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Winter kicks off in style on Beinn Dearg

Munros: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall

Date walked: 19/01/2019

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 24km

Ascent: 1430m

Munros: Beinn Dearg, Cona Mheall
Date: 19/01/2019.
Distance: 24 km.
Ascent: 1430m.
Time taken: 9 hours.
Weather: Sunny, calm, deep, fresh snow.

I didn't have any great plans for this weekend until David (Rounsfell) got in touch suggesting the Beinn Dearg group. Weather forecast didn't look too bad, so why not? We got off to a bit of a late start due to Rounsfell struggling to find my house (partly my fault admittedly :roll: ) - it was getting on for 9:30am by the time we left the car at Inverlael.

We weren't overly concerned - we could shorten the walk if required. More importantly, the weather looked even better than the tentatively optimistic forecast 8)


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Beinn Mhor Coigach

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Beinn Dearg from Gleann na Sguaib

After strolling up forestry tracks through the Inverlael plantation, we decided to get straight on the ridge that would lead us to Beinn Dearg via the Famine Wall - the better to appreciate the more open views from.

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Crossing the river...could be dodgy

The initial scrabble out of the glen was a bit of a wade through fresh snow and deep heather, but the going improved as the ground levelled out....the views to An Teallach quickly opened up too, fully justifying our route choice :D .

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An Teallach

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Diollaid a' Mhill Bhric

It was quite a long walk to reach the end of the wall (never mind Beinn Dearg itself) and after a short spell of easier going, we hit all sorts of fun. The snow was largely unconsolidated, but was beginning to form a slightly harder crust in a couple of places. Along with a few small drifts in more exposed places, it made for slower going as every step was different. This only got worse as we reached the wall and more bouldery terrain, but it couldn't dampen our spirits on such a great day.

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Beinn Dearg Mor and An Teallach

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Beinn Ghobhlach and Loch Broom

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An Teallach

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Beinn Enaglair

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Meall na Ceapraichean and Beinn Dearg

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An Teallach

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Fisherfield hills

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Eididh nan Clach Geala

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Beinn Dearg and the wall

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Southeast

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Meall na Ceapraichean

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Following the wall

The worst section was the final main pull up to Beinn Dearg, which would probably have been quite rough going even without the snow. We realised at this point that there was no way we were getting around to Eididh nan Clach Geala, and even a second summit may be out of reach.

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Small pinnacle on the way up

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On the ridge next to the Famine Wall

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Fannaichs

It was worth the effort though, with plenty of Scotland's finest on show, including most of the places I had been over the New Year (Loch a' Bhraoin, Fisherfield, Achiltibuie, Suilven). The final ascent over the plateau was much easier going, and we had a decent break on top - after 20 minutes I realised I was still just in my t-shirt!

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Beinn Eneglair with a smorgasboard of peaks behind

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Finally getting close to the summit

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Looking across to Meall na Ceapraichean from Beinn Dearg

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Inverpollaidh hills

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Loch a' Bhraoin from Beinn Dearg

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Cona Mheall and the hills of the Kildermorie forest

Time to drop down to Bealach an Lochain Uaine, which was the slowest and most painful part of the day. Soft snow covered all manner of holes and angular blocks. Much more difficult than normal in these conditions, but completely unsuited to axe and crampons too. Many swear words were uttered over the next 30 minutes, with Rounsfell's key quote being 'you can't be at one with a mountain unless you have told it to **** off a few times' :lol: .

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Down Coire Mhathair Lathail

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Cona Mheall

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Down Coire a' Ghranda

Once at the bealach, we were unsure whether to continue even to Cona Mheall - it was now after 2:30pm and there was potentially more crap snow to come on the way down the glen. In the end, we opted to go a little further just for the views down Coire Ghranda.

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Frozen lochan

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Lochan Choire Ghranda

This rapidly morphed into 'lets ditch our bags and make a dash for Cona Mheall after all!' We did, and there was some more skittering about on angular boulders (as well as a big, steep snowdrift to descend to the lowest point of the bealach - can't say we were looking forward to that on the return leg :roll: ) but it was nowhere near as bad as the descent from Beinn Dearg, and we were on the summit in the late afternoon light, glad we had bothered. A swift return to the bags followed (apart from the snowslope re-ascent), before we spent about 0.2 seconds contemplating the quick addition of Meall nan Ceapraichean (******** to that!)

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Run, it's going to get dark!

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Loch Prille from Cona Mheall

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SE ridge of Cona Mheall

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Fannaichs from Cona Mheall

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Beinn Dearg

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Assynt above the cloud

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Seana Bhraigh and Ben More Assynt

Assynt was looking particularly fine floating above a sea of cloud as we rounded the various frozen lochans in search of the top of the path down the corrie.

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An Teallach

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Lochan Uaine

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An Teallach from the top of the corrie

The path was well obliterated by drifts high up, so we weren't able to make any decent speed until much further down. However I've never been in the top of this corrie before, and despite the awkward underfoot conditions, it was the place to be at this time of day. The sun was setting over An Teallach and the sea to the west, and a short while later on, the moon re-appeared, rising above Meall nan Ceapraichean behind us.

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Descending Coire Mhathair Leathail

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N face of Beinn Dearg

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Lochan Lathail

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Looking back to Beinn Dearg

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Meall na Ceapraichean and Beinn Dearg

We were a good way down the glen before it got particularly dark, with torches only being needed to avoid some of the ice on the last half-mile or so to the forest edge. Then it was a quick tramp back down to the car, ending what could potentially end up being one of the best hill days of this winter 8)

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Moon up

Cheers to Rounsfell for suggesting this. If I'd been heading out on my own, I would probably have opted for a longer lie in bed and somewhere slightly closer to home, which wouldn't have been half as much fun!

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malky_c


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Location: Inverness
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
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Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 71
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2019

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Distance: 109 km
Ascent: 5775m
Munros: 3
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 1

2018

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Distance: 1529 km
Ascent: 85110m
Munros: 20
Corbetts: 29
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 51
Wainwrights 20

2017

Trips: 59
Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
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Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
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Wainwrights 9

2016

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Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
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Sub2000s: 33

2015

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Distance: 1009 km
Ascent: 58815m
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Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
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2014

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Distance: 1143 km
Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
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Grahams: 43
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Sub2000s: 23

2013

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Distance: 1121.2 km
Ascent: 52310m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 36
Sub2000s: 26

2012

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Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 96
Wainwrights 16

2011

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Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18

2010

Trips: 45
Distance: 987.3 km
Ascent: 49290m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 33
Grahams: 32
Sub2000s: 10
Hewitts: 4

2009

Trips: 43
Distance: 741 km
Ascent: 35725m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 14
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1

2008

Trips: 47
Distance: 540.5 km
Ascent: 37865m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 6

2007

Trips: 40
Distance: 471.5 km
Ascent: 30550m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 4

2006

Trips: 36
Distance: 472 km
Ascent: 32785m
Munros: 39
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 4
Hewitts: 1

2005

Trips: 29
Distance: 464 km
Ascent: 27635m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2
Hewitts: 5
Wainwrights 8

2004

Trips: 43
Distance: 839.4 km
Ascent: 47975m
Munros: 60
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 1

2003

Trips: 45
Distance: 798 km
Ascent: 51905m
Munros: 68
Corbetts: 5
Hewitts: 5

2002

Trips: 47
Distance: 634 km
Ascent: 42245m
Munros: 46
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 24

2001

Trips: 61
Distance: 738.5 km
Ascent: 59035m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 53
Wainwrights 23

2000

Trips: 51
Distance: 512.5 km
Ascent: 42190m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 55
Wainwrights 26

1999

Trips: 47
Distance: 504 km
Ascent: 43786m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 48
Wainwrights 4

1998

Trips: 37
Distance: 378 km
Ascent: 33525m
Munros: 12
Hewitts: 46

1997

Trips: 43
Distance: 512.1 km
Ascent: 44205m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2
Hewitts: 63
Wainwrights 6

1996

Trips: 40
Distance: 476.5 km
Ascent: 40740m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 75
Wainwrights 17

1995

Trips: 2


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