Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mullardoch and Affric Munros, May'12

Jim's guided days on the Mullardoch and Affic took them into challenging conditions. Here's his write up on the trip, enjoy !

The Mullardoch Munroes......a tale of two climates !!

At 0830 on Monday 30th April, Jim met Jon,Robin, and Karyn at the campsite in Cannich, and drove up to the Mullardoch dam, where we walked up into the 800m cloudbase, and did the Munroes North of the Loch in very wintery conditions, experiencing almost white out conditions in which point to point navigation was needed to do Carn nan Gobhar (992m), Sgurr na Lapaich (1151m), and An Riabhachan (1129m). Due to the poor weather, we descended to the “Seldom Inn” hut on the banks of Loch Mullardoch. Then for a couple of hours we trekked along the Loch side path spotting wild goats, on the way back to the dam. It’s a pity that there is’nt a boat service at the moment to get walkers back to the dam, it would have really enhanced the enjoyment of a classic day.

On the Tuesday, wow!, in total contrast to yesterday’s typical winter walk, we cycled out under blue cloudless skies in 20 degrees of heat! We rented mountain bikes from the Cannich campsite, and cycled from the car park in Glen Affric about 14km to the very remote Youth Hostel at Alltbeithe. From the YHO we followed the ridge up to the West top of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, the ice axes at the ready, traversed a lovely snow covered ridge to the munro summit (1151m). The views were magnificent, with the Ben and Grey Corries, the Cairngorms, the Skye ridge, and the Torridon hills all visible in one view from the summit. It was such a warm day, and we needed plenty of water, as we headed along the broad ridge North 4km to Mullach na Dheiragain (982m). Time was getting on, so we took a short cut across Coire nan Dearcag and climbed the last munro for the day, An Socach (921m). Yes, yet another “An Socach” (the projecting place /snout), one of three munros with that name. Then Jim, Jon, Robin, and Karyn all headed back down to the YHO as the sun was going down, and reached the welcoming building at 10pm, and the very kind hut warden provided us with a brew before the two and a half hour cycle back down the track to Glen Affric. We did’nt get to bed until 1am, a bit weary, but having had a fabulous day.

Day three had the same spectacular summer weather, and Jim, Robin, and Jon (Karyn decided a long lie was required today.) drove back to Glen Affric and walked up Toll Creagach (1054m), then Tom a’ Choinich (1111m). We could look across Loch Mullardoch at the totally clear hills that we had navigated across in full winter conditions two days previously!

Over the three days we experienced Scotland at it’s worst, and it’s very finest, and had a couple of long days. In retrospect, a boat would have eased the first day, and in future a night in the idyllic Youth Hostel at Alltbeithe would add to the enjoyment of the remote munros on day two.

More photos of the trip are up on
our Flickr site .