Fuar Tholl – Brocken spectres galore!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

15.3 km/935 m/05:30 hrs

Corbett: Fuar Tholl (No. 40)

A few years ago I had tried to combine Beinn Liath Mhòr, Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl in one long day, but after climbing the two Munros I had no energy left for the Corbett. A spell of sunny and warm weather (well, at least for January!) was the perfect opportunity to put this right.

First view of Fuar Tholl from the track near Achnashellach Station.

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Beinn Liath Mhòr.

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An excellent stalkers path leads up to Bealach Mòr, and I could easily ford the River Làir at a small island.

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Loch Coire Làir.

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At the last ford across the Allt Coire Mainnrichean I left the path and headed into Coire Mainnrichean, aiming for the col between Fuar Tholl’s summit and the Mainreachan Buttress.

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Mainreachan Buttress.

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At the headwall of the corrie I found a path that zigzags up through the scree.

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Looking down into Coire Làir.

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Bealach Mòr.

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When I arrived on the ridge, the summit plateau was in cloud.

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But while I was on my way to the summit, the clouds lifted.

Top of the Mainreachan Buttress.

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And then I saw the first Brocken spectre – at the time I thought it would be the only one and I quickly took a photo of it before it disappeared.

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Clouds swirling around Sgorr Ruadh.

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Maol Chean-dearg and Beinn Damh.

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When I arrived at the summit, I saw another Brocken spectre.

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Fuar Tholl summit shelter.

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The views from the summit were stunning, it felt really warm in the sun and I could hardly believe that this was January 🙂

Loch Carron.

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And another one…

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From the summit I followed the edge of the corrie around to the Mainreachan Buttress, passing some large snow patches on the way.

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Looking back to the summit.

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The descent route over the 857 m top.

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An Ruadh-Stac.

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Looking down into Coire Mainnrichean and Coire Làir.

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Another couple of Brocken spectres on the way down…

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… they literally appeared every few minutes!

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Bealach Mòr.

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The descent route to the bealach leads through some crags with grassy patches in between, and then down a boulder field.

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I stopped for a tea break on the bealach, enjoying the sun as long as possible before descending into Coire Làir which was in the shade by now.

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Sgorr Ruadh, still under cloud cover.

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Last glimpse of the sun before the descent.

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Coire Làir and Beinn Liath Mhòr.

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The low sun created intense colours on the hills of the Achnashellach Forest.

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This was a really enjoyable walk, if only because of the warm and sunny weather at this time of year and the occasional cloud inversion. But the Brocken spectres were the highlight of the day, I have never seen so many before!

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5 thoughts on “Fuar Tholl – Brocken spectres galore!

  1. Superb photos. You’ve hit on exactly the route I’m going to be taking for that one – up the scree zig-zag (not keen on descending scree) and down the end. So many people just go up and down the same way. Nice to see some photos of your descent as I was wondering how craggy it was – it looks okay though…
    Carol.

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