Travel and Coronavirus
Please check current coronavirus restrictions before travelling within or to Scotland.
Click for details
by portinscale » Mon May 05, 2014 6:53 pm
Munros included on this walk: An Riabhachan, Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Maoile Lunndaidh, Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Lapaich, Sgurr na Ruaidhe
Date walked: 20/04/20147 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
IMG_1758 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Walk 1 the Strathfarrar Four
12 miles and 1550 m ascent
it was a stunning morning as we drove up the glen for the first time. There is some unsightly hydro infrastructure but this is still a superb place.
IMG_1762 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1759 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
We decided to go against the prevailing wisdom and do the walk in a clockwise direction to take advantage of a stalker's track all the way to the ridge. It was a nice ascent although it was banked out with snow near the top.
IMG_1771 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Sgurr na Muice and Loch Toll a Mhuic
IMG_1773 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Mia enjoying herself
IMG_1778 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Sgurr na Lapaich and An Riabhachan
IMG_1785 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1789 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
When we got on the ridge there was a stunning view west up Loch Monar and everywhere else really. There was enough snow to pick out the hills and it was very easy going along the ridge. We met the first people coming the other way on the summit of Sgurr a Choire Ghlais . The drop off the summit looked a bit alarming at first as we didnt want to walk on to a cornice but in fact it was straightforward.
IMG_1791 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1794 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Sgurr na Lapaich, An Riabhachan and An Socach
IMG_1796 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking west from Sgurr a Choire Ghlais
IMG_1799 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Descending Sgurr a Choire Ghlais
IMG_1801 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Lookig west from Carn nan Gobhar
The two final munros came quickly and were carpeted in soft moss which was a joy to walk on. The final descent from Sgurr na Ruaidhe seemed to drag on a bit and was wet in places but we made it back to the road in good heart. Here we had great good fortune when a kindly soul offered to drive me back up the road.
Walk 2 An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich
9 miles and 1280 m ascent
The forecast was for all hills to be cloud free by afternoon so we set off in hope in not great conditions. It was dry at least. We drove over the 2 Loch Monar dams to the power station at Gleann Innis an Loichel. This is a long way from anywhere but not far from the tops. We followed a track, then a stalker's path into the coire leading to the bealach between these two hills. It was easy going except for the ford which was knee deep. There is an easier crossing upstream.
The coire was quite confusing and the clag was below the bealach. It is best to keep to the high ground between the 2 lochans and then traverse to the bealach through big boulders. This was intimidating as we had to climb a lot of steep snow covered with debris from landslides. It was not therefore an entirely happy party that gathered at the bealach in the clag and ferocious south wind. After a venison pie we set off up the ridge to An Riabhachan. This was very strenuous as we were blown about by the wind. Fortunately it eased further up and it did not bother us further. We topped out in thick clag and navigated to the summit. We rested here hoping the clouds would shift and they did.
IMG_1818 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
An Riabhachan summit
We then saw a solitary walker approaching - the only person we saw the whole day. As we appeared in his walk report this turned out to be Pigeon. The walk back to the bealach was much more enjoyable and the long pull onto Lapaich was no problem with excellent going underfoot. The summit was out of cloud by the time we got there.
IMG_1820 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Pigeon crossing the bealach
IMG_1821 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking south from Lapaich
IMG_1823 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking back up Sgurr na Lapaich north ridge
IMG_1825 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
An Riabhachan and coire
The SMC guide is a bit sniffy about the north ridge of Lapaich as an ascent route but it gave a really good carefree descent that ended up right by the car.
Walk 3 Maoile Lunddaidh
15 miles and 970 m ascent
This was a walk into the wild country around Loch Monar so evocatively described in Iain Thompson's book Isolation Shepherd. We set off from the first Monar dam and ML looked a long way away.
IMG_1854 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Yes that is Maoile Lunndaidh and yes it is a long way
After Monar Lodge there was a rough bit of path to a notch through a headland.
IMG_1852 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Monar Lodge from the notch
After that however the path improved markedly and we made good progress. The path was enlivened by crossing a number of side valleys and by meeting a very angry adder. Our dog is very very inquisitive and had never seen an adder before. Hissing Sid had possibly never met a sassenach dog before and certainly wasn't going to move an inch off the path.
IMG_1848 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1828 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
After about 2 hours we got to the hill. There was an excellent stalkers track all the way to the lip of the coire under ML. Once there we cut across to the SE ridge which we followed to the summit. This was a spectacular viewpoint - the best of the week. Unfortunately a shower came along so we didn't linger. We cut along the summit plateau to descend the ridge on the other side of the coire marvelling at the views of Bidean an Eoin Deirg , Cheesecake and Lurgh Mhor.
IMG_1832 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking up Toll choin on Maoile Lunndaidh
IMG_1834 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1838 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Bidean an Eoin Deirg and Sgurr a Chaorachan
IMG_1839 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Then it was back to the stalker's path and the loch and then the walk back to the car. We did not see another person on the hills all day and felt very privileged to have had this special place to ourselves.
IMG_1840 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking back up the loch to the dam
IMG_1844 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
IMG_1849 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
Looking west up Loch Monar
IMG_1853 by price249, on Flickr[/img]
by Gordie12 » Mon May 05, 2014 8:35 pm
First Hissing Sid of the year award goes to you I think.
by AnnieMacD » Mon May 05, 2014 10:00 pm
by pigeon » Tue May 06, 2014 4:55 pm
by portinscale » Tue May 06, 2014 5:37 pm
pigeon wrote:Good to speak to you guys,you were the only folks i seen on the hills all week Looks like you had a few good days,if you don't mind me asking ,how long did the Lunndaidh take you ,quite fancy doing it this way,Ralph Storer in his book reckons 8 and a half hours but i'm not so sure,don't want to get stranded in the glen!
it took us about 9 hours including stops of maybe 30 mins so Ralph Storer is about right. Once you get past the notch the going is pretty good and the path up to the coire is a godsend. There is no difficult ground on the whole walk so you can make decent time. i think it is deservedly in Storer's book as it is a great route. Dont forget the time needed to drive up and down the glen- allow 30 mins each way. i think the opening hours are longer in summer but you need to do it before stalking starts.
it was good to see you on An Riabhachan.
by Fife Flyer » Tue May 06, 2014 7:59 pm
by pigeon » Tue May 06, 2014 9:04 pm