926 m. |
2015 was the year set aside for climbing all of the Munros still left in the north of Scotland. The northernmost of these was Seanna Braigh. Since we had stayed in Ullapool for the night the logical approach to the hill was from Inverlael; even though we had been there so often before and the first three kilometres of the hike would be more than well-known to us. Alas, what can you do?
So we started from the parking beside the A835 walking up the forest road to the ruin in Glensquaib in acceptable weather. Soon some layers of protective clothing needed to be shed. After maybe 35 minutes we reached the Glensquaib ruin and embarked on the steep and stony track that leads up to Druim na Saobhaidhe. Once more level terrain was reached the track was completely covered by snow which resulted in us heading too far to the south-east. Once we had realized the error we turned in a more northerly direction to reach the ford over the Allt Gleann a’Mhadaidh.
There we crossed the stream. The ensuing track was well discernible even under snow and we climbed it for another three kilometres until we reached the succession of lochans in Coire an Lochain Sgreirich. At the head of the corrie more snow completely obliterated the path and we were left to our own devices. After maybe fifteen minutes of treading deep snow we reached the spot where a descent down a steep gully between two tops gives access to the rocky knolls below leading to Cadha Dearg. At the head of Cadha Dearg, which has the appearance of a rocky, sharp and deep glen from there, we paused to marvel at the views. A magnificent place and we had it all to ourselves – the last other hikers we met that day having retraced their steps towards Inverlael long before.
From Cadha Dearg onwards we enjoyed occasional rays of sunshine during an otherwise cloudy day. From the cleft we headed up steepish slopes covered in fresh snow towards point 906m which we skirted on the south and then continued over the plateau and the final rise to the summit of Seanna Braigh. The cairn nestles precariously on the rim of Luchd Corrie. Man, that’s a great corrie indeed. We rested for a short time at the summit even though the high winds did not really extend an invitation to stay all that long. The views were stunning and we were happy (and lucky) that the sun shone and the clouds on the surrounding hills had lifted: Eiddidh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Beinn Dearg and the Coigach hills of Ben More Coigach and Cul More (the first hill I climbed in Scotland – in 1993) and, further north, Canisp and Suilven all were visible as were the distant Fannaichs to the south.
But then the strong cold wind and time constraints urged us to abandon the summit and to retrace our steps in the direction of Inverlael. Soon the head of Cadha Dearg was reached again. From there we walked towards the 100 or 150m climb up the steep gully leading back to Coire an Lochain Sgeirich. The climb up this steep snowfield was treacherous because the snow was slushy and in some places hardly thick and compact enough to support our weight. But we finally made it to Coire an Lochain Sgeirich without dropping into deep snow holes or breaking through snow bridges.
Once in the Corrie it was another 30 minutes of descent in a heavy snow shower to make it back to the first (lowest) of the lochans. There the access path became apparent again and we followed it back to the ford over the Allt Gleann a’Mhadaidh. At the ford there was much more water in the Allt now that the snow had started to melt but we managed to cross the burn dry-shod to reach its south bank alright. We took another well-earned break in the late afternoon sun. Then all that was left was to retrace our steps to Glensquaib ruin and to the parking at Inverlael. We reached the parking at about 8:15 pm, when dusk was slowly falling. From there it was a short drive back to our B&B where a hot shower was waiting for us as well as the prospect of a nice curry at the Indian restaurant in Ullapool.
This day was great winter outing in very remote country. All in all we covered about 27 kilometres, half of it in snow or deep snow. The elements were not always nice on us this day. So Seanna Braigh was a hill well-earned and we really enjoyed the effort spent to bag this Munro.
Max elevation: 943 m
Min elevation: -31 m
Total climbing: 1429 m
Total descent: -1461 m
Total time: 10:15:24
Description This is a very fine remote mountain, an outlier of the Beinn Dearg group several kilometres north-east of Beinn Dearg itself and a long way from the nearest point of access on any public road. The most impressive feature of Seana Bhraigh is the great north-facing Luchd Choire and the nearby Coire Mor at the head of the Corriemulzie River. The summit is a vast wide ridge, almost plateau-like in its extent, which gives the mountain a Cairngorm-like appearance.Two routes to Seana Bhraigh are possible, both very long. From the east a private road goes from Oykel Bridge to Corriemulzie Lodge and it is possible to cycle along this road to the lodge and several kilometres further towards the mountain. Continue up the track beside the Corriemulzie River to Loch a' Choire Mhoir and climb Seana Bhraigh either by the broad ridge on the west side of Luchd Choire or by the narrow rocky ridge on the east side. The latter is a splendid route, but steep and exposed in places.The alternative route is from Inverlael at the head of Loch Broom, starting up Gleann na Sguaib for 2½ kilometres and continuing due east along a path which leads for 7 kilometres towards Seana Bhraigh. Beyond its end descend to the col at Loch a' Chadha Dheirg and climb north to the broad summit ridge of Seana Bhraigh.