Squelching round the back of Ben Wyvis

Munros: Ben Wyvis

Date walked: 18/10/2021

Time taken: 5.1 hours

Distance: 24km

Ascent: 1560m

Munros: Ben Wyvis
Date: 18/10/2021.
Distance: 24km.
Ascent: 1560m.
Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes.
Weather: Some drizzle later on down low, windy up high and getting worse with time. Plateau in cloud.

A week off work beckoned but things looked like they would be decidedly wet! Monday was the most practical day for going out into the hills, but since everywhere looked grim I decided to stay close to home. It was finally time to get right into the eastern corries of Ben Wyvis - something I've been meaning to do for years. Given the amount of peat hags on the approach from Glen Glass, I decided the best way in would be to climb up to An Cabar on the usual Wyvis path and drop off the other side of the hill. This would give me plenty of ascent too - something that has been lacking from most walks this year.

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I started early to give myself the best chance of missing the high winds and downpours that were due to move in at luchtime, and was walking shortly after 8am. The going up Allt a; Bhealaich Mhoir was pleasant - no rain yet and some lovely autumn colours. Having destroyed my camera on Fionn Bheinn a couple of weeks ago I now had a rather cheap and nasty new camera to keep me going until I managed to get the other one repaired - fair to say you get what you pay for!

Autumn colours on Allt a Bhealaich Mhoir

Approaching An Cabar

There were good views west with interesting layers of cloud moving around, but halfway up An Cabar it became very windy. The wind was coming from the east but howling around the end of the ridge. I had a feeling it would probably be more sheltered on the plateau and I was right. I was in the cloud here and after following the eroded path towards the summit of Ben Wyvis for 10 minutes, I broke off to the right and descended the grassy south-eastern arm of the hill.

Layers of cloud over the Strathconon hills

Little Wyvis from An Cabar

Across the Black Isle

The walking is nice and easy high up on Wyvis and before too long I was out of the cloud again. After descending further towards Meall na Speirig, it was time to drop off the north side of the ridge into Coire na Feola. If I did this in the right place, I would manage to avoid most of the peat hags on the floor of Coire Mor. The going was quite heathery though. Looking back to the ridge I had descended, there was now a stag on the horizon.

Cromarty Firth from the SE arm of the plateau

Cnoc Ceslein and Glen Glass

Allt Coire na Feola

After a little floundering through heather on the north side of Coire na Feola, I reached easier ground at the foot of the eastern crags. These were pretty impressive even on a grey day with the tops of them in the cloud. I caught occasional glimpses of Loch a' Choire Mhoire but it is very hard to get an uninterrupted view of it until you are almost on top of it. A little bit of up and down keeps you to grassier terrain at the foot of the crags but the final descent to the shores of the lochan is unavoidably through large boulders and peat hags.

Under the crags of An t-Socach

An t-Socach

An atmospheric spot with crags and a waterfall dropping straight into the back of the lochan - this meant I would have to go around the front which involved more hags. I stopped briefly for a mid-morning break here although the rain was just beginning, then searched for a way to cross the outlet of the lochan. Initially this looked awkward with a bottomless peaty moat stretching away downstream, but before too long I came across some boulders which made an easy crossing.

Loch a Choire Mhoire

Crags above the loch

The ascent up the back of the corrie was straightforward - definitely a little damp low down, but with a barely visible path developing as I gained height. I was soon on short turf again, and a ridge that would have pretty good views from it if I hadn't been back in the clag again. Tom a' Choinnich has a strange double NE ridge so I crossed over to the more northerly one -this would make navigation to the summit more straightforward.

Looking back to Loch a Choire Mhoire

The top of Tom a' Choinnich wasn't exactly pleasant but the wind was bearable here. I followed the faint path towards the main summit of Ben Wyvis, which is easy and mostly involves following old iron fenceposts. A moment or two before I spotted the summit trig point and shelter, the wind shifted up a gear - yuck!

Conditions deteriorating on the summit

The way down was theoretically very simple - follow the motorway back to the car. While the wind wasn't quite picking me off my feet at this point, it was starting to become unpleasant to walk in. A sort of walk-run got me to An Cabar in under 20 minutes, passing another couple of folk on the way up. At least they were almost on the summit (although I couldn't tell them that as talking was just about impossible!).

As on the ascent, the wind was even worse on the ridge down from An Cabar, howling round the corner and making the zigzags awkward to negotiate. I had wanted to be at this point earlier to avoid the stronger gusts but even my 8am start hadn't allowed this. The windspeed was set to increase as the day went on and I was glad to be off the worst of it after another 10 minutes or so. I passed another couple of folk on their way up who shouted my name - Lee and John. I hadn't recognised them in their full goretex, hoods and hats. Bit of a theme for Wyvis - last time up I had failed to recognise at least 3 people I knew :oops: . They were hoping to make a quick ascent on the way up to Ullapool for a few days. I heard later that they had turned back before An Cabar - good move as it would have been even worse up there than I had experienced 30 minutes earlier!

I pushed on for the car - it was only wet now rather than windy. Another time when I should have put my waterproof trousers on. Instead, I jumped in the car in my soaking gear and drove straight home - second time in a fortnight that has happened! At least there were some interesting bits earlier on.

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Comments: 3

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Attachment(s) Munros: Fionn Bheinn
Date walked: 03/10/2021
Distance: 11.5km
Ascent: 1030m
Comments: 1
Views: 240

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 26/09/2021
Distance: 5km
Ascent: 185m
Views: 31

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Sub 2000s: Hightown Hill
Date walked: 19/09/2021
Views: 22

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Hewitts: Lovely Seat
Date walked: 19/09/2021
Distance: 5.5km
Ascent: 280m
Views: 25

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 18/09/2021
Distance: 6km
Ascent: 200m
Views: 42

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Base Brown, Bowfell, Eagle Crag, Esk Pike, Glaramara, Harrison Stickle, High Raise (Central Fells), Sergeant's Crag, Thunacar Knott
Hewitts: Base Brown, Bowfell, Combe Head, Dovenest Crag, Esk Pike, Glaramara, Harrison Stickle, High Raise (Central Fells)
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Distance: 28.5km
Ascent: 2650m
Comments: 3
Views: 310

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Silver How
Date walked: 14/09/2021
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 750m
Comments: 1
Views: 188

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Hard Knott
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Ascent: 180m
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Views: 269

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Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Fairfield, Great Rigg, Hart Crag, Hartsop above How, High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Middle Dodd, Red Screes, Stone Arthur
Hewitts: Fairfield, Great Rigg, Hart Crag, Little Hart Crag, Red Screes
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Ascent: 1510m
Comments: 2
Views: 320


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Location: Glasgow/Inverness
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 74
Wainwrights: 130
Hewitts: 271
Sub 2000: 283
Islands: 38

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Trips: 55
Distance: 609 km
Ascent: 33070m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 28
Hewitts: 14
Wainwrights 20


Trips: 73
Distance: 840.25 km
Ascent: 43115m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 15
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 72
Distance: 1114 km
Ascent: 66725m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 43
Hewitts: 12
Wainwrights 2


Trips: 74
Distance: 1529 km
Ascent: 85110m
Munros: 20
Corbetts: 29
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 51
Wainwrights 20


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Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 9


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Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 33


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Ascent: 58815m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 26


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Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 43
Donalds: 33
Sub2000s: 23


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


Trips: 61
Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 96
Wainwrights 16


Trips: 49
Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Trips: 2

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