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F/F it can be done in a day!!
by Fife Flyer » Mon May 30, 2016 1:22 pm
Munros included on this walk: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mor, Sgurr Ban
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlaidheimh
Date walked: 28/05/2016
Time taken: 14.5 hours
Distance: 42.5 km
Ascent: 3248m16 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).
I did struggle to come up with a title for this epic little outing
As all you avid walk report readers will have noted I have had a few long and tough days in the month of May, however Fisherfield is the mother of long days and I loved every minute of it, well almost every minute
After numerous questions and hours of research I came up with a cunning plan to tackle Fisherfield, on reflection I can see why nobody else seems to have opted for a similar plan There have been one or two discussions on WH & FB as to the numerous ways you can approach Fisherfield, so after taking everything into consideration I took the bold move to do my own thing - for a couple of reasons
Firstly I don't do camping, mainly because I don't have a tent and secondly I knew if opted for the bothy overnighter I wouldn't get a wink of sleep and that is assuming I could actually get a space, as it was a Bank Holiday.
The recent dry spell, especially in the NW was the opportunity I had been waiting for, especially as I not a huge fan of bogfests at the best of times and I was hoping most of the bogginess would be nice and dry
My cunning plan involved an overnight stay in Ullapool, have the biggest breakfast possible to try and save carrying surplus food. The plan started off successfully with the usual cereal, full Scottish and umpteen slices of toast and I was on the road by 7.30am.
Next problem was trying to find a parking space at the road side, luckily I managed to squeeze into a space in the layby, but cars were everywhere and I was expecting the hills to be rather busy
As soon as I got out of the car I was ambushed, the midges were wanting their breakfast so I kitted up rapidly and headed off up the track pronto
If anyone else is contemplating doing the same walk, word of warning, you have to add on 700m of ascent as the track from Corrie Hallie rises 345m and likewise on the return journey from Shenavall and the return trek is absolute torture, not even a good path, unless you are a fan of bogs
Interesting slabby rocks
First of many water features
First target on the right, still quite a way to go
Getting a bit closer now
I will add my timings to give any future adventurers an idea of what to aim for at the bottom of the report
The track is in great condition and makes for good progress and I reached the top of the rise in 40mins which is just about the same point where path down to Shenavall starts on the right hand side. The main track then descends almost down to sea level in a round about way to just south of Achneigie. Whilst descending I was scanning the hillside on the other side of the river for any sort of path, no luck, but then again it is a Corbett and all the Corbetteers will tell you Corbetts are tougher because of the lack of paths The next obvious obstacle is the river, luckily it was barely a stream and I crossed using stepping stones.
Looking north very picturesque
Similar shot zoomed
Looking south, note the wee red tent
The river to the south
Now for some serious ascending, I had now intercepted the WH route and was planning to follow that. The ascent up Beinn a' Chlaidheimh was a matter of just head down and plod on, the main thing is to stay to the left of the obvious crags which is what I did. Once you get near the crags the gradient increases, however a path suddenly appeared so that made progress a tad easier
Looking across to the track
The way up
Looking back down
Looking across to An Teallach & Loch na Sealga
Beinn Dearg Mor
I reached the first summit of the day in 3hrs and 30mins and I knew then that it was going to be a long day.
First summit, looking ahead to the next
Looking across to AT
The descent down to the bealach was fairly easy and it was whilst I was ascending up the scree on the next hill Sgurr Ban, I spotted 2 persons heading up to my right. It wasn't until I reached the summit cairn that Jackie (Jaxter) shouted hello, Hugh was tagging along and struggling on the scree and eventually joined us
Hugh bringing up the rear
Looking back towards AT and my first hill
The next target and hill number three going by the brief name of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, which I would never be able pronounce - cue Simon
Looking across to hills 5 & 6 more of them later
Summit pose, Hugh looking as fresh as a daisy
Once Hugh had recovered we set off downhill to the bealach before the steep ascent of the afore mentioned unpronounceable 'high' point of the day. The ascent was fairly easy, albeit steep. Jackie and I raced off again and left Hugh trailing in our wake and we reached the summit without a stop, I was puffing and panting when I reached the cairn Once Hugh had arrived and got his breath back I decided I was going to head off on my own as I knew that it could be a race against time/dark After saying our goodbyes I headed off downhill
Looking back to the summit, every picture tells a story
Same shot zoomed
Nice path traverses round the lump known as Meall Garbh
Zoomed shot looking back, a couple of guys heading up talking to Jackie & Hugh heading down
The 4th target Beinn Tarsuinn
It didn't seem to take very long before I reached the 4th summit, I did however stop at a nice patch of snow to top up my liquid resources. My Ribena in my camelback was turned into a slush puppy and it was rather enjoyable
Emergency liquid supply
Looking back to the three previous summits
Arty shot, summit cairn on Tarsuinn with the 3 previous in the background.
The way ahead, the next 2 summits are in the distance
Next 2 hills in the distance, unfortunately there is quite a drop soon
Scotlands answer to 'Table Mountain'
Above shot zoomed
Lochan Fada with Loch Garbhaig in the background
Looking back, Jackie waiting for Hugh?
Zoomed, take a seat Jackie
The way down and ahead
Impressive ridge ahead, I opted for the bypass which is on the left hand side
The bypass path round Suidheachan Fhinn was fine, then the descent down into the bealach began. There is a path which zig-zags down, it is steep and getting quite badly eroded and after the dry spell rather dusty with loose stones. I deliberately took my time as this was probably about as far from help as you can get. Once you reach the bottom of the steep bit the path just disappears So I just picked a spot in the distance, hoping to get across the bealach in a direct line, not easy as peat hags and general bogs try to divert you In the distance I could see a group of 3 plodding up the grassy slopes of A' Mhaighdean, I would eventually catch them up on the final ascent of the day
All was going rather well but just as I started the penultimate ascent of the day, the nasty looking clouds that were hovering on the hills to the south looked like they were going to cause trouble and they certainly did. I managed to get my jacket out and put my camera away before the hailstones arrived One thing I had left in the car was my waterproof trousers, as it turned out that wasn't too big an oversight. I managed to find an overhanging rock and took a 10minute rest/shelter, using my rucksack as pillow - didn't really want to move as it was rather comfy
Downpour on it's way
Onwards and upwards not really enjoying the ascent, then in the distance I saw a chap in a red jacket descending and I wondered if it was Pete R, so I made a beeline across to stop for a chat. It wasn't Pete but we had a brief chat and went our separate ways.
Hindsight is a great thing and I do regret not getting my camera out when I reached the 5th summit A' Mhaighdean as the views were something else. The sad thing is this point is about as far away from the car as possible, but I will return one day
So I said hello to A' Mhaighdean had a quick look round and continued on my mission. I could see the 3 walkers in front of me approaching the bealach area, so it was head down and start descending again. Just as I reached the bealach the rain stopped, so I stopped to and took off my jacket, then set off in pursuit I reached the 3 guys about half way up the ascent, whilst they were taking their waterproofs off, stopped for a quick chat and set off uphill again.
Word of warning the ascent up Ruadh Stac Mor is probably the hardest part of the day, there are a few scrambly bits and it is steep, great care was taken as the rocks were nice and shiny now.
A glance over to the left on the ascent and what a view
Looking back to summit number 5
Fellow walkers ahead
Fuar Loch Mor
Above shot zoomed
Not sure what direction this is
After a few summit photo's in all directions it was time for the long descent and trek back to the car. I was scouring the descent for something that looked like a path, but couldn't see anything so just headed down. I managed to locate a path once I reached the flatter ground near the 2 lochan's Lochan a'Bhraghad
Nice little beach in the middle of nowhere
A few locals who sussed me out as no threat
I tried my best to follow the path, which at times faded away into no path, but I knew I was heading in the right direction. The descent down beside the burn that eventually joins up with the main path was rather slippy and boggy, I opted to traverse across the hillside and get on the main path sooner rather than later
Once on the path it was head down and periodically checking to see if I was any nearer to the bothy Once the main body of water/river Abhainn Gleann na Muice is reached my thoughts then turned to 'how am I going to get to the other side' The other side of the river didn't look overly clever, so I stayed on the path until I reached the small house thing marked on the map as Larachantivore. Now it was decision time, should I don my flip flops that I had carried for umpteen hours or should I just go for it - I opted for the latter, mainly because I couldn't be bothered with all the faffing about, I even had a small towel in my bag
I am glad I did keep my boots on because once across the river, if your feet don't get wet there, the flat boggy ground to the next river crossing definitely will make sure you have wet feet
The next crossing wasn't a problem as the river splits in two and just required a bit of stone hopping.
I walked past the bothy which was littered all around with tents and a few folk wandering around looking as if they didn't know what to do I knew exactly what I had to do and it wasn't fun, the 350m climb up from the bothy was tough going but I was determined and just plodded on. About half way up I saw 3 folk and a dog ahead in the distance so I set off in pursuit (again) and it wasn't too long before I had a quick chat with them. They said they saw me following and were kind of waiting so I could lead the way, hope they made it back safely as they did have rather large packs. I told them I was expecting to make the car before darkness fell, I somehow doubt if they made it as they weren't travelling very fast.
I know it has been said before, but Fisherfield really is a special area and the huge effort required to even get there is well worth it. That is by far the longest day I have spent outdoors and also the latest, I nearly got my head torch out
Timings for the purists:
To the first summit - 3hrs 30mins
To the 2nd - 1hr 30mins
To the 3rd - 45mins
To the 4th - 1hr
To the 5th - Timings are now guesstimates, due to the inclement weather, but probably 2hrs +
To the 6th - 1hr
On plotting out my route Naismith says it should only take 13hr 53mins, as we all know his timings don't allow for the umpteen stops and the varying underfoot conditions.
Next on my Munro quest is Knoydart in less than weeks, quickly followed by Skye, I will probably head out somewhere this week as the forecast is good, Corbett's or Donald's who knows
by simon-b » Mon May 30, 2016 1:53 pm
by basscadet » Mon May 30, 2016 1:57 pm
You got braw weather as well, a few hailstones don't really count
Brought back some fine memories, thanks for sharing
by PeteR » Mon May 30, 2016 2:28 pm
It really was a superb effort on your part We may not have met en route, but you'd have passed my tent at Lochan a'Bhraghad. I ,might have been sleeping already though.....A superb area, but definitely not to be underestimated.
by Borderhugh » Mon May 30, 2016 5:30 pm
by Jaxter » Mon May 30, 2016 8:10 pm
by old danensian » Tue May 31, 2016 12:11 pm
I think you must have burst through the concept of being merely "hill fit" by now.
Lots of good info for those who follow in your wake.
You'll be crossing the line fuelled on momentum after the last few weeks.
by kmai1961 » Tue May 31, 2016 2:21 pm
by pollyh33 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:43 pm
Not quite the inch by inch report I asked for but pretty damn close!!!
That's a giant leap towards the finishing line- getting mega exciting now!!!
PS did you miss my expertise at the river crossings????
by The Rodmiester » Tue May 31, 2016 5:14 pm
Looks like you had a fine day for it, you will certainly remember that epic for many a year.
by jupe1407 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:16 pm
I'm knackered just reading about it
Seriously well done, I don't think i'd ever be fit enough to tackle this route. When the time comes, I'm intending on a 3/2 split to include a summit camp on A'Mhaighdean.
by Alteknacker » Tue May 31, 2016 10:03 pm
I've been looking for some time at ways of linking the hills I wanted to do in this area, and this was one of the one-day options I looked at.
Another other was the standard route from Kinlochewe, but with the walking shortened by cycling up the track. My main criterion is that the route must include Beinn Dearg Mor, which has been right up at the top of my priorities since seeing this picture of it (taken from An Teallach).
It's really good to see what the route looks like. So thanks for posting
by scoob999 » Tue May 31, 2016 10:47 pm
A superfast time though and I never had you in the same league as Monty or Andrew Doggett
I stand corrected though
by dogplodder » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:38 am
by dooterbang » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:30 pm
Superb report and photos, enjoyed that.
Nice of you to show them young guns Jax & Hugh how it's done