Seana Bhraigh Munro 254 – 927 metres/3041 feet. A hill not to rush. In memory of Phil Jones Assynt MRT Team Leader killed in an avalanche on Seana Bhraigh February 3 1991

Seana Bhraigh past visits.

As most will know the Munro Seana Bhraigh is a long way from anywhere. Some guidebooks say it is one of the remotest Munros about. The hill is approached by Loch Coire Mhoir is reached by most by a private track up Strath Mulnzie, where a mountain bike is extremely useful. There are other ways in but to me this is the best. If your walking the route is well described in various guidebooks and can be an easy ascent but a long way from anywhere. I used to love doing a circuit including the other 4 Munros and sometimes including the Corbett Carn Ban. In bad weather this is extremely tricky navigation but on a long summers day its a classic.

Goats near the summit.

To me the best way to climb this peak is by Oykel Bridge. The wildlife round this area is amazing and Oykel Bridge is a big fishing river. On the hill usually near the summit sometimes you may spot Goats near the summit and the odd Eagle soaring. This is a wonderful place and the views from the track as you walk/cycle in with the ridge and the blunt peak of An Sgurr make it a very special place.

To me it’s not a place to rush how many on their Munro chase miss this wonderful Corrie and all its secrets. To sit on the summit and spend time is an incredible experience and well worth the effort. On this hill the views North South East and West are wonderful and I have so many memories of this wild area and my companions over the years.

From the Munro SMC Munro app.

On these Big walks we stayed in the bothy in the Corrie that makes it such a great memory a night in the bothy in a specail place. It had a history of exploration in the winter as I became immersed in the winter climbing history in Scotland. These were some hardy folk.

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. One by the MBA and the other the Magoos Bothy.

from the SMC winter guide

This place has so many memories a remote mountain yet a huge part of my life. I stayed here on many nights with team member’ after long days. Among these memories are of a great pal the Team Leader of Assynt MRT Phil Jones was killed here in an avalanche in Feb 1991 it seems so many years ago.

I had spent many nights in my youth in the big walks in 1976 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. This mountain is 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 a fire. It’s well worth taking some coal or wood. The wander round the Corrie rim in good weather is wonderful it’s a huge classic Corrie and if you see the Goats it’s a marvellous sight.

The great Corrie

Its hard to believe I also ran a winter course in 1980 with Valley MRT and we climbed a few routes in winter a couple of of new routes over 5 days with my great friend Mark Sinclair (RIP). These routes were never reported in the Guides and I hope to go back again in 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 in my memory a wild plateau with tricky navigation especially in winter but what a hill.

Phil Tranter.

 Many may have heard of Philip Tranter who wrote the first guide to this area in 1966 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 he was so young and so dynamic. My good pal Blyth Wright was part of the exploration and this area is steeped in the history of exploration and huge hill days. The club was called the Corriemulzie Club.

Phil Jones – This Corrie always brought back many memories.

I was at just coming home from running the annual winter course for the RAF mountain rescue Teams when the news was broken by the BBC. They just said that a MRT team leader had been killed, no name was given and it was an awful time for our families.

Phil Jones RIP.

When the news broke that it was Phil it was a terrible tragedy as I knew Phil and the Assynt team well and cannot imagine that happening during a training exercise in such a remote area. An amazing place with so many varying memories, the peace and quiet was incredible and the hills so green in the summer and the heather coming into bloom made this a great walk out even in the torrential rain. We had climbed together and got to know each other well Assynt MRT are a great team and we helped out with bits and pieces when we could. Phil was a huge part of the community and I still miss him to this day. I went to his funeral in Lochinver it was a difficult time and a reminder to all of us that tragedy can occur at any time. Mountain Rescue are not excluded from this. I would like to find out the details of the Avalanche from any of the Assynt Team who were there. I am helping with an Avalanche survey that goes back to 1960.

There was a small cairn on I am sure Quinag just of one  of the beleachs/ tops with a great view of the wild Assynt that Phil loved and I visited it not long after the funeral.

Can anyone give me a Grid Reference of it please?

Yet I have often been back to that Coire and really enjoyed the An Sgurr scramble and in winter is a grand expedition, how many have climbed it as it looks Alpine from the bothy.

Info – During the stalking season, September 1st to October 20th, please keep to the main estate tracks.
Coiremor is the eastern end of the building, with Magoo’s bothy (non-MBA) occupying the western end. It is used by the estate especially in the fishing and deer stalking seasons but access is allowable so long as recognized tracks are followed

View from the bothy window.

To access the bothy, it is necessary to ford the River Mulzie at NH 292 906.  If the river is in spate a bridge can be used about 1km north of the ford at NH 298 922 although it is rough ground from the bridge back up to the path. Corriemulzie Estate. We got stuck here once due to being unable to cross the river.

Next time I go I will hopefully have an e bike to make up for my age I am looking forward to it once I feel a bit stronger.

A great photo courtesy of Angus Jack this week showing the An Sgurr ridge and the vast Corrie. Thanks Angus.

Information – Highland Scrambles North Scottish Mountaineering Scramblers Guide

Northern Highland North Scottish Mountaineering Club Guide.

In memory of Phil Jones Assynt MRT.

About Assynt Mountain Rescue Team

The primary role of the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team is the provision of search and rescue in mountainous, or inhospitable terrain in North and NW Scotland, for any person who may be injured, or otherwise in need of assistance. The Team are all volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.

Assynt Mountain Rescue Team Registered charity number SC049089

Update from a pal Feb 2020.

“Cycled in from Oykell bridge, good 4wd track all the way to the bothy, only problem was the river crossing. Could have taken the van a few km further up the track.” thanks Angus .

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Bothies, Corbetts, Enviroment, Mountain Biking, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Seana Bhraigh Munro 254 – 927 metres/3041 feet. A hill not to rush. In memory of Phil Jones Assynt MRT Team Leader killed in an avalanche on Seana Bhraigh February 3 1991

  1. Alistair Jeffs says:

    Great stories and memories there Heavy… hope to add mine too.
    Thanks for sharing the info.

    Liked by 1 person

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