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.
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.
This route turned out to be really pleasant, with some very easy scrambling and great views.
Gleann nam Fiadh.
Upper Gleann nam Fiadh, with Sgùrr na Lapaich on the left and Màm Sodhail on the far right (in cloud).
Crags near the summit.
Bealach Toll Easa.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Creag na h-Inghinn.
Allt Toll Easa and Gleann nam Fiadh.
View to Toll Creagach from Bealach Toll Easa.
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).
On the way back along the glen, the weather was warm and sunny again.
The Graham Beinn a’ Mheadhoin.
Last look to Creag na h-Inghinn.