Attadale Munros: the night is dark and full of Terriers ...

Route: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor

Munros: Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor

Date walked: 29/09/2019

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 40km

Ascent: 1800m

Well, just the one Terrier to be fair, my wee Maisie, 9 year old Border. We'd driven up from the People's Republic the previous day, just the 450 miles, and checked into our digs in LochCarron. So what better way to wind down and recover than to tackle the Attadale route into those most remote pair of Munros, Lurg Mhor and Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich (no, I'm not going to use the "C" word).
I was also keen on a wild camp and taking advice from the great sage, otherwise known on here as the Gammy one, I opted to try and camp at Loch Calavie, at the foot of the climb to the Munros proper, but just 15.8 km in from the car park.
We set off from the car park about 08:30, had a couple of very friendly chats with estate staff, it was a Sunday so no problems with stalking (of the deer variety at least). The bridge represents the end of the false sense of security and the start of the climb up through the ATV zig-zags:

Looking back there was some evidence of ongoing works still, but otherwise the track was clear. Apparently there are three hydro schemes up here now.

Wee Maisie had 14 Munros under her collar, (that's 98 in Dog Munros), but these were the most southerly so far. You can see how impressed she was with the route so far:

The weather was kind to us, and we enjoyed the beautiful countryside:

Views to An Ruadh-stac and Maol Chean-dearg:

The track rising steadily (and at times unsteadily) up to about 350m at the pass:

At the top of the pass we got our first views of Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, above Bendronaig Lodge:

I reckon that the walk to Loch Calavie is a walk of thirds, first one being to the top of the pass, second to the lodge, and third up to the Loch itself from the lodge. Whether thirds, fifths, or eigthths it's still a blooming long way with camping gear in the pack!
Before reaching Bendronaig Lodge the road takes a cheeky little dog-leg round a hydro development, with a very attractive bridge and waterfalls:



On the descent to the Lodge I met a couple valiantly pushing their bikes up the hill, having themselves had a camp up at Loch Calavie. I'm sure the fast descent the other side would make up for the tears and sweat involved in pushing those bikes ... :lol: :lol: They were the last folk we saw for nearly another 24 hours.

Bendronaig stalkers' lodge, with bothy to the right. The bothy had been closed for the stalking season. Some rumours were that the previous year a particularly boisterous group had made themselves unpopular in there, so the estate sadly felt they had to shut up shop temporarily.

After the lodge the track crosses the river on a proper bridge, but the old rickety one is still hanging on in there, despite a plank or two being missing. I decided to give it a miss ...

The track rises steadily once more (the third third remember?), and eventually Loch Calavie comes into view over the brow of the hill

We aimed for the small spit of land as a decent camping spot, and just happened to be at the start of the climb up to the bealach between to the two Munros.

Welcome to Chateau Hotel du Lac Calavie. Our staff are happy to help you ... I've certainly seen shabbier camping spots.

After setting up camp and ditching all the heavy stuff our of the rucksack we set off up the bealach, to do Lurg Mhor first. Nothing much to report about the pathless slog, not too difficult, and with one or two decent views behind. Image


Turning right at the bealach, we worked our way up through some crags and bouder fields, arriving at the summit just in time for the weather to close in, with rainy squalls coming from the north-east.


Moisture approaching ...

Waterproofs were donned, but in fact the rain showers were brief and as ineffective as the current Spurs attack, but gave for some atmospheric pictures. Looking down into the upper reaches of Loch Monar, the terrain seemd especially bleak and lonely, few folk go there on a regular basis I should imagine.

We made our way back down to the bealach and then picked up the straightforward track up to the summit of Beinn A'Choire Sheasgaich.
Looking back at the descent off Lurg Mhor:

Summit of Beinn A'Choire Sheasgaich, Maisie hardly able to contain her excitement:

Views back to Lurg Mhor:

To Fuar Tholl and the Achnashellach Munros:

And to the distant track that brought us here, and would lead us out in the morning:

Picking our way back down the bealach to the campsite seemed to take a fair while, and by the time we were down we'd done 15 miles in total that day. Sadly the evening stayed gloomy, so no sunset to speak of.

This was Maisie's first time with me in a small tent, and initially she was a bit bewildered by the lack of her cosy bed. We made do with a small strip of foam trimmed from a £3 mat from a well known Outdoors supplier (others are available), then wrapped in a down jacket for extra warmth, as it was a parky night, and very rainy. Much barking chat was had with the local deer population before she gave in and snored the night away.


The sunrise was equally unspectacular at the lochside, but true to form, as soon as we'd packed our kit away, and got moving, things cleared up and the morning ahead was full of promise.

The weather just kept on getting better and better as we progressed. The highlight of the morning was bumping into Walk Highlands legend Mountain Thyme, who was on her way to climb Beinn Dronaig, one of her last few Corbetts before compleating those.

There's nothing much to report about the walk out, as it was pretty much the same as the walk in (only in reverse :lol: :lol: ), but the weather was superb, and I'll just let the photos do the talking:Image







Foot sore from the heavy pack, we arrived back at the car about 11:30, some 27 hours after setting off, of which 13 were actually spent moving. The last sting in the tail was a flat battery in the key fob for the car .... :( :( :(
Fortunately my spare key was back at the flat in LochCarron, and the landlord kindly drove it round for me. He got a couple of bottles of fine Yorkshire ale in return, a fair trade I'd say.
I would definitely love to return to camp at Loch Calavie again at some point in the future, a lonely yet beautiful spot.

And look, I didn't write Cheesecake once ....

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Comments: 11

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Location: York (ver 1.0)
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Ideal day out: Ridge walking

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