Five Fannaichs on a Fresh Final Friday of July. Fab!
by benno » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:16 pm
Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach, Meall a'Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Breac, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Each
Date walked: 02/08/2009Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I went for an early start, given the forecast. I'm not one for getting up at 5am normally, but it wasn't hard when waking up to a view like this...
When I arrived at the carpark there were already a few cars there. Another walker set off down the path just behind me with his dog (more on this later). Just before you reach the boathouse, there is an information point and a map detailing a new path through the forest which avoids the boathouse altogether. It comes out just before the bridge over the outflow of Loch a' Bhraoin. Once over the bridge I turned immediately right along a boggy track around the nose of Leitir Fhearna. After crossing two stiles I made a rising traverse to my left into the mouth of the lower corrie between Sron na Goibhre and Druim Reidh. I crossed the stream before heading staight up the steep bouldery slopes on it's West bank to gain slightly less steep ground at about 600m.
First view to the crags of Sron na Goibhre
You're not as alone as you think
At this point there were some rather tempting grassy ramps avoiding the crags up to my right, I took one of these and continued in a rising traverse up towards the ridge. Shortly afterwards, the Lochan came into view, and I found myself climbing very steep and slippery grassy slopes and suddenly emerging onto the ridge just to the South of the 'Huge rocky blocks' described in the Walkhighlands description. The last part of this ascent was quite tricky: the ground was very steep and unstable and care was required for every step.
Looking E to (L to R) Carn na Criche, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Sgurr Breac.
I then headed up to the summit of A'Chailleach, where I met the walker and his dog, having ascended via the Druim Reidh and Tomain Coinich, just quicker than my 2h ascent via the route described.
The views from A'Chailleach are staggering, particularly to An Teallach, Fisherfield, Slioch and Torridon. The view down the Nest of Fannich to Loch Fannich is also quite something.
Looking E from A'Chailleach
I headed off in pursuit of the man and his dog ascending Tomain Coinich and Sgurr Breac, but I never did manage to catch him before he turned N down the Allt Breabaig path. The route over Sgurr Breac involves some massive cliffs on the N side of the ridge with enormous corries beneath.
When I reached the bealach at the head of the Allt Breabaig, the re-ascent to gain the ridge between Sgurr nan Each and Sgurr nan Clach Geala looked daunting. The bealach is at 550m, and after 2 munros and a top already, that's a lot of re-ascent. Nevermind, I thought, the ground isn't too hard; just a bit boggy and pathless. The view of An Teallach to the North helped, as did the increasing impressiveness of the E ridge of Sgurr Breac as I got higher. I gained the Cadha na Guite before too long and was met by the massive form of Sgurr Mor across Coire Mor.
Sgurr Breac from well below the Cadha na Guite
The ascent to Sgurr nan Each is lovely - nice curving ridge with drops off the E side. Soon I reached the summit, and more fantastic views, this time looking S across Loch Fannich to Fionn Bheinn and beyond, and SW towards Torridon.
Loch Fannich from Sgurr nan Each
Looking NNE from Sgurr nan Each: Sgurr nan Clach Geala on the left, Sgurr Mor on the right, Ben Dearg poking through
Back to the Cadha na Guite, sup of hot soup to recharge and the final gruelling ascent of the day (except for Meall a'Chrasgaidh, but that's not too bad). Again, this ascent is not as bad as it looks from beneath, even on tired legs, and the views opening out and wind on my back helped again.
Looking back to Sgurr nan Each from near the summit of Sgurr nan Clach Geala
Sgurr nan Clach Geala - what a peak! Cameron McNeish describes it as 'the finest of the Fannaichs' - I've not been to the Eastern 4 munros or to Fionn Bheinn but I would be surprised to find anything quite like this. The huge corrie which forms the Eastern side of the peak is quite a spectacle, especially from the ridge down towards Carn na Criche. I'd imagine it looks quite somthing from the Sgurr Mor side as well.
Not to mention the views! The views!! All of the Fannaichs bar Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Wyvis, Beinn Dearg, Ben Mor Coigach and the Assynt hills, distant Ben Hope (I think), Fisherfield and Torridon, and the enormous tangle of hills to the South. Not to mention An Teallach - I can't wait to go up there. All this bearing in mind that this was not the picture postcard weather day - brilliant vis but minus the blue skies, and it was still unbelievable.
Looking West from Sgurr nan Clach Geala: A'Chailleach with Fisherfield beyond and Slioch on the left
So down a nice ridge towards Carn na Criche with great drops off the the right, the path eventually zig-zags down to a sort of plateau then peters out. There's a nice boulder in the middle of this flat expanse with a mini cave - could be useful to crawl into if you're stuck up here. Easy ascent to Meall a'Chrasgaidh, the final hill of the day, and finally a view of Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, the secretive one.
The boulder and An Teallach
Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Sgurr Mor on the right
I sat at the top of here in the shelter cairn (by this time the forecast wind increase was finally becoming apparent) for some time, soaking up the view and the remainder of my hot soup.
Sgurr Breac and A'Chailleach
Then the descent NW and W to the path by the Allt Breabaig. This was quite steep and involved picking my way between the crags, but nothing unnerving. Got this cool picture of a spider on a rock. Does anyone know what the red bits are?
Onto the path, across the river and finally back down to Loch a'Bhraoin and to the car. 6h45, including a fair amount of sitting around beside cairns. The early start really made a difference, I found myself with half of the day left not knowing what to do. So I drove out past Dundonnell to a big parking spot just beyond Badcaul and looked at the view for a couple of hours.
One thing about the Fannaichs slightly confused me. There are two versions of the word: Fannaich and Fannich. Is there an intentional difference or is this just an historical mishap?
by kevsbald » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:04 pm
by Caberfeidh » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:34 am
Or just some kind of arachnid fashion accessory.
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by NevJB » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:26 am
Great report and pics. How fast do you walk? 6hr 45mins for all 5???? Were you on roller skates? Makes my 8 hours (7 1/4 walking) for the 'normal' 3 seem like a sedate amble. Needless to say I'm very impressed.
by benno » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:58 pm
How fast do you walk? 6hr 45mins for all 5???? Were you on roller skates?
I'm 20 and have long legs..
by munrowalker » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:21 pm
by NevJB » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:48 am
benno wrote:I'm 20 and have long legs..
Ah! That might account for it - at 57 that makes me feel better .
by ezzyontour » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:13 am
by Torridon_snails » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:51 pm
Daniel and Clare.