Munros: A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Ruadh Stac Mòr, Sgùrr Bàn
Corbetts: Beinn a' Chlaidheimh
Date walked: 27/07/2022
Time taken: 17 hours
Given the mammoth task of completing the Fisherfield munros in a single day, we decided to break up the route with an overnight stay at the base of the loop in Strath na Sealga.
We set off from the layby at Corrie Hallie the previous evening with the intention to wild camp at the alder woodland at the base of the Corbett Beinn a' Chlaidheimh. The track along the Sail Liath plateau dropping into Strath na Sealga was excellent.
However once we reached the woodland we were greeted with grazing cattle and their calves. Not wanting to disturb the cattle and calves, we decided to take the track west towards Shenavall bothy. Sadly the track deteriorated after passing the ruins at Achneigie and it was a bit of a bogfest at parts until we reached Shenavall bothy.
Given the popularity of the bothy, we were surprised to only have one other occupant for the evening. The bothy had some very interesting documents on its history. It's hard to imagine that there were once 6 dwellings in this valley given its isolation.
We set off the following morning at 630am from the bothy to begin an anticlockwise loop of the 5 munros. The mountain weather forecast had predicted a 70% chance of cloud-free munros, and guess what, we were greeted with cloud cover down to 300m and persistent drizzle.
Having read reports about the bog between Abhainn Strath na Sealga and Abhainn Gleann na Muice, we decided on the anticlockwise route to try get the wettest section over with at the start. My £6 pair of aqua shoes from sports direct were a godsend for the knee height water levels and bog section!
Once into Gleann na Muice Beag, we followed the excellent stalkers path up to 480m then left the path to strike south around Ruadh Stac Beag towards Lochan a' Bhraghad. Unfortunately this section was largely path less and incredibly wet and boggy which basically ended our hopes of dry boots for the rest of the route.
The gradient ramped up after passing the lochan and we finally reached the summit of our first munro Ruadh Stac Mór after 3.5 hours. At this point we still had the drizzle and clouds to contend with so we continued fairly swiftly down the rocky southern slope of RSM to the bealach.
The wet rocks on this section were pretty treacherous so we were relieved to reach the bealach in one piece.
Things now started to look up as the summit of A' Mhaighdean began to clear. The excellent path up to the summit made for easy going and we were greeted to the magnificent view west towards Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch. This was my highlight of the whole trip and I can see why it is up there as one of the best views in Scotland. We paused for lunch on the summit and just took in the views.
We were now 4.5hr into our walk and were dreading the next drop down to 525m with the steep ascent to Beinn Tarsuinn. It was difficult finding the path up Suidheachan Fhinn, however we managed to locate it at about 750m. We soon reached the tennis court, followed by a gentle ascent to the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn where we stopped for more food. This was to be our last clear summit view of the day but we were in good spirits with only 2 munros remaining.
We dropped down to the bypass path at Bealach Odhar and had a relatively easy ascent up the southern slope of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair to reach the highest point of the day at 1018m. At this point we were 7.5hr into the loop.
The steep zig zag path down the scree-covered northern slope of MCMF was negotiated carefully and soon began our last ascent of the round. The ascent up Sgurr Ban was fairly gradual and we summited 45min after the summit of MCMF.
The descent off Sgurr Ban to the bealach at An Briseadh was absolutely treacherous! The loose slippy rocks had to be taken with extreme caution and this slowed us right down. It took us nearly 1hr to get down to the bealach. We had 3 options now, either descend west down into Gleann na Muice and back to Shenavall to collect our gear, up and over the Corbett Beinn a' Chlaidheimh and back down to Strath na Sealga, or turn east down the rocky slope towards Abhainn Loch an Nid. We opted for the third option and picked up the very rough path on the east side of Abhainn Loch an Nid. We could have saved a huge amount of time descending into Gleann na Muice but had not seen much information on whether you can descend via this route so decided to be cautious by dropping down the east side of the bealach.
Now we had a long walk back to Shenavall bothy. We reached the bothy at 730pm and had a quick cup of tea, some food, and a chat with some people doing the Cape Wrath Trail, before the long ascent up the Allt a Chlaiginn path until we reached the high point and back onto the track to Coire Hallie. We finally got back to the car after 14hr of walking since 6am that morning. Total moving time from carpark to carpark was 17hr (with an overnight stay in the bothy).
This was the most challenging expedition so far of my munro bagging experience. The effort to get down to Strath na Sealga in itself is a challenge. The track and path from Coire Hallie would be extremely difficult to cycle as it is very rocky for the most part. Coupled with the scarcity of paths on the mountain route and extreme energy-sapping boggy sections, I commend anyone who manages this route in a single day. I most certainly will be back to tackle the Corbett Beinn a' Chlaidheimh via this route.
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- Activity: Mountain Walker
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- Distance: 86.85 km
- Ascent: 4278m
- Munros: 8
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- Distance: 93 km
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