An inversion on Cùl Mòr

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You have climbed 94/282 munros.

I woke up in a pea-souper fog and Gerty's skylight over the bed was very wet. It was kind-of in the forecast - fog lifting through the morning. "Oh well, I'm here to go up a hill so I'd best get on with it" I thought. Before leaving the van I slathered my face with Smidge and opted for my light windproof jacket rather full waterproofs. It was not a pleasant walk-in. I was too warm and even with another slathering of Smidge on all exposed skin I was being bitten. As I gained height the very light breeze freshened slightly blowing a few of the wee beasties away.

Date started:21/07/21
Distance:6.6 miles
Ascent:674m
Descent:698m
Time taken:22680
Moving time:4:43
Average speed:1.39mph
Maximum speed:3.00mph

Cùl Mòr

In the mist I failed to keep right on the shoulder of Meallan Diomhain and found myself on it's south-east ridge. Looking at the map I dropped down to the north a bit and soon found some resemblance of a path going north west which was in the general direction I wanted. I even found a few cairns along the way. I skirted Fluich-Choire (meaning wet coire) and headed for Cadha nan Each (pass or steep place of the horse perhaps?). From there climbing the north east ridge of Cùl Mòr was a case of plodding slowly onwards. At some point Skye stopped and indicated she her saw or heard something. After a minute or so a guy came round a corner merrily talking to someone on his phone. This was the first person I'd seen so far.

Eventually I reached the boulder field below the summit. I had been hearing occasional voices far away in the mist, but now they were close behind me. I nearly made it to the top when the boulders turned a lot larger and much more awkward. Both Skye and I struggled to make progress. Happily a fit older guy caught us up and pointed out the easier way, and that we were really not far from the top. The key to this last bit was to move a little to the left and aim for a just visible grassy tongue. He was up and gone before we had moved but Skye was happy to follow his trail, presumably his scent helped her follow the good route. And we finally popped up on to the summit area. During this a family group was also catching me up and the young lads had overtaken me.

Inversions are always a delight and this was a cracker! Cùl Mòr was out of the cloud with the summits of Stac Pollaidh and Suilven just poking through. It was really fantastic to be in sunshine and a stiff breeze to finally get rid of the midges. I hung around the summit for a while. Skye's food was in her pack so when she calmed down a bit I gave her, her lunch and a big drink. Thinking about the return, I could see a path descending from the col between Cùl Mòr and Creag nan Calman and heading in roughly the right direction...

It is here on that descent path that I made the day's 2nd navigational brain fart. I followed this path for a while, rather than cross and then descend to the north of a stream, as per the WalkHighlands route. After a while my squirrelly sixth sense told me the path was going the wrong way and the ground just looked wrong according to the map in my head. I checked the GPS only to find it behaving strangely. At some point it actually crashed and I had to power off.. and on again, before it would behave. Even then the track it displayed looked wrong, it was all over the place, and crossing the stream which I knew I not done. After a little heart fluttering and seeing the mist starting to swirl around us, I resorted to old fashioned reading my printed map. Having figured out where I was roughly, and that I needed to head north, I spotted a very feint path heading north east towards Meallan Diomhain. Having got Skye pointed in the right direction she managed to follow this barely visible path quite well. As I looked back up I could see the family group from earlier follow in my footsteps. Curiously, much later, when I downloaded the track from the GPS (Garmin Etrex 20) it looked exactly as I expected.

Crossing the stream I should have followed down I met a couple trying to find a path up and wondering where to go. I pointed them at the stream which had a path of sorts alongside it and said "head up there!". The rest of the descent path passed without incident.

These north west Corbetts are proving to be quite a challenge at times. The paths are not so straightforward as munros and often rougher, but the setting, the scenery, and the walking is utterly fantastic!

Skye in the mist as it slowly clears
Skye in the mist as it slowly clears

Above the clouds on Cul Mor
Above the clouds on Cul Mor

Two people reach the summit area of Cul Mor
Two people reach the summit area of Cul Mor

Cul Mor trig point
Cul Mor trig point

Creag nan Calman, Cul Beag and possibly Ben More Coigach in poking out the cloud
Creag nan Calman, Cul Beag and possibly Ben More Coigach in poking out the cloud

Skye at Cul Mor trig point
Skye at Cul Mor trig point

Walkers heading for Bod a' Mhadail
Walkers heading for Bod a' Mhadail

Another look over Creag nan Culman to Cul Beag
Another look over Creag nan Culman to Cul Beag

Tags: outdoor, scotland Written 21/07/21 

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