Corriemulzie camping loop. April 2011.

Date: Friday-Saturday 22nd-23rd April 2011
Distance: Friday 28km. Saturday 16km
Ascent: Friday 1500m. Saturday 610m

The Easter weekend had been much-heralded as a high pressure good weather break but the forecasts were slipping as we neared the holiday.

An initial thought of a 2-night KAKBA land foray were put on hold and we dusted off a 1 night route in the North.

Set off from Inverness on Friday a.m. early – the sight of an osprey madly flapping in a hover off the Kessock Bridge was unexpected but very welcome.

Headed north to Oykel Bridge and then took the private estate track towards Corriemulzie Lodge. An unusual arrangement means cars can be taken in as far as a parking area at the lodge.

We parked at Duaig Bridge a few km short of the lodge.

Quite a bright morning – the air temp was warm but the wind took the heat back quick-sharp.

Set off with the camping packs at 0930 – there is a good track so progress was quick to Corriemulzie Lodge. The Lodge is built at the first point where Seana Bhraigh comes into view – the hill has a dramatic look from this side.

Carried on at good pace – sand martins were working the river and chittering to each other, wheatears were keeping us under surveillance. Nice to see the migrants back in town.

The foot of Seana Bhraigh took about 2 hours from Duaig Bridge. We were passed by a cyclist near the end who headed for Carn Ban.

There is a track runs up the hillside about 100m and from there it’s unbroken to the summit.

Drinker moth caterpillar:

First orchid leaves of the year. Only a week or two til the flowers follow.

The great prow of Creag an Duinne is a dramatic companion to the ascent which is over easy ground.

The ascent temporarily eases at the 760m mark. The lochan here would make a great camp site – although the wind was whipping us on the day – buffeting enough to push us around.

Climbed the last 200m up rocky but easy ground to the summit of Seana Bhraigh.

The extreme haze was a real disappointment – the distant views from this hill are excellent but on the day we could only see a hint of Assynt. Local views however are also dramatic.

Beinn Dearg:

Creag an Duinne:


Link to larger pano

Interesting that Seana Bhraigh is considered remote – we made the summit in 4 hours from Duaig Bridge with camping packs in no particular hurry. If we’d parked at Corriemulzie Lodge I’d have thought 3.5 hours should do it.

2 walkers arrived at the summit as we finished lunch. We headed on towards Creag an Duinne. I had a thought to head up this but it looked a bit of a scramble so we contoured round the base and struck off towards Carn Ban.

The next 5km took a while – fairly rough terrain here and hard to pick an optimal line. Just us, a few deer and plovers out here.


Once through the jumble the ascent of Carn Ban was easy terrain again.


Took stock on Carn Ban – we had planned on summit camping here but we knew the forecast was for rain overnight. The high camp advantages of visibility were removed by the haze and the disadvantage of exposure would see us have a restless night in the wind.

Decided to carry on for a while as we had a few hours of light. Headed over easy ground to take the ridge line of Bodach Beag and Bodach Mor. Despite the haze we got some nice views into Alladale Estate.



I’d thought we might drop to the bealach under Carn a Choin Deirg but a visual survey suggested bogginess. The glen containing Glasha Burn however looked to have good pitches so we dropped off Glun Liath into this glen and picked a spot. Disturbed a large herd of deer who obviously liked the look of this glen too….if looks could kill! 😯

Certainly a more sheltered pitch than the top.

Cooked up tea and retired to bed. The snipe were making their weird vibrato noises and a sandpiper harassed the tent shrilly for half an hour before settling.

Slept well, waking to hear the rain start with some wind gusts at 0300.

The rain stopped for 0730 and we were able to strike the pitch in the dry. The day was cloudy and the higher peaks were clagged.

Lizard:

Cloudberry leaf:

Crossed the ridge line to the east and made our way up the slopes of Leathad a Con Dearg. Took about 40 minutes to the summit. The views were limited by the clouds – the roots of Assynt were visible to the north.

Alladale:

Back to Bodach Mor:

Dornoch Firth:

From the summit we headed NE to the 623m summit – there’s a fence line here and a stile to the SE of the bealach. The fence had electric warnings but no juice.

Dropped to Carn a Ghorm Loch and had some snacks – a nice eyrie overlooking Strath Cuileannach.

Beinn Ghobhlach and Beinn Mhor Coigach:

Took the easy slopes NW then turning NE to follow the burn down into the Strath.

First sundew:

Some big fences appear but if you stay on the S side of the fencing there’s a gate down at river level allowing crossing and the use of the bridge at Lubachonnich (there’s a notice on the N side saying “Not for Public Use” but we didn’t see that till we crossed.

From there 9km along the track to reach the car – a few showers passed through but not enough to get out the waterproofs.

Carn a Choin Deirg:

Assynt:

All in all quite a decent yomp. The approach to Seana Bhraigh from Corriemulzie is excellent – our first visit from Inverlael was mostly misty but I’m sure the views from the NE are better. I’d certainly hope to come back this way again sometime.

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