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A North West Scunner

A North West Scunner

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:21 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Klibreck

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Vrackie

Date walked: 14/10/2018

Distance: 46 km

Ascent: 2846m

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This weekend I was to pick Allison up from the cottage she'd been staying in north of Ullapool, make it over to nab Ben Klibreck and hopefully get up one or more other hills in the area. I'd planned to do a walk in Thursday/Friday either on the Beinn Dearg hills or some of the Fannaichs, before heading up to see her on Friday night. But that was before Storm Callum. Torrential rain and winds up to 100mph - not a night for wild camping up high :crazy: So instead, I stayed at home on Thursday night, something of a rarity that and decided I'd just drive up to Strathcanaird on the Friday without doing any hills en route. I was expecting wild conditions on the roads, but the storm seemed to have blown itself out, roads were fine and I made it up in five hours.

canairdx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I fancied a walk after sitting in the car, Allison likewise, so we headed along the road from the cottage, past the pretty Langwell Lodge and ended up heading up some minor hill, Meall a'Chuaille in our jeans and trainers. Was quite windy at the top, with views over the surrounding mountains. No camera I'm afraid - but it was looking like rain and the visibility was hampered by clouds. Back at the cottage we had our tea and pondered what to do over the next 2 days. The forecast for Saturday was for cloud/rain but no wind, Sunday was to see the winds rise again. Logistically it would have made sense to do some hills around Assynt on Saturday and drive over to Klibreck for the Sunday, but I didn't want to risk not getting up Klibreck if the wind strengthened again.

We finished the cleaning up of the cottage on Saturday morning, finding two Magnum Ice Creams that Allison had forgotten about in the freezer and polishing them off sitting outside after breakfast - unusual, but very tasty.

klibrekx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Drove along towards Lairg, with little else on the roads and arrived at Vagastie Bridge around 10am. I'd previously scoped out a circuit of Klibreck from Crask, but it was probably too long and maybe not advisable in stalking season, so we'd just do the normal route up, along with a couple of Simms. Weather was holding up as we set off up the boggy ATV track and reached the cairn on Cnoc Sgriodan then headed from Creag an Lochain. The cone of Meall nan Con, the main summit, rose ahead of us, and after dropping down a hundred or so metres we started to climb up the rockier section to the summit.

ImageP1200809 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200810 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200812 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200813 by Al, on Flickr

The rain started at this point and did not stop the rest of the day - or of the night, for that matter. We passed a few folk on their way down before arriving at the summit with its pair of ruined trig points - a hill with one destroyed trig marker isn't unusual, but two? I remember there being an intact trig here in summer 2013 when we last visited. I blame aliens.

Allison with the two dead trigs
ImageP1200816 by Al, on Flickr

From here we had a walk along the northeastern plateau to reach the Simm of Meall Ailein. I'd misremembered this as being 2km from the main summit, but it turned out to be nearer 4, with re-ascent of almost 400m. Damn these Simms! However, this was my 1500th Simm, which qualifies me for entry into "Simm Corridor", or, as Allison wittily renamed it, "Simm Dungeon". Curiously, my 1000th Simm was just over to the east on the Ben Armine hills a couple of years ago. Quite a few deer crossing the hillside in front of us, accompanied by the omnipresent stag bellowing sounds. Further along the ridge, southwards, is a monument marking the crash site of a Sea Vampire from March 17th 1955 - we didn't visit the site today.

Out to Meall Ailein
ImageP1200818 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200821 by Al, on Flickr

My 1500th Simm
ImageP1200822 by Al, on Flickr

Looking fair delighted
ImageP1200823 by Al, on Flickr

Back the way we'd come, except that we decided to skirt round Cnoc Sgriodan to the north rather than re-ascend it - not a good idea unless you like tussocks and more bog. It had taken longer than I'd expected, almost 7 hours and by the time we got to the car it was 5pm.

Once a tree
ImageP1200824 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200825 by Al, on Flickr

I still hadn't decided what to do the following day - there were so many of my faourite hills nearby but I didn't want to climb them if the weather was going to be poor, and I was aware of the long drive back - especially since the light is now fading by 6.30pm. Leaving our options open we elected to find a spot to pitch nearby - there are a few places just along from Vagastie Bridge that are reasonably flat and dry, although a bit closer to the road than would be ideal. The rain was chucking it down by now as we pitched the tent and brought all we'd need inside. I discovered I'd left my Jetboil at home, so we only had one gas stove to cook on, and, having left the water in the car which was some distance away, I was forced to nip down to the river, much nearer, for supplies without getting further saturated.

The rain continued all night, the sound of the river getting steadily louder as it filled. However, by morning the rain had stopped and the sky was clearer. Blue skies away to the west, clouds coming up from the south. I thought it likely that rain would visit us again before long. What should we do? Arkle tugged at my heartstrings, I also thought of driving back towards Assynt, but that seemed a bit daft given the long journey home. Then there was the Griams, but I didn't have a route for them and again it was further north. Damn and blast. We just set off south, maybe we could do Wyvis - but then we'd need to do the Munro Tops there which made it a long day...we continued past Inverness, the weather improving all the time. This was really frustrating. I decided on Ben Vrackie, which was pretty much on our way down the road and was a fairly quick walk.

vrackiex.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We arrived at Moulin about noon and set off from a busy overflow car park up the track. It was very warm and layers needed to be shed. Lovely autumnal colours in the woods. We stopped at the benches to have lunch then pressed on to the summit, amidst loads of other walkers. Up to the summit then we continued on to Meall an Daimh then heading off west where we met Murray Wilkie, in his trademark yellow walking trousers. Onwards to Meall Uaine, the second Simm of the day then back down the main path to the car. And still the sun shone.

ImageP1200826 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200827 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200828 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200830 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200831 by Al, on Flickr

Meall an Daimh
ImageP1200832 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn a'Ghlo, Vurich
ImageP1200833 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Killiecrankie
ImageP1200835 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Uaine summit
ImageP1200837 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200838 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200839 by Al, on Flickr
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Re: A North West Scunner

Postby wilkiemurray » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:54 am

Great to meet you both yesterday ... wasn’t expecting to see anyone round that side of the hill - let alone two faces I recognised :) hope you enjoyed the rest of your hike - it was a glorious afternoon 👍
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Posts: 1333
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
Location: Perthshire

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