A’Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mor and Beinn a Chaisgein Mor camping trip. May 2008

Date: Saturday-Monday 17th-19th May 2008
Distance: 25.7 + 18.2 + 11.7km
Ascent: 1250 + 950 + 240m

In April 2008 we’d posted a trip report from the 3 Fisherfield Munros accessed from Kinlochewe, I said at the time that the SMC’s downbeat description seemed unfair (it’s a corking walk) unless the A’Mhaighdean walk was truly stunning – well – it is that. Possibly the best scenery in Scotland.

We’d had a plan poised for action for A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor waiting for a good weather 3-day weekend for a year or so – the opportunity came up and we grabbed it. Decided as a late adjustment to add on Beinn a Chasgein Mor for good measure.

Fingers crossed all the kit was in place (always a bit nervy on these wild camps – so much to remember) . Up to Poolewe for 0900 on the Saturday. I thought with the forecast that the car park might be busy but only 2 cars (space for about 8-10). Stunner of a day – blue skies and temperature about right. The Poolewe area and the walk to Kernsary is lush – gorse and hawthorn in bloom, vibrant green and our first dragonflies and damselflies of the year.

From Kernsary through the forest and out into open moor under Beinn Airigh Charr, climb to the high point of the moor to get views to the spectacular mountains of Fisherfield – Beinn Lair, A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor.

The track is excellent – saunter down the glen to Carnmore. There’s a ruined cottage at NG 945 763 – who would live in a house like this?

From there on to the famous causeway and the view up Dubh Loch

We fancied a wild camp further up so carried on up the excellent stalkers path and took the tent to Loch Cnapach (mainly for shelter from a stiff NE wind). Great views of A’Mhaighdean and RSM.

Dropped the big packs and climbed the very benign slopes of Beinn a Chasgein Mor. Fabulous views over Torridon, out to Skye and Harris, N to Assynt and over to An Teallach.

Skye, Torridon and back to Poolewe

Sail Mhor, Deargs and An Teallach:

Beinn Lair:

A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor:

Pitched the tent and settled in:

Red sun on the 2 munros:

Temperature really dropped fast – was shivering taking the last photo and it was a bit parky overnight. Good spot to be in place for tomorrow though.

Cold night, frost on the tent. Up at 0600 when the sun hit the tent.

Headed over to the stalkers path to access the munros – climbs over Fuar Loch Mor easily up to the bealach under RSM. The pinnacles of A’Mhaighdean’s NW ridge easily visible from the loch:

Nice views back to the loch:

The climb up Ruadh Stac Mor is a bit delicate – first 100m is very steep and heavily eroded, thereafter it’s a rock field. Great panorama from the top.

Ruadh Stac Mor climb:

Back down and across the bealach, up easy slopes to A’Mhaighdean. Quite a bit of high cloud had built to the south but the views were unobstructed and sunny out to sea. Best view in Scotland? Maybe – it’s certainly not somewhere to spend the effort on a poor day.

Beinn Lair from near summit:

Calendar shots:

Head over the rounded summit dome , a cairn marks the drop down to the NW ridge. This is quite scrambly at the upper parts with the rock towers you can see from Torridon but they are bypassable. Great rock for scrambling (or posing).

The ridge continues down over easy rocky shelves. The cliffs to the left are awesome – totally vertiginous views straight down several hundred feet.

Fuar Loch Beag:

Oddity – 2 wings not 4 and odd eyes – a deer bot fly I think:

Curved off the ridge to the outflow of Fuar Loch Mor to pick up the stalkers path and pick up our big packs . Headed back down to Carnmore.

….and then out to a nice flat area near the ruined cottage. Could have hiked out but unlike the Uber athletes on this site we prefer to relax and enjoy so we pitched here – gives a great view to see in the evening.

Cuckoos all sounding off. We got up when the cuckoo clock struck 9757o’clock. Hiked back out to Poolewe.

Meall Mheinnidh:

Beinn Lair:

I’ve often discussed the best route to do the Fisherfield munros. Many favour Shenevall with the “Big Six/5+1”. I’d have to say we took 6 days with 3 approaches and 3 nights out and it was fabulous. In addition – the NW aspect of A’Mhaighdean in both approach and climb/descent seems to me to be the best side of this mountain and a shame to miss out on.

It’s always a particular shame to read about some knackered walker struggling up A’Mhaighdean, late in the day, just about able to take in the view.

However you do them though I’d say save them for good weather – to miss out on the scenery borders on the criminal.

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