MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/1E59C638/Fisherfield2008.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" Nant Peris – January 2006

An 80% Chance – July 2008<= /b>

 

 

It was looki= ng like we’d timed it right – MWIS said the forecast for our walk-= in on Saturday afternoon was bright and showery, with a bright sunny day to fo= llow for the summits on Sunday – just the chance of a very isolated shower= and an 80% chance of cloud-free summits on the Munros. When MWIS go as far as 80%, they’re usually very confident of a good = day!

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Our targets = were A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor, two of the remotest hills in the Fisherfield/Letterewe= area of the North West Highlands. A’Mhaighdean in particular occupies a spectacular position and is highly-rated.

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The chosen r= oute was the north-west approach from Poolewe, via <= span class=3DSpellE>Carnmore. It didn’t start particularly well. We= ’d read something rather vague on the internet about an improved route around = the top of the forest above Kernsary and so deliber= ately ignored the direct turnoff towards Carnmore whe= n we passed it. Mistake! Before we realised that the new super-highway didn̵= 7;t exist (never believe anything you read on the internet!), we were nearly in= the area marked on our 1976 OS Maps (which had cost each of us £1.15) as = “Bad Bog”. This left us with a long slog over this aptly named area with o= ur full packs, trying to work out just where the forest boundary now ended (not where it was in 1976, obviously) and trying to find a way back to the main = path we’d so happily left behind. I spent the time trying to remember the = name of the bog from which the Hound of the Baskervilles had emerged – it = seemed appropriate somehow.

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Eventually, = we got back onto a decent path below the cliffs of Beinn Airigh Charr, only to mak= e a further error in trying to short-cut the dog-leg up the Strathan Buidhe, by crossing the river (easy enough) and walking across the bog back to the path below Meall Mheinnidh (far from easy). Believe me, that path to <= span class=3DSpellE>Carnmore is the best and only way – don’t= even think about diversions or non-existent improvements!<= /p>

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Some pleasant evening sunshine greeted us as we crossed the causeway between Fionn Loch and Dubh Loch = to arrive at Carnmore after 5 hours. A’Mhaighdean looked good for the following day. There were a couple of parties camped ne= arby, but we had the bothy to ourselves. The bothy has a good roof, walls which are nearly weather= proof and a dirt floor. It also has a few old bed frames and karrimats on which to sleep, though you need to be amongst the first 4 or 5 to arrive= to get one of these.

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In view of t= hat optimistic forecast, the weather in the night was rather alarming. There we= re some long periods of very heavy rain on our plastic roof and the door was rattling rather a lot. Still, it always sounds worse in a tent (or bothy), doesn’t it? And by the time we got up f= or a 7.00am start, the rain had stopped.

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The SMC Guide suggests that you take the path from Carnmore f= or a while and then cross the Allt Bruthach an Easain and another “little stream̶= 1; for a direct assault on A’Mhaighdean’s north-west ridge. Quite how this was supposed to be don= e, was a mystery. The night’s rain had left the “little streamR= 21; as an uncrossable raging torrent, while the Allt Bruthach an Easain is in a deep gorge and would prove a considera= ble obstacle even in dry conditions. On this day, the proposed route was out of= the question, especially as the rain was now blattering in again on a strengthening wind. There was nothing for it, other than to c= arry on to Lochan Feith = Mhic’-illean, cross there, and make straight fo= r the col between Ruadh Stac Mor and A’Mhaighdean. The crossing looked lik= e it might be difficult, but was made easier by the presence of some firmly-plac= ed stepping stones just beneath the water’s surface – remember, ke= ep on the path and don’t go for any diversions!!

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We headed fo= r the col as the rain and wind strengthened and the clag descended lower and lower. Some 80% chance! It wasn’t even clear at 5= 67 metres, let alone on A’Mhaighdean’s= 967 metre summit! We arrived at the col at the same= time as a party of four, one of whom was doing his last two Munros – a right bloody day he’d picked for it! Choosing to do Ruadh Stac Mor first, we scrambled up a steep path to the = trig point. For a moment, the rain stopped and the sun could be vaguely seen try= ing to poke through the clouds. Perhaps we’d get a decent day after all &= #8230;..??

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No bloody ch= ance! Before we were half way back to the col, the st= orm had strengthened with renewed fury and the final ascent of A’Mhaighdean, so highly recommended, was just a wet slog. We even had a little difficulty finding the summit in these conditions, though this was achieved with the a= id of GPS. No fine views down to Dubh Loch or acro= ss to Sgurr Ban and An Teallach= , no relaxing in the sun to celebrate our achievement, just a quick bite to eat = and a nip or two of Glenlivet to celebrate Terry= 217;s 100th Munro. Then back to the col an= d that river crossing (by now a little deeper), this time facing into the wind and rain.

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Just before = Carnmore, the conditions finally abated a little, tho= ugh the trip to the summits, which we’d estimated would take 4-5 hours, h= ad actually taken 7 by the time we got back to the bothy<= /span> to load up our gear and start the walk-out. Even though we kept to the path this time, this proved a real slog, despite the lighter loads which resulted from having eaten all our food. The rain final= ly decided to pack it in, though the clouds remained firmly clamped onto the summits of A’Mhaighdean and other surroun= ding peaks. The few people we met on the way back were all very wet indeed! Only= the midges seemed happy as they came out in the forest above Kernsary.

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We eventuall= y got back to Poolewe after 8.00pm, just in time to b= ook a welcoming B&B and get a meal and a few pints in the pub. The total trip= had been about 53km, rather longer than suggested by the SMC guide, but then the SMC didn’t recommend a visit to “Bad Bog” did they? The following day was bright and clear and A’Mhaighd= ean could be seen down the valley laughing at us!

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