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With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Thu May 30, 2019 9:08 pm

Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgùrr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 18/05/2019

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 1500m

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A truly historic occasion :D ! After recently polishing off the Aonach Eagach ridge, my pals Pam & Gary were planning to clock up Munros No. 281 and 282, no less, and they had invited a group of us along to help celebrate their Compleation on Saturday 18th May :D ! I had a major logistical issue, however, because my choir was due to sing the Bach B Minor Mass as a big 50th anniversary concert in Glasgow City Halls the next day, Sunday 19th May, complete with soloists and orchestra :? - there was no way that I was about to miss that, so I started pondering how I might just be able to manage both. I eventually settled on driving up as far as the Great Glen Hostel after work on Friday, then getting an early start on the Saturday morning so that I could join them at the start of the route at Corrie Hallie, near Dundonnell. I'd then have to head back down to the hostel on the Saturday evening, have another early rise on the Sunday morning, and get back to Glasgow on time for the pre-concert rehearsal at 11:30 a.m..... "Simples", as that irritating mustelid on the telly likes to say :lol: !
The rest of the party consisted of Pam & Gary, plus Martin, Alix, Fong, Karen, Calum, Mac, Jenny and Kevin. One of us was a border collie (Mac); the rest were us Great Ape types... To my considerable relief, my logistics worked out well for once, and I met up with them no bother around 10 a.m. at the Smiddy bothy just east of Dundonnell village, which they had all rented for the weekend due to some useful connections of Pam & Gary's :wink: . We took a couple of vehicles a short distance up the road to the car park at Corrie Hallie, and set off in fine spirits. The plan was to take the standard route, following the vehicle track to its high point, then the side track to Shenavall bothy as far as the bottom of the ridge leading up to Sgurr Fiona's SE Top Sail Liath, then heading up Sail Liath, on over the next Top Stob Cadha Gobhlach, then taking the bypass path to avoid Corrag Buidhe and Lord Berkeley's Seat to arrive at the first Munro, Sgurr Fiona. From there, it should be a simple matter of celebrating the Compleation on the second Munro, Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill, then descending back over Glas Mheall Mor to the Smiddy and a bit of a post-walk party at the Dundonnell Hotel :D ...

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The rest of the party had already gotten a walk in on the Saturday, bagging a nearby Corbett, Sail Mhor, in glorious weather. This was the view that they'd enjoyed of An Teallach from the road on the way back to the Smiddy:
WR0 - view of An Teallach the previous day.jpg

As we set off on the Sunday morning, it was much cloudier and the forecast was sadly looking rather dodgy. At least an effort was being made to brighten the day with a lot of colourful lycra! I was so impressed that I've now bought a pair of these breeks myself ….. No, only kidding :lol: - don't have nightmares!!
WR1 - setting out with much lycra on display.jpg

We soon had a fine view of An Teallach, with the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles still Clag-free at the moment - though sadly not for long :roll: .
WR2 - pinnacles still Clag-free at the moment but not for long.jpg

From the high point of the track, the Fisherfield hills were coming into view - I'd done the first four of these on a very parky weekend just two weeks earlier, but it looked as though all the snow had melted by now :shock: !
WR3 - Fisherfield hills coming into view from Shenavall path.jpg

We soon got to the bottom of Sail Liath's stony SE ridge, where a faint and intermittent path branches off right from the Shenavall path, and we started on the ascent. It was fairly relentless, and higher up the path fizzled out amidst steep boulderfield, but at least there was a grand view of Beinn a' Chlaidheimh, the Fisherfield Corbett, by way of distraction.
WR4 - nice view of Beinn a Chlaidheimh on stony ascent to first Top.jpg

Here's Pam, with a fine vista of the hugely impressive Corbett Beinn Dearg Mor behind her:
WR5 - Pam with nice view of Beinn Dearg Mor behind her.jpg

Pam again, clearly feeling expansive - frankly I have no idea quite what was going on here :lol: ! Suggested captions please?
WR6 - Pam now feeling expansive.jpg

Before long, we had reached Sail Liath's summit with the Clag rapidly beginning to descent, and started on the brief descent to the bealach with the next Top, Stob Cadha Gobhlach. As usual, the rest of the group were all decidedly fitter than me (several of them do fell-running and such terrifying activities :shock: ), and I rapidly resigned myself to my usual role of tagging along at the back rather like Mr Bean in that Snickers advert with the flying samurai :roll:
WR7 - group shot on descent taken from below.jpg

Indeed, on reaching the summit of Stob Cadha Gobhlach at the back of the group, I had a true-to-form Mr Bean moment, taking an indistinct side path that headed completely in the wrong direction and quickly losing the rest of the group - D'Oh! Just as I had stopped and was rummaging for my GPS, I heard Gary blowing his whistle up ahead and made contact with them again. After that, I wasn't allowed to trail at the back and had to do my best to keep up - fair enough I would concede :roll: ! I did feel slightly better after I got home and read the following extract from Cameron McNeish's Munros book: "Secondary footpaths lead off in all directions [from the eroded footpath at Stob Cadha Gobhlach's summit] and it's all too easy to follow the wrong track, especially in misty weather." Well, at least by the sound of it I wasn't the first person to make this particular pratfall :?
Once back on the right track, we briefly got back below the cloud base, and enjoyed some hazy views onwards to the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles. Here's a nice pano shot, Gary's I think but I'm not sure (we pooled our photos after the walk):
WR11 - pano shot from just below cloud.jpg

A fine Group Portrait With Dog:
WR12 - nice group shot with dog on descent from Top before view of loch.jpg

Shortly afterwards, we came upon what was arguably the best view that we got: the stunning outlook down on Loch Toll an Lochain way, way below us...
WR13 - Loch Toll an Loch.jpg

Alix, Gary and Martin went for a closer look :) :
WR14 - Alix Gary & Martin looking down to Loch Toll an Loch.jpg

And Pam and Gary on a wee rocky promontory at the viewpoint:
WR15 - Pam & Gary on promontory at Loch.jpg

After this, the we reached the intermittently scrambly and very exposed bypass path, which had its scary moments.At the start of the bypass path, there were some alarming views down chasms on the almost-vertical east side of the ridge:
WR16 - fallen rock bridging rather alarming gully.jpg

Soon afterwards, we had a truly terrifying moment when one of the group (I won't say who to avoid embarrassment, but in truth it could easily have been any of us) suddenly slipped on a wet boulder at one of the scrambly sections, and took a tumble down the very steep grassy slope below the bypass path :shock: . To make matters worse, a small rock that she'd dislodged when she fell came down along with her, and hit her just above the eye. I think for a couple of seconds we all honestly thought that she was a goner... However, she slowly got to her feet, uninjured except for bruises, and quickly made her way back up to the rest of us on the bypass path. Once we could all breathe again, we stopped for a group hug and congratulated her on her survival, which we celebrated with a much-needed sugar rush from Alix's enormously tasty flapjack.
It was a truly sobering moment, and just goes to show how quickly things can go horribly wrong on a "serious" hill like An Teallach, particularly in dodgy weather. Indeed, we were all too aware that an experienced climber had lost his life scrambling on the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles in winter conditions just a couple of weeks earlier. Our nerves were well rattled, and that flapjack was in great demand :o !
WR17 - tasty flapjack at Lord Berkeleys Seat.jpg

Lord Berkeley's Seat had now come into view, and Gary and one of the other lads (Martin maybe??) went up carefully for a closer look. The rest of us stayed where we were and just took hazy photos of them!
WR18 - hazy view of two lads on Lord Berkeleys Seat.jpg
WR19 - pinnacles seen from Lord Berkeleys Seat.jpg

From here it wasn't much further to the first Munro, Sgurr Fiona. We briefly debated the Gaelic pronunciation of "Fiona" - definitely nothing whatsoever like the name "Fiona", anyway :? !
A shot of Mac and me at Sgurr Fiona summit:
WR20 - Mac and me at Sgurr Fiona summit.jpg

From here on, it was a much more straightforward descent to the next bealach, then a steep but straightforward re-ascent to the second Munro, Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill, where Pam & Gary's big moment awaited... They hung back to let the rest of us get to the cairn first. Trumpet fanfare for the grand Compleation moment :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: ! To lift everyone's spirits even more, the person who had fallen earlier produced an (intact) bottle of champagne from her rucksack and passed it to Pam: how that survived the fall is anyone's guess :crazy: ! Pam looked delighted to see it intact, anyway!
WR21 - delight at finding the champagne still intact.jpg

Not only that, but a wee bottle of rhubarb gin was duly produced for Gary too :D !
WR21a - not only that but rhubarb gin for Gary too.jpg

Cheers, my dears :D !
WR22 - cheers.jpg

The full group assembled at Bidein summit:
WR23 - group photo at Bidean summit.jpg
It was a long but scenic descent, with some fascinating sections of stone pavement on the way down. I was concentrating on not slipping and I forgot to take any more photos myself, but thankfully Gary remembered. This was a nice group shot of the ladies of the party, with the Smiddy bothy being pointed out far below - "I can see my hoose from here!"
WR24 - the ladies on descent with Jenny pointing out bothy.jpg

It was a long way down and it took me quite a while, but eventually we all made it back to the bothy for a cup of tea and a slice of fruit loaf, before heading on down to the Dundonnell Hotel for a fine celebratory bar meal :D .
WR24a - ladies again back in the bothy.jpg

I had to make my farewells after the main course, heading promptly back down the road for an overnight stay at the Great Glen Hostel followed by the Bach B Minor Mass in the City Halls the next afternoon: two Bucket List experiences ticked off in one weekend, no less 8) ! The rest of the group stayed on in the bar, enjoying a live band and a bit of a singsong.
Very definitely a trip to linger long in the memory :D !
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Re: With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby mrssanta » Thu May 30, 2019 10:27 pm

An Teallach, a compleation and b Minor mass all in 2 days, how fab is that!
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Re: With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Thu May 30, 2019 10:40 pm

mrssanta wrote:An Teallach, a compleation and b Minor mass all in 2 days, how fab is that!

It was quite a weekend! In all honesty the b Minor Mass was just as intimidating as An Teallach, albeit in a slightly different way :? ... But I seem to have survived both, by and large :D !
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Re: With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby surfthemaze » Fri May 31, 2019 10:23 am

Great trip write up Kenny. Thanks for coming along with us. Missed your singing in the bar!
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Re: With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby angusb » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:00 pm

Thanks for this report which I checked out before heading to An Teallach yesterday. Unlike you, I got a really cracking day of clear blue skies, a gentle breeze, and wall to wall sunshine. The cold pint at the Dundonnell Hotel at the end of the day was most welcome, and well-earnt! I too was at the B Minor concert in the City Halls (got my ticket through Karine Davison whom I've known for years), heading down straight after my morning service (I'm an organist). It's a great work, but very challenging, so well done on your hectic weekend!
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Re: With Pam & Gary as they Compleat on An Teallach!

Postby Grisu » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:50 pm

That is a really fine report and a nice way to celebrate completion with friends. I hold my breath when I read a about the fall of your friend - these things happen so quickly and I am glad as well that nothing has spoiled the celebration. Great picuture as well! Nice to have friends you can join and share such walks together!
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