Nae Fanniching about, nine in the sun !

Route: Sgurr Mor and the eastern Fannichs

Munros: A' Chailleach, An Coileachan, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Meall a'Chrasgaidh, Meall Gorm, Sgurr Breac, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Each

Date walked: 09/08/2020

Time taken: 11.8 hours

Distance: 65km

Ascent: 2900m

Now, just to say up-front, the boy and I have done a few big walks - 9/10 Mamores, SGR plus the Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine. The vertical on this walk looks a little less (a tad under 3000m) but the horizontal looked further at perhaps 35km or so. We read reports on here and also Steven Fallon (main route and alternatives).
So, we had one day and this was our chosen "big one" for the year - days are still long enough and weather was going to be awesome. Take plenty of water, the main ridge has none except stagnant pools.

Let's start with some data - from the layby it's 11km to a fence/gate with a cattle crossing, then another 1km to the Lodge. Just before the Lodge there is a sign for walkers and bikers to turn up the hill. To circumnavigate the Lodge adds another 1.5km - 2km plus a little more ascent.
Steven Fallon says 10km bike to lodge then 6km to end of loch. That's plain wrong - 11km to the fence then 9km to the end of the loch where you cross a footbridge and the main path kicks off to the right. 4km extra compared to plan on a very long day, not the best start so take note ! Took us 2.5hrs for that 20km - just under 50mins for the bike and a tad over an hour and a half to the footbridge just past the derelict bothies. The OS Maps are way out of date on the water level is another point to note, the water does not even come around the corner at the bothies any more.
The path after the bothies is a little boggy in places but pretty decent.
At the FB you have a choice - head up the path to the right with an understanding that you'll have to then go over Sgurr Breac to get to A Chaillech and then come back over Sgurr Breac before heading onto the Eastern side/ridge. Doing that as part of a plan to bag all nine in a day would be radio rental IMHO.

So, followed the Steven Fallon route to Bealach Toll an Lochan - with visibility like today that was very straightforward although I had knocked my GPS off at the FB which is a little unhelpful for anyone looking at this route map in detail. Just take a bearing for it and then contour up with a little zig and zag here and there to work through rocky outcrops.
An Teallach had been visible on the walk up the loch, looks fantastic and still on my list to do (64 left after today).
view up the track/loch

that will be Slioch

Next big tip of the day - we dropped our bags whenever we could for the out and backs. If I looked carefully I could likely work out the amount of ascent and horizontal of "nae bag" walking but suffice to say that it's a good few km and a few hundred m of ascent where some energy is saved and it feels better as the day goes and legs get more tired.
Boy did it feel good to get the first munro done, some serious flinking effort and time to get there !!
First Munro of the day bagged !

Views to die for, An Teallach in the background

So, fairly simple push over to Sgurr Breac (on OS Map 436 this is the most westerly of the Fannichs, the other more westerly Munro does not quite make it onto the map !), and this is where my son had set his first challenge - feel Ok after "the big down and up". The bealach here is at about 540m and meets the path coming up from the FB that I mentioned earlier just after the old bothies. Boy were we glad we took the Fallon route. By now we had met a few folks as well, some just doing the Westerly two and a couple of singletons coming over from the central group to bag five. There is no path up the face in front of you which is Cadha na Guite on my OS App. There is decent running water on the way up here though so very good time to drink and refill ! We never saw any quality water after this until coming down off the last of the nine Munros, beware !
Sgurr Breac, less than 40mins after the first Munro of the day, now we're talking !

The climb back up did not feel too bad, dumped our bags again and headed over to number 4 for the day
Sgurr nan Each, #3

OK, so now a wee bit more of a challenge, Sgurr nan Clach Geala is the second highest hill of the day at 1093m. Getting back to our bags was just fine but the pull up the other side to 1000m plus was enough to get me puffing and thinking about how wise the plan was, particularly given time was passing. We set off from the car at 8.40am (later than planned due to lack of prompt breakfast service at Aultguish Inn) and topped #3 at 2.40pm ...
Talked to a couple of ladies heading up SnCG and decided not to hang around at the top to keep moving ..... It was now 3.23pm so we're still moving at a pace !

So, now for an "outlier" - being Meall a Chrasgaidh - dumped the bags on the plateau at Am Burach and jogged over the bag #5 a minute or so before 4pm.

now we're onto lumbering, we had jogged back to our bags but theslog up Carn na Ciche which, at 961m, is not a Munro, was a bit painful and it felt like forever to get to the top of Sgurr Mor which is 1108m and, we told ourselves, it's the highest of the day so surely all downhill from here !!
The big one of the day !

Feeling relatively pleased we now had to swallow the view of the remaining distance - with another outlier to do. Quick word with ourselves about "we didnae come here for nothing". My goodly wife was also sending texts amounting to "when will you be home" meaning dinner - whoops.
So, same formula, clambered down Sgurr Mor, dumped bags, jogged over to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich where the blinking path takes you around a contour before heading up, there is a huge cairn on the East shoulder/spur but we cut up the side. So that's 7 and now we are at
#7 I think

Back down to a plateau, back up and onto the ridge, met a couple of ladies who had pitched their tent up there for the weekend. Meall Gorm was a slog and a half, my uphill legs were pretty much shot by now and our reserve half pack of Trebor Strong mints made a real difference. By the time we logged #8 I think we both wished we'd maybe not taken this on. Directing some choice words at Steven Fallons route estimates provided some outlet of frustration as well. He was not our last target of some form of vicarious blame, that came later ...... By now we've been going for 10hrs and over 46km (plus a couple of km missed after the FB at 20km in).
6.30pm, #8 for the day

Message from wife was now to find a place to stay and not drive home as would be too late for dinner and I'd be tired. Boy's driving test was due on the Friday of the week that lockdown hit so was cancelled 2 days beforehand and therefore no back-up driver :(
On marched the intrepid two. His uphill legs were still going but his downhill legs were playing second fiddle to mine, funny how that can help spur you on when cream-crackered.
Last but not least A Coileachan. Nine in a day, third time we've done that but first time for a couple of years.
7.07pm quite a day ....

So, we'd eyed up the route off when we parked the bikes at 9.30am that morning - down the SW shoulder and then bear off for the gate/fence/cattle grid. It would be fair to say that I did not bounce down the hill but I did get down with fair help from my poles as extra legs, quads pretty flinked now. Beat the boy to the bikes and had found more water 2/3 of the wat off the hill, boy did that water taste good :)
Also took one photo of the sun starting to set in the distance
sun starting to set

OK, now to the horror show of the bike ride. None of us like midges and the Aultguish Inn is in fact midge city central. :(
When we started the bike ride we were higher than the Loch and in the sun. Soon we were level with dead water and in the shade. Maybe you have seen the Riddick series of movies but it was unbelievable, we biked through (downhill most of the way out thankfully) about 1.374 billion midges (yes we counted) which were like tiny hailstones firing into ears, nostrils, hair etc. Keeping mouth closed and Oakleys on was the only way to survive. And then a cleg bit me through my t shirt just to really **** me off. Bike speed hit 44kph at one point. The Aultg Inn was now a point of hatred - we had ordered brekkie at 7.30pm (covid rules mean filling out chit the night before) but foor only showed at just before 8pm and we figured that meant more shady midge zone on bike ride. Excuse for late brekkie at hotel = "problem with a shower", first time I heard of brekkie being cooked bya shower ....
Suunto says 10hrs 40min and 59.6km 2939 descent and 2728 ascent. I twice knocked the GPS off so means that the distance is short the the ascent is 2900m. Car door to car door was 11hr 50mins exactly.
Got to the layby and wheels came off bike fast, chucked bikes in car and got motoring. that was 11hr 50mins. On this route map the section from 20km to the very first bealach is wrong and the last wee section coming off the hill to the bikes is not right - makes it look like we cycled from on the hill rather than walking back to bikes. Best of luck to all who venture forth !
route map

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Comments: 4

MCD from Annat, long walk, great track though !

Munros: Maol Chean-dearg
Date walked: 03/08/2020
Distance: 24km
Ascent: 1200m
Views: 151

Go clockwise !!!!! Accurate distances here.

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Date walked: 25/07/2020
Distance: 25.6km
Ascent: 1538m
Comments: 1
Views: 417

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Munros: Beinn Fhionnlaidh
Date walked: 22/03/2020
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1005m
Views: 139

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Munros: Mullach an Rathain (Liathach), Spidean a'Choire Leith (Liathach)
Date walked: 04/08/2019
Distance: 7.2km
Ascent: 1000m
Comments: 1
Views: 586

Wet wet and wetter part 2

Munros: Chno Dearg, Stob Coire Sgriodain
Date walked: 01/06/2019
Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 1000m
Views: 410

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Munros: Mullach Clach a'Bhlair
Date walked: 30/05/2019
Distance: 21.5km
Ascent: 785m
Comments: 1
Views: 509

Magnificent Five in the sun

Attachment(s) Munros: A' Chralaig, Carn Ghluasaid, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean
Date walked: 21/07/2018
Distance: 29km
Ascent: 2107m
Comments: 2
Views: 840

tick infested, long trousers and tick removers needed

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Sgritheall
Date walked: 19/07/2018
Distance: 8km
Ascent: 1237m
Views: 689

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Attachment(s) Munros: A' Ghlas-bheinn
Date walked: 17/07/2018
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1007m
Views: 561


Location: Edinburgh
Interests: Running, watching sport, wilderness
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Roseburn Bar/Glenelg Inn
Mountain: The Cuillins
Place: Skye
Gear: Hoka One Trail shoes
Member: None
Camera: iPhone
Ideal day out: ridge, good scramble, nae bog/marsh to walk through getting up the hill and back; or a good long run on a high plateau with great views; snow surrounded by blue skies
Ambition: just broke 200 so 282

Munros: 219
Grahams: 3
Sub 2000: 3

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Last visited: Sep 13, 2020
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