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Symmetry in blue & white (x2)

Symmetry in blue & white (x2)

Postby Boris_the_Bold » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:16 pm

Date walked: 28/10/2018

Time taken: 14 hours

Distance: 43 km

Ascent: 1400m

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9am at Waverley station on Saturday morning and not a cloud in the sky, with my ScotRail Club 50 ‘Old Fogey’s Special Excursion’ ticket (£17 return to anywhere in Scotland – what a bargain!) clutched firmly in my wrinkly old hand and my off-road Zimmer Frame specially polished for the occasion.
The journey begins

Seven hours and a very scenic rail journey later I get to Attadale station
Attadale Station

On with the big ‘bothy’ rucksack (with all available space filled with fire wood) and off I go – wasn’t sure if I needed to pay the entry fee to walk through the Attadale gardens , so instead I headed the few hundred yards down the road to the walkers car park and followed the various helpful signs for walkers past a number of holiday cottages and up the east side of Glen Attadale, past a couple of junctions (keep left at both) and across the footbridge (just visible in the photo below) and ¼ Km south to join the new track that climbs steeply up to about 180m (with great evening views back across Loch Carron to Beinn Bhan and the Applecross Forest).
1st Junction

2nd Junction

Evening_view_across_Loch Carron.jpg
Evening view across Loch Carron to Applecross

Fairly level 1½ Km (again keeping left at both junctions), then a sharp left turn at Loch an Droighinn and a 2Km steady climb to Loch na Caillich (290m) and a steep zig-zag ascent to reach the head of the long level Strath Feith a Mhadaidh which heads north-east for a couple of miles to reach the Blackwater river (now a small dam) and used the last of the evening light to follow the dog-leg south to the sturdy footbridge over the Blackwater, with its waterfalls sounding very loud compared to the near-total silence that had characterised the previous hour’s tramp. Head torch on, but still slightly confused by an unexpected junction (old path to the left, new track to the right) which wasn’t on my map, but it turned out not to matter which choice I made, as they came back together again after about 500m. Soon my head-torch beam picked up what turned out to be the reflectors on two bikes propped against the bothy and the first day of my 3rd-day trip had been successfully completed.
Slightly over 3 hours from Attadale station to the bothy, all on an excellent track and with the scenery and general remoteness increasing with each Km and the roaring stags all round the dark glen adding to the general feeling of wildness.
Soon had a good fire roaring in the most-excellent stove and my evening meal cooked and scoffed, when I was joined by the owners of the two bikes who had been bagging the two very remote Munros (Lurg Mhor and Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich (which I am reliably assured is not pronounced anything like ‘Cheesecake’!) in a single long day from a far-away starting point somewhere in the central belt.
Most-enjoyable evening sat by the stove, head-torches on ‘dim’, sharing a dram and tales of daring-do, bothies and far-away hills. The lack of clouds and cold clear air meant there was an impressive combination of twinkling autumn constellations and unblinking satellites whizzing across a big sky full of Milky Way, at least until the full moon came up over the hill and took centre stage.
The clocks going back for the end of BST took the bad look of a not-very-early start on the Sunday morning, with a few photos of the cloud-free views around the bothy and a hearty breakfast, before setting off towards Loch Calavie about 9:15 (new time), crossing the EW watershed which runs just to the west of Loch Calavie.
Bendronaig Bothy.jpg
Bendronaig Bothy Exterior

Given my sea-side start at Attadale on the shores of Loch Carron the day before, I guess this allows me to claim I’d walked half-way across Scotland?
Somewhere close to the watershed my walking-doze was disturbed by what I initially thought was a heron taking off from the side of the river, but turned out to be two eagles, one of which glided off towards the bothy, while the other landed again up the hillside a bit and watched me – probably sizing up whether I was likely to be tastier that the dead deer that I presume they had been tucking into by the river. This was the first time I’d seen eagles down on the ground – well impressive! Unfortunately I had my phone turned off to save the battery, so didn’t manage to get a photo of them, so you’re just going to have to believe me!
As I passed Loch Calavie there were some beautiful reflections in the loch, looking west, with the reflection of the full moon looking like a giant pearl at the bottom of the loch.
Symmetry in blue and white with moon_Loch_Calavie_looking_west.jpg
Symmetry in blue and white - 1

Another 1½ miles beyond the east end of the loch the path came to two small ruined cottages.
Ruined Cottage.jpg
Ruined cottage

NB The map shows the path continuing all the way to Pait Lodge on the shore of Loch Monar, but it became fairly indistinct/invisible beyond the ruins (or maybe it was just hidden by the snow?). Either way, take care at this point if you are trying to use this route to get to the shores of Loch Monar.
Straightforward ascent from the ruins northbound onto the south-east spur of Meall Mhor, with good views across Coire a’ Charra to the crags on Meall Mhor’s eastern flank.
Meall Mor Ascent.jpg
Ascent of Meall Mor

Then a final push up through the calf-deep snow to the small summit cairn of Meall Mhor with it’s amazing 360˚ views of at least thirty prominent North West Highlands Munros and Corbetts, including Lurg Mhor, Cheesecake and Beinn Dronaig up close, Fisherfield, Slioch & Torridon away to the north, the Applecross Corbetts to the west, the Mullardoch Munros to the south and the Loch Monar and Strathfarrar Munros to the east, all, dazzling white against blue skies in all directions – truly stunning!
Lurg Mhor from Meall Mor.jpg
Lurg Mhor from Meall Mor

Looking north from MM towards Torridon.jpg
Looking north towards Torridon

Quick bite of lunch, then retraced my steps back down to the ruins and west past Loch Calavie again (with more beautiful reflections looking south east this time)
Symmetry_in_blue_and_white_Loch Calavie looking south east.jpg
Symmetry in blue and white_2

and back to Bendronaig bothy in time for tea and a well-earned early night, on the floor by the impressively-efficient warm stove. Very cosy (and the indoor flushing loo is great too!).
Interior of Bendronaig Bothy.jpg
Interior of Bendronaig Bothy

Up reasonably early on the Monday, quick coffee and polished off the last of my breakfast grub and set off on the long beautiful walk back to Attadale, past some crazy puddle-ice and a weird ‘fenceless’ gate.
A cool puddle.jpg
Contours in a frozen puddle

De-fenceless gate.jpg
De-fenceless gate

The walk-out to Attadale took less than three hours, so I had plenty of time to make use of the cosy self-service tea-room which the Attadale Estate kindly provide in one of their out-buildings beside the big house, less than 5 minutes from the Attadale station platform (accessed from the big house via a short path and a gate in the wall).
The lovely photos in the tea-room suggest that the gardens would be well worth a visit the next time I am in the area.
Down to the station in time to flag down the train as it chuffed its way round the coast from Kyle and the long, scenic and relaxing train trip journey back to Edinburgh.
A memorable 3-day trip to successfully bag what must be on one of the remotest Munro Top’s in Scotland.

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Last edited by Boris_the_Bold on Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Munro compleatist
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Re: Symmetry in blue & white (x2)

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:45 pm

Wow, some truly stunning views there - just perfect in that kind of brilliant winter weather. :clap: :clap:

BTW how did you manage to get this walk done over 2 weeks in the future?? Didn't EInstein have something to say on that..??? :D
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Re: Symmetry in blue & white (x2)

Postby Boris_the_Bold » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:37 pm

:lol: I was careful to make keep the Tardis out of my photos! But have now changed the date, to avoid revealing my true identity!
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Posts: 285
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Joined: Mar 29, 2013
Location: Edinburgh

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