Our blog - Inverlael Munros, Jun'17

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Inverlael Munros

3-5 June 2017
An extended guided weekend bagging the 6 Munro summits in the Inverlael Range. Steven was the guide, here's his tale...

Leading up to events we always check the forecast. And for this weekend, it was looking a stoater in the North-West highlands ! But we were also up here for the Monday and this day wasn't looking too great.

Saturday

I drove up early on Saturday morning in glorious conditions with clear blue skies and met the others at the walkers car-park by Inverlael - Paul, Catherine, Robert and Tom. Setting off in the direction of Glen na Sguaib, the sun was up, the air was fresh and a good pace was made. Debating the route, we decided we all liked the thought of short detours where we could leave our rucksacks for the final ascents, so for Eididh nan Clach Geala we headed to the coire below, dropped off our rucksacks at the col between it and its neighbouring Munro, then bounded up the grassy slopes to the summit. Astounding views and much clicking of cameras, especially since this was Paul's 250th Munro !

Returning to the col, we picked up our bags, then traced a route up the terraces on Ceann Garbh, which appropriately means 'rough head' as there's a fair bit of bouldery ground to encounter higher up. Some ptarmigan were clucking, possibly trying to attract our attention away from chicks. At the summit, the views were good, but in the distance in the direction of Torridon, there were hints of dark clouds forming. This was Robert's 200th Munro ! No time to hang around then !

Over to Cona Mheall, leaving our sacks at the col before the final push up, there was a light shower on the way, but nothing really. Returning, we met a lone walker heading the other way, the first of only 3 people we met all day. Bags picked up, it was time for the biggie, Beinn Dearg. Again we debated route choice and opted for the 'let's leave our sacks' approach. So following the 'destitution wall', we made quick work of getting to the summit, to be met by a couple of kilted hikers (we're guessing 'Black Watch' officers ?).

Back down, picking up our sacks for the last time, we enjoyed a delightful walk back down the fine path through Glen na Sguaib. Half an hour before reaching the car-park, rain began, then it got heavy, very heavy, then thunder and lightning. Completely soaked, we grinned like Cheshire cats, chuffed at the epic day we'd just completed.

Sunday

Dried out after yesterday's downpour, today's objective was to ascend Seana Bhraigh. This is a very remote peak and I estimated we would be out for 9 hours plus. Out of yesterday's group, only Paul was lasting the pace over the 3 days, the others had other plans, including a trip to Paris ! Paul and I were joined by Valerie and like yesterday we set off from the walker's car-park in glorious sunshine.

The day heated up and upon leaving the track in Gleann Sguaib behind, we started building up a fair sweat climbing the steep path up Druim na Caobhaidhe. Higher up it was cooler and a breeze blew over from the west. Into Coire an Lochain Sgeirich, we left the path behind and hikied into a real wilderness, vast and glad of clear conditions (making my job a tad easier, not having to get map and compass out). Up to the summit of Seana Bhraigh, we met a couple of guys who'd drove, biked and hiked there way there through Strath Mulzie. We chatted for a bit, then they left and we stayed on the summit drinking the views, taking pics and stuffing our faces - happy days !

We returned the way we came, with a few variations on the way. We met one other chap on the return - I was suprised to see so few folk out, considering the weather - not complaining, far from it - Valerie at one point did stop us to mention how quiet the surroundings were.

Back to the cars, we'd done the route in 8 and a half hours, including half an hour's break on Seana Bhraigh's summit ! The MWIS forecast for tomorrow was in and we made plans for Am Faochagach - to bring Crocs or not to bring Crocs - that was the question.

Monday

Definitely a day for Crocs ! There's a river crossing and today began in drizzle, cloud was down on the summits (probably to around 700m). At the car-park by the head of Loch Glascarnoch, we got our gear ready. Over the road, we followed the indistinct 'path' to the Abhainn a'Gharbhrain, then got our Crocs out. A couple caught us up, but then headed upstream in search of some boulders to jump over. Now over the river, we traced a wet path-of-sorts uphill onto the shoulder north of Sron Liath, being passed by the couple again. Into the mist, it was just a case of hiking on to reach the tiny cairn marking Am Faochagach's summit.

A couple of pics to prove we'd been there (though it could have been anywhere), and it was about-turn to head back the way we'd come up. We met various small groups of folk coming up, including one with two small dogs - weird since it was a Monday and the weather was mingin' ! We passed that couple again, they were looking upstream once more to find somewhere to cross the river which had now risen a fair bit. Crocs again ? Nah, not for us, it was the end of 3 good days hiking and we weren't bothered about wet feet anymore.

Back to the cars, and dried off, we headed south in search of grub. The Aultguish was closed til 4pm (it was 3pm when we arrived) ! So to Garve, and into the Garve Hotel. I'd not been here before, and it's a very 'shortbread-tin' Scottish Hotel. Quaint, but charming and slightly strange - stuffed animals displayed in cases and deer heads on the walls.

A wee thank-you to the RAC is needed. Over Sunday night I stupidly left my van ignition on all night (charging up camera, phone etc) and battery was flat in the morning. The RAC came out and gave me a quick jump-start and we ended up starting only around 15 minutes later than planned.



More photos by Steven are here on Flickr.



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