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Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse


Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:08 pm

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: 17/06/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1600m

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This was an outing suggested by Martin h, who was up north yet again for one of his many Scottish holidays. I volunteered to join him and Andy (who is also up from the deepest SW of England on one of his many Munro forays) fancied the opportunity to get 4 blue balloons. Also joining in the fun were my usual walking chums George & Parminder as well as a newbie to us all Stan (sunshine65).
As everyone knows Strathfarrar is unique in that these Munro's are guarded by a dragon who is in charge of the keys to the locked gate. The dragon needs her beauty sleep so the gate does not open before 9am and to make sure she gets an early night is locked at 8pm.
Our plan was to meet at the dreaded gate at about 9am, so those of us travelling from Edinburgh and Fife had arranged to meet at the Park & Ride in Inverkeithing. Parminder and Stan had volunteered to drive and after a small hiccup which meant Stan went to one of the 3 railway station car parks rather than the P&R, but that was soon sorted out and we were on our way north. We arrived at the gate at about 9.30 and were met by Martin and Andy in their respective vehicles. As I was in the leading vehicle and only a co-pilot I leapt out and rang the dreaded bell. I was met by the dragon who questioned why we were here at 9.30 and not 9 o'clock, I explained that we had travelled from Fife, but she wasn't interested in that as an excuse and started dishing out her little greens tickets, she then opened the gate with it's umpteen padlocks on and we wre on our way. Parts of the road have been resurfaced but the latter part is a matter of avoiding the bigger of the potholes.
Our plan was to tackle the route in reverse to the suggested WH route, the logic being that descending the final hill through the bog would be easier and that decision turned out to be a good one. It also gave George and myself who had tackled the hills about 4 years ago a chance to assess which way is best and we were all unanimous that the reverse route is best.
As we had 4 cars between us, we parked 2 at either end of the route to save walking the 7km back along the road.
The start from the western end is very obvious a good track took us uphill at a nice steady gradient, the burn on our right hardly had any water in it.

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A photo taken on my phone from the car on our way along the long single track road to the start, one of the 2 lochs

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Looking back along the single track road

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Normally a burn, spot the water - there isn't any

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Looking back at low level

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Looking back from slightly higher up

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The way ahead

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Water feature, but not alot of water

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Above photo zoomed a bit

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Team photo, left to right - Stan, Denise, Martin,George, Parminder & Andy

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Easy burn crossing

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What are they all looking at?

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This, Loch Toll a' Mhuic

The path up to the bealach at about 990m is excellent, no wet feet for me. We could see looking ahead that it wouldn't be too long before we entered the cloud. There was a fairly steady breeze, so we were hoping that it would do it's job and moved the cloud to the east. As we entered the cloud we made sure that we stayed together, even though the path was obvious and from the bealach it was only a few minutes before the first summit of the day was reached.

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Another water feature with hardly any water

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Loch Toll a' Mhuic from a bit higher up and before we entered the cloud

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Final photo of the lochan

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George taking a final pre cloud photo, whilst Martin squeezes past

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A nice cloudy photo looking back

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Same 3 stragglers a bit nearer

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All standing around the first summit cairn admiring it

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Parminder demonstrating that he is a real man, the rest of us were putting fleeces and gloves on

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A couple of small lochans appearing through the clag, but it is clearing - trust me

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Andy amiring the improving view

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Views improving, Andy has his phone out

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Same 2 lochans from earlier, told you it was improving

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Nice procession descending

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Looking back

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The way ahead

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Looking north

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Looking back

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Our 2nd summit

We had a bit of a minor panic on the 2nd and highest summit of the day. We were using my 20 year old map that I had highlighted the 4 Munro's, the problem was that the actual Munro's had been rearranged and I had highlighted a demoted one. The matter was resolved on the 3rd summit after getting in a huddle with map GPS's etc, etc.

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The way ahead 3rd summit on the left after the usual descent/ascent

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Cloud swirling round - getting in the way

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Looking back, Andy demonstrating his usual descending posture - arms flapping

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Looking ahead

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Looking back again, last summit in cloud again

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Arty shot

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3rd summit cairn

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Looking back

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One for the little flower lovers

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Looking back whilst on the final ascent slog

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Final summit cairn on Sgurr na Ruaidhe

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Looking back

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Looking east, view ruined by the inevitable wind farm

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Same shot zoomed, oil rigs near Invergordon can just about be made out

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Final descent

One of the benefits of doing the round clockwise was it is easier to pick your way through the boggy areas and plan your route from on high. We were fortunate in that most of the bogginess had dried up, it was very noticeable that an ATV had been on or near the path. The ATV had really churned up the soft ground and in slight dips the ground was a real mess.

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Some sort of concrete contraption for the numerous hydro schemes in the area

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Not far back to the cars now

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Sorry George, it has to be posted - googling the banks on a Sunday!

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George posing

There was one midge and George had to get the serious stuff out of his rucksack whilst we were waiting for the cars to return, Andy wasn't concerned about the single midge and opted to put a short sleeved t shirt on.
This little outing turned out to be a great day, like most trips past Inverness it was also a very long day, I arrived home just before 10pm. Huge thanks to our drivers Parminder and Stan, was good to catch up with Martin, Denise and Andy again.
Next for me will be a Marilyn or two next Saturday on my way home from Englandshire.
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Postby sunshine65 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:07 pm

Brilliant day apart from the Dragon at the gate growling at me for calling her doll
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Re: Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Postby parminder » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:19 pm

Well done FF, another good script of the outing..Thanks to all for a great for a great day out.. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Postby dibs » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:55 am

Good account of the day Martin and a big thanks to the drivers and the company too, a magnificent 7 day :clap: :roll: 8)


George
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dibs
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Re: Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Postby martin.h » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:06 pm

Hi Martin,
Great day out, and thanks to all for joining Denise and I, we had a good do.
To be fair to the Dragon guarding the gate, we did get a smile from her on the way out.
Thanks again and keep in touch :D
Cheers
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Re: Strathfarrar take 2, in reverse

Postby AJNicholls » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:53 am

Great day out, really enjoyed it. Thanks for the company.
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