...

On the ascent the cloud base seemed to be hanging at roughly 1000m and we felt pretty confident of a cloud free Corbett camp. The ground was incredibly boggy for the whole Corbett so given the increasing possibility of a slip, trip, or fall the camera found its way bag into the relatively safety of the bag.

Fortunately when the camera found safety, the chewy sweeties met their death. I can't remember their name but 1kg bag from Aldi in Inverness was without a shadow of doubt the best purchase for this outing (possibly Lidl don't quote me on that)!

With no rush and plenty of time before dark we took our time and must of arrived just after 20:00. We spent a bit of time enjoying the vast views, just short of the Corbett summit.

Views worth savouring!



Even although we were in what could only be defined as the "middle of nowhere", surprisingly and possibly disappointingly, we still managed to pick up 3G signal. If it wasn't for the thought of needing some form of assistance on the hills - the phone would be the first piece of kit that gets binned.

Talking of reducing kit... Andrew has already progressed from the tent to the bivvy, which meant it was just down to myself and Connor to find somewhere suitable for a tent!

Andrew and I have an epic 4-day outing planned in the Cairngorms in October so it will certainly be interesting to see if the tent or bivvy wins! :D

Worth every minute for this bedtime view.





Another night at the top of a hill and I slept like an absolute log - who'd have thought. The wind died nearly all night and when I woke up at about 4am the clag had swallowed the tent. With the sun beginning to light up the cloud, there was a brief thought of... "am I dead?!".

Within an hour the cloud had lifted and we were nearly ready to set off

Early morning stroll to the Corbett summit

Unfortunately my stomach is ridiculous at accepting food in the mornings so after a couple of minutes walking I was finally ready for breakfast! We stopped briefly on the Corbett to get some fuel for the long day ahead.

Next up was the first descent before the slog up towards Sgurr Ban - the days first Munro. Relatively straight forward on the way down until we began to climb once again. I think this was when the realisation of how long the day was going to be hit me.

A long, long, long way to go

Looking back at Andrew and the Corbett

Every other report comments on how close Sgurr Ban and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair are... This would indicate the most severe incline, and from the summit of Sgurr Ban this looked to be the case!

The zig-zag path scaring the side of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

In reality (possibly due to energy levels) the second Munro, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair (thank God for copy and paste), was the easiest Munro of the weekend!

Within no time at all we were at the summit and ready for an early lunch / late breakfast!

And ready for a seat

Beinn Tarsiunn was next up on the agenda, and is visible just to the right on Connor's bright red water bottle in the photo above.

We spent a good portion of time stalking the hillside for some form of water supply. This later turned out to be pointless given the vast number of streams over the other side of Beinn Tarsiunn. Obviously unbeknown to us at the time, the idea of pushing through the rest of the day with little / no water sounded rather unenjoyable.

Watered and going strong!

Summit rest on Beinn Tarsiunn which was only 76 for me!


Unbelievably I somehow managed to forget to take a photo of the "tennis court" - I guess if you want to see the how phenomenal geology can be you will need to visit, or read every other Walk Report from the Fisherfield 6!

We took the recommended route down from Beinn Tarsiunn which was one hell of a knee-sapper. It did occasionally, then more frequently cross my mind that this may be the most remote area in Scotland - a fall would be unfathomably embarrassing.

Here we have the Corbett and the first two Munros

Now.... Beinn Tarsiunn to A' Mhaighdean looks a long distance on the maps, it looks a long distance from afar, and well funnily enough it is a long distance! Thankfully they aren't separated by a giant peat bog.... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Well when we tackled this outing the weather had been kind and the bog was easily crossable - a lot of zig-zagging and seeing who would be brave enough to test the land first! Connor being the doughball of the group forgot his gators so I had my money on him ending knee deep first! :lol:

Sorry to disappoint, but somehow we made it across clean!

The next photo is possibly one of my favourites out in the hills. Andrew manages to give a complete sense of scale. The weather is typically Scottish. There is a herd of deer on the far left (hard to see). There is no one else in sight. There are some terrific hills in the back drop.

This. Is. Scotland.

Walkhighland talks about A' Mhaighdean offering some of the best views and Scotland and it is hard to argue with that statement. It was worth every nervous leap over the bog.

Andrew, myself and Connor enjoying the views :D



The final Munro, Ruadh Stac Mor, was a welcome sight. Still some hours away from the bothy but this mentally felt like the final hurdle - wrongly so!

Probably the steepest of the day!

Nope. Not looking easy easier from closer up.

Brilliant views North West!

Surprisingly it didn't take us too long to reach the top. If memory serves me right it wasn't any more than 30 minutes from the last summit to here.

Views again did not disappoint!


The next two photos are from the long walk back to the bothy!


By the walk back the midges were beginning to become a nuisance. Thankfully my "splintered" foot was too numb to show any pain but my legs were nearly gone and we still had at least another hour of walking, two river crossing and a bog-fest to get to bed!

Connor crossing the river

Before long the light was reaching its final hooorraa so we made frighteningly quick progress across the bog and the final river crossing. Although the river was low we all took boots off for both crossings and really the bog was nowhere near as bad as some describe - obviously this depends on the Scottish weather!

The last of the days sun.


We had made it to the Shenavall bothy just before darkness. That meant we had been walking nearly solidly from 07:00-22:00. Without doubt it was a long day! Due to the views and weather we must have spent 15-30 minutes on most summits, so if pushed I am sure we could have done it slightly quicker, not that it is a race (which I am sure some will find surprising!! :wink: :lol: ).

A few tents lay outside but the bothy appeared empty. We took the attic room and set up shop for the night. We began to realise how much sun we had received through the cloud. Mainly Andrew who had turned into a bit of a tomato and I wasn't far behind!

The hope was no one else would enter the bothy later on and I would sleep right through until the morning. There was a couple that came in slightly later on and made home downstairs, other than briefly acknowledging them I was out for the count.

It turned out I was so deep in sleep I missed the helicopter hovering overhead for 20 minutes. :crazy: After it landed the search and rescue team entered the bothy to see if the missing parties were around - unfortunately no one had heard from them.

The co-pilot left with the motivational "It's 04:00 should you lot not be out walking yet..." :shock: Admittedly this came from second hand as I never managed to summon the energy to leave the sleeping bag - I trusted Andrew and Connor had this well and truly covered!

It didn't take me long to fall back asleep but once wakening properly the reality sunk in a bit that; 1) someone was missing; 2) how much appreciation those in the search and rescue should get; and 3) when I sleep, it's a deep sleep!

In the morning we spent a bit of time chatting to the other groups, sharing stories and assuring those that were heading out that the bog isn't nearly as bad as feared!

Before long we left the bothy and began, what was for me, the worst part of the journey - back to the car!

Home for the night.

The walk back felt horrendous. I had read varying timescales and can't remember the specifics but it took us far longer than most! The day before was brutal and I was ready for some caffeine!

We finally made it back to the car just before a torrential downpour, and I mean torrential. I would ask Andrew to clarify but the big man was sound asleep within 5 minutes of leaving Corrie Hallie.

A quick essential pit stop in Dingwall for fish and chips, and a stock up on the non-essential such as fuel, before leaving and arriving back in Aberdeen for 15:30.

I find it hard to describe the Fisherfield 6. Undoubtably camping in the bothy and doing it with a daypack would be the most sensible and probably easiest (one outing) option, however I am an absolute sucker for camping high! Yes, you could do the hills in segments if the distance is too much of a challenge or the weather isn't ideal.

In truth, I think if I had longer I would do this again but camp high for two nights and take my time more!

The brilliant thing about the Fisherfield 6 is they must be the most difficult "textbook" epic. Whilst I still prefer making up ad-hoc routes that span across various recommended outings, this route from Shenavall bothy is far from easy and the views are spectacular -hopefully the pictures do it some justice!

Thankfully the missing parties were found later that morning, alive and well - just incredibly lost! Again hats off the mountain rescue and coastguards etc.

As always - thanks for reading!


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Re: Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:43 pm

Fantastic! Well done chaps.
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Re: Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby LoveWalking » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:55 pm

Pure dead brilliant!
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Re: Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:37 am

Great pics and thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Ad hoc routes certainly agree on that :D
Glad to hear the lost folks were found safe :D
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Re: Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby Emmanuelle » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:58 pm

Fab pics and funny report. I hope you got your scalpel out and removed the sea urchin spike from your foot when you got back home!

Re: Ruadh Stac Mor - I was out twice this summer. First time I found the climb up to the summit hard work especially with thunder and lightning harrassing us but I really enjoyed it the second time round. I think it is the easiest of the 6 hills but it comes late in the day.
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Re: Fisherfield 6 - The Textbook Epic for Camping High

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:20 pm

Fantastic report Andy. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Heading back to Fisherfield on Monday.

I really hope I get the same conditions as you lucky guys. 8) 8) 8)
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