Date: Saturday/Sunday 10th-11th April 2010
Distance: 22.7km +17.9km
Ascent: 2100m +600m
Spring and a high pressure building for the weekend – there’s a special group of camping routes labelled “Open only in the presence of perfect weather” – time to pick a route.
Plumped for Fisherfield again – we had been looking at the Fisherfield Deargs for a while were keen to get in there. Been working on a circular route for a while.
Drove up to the Aultguish Inn on Friday night – saw our first osprey of the year flying over the A9 south of Pitlochry. 😀 Followed by multiple sets of roadworks all the way N 😦 .
Disobeyed the alarm clock at 0500 and got up at 0550 – parked up at Inchina NG 961 911 at 0715. Space for around 5 cars on the verge.
Started off at about 0730 – packs feeling lighter for the loss of the winter kit. Little brown birds skimming the river started chattering a familiar sound – Sand Martins! Quite early for these brilliant birds I thought – but a welcome sight (and sound) of spring/summer.
The track is well constructed and easy-going. Perfect for cycling access in here.
There’s a bridge at NG 993 855 so no need to worry about spate. We carried on the track til 400m before the boathouse and made our way upslope on the ridge, taking lines skirting the 348m and 392m tops to avoid unnecessary height gain/loss.
Filtered some water for the ridge to come from here.
The face of Beinn Dearg Beag continued to look a bit troubling – there is a nice Coire on the west side running up from Loch Ghuibhsachain that looks reasonable but as we hit the foot of the facing slope it looked doable.
Arrived at the summit a bit tired – quite a lot of work to get here in the heat. A prolonged lunch ensued.
From this summit there’s a slightly loose descent for about 100m then reasonable to the bealach.
Decision time at the bealach. We’d considered heading up Dearg Mor and finding a pitch and then stopping, but the day was yet young. The alternative was to make for Beinn a Chaisgein Mor and camp (which we really wanted to do). Unusually for us we picked the harder option. 😕
Dropped the camping gear and Hazel’s rucksack at the bealach and headed up Beinn Dearg Mor.
This little pinnacle had 5 or 6 eagle pellets on it – the hair and inedible bits of prey that raptors bring up. Not surprised the eagle likes the spot – with those eyes this spire must be the best view in town.
The ascent/descent of the summit to the bealach is a bit loose for 150m but there is a faint path. The wee frogs have a fine tarn.
When musing over the Chaisgeins/Deargs loop I’d initially thought to link the Gleann na Muice Beag track and the summit of Dearg Mor but the slopes seemed very steep. Loch na Bearta had caught my eye looking at the map as an alternative (and more direct) link.
Descended from the bealach into Strath Beinn Dearg aiming for the Allt flowing out of Loch na Bearta. No dificulties on normal heathery ground, the river was easily crossed.
Having filtered more water from the springs at 750m we finally got to the summit at 1930. A not very pacy 12hrs from start.
However I would say that Beinn a Chaisgein Mor is one of those stunning viewpoints and felt well worth the slog.
Sun having dropped we stuck the Meths stoves on and had some food. This was made a bit trickier by ”our” having forgotten the spork – I won’t point any fingers at the guilty party…..it was me….but it did make eating a bit messy.
Stayed up as it got dark – the road from Poolewe to Gairloch was highlighted by cars and the street lights of Stornoway and Flodigarry stood out. The Point of Stoer lighthouse was flashing brightly 🙂
And so to bed – serenaded overnight by Ptarmigan males is akin to listening to a Welsh Male Choir gargling Listerine.
Did pop my head out briefly to see light pollution over Inverness – or perhaps huge celebratory Bonfires in Dingwall after Ross County’s cup defeat of Celtic.
We had a very leisurely 3 hours on the summit having breakfast, enjoying the views and generally slobbing. This is what makes summit camping really worthwhile – getting up at dawn and actually being up there. 😀
Returned to our packs and rather regretfully picked up the rucksacks to leave. Could’ve stayed all day. 😦
The return to the car was over Beinn a Chaisgein Beag and via Loch a Mhadaidh Mor and the Inveranvie River.
Chatted for a while and then parted ways. We took the north ridge of Chaisgein Beag to head for Loch a Mhadaidh Mor.
The terrain is good to start but becomes boggier as you head for Beinn Caol a Beinn a Chaisgein. We were alerted by crows alarming to 2 more eagles – one perched on a rock at the summit we had left.
3 Eagles flew over in convoy as I sat on the beach here – presumably some territorial issues being sorted out!
Rounded this Loch – some beach, some rough ground to reach the outflow with some waterfalls
The track is pretty patchy quality and hugs some fairly rough crags too but it was good enough. Took a dip in the river to wash at a slow bit which was refreshing.
The track emerges at Little Gruinard Bay – and suddenly there’s people again 😕
Quite a trip! A bit more work than we normally chose but another interesting Fisherfield approach and wild-camp.
If only all weekends were like this.