937 m. |
Translation: Transverse hill
Pronuncation: byn tarshin
Finally. The Wilderness.
Splendid morning sunshine had greeted us when we left our house on the Coulin Estate to drive up to the road in Glen Torridon and further on to Kinlochewe and Incheril. At the parking in Incheril, we unloaded the bicycles, checked our equipment shouldered our rucksacks and set off in the direction of the heights of Kinlochewe. Cycling on this very flat and easy dirt road beside the Abhainn Bruachaig was a nice start to the long day we intended to spend in the Great Wilderness bagging Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban. The Heights of Kinlochewe came into sight very soon. We left out bicycles at the spot where a rough Landrover track branches off to the left and steadily climbs the hillside. Vehicular access was barred anyway by a high gate.
Thus we continued the tour on foot. The hiking was pleasant and we gained height quickly enough. We walked high above the Abhainn Gleann na Muice and then switched over to the other side of the glen as the track crossed the Abhainn. The continuation saw us climbing up the in places steepish Landrover track to a point where the glen gives way to the flat moorland at between Gleann na Muice and Loachan Fhada. The weather being good this was a great hike since ahead the silhouettes of Slioch, A’Mhaighdean and Beinn Tarsuinn beckoned. The path is extremely well-maintained here there was no threat of wet feet or stumbling over rocks. The path passed a ruined building and after maybe six kilometres since we had crossed the Abhainn Gleann na Muice we finally reached fabled Lochan Fhada which indeed lies in a lonely, remote and forgotten stretch of Highland wilderness. An enchanting spot where the water of the Lochan lapped sandy “beaches”.
We spent a few minutes at the Lochan and then turned our attention to finding the path mentioned in the books which should get us started on our way to the Munros. We finally made out a faint path and started the long climb towards the Beallach Odhar between Beinn Tarsuinn and Meall Garbh. The climb was first over slushy grass, then over dry grass and then on more rocky terrain. From an altitude of maybe 550 metres the terrain was completely covered in snow so our googles came out. The hiking started to become quite exhausting since the snow was fresh and deep. Frank and I sank into the white stuff up to our knees more than once a minute. Alas, all exertions were more or less forgotten when we reached Beallach Odhar and the views into the Wilderness opened up: A’Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mhor and on the other side of (another) Gleann na Muice Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban. All covered in snow! M-A-R-V-E-L-L-O-U-S!
Then we dropped our rucksacks and made for the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn about 200 metres higher up. The climb was though steep snow again and sapped a lot of energy from my batteries. But the sun kept shining and the wind was not too strong. So after maybe 25 or 30 minutes the summit of the Munro was finally attained. I repeat myself but the views which this mountain afforded were unique and very impressive. Add full views of the north-eastern walls of Slioch to the list of wonders visible from Beallach Odhar. We had to tear ourselves away after we had quenched our thirst for great views.
On the descent towards the beallach it became clear to me that I would not be able to make the whole tour of all three Munros in the deep snow conditions we were facing. So I told Frank that I would rather call it day after one Munro and leave the other two of the group for another day preferably in dry and sunny autumn or summer days. Frank took the bad message with admirable composure. After a break for some snacks we retraced our steps towards Lochan Fhada reaching the shores of the Lochan a few hundred metres west of the outflow.
Some dry grass was found and we lay down for a well-deserved break. Soon we realized that we were not alone. A young lad set up his tent 50 metres from the shore and came over for a wee chat. He had been doing some long-distance hiking for a week and enquired about the conditions of the climb to Beallach Odhar in the direction of which he wanted to continue his hike the next day.
We for our part embarked on the long hike out towards Heights of Kinlochewe and our bicycles. We did not hurry but did not waste much time either: On the way out the spectacular views are behind your back, you know! We reached the Heights in due time, had another good sip from our water bottles and then cycled back to Incheril which we reached about eight hours and a half after the start. An absolutely stupendous day in the Great Wilderness. This is one of the greatest places in the Highlands. Somehow I am glad we will have to return to bag another two Munros. I am especially looking forward to exploring the pinnacle ridge of Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair leading Sgurr Dubh.
Haste ye back in 2016 or 2017!
Max elevation: 957 m
Min elevation: 26 m
Total climbing: 1095 m
Total descent: -1116 m
Total time: 08:47:18
Description These two mountains are near the eastern edge of the Letterewe Forest, overlooking the south-east end of Lochan Fada. They are certainly remote from the nearest points of access, namely Kinlochewe and the A832 road near Braemore, but they do not have quite the same feeling of being in the heart of the wilderness as does A'Mhaighdean. Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair is a very rough hill, with quartzite screes on its upper slopes and a long narrow ridge going eastwards over the lower top of Sgurr Dubh. Beinn Tarsuinn is a more compact hill, largely sandstone, its finest feature being the narrow north-west ridge.The long approach from Kinlochewe may effectively be shortened by cycling along the private road to Heights of Kinlochewe and for a few kilometres further up the track in Gleann na Muice. From the end of the track continue along the path to the south-east end of Lochan Fada and climb north-west directly to Beinn Tarsuinn up its south-east ridge. Descend east to the col below Meall Garbh and traverse under this rocky knoll by a narrow path across its north-west face to reach the next col at the foot of the south ridge of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. The final ascent goes up this ridge. Return by the same route to the col between Meall Garbh and Beinn Tarsuinn and go down the stream flowing south to Lochan Fada to regain the uphill route.