Yesterday I had a great day in the Fannichs that wonderful Range of 9 Munros and the weather was perfect, no wind, dry all day and sunshine. I had great company with two friends Anne and Mark who live amongst these great hills and were wanting a day out. The weather has been superb and it was an early start for the one and a half hour drive to their house. It was an incredible drive with the temperature gauge in the car showing it was not far off freezing. I passed several wind-farms on the way they are all over now.
The sunshine even at 0700 was sparkling, the roads quiet and the views outstanding. Ben Wyvis my local Munro had a halo of sun on it and the frosty car park was deserted and then I drove to Anne and Marks house for bacon rolls. This was a meet of the Last Of The Summer Wine Mountaineering Club, we seem to have not been out much lately.
As soon as I got out the car the Stags were roaring and after a great breakfast we drove to Loch Droma where we left the car and headed along the Hydro road for about 30 minutes crossing the dam, following the hydro track and the huge pipeline and then broke on to the shoulder of our planned Munro Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich : ‘big grey hill of Fannaich’ (954m Munro 209)
I had tried this hill last winter but was still pretty ill after my operations and by the time I reached the track braking on to the hill I was not going well and had to make do with a lovely wee hill on the other side of the track Meal Brac at 532 metres a grand wee hill. Today we were going well and there is a path that we followed onto the main ridge. We had lots of stops it was warm and the views were wild.
It was hard going on the ridge I followed the edge to give it a bit more sport and we took care, taking it carefully but enjoying a unique view and we were on our own.
Anne and Mark were loving it and we had a drink and some food and then pushed on after identifying all the hills we could see, what a day.
The ridge was more enjoyable than the path that takes you through the rough ground and we met a few ptarmigan than burst out from the rocks still not in there winter white plumage.
We reached the top of our ridge then its easy going for about half and hour along a plateau to the summit of Beinn Liath Mor Fannich. By now we had great views of the great peaks with the biggest of the Fannich Range Sgurr Mor dominating and An Teallach , Beinn Dearg and many more so clear and prominent.
We had a good stop and met a couple who took our photo, I wanted to go on and climb a few more peaks and Anne and Mark went back down. It was a bit selfish but I was feeling good and the weather was stunning. It was a great walk and we met one of the local Mountain Rescue Team Dundonnell Ian Nesbitt and his lovely dog and had a chat for a while and then I headed of to Sgurr Mor.
The ridge is easy walking but steep as Sgurr Mor :(1110m Munro 43) ‘big peak’ is the biggest of the Fannichs and has a huge Corrie edge which I followed to the summit, It has some wild winter climbing and I could see the only climb I did many years ago after a huge walk in. It was a climb that I was as always terrified on with limited belays and simple gear in the mid 80’s. There is a great article on an ascent in 2012 by a guide.
The climb “Resurrection is a North West Highlands snow and ice classic of alpine proportion. The length and nature of the climbing assures you’ll get your money’s worth and you bag yourself a Munro or two to boot.”
- Range: The Fannichs, North West Highlands, Scotland
- Mountain: Sgurr Mor, 1110m
- Route: Resurrection, Sgurr Mor, East Face
- Return: East Ridge and Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich (Munro)
- Length: 300m of climbing, a long day out!
You can belay around the summit cairn on the last pitch making the line very aesthetic. You will almost certainly have complete solitude. The route is 300m long and very committing.
I met another group on the summit enjoying more views and the Gealla Butress stick out on another Munro Sgurr nan Clach Geala (1093m Munro 53) but that was not on my agenda today.
Time was moving on and after a quick drink I headed down onto my next Munro Meall na Crasgaidh (934m Munro 243). I was going well but took my time on the steep descent in winter these can be wild hills and care is taken even in summer when travelling on your own.
I was on my own when a walker overtook me on the top before the last Munro
Meall a’Chrasgaidh : ‘hill of the crossing’ and I let him go though I was feeling okay and pushed on to the summit. Time was moving and how I would like to climb the other Munros but it would be dark by 1900 and I texted Anne and Mark for a lift at 1800 about 2 hour walk out.
I dropped straight off the summit down very steep ground, taking care and I had been up this way many years before in winter, it was interesting, for some reason I was on my own and took in the views and the changing light. There was some good scrambling from about 800 metres.
The view of An Teallach as I descended were magic and the camera picked up the wildness and dominance of this great hill. There was no one about as I picked my way down and was soon at the loch and then a big walk out.
Every view changes.
There is an awful BV track very cut up for about 30 minutes till you hit the hydro track and solid ground, what a lot of damage done. The garron ( stalking horse) never made this damage to the ground.
I had to stop to eat and drink, my last jam butty and some tepid team and some nuts gave me the energy after that muddy track and the last half hour along the track was fine. Time was moving on and Mark was waiting at the dam and then home to there house for a brew and then a drive home. I was offered a bed for the night but have a mate to take to hospital today.
I should have been out with Outfitmoray for a week in the Cairngorms but had to cancel it to help a pal. I had a great day yesterday on some great mountains in stunning weather so I made the best of my time.
Today I am sore after a fun day out but what a day, three great Munros, good company and some solitude and its great to be still out on these wild places.
Take care when out on the hills the daylight is getting shorter and make sure you carry a serviceable torch!
Correction taking on the last Munro of my day Meall a’Chraisgaidh!