Hills: Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe, Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Stob a' Choire Dhomhain, Stob Coire Dhomhnuill and Sron Garbh
Date: Saturday 29th August 2020
Company: Just myself
Distance: 30.2km, Ascent: 1820m
Time: 11Hrs 35Mins
I set off from home at 3.20am yesterday morning
with a view to ascending Carn Eighe and remote Beinn Fhionnlaidh both of
which I had ascended only once previously and were thus needed for my second
round of Munros.
The early morning drive to Glen Affric was enjoyable
with two foxes, a barn owl and several red deer spotted en-route.
arrival in Glen Affric, I parked in the car park at the end of the road
accessible to the public. As per several other recent walks, I decided to
undertake this walk in light trail shoes instead of boots.
I had no
particular route in mind other than wanting to ascend Carn Eighe and Beinn
Fhionnlaidh. All going well, any new Munro Tops ascended would be an added
From the car park I set off walking towards Affric Lodge. Fortunately
there was a breeze strong enough to keep the midge at bay. While I was not
bothered by midge during the walk alongside the river and loch, I can't say
the same for deer ked which were plentiful.
River Affric information board:
During the walk towards Affric Lodge, I stopped several times to take
photos of the river.
River Affric reflections:
Looking back along River Affric:
On reaching Affric Lodge, I heeded the small sign diverting me around
instead of through the lodge grounds.
Beyond the lodge I followed the path for several kilometres passing
numerous living Scot's Pine and the occasional dead one.
Dead Scot's Pine:
I had decided to undertake this long walk as both the MWIS and MetOffice
forecasts were fairly good with MWIS suggesting 80% cloud-free Munros. While
the weather was not wonderful at the outset of the walk, I was hoping that
it would improve throughout the day providing some great views. This didn't
happen; the forecasts were a work of fiction. On the plus side, the initial
mix of sun and showers did produce a number of rainbows.
Rainbow spotted while walking
path alongside Loch Affric:
West end of Loch Affric:
On reaching the junction of paths, I took the track leading towards
Coire Leachavie. The initial section of path is now a vehicle track leading
to a small hydro scheme. Beyond the hydro scheme I followed the path which I
had last ascended in 2004.
Ascent alongside the Allt Coire Leachavie:
Looking back towards Loch Affric:
On approaching the coire I met another walker who had ascended these
hills the day previous and bivvied out for the night. On asking how the
weather had been during the night, as I had considered camping out myself,
he advised, "miserable". Good choice not to camp out
fleeting glimpse of blue sky:
On reaching Coire Leachavie, I drank the litre of water I was carrying
and refilled my bottle from near the source of the burn.
The ascent onto the ridge was nice and easy thanks to the zig-zagging
stalker's path. I then made my way to the summit of Mam Sodhail which I last
ascended only a few years ago while ascending some Munro Tops including
former Munro, Sgurr na Lapaich.
Onto the ridge a short distance below
the summit of Mam Sodhail:
Ridges leading out to Sgurr na Lapaich and An Tudair:
Remains of a building a short distance below the summit of Mam Sodhail:
On reaching the summit area, I initially visited the actual summit,
which lies 45m away from the large cairn, before making my way across to the
Mam Sodhail's large cairn from the summit of Mam Sodhail:
Large cairn near summit of Mam Sodhail:
After taking a couple of photos, I continued on towards Carn Eighe.
Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe are almost identical in height and are the
highest mountains north of the Great Glen.
Carn Eighe's East ridge:
The ascent of Carn Eighe was straight-forward.
On reaching the summit shelter, I was surprised to find someone already
sitting in the shelter. Someone who had started walking even earlier than
myself . Good
to know there are some other mad biggers out there just like me
Eighe was Munro 232 of Round 2, leaving 50 to go.
At the summit of Carn Eighe:
After having a pleasant chat at the summit, I continued on towards very
remote Beinn Fhionnlaidh.
Looking out to remote Beinn Fhionnlaidh from the summit of Carn Eighe:
Beinn Fhionnlaidh is quite a bit lower than Carn Eighe and Mam Sodhail
and a lot of height is lost including Beinn Fhionnlaidh in this walk.
Beinn Fhionnlaidh and Coire Lochan:
En-route to Beinn Fhionnlaidh:
Looking back towards Carn Eighe and Mam Sodhail:
While it was great to be approaching Beinn Fhionnlaidh after circa
5.5hrs of walking, I was fully aware that I was now only half-way and still
had approximately the same distance to walk back.
Approaching the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh:
While the views from the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh were disappointing
due to low cloud, it was still a great feeling to again stand atop this
remote hill. From the summit, I could see down to Loch Mullardoch. The water
level looked surprisingly low.
At the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh:
Loch Mullardoch from the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh:
From the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh, I made my way back down to the col
and then had to make a route choice. I could either skirt round Carn Eighe
to save once again ascending to its summit, or I could re-ascend Carn Eighe.
I opted to re-ascend Carn Eighe which would then allow me to take a
different route back to the car along Carn Eighe's East ridge.
Back at the summit of Carn Eighe:
From the summit of Carn Eighe, the walk out to the first Munro Top, Stob
a' Choire Dhomhain was straight-forward and didn't take long.
Approaching the summit of Stob a' Choire Dhomhain:
Standing atop the summit of Stob a' Choire Dhomhain:
However, as I continued on from the first Munro Top towards the second
and third Munro Tops, the mist came down and I was confronted with some
interesting features to negotiate along the way.
"View" from the summit of Stob a' Choire
Heading between Stob a' Choire Dhomhain and Stob Coire Dhomhnuill:
Ridge leading out to Tom a' Choinnich:
The first interesting feature can be seen in the photo below. As the
rock was wet I was glad of the by-pass path skirting round this rock
Obstacle on ridge:
As I progressed along the ridge there were several other outcrops on the
ridge which required due care even when taking the by-pass paths.
Ridge leading to Stob Coire Dhomhnuill:
I was impressed with the geology encountered on this ridge. As well as
numerous twisted and contorted rocks, I also noted rocks which would appear
to have been moved from being horizontal to vertical.
I next reached the summit of Stob Coire Dhomnuill and then Sron Garbh.
At the summit of Stob Coire Dhomhnuill:
At the summit of Srob Garbh:
By the time I reached the summit of Sron Garbh I was engulfed in thick
cloud and had to take care to descend in the correct direction. On reading
my SMC Munros book today, it suggests "descend quite steeply down its rocky
north-east ridge where at one point a stalker's path has been so well
constructed as to form a flight of stone steps". It also suggests this is a
route for "good weather". I have to say I didn't come across anything
resembling a well-constructed route resembling a flight of stone steps. All
I encountered was lots loose rock so care was needed.
Looking back at descent from Sron Garbh:
From the col, I next made my way down the coire with a view to picking
up the Gleann nam Fiadh track.
View from col towards An Leth-chreag:
Descent towards Loch a' Gharbh-bhealaich:
Sgurr na Lapaich beyond Loch a' Gharbh-bhealaich:
The descent to the track was pleasant, following the "track" wasn't.
During the descent, I had my first real stop of the day to change into a
pair of dry socks which didn't remain dry for long.
About to follow
the awful path alongside the Abhainn Gleann nam
It was a relief, after crossing the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh, to pick up
the excellent track leading back to Glen Affric.
On the excellent track between Gleann nam Fiadh and Glen Affric:
As I made my way back down towards Glen Affric, the wind had dropped and the
midge were plentiful. I therefore walked as quickly as I could back to the
car such that they couldn't catch me.
An enjoyable long walk
involving a significant amount of ascent and descent