992 m. |
Translation: Hill of the goats
Pronuncation: kaarn nan gower
On a sunny morning Frank and me drove from Glen Strathfarrar to the Mullardoch dam. We left our car at the parking below the dam and embarked on our hike of the Mullardoch Four Group. From the dam we followed the path on the north side of Loch Mullardoch and soon crossed the little gorge of the Allt Mullardoch. From there we walked following a path of sorts and reached the Allt Taige which Frank crossed by jumping over some slippery stepping stones while I prefered to wade through the stream after some hesitation and deliberation.
From there it was a steady and beautiful walk on the easy path which leads to the stalkers’ bothy at the foot of the Allt Socrach and the Allt Coire a’Mhaim. There we rested after about three hours of walking and then we continued up the track by the Allt Coire a’Mhaim way into the corrie of the same name. Once we got there we crossed the bowl of the corrie over some boggy ground and then climbed the steep grassy south-eastern ridge of Meall a’Chaisg. After having walked over two flatter stretches of grass and a final steepening weeventually got to the corrie rim and could see the summit of An Socach on the other side of the corrie.
We continued along the curving ridge and reached the summit of An Socach after 5 hours an 50 minutes of walking. What a perfect view point! We enjoyed the views of the Glen Carron and Strathfarrar hills and rested for some time. Then we packed our stuff. The summit of An Socach being the turning point of our tour we now continued along the ridge in a roughly easterly direction across the deep gap of Beallach a’Bholla to the first top of An Riabhachan. The climb to this top was steep and on the final section we had to cross a tiny snow field. Once at the 1040 metre top we drank some water and took a short break before continuing to point 1086 and then across the easy and straightforward level ridge to the summit of An Riabhachan, the second Munro of the day.
From there the path continued over the fourth top and then over steepish terrain to the beallach between An Riabhachan and the reigning summit of the group Sgurr na Lapaich. From the beallach it was a steep and unrelenting pull of 300m to the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich which we reached after about 9 hours of walking. At the huge cairn and wind shelter we took a good rest. Devouring most of our food we rested in the evening sun. Reaching this summit gave us a feeling of great satisfaction.
After a break of a quarter of an hour we continued our hike and scrambled over boulders to the beginning of the east ridge. From there it was a glissade over soft snow into the corrie below – an exhilarating and easy way to get down to the beallach between Sgurr na Lapaich and Carn nan Gobhar. This glissade was easily the best part of the whole tour giving a real mountaineering alpine feel to this high level trek. The beallach having been reached there was nothing left but to climb the western flank of the last Munro of the day – Carn nan Gobhar which at 992 metres reaches the same height as the identically named hill in the Strathfarrar Group.
Once at the summit we descended the grassy east ridge of the hill and crossed the snow-covered head of the corrie from which the Allt Mullardoch originates.
From the head of the corrie we descend through heathery terrain to the flatter sections below. There we headed along the Allt in the direction of the Loch Mullardoch shore. A hundred metres above the loch we picked up a developing but boggy track which finally brought us back to the lodge at the dam. From there it was a short stroll to our car which we reached about 12 hours after having set of. We were exhausted but also quite exhilarated given the tour we had just completed.
The Mullardoch Four tour ranks among the best of all Munro circuits in Scotland and is about as demanding as e.g. the Ladhar Bheinn tour from Kinloch Hourn. A perfect day out in the hills and a real achievement for a hill-walker.
Description Sgurr na Lapaich is the highest peak on the north side of Loch Mullardoch. It is prominent in views up Glen Cannich from as far away as the Moray Firth, often recognisable in spring as one of the last peaks in the area to hold snow. The mountain also overlooks the head of Glen Strathfarrar above the little power station in Gleann Innis an Loichel, and it is accessible from there. The south-east ridge of Sgurr na Lapaich forms a narrow rocky rib down to a wide col from which a ridge rises to Carn nan Gobhar, a rounded stony hill of three broad ridges.The ascent from Glen Strathfarrar follows the same route as for An Riabhachan to the col between the two mountains, then goes up the south-west ridge of Sgurr na Lapaich. An alternative route starts from the Loch Mullardoch dam and goes along the path on the north side of the loch for 1½ kilometres and then up the south-east ridge of Mullach na Maoile and onwards across a dip to Carn nan Gobhar. Descend its north-west ridge and climb the fine rocky south-east ridge of Sgurr na Lapaich. Go south for 1 kilometre to Sgurr nan Clachan Geala and then down its south-east ridge to the Glas Toll. Cross the Allt Taige and continue on a descending line to meet the path along Loch Mullardoch.