Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Fannaichs and Ullapool Hills: Ben Wyvis [Glas Leathad Mor] (85)

Walk date: 14/06/08
My Munro #'s: 144

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn wivis; glas lehat moar - hill of terror/big greenish slope - 1046m

Duration - 13:15 - 19:00
Distance - 17.8 km
Total ascent - 1015m
Weather - Scattered showers, sometimes heavy. Surprisingly windy on top. Cloud covered summit.
Team - solo (kind of).
Other hikers: 5.

Despite temptations to re-trace my steps, I kept with the full circular route:

Paul P and George Ullapool Hills 2008 - Day 1 (Sat)

Hurray! After a desolate first half of the year as far as blogging was concerned, it was finally time to redress the balance with my annual week of pure hill action! This year to the far North West of Scotland and the quaint ferry port of Ullapool. However, despite the subtitle to this walk this first day out was actually a solo affair, as my partner in Munro-crime, Paul P, could only make a Sunday arrival time. And so, a little late in the day, I took my noisy car along the long road from Aberdeen to Inverness and then out into the hills, stopping at the Garbat Forest on the A835 to take in 'Inverness' Hill', Ben Wyvis.

From the carpark the path is obvious and good progress was soon made up through the fern woods. The gradient eases off as the forest runs out but then standing before you is the impressive southern end of the hill, An Cabar. The good path remains, but there is a split giving you the option of a steep and direct or more gentle but indirect approach. I couldn't possibly have taken the latter and so good height kept being gained quickly, but with a lot of work required to get it.

As the height increased so did the wind, which was a surprise given forecasts for 20mph at most! Although this did slow things down, especially considering how close to the edge the path to An Cabar was getting, the walking remained easy enough. Up on the broad back of the mountain, the going was even simpler, being basically a nice stroll at 3000ft!

Once I made it to the cloud-shrouded summit, and the little shelter around the trig point, to my surprise I discovered a mother and her two children of nine and seven, huddled together out of the wind. Although by no means were they in trouble or panicking, they did ask me if they could join me for the rest of the circular route! A little bemused I said 'no problem' and so to make up for the absence of Paul I suddenly had some company on my walk!

From the summit then we made fine progress on to Tom a' Choinnich and Carn Gorm, although the latter was fairly rocky. Then, with no sign of any path, we crossed rough grassland toward Garbat Forest. This was fine enough albeit a bit slow with the relatively short distance from the edge of the forest to the start of the high forestry road visible on the OS map being quite tough and I was a little worried that my new recruits were regretting joining my outfit! However, with GPS help we hit the road exactly at its head and it provided easy walking back towards the road. We later discovered that the proper path, and the one described in the guidebooks is one not marked on the map, but which runs down alongside Allt na Bana-mhrorair. No matter, any route that returns you down safe can be considered a success in my own little book! A good start to a full week had been made.

A good path starts us out toward our target:

Gorgeous views back toward the A835 and across Garbat Forest:

As the path levels off, the real ascent is seen making out for An Cabar:

SW toward the lovely-looking Little Wyvis:

A bit blowy up top!!

The summit, complete with free family:

A pleasant lochan seen from Carn Gorm:

Slow, pathless progress back towards the forest:

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Ullapool 2008

Well, after a dismal post (and thereby Munro) rate so far this year, hopefully things are about to change as from this weekend Paul P and I are off to Ullapool for a week of hill-dedication!  Expect the write-ups to trickle through after that.

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