Carn nan Gobhar - in Praise of Wallflowers

Date walked: 12/05/2018

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 874m

No-one has much to say about Carn nan Gobhar. Overshadowed by more charismatic neighbours, it is either perfunctorily visited en route to higher things with a brief mention of its rough flanks or staggered over, more dead than alive at the end of an epic trek around the Mullardoch badlands.

Looking at the wh reports, it seems that no-one has ever set forth from Mullardoch Dam with the sole, unswerving purpose of scaling Carn nan Gobhar. Indeed such is it’s neglect that it must be one of very few Munros that is almost completely pathless.

Having omitted it at the end of just such an epic trek a few years ago due to aforementioned exhaustion, and finding myself on a stag weekend in Inverness, it seemed like a good opportunity to put things right.

It was a glorious spring day - a sellotape tin blue sky as Hamish Brown once said. A ravishing drive along the winding (and alarmingly potholed) road up Glen Cannich all fresh green and gold brought us to Mullardoch dam, held up slightly by a herd of oncoming cows with very little sense of single track road etiquette.

The new hydro road took us along the loch to the foot of the mountain. The pathless uphill slalom through grass, rock, bog and heather was as rough as promised and heavy going in the hot weather. It was compensated for by ever widening views.

It gradually flattened out into a pleasant upland stroll, still pathless with ever grander views of Loch Tuill Bhearnach, Sgùrr nan Clachan Geala and the White cone of Sgùrr nan Lapaich.

It was an easy stroll through the rocks to the summit. Unencumbered by the necessity of pushing on to greater things, there was ample time to sit in the sun and take in the view.

And what a view - the low lying expanse of Speyside, Ben Rinnes like a distant volcanic island, the blue sock of the Beauly Firth, the Strathfarrer hills, with Loch Monar curled around their feet and a magnificent array of mountains to the north and west - An Teallach, the Fannichs and Torridon, a distant glimpse of Glamaig on Skye and, unmistakeable in the distance, the great curved back and craggy face of Ben Nevis.

Eventually it was time to push on and we wandered round to the seldom visited subsidiary top of Creag Dubh - which has a fine prospect of the graceful, curved neck of Loch Monar.

Then down to the bealach and a mysterious isolated 20m length of stone wall. Who built it? and how long did it take them to realise the futility of the enterprise? Or was it the site of a dry stone walling workshop?

We followed the gently sloping ridge of Glen Coire na Buidheig and for the first time in the day found a path - an old stalkers path that zig-zagged intermittently down to the floor of the glen

An inlet for the hydro scheme provided an unexpected Mullardoch infinity pool

And, appropriately for a Stag weekend, we came across these at the car park.

As a postscript, it is worth noting that although these days we think of the Mullardoch hills as a non-plus-ultra of remoteness and roughness, it was not always so. Until the dam was built in 1953, there was a community with several farms and a big house - and you could go as far as Benula Lodge by car.

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Location: Kendal
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: Sronlossit, Roybridge
Mountain: Askival
Place: Glencoul
Gear: Not fussed about gear
Member: None
Ideal day out: A long day on high rocky ridges close to the sea with some mild scrambling and a good pub at the end

Munros: 281
Corbetts: 26
Grahams: 13
Donalds: 14
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 199
Sub 2000: 16
Islands: 33
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   

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Trips: 1
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 874m


Trips: 8
Distance: 203.26 km
Ascent: 7601m
Sub2000s: 1
Wainwrights 4


Trips: 24
Distance: 349.13 km
Ascent: 18396m
Munros: 16
Hewitts: 2
Wainwrights 15


Trips: 17
Distance: 249.83 km
Ascent: 12160m
Munros: 7
Hewitts: 2
Wainwrights 13

Joined: Jun 30, 2010
Last visited: Oct 22, 2021
Total posts: 447 | Search posts