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Long Days in Strathconon

Long Days in Strathconon


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:06 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: An Sidhean, Bac an Eich, Meall na Leitreach, Meallan nan Uan, Sgurr a'Mhuilinn

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin (Strathconon)

Date walked: 04/08/2019

Time taken: 25 hours

Distance: 69 km

Ascent: 4022m

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Stalking season begins very soon and I wanted to get some of the more troublesome routes which might incur on stalking out of the way. Adding Simms onto Corbett routes increases the likelihood of hitting problems, and there was a clutch of Simms around these hills I wished to capture. It would mean another long walk with a big pack: - Allison hadn't been feeling well midweek, which didn't bode well, but she reckoned she was "a bit" better by the time we set off on Thursday. A long evening drive up the A82 - we stopped off at the "Burger Queen" layby by Loch Lochy for our tea. I'm always amused to see that van; it's almost never open, indeed I can't think of seeing it open in about 2 years. The layby has become a regular spot for camper vans to park overnight. Whilst we had our tea we watched a family (granny, two mums and about 4 youngish kids along with two wee dugs) having a barbeque. The kids were emerging from the water, dressed in swimsuits and carrying inflatable kayaks/surfboards and looked to be settling down for a lengthy stay. I can just imagine the conversation... "Where are we going on holiday this summer, Mum?" "A layby on the A82" "yay....?" Personally I hold the bastard Tories responsible - recession has put even Butlins outwith the reach of families and a weekend at a layby on a busy road is yer lot. :roll:

Pressing on, we turned up by Drumnadrochit. I hadn't really considered the implications of this being the Belladrum Festival weekend: traffic signs warned of long delays. Fortunately by the time we drove past the openings to the festival field the cars all seemed to be parked and we were not held up. Then on to Muir of Ord where the Agricultural Show was on - seemed a bit odd to have two big events in the same small area at the same time. Anyway, we continued along the wee road from Marybank. I wasn't sure where to camp, having originally thought we might need to walk a few kilometres down the track, but as we got nearer to Inverchoran memories of camping by the river when we were here doing Grahams came back, and we found the same spot. It was nearly 10pm by this time - tent up quickly, avoiding the midges as much as possible, a couple of chapters of book then a nice quiet night.

Bac an Eich & An Sidhean - 39km, 2328m asc, 15.75 hours


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



Rested, we got set to go earlyish on Friday. My plan was to head up Bac an Eich, via its northern Simm, then head over to An Sidhean taking in a few more Simms as we went. I couldn't remember if we had done any of these last time - my old pencil lines on the map suggested we might have, but I hadn't marked them off on Hill-bagging, which is usually accurate for me, so I reckoned not. Still managed to get confused with the initial bit of the route, forgetting the river needs to be crossed using the ford, not the private bridges by Inverchoran farm. It was low anyway, so not a wet foot start.

We turned uphill at the end of the tree-line, making for Meall Buidhe. Steep heather, some boggy patches. Good views to Loch Beannacharain and west to Maoille Lunndaidh and the Achnashellach hills. From here it's a steepish pull up the north side of Bac an Eich, but plenty of grassy sections to assist. From the summit we could see An Sidhean in the distance, the Strathfarrar Munros to the east. We watched a strange bee buzzing around the heather - like a bumblebee that had lost its stripes.

ImageP8020319 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8020320 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Beannacharain
ImageP8020323 by Al, on Flickr

The north Strathconon hills from Meall Buidhe
ImageP8020325 by Al, on Flickr

Bac an Eich
ImageP8020327 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8020328 by Al, on Flickr

Summit, Bac an Eich
ImageP8020329 by Al, on Flickr

Bee ID please?
ImageP8020332 by Al, on Flickr


Heading off to Drochaid Coire Mhadaidh, the question of had we or had we not done the two Simms south of it came up. I reckoned we hadn't and was pretty sure we should do them anyway - I had planned to do Meall Innis na Sine first, but the sight of an old stalkers' path, not marked on the map, ascending toward Sgurr Coire nan Eun was too tempting to resist. Having reached that summit, we left our packs and went out and back to Meall Innis na Sine before making it to the eastern top of An Sidhean. I'd decided to wear my new Paramo Katmai shirt, on account of the midges and clegs. I was delighted not to be cleg-bitten once through the shirt (although they still bit my hands from time to time) - quite cool even in today's heat, windproof and comfy - a good buy.

ImageP8020335 by Al, on Flickr

My new "Cleg-proof" shirt
ImageP8020337 by Al, on Flickr

Summit An Sidhean, Maoile Lunndaidh behind
ImageP8020338 by Al, on Flickr

Onwards to the summit of An Sidhean, mighty Maoile Lunndaidh in the background. From here we continued south-east to the Drium Dubh shoulder. I had planned to camp by Loch na Caoidhe (that was until I looked up its meaning - Loch of grieving) but, fearful of midges, we both thought higher might be better. We therefore decided to look for a spot around Lochan Dubh, which would allow us to head out and back to the final SImm of the day, Carn an Alltain Riabhaich. We found a suitable spot to pitch the tent - at the same moment the breeze which had been steadfast all day decided to let us down and vast clouds of midges rose from the turf. We had been going to make our tea before heading off for the 4km Simm visit, but not in these conditions - we left for the Simm, praying that the breeze would have returned by the time we got back. A bit of a bogslog to the Simm, but balanced by some lovely views of the Strathfarrar Four from an unusual perspective. Back the same way, stopping to collect some water.

Descending to Druim Dubh
ImageP8020340 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Monar
ImageP8020341 by Al, on Flickr

Our evening Simm
ImageP8020343 by Al, on Flickr

Strathfarrar hills
ImageP8020344 by Al, on Flickr

Bac an Eich
ImageP8020346 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8020347 by Al, on Flickr


By the time we were back at the tent there was indeed breeze, enough to have driven every midge into hiding. We were immensely grateful and were even able to sit outside enjoying our belated repast. Another quiet night - but a bit hot for sleep. In the morning we were above a cloud inversion, which was pretty. Got away before 8am, with the hope in my mind that we'd be back at the car before lunchtime and could set out for the two north Strathconon Corbetts today, rather than tomorrow as I'd originally intended. We only had a wee Graham to do en route...

ImageP8030349 by Al, on Flickr

Descent towards the valley was wet - there's meant to be a path, but much of the time this was illusionary. So, it has to be added was the path along the side of Loch nan Caoidhe - I remembered it as being much better than this faint excuse for a deer path. Anyway, we headed up towards Torran Ceann Liath, aiming for the shoulder of Beinn Mheadhoin. It wll seemed straightforward - but it's a longer hill than it initially appears and progress was infuriatingly slow. We finally made the rocky summit, with my time-prediction about when we'd finish being hopelessly out. We descended NE, making for the track that leads back to Inverchoran. Back at the car at 12.30, some 90 minutes later than I'd originally thought.

ImageP8030351 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030353 by Al, on Flickr

Loch na Caoidhe
ImageP8030354 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030357 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Mheadhoin
ImageP8030359 by Al, on Flickr

Strathfarrar four
ImageP8030360 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030361 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030364 by Al, on Flickr

Walking the plank :wink:
ImageP8030365 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030366 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Mhuillin & Meall nan Eun: 16km, 1230m asc, 6.75 hours


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



It was still early enough, and a lovely day, to take in the northern Corbetts. Allison didn't seem unduly keen - I did suggest we could do the Graham of Meall na Faochaig instead and do the Corbetts tomorrow, but that didn't appeal either. So we had our lunch and set off along the road a wee bit to the parking spot at Strathanmore. I was glad to exchange my heavy rucksack for a day pack. For these hills I definitely wanted to do the two Simms to the north - there was another, Creag Ghlas to the SW which I reckoned would be sacrificed today. The sun continued to beat down, ascent up the hillside was slow and wet underfoot. We'd do Sgurr a'Mhuillin first today, mainly as I remembered it being a long boggy descent last time. Well, it was a long boggy ascent this time and Allison was not feeling well at all - nauseated and shaky. I thought it was probably a mix of the heat and fatigue and did feel a little guilty about dragging her up these two today.

ImageP8030370 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Mhuillin
ImageP8030373 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030374 by Al, on Flickr

We made it to the summit of Sgurr a'Mhuillin, where there were two couples sitting having food. We chatted for a bit, discussing whether to press on to the northern Simms or not - one of the ladies remarked "you can rest when you're dead" which caused me to smile and Allison to ask her if she was, by any chance, related to me :wink: So we headed off for the Simms.

Simms
ImageP8030375 by Al, on Flickr

Mostly an easy walk, although wet underfoot, along the back of Sgurr a'Mhuillin to Bealach na Siunnachair. Amazingly this is on the Walkhighlands route - going specifically to a Simm - Yay! Up Sgurr a'Choire-rainich for some grand views over to the Fainnichs, cross to the other Simm of Sgurr a'Ghlas Leathaid (which WH doesn't visit) then contouring along the west side of Sgurr a'Mhuillin towards Carnan Mor. Lot of deer in the coire as we walked along.Getting late by this time, around 6.30pm when we make the climb up to Meall nan Eun and still a fair distance to cover to get back to the car. I'd assumed we'd do the walk in about 5 hours, but it took us almost seven today. We headed back to the camping spot we'd used the first night, not getting our tea til a quarter to nine.

Looking back at Sgurr a'Mhuillin
ImageP8030377 by Al, on Flickr

Fannaichs
ImageP8030378 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030380 by Al, on Flickr

Meall nan Eun
ImageP8030382 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Mhuillin
ImageP8030384 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8030385 by Al, on Flickr

Meall nan Eun
ImageP8030386 by Al, on Flickr

Another restful night and breezy, if cloudy morning. We could enjoy the luxury of a short day today, with a bonus Corbett! Nothing about here, but Meall na Leitreach down the A9 made a suitable candidate being less than 10k with a track all the way to the summit. We packed up and set off at a gentle pace down the road. The weather deteriorated as we traveled south, by the time we'd parked at Dalnaspidal it was raining with clag down to the bases of the Drumochter hills. I had originally intended to do the hill with it's SImm as a horseshoe, but this required being on the other side of the dual carriageway and I really couldn't be bothered thinking this through. So we simply went the way we'd done the hill last time. We encountered another couple out hillwalking - at first it seemed they were doing the same hill as us, but they headed north - I'm guessing for Beinn Mholach.

ImageP8040388 by Al, on Flickr


There's not a lot to say about the route up Leitreach - a muddy, boggy ATV track delivers you almost completely to the summit cairn. We had very similar views to those we'd seen last time - fog - and retraced our steps, getting home a good deal earlier than I'd thought we would today. Getting towards the final stretch now - 40 Corbetts left for me.

ImageP8040389 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8040390 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1913
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:367   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Long Days in Strathconon

Postby prog99 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:50 pm

I really like Strathconon. Must revisit at some time.

Was your mushroom near any trees, look like an orange birch bolete.

Oh and any of these for the bee? https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/bee-identification-guide

Also interesting re the clegs, that was the first place in scotland we ever saw them. Will investigate the clothing.
User avatar
prog99
Walker
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: Aug 14, 2013

Re: Long Days in Strathconon

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:21 am

prog99 wrote:I really like Strathconon. Must revisit at some time.

Was your mushroom near any trees, look like an orange birch bolete.

Oh and any of these for the bee? https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/bee-identification-guide

Also interesting re the clegs, that was the first place in scotland we ever saw them. Will investigate the clothing.


Cheers:
The mushroom was right at the top of Beinn Mheadhoin, no trees near...
I had a look on that site, amongst others for the bee, it looks a little like a Tree Bumblebee, but I’m not sure.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1913
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:367   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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