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Up Glen Mallie to Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:58 pm
by TheTortoise
We were spending a few days at the Loch Linnhe campsite, trying out our new van and hoping to use our ancient mountain bikes to visit some remote Grahams. It is a bit unclear whether the Hare's bike or my body will give out before we have done all the ones left in this category. Even if you have currently absolutely no intention of climbing Grahams, be aware that in later life you may change your mind (as we did). These remote Grahams have a certain appeal, and often great views, but are best attempted while you can still do at least one of these - cycle on rough tracks / do very long walks /carry a tent. And it is an extremely good way of social distancing, no other people are likely to be seen! On the other hand, half the fun for us is recognising all the hills surrounding us, many of which we have climbed, so that rather negates the previous recommendation of doing them before you've finished the higher lists.

Top of our list in this area was Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean. We drove to the waterfall at the W end of Loch Arkaig, and set off along the track on the south side of the loch. The estate is just finishing off some improvements to the bridge, and then there was a smart chipped track going through the woods - fine for vehicles and mostly ok for bikes if you kept within the vehicle tracks, we just had to walk occasionally when it was a bit steeper with loose stones.
Beside Loch Arkaig
After a while, the new track gives way to an older one, and we cycled through more trees, then left the lochside and turned into Glen Mallie.
Into Glen Mallie
Reversing the route in the SMC guide - because there is a strong instinct to start walking up rather than along - from the high point in the glen we left the bikes and followed an ATV track which took us through the more tussocky heathery ground to the grassy ridge. The intermittent drizzle stopped and there was some very brief sun as we reached some of the numerous lochans up here, and we huddled down out of the wind to have lunch. The we continued towards the clouded summit, and were delighted to find that just as we got there, the drizzle stopped and the top cleared. Gulvain had dominated our views on the ascent, and now we could see westward up Glen Pean and beyond.
Looking up Glen Pean
We headed a bit further west and descended some steep grassy slopes, which after a while seemed interminable!
The steep grassy slopes are getting gentler
There was a handy plank bench for refuelling by the old Rhuighe Mhor walled enclosure, then we had a pleasant walk out along Glen Mallie.
Glenmallie (ruin) - complete with newer shelter
Finally it was back to the bikes and out - good for the descent, if somewhat bumpy, and only occasional walking because of loose stones.
Here is our approximate route.

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