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Driven here by low cloud and it worked out fine

Driven here by low cloud and it worked out fine


Postby dogplodder » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:01 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Meall Doire Faid

Date walked: 19/06/2019

Distance: 10 km

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It was one of those days the forecast got it wrong. Cloud was meant to be high and there was only 10% chance of rain. So we set off for Creag Rainnich, the Corbett with views into Fisherfield and the slabs of Sgurr Ban. Liz and I had talked about climbing Sgurr Ban via Loch a' Bhraoin and I wanted to have a look at our planned route.

When we got to the parking spot near the track in to Loch a' Bhraoin it wasn't looking hopeful. The cloud was thick and low and it had started raining. This was the first hill I'd done with Ruth for more than 20 years and I wanted her to get some views, which as we stepped out of the car didn't look very likely in the direction of Creag Rainnich or the western Fannichs. If it was a case of a quick shower I'd have stuck to the plan but it looked like it wasn't for changing any time soon.

Ruth was driving so I didn't want to prolong the journey more than we had to. The Braemore junction was only a few miles NE of us but it was brighter there with a glimpse of blue sky. I remembered Meall Doire Faid, the Graham next to Beinn Enaiglair which I'd climbed in June 2014. I didn't have the map for it (I know, I know) but had a pretty good picture in my head from reading Black Panther's report (thanks BP) so as long as we weren't engulfed in clag all should be well. We'd go in on the path to Home Loch as before, then follow our descent route from BE as far as the bealach with the two lochans and head up the NE side of the hill from there.

I remembered the path to the loch was marked with wooden posts and had soggy patches in 2014. Back five years later I saw only one remaining post and the path was less wet.

Path from Braemore to Home Loch (June 2014)
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Home Loch (June 2014)
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Fannichs from Home Loch (June 2014)
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It wasn't as bonny a day as June 2014 had been with blue sky and snow-patched Fannichs. It was cloudy and dull, but at least it wasn't raining as it had been where we'd planned to go.

Meall Doire Faid on the right (June 2019)
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Weir
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Waterfall
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Home Loch
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Looking SE confirmed Creag Rainnich would have had us walking in cloud. We'd made the right choice.

Creag Rainnich in the murk
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But weather can quickly change.That day in 2014 had started bright and sunny but by the time we were coming down it was raining heavily and I found out that day I was needing new boots.

Meall Doire Faid with Fannichs behind from Beinn Enaiglair (June 2014)
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Forward to 2019 and for the second time I came to two lochans in a dark and gloomy place (but so far no rain at least).

The two lochans
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We stayed on the path until level with a slightly raised shelf that we walked along to reach the lochans and crossed between them.

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Beinn Dearg not looking all that imposing from here
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Distant Ben Wyvis and Loch Glascarnoch
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We spotted a grassy rake that avoided the crags and zig zagged up, then along a grassy ramp beneath another crag and on to the summit plateau. From there it was an easy walk to the cairn.

Ruth at Meall Doire Faid summit
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It was cloudy and grey but we could see a misty Loch Broom and Ullapool. The wind was strong so we walked back east to find a sheltered spot for lunch. Sitting with our backs to rocks we were out of the wind and after food and 20 years worth of chat, finally stood up to decide what to do next. A few steps out of our shelter and the scene was rather different.

The difference lunch makes
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So we headed back to the summit
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From the top we couldn't see all the way down the slope towards Home Loch but I knew from what others had written it was a viable descent route.So that's the way we went.

View from the descent
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Weaving a path between the crags
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Zoomed to Ben Mor Coigach and Stac Pollaidh
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Looking SW Creag Rainnich was now clear but if we'd stuck with our initial plan we'd have been soaked, walking for several hours in cloud and rain. We had no regrets about what we'd done. We'd escaped the rain, got good views and the Corbett is still there for us to climb another day.

Creag Rainnich in the clear now
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Loch a' Bhraoin
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Fisherfields and An Teallach
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An Teallach and Home Loch from lower slopes of Meall Doire Faid
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There was no difficulty and we were soon on the path back to the car at Braemore junction. It being a smaller hill and shorter distance we had time to spare so paid a visit to the Aultguish Inn on the way home. It wasn't what we'd planned but had turned into a most enjoyable day. Our conclusion was Meall Doire Faid shouldn't be overlooked in pursuit of the big boys. It has craggy character and boasts great views!
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dogplodder
 
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Re: Driven here by low cloud and it worked out fine

Postby gld73 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 am

So true - The smaller hills I've done as poor-weather substitutes for the munros/corbetts I was intending to do if the weather had been good have often turned out to be every bit as enjoyable as those bigger, more trodden ones :D
gld73
 
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Re: Driven here by low cloud and it worked out fine

Postby dogplodder » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:16 am

gld73 wrote:So true - The smaller hills I've done as poor-weather substitutes for the munros/corbetts I was intending to do if the weather had been good have often turned out to be every bit as enjoyable as those bigger, more trodden ones :D


Have to admit I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. 8)
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3659
Munros:230   Corbetts:57
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Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
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Joined: Jul 16, 2011

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