The Club went to the Jacobite Hut near
Achnasheen for the March 16 Weekend Meet.
Jim’s “persistent light rain throughout
Saturday with clag on the summits” rather underplays it: it was
certainly wet, wet, wet that day, and I doubt if anyone’s gear
stood up fully to the conditions. But some of us got to (some)
summits just beneath the clag. I was all set to do the round of
the nearest corrie direct from Inver by first ascending Carns
Liath and Gorm (grey and blue-green, respectively) and then
Moruisg (“big water”; seems odd, since no large lochs, but …),
but two cars going down the road offered both transport and a
more social day, so I joined up. But first of all we had to get
from the hut to the road ...
Having braved the floods, we went down the
road a few miles, and then, starting at 081521, we crossed over
the River Carron (prob. Pictish: rough or rocky), ducked under
the railway line and found ourselves almost immediately in a
newish tree enclosure, on Glencarron Estate (owner: Kathryn VC
Kennard or Douglas, of London; she of Younique cosmetics? – not
that I would know!). The entry gate had a notice advising us to
stick to existing paths, but since these (rather like the trees)
were mostly invisible, we ploughed up over bog in a vain attempt
to find the path going up the Alltan na Feola (“meat or flesh
Through a gate, we found ourselves in a gap
before another – and slightly more adult – plantation whose
fence we followed up to meet the path at last, about a mile up
from the River Carron (which it might have been better to follow
from the start).
Anyway, now serious uphill work into Coire
Toll nam Bian (“hollow corrie of the hills”) over grassy slopes
and runnels until a welcome coffee break as we met the snows
below the ridge leading up to Sgurr nan Ceannaichean (“peak of
the merchants or pedlars”).
As expected, breezy up on the ridge but
impressive if not distant views of snowy hills to the south and
east, and then up over flattish ground – absolutely sodden
underfoot (and increasingly internally too) - to Moruisg
itself, with its undistinguished cairn. Unfortunately, we were
just into cloud here, and no view.
At this point, I decided to do the rest of
the ridge, 2-3 miles east to the joint summits of Carn Gorm and
Carn Liath, and then due N direct back to Inver. Unaccountably,
only Debbie jumped at the chance; the rest hightailing it
straight down the slopes of Moruisg to the cars. Debbie and I
set off across the snows, with a compass check after 100 yards
since this was featureless country. The going over several
mounds was OK, but still running with water when not covered
with wet snow. A glance over a lip revealed the two lochs of
Coireag Mang (“fawn”) and Coire Mointeich (“moor”) – very
reassuring. This corrie all belongs to Ledgowan Estate (owner
Rainheath Ltd., of Thirsk, an animal feed company, owned by
Andrew Simpson, who also has a game shooting estate in the
Ochils); to the east lies Scardroy Estate (owner now Kjell Kirk
Kristiansen, of the Lego family).
A bit of a respite out of the wind for
lunch on a northerly slope near the rocky Toll a’Ghobhain (“goat
hollow”) spur, we reached the small plateau with the twin
summits of Carns Gorm (875m) and Liath (857m), with an old trig
point in between: rather odd!
Then the NNE start beside fence posts down
towards Inver, first on easy snow/grass slopes, then a steep
section with deer visible, to the view above Coire a Bhuic
(“buck”) and the subsidiary top Cnoc an t-Sidhein (“fairies”)
(and even a bit of sunshine on Carn Mhartuin – “Martin’s Cairn”
Worried about being cut off by the swollen
Allt Mhartuin and its tributaries, we opted to go over the Cnoc
despite the final heave, and so came at last down to the railway
bridge near Inver.
Great to dry out (a bit) by the fire, and
eventually to enjoy a splendid meal of soup, steak pie and
veg(s) and pud(s) supplied and/or served by practically everyone
Sunday morning a good deal better, and Sue,
Debbie and I determined on Slioch (from the Gaelic “sleagh”,
meaning the spear), starting from Incheril (KInlochewe) at about
08:45, with a nice (apart from a dead deer) hour-long walk along
to Glen Bianasdail.
Then up a path past several old sheiling
sites and a very stony and steep section up past Meall Each
(“horse mound”) for a view of the main E-facing corrie (Coire na
Sleaghaich), with some deer but no goats.
Curving left over heathery ground and
awkward snow, Debbie and I headed up the slopes to the N of
Sgurr Dubh (black peak), while Sue more sensibly headed for its
col with Slioch, though in doing so she missed a couple of
Then up steep slopes of stone, grass and
snow, past the two lochs, and at last onto the final plateau
(though the summit itself looked much higher until the cloud
cleared), with a lone ptarmigan. Views of sorts from both summit
cairns, and much less wind than expected, so a nice rest until
we started down the long snow slopes to the east.
These got steeper but still a nice and
quick way down to the flat ground of the corrie.
Then back down the path all the way to Loch
Maree, and the (strangely longer) hike back to the cars (frogs,
even a tick!), very happy that Debbie was going to have to do
the drive home!