The Eastern Fannichs
An Coileachann, Meall Gorm, Sgurr Mor and Beinn Liath Mhor Fannichs 03/12/ 1994 24km 1780m 8h
The KMC, are having a w/e winter break @ the Achnasheen hotel and I`ve called in a favour to access these eastern hills from Fannich lodge. Only 7 of us, in two cars, the other members having climbed this group from the A835. On receipt of the gate key, I`m asked to park at the quarry. That`s good enough for me. Our route follows the Grundie river, new tree planting here, the keepers home at Aultdearg bridge; to a meeting of four tracks and view the snowy peaks around Loch Fannich. We park in a quarry area, below the cliff face of Garbh Choire Mor and gear up. I`m in full winter gear. Thermal undies, ME sallopettes, Dashstein mitts and North Cape balaclava. Hoist the sac and trace an iced burn up a steep snow bank. Pass a frozen lochan then a long steeper pull, kicking steps for the top of Choire Mor@797m. Snow here is ankle deep with wind swept areas every now and then. Hailstones rattle off us, so push on over a level section for a rise to reach the large stacked cairn of An Coileachann @923m. Lost in a white murk, there is little to see in any direction. A short break here and as the snow comes driving into our faces, I `m feeling a looseness on my r boot. My Sls were recently refurbished with a new soles, the R toecap has split right round, held on only buy my new sole. Hmm. To stop water getting in, I put the rolls from my piece bag into the top pocket of my sac and slip the poly bag over the boot. Retie the laces, then, cover said boot with a spare sock. Good enough. A fierce facing wind brings showers of hail and snow, pass a locked hut for the untidy loose cairn on Meall Gorm@949m. A track here drops to the unseen lodge and loch below. The wind lessens crossing a broad Creachan Rairgidh@ 836m. and clears to show snow covered hints of the Lochs below, Gorm - an Eilain,- Droma and li. The white mass of Mor gleams in sunshine. About time it appeared. Another rise and we cross a munro top, Meall nam Peithirean @924m. Two more rises over frosted snow then an icy tundra reaches a well stacked cairn of Sgurr Mor @1110m. and hello to the bitter wind again. After the shortest of stays began a careful descent of the way we `d came. An E turn on safer ground to reach the long 1.5k ridge out to the cairn of Beinn Liathh Mhor Fannaich @954m. A quick looksee at a stone built refuge “the howf,” half buried in snow before a rest. Then take in the hills across loch Glascarnoch - three of the six munros from April`s 12h Aultguish marathon. We meander back to Meall Gorm dropping due S on a good path for a wooded area, the loch and lodge. Although boarded up it was still impressive and after a good look around walked the track beside the loch. The weather having cleared a bit, a waning sun was now sinking beyond the hills so needed a quick return to the cars. It was dark by the time we hit the road end then having dropped off the key and thanked the keeper, sees a return to the hotel for a good meal and rest.
The hotel was built in1871 sat at the station and having been added too over the years, would be destroyed by fire the following year.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.