A high level traverse – Three Munro’s and Corbett in the Glenuig Forest….
Pictures here -
A long weekend was planned with us both taking the Monday off. A number of plans were made with route choice number one being the Fisherfield six, however as the weather was not perfect we resorted to plan B – a Munro and Corbett bagging expedition to the Achnashellach and Glenuig Forest.
We decided on this with a wild camp being used to enable us to bag all these hills. Of course when this was decided the weather was glorious!! The truth on the hill was slightly different…..
The original plan was to head up the 10km to Glenuiag Lodge and head to the Bealach at Drochaid Mhulich where we would leave the bags, summit Maoile Lunndaidh, head back, get the bags and see how far over the other two Munro’s we could get. We would then wild camp, head to the Bealach Bhearnais and once again lighten the bags. We would then head out over Tharsuinn to Lurg Mhor and back to bags with the final Corbett of Sgurr na Feartaig being bagged on the way home. It all seemed so easy when we discussed it - The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley…..etc etc!!
So we left the Central belt full of optimism and although the weather was not perfect (rain forecast but no wind until later in the second day) we were hopefully of achieving our route. We parked up at 15.20 at the Achnashellach Forest car par park and literally as soon as we opened the car door – the rain started. This was not forecast until tomorrow!!! It was to rain until 2hrs before we finished – 21 hours later!!
However the wind was low so we set off towards Glenuig Lodge in the rain, up the range rover track (we saw the range rover twice!). It was about 9km to the Lodge which we did in roughly just over two hours then we looked for a route up to the Drochaird Mhuilich. It was raining hard now and time was marching on. There was a stalkers path marked on the map but we failed to find it and the first change of plan occurred – we decided to head up Maoile Lunndaidh’s north shoulder and directly to the summit with our heavy packs on. I must admit the weight of the pack was giving my shoulder and back a little bit of pain!! We reached the summit in heavy rain around 20.00. It was bloomin cold and I was getting a little concerned about finding a good spot to camp before sunset (21.12 hrs). Descending the west flank we found a nice mossy/grassy spot at around 750m only a short distance where we thought we may have camped. Although still raining , there was still no wind which was a good sign so we set up camp on the shoulder and were glad to be in the tent just before dark!! After some hot food, which raised the moral, we settled down knowing tomorrow would be a long day if we were to bag the remaining four Munro’s and two Corbett’s.
What we did not expect was a long night – however that’s exactly what we got – one long cold, wet and extremely windy night. Not long after finishing our food we noticed the wind starting to pick up. By around midnight I was outside trying to fix the pegs which had been ripped out and retighten the guy lines. This was not good – for the next five hours we were both kept awake but the strength of the wind. It was so strong that the tent was literally on top of us at points with the sides regularly caving in on us!! My thought were continually towards escape to the Glenuaig shelter (basically a shed with beds(see video!) – however I knew a descent in the pitch black and storm would not be wise so we stuck fast hoping that the tent would not be ripped from underneath us!!
Finally morning arrived - and with it lighter winds. The tent was still upright although looking rather sorry for itself !! On closer inspection, two of the three poles had snapped (luckily the cord had kept them semi upright!! Additionally the top cover had been ripped off at some point during the night – explaining when my sleeping bag seemed to be getting wetter and wetter during the night!! I have never been so glad to see the morning in- that was one wild, cold and sleepless night and also an experience I’d rather not repeat!!
I must admit that during the night my plans had changed – to retreat off the hill ASAP and go home !!! However the morning brought more settled conditions and a large coffee and some hot food raised my mood and we set off to complete the ridge to the west but to head home after this. Lurg Mhor and its neighbours would have to wait for another day!!!
The winds had dropped but there were still a few showers blowing through and the cloud base was around 850m. The pull up to Sgurr a’ Chaorachain was punishing with the heavy packs (made heavier now by a soaked three man tent (really wanted to dump this as it was now ruined – but luckily my conscience stopped me!!) and lack of sleep. We had struck camp around 08.30 and we standing on the misty summit by 10.00. We quickly headed off the Munro number three and less than an hour later were stood on top of Sgurr Choinnich. The drop and re-ascent here was not too bad.
The skies were now starting to clear and the tops were showing themselves. This made the final pull up to the Corbett of Sgurr na Feartaig slightly more enjoyable J The views were great looking back over the ridge we had crossed. We the followed the stalkers path down to the interesting bridge near Archach!!
From here it was an easy descent to the car and we got back about 14.30……..
Our plans for two further days in the mountains were gone as we were shattered by our lack of sleep and exertion. We decided to head home and get back to our own beds. Tis was indeed an adventure I’ll not forget soon!!!!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...