1093 m. |
Translation: Peak of the white stones
Pronuncation: skoor nan klach gee-ala
2009 I had always looked forward to climbing A’Chailleach and Sgurr Breac one day since they form a compact and attractive group of two Munros with steep-sided ridges jutting out to the north. So it was with anticipation in my heart that Frank and I started the hike at the parking on the A832 where the landrover track to Loch a’Bhraoin starts.
From our last walk in this area when we climbed Sgurr nan Each we still had the recollection of a very soggy path which leads from the ruin on the lochside to the bridge over the outflow of Loch a’Bhraoin. However, this had been replaced by a well engineered path through the pine plantation and in no time we had crossed the bridge over the Abhainn Cuileig and started the climb of the steep north end of Druim RÈidh. Higher up the grass was dotted with boulders, outcrops and even some small trees in protected spots. Progress was made very nicely and soon we reached the much flatter part of the ridge at 550m. This was all very pleasant since the sun was shining and no rain was falling.
We continued southwards and after a kilometre the ridge became more defined. Nice views of the crags of Sgurr Breac, the gentle, curving ridges from Tomain Coinich to both Munros and of Loch Toll an Lochain were the reward for our efforts. Snow covered the ground in many places once we crossed the 750m contour. Then the summit of Tomain Coinich was gained, we turned west and descended a few dozen metres to the beallach where the steepish ridge leading to A’Chailleach begins. From the beallach to the summit the whole ridge was covered in snow – frozen in some places, soft in others.
At the summit cairn the wind was strong and it felt quite cold after a while. The views of Fisherfield and An Teallach were nice, though. So after a few minutes of watching the scenery we retraced our steps to the beallach where we had a nice break with sandwiches and tea. Then we bypassed the summit of Tomain Coinich on its southern slopes and climbed to the flat summit of Sgurr Breac, our second Munro of the day. Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Sgurr nan Each were prominent in the east. We did not stay long at the summit since dark clouds were coming in from the west. And again – as always in May 2009 – we were caught by a heavy shower of rain turning to sleet and snow later on.
The descent of Sgurr Breac’s steep east ridge was quick and in no time we were standing at the beallach at the head of the Allt Breabaig. After some hesitation Frank and I decided to take different return routes to the car. Frank opted for bagging Sgurr nan Clach Geala which I had already done years earlier with Mike. I opted for the return by way of the path by the Allt Breabaig. This leisurely walk to the starting point of our hike was very entertaining since I spent it in the company of a pair of very friendly English hillwalkers. First we used the path, then walked on the banks of the Allt looking for a place to cross it. We discovered some very scenic spots with small waterfalls. Finally we found suitable stepping stones allowing for a more or less easy crossing. Once on the left bank of the Allt we hiked back to the parking on a good path and enjoyed a cup of tea in the couple’s camper van. Thanks for the invitation!
Frank, on the other hand, had to complete a steep climb to the beallach between Sgurr nan Each and Sgurr nan Clach Geala before directing his steps towards the latter. The walk to the summit of Frank’s third Munro of the day was completed with hardly any views since the clouds engulfed the upper parts of the hills. However, just as Frank reached the summit the clouds broke and he was able to snap some nice photographs (Brocken spectre) and catch a few glimpses of the surrounding hills. From the summit Frank walked down the fine north-east ridge of Sgurr nan Clach Geala and reached the beallach offering access to Meall a’Chrasgaigh and Carn na Criche. There he turned west into the corrie and reached the path by the Allt Breabaig, crossed the Allt by the bridge and arrived at the A832 about an hour and a half after me. This was a nice day on the hills. It lived up to my expectations and I guess it was about the only walk of this vacation which did not see me reaching the car all wet (and miserable – just kidding)!
Max elevation: 1097 m
Min elevation: 242 m
Total climbing: 1944 m
Total descent: -1951 m
Total time: 08:42:31
2000 The morning in Ullapool. The afternoon in the Fannichs. It turned out to be exactly the right plan since as the day developed the weather got better and better. Around noon we parked our car at the dam of Loch Droma and went up the landrover track and footpath leading to Loch a’Mhadaih. Heading for the north-east ridge of Meall a’ Chrasgaidh we crossed the heathery terrain in the corrie. Further up we had a few drops of rain – the last ones of a dying anticyclone. We walked on to the col at the head of the corrie and headed for the ascent of Sgurr nan Clach Geala. Up we went and I have to damit that this is one of the finer Scottish hills I have been to. The hanging corrie, the well-defined ridge and the more than extensive views from the summit. We took a break lying in the grass. An Teallach, Fisherfield, Letterewe, Slioch, Beinn Eighe and Liathach in the distance. The North-West is simply the best. Alas the next hill beckoned and so we walked back to the bealach, passed over Carn na Criche and climbed up the steep north-west ridge of Sgurr Mor. Massive, mossy cairn and strongish wind on the summit. We soon went on down the southern ridge of Sgurr Mor and over the connecting ridge with its well kept stalkers path (and shelter) to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannich’s western flank. From the flat ground on the north of the hill we stomped up this third munro of the day and paused. Exhausted we devoured some biscuits and embarked on the final leg of the day, the descent back to the landrover track along the Allt a’Mhadaidh over the north-east ridge and down its steep north slope. After a few hundred metres we found a developing path which in due course brought us back over slightly boggy terrain to weir of the Allt a’Mhadaidh. From there the last three or four kilometres to the Loch Droma dam were pleasant walking. A surprisingly sunny day in the Fannichs and a real contrast to the tough winter walks up Meall a’ Chrasgaidh and Sgurr nan Each which Frank and I did in February 1999. Also remarkable how harmless the flat territory below Beinn Liath Mhor Fannich’s summit appeared in comparison with the winter climb in 1999 where Frank and I had to turn back here in complete white-out conditions.
Description These three mountains lie on a north-south ridge in the western half of the Fannaichs. Sgurr nan Clach Geala is the finest of the three, its east-facing corrie which is flanked on the north by a line of steep buttresses being the most impressive feature of the mountain. To its south Sgurr nan Each is a peak of similar shape but smaller stature and to its north Meall a' Chrasgaidh is a more rounded hill with its steep side overlooking Loch a' Mhadaidh.The approach to these three mountains starts from the A832 road at the point where a track leads to Loch a' Bhraoin. Go along this track, round the east end of the loch and up a path which leads south into the mountains. Soon after crossing the Allt Breabaig leave the path and climb east up the steep lower slopes of Meall a' Chrasgaidh. Higher up the angle eases and a broad ridge leads to the summit. Go south-east down the broad smooth ridge to a wide col and climb south up the steepening slopes to Sgurr nan Clach Geala. From there continue south to Sgurr nan Each. Return north along the ridge for > kilometre and descend west to the pass at the head of the Allt Breabaig. Go down the path along this stream to return to Loch a' Bhraoin.