Monar's Mountains, 19-21 April 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. An extended weekend of biking and hiking up the mountains surrounding Loch Monar Steven was leading.

Monar's Mountains

The mountains surrounding Loch Monar are pretty remote, especially the Munros of Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich. But there are estate and hydro tracks that penetrate the area, so using a bike to reach thte base of some of these peaks is an ideal way to start hikes up to the summits.

Day 1 - Lurg Mhor and Sheasgaich

We had a group of 4 keen hikers (Jon, Kenny, Pascal and Raymond) for an extended weekend here and we all met on a sunny morning at Attadale Gardens at the head of Loch Carron. The day began with a cycle along the estate tracks. There are some steep climbs on the way, but we kept reminding ourselves about the downhill we'd be enjoying on the return.

It took us just under an hour and a half to cycle the 13km to the bridge just beyond Bendronaig Lodge and its bothy, where we left our bikes and walked the 3km to Loch Calavie. Uphill next, tracing the Allt Coire Calavie, we left our rucksacks at the bealach between Lurg Mhor and Bidean a'Choire Sheasgaich then headed to the summit of Lurg Mhor, perched above vast cliffs and a dark coire. Glorious conditions with vast views, we debated which point of the summit was the highest point (I think it is just west of the cairn and not the cairn itself, but what do I know ?).

Returning to the bealach the same way we came up, we stopped for a well deserved lunch, refueling for the last uphill hike of the day - up Bidean a'Choiire Sheasgaich. This summit, like Lurg Mhor stands above some craggy drops. Our efforts being rewarded with lovely views, the haze only allowing fuzzy glimpses of Skye.

Back down, and to the bikes, we headed on our return. There is one long gentle climb before we were beaming with smiles all round on the steep and fast descents back to Attadale.

Day 2 - Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain

We met for our second day in the forest car-park by Craig, just up the road from Gerry's Hostel. It was busy and after squeezing our cars into the car-park, the last of which ended up on the verge, we got our gear sorted and headed to the nearby level-crossing. Over this, we cycled (and walked) uphill playing leapfrog with a group of 3 hikers who started out quarter of and hour before us - chatting with them, I found out that they were hiking all the way to Lurg Mhor.

Weather today wasn't forecast to be as good as yesterday - a bit mixed with low cloud, but gradually improving. We arrived at the shoogly wire bridge, looking even more fragile than I remember. Some of us went over it just for the heck of it, but others chose the safer option of crossing the river, the level was pretty low. Once over, it was half an hour or so up to the base of Sgurr Chonnich, where we found some shelter out of the strong southerly blowing over the mountain's western shoulder. Time for some elevensies.

On Sgurr Choinnich's western shoulder, hiking was occasionally interspersed with some short sections of easy scrambling. On the summit, we were in mist and now views, therefore we didn't hang around and continued eastwards. As we began our descent to the bealach between the mountains, the cloud magically broke and it stayed like this most of the rest of the day. Up Sgurr a'Chaorachain and lunchtime, sheltering in the dyke surrounding the shattered remains of a trig point.

A bit of a dilemma next Jon now pleased with bagging 4 Munros was happy to descend, Raymond fancied bagging the top (and previously a Munro) of Bidean an Eoin Dearg and Kenny, now down to 9 Munros to compleat, wanted to bag Maoile Lunndaidh. So after much chat and pouring over maps, we went in separate direction, Raymond joined with Pascal going east and myself, Kenny and Jon heading north. The intention would be that Jon and myself would chum Kenny part of the way to Maoile Lunndaidh and Raymond and Pascal would eventually catch us up. It worked a treat, everyone back safely bit-by-bit ! Kenny now only has 8 Munros to go !!!

Day 3 - Moruisg and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean

On our final day we were down to three of us aiming for Moruisg (Kenny and Jon had been up this Munro before). This is an easy Munro (if there is such a thing, see this page) and with none of us pushed to head back home, it was quickly decided to add in the nearby Corbett (recently demoted from Munro status) Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. We took a circular route from Glen Carron in conditions similar to yesterday, not meeting anyone all day.

More photos by Steven are here on Flickr.

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