04 March 2012
25.1 km/894 m/08:30 hrs
Munro: Am Faochagach (No. 214)
The week after climbing Mount Keen, I had done two walks for which I am not going to post any trip reports: On 26 February I drove to Carrbridge, took a train to Aviemore and walked back via the Burma Road and along the River Dulnain (28.2 km/616 m/06:30 hrs), and on 28 February I went for a short walk in Strathdearn by the River Findhorn, from Garbole to Coignafeuinternich and back (16.8 km/235 m/03:30 hrs) – on both occasions sussing out areas I will pass through on the TGO Challenge 😉
But now it was time for another Munro, and I was going to have a second attempt at Am Faochagach. On 26 January I had tried to climb this hill from Torrandhu Bridge on the A835, but when I got to the Abhainn a’ Gharbhrain, I found it impassable. After walking upstream all the way to Loch a’ Gharbhrain, where the current at the outflow of the loch was less wild, but the water still too deep for my liking (I tested the depth with my trekking pole, and near the bank it was already more than knee deep), I decided against it and just had a little wander around to the shielings at the north end of the loch, and walked back to the road on a good track.
This time I didn’t want to take any chances, so I started from the dam at Loch Glascarnoch. I was hoping for a nice ridge walk and an easy walk back along the north bank of the loch – without any river crossings!
From the dam I got a great view of snow-covered An Teallach in the distance, and Loch Glascarnoch calm as a mirror.
The Aultguish Inn with cloud-covered Ben Wyvis in the background.
After crossing the dam, I climbed straight up to the bealach between Sron Ghorm and Meall an Tuim Bhàin. The ground was slightly boggy, but not too bad.
Some “interesting” weather seemed to be brewing up above the Fannichs.
Still sunny in Strath Vaich.
The large cairn at the summit of Meall Coire nan Laogh.
From this point on, I could just follow a clear track up to the next top, Tom Ban Mòr.
Just as well, because now the clouds had come down and it started to snow. I didn’t bother taking a compass bearing because I could still clearly see the way ahead.
Eventually, Creag Rainich with its large cornice appeared through the snow showers.
Within minutes, it stopped snowing and the clouds lifted.
Creag Rainich, this time without the clouds.
Looking SW to the Fannichs.
Soon after, I arrived at the little cairn that marks the top of Sron Liath.
Beinn Dearg and Cona’ Mheall to the NW.
View back along the ridge I had just walked.
Looking down to Loch a’ Gharbhrain, with the Fannichs in the background.
Another view back along the ridge.
The rounded shape of Meall Gorm.
The summit of Am Faochagach.
With the summit plateau being so wide and flat, I had to walk around towards the edges to get some views of the hills around – the most interesting ones being Beinn Dearg and Cona’ Mheall.
Isolated snow shower in the distance over Strath Vaich.
Looking back to the summit.
Another very localised snow shower.
From the bealach before Sron Liath I descended in a SW direction, and soon came across a path on the south side of the Allt na h-Uidhe. About halfway down I had the first break of the day, enjoying the sun on a boulder beside the stream. Shortly before I reached Loch a’ Gharbhrain, I found the path leading to Loch Glascarnoch and along its north shore.
Last look back to Beinn Dearg.
The same view from further along the loch.
In some places the shore is covered in driftwood.
Although the walk in the evening sun was very pleasant, the dam never seemed to get any closer…
The sun setting behind the Fannichs.
It was almost dark when I got back to the car, but I’m glad I opted for this longer route instead of just climbing up and down Am Faochagach from the road.