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Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse


Postby malky_c » Sun May 06, 2018 10:27 am

Route description: Glen Strathfarrar Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Date walked: 05/05/2018

Time taken: 5.7 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 1650m

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Munros: Sgurr na Ruaidhe, Carn nan Gobhar, Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill.
Date: 05/05/2018.
Distance: 22 km.
Ascent: 1650m.
Time: 5 hours, 40 minutes.
Weather: Windy, clear and sunny.

I had decided to head home for the bank holiday weekend, but up until the last minute I didn't expect to have any hill time available. Suddenly, a couple of days were available, but what was the weather going to do? Although I really fancied Torridon or somewhere in the far NW on Saturday, it didn't look as if it would be worth it. The eastern side of the hills looked more promising though. Finally on Saturday morning I picked Glen Strathfarrar as the destination - I had been intending to do a round of the 3 eastern Munros north of the glen for some time now.


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Leaving the car just after 10am, I could tell it was going to be a bit breezy higher up, but on the upside, there was way more sun and blue sky than expected, and my summits appeared to be clear of the clag. I set off past a group of 4 from Edinburgh and headed into Coire Mhuilidh. Rather than sticking to the usual route, I headed east at an old fence crossing and made my way over bumpy ground up onto Garbh-charn. This got me clear of the corrie and made for more open views back to Loch a' Mhuilidh.

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Allt Coire Mhuilidh

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Loch a’ Mhuilidh and Sgorr na Diollad

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Garbh-charn

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Loch a’ Mhuilidh from Garbh-charn

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Sgurr a Choire Ghlais from Garbh-charn

There is a fairly large cairn on the summit, and the way onto Sgurr na Ruaidhe is obvious - an easy descent to a col followed by a steeper climb. I passed by a couple of patches of snow and checked them out, glad to find they were pretty soft. My decision to leave the ironmongery at home had been the right one :) .

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Sgurr a Choire Chlais and Carn nan Gobhar from Sgurr na Ruaidhe

The wind on the summit of Sgurr na Ruaidhe had really ratcheted up a notch. I stopped to say hi to another walker, but the wind made any further conversation pretty much impossible. I found somewhere more sheltered to stop a short way down towards Carn nan Gobhar.

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Strathconon hills

Once you're up high on these hills, they make for really easy walking (aside from a short moment on the stone-strewn summit of Carn nan Gobhar), and I made fast progress over them to the final steep climb to Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais.

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Summit of Carn nan Gobhar

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Sgurr a Choire Ghlais

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Creag Ghorm a’ Bhealich from Carn nan Gobhar

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Sgurr a Choire Ghlais from Carn nan Gobhar

I couldn't believe my luck with the weather - further west, the forecast for Torridon looked accurate with low cloud sitting over it, but here close to the Moray Firth, it was beautiful, wind aside. My plan had been to drop back down the southern ridge of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais to the car, but with plenty of time available and the most scenic part of the traverse to the west, I decided to carry on a bit further.

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West from Sgurr a Choire Ghlais

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Bac an Eich

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Beinn Mheadhoin across Glen Orrin

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Sgurr a Choire Ghlais from the west

The best part of these hills is probably the series of corries and lochans to the north of the ridge, and I got good views over them as I climbed quickly up to Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich. I intended to drop down the south ridge of this, but the final Munro of Sgurr Fuar-thuill just looked too close to ignore, so I thought 'what the hell' and wandered over to it.

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Back to Coire na Sguile

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Sgurr Fhuar-thuill from Creag Ghorm a’ Bhealaich

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Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

I almost considered a full traverse of the skyline round to Sgurr na Muice, as this is the other spectacular part of the range, but decided against it in the end as it would be a long walk back down Glen Strathfarrar. These summits are probably best visited separately (which I have done in the past) as a more interesting circuit can then be made.

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Sgurr na Muice

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Loch an Fhuar-thuill Mhoir

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East down Glen Orrin

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Sgurr na Muice and Loch Toll a’ Mhuic

Instead, I retraced my steps to the col below Creag Gorm a' Bhealaich and contoured round onto the south ridge. This dropped easily at first, then more roughly, down towards the bump of An Sithean. There were great views of Sgurr na Muice on the way down.

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Down the S ridge of Creag Ghorm a’ Bhealaich

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Sgurr na Muice

After another short break, I crossed over the Allt Uchd Rodha and followed deer tracks through the heather to the edge of a plantation in Glen Strathfarrar. A steep descent down the side of the deer fence had me back on the road, with some great lookouts up and down the glen on the way.

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Allt Uchd Rodha

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Sgurr na Muice

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Sgorr na Diollad

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Sgurr na Lapaich

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Sgorr na Diollad across Glen Strathfarrar

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Sgorr na Diollad across Loch a’ Mhuilidh

A circuit of these Munros from Strathconon in the north seems to have gained popularity in recent years due to the lack of access restrictions. It's a route I fancy trying sometime as well, as it comes in to the most interesting side of the hills. However when it comes to scenic glens, it is hard to beat Glen Strathfarrar, which is why I always like going back there. Hard to pick between it and Glen Affric, but they both have some of the most extensive Caledonian Pine forest left to the north of the Great Glen. While I hadn't been too keen on walking all the way back down the road from near the dam, a mile or so along the shores of Loch a' Mhuilidh was the perfect way to finish off the day's walk. Nice preparation for moving permanently back to Inverness next month 8) .

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Loch a’ Mhuilidh and An Carnais
User avatar
malky_c
 
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Re: Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Postby Alteknacker » Sun May 06, 2018 3:50 pm

T-shirt and shorts weather already, notwithstanding the draughts!

Didn't know this lot, and haven't even worked out a route, though have looked at them from afar when on the Mullardochs. They certainly look interesting, so I obviously need to get busy!
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Alteknacker
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Re: Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Postby mrssanta » Mon May 07, 2018 9:45 pm

that looked really gorgeous.
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mrssanta
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Re: Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Postby Jaxter » Tue May 08, 2018 10:09 am

Fabulous! 8) 8)

Always good to follow the forecast :wink:
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Jaxter
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Re: Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Postby rockhopper » Tue May 22, 2018 12:42 pm

Would agree that it's a very picturesque glen for a visit esp in weather such as this - might need to go back some day having spent much of it in clag although the cycle & drive in the glen itself were good - cheers :)
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