I was aiming to do the 2 northern munros of the eastern Fannaichs, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich and Sgurr Mor. However, when I finally reached BLMF, Sgurr Mor was just that step too far. Whilst I enjoyed kicking steps in a few snow slopes on the way up the unavoidable stretches of boulder field had taken there toll and I was becoming clumsy. A sure sign of tiredness. My fitness had suffered a lot over the winter as I'd not been able to get out as often as I would have liked.
It was a fine morning for setting out on a walk. A slight breeze, the sun shining. And snow on the high tops. I couldn't see much of my destination and set out hoping it wasn't too snowy. First was a climb amongst a thin sprinkling of trees along a rough stony track, then a steep descent to a bridge over the Abhainn a'Ghiubhais Li from where there was a good view down the river to the Beinn Dearg range.
Loch Droma from Alltan woods
Beinn Dearg range over Abhainn a'Ghiubhais Li
The estate track largely finished just before the bridge, an ATV track continued onto the heather moorland. Parts of the track were soft, wet and squelchy, whilst others had been improved with gravel. I didn't have my hill legs yet, progress was not as quick as I would have liked and I wondered if I'd complete the mission of both munros.
As I climbed higher the track dried out somewhat and I could see it would be easy to get onto the end of Creag Dhubh Fannaich's north east ridge. A large rock served as psuedo-waypoint for the need to strike across the moor for the bottom of the ridge. Tussocks, reasonably dry bog hollows, and heather bashing was the order until I started climbing a small protalus-rampart like sub-ridge. At the end of it I crossed a shallow patch of barely flowing water and up onto the north east ridge of Creag Dhubh Fannaich.
Sgurr Mor from Creag Dhubh Fannaich
Dark, boggy moors and An Coileachan
The way ahead was clear, even if the path often evaporated. Snow patches dotted the slope up to Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich. There was enough snow around the quarry edge that I didn't really fancy Walkhighlands route of keeping right to avoid the worst of the boulder field. Instead I found a number of grass and moss runs although these did have some rocky cross-terraces to climb through. Sometimes I just had to hit the boulders and climb until I could find another soft ramp. I found the subsidiary east cairn first. The summit was just across a few more rocks. Whilst here I took a few photos of the view.
Loch Glascarnoch from Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich
Beinn Dearg range from Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich
As I wandered over to the summit I marvelled at Sgurr Mor across the col. The ascent route had broken but quite significant snow patches. It was also considerably colder now with a stiff wind across the top. I wished I'd brought my big down jacket, but I only had synthetic with me. I quickly made the decision not to continue to Sgurr Mor, I'd become too tired and was kicking rocks instead of being able to move easily around them. I scoffed a bit of lunch, then put the rest in a pocket for grazing on the way back.
Sgurr Mor from Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich
An Teallach from Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich
As a footnote, coming back through Alltan woods I spotted thousands of small creatures sunbathing and crawling over the track. They were ticks.
UPDATE: Sunday 12th May I tried to get to Sgurr Mor again. I gave up, more snow than expected, and I couldn't get into the right mindset.