After the gloomy weather the day before on Ben Wyvis, the forecast for today looked a lot more promising. Approaching over the Dirrie More An Teallach stood proud but with a cap of white cloud. The surrounding air was summer blue. Turning left at Braemore Junction we – Peter, DD and myself – sped down the road towards Dundonnell and Little Loch Broom. To our right we could see Loch Broom. We passed Coirehallie where the car park was almost full.
We, however, parked up at a layby just beyond a telephone box and near a mountain rescue post shortly after passing the “Dundonnell” sign. The air was still and hot. A 14m elevation start point meant that the full might of this mountain would need to be tackled. Sun protection applied we left at about 9.30am and found the half hidden path that leaves the road beside a couple of cottages and began a rising traverse behind them. The Ordnance Survey map shows the path climbing the steep nose of Meall Garbh. We ignored this and instead followed a path shown on the Harveys map that makes its way over broken ground eventually to the Garbh Allt. The path is well cairned. After an hour or so we stopped for a rest, a drink and respite from the heat. At this point the rocky end of Glas Mheall Mor was coming into view
and cloud was beginning to build up. But to the south east the Beinn Dearg group cleared.
The path then takes you easily up a shallow valley and into Coir’ a’Mhuillinn. Even after only a short dry period a lot of the stream beds were dry. From a long way distant a cairn at the point this path hits the ridge can be seen. My objectives for the day were the two subsidiary tops of Glas Mheall Mor and Sgurr Creag an Eich having previously done the traverse via Sail Liath many years ago.
About 500 metres short of the ridge I left DD (for an explanation see my TR on Cairngorm Wanderings) and my brother, Peter, who were going to aim straight for Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill. I took the steepening slopes south eastwards heading for the col between Glas Mheall Mor and point 916 (as shown on the Harveys map). On reaching the col I was met with this view of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill and its pinnacled eastern ridge.
Another 10 minutes or so found me at the summit of Glas Mheall Mor with expansive views out to sea
Sail Mhor and Lewis
I could see DD and Peter on the slopes of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill and took this zoomed shot of them about 1km away – DD storming ahead of her uncle.
I hurried back along the ridge and over point 916 to the col at the head of Coire a’Ghlas Thuill. I made my way up the same path as the others. However, if you want a more sporting approach, it is possible (once 30m above the col) to skirt around to the left and to scramble up the true north ridge of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill. In fact a couple with their two young kids did just this.
I arrived at the top about 30 minutes after DD and Peter and just after the family of four. It was quite a busy summit. There was also a German guy and later a Dutch one. Although I did not know he was a WH’er at the time I met with “Snowdonia7” and had a brief chat with him. He had ascended from Shenavall with his fried, Neil.
It had taken me about 40 minutes between the two summits and it was time for a spot of lunch, and to marvel at the views. It was cloudy to the north and east. Beinn Dearg remained clear
The Fannaichs rose of the moors to the south
and Sgurr Fiona was close at hand with the Torridon and Fisherfield hills behind.
15 minutes later we were on our way again. I stopped to take a few shots
including one out to Sgurr Creag an Eich, the final objective.
40 minutes after leaving Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill we were at the top of Sgurr Fiona looking back the way we had come
into deepest Fisherfield
and to the pinnacled crest to the south.
We all descended the west ridge. At a knob of rocks a path cuts back across the north west face of Sgurr Fiona (indeed this is the more obvious route up from the first munro) and would be my way back so that a re-ascent of Sgurr Fiona would not be needed. DD and Peter left me here to return to the car. Here is a view back up the ridge.
I carried on westwards. Here is the view back to Sgurr Fiona, Lord Berkeley’s Seat and Corrag Bhuidhe
I have, unsuccessfully, been trying to find out how Lord Berkeley’s Seat got its name. It is a rather airy perch – but a good view in clear weather!
Here, from the summit of Sgurr Creag an Eich, is Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill
and Sail Mhor
and, finally, Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill and Sgurr Fiona together. I spent some time marvelling at the views and the different aspect of An Teallach.
Now it was a question of getting back. It was 3pm when I left. A stiff southerly breeze sprang up out of nowhere. To the south of the ridge line there are tracks which speeded up the return to the col with Sgurr Fiona. There was then a 50m climb up to the knob of rocks and the traverse down the north west face of Sgurr Fiona. Then there was the prospect of a re-ascent of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill. In fact a complete re-ascent was not necessary. It was possible to contour around the western slopes without too much difficulty so that it was just 30 minutes from col to col. A rough path skirts around point 916 to the west to the cairn at the start of the path which we had followed on the way up. Notwithstanding tiring legs it was a good romp back down to Dundonell and I was back at the car at around 5pm. DD and Peter had been waiting just 35 minutes.
By this time the cloud had again covered Beinn Dearg and the Fannaichs. As we left An Teallach the cloud was swirling around the higher tops indicating the arrival of a weather front. But we had had a great day out whilst most of the rest of the country was being hit by rain.