Màm Sodhail

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.

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Jetty and one of the outbuildings at Affric Lodge.

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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.

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My first target, Sgùrr na Lapaich.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Looking E to Am Meallan, the rain clouds being blown away!

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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.

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Gleann nam Fiadh.

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The way ahead, the top of Màm Sodhail still covered in clouds.

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Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chràlaig at the W end of the loch.

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Màm Sodhail now cloud-free, but Carn Eige still covered.

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View back along the ridge to Sgùrr na Lapaich.

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The second Top, Mullach Cadha Rainich.

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Coire Leachavie.

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A glimpse of Loch Uaine at the head of Gleann nam Fiadh.

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The grassy ridge with the first two Munro Tops.

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Loch Uaine and Carn Eige.

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When I reached the large summit shelter at the top of Màm Sodhail, the wind suddenly picked up and it started to drizzle again.

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I thought about climbing into the shelter for a break, but decided to continue to the next one further down the ridge.

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Ruined shieling on the way to the bealach.

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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.

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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.

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The ridge towards An Tudair, which would be my descent route later in the day.

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Rocky terrain, almost resembling a quarry, near Ciste Dhubh.

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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).

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Towards Creag Coire nan Each, the third Top.

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Steep rock slabs at the “quarry”, an odd feature on these otherwise grassy ridges.

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Rainbow above Coire Coulavie.

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The summit of Creag Coire nan Each.

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Gleann na Cìche.

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Looking back to Creag Coire nan Each after retracing my steps to the main ridge.

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Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan at the head of Coire nan Dearcag.

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Carn Eige and Màm Sodhail.

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Lochan Coire Coulavie.

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The ridge leading to An Tudair, the fourth and last Munro Top.

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Coire Leachavie.

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Approaching An Tudair.

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An Tudair summit.

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I continued along the ridge towards An Tudair Beag.

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View along Loch Affric.

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Looking down to Loch Coulavie at the W end of Loch Affric.

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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.

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I aimed for the new weir on the Allt Coire Leachavie, and was able to cross the river with dry feet just below it.

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There I joined the path down to the loch and the main track back to the car park.

W end of Loch Affric.

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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 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Màm Sodhail

  1. Fabulous ! Lovely grassy ridges & that rainbow shot I just loved ! I did Carn Eige & Mam Sodhail in poor visibility and Sgurr na Lapaich (Top) & An Tudair have been on my ‘To do’ list for a while ! Well done on a big day out ! keithpostie

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