Monday, May 14, 2007

Glen Affric and Strathfarrar: Beinn Fhada (Ben Attow) (100) and A' Ghlas-bheinn (273)

Walk date: 12/05/07
My Munro #'s: 127 and 128

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn ata - long hill - 1032m
A glash vin - the greenish/grey hill - 918m

Duration - 09:00-16:45
Distance - 26.5km
Total ascent - 1543m
Weather - warm at start, but then the cloud closed and brought rain. Wet from bealach on return.
Team - solo
Other hikers: many

Cut back to a sane walk, the reduced day in red:

Hiking Expedition '07 - Glen Shiel area - Day 8 (Sat 12th)

Despite insanely ambitious original plans to add Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and Mullach na Dheiragain onto this day, I thankfully downsized my aims to this happening duo instead, which was a good thing considering that they took me almost eight hours on their own! Things weren't helped by the fact that I had parked at the mountain rescue post by the campsite in Morvich when it later turned out I could have parked down the non-private private road at Dorusduain, which would have saved a fair amount of time!

A little friend I had whilst booting-up:

Anyway, a good path leads on from the road passing the campsite when it finally stops, and this path slowly rounds Beinn Bhuidhe to reach the ascent of Beinn Fhada an hour or so later. The good path continues up onto the north side of Beinn Fhada, which is tough work, but nothing unexpected. Once up, make sure you head southeasterly to the summit and don't follow the edge around west, as the summit you can see is Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir and not the desired target of Attow.

The second target is first seen, A' Ghlas-bheinn:

The steep gully to Bealach an Sgairne:

The wide corrie of Ben Attow, Coire an Sgairne:

A busy summit. Other hikers? Pah!

With a busy summit I soon moved off back down the path and prepared myself for taking on A' Ghlas-bheinn and its intimidating southern slopes. There was no need for worry however as once the path is followed to the very head of Bealach an Sgairne, a wide cairn marks a very good and easy path taking on the ascent along the eastern edge of this chunky beast.

The steep southern side of A' Ghlas-bheinn:

A Munro for another day, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan:

The superbly tranquil Loch a' Bhealaich:

Straight-forward plodding gets you to the top and unless you're up for camping or staying at Alltbeithe Youth Hostel in Glen Affric, it's pretty much time to head for home. My own plotted route from here, and one that most books recommend, was to decend off A' Ghlas-bheinn down the western slopes into Dorusdain Wood. This I started as the map above shows, but rough grass and bog got me to thinking that it was going to be quite hard work on my tired legs, and so I had a change of heart and made my way back to the good path I was well-acquainted with. I then just had to keep on it and do the work to slowly get back to the car, accompanied as I did by the gentle plodding rain I'd seen coming in from Skye whilst on top.

Morvich and across to Ratagan from A' Ghlas-bheinn:

In sight, the summit of A' Ghlas-bheinn:

The panoramic view from A' Ghlas-bheinn:

Heavy weather coming in from Skye, time to get wet:

For my last night, an amazing sunset from Ratagan:

The Five Sisters looking good in the fiery evening light:

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