Sgorr Ruadh & Fuar Tholl From Achintee
Hidden away, far and unseen from public roads, lie 3 (very) remote Munros which the aspiring Munroist will have to tackle at some stage. By far the best way to access these awkwardly-placed hills is by bike, even if you will have to push it uphill for a while on your way in! On this occasion, however, we were resigned to walking all the way and the hot, windless conditions made for 2 of the most challenging hill-days in Matt & Jenn’s Munro campaign.
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich & Lurg Mhor
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich & Lurg Mhor
Lurg Mhor is one of the 3 remotest Munros in Scotland and together with ‘Cheescake’, will demand a long old day from you, however you choose to do them. The 3 usual options start from Craig in Glen Carron (you have to climb over an intervening Corbett in and out!), Attadale beside Loch Carron (a bike-able track accounts for ⅔ of the distance) or on foot from Achintee.
Approaching Bendronaig Lodge
Today, we walked in from Achintee, near Strathcarron (33 Kms round-trip) using the hill path for the first 2 hrs as far as the Bealach Alltan Ruairidh. It is only now that you get your first view of the hills, and they don’t look particularity close even from here!
Bendronaig Lodge & Bothy
It was only when we intercepted the Attadale track after 8 Kms that we realised that on-going hydro construction works have greatly improved the quality of the track and now make the bike option even more attractive.
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich & Lurg Mhor From Sail Riabhach
After 10 Kms, you pass lonely Bendronaig Lodge (everything is lonely around here!) and its accompanying bothy. From here, the track continues E past Loch Calavie to Pait Lodge on the shores of Loch Monar.
We followed this through the energy-sapping heat for another 2 Kms before the climbing started in earnest with a tiring flog up the grassy bowl of Coire na Sorna and on to Sail Riabhach (771m). From this intermediate top, our 1st Munro finally looked something like close! And indeed, after a gentle traverse with a welcome breeze and a short, final climb, we reached the rather fine (if small) summit of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich (945m; pinnacle of the corrie of the fallow cattle).
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich From Lurg Mhor
Apart from the obvious relief of attaining our 1st summit, our spirits were further lifted by the obvious close proximity of Lurg Mhor. The intervening bealach is a lowly 735m, but the relatively modest height of the 2 Munros make for a straightforward re-ascent up 2 rock steps to the very welcome summit cairn of Lurg Mhor (986m; big shank). As if to underline our hard-won Munro, a pair of golden eagles soared above us in the bright blue sky.
Any heightened sense of relief following our 2nd summit was muted by the knowledge we were only just half-way through our long day. So it was with some weariness that we descended the grassy slopes of Coire Calavie back down to the Bendronaig track from where we started the long weary trudge all the way back to Achintee.
Maoile Lunndaidh From Glenuaig
The following day (as if the previous day’s exertions weren’t enough), we donned boots again and headed up yet another track in debilitating heat. Today’s 27 Kms sojourn started at Craig in Glen Carron and followed the now familiar improved track alongside the Allt a’ Chonais to Pollan Buidhe. Shortly before reaching Glenuaig Lodge, we left the track and cut right across some very rough and uneven ground to begin what became a very difficult climb up the steep flank of Fuar-tholl Mor and up on to the open hillside. Being a flat-topped mountain, the summit cairn didn’t appear until the last minute but it was a mighty relief when it did. At least there was some sort of breeze up there: Maoile Lunndaidh (1007m; bare hill of the wet place).
Below Fuar-tholl Mor
Still a long way from home, we traipsed wearily down the way we had come, descending steeply down into Gleann Fhiodhaig and making a direct line for Glenuaig Lodge where some very kind tenants offered cake! We were still the best part of 2 hrs from the car and the heat never really relented. So it was 3 very tired bunnies who eventually staggered back to Craig eagerly anticipating a day-off!
Approaching Glenuaig Lodge
That day-off was largely spent moving across to Speyside where we encountered markedly different conditions cycling down Loch Ericht for 15 Kms to Culra Bothy for a wet and windy few hours attempting 4 of the Ben Alder group. We achieved 2 of them before scuttling back to Dalwhinnie wondering what is the more challenging - debilitating heat, or wild and windy weather……..
Check out my plans for similar walks at: http://www.hillways.co.uk/summer/summer.htm