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Dun-Donnelled - Weaselhols part three

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:33 pm
by weaselmaster
A beautiful morning, spoiled only by midges. We were up at 6, breakfasting standing up, walking about to avoid the wee blighters. Beinn Ghobhlach sat squat across a glittering Little Loch Broom. Beinn a'Chlaidheimh was the target today, using the route in from Coire Hallie.

ImageP6070270 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070271 by Al, on Flickr

We arrived at 7.30 to find the parking area crammed - had to drive back half a mile to the nearest layby, which had me annoyed. We walked in, taking the left split in the track. We enjoyed fine views of the pinnacles on An Teallach walking in.One of the reasons we've never used this approach to the Fisherfields is the reputed awkwardness and unpredictability of the river crossing. An Acheron to be traversed, it seemed to have taken on unworldly proportions. We met a couple of Cape Wrathers who had come up from Shenavall and had crossed the rivers last night - in heavy rain, up to knee deep. Surely it would have subsided a bit by now.

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ImageP6070272 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn a'Chlaidheimh
ImageP6070275 by Al, on Flickr

We could see the Abhainn Strath na Sealga below us, didn't look too ferocious. Past a stand of alder trees - an ideal campsite with short level grass. We scouted around for a suitable place to cross the river - no easy places - at last we found one which allowed me to cross with dryish feet. On up Beinn a'Chlaidheimh - boggy ground initially, heather tussocks, heading towards our right where we could see a grassy rake that led towards the summit. Fine views of An Teallach - a rim of jagged peaks circling round. We walked along the summit ridge towards the cairn, passing a mother ptarmigan and her chicks, almost invisible in the grass. We debate the route to take on the descent, end up retracing our ascent route.

ImageP6070278 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070283 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070286 by Al, on Flickr

An Teallach
ImageP6070290 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070292 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070294 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070296 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Deargs
ImageP6070298 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070299 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070300 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070306 by Al, on Flickr

I wished to see Shenavall - after all the years of hearing about it and never visiting, I felt that had to be rectified. We mistook the building at Achnegie for Shenavall and headed for it, wondering why we couldn't see a track winding uphill behind it like on the map - only to learn that Shenavall was another couple of km away. having walked this far, I wasn't about to give up now, so we continued along the path, meeting a Swiss couple we'd spoken to on the walk in - they were looking for a wild camp spot and we recommended the alder patch. They'd been coming to Scotland for years and knew their way around well, even having gone to the Screen Machine when it was in Ullapool this week. The path was quite wet, with one pool containing heaps of newts. Eventually we came within sight of Shangri La - sorry Shenavall. Which in reality was disappointing and a bit squalid, not least cos it resembled a refugee camp, with around a dozen tents pitched around it. I'm sure it would be different coming across it on a wild wintry night, with a fire burning in the grate and the glow of lanterns, but all I could think of was the sanitation issues given the number of users. We didn't go in, but continued on up the track back to Coire Hallie. Itr's a long uphill way - we met three guys heading down to Shenavall with enormous rucksacks, hoping to do the Fisherfields tomorrow - we wished them well with their weather.

ImageP6070308 by Al, on Flickr

Not Shenavall
ImageP6070309 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070311 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6070312 by Al, on Flickr

Eventually we got to the highest point, where the paths merge and set off downhill to the car. We make it after another long day - over 10 hours walking for one Corbett. The rain starts as we near the car and is heavy by the time we drive back to the campsite - sadly no evening in the sunshine.

On Saturday we've decided to do Sail Mhor - only about 10k. No need for an early rise - but the sun streams into the tent and it's a gorgeous morning, somewhat unexpectedly. We take our time, getting things dried off and chatting to a Dutch climber/biker who's a regular visitor to Scotland, but has also been to 77 other countries, including a motorbike trek across Africa. We spoke about the pros and cons of travel to other countries - my position being that Scotland contained enough variety for me, when this was stacked up against the inconveniences and logistical issues of climbing abroad. Beauty residing in the heart of the beholder and all that. We also decided we'd go and do Creag Rainich - with a walk in to the bothy at Lochivron tonight and a return across the hilltop in the morning - so we got overnight gear ready for that too.

It was after 10 when we set off to drive the 2 miles to Ardessie and take the standard route up Sail Mhor. Our last encounter with this hill was as a follow on to our Compleation on An Teallach - that was a long and emotional day. We walked up by the waterfalls, a beautiful, blue-sky morning, real warmth in the sun for a change. At 21 degrees it could almost be mistaken for Summer :lol: There has been a lot of erosion of the path by the river along the way - we crossed over and headed towards the summit, passing pools full of frogs, waterboatmen and pond skaters. At the top we were rewarded with excellent views of An Teallach and the Beinn Deargs. I placed a scooped out stone on the cairn, with some of those dense red stones you find in the hills up here and a small avocado stone (interesting what you find lying about) as a kind of offering to the hill gods. On our way down we're caught by a heavy rain shower.

ImageP6080313 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080317 by Al, on Flickr

Path erosion
ImageP6080318 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080323 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080325 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080326 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080328 by Al, on Flickr

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We return to the car and drive along to the track leading into Loch a'Bhraoin, enduring more rain showers. We decide on an early tea so that we don't need to carry cooking equipment/evening food with us and chat to a fellow WHer (sorry, forgot his name) who'd been doing A'chailleach and Sgurr Bhreac. We check the forecast - the rain's to stop by six and it's to be a good evening - but there's to be fog in the morning - I suggest we go over the hill tonight and just walk out from the bothy in the morning. This turns out to be an excellent plan. We head up over the Simm of Meall an t-Sithe then enjoy a high level walk over the back of the hill. As promised, the rain ceases and the visibility improves - the views simply stupendous from here. Particularly impressive is Beinn Eighe which encircles the hub of Ruadh Stac Beag - never seen it from this angle before. We sit at the trig, feasting on some assorted Indian snacks as well as the views. So glad we came up tonight.

ImageP6080331 by Al, on Flickr

Meall an t-Sithe
ImageP6080332 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080338 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe
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ImageP6080342 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080344 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Ban
ImageP6080347 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6080349 by Al, on Flickr

We head down towards the bothy. I imagined it would be full of Cape Wrathers, so we stopped and pitched our tent at the back of it. I suggested we go and say hello - but we found no-one there. Now after 10pm - although still as bright as day. What'll we do? The bothy will be warmer and midge we pack up the tent and decamp to the pleasant surroundings of perhaps the only bothy I've been in to boast running water and a flushing toilet. (Sadly there's a leak in the plumbing under the sink). We spend the first hour or so waiting for a horde of walkers to burst in on us, but as midnight approaches and no-one's appeared we sink off to uneasy sleep, with various strange noises impinging on consciousness. No one does arrive - we breakfast in the comfort of a midge free zone and start the walk back out to the car - arriving at 8.30 having enjoyed a lovely morning along the shores of Loch a'Bhraoin. I briefly consider stopping for another hill on the way down the road - like Geal Charn Mor perhaps, but the rain comes on as we drive so we simply get home nice and early. 17 days, 21 Corbetts plus miscellaneous Grahams and Marilyns - and not as bad weather as we'd feared.

ImageP6080353 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6090354 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6090356 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP6090357 by Al, on Flickr