Our blog - Fisherfield, 4-7 May'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Fisherfield 'Big 6' backpacking

4-7 May 2018
An extended weekend backpacking into the Fisherfield and Letterewe wilderness and bagging the 'Big 6' Munros. Richard Kermode was leading....

Day 1 - the hike in to Fisherfield

I met up with Penelope, Kathy, Sue, Phil, Nicholas and Euan at the start of the path in to the Fisherfield Forest at midday in some fairly nice weather. After sorting out equipment and double checking we had all we should need for our expedition we set off along the right of way into Shenaval bothy. The plan was to walk into the bothy and then head on into the wild along Gleann na Muice to set up our camp for the weekend.

There was some good banter as we walked and everyone getting used to their heavy packs. It was fairly warm weather though we were expecting some fresh winds and showers at some point, but these didn’t arrive until we pitched camp. Our route from the bothy took us down to cross both rivers at once since they were not high thankfully so straightforward crossings. We got our tents pitched without any issues though the rain and winds really cam in for us whilst we settled in to our camp. It stayed that way into the night…

Day 2 - A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac mor

The first mountain day was A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac mor so our route was on good paths for a lot of the day as we walked up Gleann na Muice beag and into the strong, but dry winds. It was lovely walking until we branched off to climb towards the beallach between the two mountains where we were battered by some very strong gusts and rain making for some uncomfortable walking. We pressed on though there was now the chance we might meet winds that were going to thwart our attempt.

I hoped we would get some protection from the winds when we climbed out of the beallach and thankfully we did so our route up A’Mhaighdean took us through some gusts to reach the relative shelter of the summit as the wind was hitting the cliffs and bouncing over leaving a bubble of calmer air on the top. We even had some limited views before the cloud came in on us so we stayed for lunch before heading back down to the beallach and on towards Ruadh Stac Mor.

The steep rocky climb was surprisingly sheltered and we had no real gusts all the way to the summit where again we were protected by the topography. It was clearer visibility here too and we enjoyed another good rest on the summit before descending into the wind along the west ridge where we found some good snow banks to descend over the bouldery ground speeding our progress down. We were soon down in the wild country cutting the corner back to our excellent path from the morning spotting some possible black throated divers on one of the hill lochs we passed. The weather was much calmer as we walked back to our camp so we dawdled a little to take in the grandeur of the mountains. On our return to camp the rain came in again and we endured another wild night in the tents!

Day 3 - Beinn Tarsuinn to Sgurr Ban

I’d managed to get an updated weather forecast from the summits on Saturday so we knew the winds would die off a little on Sunday though it might be cloudy and wet to start with. As things turned out it wasn’t quite accurate…

We headed up the beautiful Gleann na Muice before climbing rough slopes into the dramatic corrie beneath Beinn Tarsuinn. It was warm walking into the cloud and drizzle though as we arrived at the beallach beneath the first summit it was feeling much cooler. As we reached the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn if seemed like the cloud was clearing and the sun was about to break through though it didn’t quite manage it for our stay on the top. It was back down to the beallach to contour round towards Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and some well deserved lunch at the beallach beneath its southern ridge. The southerly winds seemed to be coming from the west and east making shelter a challenge.

After some food we started climbing and were treated to some sudden views of Slioch and Beinn Tarsuinn as the clouds broke for a short spell. We arrived at our second summit in cold cloud and fairly strong winds so didn’t linger for long before heading down to the next beallach for some more food and drink. The weather was hard to read today and we climbed Sgurr Ban in fairly calm conditions and even arrived at the summit whilst it was clear and dry though the winds and cloud din’t take too long to find us as we descended the quartzite boulder fields to the beallach above Loch a’Bhrisidh in lovely dry weather with views.

At this point some of the group were ready to head down and others wanted to visit Beinn a’Chlaidheimh, the demoted Munro on the round. I showed the others the route i wanted to take down and the set off slowly down whilst the rest of us headed out to the last summit. We made good time and arrived in time to enjoy some great views though the wind was increasing in speed quite quickly so only a flying visit before we retraced our steps and followed the others back down to our campsite. We had hoped to finally sit around outside at camp tonight, but the weather had different plans and we had more wind and rain overnight.

Day 4 - the return to Corrie Hallie

The rain had stopped in the morning so we packed up quickly and began our walk back out managing to cross the rivers as one again before the rain found us on the walk up to Shenaval. By the time we had climbed the steep hill behind the bothy the sun began to break though and we enjoyed some fantastic views of the summits as we wandered back out to the cars to finish a fantastic Fisherfield trip!

More photos by Richard and some of the participants are here on Flickr.

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