Am Faochagach

The third day of our hillwalking holiday in Alba was to be a day of transiting from Ullapool to Torridon. So the Munro bagging goal of the day was to climb Am Faochagach, a hill which is not very far from the A 835 which should be doable in five to six hours. We parked at the small parking beside the bridge over the Abhainn an Torrain Duibh. The day was overcast and sported the occasional rain shower at glen level. So it was a constant question of wearing your rain gear or not. From the road we followed the very wet path that leads to the Abhainn a’ Gharbhrain, the short river connecting the Loch of the same name and Loch Glascarnoch. With the last weeks of a very wintry spring still leaving their mark and quite a bit of melting going on nonetheless it was likely that this river which is notorious for being difficult to cross would call for some wading. And that’s what we soon found out to be true. When we reached the right-hand bank of the Abhainn the boots soon went off, the trousers were rolled up and we waded the river. That was ok even though the water was very cold.

Once over the river we climbed up on the moraine that leads in a north-easterly direction towards the hill of the day. Where it ended we picked up a path beside the Allt na h-Uidhe and steadily climbed towards the whaleback of the hill. We reached a wide beallach on the ridge at about 700m and turned due north. Here the hill was covered in maybe 10 cm of fresh snow. We climbed another 120m until we found ourselves on a plateau-ish ridge which we followed north. Visibility was only moderate but after another kilometre we reached […]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+00:00April 26th, 2015|2015, 2017 - 2010, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Seana Bhraigh

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 […]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+00:00April 25th, 2015|2015, 2017 - 2010, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Eididh nan Clach Geala

The 2009 outing slowly coming to an end Frank and I set out to climb the last Munro of the Beinn Dearg Group which we had not climbed yet – Eididh nan Clach Geala. Again we started our climb at the parking at Inverlael. On a different note it is funny to remember that we never managed to start any of our several tours to the Beinn Dearg group via the scenic Loch Droma approach and the south ridge of Cona Mheall. Always the Inverlael forrest road tramp. But, ok, Glen Squaib is beautiful, too. There were major works going on in the bed of the River Lael. Lorries and caterpillars, oh my. We reached the end of the forrest road where a lot of new concrete was used to tame the river and slow the water carrying rocks down the glen.

We continued climbing steadily on the well-known path. After an hour and a half we reached the cairn where the well-engineered path leading to Lochan a Chnapaich branches off. We gained height quite nicely and after less than two hours the Loch came into view. This loch has a fine position between the craggy northwest face of Meall nan Ceapraichean and the south face of Eididh nan Clach Geala. Where the path starts its descent towards the loch we left it and headed in a north easterly direction up the heathery slope of the west ridge of todays Munro. The first 100 metres were steep but then the terrain levelled off when we reached the crest of the ridge. Soon we got to the final steep stretch of slope before the summit. There we met an American climber whom we had talked to three days before. He was doing the hills in these parts alone – a few days before he’d been to […]

2018-09-02T14:30:39+00:00May 8th, 2009|2009, 2009 - 2000, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Beinn Dearg

May 2009 saw us hiking up Gleann na Sguaib twice. I described construction work going on the banks of the River Lael in another tour description (Eididh nan Clach Geala). Just let me mention that the surroundings were not super scenic until we left the forest road. It was a wet day and the weather got worse the longer the hike lasted.

Once on the good footpath in Gleann na Sguaib we made good progress, enjoyed the view of the Eas Fionn and climbed up the three or four steps of the higher corrie. On the Beallach Choire Ghranda between the three Munros Beinn Dearg, Cona Meall and Meall nan Ceapraichean (climbed more than ten years before in February 1999 – stomping through lots of snow on the beallach and the slopes of Meall nan Ceapraichean) we were engulfed by clouds. Again no views! So we headed up the steep north ridge of Beinn Dearg following the stone dyke and crossing patches of old snow. Soon the flatter summit section of Beinn Dearg appeared and we spent 15 minutes at the summit cairn of M57. These were the last minutes without rain for hours. We retraced our steps to the beallach and were lucky enough to be afforded a few minutes of relatively clear views of the way ahead to Cona Meall. Over the hillocks of the beallach we reached the grassy slope leading up to the summit ridge of Cona Meall.

Higher up the slope and the ridge got quite stony. After slithering a few times on the wet slabs we reached the summit of the second Munro of the day. The weather being as it was (wind, rain, no views) we did not linger at the summit for long. On our way back we did stumble upon the path climbing up the […]

2017-09-19T14:17:05+00:00May 5th, 2009|2009, 2009 - 2000, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Cona’ Mheall

Beinn Dearg and Cona Meall May 2009 saw us hiking up Gleann na Sguaib twice. I described construction work going on the banks of the River Lael in another tour description (Eididh nan Clach Geala). Just let me mention that the surroundings were not super scenic until we left the forest road. It was a wet day and the weather got worse the longer the hike lasted.

Once on the good footpath in Gleann na Sguaib we made good progress, enjoyed the view of the Eas Fionn and climbed up the three or four steps of the higher corrie. On the Beallach Choire Ghranda between the three Munros Beinn Dearg, Cona Meall and Meall nan Ceapraichean (climbed more than ten years before in February 1999 – stomping through lots of snow on the beallach and the slopes of Meall nan Ceapraichean) we were engulfed by clouds. Again no views! So we headed up the steep north ridge of Beinn Dearg following the stone dyke and crossing patches of old snow. Soon the flatter summit section of Beinn Dearg appeared and we spent 15 minutes at the summit cairn of M57. These were the last minutes without rain for hours.

We retraced our steps to the beallach and were lucky enough to be afforded a few minutes of relatively clear views of the way ahead to Cona Meall. Over the hillocks of the beallach we reached the grassy slope leading up to the summit ridge of Cona Meall. Higher up the slope and the ridge got quite stony. After slithering a few times on the wet slabs we reached the summit of the second Munro of the day. The weather being as it was (wind, rain, no views) we did not linger at the summit for long. On our way back we did stumble upon the path […]

2017-09-19T14:17:06+00:00May 5th, 2009|2009, 2009 - 2000, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Meall a’Chrasgaidh

Start at the A 835 two kilometers west of Loch Droma was a mistake because river crossing was extremely difficult. The dam of Loch Droma to be recommended. Up the land rover track beside the Allt a’Mhadaidh and further on the stalker’s path to Loch a’Mhadaidh. From there up the North East ridge of Meall a’Chrasgaidh avoiding the steeper upper part of that ridge by detouring to the east and then up the steep hillside WNW to the crest of the summit ridge. Ice axe and crampons a must on that part of the climb. Very strong head-on winds. Track making extremely exhausting with the very deep snow and galeforce wind. When we climbed over the crest we were blown away. Never experienced such winds. Walking absolutely impossible for a time. In a lull we fought our way to the cairn on the summit and rested for a short time in the stone shelter nearby. Planned continuation to Carn Na Criche, Sgurr Mor and Beinn Liath Mhor Fannich would have been suicidal this day. Thus quick descent over the steep north side of the hill to the foot of the North East ridge of the hill. Return on approch path. Memorable but extremely tiring day. (Noteable: loss of a glove, googles and walking pole)

2017-09-19T14:19:28+00:00February 1st, 1999|1999, 1999 - 1991, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Meall nan Ceapraichean

Dry overcast day. Strong winds. Approach from Inverlael through Gleann na Sguaib to the broad beallach between Meall nan Ceapraichean, Conna Meall and Bein Dearg. Very strong winds on the beallach. Tantalizing views of Coire Ghranda with a little sunshine on the water. Beinn Dearg in the clouds. Saved that one for a better day. Ascent of Meall nan Ceapraichean from the beallach (view from the head of Gleann na Sguaib). Track making was very exhausting in the deep snow with the gales coming directly from in front. Finally made it to the summit. Return by way of approach.

2017-09-19T14:19:28+00:00February 1st, 1999|1999, 1999 - 1991, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Glas Leathad Mor

1992 Start von Garbat an der A835 am Wald vorbei. Nach kurzer Zeit brachen Katja und Wolfgang ab. Stürmischer Wind trug uns praktisch auf dem Gipfel, auf dem Sandra die Notwendigkeit eines Garderobenwechsel sah. Abstieg in Richtung eines Waldstücks. Hier überzeugte Sandra wiederum durch Eleganz im Kniefall in einen Bachlauf. Alles in allem ein nicht besonders aufregender Berg.

2002 When driving from Ullapool to Aviemore Ben Wyvis is a natural choice for a short but interesting walk on a good day. We started from Garbat and walked up the path along the fir plantations. Above the tree line a lot of repair work had been done recently and a new excellent path now leads up to about 500m. The old more direct approach path will grow over in the next few years thus healing an obvious scar in the heathery ground leading to the foot of An Cabar. The ascent was straight forward and the weather almost too good with plenty of sunshine but restricted visibility due to haze. Once on the level ridge the 2 km to the summit were an easy walk. At the summit of Ben Wyvis we sat down in the moss and stayed there for more than half an hour. Quiet and peaceful. When we returned along the ridge we met other walkers including a family with two dogs and two little girls. A very benign atmosphere on the hill.

2017-09-19T14:19:30+00:00September 1st, 1992|1992, 1999 - 1991, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Sgurr Fiona

1992 This was a really great day on a really grant mountain. Starting at the wrong point we fought ourselves through Rhododendron. First stop on Glas Meal Mor with great views. Then followed the ascent to Bidean á Ghlas with breathtaking views down to the Lochan and the ascent to Sgurr Fiona – again with great views. The scrambling over the ridge was marvellous. We then did a somehow uncoordinated descent, well who cares. What I did care was about my achilles problems while walking back along Coir á Ghiubhsachain.

This was without thinking my best tour ever … till then.

1997 Perfect day with sunshine and visibility. Assent from Loch toll an Lochan up the ridge between Bidein and Glas Mheall Liath. Over Bidein to Sgurr Fiona and bypass of the pinnacles to the west. Perfect views of Fisherfield. Descent back to Loch Toll an Lochan and hike back to A832. Stephanie spent half day at Lochan waiting for us.

2017-09-19T14:19:30+00:00September 1st, 1992|1992, 1999 - 1991, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|

Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill

1992 This was a really great day on a really grant mountain. Starting at the wrong point we fought ourselves through Rhododendron. First stop on Glas Meal Mor with great views. Then followed the ascent to Bidean á Ghlas with breathtaking views down to the Lochan and the ascent to Sgurr Fiona – again with great views. The scrambling over the ridge was marvellous. We then did a somehow uncoordinated descent, well who cares. What I did care was about my achilles problems while walking back along Coir á Ghiubhsachain.

This was without thinking my best tour ever … till then.

1997 Perfect day with sunshine and visibility. Assent from Loch toll an Lochan up the ridge between Bidein and Glas Mheall Liath. Over Bidein to Sgurr Fiona and bypass of the pinnacles to the west. Perfect views of Fisherfield. Descent back to Loch Toll an Lochan and hike back to A832. Stephanie spent half day at Lochan waiting for us.

2017-09-19T14:19:30+00:00September 1st, 1992|1992, 1999 - 1991, Loch Broom to Easter Ross|