Thursday, 22 May 2014

Fisherfield challenge, May'14

Martin was leading this year's second trip into Fisherfield wilderness. This time we were camping for 3 nights, and bagging the Munros over 2 days. Here's his tale for the days.....

On Friday, I met the group at Corrie Hallie early afternoon, the lay by was full so I was expecting Shenavall to be busy !

Changeable weather was forecast for this weekend. Initially we had planned to camp at the foot of Gleann Muice Beag, however after a brief discussion on where we would head for, it was decided that the bothy was the best option. Various forecasts were indicating a wet weekend and from experience to have the use of the bothy closeby would be a blessing. How right this was to be !

After an initial bright walk in, the clouds emptied and by the time we arrived by the bothy we were all soaked. By 9pm the clouds parted and we could see the hills. Certainly an amazing setting to be in and no midgies around ! In front of us were the Fisherfield Munros and Corbetts and behind, An Teallach.
With the forecast for the Saturday sounding mostly good and the Sunday not so, with rain coming in, we opted to do A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mhor on the Saturday - with a wake up at 6am and hopefully away by 7am !

True to form the weather was good in the morning and everyone was ready at exactly 7am. Off we set ! We had two river crossings to make straight away with boggy ground inbetween - this went without incident. We enjoyed the long walk to the col between the two Munros, mostly following a good stalker's path. Here we dropped our bags then headed up A’Mhaighdean first - simply stunning views !

We returned back to our bags and tucked into lunch. Next was Ruadh Stac Mhor - a short scramble took us quickly to the summit with its lonely trig point.

The weather was now turning and the waterproofs were put on ready for the long walk out. We took a slightly shorter route, descending on grass and through some brief bouldery sections to some small lochans to reach the stalker's path. Down to the rivers in good time, we managed to cross them both without incident and back to our tents by the bothy. By this time the heavens were open and soon the rivers beside the bothy were in spate.

Slowly overtime it came to light that some others staying in the bothy couldn’t make it across the rivers and were now overdue. Despite us searching along the river bank there was no sign of them and concern for their safety rose. We decided to ask for outside help in locating the now missing walkers and John from our group walked back up the Corrie Hallie path to gain a phone signal. At about midnight, a helicopter from the RAF landed outside the bothy. After a chat with the winchman they started the hunt. It took about an hour for the very wet and cold walkers to be found and brought back to the bothy. The helicopter then went and found our own John and after a short winch we were all reacquainted. We gave the people hot food and drink and by about 3am most people were getting their heads down.

Sunday morning and it was still raining ! With the forecast for the day for more rain, a group decision was made to bow out of Fisherfield and return to bag the remaining three Munros another time.

A great, challenging weekend was had by all ! Our hard work was rewarded with fine views and the experience of being involved in the rescue was something the group really enjoyed. I'm sure we all learned something from this weekend !