Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Dundonnell and Fisherfield Hills: An Teallach (Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill (72) and Sgurr Fiona (73))

Walk date: 21/06/08
My Munro #'s: 157 and 158

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
An tyalach - the forge
Beetyan a ghas-hool - peak of the greenish-grey hollow - 1062m
Skoor fee-ana - peak of wine - 1060m

Duration - 10:45 - 17:00
Distance - 14.8 km
Total ascent - 1300m
Weather - Sunny through broken cloud. Some light wind on top but a very pleasant day.
Team - with Paul and Sónia.
Other hikers: many on top.

It is possible to avoid the ridge if you're not up for huge drops:

Paul P and George Ullapool Hills 2008 - Day 8 (Sat)

I had been looking forward to this day with a certain nervous excitement for a fair while now as An Teallach is widely regarded as one of the classic hills of Scotland, because, as with other classics, this generally means they have a big slice of trouble associated with them. Mainly with An Teallach this is because of the south eastern ridge which we had been eyeing up all week and which consists of an amazing series of sharp pinnacles that from ground height seem completely impossible. Given my Aonach Eagach experience I wasn't up for that and the same went for Paul along with Sonia who was joining us for the weekend.

Thus, I came up with a plan to go linear from Dundonnell House into Glas Tholl, to visit the two Munros and go out the same way and this worked as well as it could on this monster of a hill. Due to starting east of the river instead of west we soon had a crossing to do but it surely would have been a bad thing to have Sonia miss out on that aspect of the week!

The walking was straightforward into Glas Tholl and it was only at the end that matters changed. The path continued well, but the inclined increased significantly. The only moment that required consideration came with the last few metres to the col as the path changed to a scrambly loose stone slope but it was over soon enough.

Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill is fairly steep from here on but the path is easy and it just requires the effort being applied before the summit and the amazing views that come with it are reached together. This is actually the better peak for views of the ridge as we later found that Sgurr Fiona offers head-on views which hide a little the true nature of this razor-sharp series of pinnacles.

The path continues on to this second peak and it can be done without any technical ability although it does require a head for heights as the drop-offs are still quite severe. In time however even this sharper peak is reached and as we perched ourselves on the limited flat space available it felt magnificent especially given the absolutely perfect weather we were being blessed with. We sat there for as long as we could watching people make their seemingly impossible progress along the ridge, wonderful stuff.

As time was moving on we pressed forward, taking an easier route west toward Sgurr Creag an Eich and then traversing along to the col again below Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill. From there on it was the same route back with the scree slope at the top of Glas Tholl only slowing us down slightly leading to a triumphant and easy stroll back down to the car and the end of a fantastic week of walking.

An Teallach making its first appearance of the day:

The route starts alongside a fine tumble of a river:

Wild goats on the slopes toward Glas Tholl:

Heading into the fine corrie of Glas Tholl:

The northern side of Glas Mheall Liath overhead:

And the route onward sharply upward to the col just north
of Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill:

Glas Tholl corrie in motion:

The steep route out:

Ending even steeper but safely enough:

First views of the ridge up at height:

And deep views down to Loch Toll an Lochain:

Grand views all round:

Getting ready for the last steps onto Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill:

Trig point on the narrow-enough top of Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill:

The less-than-convincing route to Glas Mheall Liath:

The gang together, nice place for a sit-down on
Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill:

Target 2, the sharper peak of Sgurr Fiona:

Interesting rock action at the foot of Sgurr Fiona:

Here it comes:

Do we really want to do this? Go team!!

Looking back to Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill as we rise:

A grateful S onia makes it to the top of Sgurr Fiona:

The full view from the sharp peak of Sgurr Fiona:

The ridge head-on. Fancy it?

A long way down to Loch Toll an Lochain:

And good views west to Loch na Sealga:

Oh, as well as south to our old friend Gleann na Muice:

The coast looking good:

Sgurr Creag an Eich from Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill:

Sgurr Fiona (L) and Sgurr Creag an Eich (R):

Back down, leaving Glas Tholl:

Dundonnell in the evening sun making the return all the better:

And finally some panorama action:

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Blogger That Hideous Man said...

A fabulous series of photos. I've been up there a couple of times, but not taken any photos - seeing your pics brings all the memories flooding back - brilliant!

12 June 2010 at 03:12  
Blogger George said...

Did you do the ridge? Well done if so!!

12 June 2010 at 11:28  

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