Mullardoch Round in a day (Part Two)

Route: The Loch Mullardoch Munros

Munros: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Mullardoch), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Càrn Eige), Càrn Eige, Càrn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Màm Sodhail, Mullach na Dheiragain, Sgùrr na Lapaich, Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan, Toll Creagach, Tom a' Chòinich

Date walked: 01/07/2014

Time taken: 18.35 hours

Distance: 58km

Ascent: 5003m

Continued from Part One http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=45360

An Socach (Mullardoch) is a very special hill. It easily makes it into my top 10 list. Again we had stunning views out towards Torridon and now we could also see Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich, my favourite munro, rising above Loch Calavie.

Cheesecake from An Socach.jpg

From here we were also able to really appreciate how far we had come. Before us we could see the south side of Loch Mullardoch in all it’s glory. We looked back to the first hill, Toll Creagach, which we had been on twelve hours ago,

Toll Creagach from Mullardoch An Socach.jpg

and followed the ridge along all the way to Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan which now looked miles away.

Kerry from Mullardoch An Socach.jpg

We paused to take it all in. I don’t think either of us could quite believe what we were doing. Even Dan, who would normally say 'It's Mickey Mouse this Ketz,' said 'Ketz, it's ridiculous isn't it, it's epic.'

On the way up An Socach I had told Dan, “don’t worry, An Riabachan is easy from An Socach. Once we get up here we just have the 300 metres of Sgurr nan Lapaich to worry about and then we are home and dry.”

Unfortunately my lie failed when Dan saw An Riabachan.

An Riabachan from An Socach.jpg

He instantly worked out it was a long way. The drop to the Bealach Bholla is roughly 200 metres and the climb back up from there is roughly 300 metres. The ascent up An Riabachan is good fun as it is a nice ridge with a little bit of scrambling if you pick the right route. At this point I was feeling full of energy. Not a fan of boxing but a regular viewer of Sky Sports News, I knew that Carl Froch before his recent fight with Saint George Groves kept talking about the championship rounds. This I believe is where a boxer comes good at the end of a fight. I told Dan I was now entering the mountaineering endurance equivalent. I stormed up hill at full pace, looking back across to the other side of the lake at Carn Eighe and Beinn Fhionnlaidh as I went,

Up An Riabachan 1.jpg

with the spectacular An Socach behind us.

An Socach from An Riabachan.jpg

Dan was still struggling, and then suddenly near the top of An Riabachan my energy ran out and my ‘legs went’. Dan of course pointed out that I evidently wasn’t very good in the championship rounds after all. We both struggled along the flattish section that leads to the top. When on the top, the view of the south side hills was the best we got all day.

South side from An R.jpg

With Tom a Choinich on the left of the photo, An Socach (number 6) the small hill just to the right of centre and the double topped Sgurr nan Ceathreamnan to the right, we could virtually see our whole route.

To the north we could see across Loch Monar towards Maoile Lunndaidh and further west towards Applecross and the wonderful Corbett Beinn Bhan

Monar from An R.jpg

We were both desperate now to see the finish line. I dived into my bag for anything I could find to eat

Me on An R.jpg

After annihilating the remainder of my Kettle Chips and the rest of the lemon cake, getting back up after sitting on the cairn was hard work.

I had known all along that by doing the route the way we had, that the section from An Riabachan to Sgurr na Lapaich would be the hardest section of the day. Because of the fatigue and the 300m ascent up Sgurr na Lapaich, it was the section I had told Dan the night before that would have him in tears.

As we headed down the narrow ridge of Creagan Toll an Lochain, the 300 metre drop was looking huge and I was looking apprehensive

Sgurr na Lapaich, me looking .jpg

and Dan behind the camera looked like a ghost. The col wasn’t far from here and we were determined to knock the climb up to the top of Sgurr na Lapaich off as quickly as possible. Once over the bog at the col we eventually found a good path and made excellent progress up the steep slope. Fortunately, as we had hoped, it didn’t take us long to reach the top.

My attention immediately turned towards the grand finale. I couldn’t remember from the first time how far Carn nan Gobhar was from here. My feet were burning terribly and the rocks were starting to hurt as they poked through my trainers. We could see that we still had a long way to go judging by the left hand arm of Toll Creagach which was in view and that we knew led to the dam.


After one final glance back to where we had come from,

Kerry from Sgurr na L.jpg

we carried on. The descent across massive boulders was hell and especially frustrating as I had missed the path coming down from the top. It took what seemed like forever to lose the 354 metres of height down to the Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe. From here Carn nan Gobhar was a 200m ascent up more rocky ground and again, we both seemed to find this far easier than going down hill. The slope was reasonably gentle and within 25 minutes we had the final top and our goal for the day within our sights.

Carn nan Gobhar.jpg

Dan was totally broken now and not even the sight of the finish line could spark him into life. Quite how he had managed it after his previous 48 hours was a mystery to me. Upon reaching the summit cairn and seeing how far the Mullardoch dam still was from here, he broke down.

Dan breaks down.jpg


Me on Carn nan Gobhar.jpg

Both of us were too exhausted to celebrate too much. We were all too aware that we still had to get down. I had been down the recommended route from Carn nan Gibhar to Mullach na Maoile and off the end of the arm before and absolutely hated it. Instead we headed east towards Creag Dubh and dropped into Coire an t-Sith. Dan was highly unimpressed. It was steep, wet, boggy and there were small cliffs everywhere meaning we had to keep re ascending small sections to get round them. Our feet were soaked from the bog. I kept telling Dan that we would hit a path soon as there was one marked on the map. It took a while, but as promised, the path appeared just after 7pm in the lower coire. By now we were moving pretty fast, virtually running down next to the Allt Mullardoch to the finish. Unfortunately for me I had quite a big slip in the mud to lose the daily falls contest 1-0. This photo was taken to prove I lost, but it also shows the evidence that I had carried my empty Morrison’s Value Bitter can for the whole round


Shortly after this we reached Loch Mullardoch and the final mile of the walk along the lakeside. We reached the car at 8pm and took an end of walk selfie

End selfie.jpg

A stunning 18 hrs and 35 minutes that neither of us will ever forget. I have always said that the hills between Glen Affric and the A890 down Glen Carron are easily the best in Britain and this route confirmed that belief.

Now we need a new challenge!

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Comments: 7

Mullardoch Round in a day (Part One)

Attachment(s) Munros: An Riabhachan, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Mullardoch), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Càrn Eige), Càrn Eige, Càrn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Màm Sodhail, Mullach na Dheiragain, Sgùrr na Lapaich, Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan, Toll Creagach, Tom a' Chòinich
Date walked: 01/07/2014
Distance: 58km
Ascent: 5003m
Views: 5639

A Streap way off Gulvain

Attachment(s) Munros: Gulvain
Corbetts: Braigh nan Uamhachan, Streap
Date walked: 26/05/2013
Distance: 28.8km
Ascent: 2368m
Comments: 2
Views: 4350

1, 2

Complete Mamore Ridge traverse

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mòr, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Sgùrr Èilde Mòr, Stob Bàn (Mamores), Stob Coire a' Chàirn
Date walked: 19/07/2011
Distance: 40km
Ascent: 3900m
Comments: 21
Views: 28368

Tarf Water Six

Attachment(s) Munros: An Sgarsoch, Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl), Càrn a' Chlamain, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar)
Corbetts: Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Mheadhonach
Date walked: 20/04/2011
Distance: 55km
Ascent: 2995m
Comments: 4
Views: 8819

Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Carn an Righ and Glas Tulaichean

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Iutharn Mhòr, Càrn an Rìgh, Glas Tulaichean
Date walked: 03/01/2011
Comments: 5
Views: 6768


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Interests: Running, Aston Villa FC (I'm a football fundamentalist and hate all other teams), most sports apart from boxing, films, music as it's what I do for a living
Pub: Fish Box Bar, Gairloch
Mountain: Beinn a Chlaidheimh
Place: Corrour
Gear: ME Changabang Jacket
Member: Halesowen Running Club
Camera: Panasonic Lumix
Ideal day out: An epic day of munro bagging, preferably long distance with an exciting scramble along the way

Munros: 279
Corbetts: 16
Fionas: 3

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