Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Around Mullardoch

James & I had planned this little outing for over a year but little things like a pandemic & my heart Op had somewhat delayed it. I’ve completed the round of the 12 Mullardoch Munroe’s a couple of times previously (~55km & 5,000m ascent), the last time being around 10 yrs ago, but being such a fine outing I thought it was a good opportunity to flex the muscles, all be it at a relaxed pace.

Day 1

After a nights’ sleep camped near the dam, much disturbed by a herd of cattle that seemed to think that we’d pitched up on there favourite sleeping spot (at least they didn’t have bells), & the early arrival of a seemingly constant stream of Monroe baggers that had been arriving in batches to catch the mornings’ ferry runs up to the west end of the loch, we were on the road at around 8am.

Following the new hydro-track we soon waved goodbye to Loch Mullardoch & set off climbing steadily north towards Coire an t-Sith.

No finesse today, once passed the hydro intake & across the footbridge, it was a steeper & soggier climb up to the bealach east of Càrn nan Gobhar’s summit. We did have the foresight to follow a stream all the way which enabled us to fill the water bottles within a 100m of the bealach, from there it was a short hop through the low cloud up to another cairn in the mist.

Heading west through the mirk once across Bealach na Cloiche Duibhe we had a brief break in the clouds allowing a good view of Loch Tuill Bhearnach.

The summit Sgùrr na Lapaich was another cairn in the mist.

Here we met the first of the boat trippers heading east while sat on the summit & more as we descended to Bealach Toll an Lochain. The cloud lifted & broke a little allowing a reasonable view of the ridge ahead & it remained clear right up to An Riabhachan’s summit, things were definitely on the up.

An Socach looked quite impressive on the descent towards the bealach but by now I wasn’t really looking forward to the 200m climb as I was starting to flag a little.

By the time we reached the summit the cloud base had started to drop but at least it was the last climb of the day.

Descending south-west the cloud base dropped quicker than we did, Meall Shuas was in the clag but a soggy ATV track kindly guided us downhill into the glen, we ended up fording the river & pitching up on the south river bank around 150m upstream.

Day 2

Thanks to a very light breeze the midge were a bit annoying during the packing ritual but we were still on the way by 8:30. On previous rounds I’d simply headed directly south climbing the steep boggy slope up to Creag a’Choir’ Aird before following the knobbly ridge to Mullach Sithidh today we followed the route suggested by Steve Fallon climbing an ATV track up the Allt Cam, around 500m east.

The climb was steady & I definitely got the impression that the AVT track followed the line of an older stalkers path up into the coire, one benefit was once again to be able to keep topped up with water on route & fill the bottles not far below the summit of Mullach Sithidh. Mullach na Dheiragain was only a short hop away along the pleasantly dry ridge.

From the summit cairn Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan looked a very long way off, shrouded in cloud & with a few ‘little’ bumps intervening.

The cloud lifted by the tie we arrived at the summit allowing a good view east encompassing all the ‘little’ humps & bumps the route traverses on the way to Càrn Eige.

An Sococh’s summit is a bit underwhelming but at least clear of the cloud, probably due to the increasing strong wind.

Descending east the huge lump of Mam Sodhail was hidden by cloud.

I definitely wasn’t looking forward to the 500m climb as per the original plan, I was definitely flagging, & was glad of James’ suggestion to call it a day at Bealach Coire Ghaidheil not far ahead. We found a good pitch to the north-east of the bealach with a good stream following passed the doorstep & while it was a bit blustery it proved a comfortable spot.

Day 3

Another day & a complete change in the weather; the blustery wind & low cloud had been replaced by blue skies & gentle breeze for the climb.

By the time we reached Mam Sodhail’s summit & the remains of the Colby camp (mid 19th century mapping survey) it was starting to feel overly warm.

The summit did also give a grandstand view of the route ahead.

As on my previous forays we bypassed Carn Eighe by traversing its’ west slope, disappointingly we failed to find a spring to fill up the bottles as I found on previous trips, & dropped the packs high of the north ridge before heading down the ridge towards Beinn Fhionnlaidh.

The summit does provide a good view of Loch Mullardoch, one of the few occasions on the round that this is possible; the dam looked a very long way off.

Back on Carn Eighe sunshine prevailed, even the Ben was visible through the heat haze 55km to the south.

The ridge east is possible one of the nicest parts of the round, lots of humps, bumps & some gentle scrambling.

With all the bumps & heat getting to Tom a’Choinnich took a couple of hours.

On the descent west we’d both ran out of water so it was a thirsty climb to Toll Creagach.

Little time to dally through we both had thoughts of water down in Fraoch-choire

The route down to the dam in not one that I would wish for after such a fine trip, the initial km down to the bealach east of the summit and ½ km northly descent is pretty straightforward, after this it gets more tiresome with every step. Bog, knee deep heather, humps & bumps, my third passage didn’t make it any easier.  After passing through one deer fenced area & into another over a stile we lost the route & finally we ended up pirouetting around the end of a deer fence above a 15m sheer drop to gain the road to the dam A couple of kms road walk saw us back to the car & the end of another adventure. All that was left was the short drive to the campsite in Cannich, as we didn’t fancy sharing a pitch with a herd of cattle again.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2021 by in Trip Reports and tagged , .
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