Taking it all in at Achnashellach

Sgurr Choinnich – 999m
Sgurr a’ Chaorachain – 1053m
Maoile Lunndaidh – 1007m
Date: 13th June 2012
Distance: 21 ½ miles
Ascent: 2,400m
Weather: Warm, dry and overcast
Two Feet four Paws: Anne and Molly

I was really looking forward to this walk as it was one that I have always enjoyed on previous occasions and I was delighted that the day could not have turned out more perfectly. I had decided to complete the route on foot as all the faffing about when using my bike always results in a massive sense of humour failure by the end of the day; lifting the bike over the level crossing gates, struggling through kissing gates, pushing it up the steep bits and being eaten by midges getting it on and off the car, it seems far more trouble than it is worth.

It was a cool clear morning as we crossed the railway at Achnashellach, the sun was up and the tops were clear with the promise of a great day ahead. It was a fine walk up the track and it was great to be enjoying it rather than puffing uphill pushing my bike. The river at Pollan Buidhe was low so I didn’t have to risk a dunking on the wire bridge. As I made my way up the stalkers path to Bealach Bhearnais the day begun to warm up, thankfully clouding over a bit so the walking temperature was ideal and there were no midges.

Throughout the day I could see several other walkers on parts of the route but I didn’t meet anyone, which was a shame as I would have liked a chat on such a long day.

Bealach Bhernais.
The ridge to Sgurr Chionnich.

It was a steep pull to the ridge of Sgurr Choinnich with far more rocky hands on bits than I remembered. It also seemed to take far longer than I had planned but this was probably due to the lengthy photo stops and the time I spent loafing and taking in the views. At the summit I took a photo on my phone and sent it to Robin who was busy in his office and missing the glorious weather…………………his reply was far from polite!

It was an easy amble down the ridge and up the grassy slopes of Sgurr a’ Chaorachain where we had lunch perched against the summit shelter. I decided that it was about time I made the effort to bag the Munro Top Bidean an Eoin Deirg; one that I have managed to omit on all my previous visits. From the summit of Sgurr a’ Chaorachain it didn’t look like there would be much up and down out to the Munro Top, but appearances are deceptive and there was far more than I would have liked. I was really pleased that I had made the effort as the Top was by far the best viewpoint of the day.

I repeated all that up and down again back to Sgurr a’ Chaorachain and continued down to the bealach below Maoile Lunndaidh passing several large snow patches en route left over from the late dumping of snow that had hit the north west highlands in May. We continued up the slopes of Maoile Lunndaidh and noticed a man following us and rather strangely whenever we stopped to look at the view so did he and he never caught us up. Either he didn’t have a map and was following us or I was beginning to hallucinate!

Back to Bidein Eoin Deirg.

The stroll across the plateau to the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh was a walk in the park and very therapeutic for my tired feet. We stopped for a second lunch and commenced the long walk back to the car. The  Fuar-tholl Mor waterfalls were a mere dribble and the peat hags were so dry that progress through them was remarkably speedy and I hit the track far quicker than I had anticipated.

The bothy at Glenuaig Lodge was almost too good to ignore. Comfy beds and a fire were very tempting but I knew I would regret sitting down as I still had a long way to go.

The evening light over the Coire Lair hills and the cooling air made the walk out pass very smoothly and I was relieved not to have to do battle with the midgie bastards in the car park.

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