Winter kicks off in style on Beinn Dearg
by malky_c » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:32 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall
Date walked: 19/01/2019
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 1430m7 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Distance: 24 km.
Time taken: 9 hours.
Weather: Sunny, calm, deep, fresh snow.
I didn't have any great plans for this weekend until David (Rounsfell) got in touch suggesting the Beinn Dearg group. Weather forecast didn't look too bad, so why not? We got off to a bit of a late start due to Rounsfell struggling to find my house (partly my fault admittedly ) - it was getting on for 9:30am by the time we left the car at Inverlael.
We weren't overly concerned - we could shorten the walk if required. More importantly, the weather looked even better than the tentatively optimistic forecast
Beinn Mhor Coigach
Beinn Dearg from Gleann na Sguaib
After strolling up forestry tracks through the Inverlael plantation, we decided to get straight on the ridge that would lead us to Beinn Dearg via the Famine Wall - the better to appreciate the more open views from.
Crossing the river...could be dodgy
The initial scrabble out of the glen was a bit of a wade through fresh snow and deep heather, but the going improved as the ground levelled out....the views to An Teallach quickly opened up too, fully justifying our route choice .
Diollaid a' Mhill Bhric
It was quite a long walk to reach the end of the wall (never mind Beinn Dearg itself) and after a short spell of easier going, we hit all sorts of fun. The snow was largely unconsolidated, but was beginning to form a slightly harder crust in a couple of places. Along with a few small drifts in more exposed places, it made for slower going as every step was different. This only got worse as we reached the wall and more bouldery terrain, but it couldn't dampen our spirits on such a great day.
Beinn Dearg Mor and An Teallach
Beinn Ghobhlach and Loch Broom
Meall na Ceapraichean and Beinn Dearg
Eididh nan Clach Geala
Beinn Dearg and the wall
Meall na Ceapraichean
Following the wall
The worst section was the final main pull up to Beinn Dearg, which would probably have been quite rough going even without the snow. We realised at this point that there was no way we were getting around to Eididh nan Clach Geala, and even a second summit may be out of reach.
Small pinnacle on the way up
On the ridge next to the Famine Wall
It was worth the effort though, with plenty of Scotland's finest on show, including most of the places I had been over the New Year (Loch a' Bhraoin, Fisherfield, Achiltibuie, Suilven). The final ascent over the plateau was much easier going, and we had a decent break on top - after 20 minutes I realised I was still just in my t-shirt!
Beinn Eneglair with a smorgasboard of peaks behind
Finally getting close to the summit
Looking across to Meall na Ceapraichean from Beinn Dearg
Loch a' Bhraoin from Beinn Dearg
Cona Mheall and the hills of the Kildermorie forest
Time to drop down to Bealach an Lochain Uaine, which was the slowest and most painful part of the day. Soft snow covered all manner of holes and angular blocks. Much more difficult than normal in these conditions, but completely unsuited to axe and crampons too. Many swear words were uttered over the next 30 minutes, with Rounsfell's key quote being 'you can't be at one with a mountain unless you have told it to **** off a few times' .
Down Coire Mhathair Lathail
Down Coire a' Ghranda
Once at the bealach, we were unsure whether to continue even to Cona Mheall - it was now after 2:30pm and there was potentially more crap snow to come on the way down the glen. In the end, we opted to go a little further just for the views down Coire Ghranda.
Lochan Choire Ghranda
This rapidly morphed into 'lets ditch our bags and make a dash for Cona Mheall after all!' We did, and there was some more skittering about on angular boulders (as well as a big, steep snowdrift to descend to the lowest point of the bealach - can't say we were looking forward to that on the return leg ) but it was nowhere near as bad as the descent from Beinn Dearg, and we were on the summit in the late afternoon light, glad we had bothered. A swift return to the bags followed (apart from the snowslope re-ascent), before we spent about 0.2 seconds contemplating the quick addition of Meall nan Ceapraichean (******** to that!)
Run, it's going to get dark!
Loch Prille from Cona Mheall
SE ridge of Cona Mheall
Fannaichs from Cona Mheall
Assynt above the cloud
Seana Bhraigh and Ben More Assynt
Assynt was looking particularly fine floating above a sea of cloud as we rounded the various frozen lochans in search of the top of the path down the corrie.
An Teallach from the top of the corrie
The path was well obliterated by drifts high up, so we weren't able to make any decent speed until much further down. However I've never been in the top of this corrie before, and despite the awkward underfoot conditions, it was the place to be at this time of day. The sun was setting over An Teallach and the sea to the west, and a short while later on, the moon re-appeared, rising above Meall nan Ceapraichean behind us.
Descending Coire Mhathair Leathail
N face of Beinn Dearg
Looking back to Beinn Dearg
Meall na Ceapraichean and Beinn Dearg
We were a good way down the glen before it got particularly dark, with torches only being needed to avoid some of the ice on the last half-mile or so to the forest edge. Then it was a quick tramp back down to the car, ending what could potentially end up being one of the best hill days of this winter
Cheers to Rounsfell for suggesting this. If I'd been heading out on my own, I would probably have opted for a longer lie in bed and somewhere slightly closer to home, which wouldn't have been half as much fun!
by Collaciotach » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:56 pm
by rockhopper » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:44 am
by dogplodder » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:09 pm
by BlackPanther » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:00 pm
We were descending from Creag Rainich/Meall an t-Sithe ridge when the sun started to set. Not very often we get a chance for perfect light on sunset photos, especially in full winter. Kevin took so many snaps that I'm still scratching my head which ones to pick for my TR
Beinn Dearg group from Meall an t-Sithe:
I always fancied some of Beinn Dearg group in winter conditions. It's a must-do now
by Jaxter » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:19 pm
by Alteknacker » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:42 pm
You have a good friend there....
by goingforawii » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:45 pm
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