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Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the end

Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the end


Postby Mountainlove » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:49 pm

Route description: Ben More Assynt and Conival

Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 24/08/2020

Time taken: 9.15 hours

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‘I am not leaving the car’ Kevin proclaimed when we arrived at the Walkers car park in Inchnadampf. Looking out of the window, I could see thousand of midges swarming around the black car we parked next to. Urgh :shock: maybe the wrong place to park
Starting the car we drove a few meters and parked next to a silver car and re-checked the horror which awaited us. There might have been 5 midges less around that car, but the hordes were out to get us. Another group of walkers, fully clad in clothes and midge nets, had just arrived before us and looked equally shaken. In the tight space of the front seat, we managed to get ready.
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In the car


By the time we stepped out of the car, a swarm of midges were above us within seconds and more and more followed. It was one of the worst starts of a walk I had ever encountered. However the midgy jackets we had brought were worth their weight in gold. Minus my exposed hands (covered in multiple layers of midge repellent) the midges could not bite me.
We set off from the car park, usually by that time,midges are getting less, but during today's walk seemed to increase. With a dark cloud of midges above us we continued through midge hell.
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Midgy jackets are well worth the investment


You know the times when you think nothing can get worse? About half an hour into the walk, I suddenly felt the pang of an upset stomach. :shock: No no no not now! :roll: Talking about worst timing ever! Frantically I search for a suitable spot, while the thought of having to expose my behind to the lot above me was a hellish thought. With my trousers around my ankles, :shifty: frantically spraying my behind with midge repellent, :wtf: cursing and trying to dig a small hole in the ground, hoping that no one would see me … :? :eh: :thumbdown: was certainly not the highlight of the day . :shifty: :lol:

Rather flustered I walked back to Kevin, who was smirking inside his midge jacket. ‘Don’t say anything’ I mumbled under my breath while continuing the walk. We followed the described walk up the hill, photos had to wait as anytime you stopped the midges got even worse. Like us a lot of other hill walkers had midge nets on, as walking without them, meant you were literally breathing midges in through your nose (I personally tested it and only lasted seconds) Everyone seemed as pained as we were and some poor folks without nets, even had to return to the car...who can blame them?
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Pretty moss covered waterfall on the way up


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Walk out of hell


Midges were the talk of the day with everyone we met. One walker who had talked to some other folks (who had to return) said that higher up it would be getting worse. :roll: When we reached the height of Fuaran nan Each and scrambled up the rocks we met a young chap who informed us that higher the midges would finally stop…thank god for that. :clap: When we reached the mentioned area, I was finally able to remove the midge jacket and stop for a break to have some much needed food and water. We looked around us, a boulder field of quartzite rocks littered the countryside and Conival was looming high above. It was cold and the low clouds of the morning had disappeared from the tops and the views that day were spectacular. The area often described as Gods country, was clad in sunshine and high puffy clouds drew dramatic shadows around the mountains. The sun highlighted some of the peaks in the distance to perfection and I had to stop so many times to take photos, that I knew we would easily add another hour to the walk, but who cares. :D

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Views from the walk up Conival


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Views from Conival


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From the summit



We reached the summit of Conival and last time I was up here I had no views, but this time the glorious countryside and deep cliffs was something I was savoring.

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The walk ahead to Ben More Assynt


The walk out to Ben More Assynth was as rocky as I remembered it and walking was slow going. A few midges appeared here and there, but in low numbers so that it was bearable.

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What a viewpoint


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It's a long way down


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The walk will take you quite some time due to the loose scree



We reached the second summit and fantastic views were to be seen everywhere. The thought of the return, left us linger longer than planned and during that day, we were the second last group down the hill.

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View from Ben More Assynt


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High above gods country


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Back at the summit of Conival


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On the way back


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What a countryside



Climbing down into midge territory had been the dreaded thought of the whole return trip, but some glorious wind had picked up and with it hopefully blown the worst of the midges out towards sea (there is hope) We managed to return and only close to the car a few hardy ones were still lingering. What a day we have had! It was probably one of the worst midge experienced I have had and I was glad that we were camping close to the sea, where a slight wind meant that most evenings had been bearable.

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Views back


A video of the midge encounter and hillwalk can be found here:



During the next day we gave the hills a miss and I ventured out to sea. If you are ever looking for a similar hobby to hill walking…and like to be cold and wet, have to drive for miles, end up spending a fortune on gear and like to get to know the weather forecast even better (add tides, wind speed, currents and wave height) then snorkeling might be your thing. Laugh :lol: its actually fantastic and regardless of how tired your legs are after a hill walk, snorkeling is still possible!
For those who are looking for tips and locations, google the Snorkel Trails from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, but let me show you a few photos of what awaits you in Gods country below the waves.

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A compass jellyfish


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Spectacular and elegant


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A catshark


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Beautiful creatures


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Sea Anemone


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Life on the legs of an old pier


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Another anemone


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Lions mane jellyfish


A video of the snorkeling trip can be found here:
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Mountainlove
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby dalavil » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:10 pm

Brilliant photos.
The start of your walk reminds me of setting off from near the Fairy Pools on Skye one morning...
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Mountainlove » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:00 pm

dalavil wrote:Brilliant photos.
The start of your walk reminds me of setting off from near the Fairy Pools on Skye one morning...

Many thanks! If you had similar I feel the pain! Had midges before, but never that bad.
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby dibs » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:34 am

Great videos guys and always a special area when the weather is kind. :clap:

George
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:45 am

dibs wrote:Great videos guys and always a special area when the weather is kind. :clap:

George

Many thanks George, agree about the weather up there. Its always worth waiting for it, as the area is so spectacular
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:46 pm

What a marvellous place. But most amazing are: 1. the midgie vid - don't think I've ever experienced it that bad (I seem to recall one of your reports from a few years ago in which you described the sound of the billions of beasties hitting the tent as being like rain!); 2. The astonishing snorkelling pics.

Lucky you to have that extra string to your adventuring bow when the weather's dreich!
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:27 pm

Alteknacker wrote:What a marvellous place. But most amazing are: 1. the midgie vid - don't think I've ever experienced it that bad (I seem to recall one of your reports from a few years ago in which you described the sound of the billions of beasties hitting the tent as being like rain!); 2. The astonishing snorkelling pics.

Lucky you to have that extra string to your adventuring bow when the weather's dreich!

You remember that one well :D ...and that was the worst midge encounter at night I ever experienced... Still give the the creepy crawlies thinking about it!
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Anne C » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:25 am

Great report as ever mountainlove! The photos on the hill are beautiful but those underwater photos are quite something. :clap:
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:06 am

Love the underwater pics - so colourful for Scottish waters!
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:37 pm

Anne C wrote:Great report as ever mountainlove! The photos on the hill are beautiful but those underwater photos are quite something. :clap:

Thanks a lot Anne. Love to take pictures of the underwater World which has its own set of challenges.

weaselmaster wrote:Love the underwater pics - so colourful for Scottish waters!

It's incredible what you get to see and not expect
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby litljortindan » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:45 pm

Midges aside, that looks grand but joining the jellyfish to escape the midges is a step too far I think!
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby rockhopper » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:50 pm

Midges :roll: These two make for a nice walk in the snow in winter....and no midges :wink: - cheers :)
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Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a snorkel at the

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:45 pm

litljortindan wrote:Midges aside, that looks grand but joining the jellyfish to escape the midges is a step too far I think!


The good thing about jellyfish is that they don't follow you :lol:

rockhopper wrote:Midges :roll: These two make for a nice walk in the snow in winter....and no midges :wink: - cheers :)

Those must be amazing in winter! And any time without midges is a plus 8)
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i-need (was Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a sno

Postby akiggins » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:23 pm

ML.
What is the brand of the midge jacket? Headnet is not cutting the mustard this year.
thanks in advance
Andrew
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Re: i-need (was Re: Walk through hell to get to heaven and a

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:02 pm

akiggins wrote:ML.
What is the brand of the midge jacket? Headnet is not cutting the mustard this year.
thanks in advance
Andrew


Hi Andrew,
The brand is : Beaton's Midge Jacket. Personally I can really recommend it.
M
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