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North Cluanie Five

North Cluanie Five


Postby weaselmaster » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:40 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Carn Ghluasaid, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 29/06/2013

Time taken: 10.35 hours

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 2252m

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Starting off a week's holiday in Kintail with a pretty poor weather forecast :( Ach well, I'll do what I can, just hoping the winds don't make ridge walking hazardous :roll: This time I've rented a hoose, not relying on canvas, which is probably just as well...
I got away from work at 4 on Friday afternoon and had a leisurely drive up, stopping off at the Good Food Cafe in Tyndrum for some great fish & chips :) Saw an eagle as I drove along the side of Loch Cluanie. Parked at the suggested layby on WH for the Sgurr nan Conbhairean route and had a restful night camping down towards the Loch - did drive up to the Cluanie Inn for a wee pint before bedtime. :wink: No midges at in the evening, but by morning they had found me, so porridge was made and consumed in the tent :roll:
Image
P1020715 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Got packed away and ready to start just after 7.30.
Image
P1020718 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Weather was overcast but not as foreboding as I'd feared and I set off up the old road towards the comms mast then onto the fine track that snakes its way up An Cruachan then to Coire Nan Clach.
Image
P1020720 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I could see the flank of Carn Ghluasaid - the Hill of Movement - ahead, and soon the more daunting peak of Sgurr nan Conbhrairean popped into view over on my left.
Image
P1020721 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020725 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Made the summit of CG after about 90 minutes - the cairn set close by the edge of the coire. Then along the edge of the coire towards Creag a'Chaorainn with SnC becoming more prominent when the clag lifted enough to see it. The final pull up to the summit of SnC was straightforward and i had a breather at the big cairn. Mist enveloped the way ahead - dropping down to a narrow ridge at An Garbh Coire to head off to Sail Chaorainn. There was still a fair bit of snow around on some aspects of the coire walls. And it certainly wasn't that warm for the middle of summer either.

Image
P1020738 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Image
P1020741 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking back to SnC
Image
P1020749 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After what seemed a ridiculously short walk got to the top of SC. Very uninspiring.
Image
P1020752 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Mullach Fraoch Coire
Image
P1020754 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I noted that there was a more impressive cairn about half a km away on Carn a Coire Mheadhoin - which although robbed as being the Munro summit for being a whole 1m lower than SC, was definately worth the trouble to visit as the views were impressive along the river valley.
Image
P1020756 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back along ridge to SnC
Image
P1020757 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The weather was brightening up and I could even catch a glimpse of blue sky, though in another moment the clag gods snatched it away again. Walking along, head enjoying the views I heard a rustling at my feet and noticed I'd almost stepped on a family of ptarmigan chicks. The fluffy brown/yellow bundles scuttered off to my right while the mummy bird did its broken wing shuffle to my left to lead me away. Don't worry, not planning to damage your brood, ma! :wink:

Heading back past SC I stopped for an early lunch at 11.30 and considered what to do. If I went back to the car now I would have to wait a wee bit to get into our cottage, if I made the route a bit longer - well, why not? I knew that a'Chalaig could be added onto these 3 but hadn't read about the route or drawn it onto the map. Got the map out and had a peep - it was easy enough to see the way across from Drochaid an Tuill Easaich to bealach coire a'chait then head up the shoulder of a'Chralaig, but I couldn't remember what the second hill in that pair was and suspected it wasn't straightforward. Plus I was walking myself for the first time in 2 months, hadn't left instructions about where I might go and - more significantly - was wearing a brand new pair of boots for the first time - did i really want to take a chance on the weather holding out and risk my feet falling off :shock: But on the other hand, I thought that it might rain and be really windy later in the week - here was an opportunity to put another couple of hills "in the bank". So you can guess what happened... Bit more scrutiny of the map revealed the second one was Mullach Fraoch Coire, which had just evaded the South Sheet of the OS map and needed me to turn over to see it. Oh - could fit in Ciste Dubh as well, i thought - although it appeared a huge drop at the bealach between them - hey I don't want to be greedy!

Heading over to Bealach coire an chait was ok,
Image
P1020759 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020760 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020761 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Shoulder of a'C
Image
P1020764 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020765 by 23weasels, on Flickr


dropped to about 750m then up the shoulder of a'Chralaig. Hadn't noticed on the map the little ridge that sticks out north-east before the main body of a'C and had a little tracking back to do up to the un-named 1051m top which was pretty steep from this side.
Image
P1020767 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Then it was back on the path proper and a misty walk to the large beehive shaped cairn of a'C.
Image
P1020769 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020771 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path from here got rockier with a little scrambly descent and a narrow path along the side of the coire towards Stob Coire na Cralaig. I'd looked at the map and decided that things were about to get more interesting - the contours suggested a narrow ridge up to Mullach fraoch coire and the appearence - or what I could see of it through the clag - didn't disappoint. A sharp edged ridge with jaggy looking pinnacles along it loomed ahead. I wondered if I'd have chosen to do this alone with the wind gusting intermittently across the direction of travel if I'd read about it first, but I wasn't going back now.
Image
P1020773 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020774 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020778 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020779 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020780 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path ribboned up the ridge, sometimes going over the rocky pinnacles, sometimes bypassing the top of the ridge. Underfoot was sometimes slippy on wet clay-like mud and there were parts that felt a little exposed, but fortunately the wind was mostly well behaved :) Got to the summit about 3pm - had taken an hour from the top of a'C which was a bit more than I'd estimated.
Image
P1020781 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1020782 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still felt reasonably energetic, which was a relief after feeling out of sorts over much of the last 10 days. The return path was ok, seemed easier going back but maybe because I knew what to expect on the way back. The jaggy rocks stood like sentinels in the mist,
Image
P1020783 by 23weasels, on Flickr
which was getting thicker and unfortunately revealed no other views to me. I'd decided to just go back the way I'd come over the top of a'C and down towards the road, rather than follow the WH return route which would have taken me further west and further away from the car.

Getting back up to the top of a'C seemed to take forever, with numerous false summits from this way round. I started to get cold and hungry - fortunately I had another bit of my flap-jack energy boost with me, which worked its usual trick. Walking back south from the top of a'C the weather really deteriorated with the rain that had threatened all day finally being released and the windy getting much stronger and driving the rain into my face and specs - hate that! Was glad I hadn't been coming across the ridge from MFC now :D

Slogged down the shoulder of a'C and kept on heading down south east rather than following the WH route to get that bit nearer to my parking space. This took me across Allt Coire a' Chait just below a waterfall and across fern and heather covered slopes. Made the road about 3km from the car and plodded back. Was relieved that my new boots had performed well - feet in pretty good shape and completely dry.

A longer day than I'd planned - this was meant to be a gentle introduction to the hills of Kintail for my first day - but a very enjoyable one for all that.
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weaselmaster
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:59 am

Good effort there, but shame about the weather. Been studying the forecast and it looks set to continue :(
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:16 am

Nice report, with great photo's :clap: The weather is such a crucial factor, also hate rain on my glasses :lol:
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:52 am

mrssanta wrote:Good effort there, but shame about the weather. Been studying the forecast and it looks set to continue :(


Yes - I'm sitting in the holiday house we've rented this morning looking at rain clag and high winds blowing the trees - probably won't get out anywhere today then :roll: How frustrating to be plonked in the middle of so many great hills and not getting the weather for them :-x
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby simon-b » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Another great report, WM. Kintail is a beautiful area.

weaselmaster wrote:
mrssanta wrote:Good effort there, but shame about the weather. Been studying the forecast and it looks set to continue :(


Yes - I'm sitting in the holiday house we've rented this morning looking at rain clag and high winds blowing the trees - probably won't get out anywhere today then :roll: How frustrating to be plonked in the middle of so many great hills and not getting the weather for them :-x


I hope you get at least one or two good days among the rougher ones. On one wet, windy day in Kintail, I stayed off the hills and had a low level walk along Gleann Lichd from Innis a' Chrotha to Glenlicht House, which was a pleasant enough sheltered alternative. I'm sure you'll get some memorable mountain walks in this week as well, though.
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby rockhopper » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:21 pm

pity about the weather but good going as an introduction to the area ! - interesting return route to avoid the normal long walkout but then I guess you do have a bit of re-ascent - hope things get better for you - cheers :)
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:40 pm

rockhopper wrote:pity about the weather but good going as an introduction to the area ! - interesting return route to avoid the normal long walkout but then I guess you do have a bit of re-ascent - hope things get better for you - cheers :)


Ach - it's not been that bad - managed a Graham on Sunday, 2 Corbetts yesterday and Fhada/Ghlas Bheinn despite high winds today. Just hoping there's manageable conditions for the latter part of the week to do the main ridge walks...would've been a bit scary stuck on a ridge today with the gusts that suddenly materialised :crazy:
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weaselmaster
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:26 pm

mrssanta wrote:Good effort there, but shame about the weather. Been studying the forecast and it looks set to continue :(


The weather looks fantastic for this week for you though - hope you get to make the most of it.
Just sitting at home, first day back at work, thinking "why didn;'t i choose this week to be off" :sick:
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weaselmaster
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby gordon l » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:31 pm

Sir, I've enjoyed your reports a lot but have struggled to keep up with your prodigious bagging rate: are you in a particular hurry to complete the hills or what?
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:41 pm

gordon l wrote:Sir, I've enjoyed your reports a lot but have struggled to keep up with your prodigious bagging rate: are you in a particular hurry to complete the hills or what?

:lol:
Not really - but when you find something that energises and enlivens your life it's hard to curb your enthusiasm. Can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing than getting up those hills :)
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weaselmaster
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Re: North Cluanie Five

Postby gordon l » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:10 am

gaun yersel sir, lang may the hills enliven ye!
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