Thursday, 17 September 2015

Monar, Sep'14

Our Monar weekend takes in some pretty remote Munros, tucked away in the vast area east of Loch Carron. John Walker was leading this event with a small but fit group. Here's how it went....

After a week of glorious weather and clear blue skies, the forecast for Saturday was not the most inspiring, with a brisk wsw wind, hill fog over 600m and rain most of the day. Despite this, Paul, Catherine, Ian and Richard and I set off from Attadale Gardens car park excitedly, as for most this was the first time they had cycled a long way into a hill on such a track. Paul and Martin were running a little late, but caught us up at Bendronaig bothy, which is where we left the bikes.

Relieved to give the backsides a rest, we made our way up grassy slopes to the bealach between Lurg Mor and Bidean a'Coire Sheasgaich (affectionately known as 'cheesecake' to many Munro baggers), before turning east in the clag to the summit. The views were typically Scottish, so we didn't bother with the narrow ridge to the 'east top' and we wasted no time in descending back to the bealach.

The ascent of Bidean was a windy and wet affair, and we trod most carefully on the last 50m on the narrow summit ridge, being mindful of the gusty wind. Being robbed of the superlative views, we again descended quickly in the rain back to Loch Calavie and the bikes at the bothy.

The ride back up the hill to the high point was assisted by the tailwind thankfully, and with a little pushing from some, we commenced the bumpy but rapid descent back to Attadale. Someone (who shall remain anonymous) missed the turn and went for a freebie tour of the gardens themselves, much to the rest of the group's initial concern, but then amusement!

It was then back to our respective abodes for dry clothes and a warm meal.

Sunday promised an improving forecast, and abating wind. This did slowly happen, and although we were pleased with the views, we still got blown around a little on the summits. Bracing! Paul and Ian did not join us due to other arrangements, but Scott did, so he, Richard, Catherine and I set off from Craig bound for Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Charorachain. Paul and Martin had only hired bikes for the day, so had arranged to set off on foot early, though there was no car to be seen?

We got to the wire bridge where we planned to leave the bikes, and were just getting sorted when we could see two figures jogging up the track, Yup, they were late, and had run the track to catch us up! Duly warmed up, we headed up to the Bealach Bearnais, and then up the splendid ridge onto Sgurr Choinnich. The views were opening out, and we played 'what's that peak' endlessly.

It is a relatively short descent and re-ascent to Sgurr a'Charorachain, so we lingered at the bealach for a while, soaking up the sun and looking down over Pait Lodge and Loch Monar, which seems very low at the moment. The summit shelter was welcome when we got there, as the wind was fresh to say the least. We descended to the bikes (past a lovely hidden waterfall), and after the freewheel down the track were back at Craig by 16:30, tired but happy - a good effort!

More photos are up on Flickr !