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A Misty Mullardoch round

A Misty Mullardoch round


Postby goingforawii » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:12 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Mullardoch), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Carn Eige, Carn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Mam Sodhail, Mullach nan Dheiragain, Sgurr na Lapaich, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich

Date walked: 06/07/2019

Time taken: 15.5 hours

Distance: 55.2 km

Ascent: 4772m

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If anybody is thinking of having a bash at this round, after having done it in an anti-clockwise direction, I would definitely recommend a clockwise direction! :lol:

I think the mental sucker punch of descending down to Loch Mullardoch head seemingly 'half-way round' only to realise you've still got 60% (or more) of the way to go was a bit disheartening... Also, the actual terrain along the south side is, or at least felt, far more up and down and at times was really energy sapping.

I should point out as well that if there's been quite a bit of rain, the crossing of burn to go from the north to south side will be very tricky - with very few places to cross without getting wet. Go with some rubble sacks - or just be prepared to take your booties and socks off to make the crossing (unless you don't mind getting wet that is!). To cross and be guaranteed to stay dry (if there has been rain), you need to work your way upstream and cross, probably at the 300m mark across a vehicle track. You'd be able to pick up this vehicle track easier too coming down from Creag a' Choir Aird NW - whereas trying to pick this up down very boggy slopes from Meall Shuas would be trickier.

While I've read other reports that starting on vehicle tracks (going up Carn nan Gobhar) is better and you then have a soft bound down on heather coming down from Toll Creagach - I would say that after a long round, it's much better to be coming down on vehicle tracks. Also, the going down from Toll Creagach (as you near the 'path' that is marked on most maps) is very very boggy and the path almost doesn't exist.

Then, as you appear out on the side of the dam, you realise there's no way to get to the car park from this side of the dam so a (at the time) long plod around and back up to the dam/car park is brutal at this stage.

Lastly, there is no easy escape route if you are doing the south side last. At least if you were struggling, there's a much easier north loch path - whereas this doesn't generally exist on the south side.

So, going clockwise - you get the the boggy and mostly pathless ascent up to Toll Creagach out the way while you're still fresh... you get the most energy sapping up and down section out the way during the 'first half'... once you descend to Loch Mullardoch you only have 40% of the way to go - and then when you descend off Carn nan Gobhar it's very easy underfoot and you'll feel that you're back at the car sooner (once you're by the dam)!

Anyways, there are plenty of accounts of this round of 12 now - and many with far better pictures than me (as from Munro 6 onwards the mist shrouded every remaining top sadly), so I'm just throwing this account out there to give my opinion of the best way to go round! :D

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the journey starts

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parking at the dam - an early start!

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walking round the dam

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walking along the vehicle track

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the vehicle track takes you quite a way up Carn nan Gobhar

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views back down to the loch

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Carn nan Gobhar summit

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view of Sgurr nan Clachan Geala and Creag a' Chaorainn from Carn nan Gobhar

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rock on

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heading up Sgurr na Lapaich

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looking back to Carn nan Gobhar

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last climb up Sgurr na Lapaich

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Sgurr na Lapaich summit

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wonderful summit views

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heading onwards to An Riabhachan

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An Riabhachan summit

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heading towards An Socach

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last push up An Socach

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An Socach summit

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the ridge along to Meall Shuas and the route of its slope

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heading down Meall Shuas looking ahead to Mullach na Dheiragain

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heading up the very boggy path to Mullach na Dheiragain views down Loch Mullardoch

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Mullach na Dheiragain summit

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heading up Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan

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looking back to Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan

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last push up Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan

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Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan summit

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looking back up to the now clear Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan summit... :roll:

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plodding on to An Socach

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An Socach summit

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the route up to Mam Sodhail

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the final approach up Mam Sodhail

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view to Loch Affirc between Mullach Cadha Rainich and An Tudair

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Misty Mam Sodhail summit

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the mist was well and truly in now - en route to Beinn Fhionnlaidh

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another misty top - Beinn Fhionnlaidh summit

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more mist on Carn Eighe summit

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passing interesting rocsk onwards to Tom a' Choinnich

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onwards with the up and down route

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a brief clear(ish) spell

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Tom a' Choinnich summit

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summit selfie

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onwards to Toll Creagach

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the final strecth up to Toll Creagach

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Toll Creagach summit cairns

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Toll Creagach summit cairns

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the sort of suggested route down from Toll Creagach

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the plod back around to the car park at the dam
Last edited by goingforawii on Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A Misty Mullardoch round

Postby Grisu » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:26 pm

I like the pictures. They give a good impression and documentation of this mega walk :clap: and they reflect what I know from a lot of my walks. But it is this kind of weather which makes a picture in these landscapes special :)
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Re: A Misty Mullardoch round

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:03 pm

Great to read this and see the pics, though I'm sorry that so many of the summits were in mist for you. When I did this round in 2013 I had to good fortune to have one of the finest weather days of that year - a massive cloud inversion above which all the higher hills of the entire North Western Highlands were visible, including the Cuillin Ridge. But I didn't take many pics, and those I took were of very poor quality...
Dawn on Carn nan Goblar 04-15 (2r).jpg


I see the theme of super quick rounds continues - it took me not far short of 3 hours longer, and I thought I was reasonably fit at the time I did it :shock: .

I also walked the round anti-clockwise, more or less on the same route as you (though at the start I just yomped directly up to Mullach na Maoile, and from thence to Carn Gobhar). And also came to the same conclusion as you did in respect of the best direction in which to tackle the round, namely clockwise. Although once on to the Dheiragain/Ceathrabhnan ridge I generally didn't find the amount of up an down thereafter too bad, the ascent of Carn Eighe from Beinn Fhionnlaidh was pretty gruelling at that late stage of the day; but the really killer was the descent from Toll Creagach. Like you I also took a route following the Allt Fraoch-choire, and it was truly dreadful. I'd originally planned to descend via the eastern shoulder of the glen, but I was so knackered at this point that I was put off by the slight ascent that this would involve, and most ill-advisedly took the route down the glen. Bad call.

Just a couple of really minor editorial points:
- Shouldn't the first of the pics labelled "looking back to Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan" be labelled "looking back to Mullach na Dieragain"????
- the image for Beinn Fhionnlaidh isn't opening for me (though this could be a browser issue with me)
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Re: A Misty Mullardoch round

Postby rockhopper » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:59 pm

A lot faster than me as I did it over 2.5 days with two camps. Well done but a pity about the weather. Was a lot luckier and had two inversions and some nice sunsets/ sunrises. Think if I was doing it again I'd still take a couple of days so that I could enjoy it (and I could never manage it in your time anyway :roll: ).

PS I think you have your clockwises and anticlockwises mixed up. You'd get Toll Creagach out of the way first if you went clockwise. You also did it ACW instead of clockwise and thnk you're actually recommending clockwise ?

goingforawii wrote:If anybody is thinking of having a bash at this round, after having done it in a clockwise direction, I would definitely recommend an anti-clockwise direction! :lol:

While I've read other reports that starting on vehicle tracks (going up Carn nan Gobhar) is better and you then have a soft bound down on heather coming down from Toll Creagach - I would say that after a long round, it's much better to be coming down on vehicle tracks. Also, the going down from Toll Creagach (as you near the 'path' that is marked on most maps) is very very boggy and the path almost doesn't exist.

So, going anti-clockwise - you get the the boggy and mostly pathless ascent up to Toll Creagach out the way while you're still fresh... you get the most energy sapping up and down section out the way during the 'first half'... once you descend to Loch Mullardoch you only have 40% of the way to go - and then when you descend off Carn nan Gobhar it's very easy underfoot and you'll feel that you're back at the car sooner (once you're by the dam)!
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Re: A Misty Mullardoch round

Postby goingforawii » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:22 pm

rockhopper wrote:A lot faster than me as I did it over 2.5 days with two camps. Well done but a pity about the weather. Was a lot luckier and had two inversions and some nice sunsets/ sunrises. Think if I was doing it again I'd still take a couple of days so that I could enjoy it (and I could never manage it in your time anyway :roll: ).

PS I think you have your clockwises and anticlockwises mixed up. You'd get Toll Creagach out of the way first if you went clockwise. You also did it ACW instead of clockwise and thnk you're actually recommending clockwise ?

goingforawii wrote:If anybody is thinking of having a bash at this round, after having done it in a clockwise direction, I would definitely recommend an anti-clockwise direction! :lol:

While I've read other reports that starting on vehicle tracks (going up Carn nan Gobhar) is better and you then have a soft bound down on heather coming down from Toll Creagach - I would say that after a long round, it's much better to be coming down on vehicle tracks. Also, the going down from Toll Creagach (as you near the 'path' that is marked on most maps) is very very boggy and the path almost doesn't exist.

So, going anti-clockwise - you get the the boggy and mostly pathless ascent up to Toll Creagach out the way while you're still fresh... you get the most energy sapping up and down section out the way during the 'first half'... once you descend to Loch Mullardoch you only have 40% of the way to go - and then when you descend off Carn nan Gobhar it's very easy underfoot and you'll feel that you're back at the car sooner (once you're by the dam)!


:lol: I was never any good with my lefts and rights... - I'll update the recommendation :wink: Cheers rockhopper!
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Re: A Misty Mullardoch round

Postby goingforawii » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:31 pm

Cheers Alteknacker - I remember talking to you about this round at the meet. Would loved to have had some pics like yours :wink:

Cheers Grisu - I like a bit of moody atmosphere too... would have liked a bit more sun though :lol:
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