Saturday 14 September 2013
24.7 km/1463 m/09:45 hrs
Munro (2nd round): Màm Sodhail (No. 13)
Munro Tops: Sgùrr na Lapaich, Mullach Cadha Rainich, Creag Coire nan Each + An Tudair (Nos. 10 – 13)
I had a plan to climb the Munros between Loch Mullardoch and Loch Affric in a multi-day trip, but finding a logical route taking in all the Munros and Tops turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Màm Sodhail’s four Tops would require long detours from the main ridge, and in the end I decided to climb this Munro in a separate outing. (The four Tops of Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan would pose the same problem, but the remote position of this hill somewhat rules out doing it as a day walk, at least without the use of a mountain bike.)
On the way to the River Affric car park, I got a lovely view of the very calm Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin.
Jetty and one of the outbuildings at Affric Lodge.
I followed the path leading N from the Lodge, and soon got the first view along Loch Affric and Mullach Fraoch-choire at its far end.
My first target, Sgùrr na Lapaich.
I left the path that leads into Gleann nam Fiadh at the hairpin bend, crossed the Allt na Faing and headed across the moorland towards Sgùrr na Lapaich’s SE ridge.
Eventually I found the path that winds its way up between the crags, and that I remembered from previous visits.
W end of Loch Affric.
On my way up, dark clouds started to build up and there was even a short rain shower, but I was hoping that the clouds would lift just in time for me to get some summit views.
E end of Loch Affric with the Lodge.
Looking E to Am Meallan, the rain clouds being blown away!
When I reached the summit, the air seemed extremely clear after the rain, and the colours all around were just brilliant.
Sgùrr na Lapaich summit cairn.
Gleann nam Fiadh.
The way ahead, the top of Màm Sodhail still covered in clouds.
Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chràlaig at the W end of the loch.
Màm Sodhail now cloud-free, but Carn Eige still covered.
View back along the ridge to Sgùrr na Lapaich.
The second Top, Mullach Cadha Rainich.
A glimpse of Loch Uaine at the head of Gleann nam Fiadh.
The grassy ridge with the first two Munro Tops.
Loch Uaine and Carn Eige.
When I reached the large summit shelter at the top of Màm Sodhail, the wind suddenly picked up and it started to drizzle again.
I thought about climbing into the shelter for a break, but decided to continue to the next one further down the ridge.
Ruined shieling on the way to the bealach.
I was glad to get out of the cold wind, sat down inside the shelter, put my gloves on and had some hot tea from my flask.
By the time I had finished my break, the drizzle had stopped, the wind had calmed down and the sun had come out again 🙂
View along Gleann a’ Choilich towards Loch Mullardoch.
The ridge towards An Tudair, which would be my descent route later in the day.
Rocky terrain, almost resembling a quarry, near Ciste Dhubh.
Looking across Gleann a’ Choilich, I could see that the route I had in mind for my next visit, was perfectly doable: I was planning to descend from Bealach Beag into the glen and climb up the spur to the S of Coire na Dheiragen Bheag, to reach Mullach Sithidh (on the left in the photo).
Towards Creag Coire nan Each, the third Top.
Steep rock slabs at the “quarry”, an odd feature on these otherwise grassy ridges.
Rainbow above Coire Coulavie.
The summit of Creag Coire nan Each.
Gleann na Cìche.
Looking back to Creag Coire nan Each after retracing my steps to the main ridge.
Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan at the head of Coire nan Dearcag.
Carn Eige and Màm Sodhail.
Lochan Coire Coulavie.
The ridge leading to An Tudair, the fourth and last Munro Top.
Approaching An Tudair.
An Tudair summit.
I continued along the ridge towards An Tudair Beag.
View along Loch Affric.
Looking down to Loch Coulavie at the W end of Loch Affric.
As I approached the steep end of the ridge, I kept looking out for a possible route into Coire Leachavie to my left. Just before An Tudair Beag, the slopes looked steep, but doable, and I descended over mixed terrain of grass and heather.
I aimed for the new weir on the Allt Coire Leachavie, and was able to cross the river with dry feet just below it.
There I joined the path down to the loch and the main track back to the car park.
W end of Loch Affric.
A great day out with mixed weather, but some fantastic views, and after this day I couldn’t wait to come back and walk the whole ridge 🙂