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Tom takes its Toll. Glen Affric pair.

Tom takes its Toll. Glen Affric pair.


Postby JimboJim » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:03 pm

Route description: Tom a' Choinich and Toll Creagach, Glen Affric

Munros included on this walk: Toll Creagach, Tom a'Choinich

Date walked: 30/07/2020

Time taken: 5.3 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 1096m

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Had now managed a few Munro's since Covid lockdown relaxed. Summer, as so often the case, was being nothing like summer. We had summer in spring, during lockdown. We might not have predicted Coronavirus, but any Scot could have predicted that :lol:

Anyway, forecast looked like chance of couple of decent days together, so with little encouragement from Pam, I swallowed the bait. A wee trip back to the Cannich area offered good opportunities..... or so he thought!

Set off about 6 and was ready to get kitted up for 9.50. By 10am, was ready to head home before the midges ate me alive! Savage! Tying laces is always the worst, when they know both your hands will be occupied, leaving you defenceless.
Affric 001_1024_768.JPG
The calm before the storm, as I park up. Midges and weather lie in wait.

Anyway, having come this far I wasn't about to give in without a fight and promptly got going on the track from the rear of the car park. Before long I joined the Landrover track which leads well up the glen and soon opens up views of todays targets, Tom a' Choinich and Toll Creagach. Bit of clag on Ta'C, but nothing to worry about. Main problem was sweltering heat, despite the cloudy sky.
Affric 002_1024_718.JPG
First view of the hills, though Toll Creagach in hiding.

One passes through a couple of sturdy gates, till the road terminates at a mini hydro-dam. The next mile or so is sploshy, boggy and splashy, till branching right, up the shoulder of big Tam. I think by now it had maybe started to spit. Retrospectively, I might have guessed this was not a good sign, but I still held confidence in the Met Office forecast for no rain till 5. In fact I was still waiting for the light cloud they also had predicted. Similar with MWIS. Alas, like the recent Gulvain fiasco, they were both well off the mark.
Affric 003_1024_768.JPG
Tom a'Choinnich. That mist will clear, won't it?
Affric 004_1024_768.JPG
It's bound to clear. Met office said it would :)

Anyway, what could go wrong? It's July for Peter's sake! So upwards I plodded and it was a plod. The energy just didn't seem to be there. Gulvain a fortnight earlier seemed so much easier. What was more of a bother was the increasing wind and fog as the last of the steep gradient was swallowed up. Doubts begin to surface about whether to proceed or, not? I was still in t-shirt, though should have added in a layer, or jacket by now. Often too lazy and determined to get to top without.
Affric 005_1024_707.JPG
View back down Glen Spongy.

Although gradient had eased, I was still going uphill and just hoping I wasn't meandering too far off track to see the summit. Bingo! It appeared through the fog. Took refuge in the lee of the cairn to refuel and eventually do the wise thing and put a jacket on.
Affric 006_576_768.jpg
Summit, Tom a'Choinich, belies the wind.
Affric 007_1024_768.jpg
Summit cairn, Tom a'Choinich

I was more acutely aware of need to take correct route off the summit, as the wind and rain got pretty ugly. A bit apprehensive there was no obvious sign of track leading anywhere, so double checked map and compass bearing. Ok, ridge down should be somewhere out there.... and before long I was soon on the now clear path and dropping down rapidly.
Conditions eased somewhat down at the bealach, but it was clearly going to be an unclear way to Toll Creagach :D Fortunately, it is a pretty straightforward route, so my limited navigation skills were sufficient to keep me on track, right to the top, although it seemed to take ages to get there despite little gradient.
Affric 012_576_768.jpg
Summit, Toll Creagach.

Again, didn't waste much time at the top and was more than happy to follow a direct southerly bearing to get me back to the glen. The terrain is initially quite fascinating, like intermittent waves of gravel and grass traversing across the hillside. Next day, I was able to see the effect more clearly from a distance, on the shoulder of Tom a' Choinich. Alas, the route then deteriorates into rough moorland, grassy, heathery tussocks, which did little to lighten my mood. Finally popped out the clag just above the hydro dam and found it more reassuring to know where I was, though still took some time and further soaking to get down.
Affric 013_1024_768.JPG
Finally emerge above Glen Spongy.
Affric 014_1024_768.jpg
Back up the glen.
Affric 016_1024_730.JPG
Where descent route should just about take one to.

Finally back to the car, more tired and tested than I had expected to be on this pair.
Stayed at the Bearnock hostel, which was quite a decent place. Took a wee trip to Drumnadrochit, for a beer and excellent fish supper, sitting under a parasol in the pouring rain. Wonderful! Spent much of remainder of evening chewing over what to do the next day. Eventually, settled on going for the Mullardoch 4, but there was to be a fly in the ointment with that plan next morning when I noticed I hadn't actually printed off my maps and route notes from walkhighlands for that route :(
Affric 023_1024_768.JPG
At least I still had time to visit Dog Falls.
Affric 023a_576_768.jpg
Affric 026_1024_768.JPG

That narrowed things down to Carn Eige, or Strathfarrer, both of which were gonna be windy. Anyway, Carn Eige it was to be and that as they say, is another story :)
Last edited by JimboJim on Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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JimboJim
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Re: Tom takes its Toll. Glen Affric pair.

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:35 am

Shame you missed the views of these two. Good introduction to the Affric Hills I thought when I did them.

I can sympathise with you about some hills feeling like they are harder effort than expected. Some days I can waltz a route and then others it feels like I've lead boots on and I'm having to drag myself round. Always feels worth though.
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Re: Tom takes its Toll. Glen Affric pair.

Postby MountainTrail » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:58 pm

The views from Toll Creagach towards Loch Mullardoch north munros are stunning
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Re: Tom takes its Toll. Glen Affric pair.

Postby JimboJim » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:34 pm

PeteR wrote:Shame you missed the views of these two. Good introduction to the Affric Hills I thought when I did them.

I can sympathise with you about some hills feeling like they are harder effort than expected. Some days I can waltz a route and then others it feels like I've lead boots on and I'm having to drag myself round. Always feels worth though.


MountainTrail wrote:The views from Toll Creagach towards Loch Mullardoch north munros are stunning


Thanks PeteR and MT, though your assurances of the great views ain't really soothing my disappointing day yet :) Lead boot legs seems to be more common these days :lol:
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JimboJim
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Posts: 624
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Grahams:7   
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Joined: Mar 9, 2012
Location: Lochgilphead

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