The Nest of Fannaich – lost Bothies.

The Nest of Fannichs : One of two houses that stood at the head of Loch Fannaich. Cabuie Lodge was demolished, it was feared that it would be flooded when the Hydro enlarged the loch. The Nest was lost to a gas explosion and fire about 1989. It was a classic Mountain bothy in a wild area.

I had been at the bothy a few times the first supporting an early Team Leaders course in 1973 ? When I met them coming of the hill they were exhausted and they were all very fit. Another time we met Hamish Brown and his dog overnight. I also had winter climbed in the Geala Buttress and night stopped at the bothy after an epic day. There were few about in these days we had the huge cliff to ourselves and a basic guide. The scope was immense for winter climbing. It’s great to hear that this wild place with a huge walk in is getting climbed on again. (Jan 2023)

North – South walk: Where were you 46 years ago in 1976 we were young and had a plan, we used our leave (holiday time) for the full year nearly ? We lived on packet soup l, porridge and some compo rations. It was a North to South of Scotland basic kit and lots of pain. Diary extract:

Grid of Nest no longer with us .

Day 5 May 13 1976 – The winter is not over !

Route. Loch Droma bothy – The Fannichs Beinn Liathach Mhor Fannaich, Sgurr Mor ,Meall Gorm, An Coileanchan, Meall Gorm, Meall A’ Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Na Chlach Geala Sgurr nan Each – The bothy the Nest of Fannichs.

We were glad to leave the damp wet bothy and head for another big hill day we had planned to climb as many of the Fannichs as possible. It was away early, the tea and porridge a ritual. The snow was down to the road and we had a day planned for the high peaks of the Fanniachs.

This range of peak contains 9 Munros and most lie on the A835 road to Ullapool. It is a route do lightweight and in later years I did it in its entirety on at least on 12 occasions , twice in winter a long 16 hour day!

It was a classic training day for stamina for the newer team member’s. Not today though with a big bag and poor weather we would see what happens? The main ridge is fairly continuous with outliers and the final two are separated by a big beleach of 550 metres. It was a big pull out of the bothy up the broad snowed up slopes and onto the main ridge a big pull in the winter weather. Our wet gear and feet were a worry as we were wearing the standard Curlies very basic boots and three pairs of socks to try to keep them dry and warm but no chance.

Munro app

We were soon on the summit of Beinn Liathach Mhor Fannaich. This is a good viewpoint but not today and now in cloud onto the big summit of Sgurr Mor with its very steep ridge and in the bad weather it was not easy to find the summit cairn perched close to the edge of the cliff. We had thought of picking this up on the way back but the weather was worrying and better to get it done and if the weather improves skirt it in the way back! This is a tricky place on a winter day not the place to slip with the snow and was very icy covered with the fresh snow.

This is an impressive hill and stands proud with its summit like at times a big Alpine peak. There was little shelter so we kept moving on out to the far two Munros Meall Gorm, An Coileanchan. It sounds , simple but a long walk out into wind and wild weather. We were left with a dilemma, should we leave our bags on the beleach but the fresh snow made it an easy decision to make, No! It was then back along the ridge climbing Meal Gorm again ( does that count as another Munro) with the odd views of Loch Fannich below. We were back over Sgurr Mor the weather made any attempt at skirting it impossible and then out onto Meall A’ Chrasgaidh and back to the beleach and the Sgurr Nan Clach Geala and its huge buttress breaking through the and giving us great views.

Munro App.

That day we saw the mighty An Teallach and the Fisherfield wilderness more remote Munros and of course the previous days Beinn Dearg hills and then the days to come with the great glens mountains sneaking a view, The final peak of the day is Sgurr Nan Each and the wild descent to the Nest of Fannichs bothy. There was no way in the conditions we could do anymore hills 6-7 Munros was enough for today, the weather was wild and we just wanted of the hill and into the bothy. It was comforting to get out of the wind on to the Mountain Bothies Association bothy known as the “Nest of Fannaich ” situated on Sgùrr nan Each’s lower south-west slopes by the loch which a great help when climbing mountains in this area. (This bothy was burnt down in 1989 and never replaced)

The ruins of the Nest of Fanniachs

loved the name “Nest” and it was great to get out of the wind at last and get the fire going with the dry bogwood left by previous visitors and some dry wood by the Fannich Estate. On arrival we got changed and then the process of fire on, stove on and food on the go tea and soup were wonderful and then the evening meal.

What a classic bothy I had stayed here before and it was in an incredible situation a classic bothy . We were soon sorted and pretty tired with two hard days, we slept well as the weather again picked up and the snow turned to rain. I was always amazed as how Jim my companion coped on arrival each night he was amazing and so organised everything was packed neatly everything in its place and me and Paul lived completely the opposite and Paul was definitely worse than me.

By now our characters were showing: Jim the driving force, Paul low key head down and getting stronger very day me just chugging along. My knee was hurting every day and I was getting left a bit behind. We saw huge herds of deer every day and no one, the hills and bothies were so quite this was a specail time in our lives. Each day we got more hill aware, the showers the weather we started to know when the changes were coming in weather. We became I feel at one with our surroundings a unique period in my 60 odd years on the hill. We had a huge river to cross next day I was worried as it snowed all night.

The ruins at the Nest of Fannichs.

These were great days you met some characters in these Bothies. A few hill walkers but there was a lot of exploration going on in the early 70’s on these winter cliffs. Sitting in the bothy listening to the tales of climbers was interesting and fired my love for these places. Climbing was not so busy then there were some great characters about and I loved exploring these wild Corries and often getting in an easier route. Yet on a big new cliff like the Geala buttress was hugely exciting and testing.

Comments as always welcome as are any photos of this Lost bothy.

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 Articles, Bothies, Friends, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Nest of Fannaich – lost Bothies.

  1. In 76 at Leuchars I got hold of a pair of immersion suit socks that I wore inside the boots. They helped a lot. Never did many river crossings.


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