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Too soon for work - Escape to Strathfarrar

Too soon for work - Escape to Strathfarrar


Postby malky_c » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:06 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn na Muice

Date walked: 09/01/2020

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 5 km

Ascent: 540m

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Grahams: Beinn na Muice.
Date: 09/01/2020.
Distance: 5 km.
Ascent: 540 m.
Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes.
Weather: Cold, calm, mostly overcast.
Plus 27 miles of cycling from Struy.

I had originally taken the first Monday and Tuesday of the first week back to work as leave, but the weather forecast had me juggling them around again. Instead I decided to take Thursday off - a rare forecast of low wind was far too tempting. Unsure whether to go up a hill or cycle somewhere, we decided to do a bit of both. Beinn na Muice in Glen Strathfarrar fit the bill nicely, requiring a cycle of the full length of the glen to reach it at this time of year. Lacking an early start from Inverness, it was almost 11am by the time we left the gatehouse near Struy. Almost immediately it struck us that we had forgotten to consider one important thing - ice!

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An early stop

The road is not a public road and is not properly gritted, although there are a couple of DIY grit boxes along the way. The initial bit after the gate was indeed a bit slippery, and care was needed not to come skidding off the bikes. However the road was largely dry, and once out of the trees it was a little warmer, so we had few problems.

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First big hills in the glen

I always forget how far it is up here. It seems to take quite a time to reach Loch Beannacharan, at which point you are still a bit short of the starting point for the Munros on the north side of the glen. Not that it mattered - the going was mostly flat and windless, and there was little traffic. Also cycling allows you to appreciate the beauty of the glen more, and it is definitely one of the most attractive in the Highlands :) .

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Loch Beannacharan

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Sgurr na Lapaich

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Sgurr na Diollad

As we got further west, the views opened out and the sun even shone for a bit - stunning.

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Beinn na Muice approaching

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Sgurr na Lapaich

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A bit of sun

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In the glen

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Sgurr na Lapaich

There was a bit of a climb at the end up to the dam, which we actually stopped a bit short of. The western end of Beinn na Muice seemed to be the most attractive and short route of ascent, so we abandoned the bikes at a short section of track.


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Meall Innis an Loichel

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Sgurr na Lapaich

The ground was fairly clear underfoot with not too many tussocks, however it was really slippery today! Scrambling up through the rocky outcrops got us onto the end of the ridge, at which point we could see down Loch Monar to Lurg Mor and the Achnashellach hills.

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Lurg Mor and Loch Monar

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Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr na Lapaich

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Beinn Dubh an Iaruinn

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On the way up Sgurr na Muice

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Fresh snow

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Loch Monar with Bidein an Eoin Dearg prominent

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Jaxter on her way up

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Sgurr na Muice

The high cloud today was brilliant - a mackerel pattern with low sunlight behind. The almost complete lack of breeze was a pleasant novelty too at this time of year. On the downside, after gaining almost all of the height, there was a lot of ridge to traverse to reach the summit, all in soft snow.

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Interesting light

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Sgurr na Muice

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On the summit ridge

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Carn nan Gobhar

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Looking down Loch Monar

I knew there were some good windows through the hills to the west around here, but I couldn't remember what was on view. Turns out we could see a faint outline of the Black Cuillin beyond the closer hills - as the sun descended, these stood out more and more.

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Black Cuillin in the distance

There was a slight breeze on the summit itself, but not much, so we stopped for lunch. We felt much remoter here than we actually were due to the fact we had cycled up the glen and there was no traffic to be heard below.

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Looking back up the ridge on our way down

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Sgurr na Lapaich

We followed a similar route down, keeping a little further north where the most awkward bits were. At one point we had intended to nip up little Meall Innis an Loichel after this, but instead we were content with just visiting the dam and then getting as much of the return cycle done in the failing light as possible.

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Sgurr na Lapaich

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Monar Dam

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Beinn na Muice from the dam

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Sgurr na Lapaich

There was some great light on the way out but we wanted to get back to the car before too much of the road became icy again - as it would undoubtedly do once the temperature started dropping again.

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Last light on Loch a' Mhuilidh

This ended up being our last time in the hills before the full reality of Glasgow and being properly back at work hit. A great way to end the Christmas/New Year break!
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5978
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Sub 2000:272   Hewitts:269
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Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow

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