Munros surrounding Loch Mullardoch, 19-20 June 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Hiking over the vast ridges north and south of Loch Mullardoch, bagging 12 Munros over 2 days. Steven Fallon was leading.

Munros surrounding Loch Mullardoch

After a lovely warm spell of spring weather, forecasted conditions had turned that bit colder for our two days of hiking over the Munros surrounding Loch Mullardoch. In fact, on our second day, snow was a possibility on higher ground - it was June after all in Scotland !

Day 1 - Munros north of Loch Mullardoch

Our group of enthusiastic hillwalkers gathered at the northern end of the Mullardoch Dam and got gear sorted. There were 7 folk today including myself - Alex, Stuart, Mark, Paul, Emma and Chris. Onto Angus's rib, with little wind, we were quickly whisked along the length of Loch Mullardoch and dropped off near the foot of An Socach.

A hike through grass, saw us contour up gentle inclines, the views gradually improving as we gained height. The incline steepened, the grass shortened and we found a faint path to follow all the way to An Socach's summit, alas cloud swept in and hid views. Time for some eats and pause, hoping the views would arrive.

Downhill next, some easy scrambling on route, to the bealach below An Riabhachan. The clouds gave way occasionally, making our efforts worthwhile. More scrambling up to gain the long crest of this mountain for a very pleasant (and easy to navigate) high-level walk.

The haul up Sgurr na Lapaich is probably the most testing part of this day, the group coping well with the continuous 1,000ft of straight uphill. We could now see back along the two mountains we'd visited and blue sky was making the odd brief appearance. We didn't hang around on the summit as it was stuck in mist, and instead picked our way down the boulderfield on the south side of the ridge to pick up a path to the next bealach.

Paul and Mark needed to catch a train in Inverness, so with good visibility, they shot off back towards the dam. The rest of us enjoyed a break in the sunshine to get some food in before heading up our last Munro of the day, Carn nan Gobhar. After the hike up Sgurr na Lapaich, Carn nan Gobhar is a doddle ! And we were quickly on the summit, taking photos and enjoying the views.

The return to the dam is now made much easier than in past years with a new hydro track that's been laid. Everyone arrived back well satisfied with their day's achievements (under 10hours all in !).

Day 2 - Munros south of Loch Mullardoch

Conditions for today were pretty similar to yesterday and after meeting up with Angus, we (just 4 of us today) were again sped along Loch Mullardoch, this time being dropped on the south side of the loch at the foot of Beinn Fhionnlaidh. The first uphill of the day is the steepest, with some route finding lower down. The group were strong and marched briskly to the summit - alas no views, mist just whisped over the tops.

Mam Sodhail next, by-passing around Carn Eighe on the way. Paul would head up Carn Eighe on his own, then aim for Mam Sodhail to continue down to Glen Affric - he'd done Toll Creagach and Tom a'Choinnich before. All being well, myself and the others would meet him again at the col between Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe. However, upon approaching the summit of Mam Sodhail we came across a tent blowing in the wind and occasional snow-showers. Inside were a group of young lads, one of whom was beginning to show the initial stages of hypothermia. We chatted for a bit and I offered some advice on how to get him warm again (dry clothes and a pile-on !), before leaving them to get our group onto Mam Sodhail's summit (less then 5 minutes further on) and into the large cairn. Back and forth to the tent, I returned with hand-warmers and then hot drink. Things were looking up and we left them after one more visit before continuing towards Carn Eighe.

We met Paul more or less as planned and told him about the young lads in the tent. They'd be aiming down off Mam Sodail on the same route as him, so hopefully Paul would catch them up. We said our byes and myself, Emma and Stuart hiked up Carn Eighe (in mist) then down over the vast plateau to the east of the summit to then pick our way around the shattered pinnacles on Stob Coire Dhomhnuill. Weather began to improve as we hiked and scrambled over a couple of minor tops before crossing the grassy ground on the approach to Tom a'Choinnich. Time for a break to take in some views at last !

Toll Creagach lay ahead and seemed a long way away. We chatted and blethered as sun heated us up, gaining height and distance to reach the summit quicker than expected. All that now lay ahead was a grass and heather descent back to the dam - it's testing lower down ! Back in Cannich I received a text from Paul to say he'd met up with the young lads and all was well - happy days !

Interestingly, you can no longer drive up to the south side of the dam - barrier has been put in by the Hydro. Which meant an additional 1km or so at the end of our day (boo!). Angus tells me that the Hydro were getting damage done to their expensive high voltage equipment and to stop canoists setting off from the south side where there are strong currents made by the inflow to the dam.

More photos by Steven Fallon are here on Flickr.

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