Carn Mor – where did the snow go? January 2010.

Date: Sat 23rd January 2010
Distance: 20km

Forecast for the west was looking good and the roads were fit to travel. Toyed with a wild camp but plumped for a day walk out west.

Freezing fog passing through Fort William at 0615 but roads OK. Turning off at the Commando Memorial though the car immediately was slipping on an ice surface. 😯 Crept along this road past 1 crashed car. The thought of the Arkaig road in this condition was causing acute bowel disturbance but thankfully once across the Caledonian Canal the road was gritted and grip returned.

The Arkaig road was as pleasurable a drive as normal. 😉

Parked at the road side and off at 0730. No real need for headtorches on the track – dawn’s glimmer was good enough.

The most common Carn Mor approach is to make use of the track out to A’chuil and then ascend. We fancied heading straight up Monadh Gorm to catch any sunshine and views early on.

Although forested the first burn at NM 974 915 has enough clear space to allow easy passage to open hillside.

We’d been in mist but once at the forest top we began to emerge:

The Monadh Gorm ascent is steep but easy terrain – quick height gain:

Once at the summit of Monadh Gorm great views are achieved to Streap and Sgurr Thuilm:

No real Alpenglow – to much cloud to the SE.

The Loch Arkaig trough was filled with mist – is any other loch more frequently covered?

The sun made a full appearance about 30 mins after dawn lighting the surrounding hills:

Carn Mor round to Garbh Chioch Mhor:

Streap then the Corryhully Horseshoe:

Sgurr Mhurlagain and misty Loch Arkaig:

Low light and long shadows – one of winter’s advantages:

Set off from Monadh Gorm – the summit ridge is a bit peat hagged so zig-zag progress was slower than expected, but in great conditions walking is not a chore.

The deer weren’t pleased to see us:

Along the ridge from Monadh Gorm to Carn Mor. Dark Glen Pean separates the ridge from the Corryhully Horseshoe:

The clouds began to extend from the east and the hills behind us lost direct sun one by one. Progress over the ridge was uncomplicated – like most terrain from Morven to Knoydart it is a bit bobbly.

Over the 616m top and then upslope to Carn Mor. A bit more monochrome view E

Final summit cone of Carn Gorm:

Keeping to the right (north) on the final haul gives a fairly easy approach – steeper to the Left (south). Then as you hit the top the view expands along Loch Morar. We dropped off the summit to carry on 500m W to get a better view:

Pano shot:

A great view out to the Small Isles – well worth the walk in itself. A well-earned break here. A few great camp spots in view on a ridge of Sgurr na Ciche and Sgurr a Choire Bheithe.

Sgurr na Ciche:

Turned for home. Skirted the summit on the N side and turned up a Ptarmigan:

Dropped down into Coire an Eich for descent – easy terrain and quick progress. There’s a faint track at about the 250m height mark that curls round the E shoulder to head for the main track.

Upper Glen Dessary from Coire an Eich:

Followed the main track past A’Chuil and back to Strathan. 1hour for this bit although views are restricted by the trees.

Sunset was interesting from Strathan.

A nice trip for a January day – the drive out the Arkaig road was the same joyous experience as I’ve come to expect.

Surprised by the lack of snow in the west but the hill was still a cracker.


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