A solid forecast for a sunny weekend saw Ann & John brave the 4 hour drive to Kintail despite the Grade 5 midge forecast. The objective was a bagging trip of the grand day out that is the horseshoe of peaks centred on Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. We camped at Morvich on a very pleasant evening, quite different from the semi-blizzard conditions last time we were there on the Hogmanay meet. And the midges were no worse than a 2.
Next morning an early breakfast got us to the car park at Killilan by 8am, cycled-up for the 11 km approach to Carnach. The first part of the walk was a bit wobbly after getting off the bikes but we soon got stuck in to the steep and trackless ascent of Mullach Sithidh.
|View down Glen Elchaig from above Iron Lodge|
|The Mighty Stob Fraoch Choire (R)|
This was heavy going in the warm temperatures and was made worse but having to veer into the boggy corrie to fill up with water. Once higher on the ridge, in the breeze and with the going improved, we picked up the pace and were soon on the first bag of the day, the Munro of Mullach na Dheiragain. After a well-earned first lunch we wandered along the undulating ridge to begin the 300 m ascent of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and met our first other people of the day. That started a trend, with about 15 in the next ½ hour. The ascent was a bit of a grind but worth it to get back to one of my favourite summits. A short but interesting traverse got us to the lower western top for a better view and second lunch.
|Mullach na Dheiragain from Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (try saying that after a pint!)|
|Summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan|
Then we descended the North Ridge, which is a great outing over two decent Tops in a fine setting. This got us to the second bag of the day, the Murdo of Stob Fraoch Choire. For those of you who don’t know about Murdos, see the blurb below. They are named after the character Murdo Munro – he’s a bugger of a bagger, from the sadly-missed The Angry Corrie. This was my final Murdo and a source of some frustration, having passed within a couple of hundred metres of it a few years ago whilst Top-bagging and not been bothered to climb it. It is one of the mythical Seven Summits, peaks of sufficient prominence to be Murdos but neither a Munro Summit nor Top.
|A bugger of a bagger....|
Mountain anorak status assured (I don’t know of any other Murdoists, although there must be some around) we began the hot and sweaty descent through the increasingly rough bog to Carnach and an easy bike ride/roll back to the car.
Our 11 hour day had taken it out of us so the next day we just headed up to the Plockton area for a relaxing swim in the sea. Nothing too exciting but all very pleasant….
|Snorkelling with Skye in the background|
Extract from: http://bubl.ac.uk/org/tacit/tables/murdos/index.html
“In recent years the word Munro has become synonymous with Scottish mountains over 3000 feet, yet anyone who has climbed all 277 Munros will be aware that numerous 3000-foot summits are not counted as Munros. The list of 517 Munro Tops might therefore be regarded as a natural progression, but few of the 1300+ Munroists have gone on to climb all of these. Perhaps most of them have simply had enough, but those with an appetite for more will discover the Munro Tops to be an unsatisfying assortment of major mountain summits and minor bumps. Many Tops are awkwardly distributed for a natural walking route yet are not distinctive enough to warrant a special trip. The list of Murdos provides a much more rational and appealing extension to the Munros.
A Murdo is a Scottish peak over 914.4 metres high (3000 feet) with a drop of at least 30 metres (98 feet) all round. The 444 Murdos comprise all 277 Munros, 160 of the most significant Munro Tops and seven additional summits. The list of Murdos shows the drop from each summit and so makes it easy for hillwalkers to collect the most rewarding 3000-foot summits without having to bother with the less significant tops.”