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Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!


Postby mrssanta » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:32 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach, An Coileachan, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Meall a'Chrasgaidh, Meall Gorm, Sgurr Breac, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Each

Date walked: 07/07/2014

Distance: 42 km

Ascent: 2900m

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Many years ago when we were students, we spent a week in Glenbrittle Youth Hostel (we planned to camp but the rain got the better of us) and there met a man who was going from there to the Fannaichs for a few days. It sounded like a place of mystery and wonderment at the time, and so here we are now in our child-free week having dropped CWH at her residential course and setting off for the very place.
Due to some cyclists riding around Yorkshire on Sunday we were not able to get away till after seven o'clock, so we hot-footed it up the road as far as Perth where there is a Travelodge which gives an adequate bed in a nice clean room for not much money. Maybe you pay extra for eye contact from the staff, and a packed breakfast is a complete rip-off, but we took our own so that was OK.
Monday morning saw us up bright and early, and we got to the layby just before Grudie power station and set off on our bikes just before noon.
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lovely woodland by the road

it was overcast and we were cycling with heavy packs against a headwind. I never expected this to be so hard; it took us an hour and forty minutes to reach Fannich Lodge by which time we were very grateful to get the weight off our bottoms!
We locked our bikes to the fence and set off along the track by the lochside to tackle the two Western munros first. It's a long way. There were alternate heavy showers and shafts of sunlight, but it never rained long enough to need to crack out the full waterproofs.
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the track meanders through more lovely woods

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looking back across the loch

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Lonely house near the top of Loch Fannich


day 1 simplified.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Now Stephen Fallon on his website suggests going up the Nest of Fannich (boggy and pathless) and heading uphill to the bealach between Toman Coinnich and a'Chailleach (steep) which we thought was a no go. It looked rough and steep. What's more there is a nice stalker's path which goes up to the bealach at about 550metres alongside the lovely allt Leac a'bhealaich. Although it is boggy in places, it has been well built at some time and is easy to follow.
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Path up by the burn

By the time we reached the bealach it was about five o'clock and we decided to have a brew, pitch the tent and leave as much stuff as possible in the tent while climbing the western two Munros.
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the Happy Cups at the campspot

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not a bad view from the bedroom

It was straight up the shoulder to Sgurr Breac, whose cairn is barely worthy of the name. We cheated by skirting round the south side of the Top of Toman Coinnich to reach A'Chailleach just about ten minutes after a cloud.
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Rudolph on Sgurr Bhreac with an Teallach behind

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that's where we are going.

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top of A'Chailleach looking at Scotland's Favourite View

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lovely evening sunshine on the way back

On the return to our tent, we did the contouring thing again and by the time we reached the path again were feeling it in our ankles from walking on the side of the slope. Back down steeply to the tent by about 9.20pm and we were glad of a hot meal and a comfy sleeping bag.

It is interesting to see that the shape of Loch Fannich at the western end is quite different from that on the map. the remains of the settlement at Nedd is shown at the waters edge, but in fact is several hundred metres away.
fannaichs 031.jpg
|Looking down to the head of Loch Fannich from the shoulder of Sgurr Bhreac


day 2 simplified.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We were up bright and early and Rudolph tucked into his muesli with concentrated grapefruit juice. He makes it at home, it's a lovely plouter involving freezing and thawing and removing ice crystals. I always struggle with breakfast when backpacking as I prefer my muesli with milk. I usually manage oatcakes cheese and Eccles cakes but today I was not feeling particularly hungry.
Anyway we got ourselves packed up and away by before nine o'clockand headed straight up the slope to the east to the bealach.
fannaichs 046.jpg
Beinn Eighe appearing

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deer watching us from the col

Dumping the packs there (and the GPS so the track misses it out!) we headed south to the first summit of the day, Sgurr nan Each. It was promising to be a lovely day and we reached this summit in good time at 10.20.
fannaichs 052.jpg
View to Beinn Eighe on the left, Slioch on the right

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me on Sgurr nan Each, with sgurr Mor behind

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more An Teallach

Another hour and ten minutes took us to the top of Sgurr nan Clach Geala, which has a cairn and a broken trig pillar. We met a lady and her dog up here, she was doing the three middle Munros and planning to be home for lunch!
fannaichs 061.jpg
Yesterday's hills

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Looking up sgurr nan Clach Geala where we just came down

We then made our way to the last place we knew we could find water before the end of the ridge. There is a lochan on the ridge at 189721 and a stream is marked on the map a short distance northeast of it. At this point there is a handy boulder which is easily visible - it is even named on the 1:25,000 map - and we found running water about twenty metres downhill of this. We left our bags here while we did the out-and-back to Meall a'Chrasgaidh, which has smashing views over to An Teallach and the Fisherfields.
fannaichs 071.jpg
the big boulder with Meall a'Chrasgaidh behind

Returning to our bags we enjoyed a lunch of high quality Fairtrade beverages and Costa Chocolate Tiffin. At this point we had to decide whether to fill up with enough water to last the day only, or to have another night on the ridge but carry extra water for the camp. Three Munros down and four left to go, we made the decision to take our time, make the most of the daylight and go for the full set!
fannaichs 075.jpg
Lunch

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the happy cups enjoy Fairtrade in them.

As we made our way up the steep side of Sgurr Mor, we noticed the cloud start to close in, and by the time we reached the summit, we were well into clag. No hanging about on this one, we came down out of the cloud and dumped our bags by the path for the out and back to Beinn Liath Mor Fannaich, this time taking the full waterproofs and some snacks with us.
fannaichs 087.jpg
the ridge to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich appears out of the mist


There is a good built path which skirts the 944m top and passes Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich summit on the west. Funnily enough it disappears entirely for a while coming down the ridge, but reappears at the bealach. At the point at which we reckoned it had stopped going uphill again, we turned right over boulders and rough vegetation to reach the summit. it was reassuring to see occasional evidence of other people having been there. By the time we reached the top it was raining heavily and the only summit picture is a selfie which is terrible so you are not getting to see it!
As we retraced our steps along the stalker's path we bumped into none other than Bod and Valerie of this very website and had a great chat for about ten minutes. Although it was a bit chilly standing in the rain, it cheered us up no end so thanks Bod and Valerie for your craic and encouragement.
So retracing our steps in the rain and clag to go and pick up the bags, we were thinking this was a great chance to practise our navigation skills, do a bit of pacing and timing and so on. We were however to be disappointed, because all of a sudden the clag lifted and we were treated to some views again.
We were getting pretty tired by the time we reached Meall Gorm more than nine hours after leaving camp, so we had a good stop here for a brew and some food. I was feeling pretty exhausted really and struggling to eat anything, but found that chilli and lime cashews peanuts and corn hit the spot quite well. (Fairtrade too!)
Another very pleasant hour got us to the final Munro of the day, an Coileachan, which has a rather unexpected rock formation on the summit. It was turning into a pleasant evening, and we got a phone signal at the top and sent a text to friends to boast a little (ok, a lot!)
The descent down to Fannaich Lodge again was rather brutal, mostly because we were completely cream crackered by this time. At one point Rudolph took a wee fall and nearly turned his ankle (thankfully he was unhurt) which led to a conversation about what we would do if he had actually been unable to walk any further. At the bottom of the slopes there is a new plantation ringed by deer fences where little birch and pine trees are doing very well. The evening scent of the heather and myrtle was lovely and the smidge was effective!
We unhitched our bikes and rode a km or so down the road to where there was a water supply just outside the plantation. We had just enough energy left to pitch our tents, cook a quick blow-up meal to share, and roll into bed.
Next morning we packed up and cycled out, what a difference with the wind behind us and downhill, it took us no more than 40 minutes!
more photos further on, I have reached my maximum 25!
Last edited by mrssanta on Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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mrssanta
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby shish » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:57 pm

That sounds like a proper expedition :clap: :clap:
Which blow-up meal did you have this time?
9+ hours up and down ridges sounds pretty exhausting but so worth it! Brilliant effort. Looking forward to the piccies. :D
Go on with the selfie! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:30 pm

OK so here are some more photos.
fannaichs 089.jpg
wee loch (Loch an Eilean I think) under the cliffs of Meall Gorm from the lower slopes of Sgurr Mor

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Interesting terraces on the slopes of Meall Gorm, with grass on the slopes and stones on the flat bits. I understand they are glacial. can anyone explain?

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Looking back to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannich from the way to Meall Gorm

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Sun and Cloud on Meall Gorm

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Rudolph studying the map on Meall Gorm

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We don't slum it, we do proper Americano coffee you know. the home made wind shield is quite effective.

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Can we stop yet? the strange rock formation on the top of An Coileachan

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View over to Torridon in the evening light from top of An Coileachan

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Where we came from!!!

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We did it!!! Just the wee matter of going down now!

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You can see the sea in both directions from the Fannaichs. Beautiful evening light looking east.

fannaichs 126.jpg
Looks beautiful but midge heaven! Fannich Lodge is in the trees down there

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Rudolph braves the midges to pitch the tent while I wait for the kettle to boil and the food to be ready.

and in answer to your question Shish, we had mediterranean vegetable pasta on the first night, it was vile!! on the second night we had mince hotpot, potato based, which was quite tasty. and in the morning we went to Achnasheen station for bacon and egg rolls.
I am forbidden to post the selfie on a public forum. I'll show it to you one day!
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mrssanta
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby jepsonscotland » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:55 pm

Outstanding, a truly galant effort. :clap:
Great pics too.
I hope the weather is as kind when I try these!! :lol:
Well done.
Chris
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby gman » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:43 am

Well done on bagging the nine, the pic of putting up a tent with a midge net is all too familiar :lol:
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby Bod » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:44 pm

Lovely to meet you both too, we will be looking out for you again. I remember feeling good for you as the weather improved for you crossing Meal Gorm. Well done getting around all 10 Fannichs :clap: :clap: :clap:

PS... we were well rewarded again on the Wednesday climbing over An Tealach :D
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:19 pm

Wow, fantastic effort and account of it. I'm hoping to do them from the Lochluichart side too and bike in - but over a few trips! Love the photos with the evening light.
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby simon-b » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:07 pm

A great effort, Mrs S. I can confirm that it's also quite possible to have a fall on An Coileachan when descending the northern side.

It's not surprising you used up your 25 allowed attachments. There's plenty to see around that area.
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:09 am

Great effort and very well done :clap: :clap: Thats a long and hard day.
Muesli with concentrated grapefruit juice? Interesting lol But know what you mean- I usually eat Muesli bars as I can never bothered cooking anything in the morning :roll:
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:28 pm

Congratulations - that was an epic trip, :clap: :clap: its a lovely area - perhaps next time we go we'll wild camp, but we live locally so its tempting to go home to a comfy bed. :lol:
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby mrssanta » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:48 pm

jepsonscotland wrote:Outstanding, a truly galant effort. :clap:
Great pics too.
I hope the weather is as kind when I try these!! :lol:
Well done.
Chris

thanks. A week later my legs are quite recovered and I have forgotten how kn***ered I was!
gman wrote:Well done on bagging the nine, the pic of putting up a tent with a midge net is all too familiar :lol:

I certainly won't forget my midge net next time!
Bod wrote:Lovely to meet you both too, we will be looking out for you again. I remember feeling good for you as the weather improved for you crossing Meal Gorm. Well done getting around all 10 Fannichs :clap: :clap: :clap:

PS... we were well rewarded again on the Wednesday climbing over An Tealach :D

Was great to meet you too. Glad you had a good day on an Teallach, we were thinking of you.
AnnieMacD wrote:Wow, fantastic effort and account of it. I'm hoping to do them from the Lochluichart side too and bike in - but over a few trips! Love the photos with the evening light.

thanks Annie. It was great cycling out! the cycle in was a bit grim!
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Re: Nine Fannaichs in a day? Absolutely not!

Postby Jim McK » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:26 pm

Hi, I came across your walk report when I was looking at walking some of the Fannichs. I was originally intending to split them up, but after reading your report, I decided that I would basically copy your walk. So, on Sunday I drove up, parked up and cycled along to Fannaich loch. It is a long, hard walk to get to the bealach before the western 2 Fannichs - especially as I'm way out of practice carrying the full set of tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc. I was luckier with you on the weather front, although it just made me sweat more. Like you, I was glad to dump my bag to climb the 3 outliers and I was delighted to reach the last munro yesterday. All in all a great, but exhausting 2 days, so thanks very much for your very helpful walk report.
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