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Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!

Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!


Postby Grisu » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:19 pm

Route description: Ben More Assynt and Conival

Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 03/08/2019

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1121m

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It was my third time in a row that I parked my car at the parking of the Inchnadamph Hotel. Even two days ago I would not have thought to be back so soon if at all to go for the Assynt mountains again. But due to a broken gear on my roadbike and the good weatherforecast it would have been a shame if I had missed this chance on my last day of my summer holidays.

Here comes a little excursus because the story with my broken bike is just too good to leave it out: I did a ride from Inchnadamph over Elphin to Drumruni where I turned right to follow the raod with spectacular views along Loch Lurgainn and Loch Bad a' Ghaill. At the junction of Badnagyle I continued following the road straight ahead for an extra bonus: a lovely loop over Achnahaird, Reiff and back to the juncution over Achiltibuie.
2019-08-02 Strava Strathan.jpg
https://www.strava.com/activities/2584984960/embed/b9845a67f20be40a73dc4b9405a4ccda948d9d76

DSC02950php690.jpg
Little break, enjoying the views towards Loch Lurgainn

At Strathan, only 20 km from the parking, I made a picture with my bike at the place-name sign.
In Strathan, in Octobre the year before, I had a puncture with a rented car just in front of a barn around 4pm. Rain, no signal, worn out adapter for the security screw of the alloy - I was desperate. After a while Donald came looking who was blocking his barn with a terrible huge Vauxhall Moxa europcar has given me despite my protests! A Moxa for the roads in Sutherland! and without much practice driving a right hand car I persisted on a small car according to the contract, but in vain. All the silly discussions ironically accompanied by the silent slogan behind the counter: Europcar moving your way :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:
Donald tried to help but without success and then he offered me to come into the house to do some (annoying) phonecalls with europcar and so on. Jean, his wife, served coffee and cockies, and later a delicious soup - I am still in trouble to find words for their caring helpfulness!!! THANKS again! When the breakdown service from Tongue finally arrived it was around 9pm!
So far for the history, now back to my ride: After I have taken the picture I resumed my ride, I switched gears, an unpleasant cracking sound followed and paddling became impossible. First I thought my chain has gone off but than I discovered the broken derailleur.
Collage Ortsschild und broken Gear690.jpg
Last pic before the breakdown - very enoying because the complete gear, cassette, chain and everything has been changed only a few weeks ago

So I went up the little drive towards the Farmhouse of Jean and Donald who I have visited only four days ago. The gate was already closed and the dogs were barking and first Donald didn't recognized me in my bike clothes. One of the dogs had to be put into the car, the other was greeting me friendly and I told my story. We were laughing about that unbelievable coincidence and again Jean and Donald helped me and called a friend who took me and my bike and brought me back to the parking at Inchnadamph. So then, see you again, next year, Jean said, when we said goodbye. Of course, how couldn't I, plans are already in progress. :wink:

And now I was back to the parking the next day for the third time just like the german saying: Alle guten Ding sind drei (not sure how to translate this).
The first time I had to turn around at Conival due to nasty weather (https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=92386) and I was not too enthusiastic about the perspective of the long way through the valley with its muddy places and up the steep ascent over scree and boulders, however there was no real alternative for my last summer holiday, I think :) . But the sunny summer day with blue sky, the pleasant temperature and the nice views towards Suilven and Canisp as well as today's destination made it easy to get over my reluctance.
DSC03137php690 LochCraggie.jpg
Canisp and Ben More Assynt from Loch Craggie

When I arrived at the parking around 11:30am I was lucky because there was only one place left! and next to me a walker who already had finished his walk was packing his stuff back into his car.
Despite the cars I only met two girls half way up the valley coming down with their dogs and another girl sitting in the sun not intending to go further up. When I have reached the stoney path I saw another walker coming up but he was still in the valley. Although he was not running he was catching me up on north ridge short before the last pull over the rocks to the summit of Conival :shock: :roll: :clap:
When I reached the summit of Conival I hardly could imagine that it was the same place where I was two days ago but the cairn with its disctinct shape convinced me.
DSC03179php690 Cairn.jpg
Summit cairn of Conival with views towards Loch Assynt and the sea beyond, Ben Uidhe and Glas Beinn to the right

What a difference! The views had been a great reward for taking the effort to come back again.
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May be it's Dubh Loch Mór

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The impressive buttresses of Na Tuadhan

DSC03182php690 ridge of BMA.jpg
The ridge towards Ben More Assynt

Once at the summit I saw plenty of people like little dots on the ridge either still heading for Ben More Assynt or coming back. The view towards the ridge to Ben More Assynt was quite intimidating, and with a sigh I was watching the little parties, families with children and dogs, scrambling along - usually I am always excited about ridge walks but now I was missing the energy - after three weeks of walking I obviously have become quite tired, finally :?
When I reached the summit of Ben More Assynt the last partie was just leaving. A few minutes later the walker who has passed me was caming back from the Top behind Ben More Assynt. We had a little chat again but soon he said goodbye and I had the summit all to my own.
DSC03192phhp690 sun.jpg
Sunshine on the summit of Ben More Assynt

The sun was shining and behind the cairn towards the south I found some shelter from the wind. I enjoyed this break very much and the great views all around.
DSC03200php690.jpg
Giving my muddy feet a decent rest and enjoying the views.

DSC03210php690.jpg
Loch Shin with Ben Klibreck and Ben Hope behind in the far distance

DSC03214php690.jpg
View towards the other side with Loch Càrn nan Conbhairean (I think)

DSC03217php690.jpg
another great picutre towards the North; the single cone should be Arkle with Foinaven behind, Ben Klibreck again to the right.

Finally I got up and began the long way back, very glad that didn't need to hurry.
DSC03226php690.jpg
looking back from Conival heavy clouds were lingering over Ben More Assynt

DSC03230php690.jpg
and smile!

On my way back I missed the path from the corrie down the crags somehow as one can see on the strava record which looks like a short cut :lol: . I realized it only after I have managed the descent down the crags and I couldn't be bothered to go back. I thought it couldn't be too difficult to go across the scree and find the path - mh :roll: to make it short: I struggled a lot and it took me what still seems ages to get to the path. I only was glad that I always could see the path down in the valley at least and I was very happy when I saw the first cairn telling me hello! welcome back to the track.
DSC03232php690.jpg
thanx for the little cairns, they are very helpful and it was a great relief to see them again!

It was quite late when I finally arrived at the parking wondering whether there was any chance to get a little supper on my way back. There was nothing much I would pass and it was too late to drive to Lochinver or even Ullapool which I have considered if I had been back earlier. So I stopped at the Altnacealgach Inn were I had a Lager and a nice soup which brought back some life, I was really tired meanwhile! When I left the sun was going down behind Canisp so I took another picture of this beautiful scenery at the end of a lovely day.
DSC03252php690.jpg
Suilven and Canisp from Loch Borralan

Reaching Lairg I caught a last sight of the two mountains with a nightcap in the glowing light of the sunset.
DSC03256php690.jpg
Last sight of Ben More Assynt with a nightcap from Loch Shin

It was dark when I arrived at my hobbit house and I must have fallen asleep at once, I can't remember anything else. :) did I take a shower? :shock:
DSC03259php690.jpg
Happily back at Loch Shin Pods
Attachments
2019-08-03 Strava690.jpg
https://www.strava.com/activities/2588036630/embed/03c0b878cd6dcd7361d1eee9b673370f5122e98c
Last edited by Grisu on Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Grisu
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Re: Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:13 pm

Somehow I missed this WHR first time around - but good to catch it now. Assynt is one area I still dream of (but haven't yet visited), and your pics - especially the really stunning ones a) of Canisp and Ben More Assynt with flowers in the foreground, and b) Suilven and Canisp from Loch Borrahan. The pic of Ta Tuadhan (which I'd never heard of before) is also amazing - both the pic and the face.

Pleased that you had good weather for this excursion - It's a bit of a bummer when one travels a long way just to get mist and rain!

PS "Alle guten Ding sind drei (not sure how to translate this)". There's definitely an english idiom very similar to this, but I can't just think of it now. But the literal translation - "good thing come in threes" - is very clear to an English speaker.

PPS I shudder to think of the force you must have been putting into your bike to bust the derailleur... :shock: :roll:
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Re: Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!

Postby Grisu » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:33 am

Alteknacker wrote:PS "Alle guten Ding sind drei (not sure how to translate this)". There's definitely an english idiom very similar to this, but I can't just think of it now. But the literal translation - "good thing come in threes" - is very clear to an English speaker.

Thank you, Alteknacker, I am happy that you liked reading the report :) . I think the translation fits perfectly! I'll keep that in mind!
Alteknacker wrote:PPS I shudder to think of the force you must have been putting into your bike to bust the derailleur... :shock: :roll:

:lol: :lol: :lol: The last days of my summer holidays I spent in Keswick and I was lucky to get my bike promptly repaired at the www.kewsick3bikes.co.uk. The mechanic said that the broken derailleur was very unusal and quickly he saw the problem: the chain was too short! Back home I made my complain but the mechanic over here is defering the matter and does not want to take responsibilty for the unfitting chain :( - however I had two nice rides at least in the Lake District :)
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Re: Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!

Postby dav2930 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:34 pm

Quite a story, Grisu. Donald and Jean sound the very personification of Highland hospitality; what a lovely couple :D

It's good that you caught some nice weather for your day on these hills - I'm envious! You got some great photos. Like Alteknacker, I've never been to Assynt, so it's nice to get a little taster from your report. It looks fantastic and I look forward to going there one of these days! :thumbup:
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