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Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:13 am

Munros included on this walk: Ben More (Mull), Gulvain, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glenfinnan), Sgurr Thuilm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Coirc Bheinn

Date walked: 29/07/2018

Time taken: 20 hours

Distance: 61.5 km

Ascent: 4300m

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At the turn of the year we both became rather fed up doing Marilyns, yearning for a bit more...elevation. I had tucked away around 180 Munros in the preceeding few years, mostly when doing my Tops or catch-up for Allison's. There had been a meagre 17 in 2016 and a somewhat more respectable 67 in 2017. I reckoned on getting 10 a month, which would allow me to finish in October. But where there's a challenge, even of my own making, there's a push to go a bit faster...so here we were at the end of July with just Mull's Ben More left to do. Although this is by some margin the most popular "last Munro" I hadn't planned it that way, it just was dictated by logistics. Typically the weather forecast was poor for the weekend - what would a completion be like in sunshine??? Don't think I'm going to find out. I wasn't sure whether we'd spend the whole weekend on Mull taking in some Marilyns or whether we'd return to the mainland and press on with Allison's second Round - she has about 50 left.

I couldn't face the hassles of booking the ferry from Oban so we drove up to Lochaline on Thursday after work and found a little spot by the roadside, near the river, to pitch for the night. There aren't many suitable spots along that road where you can a)park the car without causing an obstruction and b)find a flat spot. We managed it and had a fairly quiet evening. We woke around 6.20 and managed to get the tent down really quickly as the rain was starting - this enabled us to make the first sailing at 07.00, which was beyond my expectations. A rainy crossing with a bit of swell midway - we landed and drove round from Fishnish to Dhiseag, getting started on the outing by 08.30. Windy, dreich and drizzly, with clag looking to be down to around 500m - yay! My plan had been to ascend via Beinn Fhada and a'Chioch as we had the last time, but it made little sense in high winds and poor visibility to go up that way. So we'd do the tourist path - what a way to complete!

On the Lochaline Ferry - grand weather for a completion
ImageP1200163 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200164 by Al, on Flickr

At least it was relatively dry underfoot - I had memories of returning this way previously and it being a bogfest. Right enough, at around 500m we were consumed by clag and so it remained to the summit. Allison made a 1-person guard of honour with her poles - half an arch doesn't really have the same impact somehow :wink: I touched the cairn, smiled for the camera, then we went round the lest windy side of the shelter to have a dram and a snack. I'd found a dodgy miniature bottle of whisky gifted by a patient years back...it wasn't the best, but then I'm not sure I can really handle whisky at 10.30 in the morning. OK, that's the second round out of the way, what next :think:

ImageP1200167 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200168 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200169 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200170 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200173 by Al, on Flickr

There's a Marilyn, Coirc Bheinn, really a western outlier of Ben More, and it seemed reasonable to tag this on to the day. This involved descending on the southern shoulder, and following the shoulder west, over Maol Mheadhonach and a further 120m ascentto the crag defended summit. We had brief views to both Loch Scridain and Loch na Keal when we paused for lunch at the bealach before Mheadhonach but otherwise all was clag. We retraced our steps from the summit of Coirc Bheinn (incidentally my 150th Sub2K) and descended into Coire Gorm, eventually meeting up with the route up Ben More. By this time it was about 2.30 - what to do with the remainder of the day? Allison wasn't very keen on more hills (there was a fine and steep Marilyn at either end of the road - Beinn a'Ghreig to the east and Beinn na Sreine to the west. But they'll be for another day. We had a drive round to the sands at Clachandhu, looking out to the large white mansionhouse incongruously placed in Inch Kenneth https://vimeo.com/14940958 which belonged to the Mitford Sisters between the 1940s and the 1960s. We returned to where our tent was to be pitched. As I still couldn't seem to persuade her to climb another hill I suggested we go to Tobermory, which I'd never seen. A very busy single track road goes from Salen to Tobermory. Once we arrived the rain stopped and we paid a visit to the distillery (for a bottle of Completion Malt, naturally) then had a wee wander along the pretty shorefront.

Brief glimpse of Loch na Keal
ImageP1200174 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Coirc Beinn
ImageP1200176 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200177 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200179 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200180 by Al, on Flickr

We headed back to Dhiseag, reckoning it would be nicer to stay overnight on Mull than somewhere on the mainland. There were several campervans and tents, but we found a nice spot right by the lochside and pitched. It was pleasantly warm, with enough breeze to keep midgets away and a fine homemade curry was partaken of. We sat looking out at the waves, enjoying the calmness. The weather was steadily improving - you could now see the tops of the hills, where before lurked only clag. At about 6.45pm I seriously considered going back up Ben More, thinking I'd have enough time to get up and most of the way back down before it got too dark. Two Munros on Mull in one day - imagine that! But I didn't, deciding to stay put, enjoy the evening and have a whisky or two. Probably just as well as the weather worsened after 9.30 and clouds and rain removed any chance of seeing the Lunar Eclipse. I did spend some time looking at a man in a camper van in the next inlet. This was too far away to make out anything very clearly, but he appeared to be undertaking some kind of ritual, repeatedly bending down over the rocks and intermittently returning to his van. I decided he was probably a necromancer, a view that was strengthened when there was a small puff of smoke and a second person suddenly appeared - most probably a Tulpa - and this entity then seemed to sit in a deck chair whilst the necromancer continued his ritual of repeatedly bending over. I thought it would be entertaining if he split asunder the rocks and summoned an 80foot high demon. Then I started to speculate just how long it would take said 80 foot demon to climb Ben More.

ImageP1200182 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Fhada and Beinn a'Ghreig
ImageP1200184 by Al, on Flickr

The "necromancer" bending
ImageP1200185 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200187 by Al, on Flickr

With no immediate answer to such pressing questions we turned in for the night. It rained heavily but was windy enough for the tent to have fully dried by morning. I had considered getting the Oban ferry and setting off for Beinn Eunaich or the Ben Lui 4 but didn't know what time they departed. The other possibility was to get the Fishnish ferry and go back up to Glenfinnan way for Sgurr nan Coireachan and Gulvain...we ended up doing this as we could see the 08.10 boat on its way in as we drove along. It's a fair drive (51 miles) from Lochaline to the road to Glenfinnan, but it was fairly quiet and good progress was made. We managed to get parked at the start of the road into Glenfinnan viaduct, as usual amidst legions of Potter-fans. Not far along the track, we met Alistair, the ghillie, who chatted to us for a while about the impact of all the visitors upon the local community, proposals for a new 150 space car park with facilities (although even that will fail to meet demand).

I'd been up Coireachan only 3 weeks ago, so the route was fresh in my mind. Although it was dry at the outset, before long we could see weather coming in from the south, and waterproofs were required for most of the ascent. Once at the summit, we naturally proceeded on to Sgurr Thuilm (I have a third round to think of you know). I'd forgotten just how far the linking ridge is - especially in heavy, driving rain. We met a solitary walker going in the opposite direction, the only other soul out on the hills today it seemed. Rain subsided before we summited Thuilm and we had a pleasant walk down, stopping off at Corryhully bothy for a cup of coffee (made using the bothy kettle). We decided to head to Loch Linnhe campsite for the night - although the site was busier than 've ever seen it. Showers are still the best of any campsite I've visited though. We had another Lancashire family pitch near us, with a very loud lady who got hysterically and comically upset at her companions when playing the card game Go Fish. The weather turned wild overnight and the tent was covered in beech tree debris in the morning.

Weather coming in from the south
ImageP1200191 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200192 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200194 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200195 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Coireachan
ImageP1200196 by Al, on Flickr

On to Thuilm
ImageP1200199 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200200 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200202 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200203 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200204 by Al, on Flickr

Our target for Sunday was Gulvain - another hill I'd climbed but 3 weeks before, menaced by clegs and fried alive by the sun. Fortunately there was neither of these hazards today. There was much more water - in the river and on the path than there had been however. I was glad I'd put my waterproof boots on as we tramped along. we passed a decapitated grass snake on the track, Brown Argus butterflies flitted along the side of the path, a buzzard called to its child. We reached the base of Gulvain and i prepared for the long slog upwards - I'd found it tough in the heat last time. Today was much better although the wind became strong as we climbed necessitating waterproof jackets to keep the chill out. Another two pairs of walkers were passed on the ascent - we stopped for an early lunch at the summit, sheltering from the wind by the cairn. I'd vaguely entertained thoughts of including Brraigh nan Uamhachan but for some reason I can muster little enthusiasm for the Corbetts right now. So we returned by our outward route, passing a group of 4 young girls who were looking in vain for a place to camp (1.30 in the afternoon's a bit early for that?) before tackling the mountain tomorrow. I made a point of walking through all the puddles and streams we encountered to see if my boots were actually waterproof - pleased that they seemed to be. Back at the car we headed home, stopping off at Fort William's Wildcat Cafe where we got chatting to a couple on their way to Torridon and passed some enjoyable time swapping mountain and bothy tales.

ImageP1200205 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200206 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200207 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200209 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200210 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200211 by Al, on Flickr
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby spiderwebb » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:36 pm

Well done on the 2nd round :clap: :clap:
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby mamoset » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:38 pm

great effort, well done :clap:
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:38 pm

'S math a rinn sibh ...Well done on the second round :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:28 pm

Well done you two! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby robertphillips » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:42 pm

well done that man. :clap: :clap: :clap: top bagger. 8)
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Re: Weasel completes a Second Round on Mull

Postby Sgurr » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:03 pm

Fantastic and amazing feat, tempered by less than ordinary weather.

weaselmaster wrote:At about 6.45pm I seriously considered going back up Ben More, thinking I'd have enough time to get up and most of the way back down before it got too dark

Have you never been tempted to self diagnose as ADHD, or perhaps, just H squared.
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