First taste of Glen Affric, with Fries & Flies! Alltbeithe.

Route: Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan group, Alltbeithe

Munros: An Socach (Affric), Mullach nan Dheiragain, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan

Date walked: 25/07/2019

Time taken: 8.1 hours

Distance: 21.7km

Ascent: 1550m

Had been struggling to get away much and forecast was still a bit 'iffy' despite expected high temps down south, but it was time to decide on something. Anything! Seeing some chance for an over-nighter, or two, opted to try the hostel scene again, by heading for Alltbeithe. Decided to do it the lazy way, staying two nights and duly got booked in.

Had been some seriously heavy thunderstorms previous couple of nights. Left departure till later in day, to let them clear off to the north, though was still steaming hot and menacing looking, when I finally got to the car park, at the end of Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin.

It was a hot walk into Alltbeithe, but one couldn’t help being awe struck by some of the views. Affric Lodge, magnificent lochs, river, glens, pine forest and dramatic mountains. Scotland at its best! Surprised me how busy the car park was and passed a lot of walkers and cyclists too.
Feeding time at Affric Lodge?
Stunning place.
I will probably buy this soon :)

Enjoyable road surface until after the bridge at Athnamulloch. Then it becomes much more stoney and many of the dips had filled with rainwater, after the recent deluge. Gradually, the enjoyment began to wane a little due to the ever present muggy heat, meanders round puddles and the expectation that Alltbeithe would just be around the next corner .... and then it was.
Glen Affric Youth Hostel. Fortunately, they never checked my date of birth :)

Athnamulloch, with bridge over to Strawberry Cottage.
Beach at the west end of Loch Affric. No doubt some millionaire's playground ..... but, not this one :(

Still very new to this hostelling thing, but the warden, Hannah, was very helpful and informative and I soon got settled in. Enjoyed some bleathers with Pat, had tea, relaxed and enjoyed the isolation. Deliberated over how to do the three hills? Had planned to do Sgurr na Ceathreamhnan first, Mullach na Dheiragain second and An Socach last, but Hannah was more for reversing one and two, as per WH’s description. Mmmh? Ok, might just stick to the book then.

Up early next morning, had brekkie and hit the trail, straight from the back door, at half seven. Wouldn’t it be great if all hikes could start like that :) Pat had struggled to cross the burn the day before, but no such wories today. Lovely walk up the side of the Allt na Faing, to the bealach, as the views began to open up. Even had a fly past by three helicopters, heading east, through the glen.

Next stage, a 200m walk, to a wee cairn, where one diverts to cross over onto the ridge out to Mullach na Dheiragain. I decided to try and count my steps, measure the distance and see how close I got. Well! I previously used to under estimate metres, but this time I was well past the mark and never even spotted the cairn :shock: Ok, back to Plan A ..... which I actually felt quite pleased about, as weather was clear, although a bit breezy and chilly on the hands. Oh, how that would change later!

Continued over a few humps and bumps before making my way up the east ridge, to the fine, pointy summit of Sgurr na Ceathreamhnan (easier to write, than to say :lol: ). Think I was just under the two hours to here. The views are just magnificent over the Kintail hills, Skye, Knoydart, Torridon, etc. After a few pics, I set off down the NE ridge toward the Bealach nan Daoine. It is perhaps, a bit steeper and narrower than my ascent route, but nothing to worry about.

It is said Mullach na Dheiragain, is one of the remotest Munro’s and one really begins to feel that sense of remoteness, crossing the bloulder field of Carn na Con Dhu. Eventually, I was clear of that and making my way up to the summit, as the sun began to bring a bit of warmth to the day. Standing there, it occurred there was another top, with a cairn. Errmh, could that be the summit? Damn! I had left my rucksack and map, back at the Bealach na Con Dhu. What to do? Nothing for it, but to be certain and take in the other top, (Mullach Sithidh), which as it now turns out, is NOT the summit, being 8m lower. Aghh, what a wally! :oops:
Summit of second hill, Mullach nan Dheiragain, 982m.
Think that was me, back at the true summit, MnD.
Back to the NE ridge of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. Carumnan/Carumvan, or?

From here it was a reversal of my route back to Bealach nan Daoine, then across the bottom of the Loch Coire nan Dearcag lochans. It looks awful wet and boggy in here, but it was no problem to avoid the wet, squelchy bits. There was little sign of tracks, so I aimed for where I thought would be the wee cairn, on a rising traverse. Again my estimations sent me too high. A couple of Dutch lads from the hostel crossed below me, but they wouldn’t have thought any fool would have been above them.
Over to Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige.

Mullach Fraoch-choire and A Chralaig, beyond the lochans.

Was a bit steep and sweaty, but made it onto the ridge and descending, finally found the wee cairn, a bit off track and lower than I had figured. By this time, I was really feeling the heat, wondering and hoping the summit of An Socach was as close, as the map showed. Bit of an anti-climax heading to this one as it doesn’t have too much appeal from this side at least, but the views down the glen, Carne Eige, Mam Sodhail and the south remain terrific.
Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail, from An Socach.
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, looking impressive from An Socach.

At last, time to head down! Also, bumped into a couple of Swedish ladies having a dip in the Allt na Faing. No, I hadn’t started to hallucinate by this stage! :lol: They too, were in the hostel and seemed to have swimming as a major part of their itinerary. Made it back to the hostel in just over the eight hours, which wasn’t bad on a hot day, including an unnecesary half hour diversion.
On the way down. Alltbeithe below. Mullach Fraoch-choire beyond.

How I enjoyed my allotted 5 minute shower, in Alltbeithe, but I was still fair roasting, so took to the River Affric, just by the bridge, for another lengthy dip. I normally hate cold water, but this was a pleasure. Subsequently joined in with a couple of Aberdeen lads and kindly helped them finish their wine rations :lol: They had come in from Cluanie. Said it wasn’t too boggy, though my wee pal from the previous evening, had said he done it once, but never again. By coincidence, another couple of Dons arrived on bike, from Glen Affric. They took near three hours as well, due to the heat and rougher bits of track.
Bridge over the River Affric, at Alltbeithe. Just had to go for a dip!
Cooling off. Trying to keep the big toes dry :)

It was a very restless night’s sleep, in a busy dorm, so I was glad when it was time to get up next day, get fed and on my way, hopefully before the beastie’s were on to me. Again, it was sunny and very warm as I set off and only got warmer, by the mile. I hadn’t been bothered by insects on the way in, but arrival’s the previous day, had been beset by clegs. By Athnamullach, it was my turn. They were vicious, though I only got a couple of bites. Saying that, I was thrashing, swiping, slapping and slashing like Zorro on steroids!
Looking back at Athnamulloch.
Passing another beautiful lochan, on the way out. Clegs out in strength at this point!

Heading back out. Back towards Beinn Fhada. Think that is some of Five Sisters beyond.
Lovely pine forests. An Tudair Beag, left.

As I’ve said elsewhere, personally, I hate midges more. I think you have a fighting chance with clegs, but best you can hope for with midges is an honourable draw. I find the best technique is to actually let the cleg land, then batter the living daylights out of it, when it goes to bite. I would accept the difficulty in Glen Affric, was their general numbers and in some parts, was like Cleg Alley! :shock:
Sgurr na Lapaich, through some beautiful pine.
Time for a wee trip round the view point, before heading home.
Sgurr na Lapaich, rises above Loch Affric.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the great views on my retreat, which took two and three quarter hours, undoubtedly hastened by the clegs :) Took a walk round the view points at the car park. Superb! Then the long drive home. Not so superb.
Garbh Uisge, the outflow from Loch Affric, into Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin.
I don't know if I have ever captured a finer view.

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Comments: 9

No Forcan puns!

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr na Sgine, The Saddle
Date walked: 23/06/2019
Distance: 13km
Ascent: 1350m
Comments: 4
Views: 282

So close to Sgurr nan Gillean

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr nan Gillean
Date walked: 01/06/2019
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 930m
Comments: 3
Views: 399

Sunshine on Sgurr Mor and Sgurr an Fhuarain, Loch Arkaig.

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich)
Corbetts: Sgurr an Fhuarain
Date walked: 15/05/2019
Distance: 22.2km
Ascent: 1527m
Comments: 2
Views: 295

Breezy Day with The Brothers!

Attachment(s) Munros: Aonach Meadhoin, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg
Date walked: 24/04/2019
Distance: 10.8km
Ascent: 1240m
Comments: 2
Views: 196

Beinn Fhada. No Breeze - via the ridge!

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Fhada
Date walked: 23/04/2019
Distance: 17.7km
Ascent: 1295m
Comments: 5
Views: 407

A Marsco a day ....... a sweet second best?

Attachment(s) Grahams: Marsco
Date walked: 31/03/2019
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 742m
Comments: 3
Views: 289

Back to Skye 1 - Alasdair ..... and the rolling stones.

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Alasdair
Date walked: 11/02/2019
Distance: 9.7km
Ascent: 992m
Comments: 2
Views: 427

Crampion Day on Ben Challum.

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Challum
Date walked: 02/02/2019
Distance: 11.7km
Ascent: 910m
Views: 277

Taking the Mhic - A wee lesson on Mhic Chasgaig.

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Mhic Chasgaig
Date walked: 18/01/2019
Distance: 9.75km
Ascent: 752m
Views: 294


User avatar
Location: Lochgilphead
Occupation: Psychiatric Nurse
Interests: walking, cycling, golf, footie, beer, etc, etc.
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Pub: Lodge Loch Fyne Soc. Club
Mountain: Cruachan
Place: Lochgilphead
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Ideal day out: Anywhere with mates.
Ambition: keep healthy and active

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