992 m. |
Translation: Hill of the goats
Pronuncation: kaarn nan gower
On our first day in the Strathfarrar Region of the Highlands we set out to walk the group of four Munros which are easily accessible from Glen Strathfarrar once you are past the locked gate at Inchmore. This being no obstacle to us since we stayed at Culligran, we drove the road leading into the glen in order to determine whether we wanted to do the walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. Finally after some minutes of definite indecision we reached the dam of Loch Monar and had a look around there. A desolate but beautiful spot of the Highlands. Then, finally, we made up our mind and left the car at the parking close to the confluence of the River Strathfarrar and the Allt Toll a’ Mhuic.
From there we walked up the (landrover-)track on the right-hand side of the burn. The going was easy enough and we soon reached Loch Toll a’Mhuic. There we saw eight elegant white swans swimming on the water of the loch perched beautifully below the cliffs of Sgurr na Muice. A highly enchanting and totally unexpected image. From the Loch we climbed the grassy path into the upper corrie. From there we walked in mist over increasingly steep and treacherous snowfields until the fog finally cleared and the way ahead to the beallach between Sgurr na Fearstaig and the first Munro of the day, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, was revealed. On the ridge we met another walker with whom we chatted a bit. From the summit of our first Munro we pressed onward and followed the easy ridge over Creag Choire a’Bhealaich and the subsequent col to Sgurr a’Choire Ghlais the highest and most impressive hill of the tour. At the cairn of Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais we had a break and a snack.
Then we descended the north-western ridge of the hill which was still covered in steep snow. We met another group of three hill-walkers, relatives of the gentlemen we ran into before. From the bealach between Sgurr a’Choire Ghlais and Carn nan Gobhar it took us no more than fifteen minutes to the summit of the latter. There we rested for ten minutes and then we continued or high-level tramp heading west then south-west to the summit of our final Munro of the day, Sgurr na Ruaidhe. The ascent to the summit of Sgurr na Ruaidhe was over very smooth moss and turf and we were completely engulfed by dense fog. With the help of our compasses and common sense we reached the highest point of the hill. There we dropped our rucksacks and rested for quite some time. With our batteries recharged we then set off to hike the remaining 5 to 6 kilometres back to the road. The walk was easy enough leading over grassy and sometimes quite wet terrain to the track running alongside the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. Once on the track it was an easy walk back to the road in Glen Strathfarrar.
Unfortunately, once back in the glen due east of Loch a’Mhuilidh, it was another six kilometers back to our car. Luckily the weather held up as it had done all day and Frank and I enjoyed the swift hike back to our Honda SUV. We reached the car just in time to listen to the BBC hillwalkers weatherforecast for the next day. Then we drove back east, picked up Alex who had been waiting for us in the vicinity of Loch a’ Mhuillidh and headed for our cottage at Culligran. A very entertaining and varied ridge-walk. Hardly any rain, some wind and good company (swans!) on the hills. Four Munros well-earned — but with pleasure.
Description These four mountains form a well-defined ridge on the north side of Glen Strathfarrar. Sgurr na Ruaidhe and Carn nan Gobhar at the east end are rounded and rather featureless hills with broad ridges. Going west, Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais is a much finer peak which dominates the group, and to its west the main ridge becomes narrower, with fine corries on the north side, to reach Sgurr Fuar-thuill. The best part of this group of hills, however, is at its western end where the lower peak Sgurr na Muice rises boldly with a great bastion of crags above Loch Toll a' Mhuic.The traverse of these mountains is usually done from east to west, starting up the stalker's path on the east side of the Allt Coire Mhuillidh. Climb Sgurr na Ruaidhe by its south-west ridge and continue over Carn nan Gobhar to Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais and on along the narrowing ridge to Sgurr Fuar-thuill. Either descend from there by the stalker's path down to Loch Toll a' Mhuic, or more pleasantly on a fine afternoon continue west to Sgurr na Fearstaig and south along the ridge over Sgurr na Muice. Descend to the Allt Toll a' Mhuic and join the stalker's path down to Glen Strathfarrar six kilometres west of the day's starting point.