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Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers ...

Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers ...


Postby 2manyYorkies » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:04 pm

Route description: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor

Date walked: 29/09/2019

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 40 km

Ascent: 1800m

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Well, just the one Terrier to be fair, my wee Maisie, 9 year old Border. We'd driven up from the People's Republic the previous day, just the 450 miles, and checked into our digs in LochCarron. So what better way to wind down and recover than to tackle the Attadale route into those most remote pair of Munros, Lurg Mhor and Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich (no, I'm not going to use the "C" word).
I was also keen on a wild camp and taking advice from the great sage, otherwise known on here as the Gammy one, I opted to try and camp at Loch Calavie, at the foot of the climb to the Munros proper, but just 15.8 km in from the car park.
We set off from the car park about 08:30, had a couple of very friendly chats with estate staff, it was a Sunday so no problems with stalking (of the deer variety at least). The bridge represents the end of the false sense of security and the start of the climb up through the ATV zig-zags:
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Looking back there was some evidence of ongoing works still, but otherwise the track was clear. Apparently there are three hydro schemes up here now.
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Wee Maisie had 14 Munros under her collar, (that's 98 in Dog Munros), but these were the most southerly so far. You can see how impressed she was with the route so far:
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The weather was kind to us, and we enjoyed the beautiful countryside:
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Views to An Ruadh-stac and Maol Chean-dearg:
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The track rising steadily (and at times unsteadily) up to about 350m at the pass:
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At the top of the pass we got our first views of Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, above Bendronaig Lodge:
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I reckon that the walk to Loch Calavie is a walk of thirds, first one being to the top of the pass, second to the lodge, and third up to the Loch itself from the lodge. Whether thirds, fifths, or eigthths it's still a blooming long way with camping gear in the pack!
Before reaching Bendronaig Lodge the road takes a cheeky little dog-leg round a hydro development, with a very attractive bridge and waterfalls:
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On the descent to the Lodge I met a couple valiantly pushing their bikes up the hill, having themselves had a camp up at Loch Calavie. I'm sure the fast descent the other side would make up for the tears and sweat involved in pushing those bikes ... :lol: :lol: They were the last folk we saw for nearly another 24 hours.

Bendronaig stalkers' lodge, with bothy to the right. The bothy had been closed for the stalking season. Some rumours were that the previous year a particularly boisterous group had made themselves unpopular in there, so the estate sadly felt they had to shut up shop temporarily.
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After the lodge the track crosses the river on a proper bridge, but the old rickety one is still hanging on in there, despite a plank or two being missing. I decided to give it a miss ...
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The track rises steadily once more (the third third remember?), and eventually Loch Calavie comes into view over the brow of the hill
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We aimed for the small spit of land as a decent camping spot, and just happened to be at the start of the climb up to the bealach between to the two Munros.
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Welcome to Chateau Hotel du Lac Calavie. Our staff are happy to help you ... I've certainly seen shabbier camping spots.
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After setting up camp and ditching all the heavy stuff our of the rucksack we set off up the bealach, to do Lurg Mhor first. Nothing much to report about the pathless slog, not too difficult, and with one or two decent views behind. Image

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Turning right at the bealach, we worked our way up through some crags and bouder fields, arriving at the summit just in time for the weather to close in, with rainy squalls coming from the north-east.
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Moisture approaching ...
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Waterproofs were donned, but in fact the rain showers were brief and as ineffective as the current Spurs attack, but gave for some atmospheric pictures. Looking down into the upper reaches of Loch Monar, the terrain seemd especially bleak and lonely, few folk go there on a regular basis I should imagine.
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We made our way back down to the bealach and then picked up the straightforward track up to the summit of Beinn A'Choire Sheasgaich.
Looking back at the descent off Lurg Mhor:
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Summit of Beinn A'Choire Sheasgaich, Maisie hardly able to contain her excitement:
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Views back to Lurg Mhor:
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To Fuar Tholl and the Achnashellach Munros:
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And to the distant track that brought us here, and would lead us out in the morning:
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Picking our way back down the bealach to the campsite seemed to take a fair while, and by the time we were down we'd done 15 miles in total that day. Sadly the evening stayed gloomy, so no sunset to speak of.
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This was Maisie's first time with me in a small tent, and initially she was a bit bewildered by the lack of her cosy bed. We made do with a small strip of foam trimmed from a £3 mat from a well known Outdoors supplier (others are available), then wrapped in a down jacket for extra warmth, as it was a parky night, and very rainy. Much barking chat was had with the local deer population before she gave in and snored the night away.
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The sunrise was equally unspectacular at the lochside, but true to form, as soon as we'd packed our kit away, and got moving, things cleared up and the morning ahead was full of promise.
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The weather just kept on getting better and better as we progressed. The highlight of the morning was bumping into Walk Highlands legend Mountain Thyme, who was on her way to climb Beinn Dronaig, one of her last few Corbetts before compleating those.
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There's nothing much to report about the walk out, as it was pretty much the same as the walk in (only in reverse :lol: :lol: ), but the weather was superb, and I'll just let the photos do the talking:Image

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Foot sore from the heavy pack, we arrived back at the car about 11:30, some 27 hours after setting off, of which 13 were actually spent moving. The last sting in the tail was a flat battery in the key fob for the car .... :( :( :(
Fortunately my spare key was back at the flat in LochCarron, and the landlord kindly drove it round for me. He got a couple of bottles of fine Yorkshire ale in return, a fair trade I'd say.
I would definitely love to return to camp at Loch Calavie again at some point in the future, a lonely yet beautiful spot.

And look, I didn't write Cheesecake once ....
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:45 am

Great pictures. We tackled these munros from Attadale also but took the bikes. A great area.
All the best. :D
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby PeteR » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:56 am

Nice one Jonathan....the day I did these two chaps suddenly appeared from the loch area and tried to "attach" themselves to me in the climb up the two hills. I wasn't too keen, as I didn't really want to be responsible for two complete strangers.....can hardly look after myself......the slog up to the bealach though seemed be be sufficient to encourage them to stick at just Lurg Mhor.

These remote hills are something else though, when you can't hear the noise of vehicles and only here the occasional plane passing above. That wild camp must have been superb, once the duelling Maisie had calmed herself :lol:

As always, superb photos from your adventure :clap:
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Jaxter » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:45 am

Cracking hills these, be good to go in from this side another time :D You weren’t tempted by the other 6? :wink: :lol:
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby 2manyYorkies » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:34 pm

Jaxter wrote:Cracking hills these, be good to go in from this side another time :D You weren’t tempted by the other 6? :wink: :lol:


Well of course I could have nipped over them in a couple of hours but not really fair on the dog 😂😂
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby 2manyYorkies » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:38 pm

PeteR wrote:Nice one Jonathan....the day I did these two chaps suddenly appeared from the loch area and tried to "attach" themselves to me in the climb up the two hills. I wasn't too keen, as I didn't really want to be responsible for two complete strangers.....can hardly look after myself......the slog up to the bealach though seemed be be sufficient to encourage them to stick at just Lurg Mhor.

Indeed Pete, peace, quiet and solitude are sometimes what this doctor needs for himself. I once had folk "attach" themselves to me whilst doing the Pennine Way, net result that once they realised they weren't up to it and stopped, I had to motor on in the dark and put me leg down a rabbit hole thus ending my attempt!
Now I just go deliberate slowly (😂😂😂) so no one in their right mind would want to attach themselves!!
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby past my sell by date » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:47 pm

Great report and pics and great hills, but a shame this track has been resurfaced in such an ugly manner :( I went in from Achintee rather than Attadale - bar meal at the Strathcarron hotel and then evening walk on nice little track to Bearnish bothy. In morning traversed the hills and descended to Bendronaig - it's still a long walk back to Achintee :( from there, but on a nicer track. Would go your way if biking -
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:25 pm

I'm glad this wise old sage's advice worked out to your satisfaction, the hills themselves are nothing to write home about,the views more than compensate tho,as for the walk in and out................work of the devil I'll tell you. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Bod » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:57 pm

Excellent report there :clap:
Enjoyed reading that very much. Well done spanning it over the two days and enjoying a camp, that's what I would plan to do on a return trip :D :D :D
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Marty_JG » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:51 am

Some reet cracking photos.
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby mountain thyme » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:05 pm

Fabulous Jonathan :clap:

Was great to meet you on the track... see you at MM meet end of Nov :D
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby rockhopper » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:07 pm

Great report from a great area. Nice camping spot too. Last time I was up here there was a lot of groundworking but looks clearer now. Thanks :)
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby 2manyYorkies » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:30 am

mountain thyme wrote:Fabulous Jonathan :clap:

Was great to meet you on the track... see you at MM meet end of Nov :D


Was a fab surprise T. Yes, looking forward to the MM meet!

rockhopper wrote:Great report from a great area. Nice camping spot too. Last time I was up here there was a lot of groundworking but looks clearer now. Thanks :)


Thanks! Am hoping to build some more wild camping into my trips. Gives the mountain days a great sense of adventure, the solitude and peace are therapeutic!
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:28 pm

Looks like a fine and wild place - though I'm not keen on ATV tracks I must admit.

Some great pics. Invidious to single any out really, but I especially liked the one looking towards Fuar Tholl and the Achnashellach munros.
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Re: Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:23 am

Excellent stuff Jonathan, am looking forward to revisiting them - next year, with bikes of course. None of this camping malarkey for us, the lighter the pack the better.
I can confirm the cycle out is rapid, unless you have a malfunction and end up pushing the thing downhill like someone who shall remain nameless.
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