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Sean Braigh

Sean Braigh

Postby holtlynx » Fri May 29, 2009 12:07 am

Munros included on this walk: Seana Bhràigh

Date walked: 28/05/2009

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May 25, 2009

I'm writing this not because I have fab pics (the two here were quickly taken on my very ordinary phone) or epic tales to tell but only because no-one else on this forum has written about this hill yet. But it's a belter of a hill and not nearly as difficult to get to as it may look on the map, provided a) you go the way I'm about to tell you and b) you take a bike.

So, following Ralph Storer, prince of guide-book walkers, the trick is to go in from the north, from Strath Oykel. At Bridge of Oykel (about 50 miles from Inverness), just over the (rather handsome) bridge but before the hotel (if you're coming from the east) turn sharp left beside the river and follow the road for about half a mile down to a small row of houses where it turns into a track.

The Corriemulzie estate, bless them, allows you drive on, for another six miles or so, in fact; turn sharp left again over a bridge at the first fork which comes almost immediately and then follow your nose. Take it slow if you value your suspension. As you climb up Strath Mulzie, there is some fine Sutherland scenery but your objective is still way in the distance and mostly hidden from view. Much later, at another fork, keep right, down the hill past a newly renovated bothy. Eventually, you come to a couple of buildings and a sign which says car-park for hill-walkers; that'll be you, then.

If you look south you can now just get the merest glimpse of your objective
Seana Briahg small.jpg
but if you get your bike out and pedal another 200 metres or so past the lodge (just a bungalow really) you emerge from a patch of trees to get the first proper sight of the mountain in all its splendour.

The true summit is to the right, the west edge; the ridge goes round the head of the Luchd Coire, a spectacular chasm with huge cliffs, culminating in the extraordinary prong of An Sgurr at the end of the eastern arm of the coire which looks completely unclimbable but which is in fact the mountain's crowning glory.

You still have another four miles or so to go to the foot of the hill- hence the bike. You gain about 100 metres in height over the undulating rough track but into a raging headwind like the one I was up against, with black clouds massing to the south, it felt more like 1,000. But, boy! it felt good coming home later. IN the meantime, though, one of the blessings of coming from this direction is that you have the mountain's northern aspect in view all the time. The featureless lump it appears from the south would be far less appealing. It's a bit like the contrast between the tourist route up Ben Nevis and the route round from the CMD arete.

I left the bike in the heather where the track turns sharply to the east and crosses the main Corriemulzie river. You could probably ford it and go a bit further along the track up to Loch a Choire Mhoir and the wild Feich Coire which runs east west, and which is now visible below the Luchd Coire which hangs a little above the loch and runs south into the heart of the mountain. Up to you. The easy way up the mountain is via the west ridge. The much harder, but not impossible, (or so I am assured) east ridge takes you straight up An Sgurr

On the day I was largely a prisoner of the elements. It was wild and wet day higher up and I was on my own so it wasn't a day for assaying hard scrambles up An Sgurr, and a couple of promised gaps along the ridge. I went up the western side of the hill which is straightforward, though with increasingly dramatic views into the coire. The summit perches right at the edge of the cliffs.

The worst of the weather to the south was being held back by the massif so that even while i was being rained on and buffeted at the top, could see little of other hills in the area such as Beinn Dearg and Cona Mheall for mist and smirr, and caught only glimpses of the Sutherland hills to the west - Cul Mor, Ben Mor Coigach and so on - all with black clouds on their summits, I could look north over for the most part sun- dappled strath, a very odd combination.

In the circumstances, I did not linger and headed back to bike, the car and the friendly Oykel Bridge hotel (caters mostly for fishermen). But dashing off such a splendid hill did make me think that, while that may count as a Munro tick, one should never let the ticking become the most important part. A mountain of that calibre deserves better. I shall definitely return.
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Re: Sean Braigh

Postby canisp » Fri May 29, 2009 8:45 am

Cheers for this one holtlynx and for the car parking info, it’s given me a third shorter option for doing Carn Ban :D :D
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Re: Sean Braigh

Postby Paul Webster » Fri May 29, 2009 9:17 am

Yes, that's excellent - and very timely as if my knee can take it I'm hoping to do Seana Braigh soon.

I'm not dead keen on driving pot-holed tracks mind, though that looks a great approach. Although the Inverlael route doesn't look so good on maps a few people who have done it in good conditions have told me its greatly underated too, with the Cadha Dearg being much more impressive on the ground than on the map, and a dramatic sudden arrival at the back of the Luchd Choire... though it does involve some loss of height.

Whichever way, it looks a stunning hill.
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Re: Sean Braigh

Postby mountain coward » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:45 am

I did it from Inverlael in conjunction with Ceaprachean (I call it Capricorn;-) and Eilidh nan Clach Geala and really enjoyed it but, for once, had superb sunny and clear weather. I decided while on the summit looking down into Strath Mulzie though that I would like to do it again from that side. It's not often I would like to do any of the Munros so far twice...
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