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Super Strathfarrar Four

Super Strathfarrar Four


Postby PeteR » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:52 pm

Route description: Glen Strathfarrar Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Date walked: 07/07/2013

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Planning this walk was heavily influenced by the wallpaper on my laptop – a view I’d enjoyed a few weeks earlier looking across to Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais while sitting on the Corbett Sgorr Na Diollaid 8) I was wondering what hills to do and this view was staring me in the face every time I went online :wink: As this was going to be the only weekend in July that I could add any new Munros to my tally, I wanted to make it a good one :D And my photo from Sgorr na Diollaid clearly suggested this would be a good one :D And the weather forecast was looking superb too, which meant it had to be done :lol:

This was also going to be a different experience for me too. Apart from a few walks with a colleague at work my walking has been pretty much solo stuff (with the odd occasion here and there where I maybe walk for a while with some random walker I meet while out on a walk). During the week I’d seen a post on the WH meetings forum from SAVAGEALICE, asking what peoples plans were for the Sunday. I mentioned that Strathfarrar was calling me and a few replies later and arrangements were being made for a two car attack of the Strathfarrar four, avoiding the tiring 4 mile road walk back to the car at the end of the day :D

I was slightly apprehensive though :? I know I’m a slow steady plodder when it comes to walking. This works for me and I’m comfortable with it (it’s an approach that has been honed to almost perfection over the last six years :lol:). A “photo opportunity” or three here and there, especially on the steep bits, is also to be much appreciated :lol: My concern though is that if I walk with someone else my approach might just grate on them after a while, especially if they want to move a bit faster, or “photo opportunities” just aren’t their thing :shock:

My preparation for the walk probably wasn’t the best either, with not enough sleep before I headed off at some stupid time in the morning. I arrived plenty early though, so was able to catch a few more zzzzzzzzzz before the walking started.

Just before “opening time” SAVAGEALICE drove up and introductions made. By now a few other cars had arrived and we were all awaiting the magical 9.00 a.m. when the gate would be opened. I have to say it was weird. As SAVAGEALICE and I were talking car ignitions were all suddenly turned, engines burst into action and crazed drivers jockeyed for position at the head of the queue as if the gatekeeper might suddenly decide to restrict access to even fewer cars :lol: It must have been 9.00 a.m. :roll:

Once in possession of our respective passes it was into the glen :D (the least said about locating the two parking areas the better :oops:). I’d often considered in the past the Strathfarrar access restrictions as something of an annoyance, but the drive in went some way to changing my mind on that score. It’s a charming little glen, whose seclusion gives it a very different atmosphere to many other places :D

Eventually parked up :oops: and we were off. We had decided on the traditional anti-clockwise approach to this round. Thankfully the boggy ground wasn’t that boggy (although yours truly did manage at one point to sink his foot into one particularly squelchy bit of bog on the way up onto Sgurr na Ruaidhe :shock:)
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Start of the walk

The walk onto the first Munro of the day was pretty straightforward, although SAVAGEALICE was to discover that I describe my walking style as a slow, steady plod for good reason. I’m slow :lol: and I plod :lol: I can only hope I wasn’t too slow and plod-like though :lol: It was a scorching hot day too, so not particularly conducive to speed :shock:).

Despite my slow plod we made pretty good time to the first summit (based on the timings from the man from Cicerone :wink:), as we did the usual hill walkers thing throught the walk of chatting about hills we’d done, walking experiences we’d had, etc, etc, etc :lol: We had a short stop on this summit, enjoying the views that were starting to develop.
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Sgurr na Ruaidhe summit cairn

From here it was a fairly easy descent over the soft, spongy, grass to the Bealach nam Botaichean and the climb up onto the broad plateau below the rock hopping final ascent of Carn nan Gobhar (still making reasonable time against the man from Cicerone despite my plodding :D).
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View toward the Ben

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Mullardoch Munros - Sgur na Lapaich

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View toward Carn nan Gobhar

It’s an odd looking cairn on this summit, sitting as it does in the middle of the rock pile that is the summit. They had clearly had to find which individual boulder had been sticking up the highest and then built a cairn on it. Still, it gave good views to Munro number 3, Sgurr a Choire Ghlais and beyond to the rest of the ridge 8)
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Fannichs from Carn nan Gobhar summit

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Route ahead to Sgurr a Choire Ghlas

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Beyond Sgurr a Choire Ghlass to Creag Ghorm a'Bhealach

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Orrin Reservoir

It’s an even easier descent of Carn nan Gobhar, starting off very gradually before a final drop to Bealach Sneachda.
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Toward Sgurr na Diollaid from Bealach Sneachda

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View back toward Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr na Ruaidhe

The climb up onto Sgurr a Choire Ghlas looked steep from a distance and still looked steep when we stood at the foot of it. We both reckoned we would be up it in no time at all – which we would have been had we not stopped half way up to admire the view of the hills to the north and take part in a bit of “hill spotting” :lol:
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Sgurr a Choire Ghlas south ridge

Sgurr a Choire Ghlas gives you a choice of two cairns and a trig on the summit. No idea which officially marks the highest point, so all three were touched :thumbup: Better to be safe than sorry :thumbup:
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View to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill from Sgurr a Choire Ghlas

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Carn-trig-carn on Sgurr a Choire Ghlas

The walk between Sgurr a Choire Ghlas and the fourth and final Munro of the day Sgurr Fhuar-thuill gives the longest walk between summits. Care could be needed on the initial descent, as we managed to place ourselves on some pretty sizeable boulders. A slight traverse back toward the ridge and we were back on the path. Once passed the initial section of boulders the path drops down to the Bealach Toll Sgial. This was the narrowest part of the ridge and looked pretty impressive from the Munro summit. From the Bealach it was then a short climb up to the non-Munro summit of Creag Ghorm a’Bhealaich. By now my plodding was turning into huffing and puffing :lol: so SAVAGEALICE walked on ahead of me at her own pace and I eventually joined her at the small cairn, where more great views were on offer and more “hill-spotting” could take place :D
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Looking back along the ridge to Sgurr a Choire Ghlas

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View back along the Strathfarrar ridge from Creag Ghorm a’Bhealaich

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View west toward Loch Monar

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Lochan Fhuar-thuill Mhoir from the climb up to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

An easy drop down and then a final climb to Munro number four. SAVAGEALICE again moved on ahead of me as my huffing and puffing continued, but eventually I joined her at the summit.
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Final climb up to Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

By now the warmth of earlier had been replaced by a fairly chilly wind, so it was on with an extra layer as we prepared to head down. Sods law of course, as the wind dropped markedly as we lost height and eventually we were sweltering again.
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View to the west again

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Toward the Fannichs

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Slioch and friends

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Mullardoch Munros and beyond and Sgurr na Muice in the foreground

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Toward the Strath Carron Munros

At the saddle between Sgurr Fhuar-thuill and Sgurr na Fearstaig we picked up the excellent stalkers path that would take us back to the road. Despite suggestions that this path is initially steep we both felt it was easy and good progress was made, as we took in the great view toward Loch Toll a’Mhuic and the impressive Graham Sgurr na Muice :D As the walkhighlands route description says the Allt Toll a’Mhuic provides some impressive waterfalls on the route down.

Eventually though we were back at the roadside and into the car just in time to listen to the hullaballoo that immediately followed Andy Murray’s impressive win at Wimbledon :clap: The soles of my feet sure were grateful for the lift back from SAVAGEALICE :thumbup:, instead of the further four mile walk along the road back to my car :shock:
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Down Strathfarrar, with Sgur na Lapaich from Loch Beannacharan

All in all a great day out on a super round of hills and great to meet a fellow walkhighlander too :D I think we both agreed that the round of these four hills was pretty impressive and had probably exceeded our expectations of what the round would be like :D

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PeteR
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby rockhopper » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:46 pm

A cracking day, Pete, especially with the weather and company. Certainly is a lovely glen made all the more interesting by the ticketing requirement....woe betide you though if you try to wait on the road rather than in the car park :shock: Am hoping to go back some time in good weather as I saw almost nothing in the clag first time around :roll: - cheers :)
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:54 pm

rockhopper wrote:A cracking day, Pete, especially with the weather and company. Certainly is a lovely glen made all the more interesting by the ticketing requirement....woe betide you though if you try to wait on the road rather than in the car park :shock: Am hoping to go back some time in good weather as I saw almost nothing in the clag first time around :roll: - cheers :)


Thanks rockhopper :D

I was a good boy and parked up in the car-park first :lol:

Certainly worth a revisit though :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:09 pm

Good stuff Pete and Alice did not Savage you :D

The gate thing seems queer right enough it is kinda putting me off doing these four for now :wink:
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby laconic surf » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:19 pm

Nowt wrong with a slow plod. No point going up hills without a good few "view appreciation" stops :wink:
Looks like you had a great day.
I'm planning these on the weekend the gatekeeper sods off for winter - no need to keep an eye on the time then :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:22 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Good stuff Pete and Alice did not Savage you :D

The gate thing seems queer right enough it is kinda putting me off doing these four for now :wink:


Cheers Colla.

Don't let the gate put you off. This time of year you have plenty of time to do the circuit before risking getting locked in :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:30 pm

laconic surf wrote:Nowt wrong with a slow plod. No point going up hills without a good few "view appreciation" stops :wink:
Looks like you had a great day.
I'm planning these on the weekend the gatekeeper sods off for winter - no need to keep an eye on the time then :D


Cheers laconic surf

I think these hills would be superb in winter :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby Bod » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:58 pm

Cracking report PeteR and a great day too I see. Sunday sure was a belter :)
Been planning these 4 this summer, so who knows, could be soon. That's kinda crazy though, folks jostling to get in the gate :) !
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:02 am

Excellent report. Thanks for a great day. No need to appologise for "appreciation stops"! :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby Gavin99 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:03 am

Nice one again Pete , we missed you by 24 hours on these , you definitely had the better day by the look of it . I agree with you on the restricted car access , it does keep the glen pristine , the lack of roadside bonfires and half burnt beer cans is noticeable 8)
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby pigeon » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:47 pm

Knew you were heading up there on Sunday Pete that's why Gavin and i walked these on Saturday :lol: Only kiddin',would have been good to bump into you again.We were up for the weekend and with contrasting weather forecasts for Sat and Sun we had to choose between this or the Affric day for Sunday and Affric won the toss.Good to see your pics as we didn't get great views from them on Saturday and it was pretty windy at times too :shock: Still enjoyed the day ,cheers Pete,another fine report :thumbup:
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:14 pm

Bod wrote:Cracking report PeteR and a great day too I see. Sunday sure was a belter :)
Been planning these 4 this summer, so who knows, could be soon. That's kinda crazy though, folks jostling to get in the gate :) !


Thanks Bod. A group that is well worth the visit, that's for sure :D I thought they were visually more interesting than I was expecting them to be.

And yes, the jostling for position was weird. SAVAGEALICE and I were just standing chatting, then all of a sudden there was the turning of ignitions and engines revving seemingly in unison and people were off :lol: Clealry worried they would miss their chance to get into the glen :roll:
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:19 pm

SAVAGEALICE wrote:Excellent report. Thanks for a great day. No need to appologise for "appreciation stops"! :D


Cheers SAVAGEALICE. Seems we picked the right day for these hills :D From others comments it looks like Saturday wasn't quite so kind to them.
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:24 pm

Gavin99 wrote:Nice one again Pete , we missed you by 24 hours on these , you definitely had the better day by the look of it . I agree with you on the restricted car access , it does keep the glen pristine , the lack of roadside bonfires and half burnt beer cans is noticeable 8)


Cheers Gavin. Yeah, a very peaceful glen that's for sure :D Shame about your weather on the Saturday, but I see from pigeon you were in Affric on the Sunday so I'm :mrgreen: on that score. Hoping to back into those hills sometime soon :D
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Re: Super Strathfarrar Four

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:33 pm

pigeon wrote:Knew you were heading up there on Sunday Pete that's why Gavin and i walked these on Saturday :lol: Only kiddin',would have been good to bump into you again.We were up for the weekend and with contrasting weather forecasts for Sat and Sun we had to choose between this or the Affric day for Sunday and Affric won the toss.Good to see your pics as we didn't get great views from them on Saturday and it was pretty windy at times too :shock: Still enjoyed the day ,cheers Pete,another fine report :thumbup:


Thanks pigeon.Shame about your Saturday, and a shame I missed you by 24 hours. You never know, there might be a hill we both still have to tick where we bump into each other again. I'm easily recogniseable........I'll probably be standing still taking a photo :lol: :lol:

You must have had a cracker on the Sunday though :D I see you did the middle three "Affrics". I'm hoping I can get those three ticked off in August this year, if MrsR gives me leave to go camping one weekend that is :wink:
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