Tom a’ Chòinich

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

14.7 km/1002 m/05:45 hrs

It was a nice day to start with, but for later in the day snow showers were forecast. If the weather would turn out better than expected, I planned to walk over the Munros N of Loch Affric and return via Coire Leachavie and the N shore of the loch – if not, I would just see how far I’d get.

I parked at Chisholme Bridge and followed the track along the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh. Soon Tom a’ Chòinich comes into view on the right hand side.

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Shortly before the Allt Toll Easa I caught up with two walkers, a young Dutch-Austrian couple on holiday who were planning to climb Toll Creagach and Tom a’ Chòinich. I crossed the stream and started looking for the path leading up into the coire. Looking back, I saw that the others were struggling, so I returned to the ford and threw my trekking poles over to them to aid with the crossing.

Higher up, I decided to climb up Creag na h-Inghinn instead of staying on the main path to the Bealach Toll Easa.

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This route turned out to be really pleasant, with some very easy scrambling and great views.

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Gleann nam Fiadh.

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Upper Gleann nam Fiadh, with Sgùrr na Lapaich on the left and Màm Sodhail on the far right (in cloud).

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Toll Creagach.

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Crags near the summit.

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Bealach Toll Easa.

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When I was only a few hundred metres away from the summit, a sudden snow shower with freezing cold winds made progress difficult. My hands were getting cold very quickly, but I didn’t want to stop on the exposed terrain to get my gloves out of the rucksack.

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I settled down in the lee of the summit cairn, put my gloves on and tried to warm up with a cup of hot tea from my flask. In the meantime the sun had come out again, but in the wind it was still very cold.

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I walked to the W end of the plateau to have a look at my planned route, but I was almost blown over by the wind, and decided against continuing along the ridge this time. I had done this walk a few years ago as a backpacking trip and I am looking forward to repeating it sometime, but in better conditions than today!

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Back at the summit cairn I met my fellow walkers again, they had followed me up the ridge but seemed a bit indecisive about where to go from here. It turned out they didn’t have a map, so I accompanied them to the start of the path to Bealach Toll Easa and then returned to the cairn to finish my break.

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Creag na h-Inghinn.

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Loch Mullardoch.

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Allt Toll Easa and Gleann nam Fiadh.

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View to Toll Creagach from Bealach Toll Easa.

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Near the bealach I caught up with the other couple who had decided against going up Toll Creagach, and we walked down the coire together for a while. When they stopped to have a break, we said our Goodbyes and I continued on my own (after recommending the pub of the Glen Affric Hotel to them for an evening meal as they were staying in Cannich).

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On the way back along the glen, the weather was warm and sunny again.

The Graham Beinn a’ Mheadhoin.

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Last look to Creag na h-Inghinn.

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