Page 1 of 1

First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeithe.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 am
by JimboJim
Had been struggling to get away much and forecast was still a bit 'iffy' despite expected high temps down south, but it was time to decide on something. Anything! Seeing some chance for an over-nighter, or two, opted to try the hostel scene again, by heading for Alltbeithe. Decided to do it the lazy way, staying two nights and duly got booked in.

Had been some seriously heavy thunderstorms previous couple of nights. Left departure till later in day, to let them clear off to the north, though was still steaming hot and menacing looking, when I finally got to the car park, at the end of Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin.

It was a hot walk into Alltbeithe, but one couldn’t help being awe struck by some of the views. Affric Lodge, magnificent lochs, river, glens, pine forest and dramatic mountains. Scotland at its best! Surprised me how busy the car park was and passed a lot of walkers and cyclists too.
DSCN0952_1080_800_1024_759.JPG
Feeding time at Affric Lodge?
DSCN1178_1104_800_1024_742.JPG
Stunning place.
DSCN1175_1148_800_1024_714.JPG
I will probably buy this soon :)


Enjoyable road surface until after the bridge at Athnamulloch. Then it becomes much more stoney and many of the dips had filled with rainwater, after the recent deluge. Gradually, the enjoyment began to wane a little due to the ever present muggy heat, meanders round puddles and the expectation that Alltbeithe would just be around the next corner .... and then it was.
DSCN0984_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Glen Affric Youth Hostel. Fortunately, they never checked my date of birth :)

DSCN1144_1280_798_1024_638.JPG
Athnamulloch, with bridge over to Strawberry Cottage.
DSCN1156_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Beach at the west end of Loch Affric. No doubt some millionaire's playground ..... but, not this one :(

Still very new to this hostelling thing, but the warden, Hannah, was very helpful and informative and I soon got settled in. Enjoyed some bleathers with Pat, had tea, relaxed and enjoyed the isolation. Deliberated over how to do the three hills? Had planned to do Sgurr na Ceathreamhnan first, Mullach na Dheiragain second and An Socach last, but Hannah was more for reversing one and two, as per WH’s description. Mmmh? Ok, might just stick to the book then.

Up early next morning, had brekkie and hit the trail, straight from the back door, at half seven. Wouldn’t it be great if all hikes could start like that :) Pat had struggled to cross the burn the day before, but no such wories today. Lovely walk up the side of the Allt na Faing, to the bealach, as the views began to open up. Even had a fly past by three helicopters, heading east, through the glen.

Next stage, a 200m walk, to a wee cairn, where one diverts to cross over onto the ridge out to Mullach na Dheiragain. I decided to try and count my steps, measure the distance and see how close I got. Well! I previously used to under estimate metres, but this time I was well past the mark and never even spotted the cairn :shock: Ok, back to Plan A ..... which I actually felt quite pleased about, as weather was clear, although a bit breezy and chilly on the hands. Oh, how that would change later!

Continued over a few humps and bumps before making my way up the east ridge, to the fine, pointy summit of Sgurr na Ceathreamhnan (easier to write, than to say :lol: ). Think I was just under the two hours to here. The views are just magnificent over the Kintail hills, Skye, Knoydart, Torridon, etc. After a few pics, I set off down the NE ridge toward the Bealach nan Daoine. It is perhaps, a bit steeper and narrower than my ascent route, but nothing to worry about.

It is said Mullach na Dheiragain, is one of the remotest Munro’s and one really begins to feel that sense of remoteness, crossing the bloulder field of Carn na Con Dhu. Eventually, I was clear of that and making my way up to the summit, as the sun began to bring a bit of warmth to the day. Standing there, it occurred there was another top, with a cairn. Errmh, could that be the summit? Damn! I had left my rucksack and map, back at the Bealach na Con Dhu. What to do? Nothing for it, but to be certain and take in the other top, (Mullach Sithidh), which as it now turns out, is NOT the summit, being 8m lower. Aghh, what a wally! :oops:
DSCN1043_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Summit of second hill, Mullach nan Dheiragain, 982m.
DSCN1068_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Think that was me, back at the true summit, MnD.
DSCN1075_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Back to the NE ridge of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. Carumnan/Carumvan, or?

From here it was a reversal of my route back to Bealach nan Daoine, then across the bottom of the Loch Coire nan Dearcag lochans. It looks awful wet and boggy in here, but it was no problem to avoid the wet, squelchy bits. There was little sign of tracks, so I aimed for where I thought would be the wee cairn, on a rising traverse. Again my estimations sent me too high. A couple of Dutch lads from the hostel crossed below me, but they wouldn’t have thought any fool would have been above them.
67282199_2596691567032064_7081688050698289152_n_1280_720_1024_576.jpg
Over to Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige.

DSCN1086_1130_800_1024_725.JPG
Mullach Fraoch-choire and A Chralaig, beyond the lochans.

Was a bit steep and sweaty, but made it onto the ridge and descending, finally found the wee cairn, a bit off track and lower than I had figured. By this time, I was really feeling the heat, wondering and hoping the summit of An Socach was as close, as the map showed. Bit of an anti-climax heading to this one as it doesn’t have too much appeal from this side at least, but the views down the glen, Carne Eige, Mam Sodhail and the south remain terrific.
DSCN1108_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail, from An Socach.
DSCN1113_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, looking impressive from An Socach.

At last, time to head down! Also, bumped into a couple of Swedish ladies having a dip in the Allt na Faing. No, I hadn’t started to hallucinate by this stage! :lol: They too, were in the hostel and seemed to have swimming as a major part of their itinerary. Made it back to the hostel in just over the eight hours, which wasn’t bad on a hot day, including an unnecesary half hour diversion.
DSCN1116_1187_800_1024_690.JPG
On the way down. Alltbeithe below. Mullach Fraoch-choire beyond.

How I enjoyed my allotted 5 minute shower, in Alltbeithe, but I was still fair roasting, so took to the River Affric, just by the bridge, for another lengthy dip. I normally hate cold water, but this was a pleasure. Subsequently joined in with a couple of Aberdeen lads and kindly helped them finish their wine rations :lol: They had come in from Cluanie. Said it wasn’t too boggy, though my wee pal from the previous evening, had said he done it once, but never again. By coincidence, another couple of Dons arrived on bike, from Glen Affric. They took near three hours as well, due to the heat and rougher bits of track.
DSCN1120_1117_800_1024_733.JPG
Bridge over the River Affric, at Alltbeithe. Just had to go for a dip!
DSCN1122_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Cooling off. Trying to keep the big toes dry :)

It was a very restless night’s sleep, in a busy dorm, so I was glad when it was time to get up next day, get fed and on my way, hopefully before the beastie’s were on to me. Again, it was sunny and very warm as I set off and only got warmer, by the mile. I hadn’t been bothered by insects on the way in, but arrival’s the previous day, had been beset by clegs. By Athnamullach, it was my turn. They were vicious, though I only got a couple of bites. Saying that, I was thrashing, swiping, slapping and slashing like Zorro on steroids!
DSCN1150_1280_797_1024_638.JPG
Looking back at Athnamulloch.
DSCN1169_1235_800_1024_663.JPG
Passing another beautiful lochan, on the way out. Clegs out in strength at this point!

DSCN1136_1081_800_1024_758.JPG
Heading back out. Back towards Beinn Fhada. Think that is some of Five Sisters beyond.
DSCN1163_1161_800_1024_706.JPG
Lovely pine forests. An Tudair Beag, left.

As I’ve said elsewhere, personally, I hate midges more. I think you have a fighting chance with clegs, but best you can hope for with midges is an honourable draw. I find the best technique is to actually let the cleg land, then batter the living daylights out of it, when it goes to bite. I would accept the difficulty in Glen Affric, was their general numbers and in some parts, was like Cleg Alley! :shock:
DSCN1190_1158_800_1024_707.JPG
Sgurr na Lapaich, through some beautiful pine.
DSCN1193_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Time for a wee trip round the view point, before heading home.
DSCN1186_1188_800_1024_690.JPG
Sgurr na Lapaich, rises above Loch Affric.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the great views on my retreat, which took two and three quarter hours, undoubtedly hastened by the clegs :) Took a walk round the view points at the car park. Superb! Then the long drive home. Not so superb.
DSCN1195_1067_800_1024_768.JPG
Garbh Uisge, the outflow from Loch Affric, into Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin.
DSCN1185_1236_800_1024_663.JPG
I don't know if I have ever captured a finer view.

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:25 pm
by JimboJim
So special I had to add a few more, ok a lot more ...... :)

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:23 am
by DizzyVizion
Pictures are stunning, and comprehensive. :thumbup:
I look forward to returning to Glen Affric - but I don't like the sounds of those clegs! :lol:

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:15 pm
by Coop
Great comprehensive report and pics and timing , as im up there in a couple of weeks.
Does the hostel sell boil in the bags- as I dont want to carry in more than necessary?
Cheers

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:13 pm
by Huff_n_Puff
Smashing report :clap: :clap: - we were there 3 weeks before you similar weather but very few cleggs. Your photos really capture the beauty of Affric thanks for sharing them. We had to faff about a bit but did find the cairn to do the by-pass first and follow Hannah's line onto the next ridge. Loved the hostel!

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:44 am
by BlackPanther
Brings back memories from our wild camping trip in May. Well, we didn't jump in the river, but to our excuse, temperature at night was still below zero :lol:

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:22 pm
by Big Jesper
Great report and pictures Jimbo. Disappointed to have missed another trip away but hopefully one day :D

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:38 am
by JimboJim
DizzyVizion wrote:Pictures are stunning, and comprehensive. :thumbup:
I look forward to returning to Glen Affric - but I don't like the sounds of those clegs! :lol:


Ta, DV, Clegs are like sun, usually only there for a wee while 😀

BlackPanther wrote:Brings back memories from our wild camping trip in May. Well, we didn't jump in the river, but to our excuse, temperature at night was still below zero :lol:


Wouldn't have thought a cold dip would trouble a Panther 😄

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Smashing report :clap: :clap: - we were there 3 weeks before you similar weather but very few cleggs. Your photos really capture the beauty of Affric thanks for sharing them. We had to faff about a bit but did find the cairn to do the by-pass first and follow Hannah's line onto the next ridge. Loved the hostel!


Thanks, HnP. Yeh, was strange I never got clegs on way in, but got mauled on the way out.

Coop wrote:Great comprehensive report and pics and timing , as im up there in a couple of weeks.
Does the hostel sell boil in the bags- as I dont want to carry in more than necessary?
Cheers


Hi Coop, thank you. Yes, I think they do. I saw posters to sell what I presumed was that sort of thing, tho I took my own stuff in. Perhaps, you could phone the SYHA to double check?

Big Jesper wrote:Great report and pictures Jimbo. Disappointed to have missed another trip away but hopefully one day :D


Well, Jasper, what can I say. Miss the company and expertise badly and feel your pain. Hope you get sorted soon, buddy!

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:49 pm
by Alteknacker
Great report and wonderful pics!

Unfortunately great summer weather seems invariably to be a clarion call to clegs.

I had similar wonderful weather in Fisherfield last year, and managed - using the same technique as you - to slay over 100 clegs in a day!

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:57 pm
by dogplodder
Great photos and fabulous report - enjoyed all the more having been there two days before you. :D

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:33 pm
by JimboJim
dogplodder wrote:Great photos and fabulous report - enjoyed all the more having been there two days before you. :D


Thanks, plodding one! Yes, didn't know whether to curse you for stirring the clegs up, or thank you for tiring them out on yourself =D I saw your photo's and thought you would think I had stolen yours! So beautiful

Alteknacker wrote:Great report and wonderful pics!

Unfortunately great summer weather seems invariably to be a clarion call to clegs.

I had similar wonderful weather in Fisherfield last year, and managed - using the same technique as you - to slay over 100 clegs in a day!


Thanks, Alteknacker. Good man! 100 not bad. We should have a cleg killing competition some day =D That was certainly worst I've seen for a while!

Re: First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeit

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:50 am
by MountainTrail
Absolutely fantastic report Jim, photos and descriptions top drawer
Feeling totally inspired for my trip to those 3 in a fortnights time

Great post cheers