MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 78/79/80(17/18/19th JULY).
A Remote Hill Day
Seana Bhraigh (926m, Munro 262)‘old height’
After completing the Skye hills and been out for the last 6 days in a row I was heading home for a rest day which turned out to be 2 days due to the bad forecast for Friday and Saturday. While out for a sociable drink night on Friday night Jake said he fancied another hill day but not a big one I had a think and suggested Seana Bhraigh from Oykel Bridge using the bikes as I’ve not done it from that direction, he liked that plan and a 7am pick up was arranged. The weather wasn’t that good for today but what do you do, arrived in Rafford on time and picked up my bleary eyed companion for the day that only got to bed at 3am. A easy drive today on the quiet roads saw us at the start of the estate road in 2hrs, Andy told me there was no problem driving as far as Duag Bridge and if the gates were open as far as Corriemulzie Lodge so that’s what we did.
It was dry overhead when we set off on the bikes but the road was extremely wet on route and a deep river crossing ensured wet feet for the rest of the day. We left the bikes at the end of Loch a’ Choire Mhor and had to recross the river to pick up the SW ridge , this is by far a more scenic route to Seana Bhraigh with its series of wild corries which unfortunately were in the clag today on their upper parts.
It’s a short walk and we were soon on the summit where we met 4 seventeen year old lads who had stayed in the bothy beside the loch down below, they looked a bit hungry to me and gladly accepted a fruit loaf and several chocolate bars from myself and Jake. The mist started to clear and we got some fine views down into the steep corrie below but only for a few minutes and the clag was back, it was a tad chilly standing about so we headed back down and again it looked like clearing but no luck, minutes later the drizzle started and by the time we were on the bikes it got steadily heavier and continued all the way back to the van, and we were soaked AGAIN. It was still a enjoyable day out though and would recommend this route.
Today’s Totals:14.36mls,898m ascent,4hrs 45min
235 Munros to date.
Seana Bhraigh is glacially carved with a huge beautiful northern corrie with some scrambling required to reach its eastern top Creag an Duine. In winter it is a special place it has two bothies right next to each other. On by the MBA and the other Magoos Bothy. This place has so many memories a remote mountain yet a huge part of my life. I stayed here on my walks across Scotland, climbing and a great pal the Team Leader of Assynt MRT was killed here in an avalanche many years ago.
Phil Jones – This area has some incredible hills and the team works in a lightly populated area where team members some times have to travel huge distances for Rescues. The team not only has some wonderful mountains like Suiliven, Quinag and Stac Polly but also the remote Munros Ben More Assynt, Conival, Ben Kilbreck and of course Ben Hope. In addition there are so many more mountains, sea stacks like The Old Man Of Stoer and the great cliffs of Fionaven and Seanna Bhraigh, a wonderful area. Assynt also has several Caves up near Ben More Assynt and works regularly with the Cave Rescue covering any emergencies in these wild places. The Assynt team cover this area and work so hard to get team member’s and as raising money to finance the team this is so very hard in such a low populated area. These are part of why this team mean a lot to me, I have watched and worked with them over many years and always admired the way they cope with this huge area. This is Mountain Rescue at its best, great people and so dedicated.
When I was the Team Leader at RAF Leuchars in the late 80,s I worked with the then Assynt Team Leader Phil Jones we became good friends. We shared ideas and thoughts on training and I was impressed how this team with such a huge area and a team that was so diverse worked . We became good friends and spent time on the hill together and climbed a few routes. We had a wee epic on the Fiddler’s nose and he showed me many secret crags. When we were up in Lochinver it was always a good night and Phil became a very good friend of the Team. I was running our annual RAF Winter Course in Feb 1991 at Grantown On Spey when a message came through that their had been an accident to a Mrt on Seanna Bhraigh . This was in the days before mobile phones and the news spread like wildfire through the Rescue community. It was a huge shock everyone and I was devastated when I was told it was Phil had been killed in an accident whilst training with the Assynt Team. Phil was caught in a small slab avalanche it was to be a tragic time for the Phil’s family and the team.
I went to the funeral in Lochinver it was a very sad day and one I will never forget. Many of the teams were represented and it was a moving day for all.The Assynt team after the accident were devastated but continued on despite the loss of their leader. These were hard years for the team but as always the team rose to every challenge. Today Phil would be very pleases with the legacy he and other leaders have left.
Magoos Bothy – This bothy has been refurbished in memory of Mark Magoo who died in a helicopter crash in Kosova. It is right next to the MBA Bothy which is strange but a wonderful place to be.
I spent many nights in my youth in the big walks in 1977 on my N- S traverse of Scotland, these were huge days when we were fit. The MBA Bothy was a great place to be and the situation incredible with the classic ridge and scramble just outside the door. A great winter wander along a remote ridge well worth the walk in. It was also a great place to spend the night and with the new bothy and fire well worth taking some coal or wood. I also ran a winter course in 1980 with Valley MRT and we climbed a few routes in winter acouple in winter over 5 days with my great friend Mark Sinclair (RIP). These were never reported and I hope to go back this winter to have a look. It is an incredibly wild place and one of great beauty yet those who approach the hill from the other side see little of these huge Corries. It is a wild plateau with tricky navigation especially in winter but what a hill.
Philip Tranter wrote the first guide was a hero of mine and I tried to climb many of his routes and his hill days Tranters Round is one . He died in 1968 on his way back from the Alps in a motor bike crash. Scotland lost one of its finest mountaineers. so young and so dynamic.