Fifteen members, and one new Interim member,
attended the 2011 Overnight meet to the Achnashellach Area “aka
Wonderland"… and most found their Wonderlands in either the
Coulin or West Monar Deer Forests.
With an ever improving weather forecast (it
had been dire earlier in the week) all enjoyed some rather
superb weather, especially after around 8pm, when the showers
stopped and the mist and low cloud cleared from the tops. No
thunderbolts were encountered and it stayed dry for the rest of
The ‘Main Group’
We headed up from Achnashellach up into
Coire Lair and ascended Beinn Liath Mhor (in the mist though it
did clear on the top) and Sgorr Ruadh which gave some fantastic
views out over the western hills and to Skye. Nine folk made the
ascent of these two rather fine Munros which were tackled
packless and from the col at the head of Coire Lair.
who made up our party of ten missed out on the hills in favour
of a direct route to the bothy in the next glen on the fine
stalking paths of the area (I remember them being better than
they are now – perhaps there’s not money being spent on them
these days and the rain is getting in?)
Saturday afternoon on the path into Coire
A moody Coire Lair
On the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor
Beinn Liath Mhor (left) and Sgorr
Ruadh (right) on the climb from the col at 650mtrs
Looking southeast from Sgorr Ruadh
On Sgorr Ruadh (the Red Peak)
Looking out to Maol Chean-dearg, Loch an
Eion and Beinn Damph from Sgorr Ruadh
Munro bagging the Cairngorm Club way ...
on Sgorr Ruadh with upper Loch Torridon behind
In amongst the rocks on Sgorr Ruadh
Liathach from the col
Westwards from the path to the bivvy site
We spent 4hrs 45mins at our bivvy –
arriving at 11.30hrs and setting off again at 04.15hrs. The
bivvy, for those in the Coulin Forest, was a dry one. It was
windless, there was no rain and better still there were no
midges. It was a joy to sit with a coffee and a small port and
watch the sun go down behind Loch Torridon and Liathach or
simply contemplate Maol Chean-dearg which we could also see from
our rocky knoll just above the Bealach Ban and its small lochan.
Liathach and Beinn Eighe in the morning
(circa 03.55am) from our bivvy above the Bealach Ban
Maol Chean-dearg was our target for Sunday
and we gained the triple col by way of the path around Loch an
Eion (the Loch of the Night) and around the back of Maol
Chean-dearg which at one point had a rather interesting small
cloud formation on it’s top. The walk around the loch and up to
the col itself is delightful. Beinn Damph was a picture (and
many were taken) A small herd of deer, a small landslide (which
covered the path) and dozen upon dozen of glacial moraines (some
with “erratics” perched upon them) were points of interest as we
tramped along in the heat and the sun of the morning. We
wondered how Garry and Carol were getting on on Lurg Mhor and
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich (see report below) and if the bacon
and eggs were up to scratch at the Strathcarron Hotel where our
two drivers had overnighted. We also wondered where and what
Rhona and Ruth were up to. I think only 3 members met in with
Rhona (who had self propelled herself to Craig) for this trip.
Rhona is included in the meet attendance figure which shows
nearly an 89% increase on last year’s number. This is
encouraging… especially so if one considers a Club Meet to the
Stubai Alps also began this weekend.
Maol Chean-dearg from Loch an Eion
Small cloud formation on Maol
Landslip on path
An Ruadh Stac from near the Bealach a’
And so to Maol Chean-dearg. Gear again was
left on the col and five made the rather misty ascent to this
wonderful summit though no views were obtainable in the low
cloud. Colin was “Bergfuhrer” of this small elite group
and all are now one Munro nearer their goal of compleating the
The path up Maol Chean-dearg
The misty summit of Maol Chean-dearg
(Marie is happy !!)
Marie back at the col
On their return to the col we all descended
the glen to the bothy. The heat was really up now, the sky was
blue, and rather ironically Maol Chean-dearg was beautifully
The MBA have done a super job on this
bothy. It is a fine example of a Scottish “open bothy”. I hope
its renovation (along with countless others) means the tradition
of the “open bothy system” is here to stay.
Sgorr Ruadh and the Bothy
The Fionn–Abhainn below Coulags
We met Ruth here and on the walk-out and
also met plenty of day trippers coming in. We also made the 11.30hrs RV
with Eilidh and the mini-bus before being whisked away to
Lochcarron for some food and drink and relaxation by the sea.
The 'Other Baggers'
Garry and Carol went in search of the
illusive Lurg Mhor leaving the bus at Craig. First they
headed off up the track to the Bealach Bhearnais.
Looking back to
Craig through the now light drizzle.
They soon reached the bealach and headed up
the ridge of Beinn Tharsuinn. As they traversed towards the
summit they could see Bhearnais bothy below
Bhearnais bothy in the rain
…….. and occasionaly a view east to Loch Monar from the summit of Beinn Tharsuinn.
The mist started to clear and the views
northwest were stunning, the sun streaming down on the Coulin
hills where the main group were walking. Most of these pictures
were taken high on the North ridge of Cheesecake (Bidein a
Looking across to Lurg Mhor looming across
the corrie, our next Munro.
They continued on, down to the col and then
up the west ridge, stopping, too tired to go on, by the little
lochan for the night. Despite being the middle of the night the
views were still fantastic, with no wind or midges to bother
Taken at 12:20am
It was such a fantastic place to be sat
drinking Talisker from the hip flask until 1:00, not realising
the time! Waking at 5:30, slightly later than intended as the
alarm hadn't gone off, so got up quickly they left the gear and headed up Lurg Mhor. The weather was still fantastic and
were treated to more amazing views.
Back at the bivvy site
Clouds gathered around the tops as they
reached the floor of the glen, so it was a quick run along the
path for a brief stop in Glen Dronach Lodge (bothy).
Carol checking the map, only 14km/3 hrs to
Within an hour the clouds had thinned and
the tops cleared as a quick glimpse back, as they headed up to
Bealach Alltan Ruairidh, shows.
Through the bealach towards Stathcarron.
And so it was on to the hotel, arriving at
12:40pm, 40 minutes later than our planned time, but with just
enough time for a bowl of Cullen Skink, before being picked up
for the journey back to Aberdeen.
And finally ….
All in all this was another successful and
memorable Overnighter made possible in no small part by our two
fine drivers Eilidh and Anne who gave up the opportunity of a
night in ‘Wonderland’ to ensure the tradition of the Cairngorm
Club Overnighter happens and happens safely. Thank you both and
to everyone who attended.