And Then There Was One

Munros: An Socach (Mullardoch)

Date walked: 05/07/2014

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 30km

Ascent: 1050m

Over the years I had a master plan and that was to ensure when I got towards the end of my munros I wouldn’t be left with a list full of hard to get to places. Each year I made sure there was at least one trip to Skye, Knoydart, the far north or the heart of the Cairngorms. As I headed north on the Friday night I started to question myself. ‘How on earth did I end up with An Socach sitting on its own?’. Why, when standing on the summit of An Riabhacan two years earlier did I not just push on and climb it? It would have saved a lot of time and effort but on the day I decided after a week of walking it was just that bit too far.

I’d been in to the Iron Lodge 3 years earlier to climb Mullach na Dheirigan (another one left on its own) so I knew how good the track was for cycling. On the way in two large raptors took off from the trees below us. Not eagles, buzzards, kestrels or kites. That only really left ospreys. Good omen for the day to come?

The forecast was for heavy showers later in the day so by 9:30 am we had the bikes safely locked and stashed (city habits!!!) and were off along the trail towards Pait.
Glen Elchaig.JPG
Glen Elchaig

The sun was shining so the walk the Doire Gairbh was lovely. The glen was full of dragonflies but unfortunately there were a fair number of clegs doing their best to bite.
Here be Dragons.JPG
Here be Dragons

Even with a number of stops to watch the aerial acrobatics of the dragonflies we reached Loch Mhoicean within an hour.
Loch Mhoicean.JPG
Loch Mhoicean

From there we crossed the ouflow and struck off towards the col between Meall Shuas and the lower ridge of An Socach. There has been some heavy rain the night before but there were no problems underfoot. As we gained height we left the peat hags behind and made good time. By now views in all directions had started to open out. We could still see Skye in the distance which I took as a good sign, no rain for a while yet. Enter the second wildlife event of the day. Golden Plovers, lots and lots of Golden Plovers. I thought the first one was a Dotterel but on reflection I decided it was a juvenile. They flew along in front and beside us all the way to the final pull to the summit ridge.

Golden Plover.JPG
Golden Plover

The higher we got up the flank of An Socach the better the views became. Loch Mullardoch opened out below us so we were able to track the previous year’s boat ride to Beinn Fhionndlaidh and I could reminisce about trips to Beinn Dronaig, Bearnais and round Loch Monar to Maoile Lunndaidh. The walk up the grassy hillside wasn’t the most exciting but the views more than made up for it.

Upper Slopes.JPG
Upper Slopes
Approaching  Summit Ridge.JPG
Approaching Summit Ridge

The final section along the ridge to the trig point was far more enjoyable.

Towards An Rhiabhachan.JPG
Towards An Riabhachan

And that was it. All munros complete bar Ben Nevis.

So far we'd seen no one else, not even in the distance. As we were packing up to leave the summit a lone walker appeared from An Riabhachan. We chatted for a while and discovered he was well on the way to completing 8 summits that day as part of his attempt to climb all the munros in 60 days. I think he was amused to find it had taken me 25 years to get this far.

Our return was by the same route but this time we cut below the peat hags and crossed the river slightly closer to Loch Mhoicean. The walk back to the iron lodge was lovely, still no rain although the sky was starting to darken ominously. A stop at the bridge over An Crom-allt to dip our feet in the river was the only break. When we got back to the bikes there was a short moment of panic. The lock key wasn’t in the ruck sack... Before true panic started to set in we spotted it lying in the grass beside the back wheel of one of the bikes. Disaster averted we set off of home.

The previous trip I remember turning the peddles a few times then freewheeling for ages. Not so good this time around as the track had deteriorated over the years. Still, it was a great ride out. The rain finally caught us a few minutes into our ride out but it didn’t last long.

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Comments: 2

Two Down, Two to Go

Attachment(s) Munros: Garbh Chioch Mhòr, Sgùrr na Cìche
Date walked: 31/05/2014
Distance: 26km
Ascent: 1250m
Comments: 3
Views: 2406

The Final Five - The Beginning of the End

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Faochagach
Date walked: 16/04/2014
Distance: 24km
Ascent: 850m
Comments: 1
Views: 2418


User avatar
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: State Bar
Mountain: Sgurr Alasdair
Place: Strathcarron
Gear: My boots
Member: JMT,
Ideal day out: I'm an epic ridge walk kind of girl. Bit of scary and bit of scramble

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 13
Donalds: 25
Wainwrights: 136
Hewitts: 72
Sub 2000: 11
Islands: 42

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Trips: 3
Distance: 80 km
Ascent: 3150m
Munros: 4

Joined: Mar 01, 2010
Last visited: Jan 22, 2022
Total posts: 4 | Search posts