Log 13 April 2013

Cannich weekend    12-14 April 2013

The weather was unseasonably very cold and the hills were covered in snow to a considerable depth in places, however the conditions did not stop the four car loads of determined walkers from the MMC.
Noelle & Keith left on the Thursday morning.  Stuart & Stephen started out at 6am on Friday morning.  Donald, Fraser & Allan took bikes and started at a more leisurely 8:30am.  Drew, Ron & Dave started after work at 5pm.

There is a wide selection of hills to climb and I list those done.

Carn a'Chaochain (706m)  NH 23522 17783  Friday
Carn a'Bhodaich (501m)     NH 56986 37506  Sunday

Noelle and Keith's list of hills (Corbetts)
Beinn a' Bha'ach Ard     (862m) NH 282362  Thursday
Meallan nan Uan           (840m) NH 264545  Friday
Squrr a'Mhuilinn        (879m) NH 265558  Friday  
Bac an Eich         (814m) NH 222489  Friday
An Sidhean              (814m) NH 171454  Saturday
Sgorr an Diollaid       (818m) NH 282362  Sunday

Carn a'Chaochain (706m) NH 23522 17783   Friday
Meal a'Chrathaich (679m) NH 36070 22092  Saturday
Carn a'Bhodaich (501m)     NH 56986 37506   Sunday

Further information on the Saturday walk by Donald, Fraser and Allan may help others planning in the future.   
Meall a’Chrathaich is fairly remote, but an estate road is marked on the OS map continuing the minor road south from the vicinity of the hostel. 
Report from a previous visit was that part of the way was cycleable.  
Since then a wind farm has been built about four miles from the end of the public road, and the road has been widened,
a very smooth surface laid, and a new bridge where once was a ford.  
This is still a very long uphill push, and beyond it the old track has not been maintained, and briefly is lost at a point where there was a further ford, so about an hour’s walk is needed to take you up to the loch at the foot of the mountain.  
Return in the dark across the moor would not be pleasant, but the long downhill run on the bikes only took about 20 minutes to the road.

The ‘bothy’ referred to in the Grahams book at the loch is a three storey ruin with no door or floor, but from Victorian times to the outbreak of the Second World War was maintained with full gentility for shooting and fishing parties and their lady folk.  
Fine china was still there in 1941 according to a local lady we met after our return.
Report by Fraser

Carn Fiaclach (457m)          Friday
Creag Dubh (539m)        Friday
Carn nam Bad (457m)        Saturday
Meall a'Chrathaich (679m)     Saturday
Meall na h-Eilrig (465m)      Saturday
Carn a'Bhodaich (501m)        Sunday

Stuart & Stephen
The intrepid pair started out from Milngavie at 6am arriving at Loch Mullardoch to take a boat ride down to the end of the Loch at 12 noon to climb An Socach (1069m) NH 10060 33272 with plans to walk over all the north side Munros back to their car, however the snow was much deeper and softer than they expected so, correctly estimating that they needed to speed up their progress, they decided to descend to the Loch and come back along the path at the loch side.  However, the Loch Mullardoch path has a deserved reputation as being one of the worst paths in the highlands.

Toll Creagach and Ton a'Choinich - Saturday
David, Ron and Drew left the Hostel at Bearnock and drove round to Glen Affric. Parked at Car Park at foot of Gleann nam Fiadh near the west end of Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin.
Left car 08:30 in good weather and set off up track for about 3 km then headed straight up towards summit of Toll Creagach. Steep at first with a few rocky outcrops then became easier with a gradual climb to summit. Solid snow cover above about 650m, no sign of Spring up there, fortunately Goldilocks would have appreciated the snow as it was neither too hard or too soft, just taking a boot nicely. Nearer the summit, which we reached at 11:00, the weather closed in and the visibility was not great, quickly found summit which was very close by when we checked on GPS.

David did some excellent blind navigation to Bealach Toll Easa, as we got there the wind picked up and the visibility improved. After a 15 min lunch stop at noon we headed  up the spur which was covered in snow, directly towards the summit of Tom a' Choinich,  easy going at first but then becoming steeper and rockier. Timing was not great, a weather squall moved in as we started the assent and the wind really picked up with visibility again closing in. Ron decided to head back down, David had disappeared out of sight over a rocky outcrop ahead, Drew headed up to let him know to find the ground flattening out near the summit. David and Drew reached the top around 12:50 and headed straight back down. Ice Axes gave some reassurance on decent. Met up with Ron and we headed South West across the snow on the side of Tom a' Choinich towards the path in Glean nam Fiadh. Of course shortly after starting back the weather cleared once more. Arrived back at car at 3:30. We then drove up Glen Affric to car park,  at the end of the public road,  to see some outstanding views of the loch, hills and surrounding ancient woodland  which seemed to be teaming with extremely tame native birds.

Stopped at the Slaters Arms in Cannich on way back, as it was the nearest pub to our walk. Not the most atmospheric pub but it did have cold beer, some  comfortable couches and a warm wood burning stove.
Report by Drew Crawford