It`s all in the planning. 42.5km 2475m 12.15hrs 28/05/1994
I`d been planning this route for months, adding bits and subtracting others but finally it came together. Aultguish Inn, off the A835, an old drove house, it nestles beneath the dam of Loch Glascarnock and an ideal jump off site for a Jackday out.
Having been given permission from the Strathvaich estate to drive to the dam The KMC arrived the night before to settle in at the bunkhouse. The game plan is - Sarah’s husband Gerry will drop Andy, Alan, Sarah and myself off in Strath Vaich with a pickup at Invereal 12hrs later.
From Lubriach we take a track over a bridge, for the left side of the dam and loch of the same name. Climb a hillside with tree heather and short grass to meet a good track. Cold wind encourages quick movement. Lochs either side of us, pass a cairn on Meall Coire nan Laogh over short grass and stones for Tom Ban Mor. Level walking in clag to Creag Rainich and Stron Liath to finally reach Am Faochagach @ 952m. We take a break here. It`s a big rolling hill, so far easy going. We pass Meallan Ban`s stone built cairn and it clears. A pause here for views over Loch a` Charbhain, Coire Lair and Loch nan Eilian. A wall of crags rise from Loch a`Choire Ghranda up to a clouded Beinn Dearg. Awesome. Below lies Loch na Still. We move down to, then reach Loch Prille. Fantastic views down the corrie of the distant Fannichs. Cross where the lochs outflow drops into Coire Lair, then climb a soft snowy E ridge into mist for Cona Meall @980m. Rest on the flat top ridge at the recently aquired cairn, then down boulders for a green carpet of grass at bealach Lochain Uain. Great views of Coire Ghranda`s 450m rocky headwall as the weather clears. Skirt a lochan then follow a wall up to 1036m, back into clag. The wall turns W here and runs down to Inverael. Turn S and 100m leads to the cairn of Beinn Dearg @ 1084m. It`s snowing and has been for some time here. Back to the bealach, for sunshine and our B team of Gerry, Phil, with dog, up for a walk. A wee chat and time check then, up a grassy Meall nan Ceapraichean @944m. Views over Lochan a Chnapaich and the winter climbing crags of Diollaid a` Mhill Bhric. On Ceann Garbh; its E ridge runs out to Cnap Coire Loch Tuatha, giving a route back to Faochagach, - the round of Coire Lair. We detour to avoid a steep drop to crags, pass a small lochan and climb a stony Eididh nan Clach Geala @ 928m. Mist snow and it`s cold, options to quit surface. Map check sees our final goal some 5.5km 400m 2hrs away. Nobody wants a 32km return, so NE down to banks of snow over a tussocky wet area to stay high round the rim of Cadhr Dearg cliffs at 680m our lowest point since loch Prille. A climb to the 906m bare top, thinks we are there, before a down and up finds the stone walls of Seana Bhraigh @927m. The cairn stands on the edge of Loch Luchd Choire, our views are tempered by rising mist, but some place. We`ve done enough for today. I would see into Coire Mor when adding Carn Ban and Beinn a` Chaistill to my Corbett list. Clear weather as we return the way we came. Trade the Gate of Ca- derg, for wet open moorland, the 806m cairn and in the short heather, pick up a path. Pass a stretch of crags above a linked lochan chain of Locha Coire an lochain Sgerich. On a flat walk out now, featureless going, across a basin leading towards trees. Over a deep cut white water burn to catch the side of Druim na Saobhaidhe. Cross this to enter a gate in the fence. Down the zig zags to drop into the Inverlael forest. Pass the ruin of Glensquaib for a good track beside the river Lael and our pickup at Invereal in 12h15m.
A great party was held in the bh that night, followed by a cool Sunday drive home.
Seen enroute - deer, birds and upteen folk on Ceapraichean a foursome coming from Seana Bhraigh, something to do with boots across Scotland
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