Log 21 May 2017

MULL WEEKEND 19-21 MAY 2017
 
Eight club members; Fraser, Kevin, Donald, Rob, Alex, Phil, Steve and Ron met up on Friday evening at the Craignure Bunkhouse with all, apart from Phil, having done a walk that day (Donald and Kevin had travelled up the day before to spend the day on Ulva).
All agreed that the bunkhouse offered modern, comfortable and clean accommodation. We had a 6 bunk ensuite room with another 2 bunks in a 4 bunk ensuite room.
My only adverse comment would be that the kitchen was on the cramped side if the full complement of 20 was staying. 
However, it was not an issue as dinner was taken both evenings in the adjacent Craignure Inn which served decent pub grub and a good selection of Isle of Mull brewery beers.
The following report is for the 2 walks which Ron did. Other walks will be reported by others.

Friday, 19 May
After taking the 09.50 hrs ferry from Oban, Steve and Ron climbed the Corbett, DUN NA GAOITHE (766m) and Mainnir nam Fiadh (754m) located behind the bunkhouse.
We left one car at the track leading up to the telecommunications masts on Mainnir nam Fiadh (Fraser had accompanied us and planned to take a gentle walk up the track towards the telecomminications masts and then return to the bunkhouse).
We then drove northwards to the Scallastle Forest car park about 1km north of Craignure.
Following the track through the trees to a new Scottish Water service reservoir we crossed a wooden bridge where our common sense deserted us.
Instead of following our noses along the gravel path running up the burn we decided to follow the directions in Steve’s new guide book written by a Nick Williams (whose directions need to be a bit more detailed).
After a struggle through young bracken we eventually reached the new deer fence about 1km from the gate which the gravel path would have taken us to (and quite a bit higher than the gate).
We made our way to the gate and then ascended the east ridge to the summit of Dun da Ghaoithe with a particularly steep grass and rock step needing to be climbed before reaching the top.
We had lunch in the sun and enjoyed a splendid view across to Ben More framed by a blue sky backdrop (which was just as well as we had no view when we climbed Ben More the next day).
The 1.5km walk along the fairly level ridge to Mainnir nam Fiadh was enjoyable before we headed down to the car via the track up to the telecommunications masts.

Saturday, 20 May
Kevin, Phil, Ron and Steve drove to bridge over the Abhainn na h-Uamha with the intention of climbing onto the Beinn Fhada ridge at its west end and walking along to the summit (702m) on the east end before heading down to the bealach (520m) and then ascending to A’Chioch (867m) and then Ben More (966m).
Ascending the Beinn Fhada ridge we were soon in cloud followed by rain which was heavy for a time. Fortunately the wind was very light.
Navigating our way along the ridge was interesting in the cloud since there was no clear path and the ridge was serrated in places (a bit like looking at a Toblerone bar from the side).
However, we reached the summit without any major problems which was not the case trying to descend to the bealach.
Not finding any clear path off the summit we decided to head back to the lochan just before the summit and then head south to the bealach. Despite the lochan being large enough to be on the OS map could we find it? No! From a GPS reading we knew we were in the vicinity of the lochan so decided to head down anyway.  
Fortunately we had the good sense to keep taking a GPS reading and adjusting our bearing to head slightly to the east otherwise we would have found ourselves below the bealach and heading for vertical cliffs below scree slopes (which we could see once we reached the bealach).
The ascent of A’Choich was, as described in the SMC book, an enjoyable scramble.
On reaching the top we met a couple, Stuart and Susan, who had planned to take a stroll up the tourist path but had mistakenly started off up the adjacent glen to the bealach.
Only being “ramblers” they said the scramble up A’Choich had them on their hands and knees and slightly shell shocked (particularly Stuart who was not comfortable scrambling) but at least they had made it to the summit.
However, it got worse for them when we told them Ben More was still ahead in the cloud and another equally challenging scramble awaited them. 
If they had been on their own it’s likely they would still be on the hill as going back down from A’Chioch was not an option and getting to Ben More would have been a challenge.
However, we asked them to join us and we got them safely to the summit of Ben More. 
Following the path up the south side of the ridge we ascended a long vertical chimney which brought us onto an airy ledge on the ridge below the summit.
The chimney involved some tricky steps, particularly for Stuart, but with Ron showing the way and Kevin at the rear the couple made it to the summit where, after much coaxing, they eventually agreed that it was an enjoyable experience.
We descended the tourist path which confirmed our view that the only way to climb Ben More is by the route we had taken, and on reaching the lower slopes we headed across grass covered slopes directly towards the car.  
As is often the case the descent was in pleasantly warm clear weather which allowed lovely views of the nearby islands.
Report by Ron Dorn

 
Sunday was forecast to be a rather wetter day so apart from Alex and Robert, most considered an early departure. 
Kevin and Donald had kindly offered to accompany Fraser to see if he could tackle his one remaining Scottish Island Graham, Creach Beinn from the high point on the road, ie. from the north. 
After an hour facing into wind and rain, Fraser suggested that we should abandon it and try again some other time, so they too went for an early ferry.

MULL
Fri, May 19.
Got the 07:30 ferry to Mull. With fantastic conditions – brilliant sunshine, super visibility but strong-ish winds – decided to tackle Ben More, especially as the weather was to be poor the rest of the weekend. 
Parked at Knock (where the road is currently closed) and went straight on to the hill, over Beinn a’ Ghraig (a Marilyn), onto Beinn Fhada (Graham) and then the easy scramble via a’ Chioch to the Munro summit.
Extensive views throughout – Rum, Small Isles, Skye, Ardnamurchan, Ardgour, Jura.  Stunning.  6km back to car. Total time: 6hrs.

Sat, May 20.
Low cloud, poor visibility, windy, cold and wet. Opted for the Corbett Dun da Gaoithe and nearby Mainnir nam Fiadh. Then added on the Graham Sgurr Dearg, via the linked bealach. Big day for the conditions. 6hrs.

Sun, May 21.
Tackled the Graham Beinn Taladh. Climbed from the A849 roadside for a quick ascent (ferry to catch), claggy on top but dry. 1hr 50mins car-to-car.
Then Fishnish ferry to Lochaline, drove to Mallaig, then another ferry to Skye.

SKYE
Mon, May 22.
Forecast was for poor weather from noon. Got up at 04:30 to make the best of it by doing the Broadford Red Hills (were staying in Broadford Youth Hostel). 
On summit of Beinn na Caillich (Graham) by 07:00. Beinn Dearg Mhor (Graham) and Beinn Dearg Bheag followed soon after. 
Really nice ridge walk.  Great round with superb views of Cuillin (although very windy). 
Back at hostel for 10-ish. Weather stayed okay, so headed back out for two more Grahams – another Beinn na Caillich, preceded by its neighbour Sgurr na Coinnich.
Nice hills looking over Kyle Rhea. Weather then closed in.

Tues, May 23.
Fantastic round of Garbh-bheinn (Corbett), Belig (Graham) and finished by tagging on the Marilyn of Glas Bheinn Mhor (Donald will be proud).  
Visibility pretty good and stayed dry. 5.5hrs.

Weds, May 24.
Forecast pretty bad, so again invoked the spirit of Donald and went out Marilyn-bagging, to stay low and hopefully avoid the clag.
Plan worked for Meall a’ Mhaoil (overlooking Raasay), but failed miserably on Beinn na Carn (near Heast).
Fog was at sea-level, so followed a bearing over wet, tussocky, trackless ground for a couple of km until we found the surprisingly large cairn.
Rob & Alex’s Report


Despite initial intentions to help save the planet Kevin and Donald travelled by car on Thursday in order to have the following day island bagging on Ulva and Gometra. 
Donald was dropped off at Grasspoint road end and made his way over Carn Ban (Marilyn) and back to the Craignure Inn to await Kevin who claimed Dun da Ghaoithe (Corbett) and Sgurr Dearg (Graham).
Overnight was spent at Tobermory YH. The 1st ferry on Friday to Ulva was caught at0900 and in glorious sunshine they walked the length of the island to the causeway over to Gometra where they met the caretaker of perhaps the most remote airbnb in the UK.
The Gometra Marilyn was ticked off and gave fantastic views over Coll and Tiree to the Outer Isles.
Ulva’s high point was left for another day as the 8 mile trek back to the ferry via the tearoom had to be completed by 17:00.
On Saturday Donald was dropped off at the high point on the road over to Loch na Keal by the Munro bagging party and climbed Beinn na Sreine (Marilyn) in time to get a view but on leaving the top the clag had closed in almost down to road level.
A pleasant climb to Coirc Bheinn (Marilyn) past a series of waterfalls was then made before returning to sea level to look for his transport home.
Waiting for the main party to arrive he amused himself with some clambering on rocks and accepting a cup of tea from a couple in a camper van.
Donald’s report