Yesterday we went to Carn a’Choire Ghairbh is relatively little visited but offers superb views over upper Glen Affric. in Walk Highlands “It is often combined in a fairly long round with Aonach Shasuinn.” We only did the one that was our plan. I had done both before once in winter where I found it a hard day. My friend Babs is trying to complete her Corbetts and Carn a’Choire Ghairbh was her choice today.
We travelled to Affric what a journey is a stunning area, there were a few camping by the loch. The trees and its a tight road and we took our time the car park at the end of the glen was busy yet it was just after 0900 when we arrived. There are toilets open and the car park is a paid one and it had all the tickets machines shut. I have no problem paying for the use of the toilet which was clean and tidy. Babs had expected to walk in via the Alt Garbh but there is a new road very industrial that did not appeal to me. The weather was okay no midges too windy today and and I had an idea to use my bikes.
Babs is enjoying the bike as well being the “Tour De Dunphail” winner in the past so she took my mountain bike and I had my road bike with new tyres. I had spare helmets in the van so off we set. I should have taken my panniers as I hate cycling with a bag on and struggled as the track is pretty hilly. Anyway we set off stopping for photos as I tried to keep up with Babs. I love this area the track follows the loch and you get great views. Sgurr Na Lapaich a classic top still held a little snow and is an iconic mountain. It was famous for being on a shortbread tin for many years, Affric Lodge peaks through the trees and is in a splendid location. Yet there is a sign just by the fence saying private I had seen it years ago. For many years we stayed in the White Cottage with the Mountain Rescue team with tents outside now refurnished and a private dwelling. The keeper here was a great pal of the team and I have huge memories of staying here.
We headed along the track stopping often to enjoy the views all the big Affric Hills opened out Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe huge wild mountains with so many memories. Big days the complete Affric Traverse, the Youth Hostel and long walks out in the dark. Unfortunately my chest was not great today I put it down to my heavy rucksack I was carrying. It would be cold on the summits and rain was forecast so I had put in extra gear.
I had come off this hill before in bad weather and located a stalkers path and that is where we were heading for. I had it marked NH 1417721096 just before the end of the loch. It can flood here badly and we did a big Rescue in 1972 with campers flooded out as its a flood plain and were stuck. I also have had a vehicle problems getting a wagon stuck before the river. We had to go back and get it a week later as the keeper said it may be there for the winter.
When we arrived there was no sign of it yet I saw a faint line moving up the hill. It was located, the bikes were dropped off and then the rain came. The path is wet to start with but takes a great line up the hill. It follows as most Stalkers paths do a natural line. I doubt it is used often as the way recommended is by the Hydro track further down the glen. We took our time enjoying the effort in making such a track these were and are incredible mountain path makers. It got cold but the clouds played with hills. The mist came in and went and now we could see the Kintail hills and is an area of great beauty.
As you get older you stop more often and take it all in, the wild flowers were out the Bog Asphel especially beautiful. In places the track follows a line that does not look right bit it is and you head up where it stops. There is a little Cairn here the first we had seen, we would remember this for the way up. We had all our wet gear on hat and gloves and headed on to the ridge. There are huge old fence posts all along the ridge and the walking is easy and the hill cleared and we got more views. Now we could see Aonach Shasuinn and the other hills big wild mountains and not a Munro so many miss these places. The space is overwhelming at times after our lock in and we soon moved away from the fence line to the rocky summit. We could see the huge wind farm on the Corbett we were on last weekend at Glen Doe Carn Chuilinn in the distance.
It was not a place to linger to cold after a few photos and then we headed off, we saw no wild life just a bird near the summit with a high pitched shriek. Bab’s was delighted another new Corbett for her but I enjoyed it to and found this way up a better way to go. We headed of as the weather was raining again, cold so the extra gear was a bonus and had a stop out of the wind. we kept our navigation tight both working on it and headed down and saw our little Cairn marking the path.
It was a bit wetter and we only lost the track once and soon were back on it. The hills cleared again, the rain stopped and we headed down to the road. On the loch we saw a group on the beach coming off a boat for a picnic. Back on the forestry track we met a few more folk mostly on bikes and a few walking into the hills. It was a warm cycle back, I ripped my trousers in the chain but took it easy as the chest was not great but we soon got back the 5 miles to the car park.
A quick change cup of tea and leisurely head home. It was a lovely drive home the car park was busy but there was no litter about and folk were being well behaved it seemed. It will be a leisurely day for me sort out the gear and recover.