Two Strathconon hills and a glen camp. January 2012.

Date: Sat-Sun 14th-15th January 2012
Distance: 18km + 18.9km
Ascent: 930m + 700m

The meteorologists had been speaking in tongues all week. Foreign phrases such as “high pressure”, “light winds” and “sunshine” were being used. Much anticipation had built – the tent had been pulled out of the cupboard.

Inverness on Friday and 3 choices to ponder – Cairngorms, Ben Armine/Creag Mhor or Maoile Lunndaidh/An Sidhean. We plumped for the latter on an MWIS forecast of 90% cloud free.

The BBC forecast in the morning suggested some morning cloud would clear back by noon so off we went to the road end at Scardroy Lodge.

We’ve taken to Strathconon – a beautiful glen full of waterfalls and interesting hills. With no munro red routes it’s fairly quiet in terms of walkers too.

Took the track out to Corrievuic and took the track on the N side of the River Meig.

Corriefeol:

There’s a bridge over the Allt Coire a Bhuic and then the track heads SW towards Maoile Lunndaidh. The day was going according to plan and blue skies were extending.

Creag na h-Iolaire:

Back to Meallan nan Eun:

Passed under Creag na h-Iolaire (complete with its own Iolaire being mobbed by hoodies).

Creag Dubh Beag:

Plane and Meallan nan Eun:

Now the clouds extended NW and it went rather grey.

The River level was reasonably low – local reports had indicated fording would have been difficult a few days before. Trousers rolled up, boots off and mesh shoes on to wade across, no higher than knee height at NH 163 484.

Back on the march to warm numb toes. Followed the faint stalkers path up Creag Dubh Beag. Unfortunately the clag was down at 800m and Maoile Lunndaidh looked unappetising.

We decided to abort that ascent and turn to climb An Sidhean, simply dropping 100m to Torran Ceann Liath to pick up the stalkers path up the Corbett.

An easy climb to the summit, passing a few ptarmigan groups on the way in their full winter garb.

Sat for a while on the summit. The wind had risen and the clag was down – so much for a beautiful winter summit camp. Discussed options – pitch here (early at 1400), carry on to Sgurr Coire nan Eun or drop to the glen.

A tough call – although sunset was not on the cards things might clear for the morning. In the end we decided to drop to the glen.

Took the track from Torran Ceann Liath down the Allt an Amise to the glen. This track criss-crosses the Allt and would be inadvisable in spate (although the open hill above would allow access).

Reforded the Meig just after sunset.

Found a pitch at some shielings on the Allt na Criche. Quite tired after carrying winter gear and heavier tent.

It was reasonably mild in the evening and sat in the tent foyer having tea and chatting before an early night.

It was noticeably colder from around 0400 – skies cleared and temps dropped to around -5C. Snug enough in the tent but cold fingers were in store on getting up and out. As morning light grew the local Dipper started to sing – almost the only sound in the glen.

Endured the frustration of watching the evidence of a lovely dawn from the depths of the glen.

Still some beautiful sights though. 🙂


Eventually packed up the Allak and started back. About 90 minutes had us back at the car. Great views to Maoile Lunndaidh up the glen.


Drove back up Strathconon and parked up at the parking area south of Bridgend. A large track runs to Mains of Dalbreac and then up the hillside to within 600m of the summit of Carn na Coinnich.

Light on our feet with the camping gear and Ice axes in the boot we floated up the hill. 8)

Sgurr a Mhuillin:

The Fannaichs rose up over the horizon stunning in their white coats.

A steep road walk has you up to the summit level in 90 minutes or so.

Finally sunshine and views – Fannaichs, Torridon and Strathfarrar predominated.


Torridon over Meall na Faochaig:

Strathfarrar Munros:

Fannaichs:

Sat for 45 mins and absorbed the views – I’d been hoping for most of 2 days like this but grab it while you can.

Eventually tore ourselves away and reversed route down the hill – past the stags who were at a feeding point.

Back to the car and a 4 hr drive home.

A bit of a Pig’s Ear of a weekend – we’ve been spoilt by previous camps and the weather had played foul. Still great to get out in the tent this early in the year. Always a treat.

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