Thursday, 12 June 2014

Glen Affric (Part 1) – 31 May 2014

After our successful walks of a couple of weeks ago, we were back in Scotland attempting four big walks in a week. There is a general feeling amongst us that we have to get the Munro’s finished and to bed this year. Our first hill was 20 years ago and as the years have passed we have been obsessed with finishing them – all 282.

This was the most challenging day with 3 really remote Munro’s, we had contemplated camping or staying at the Youth Hostel but that would eat into two days. The best option as far as I was concerned was to cycle in along the path in Glen Affric climb the hills and cycle out in the same day, a big ask but possible.

After travelling up to Perth last night we were up bright and early and on the road before 6am. We arrived in Glen Affric at 9.15am sorted the bikes and set off on our way. 

The Alltbeithe Youth Hostel

The track was good in places but unfortunately it was mainly up and down and we ended up pushing the bikes more than riding them. We arrived at Alltbeithe Youth Hostel just before noon and sat down to eat for ten minutes before tackling the day ahead. Talking to the warden she said most people take around seven to nine hours in total to complete the three hills.

The approach to An Socach
It was a warm day but it took us less than two hours to reach the top of An Socach, as we took our photographs Mullach na Dheiragain looked a long way away across the Glen.

Mullach na Dheiragain centre of the ridge.
I had read that there was a faint path that led down over steep ground to the connecting ridge to the days second Munro – Mullach na Dheiragain. This could have been problematical but the weather was fine and I found the cairn marking the start of a faint path. We took a line towards the col opposite and made good time. We then headed along the ridge meeting a party returning from Mullach na Dheiragain they informed us that it was an hour and a half away! We made it in an hour.
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan from An Socach
On An Socach with Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan behind

The walk back via the top Carn na Con Dhu took a further hour and we then had the prospect ahead of the climb up the north-east ridge of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. It wasn’t as bad as we though, steep, but over relatively quickly. As we sat down at the cairn we realised that it was nearly 6pm and we still had to get down. There was a good path to follow over a few ups and downs before we arrived at the top of Coire na Cloiche with a good path to follow back to the bikes and the Youth Hostel.

After two hours of cycling and just as it was starting to get dark we hit a area where we free wheeled for a couple of miles. We eventually arrived back at the cars shortly before 11.00pm, we were all knackered and still had the drive back to Perth to look forward too.

Bird wise we saw a few Ptarmigan and I also had a Scottish tick in the form of a Woodcock.

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