Fisherfield – Shenaval Trip, Part 2

4 08 2011

Walked 17 May 2010

The next morning at Shenaval the weather was looking much better. Everyone was leaving so there was much packing. I found that, although I’d used a bit of my food up, my pack seemed heavier and I had trouble getting everything back in! I eventually managed and had eaten my brekkie and was about to set off for Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh which I really, really didn’t want to do – I’d taken to calling it ‘The Thing’… I’d wavered between 2 possible routes – Monty’s from the day before up the east side, or along Gleann na Muice to follow the burn up to the col at Loch a’ Brisidh – a very straightforward route. I wasn’t sure I could face the bogs to Larachantivore again though…

“The Thing”! As it appears on the walk into Shenaval – imposing!

Monty said why didn’t I walk with him along the track to the bend in the glen where the vehicle track goes off back to Corrie Hallie and my route goes the other way to Chlaidheimh. The idea of company for part of the walk appealed so I readily agreed. He was soon packed and we were off. I had a slight snag in that, as I’d packed my big pack up to leave the bothy for Corrie Hallie later in the day, I couldn’t see any way of carrying my flask on my Munro walk (I just carried the map in my hand). I decided just to drink out of the various burns coming down the mountain – little did I know it was going to be the hottest day of the year so far – a real scorcher!

Achneigle Ruin, Strath na Sealga

We chatted all the way to where the path split and then said goodbye and Monty set off up the vehicle track. I decided I’d zip off my trouser legs as it was already starting to get warm and watched him head off up the track… I suddenly felt very isolated. You’d think I’d be used to isolation as I have to do very many Munros on my own but a combination of not really wanting to do this one and having company for the first bit of the walk and then being alone, seemed psychologically very hard that day… it wasn’t until much later in the walk before that feeling left.

Looking back – on my own now…

An Teallach from Strath an Nid

I set off up the glen, soon finding the excellent track just above the river and kept an eye out for places to cross. I managed to find a good crossing point and keep my feet dry then it was off up the heather. Most of the climb was at an easy angle but a bit tedious. Monty had mentioned a tiny corrie below the summit and, as the ground flattened out half way up, I could see it… it had what looked like a little rocky arête up the side of it which looked interesting. I decided to head up that way and get a closer look. It continued to look possible and unworrying so I decided to give it a go.

Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh from river – my route went up the ridge on the left of the corrie (the one going left)

I soon reached the lower rocks of the ‘arete’ and set off up them – all easy stuff – however, I found it wasn’t really an arête at all and soon just became steep sided grassy corrie. Simple enough I thought and headed off up the grass. As I got towards where the grass came out onto a shoulder I found it became quite uncomfortably steep for mountain cowards so ploughed hurriedly up it on all fours then collapsed on the shoulder totally out of breath. I looked up my side ridge to the summit from the shoulder and all looked easy again so I strolled off up it soon reaching the summit. Having my camera with me for a change, I took a few photos at the summit but found I really didn’t like the airiness of the place and started to feel a bit giddy and uneasy. It just looked really steep down both sides – I was glad the summit wasn’t further along the ridge.

Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh summit, An Teallach behind

Beinn Dearg Mor from A’ Chlaidheimh

Strath na Sealga & An Teallach from Chlaidheimh

I decided not to hang around and started off on the path in the scree down the nose. Wasn’t keen on that either until the angle eased on a little col further down (my cowardice never gets better somehow).

Looking back from half-way down – Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh from near Brisidh col

Looking back up from Brisidh col – ridge to Beinn Chlaideimh

Beinn a’ Chlaideimh & Loch a’ Brisidh

At the Loch a’ Brisidh col – a really pretty but very rocky place – I looked at Sgurr Ban and wondered whether I should do that as well. The day was still young but I was becoming hot and thirsty. I thought it would be best if I got it out of the way as, when I do Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair from Lochivraon at a later date, I’ll probably be stressing hugely about its steep scree slopes so won’t want to do Sgurr Ban first but will just want to get it over with.

Loch a’ Brisidh to Beinn Dearg Mor

Sgurr Ban from a’ Chlaidheimh descent

I’d heard there was a path up Sgurr Ban but I’m darned if I could find one so went off up the boulders. They were easy enough to ascend and not steep but seemed to go on forever. I eventually got to the summit and had a peer at Mhic Fhearchair – didn’t look wonderful but did look just like all the photos you see of it…

Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair

I then descended back down via the grassy ridge instead of the boulderfield as I didn’t fancy breaking my ankle down the boulders.

Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh from Sgurr Ban descent

I was soon crossing the grassy corrie back to the Brisidh col and then headed straight down for the Abhainn Loch an Nid, drinking out of every single stream I could find. I was locating streams by sound and detouring to them as by now I was burning up with thirst. Seemed to take ages to descend to the glen…

Loch an Nid

An Teallach from Strath Sealga

Then there was just the long walk back along the track to the bothy – as the weather and I got hotter, I got slower and slower until I more or less crawled up to the bothy, by now T-shirtless which probably surprised the gentleman who was sat outside in the shade (or maybe not – he didn’t actually bat an eyelid) – I think he could see I was a bit hot though… I was straight in the bothy for my flask and the apple and tomatoes someone had left behind… I donated 2 of the tomatoes to him then decided I’d best set off for the walk out as it was by now 1745!

Shenaval Bothy

Very sad to leave 😦

Last view of Shenaval, Beinn Dearg Mor Behind

I’d packed a water bottle in my side pocket for drinking on the hard walk out but found, during the long and arduous climb up from the bothy, that I couldn’t reach it without taking my pack off – and I couldn’t be bothered to stop and take it off so I was heading for heat stroke again! The summit of the moor seemed to take forever to come and I was dying to see the vehicle track joining my rough path and heading down for Corrie Hallie. Just short of the junction I had to stop and get a drink before I died – didn’t really feel much better after it either but I kept the bottle in my hand for the rest of the way.

Looking back over high moor

Fisherfields from Shenaval Walk Out

When I hit the downhill track I was off like a rocket – I couldn’t wait to see my trusty Sunny waiting faithfully for me. All I could think about was that I urgently wanted 3 things: a bath, a huge meal and to sink into a bed and sleep for hours – trouble was I wanted to do all 3 at once! I was originally planning on going back to the Ledgowan at Achnasheen but, as it was nearing 8pm, I realised I probably wouldn’t get there in time for an evening meal – at least not in an unsmelly state anyway – I didn’t think I could really inflict myself on folks in the bar without getting cleaned up. I also thought about going to the Altguish for a meal and then going on to the Ledgowan.

Finally I reached the carpark and was overjoyed to see my beloved Sunny was still there waiting and hadn’t been nicked (I hate leaving my cars). Also, under the windscreen wiper was a nice note from Mike.

While I was loading heavy rucksacks into the boot and changing footwear a bright idea suddenly hit me (surprising really considering the fried state of my brain by then!)… why didn’t I go back the other way a mile or so along the road and eat at the Dundonnell Hotel? I shot off up the road, arriving at 2020 and packed a carrier bag with some wash stuff so I could at least get cleaned up a bit in the toilets. I went into reception and asked if they were still doing food – they said they were until 9.

I then had the bright idea of pricing up their single rooms. The price was much better than I thought it would be and quite a bit less than the Ledgowan Hotel. I asked if they had a single room and she said there was just one left but unfortunately there was no view from it – I said I didn’t give a damn so long as it had a bed and bath which amused her somewhat. I think she could see I’d had a hard day… when I got home and totted up the mileage and feet of climb, I was surprised what a hard day it actually had been – especially with the heat and lack of liquid!

After a great bath and meal, I was off to bed by 10 (very early for me) and knew nothing until the phone rang at 0930 and a nice lady asked me if I’d be attending breakfast (I thought that was very nice of them to check). I said no thanks, I was too knackered and fell asleep again until 10… Total crash and burn!



6 responses

9 08 2011
David (magicdin)

“and was about to set off for Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh which I really, really didn’t want to do – I’d taken to calling it ‘The Thing’”

The Thing is not even 3000 feet – Now


11 08 2011

Oh no – not another imminent deletion! I reckon if they’d left it all in feet instead of metres all this shilly-shallying wouldn’t be happening so often – I think it’s all this converting to and fro from one thing to another.


5 08 2011

Hey Carol, I got a mention hahaha. You were good company. I never thoght how tough the walk out was going to be with my big pack and I kept stopping on the steep ascent, looking over at where you might be and trying to follow your route. I am sure I whistled a few times but the whistles probably got lost in the wind. Nice report as always. 🙂


6 08 2011

I heard the whistles – just thought at the time I was imagining things. I kept looking round too though to see how far you’d got 🙂

I think your vehicle track was a better route out than the one I took directly up from the bothy – that was horrendously steep and very eroded and I found it really hard to balance with my big pack. I’d come down that way to get to the bothy in the first place so you think I’d have had more sense than to take that route again. It was just the extra couple of miles to do on your vehicle track route which put me off going your way though…


5 08 2011

I remember all the years of effort and pain well bagging the Munros which is why I promised myself no way was I going to start counting Corbetts and get addicted to them.
( I hate leaving my cars) You sound like Chris Evans there.Do you have a collection!


6 08 2011

I do have a bit of a car collection to be honest. I have a 1976 Cortina which is older than most of my workmates. It’s also irritating that nearly everyone I meet says to me, “My Dad had one of those” – makes me feel really old 😉 Then I have the workhorse Sunny with a huge gear-stashing boot and a little Polo (which can also carry a surprising amount). I also have a 1976 Suzuki trail bike 🙂

I was recently promising myself I wasn’t going to take up Corbett-bagging. However, as I near the end of my Munros, I’m starting to think I won’t have any more challenges to meet if I don’t Corbett-bag as well. I’m pretty much driven by challenge…


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