Wednesday, 2nd. August, 2017:
Day six of the trip and, after a rest day at the Alltbeith Hostel and with the promise of a good day's weather, Chalky, Tommy and I decided that it was time to climb some more hills. Chalky headed for Bheinn Fhada but Tommy and I decided to take in the five Munros to the south. This, a natural horseshoe along the watershed high above the branch valley of Gleann na Ciche, is surely about the best natural round that you can do from the upper end of Glen Affric? So, retracing a route that I had taken in 2014, Tommy and I crossed the river (and the fences cordoning off the regenerating forest to the south of the river) to climb steeply in hot sunshine onto the terrific ridge leading to the summit of Mullach Fraoch-choire. It was a great place to be and we spent several minutes working around the horizon from Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries in the south to the Torridon hills in the north and the Cuillin in the west. The ridge heading south to the summit of A’Chraileag was spectacular - and it was great to meet a family from Skipton with two relatively young children by the cairn who had climbed up from Cluanie. Although, when we left the top, we failed to find the well-used track that we expected linking these Munros with those to the east, we dropped down easily enough to the Bealach Choire a’Chait and climbed the north west ridge of Drochaid an Tuill Easaich to the final slopes of Sgurr nan Conbhairean. Tommy was suffering from some of the same symptoms that I had had a couple of days previously so he peeled off to wait for me on the summit while I traversed off for the relatively nondescript outlier of Carn Ghluasaid. Once reunited, however, we enjoyed heading north and traversing above a series of spectacular east facing corries to the several tops of Sail Chaorainn. We descended northwards and zigzagged carefully down the sides of the steep ravine below Carn a'Choire Ghuirm to the floor of Gleann na Ciche. The track down the glen was poor at first but it improved rapidly and we made good time. There were, however, still about nine kilometres to cover back to the hostel and, predictably, it was raining hard before we pushed open the door some time after 8.00.pm. Postscript:
The following day was our last in these big glens so Chalky and I headed back to the car parked at the Mullardoch Dam (over Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe, Tom a'Choinnich and Toll Creagach) while Tommy carried out some of our heavy kit to the Affric road head. Again, Chalky was suffering from some of the same debilitating symptoms that both Tommy and I had experienced earlier in the trip but he put his head down in his usual uncomplaining way and ground over these high tops in continuous cloud, rain and strong westerlies. It had been a tough few days on the hills - sixteen Munros in six days walking, six of them climbed with large packs - but it had been good to be out.
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