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Beinn Dearg revisited

Beinn Dearg revisited


Postby jmarkb » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:12 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall, Meall nan Ceapraichean

Date walked: 21/10/2013

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1450m

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One of the great joys of walking in Scotland is you never quite know how the day will turn out.

My first visit to these hills, some 22 years ago, will be forever etched in my memory. It was the first holiday in Scotland for me and my then very new girlfriend, together with some friends from the Reading Mountaineering Club. It was March, we had a week of good weather, and the round of the 4 Beinn Dearg hills was the highlight: a joyful long day under endless blue skies, with snow on the tops.

I had always been a bit nervous of repeating these hills, in the sense that I knew that day could never be bettered, but a second round is a second round, and they must be done! After a battling ascent of Eididh nan Clach Geala in a blizzard last New Year, the other 3 hills remained to be done.

We set off from Inverlael under rather grey skies, but with a forecast for clear weather later. By way of variation, we kept on the south side of the river, exiting the forest at a gate by a wee dam, and turned right up the side of the next burn. There is a rough path here, but if you miss it there's some deep heather watining for you! After a steep pull, there's an easy if slightly damp walk across moorland to the foot of Meall Breac. The red deer rut was in full swing with at least three stags roaring away.

A short pull up leads to the start of the famine wall, a poignant reminder of hard times past, and an amazing construction, built largely of big slabs stood on end, quite unlike a conventional drystane dyke.

The gully of Cadh' an Amadain, the Fool's Pass gives a sudden downward view, followed by a stony pull up towards the summit of Beinn Dearg. At this point, we went into the cloud, and as we ate our lunch on the summit, a steady drizzle set in. I was half tempted to suggest cutting our losses and returning down Glen Sguaib. On leaving the summit we missed the corner of the wall and descended steep groud too far right before realising the error and regaining the path. As we reached the col, the cloud lifted a bit and the drizzle stopped, so we carried on heading for Cona ' Mheall. The cloud was coming and going from the top, and we had a dramatic view down into Coire Granda, but not much else.

We retuned to the lochans on the col, by which time the cloud had lifted off the tops, and we made the short climb to Meall nan Ceapraichean. Decision time - 2 hours until sunset. Gillian was not keen to retrace our steps again, so we set off towards Lochan a' Cnapaich. Efforts to short cut this descent were futile: there are bands of crags not marked on the 1:50k map which force you rightwards all the way to the col.

Finally we reached the stalker's path as the light began to fade. Over the following 45 minutes or so, something truly magical happened. The skies to the west cleared, sending shafts of golden light across us, and An Teallach was perfectly silhoutted again the sunset. If we had descended the Glen Sguaib way, we would have missed it all!

The final mile or so to the forestry seemed to take forever and we reached the gate just as it got properly dark, but under the now clear skies and starlight we didn't need headtorches for the tracks back to the car.

So 22 years on, we are still together, still in love and still having wonderful days in the hills: what a happy return visit!

The famine wall
Image
IMG_3208 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Meall nan Ceapreachain
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IMG_3215 by jmarkb, on Flickr

An Teallach
Image
IMG_3216 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Cliffs of Cona' Mheall
Image
IMG_3218 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Breaking clouds
Image
IMG_3220 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Lochan a' Cnapaich
Image
IMG_3236 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Fisherfield Hills
Image
IMG_3237 by jmarkb, on Flickr

On the path under Eididh nan Clach Geala
Image
IMG_3238 by jmarkb, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3241 by jmarkb, on Flickr


Meall nan Ceapreachain
Image
IMG_3267 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3249 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3269-IMG_3270 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3271 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3278 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3279-IMG_3282 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3287 by jmarkb, on Flickr

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IMG_3290 by jmarkb, on Flickr
jmarkb
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby Peter913 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:31 pm

Some nice skys there

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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby electricfly » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:11 pm

Nothing worse at the end of a long walk than a pack of bloodthirsty hounds in the next car ruining the evening ambiance! :roll:

Apologies for the K9 sountrack back at the carpark. :lol:
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby jmarkb » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:44 pm

So that was you!?! Were you staying the night in the car, then?
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby electricfly » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:28 pm

jmarkb wrote:So that was you!?! Were you staying the night in the car, then?


Yep, backseats folded forward, with large padded mat and sleeping bags we can stretch right out. :lol:

Was fine last year when it was just two spaniels, but now that the pups are almost full-size it's getting a bit like a game of twister! :crazy:

We had planned to drive down to Ben Wyvis for an early start on the tues, but we were too cream-crackered. :(
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:00 pm

Superb photos :clap:
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby jmarkb » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:19 am

We had planned to drive down to Ben Wyvis for an early start on the tues, but we were too cream-crackered.


Yes, we weren't too bothered that the weather wasn't great the next day!

Collaciotach wrote:Superb photos


Thank you!
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Re: Beinn Dearg revisited

Postby weebirdie » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:04 am

Stunning photos.
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