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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A Route For My Next Challenge

OK, so I know it's a bit early to be thinking about the next Challenge, as the dust has only just settled on this one (and some folk are still writing up their experiences in their blogs). However, I couldn't resist jotting down a few ideas for my next crossing and ... well ... before I knew it, I had a whole darned route. So I thought I may as well post it here and see if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions as to how it can be improved. I mean, don't get me wrong - I think it's a pretty good route as it stands. But there's always somebody who has a suggestion as to how a dull little bit here or there can be improved.

I decided I want a Morar start - but I don't want to go along the north shore of Loch Morar. I want to save that country until I have used up all the start points and am going round again, so I can have a Mallaig start that doesn't involve a boat trip (or maybe I'll be REALLY perverse and walk from Mallaig to Tarbert, and then take the ferry back from Tarbert to Inverey!). But I also want to keep some of the country south of Loch Morar unused, in case they bring Arisaig back onto the list of start points. Oh, and I thought that after two years of having it on my route card and not climbing it, I really ought finally to drag myself up Sgurr nan Coireachan.

So this is what I thought I might do.

Friday. LR 40. Start at Morar and follow the coast road (i.e. the old road - the one I had to drive the first time I went to Mallaig back in the 1980s) to Arisaig school and follow the track / path past Sunisletter and SCamadale to Locahn a' Bhealaich. Turn up the stream to Loch a' Choire Riabhaich and camp beside the loch.

Saturday. LR 40. Follow the stream E, and then the ESE branch. Descend to Lochan Feith a' Mhadaidh, then follow the string of lochans up to Beinn nan Caorach. Descend Allt a' Bhlair Dheirg and Abhainn Chlachach. Cross bridge over River Meoble (or divert N to Rifern bridge if this looks at all dodgy) and follow track S to Lochan Lon a' Ghairt. Traverse N shore of Loch Beoraid and camp at Kinloch Beoraid.

Sunday. LR 40. Ascend Ruighe Breac and Allt a' Choire into Coire Odhar Mor. Follow NW branch up (for easier gradients above 650m) and gain the arrete. Ascend Sgurr nan Coireachan (Munro #1). Descend by Sgurr a' Choire Riabhaich to Corryhuhlly and down Glen Finnan to Glenfinnan. Cross Callop River by footbridge (not shown on map, but it's there) and take track up river, rejoining road at NM 924794. Walk on road through Coille Druim na Saille and take the track up Fionn Lighe. Camp at Na Socachan.

Monday. LR 40 & 41. Ascend Gulvain (Munro #2) and ridge walk Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean - Druim na Giubhsaich - Mullach na Briobaig - Loch Briobaig - Maol Aird and descend to Inver Maille. Track to Achnacarry and roads to Gairlochy and Spean Bridge. Overnight at a B&B, guest house or hotel in Spean Bridge where laundry and any drying can be done and where a resupply parcel can be sent.

Tuesday. LR 41. Road to Insh. Track SW then SE to dismantled tramway. Tramway / tracks to Fersit. Ascend Allt Chaorach Beag and camp by the Lochan Coire an Lochain. In the evening make a light ascent of Stob Coire Sgiordain (Munro #3) because it would be rude not to.

Wednesday. LR 41 & 42. Ascend Chno Dearg (Munro #4). Descend by way of Meall Dhearcaig. Path to Strathossian House. Cross footbridge NN 410727 and follow path to Loch Ghuilbinn. Ascend Allt Coire na Cosaig, and camp by lochans between Mullach Coire nan Nead and Beinn Eibhinn.

Thursday. LR 42. Ascend Beinn Eibhinn (Munro #5) and ridge walk Aonach Beag (Munro #6) - Geal Charn (Munro #7) - Sgurr Iutharn & descend E ridge to Bealach Dubh path. Culra. Loch Pattack. Ben Alder Lodge. Dalwhinnie. Stay at Dalwhinnie bunkhouse. Laundry & Drying and resupply parcel.

Friday. LR 42 & 35. Head S out of Dalwhinnie. Track up to disused quarry & hill 902. Ridge walk hill 914 - Carn na Cairn (Munro #8) - Meallan Buidhe - hill 824 & path down Bruthach na Craoibhe. Path / track N past Gaick Lodge and Loch an-t-Seilich and briefly onto LR 35. Path up Allt Bhran & find a suitable pitch somewhere beside the Allt Bhran.

Saturday. LR 42 & 43. Continue up Allt Bhran to Minigaig. Traverse E across hillside to hill 831 & follow approximate line of boundary to Glas-leathad Feshie, Hill 837, hill 845, Meall Tionail & Carn Ealar (Munro #9), continuing to hill 906 and An Sgarsoch (Munro #10). Descent over Scarsoch Bheag to track and camp at Geldie Lodge.

Sunday. LR 43. Cross Geldie Burn. Chest of Dee. Linn o fDee. Mar Lodge. Victoria Bridge. Braemar. Stay at B&B, YH, guest house, bunkhouse or hotel in Braemar. Laundry, drying & resupply.

Monday. LR 43 & 44. Road S out of Braemar. Up Glen Callater to Lochallater Lodge. Track S. Carn an Tuirc (Munro #11) - Cairn of Claise (Munro #12) - Tolmount (Munro #13) - Ca Whims - Tom Buidhe (Munro #14) - Crow Craigies - Jock's Road. Camp at the edge of the woods in Glen Doll.

Tuesday. LR 44. Descend to Acharn and Kilbo Path to Kilbo. (N.B. If bad weather has forced use of FWAs so that only 10 or 11 Munros have been climbed, it is a short diversion to Mayar and / or Driesh to bring the total up to 14; but as I have already bagged these two, there is no need for the diversion if 12+ Munros have already been bagged this crossing). Path up to Glack of Balquhader. Ridge walk Cragie Thieves - The High Tree. Path down Bad Buidhe and up Eskielawn. Ridge walk to Corwharn. Path down to join track between Corwharn & Tarapetmile and camp in the pass.

Wednesday. LR 44 & 54. Track down Quharity Burn. Path up Clinking Cauldron, over Cormaud to Monthrey. Ascend Cat Law. Ridge walk to Long Goat. Path down SE ridge and Burn of Corogle to yellow road and turn R onto road. Turn L at road junction NO 361589 to orange road S of Prosen Bridge. Orange / yellow roads past Inverquharity and continue past East Bog & Over Bow. Bridge over A90 and turn R into Forfar. Take a pitch on teh camp site by Loch of Forfar. Laundry.

Thursday. LR 54. Leave Forfar on B9128. FP from Welton & yellow road to Burnside. Path to Finnieston. Road through Letham and over Idvies Hill & flank of Boath Hill. White road to Parkconon. Yellow road to Collieston & Letham Grange. Old railway path to St Vigeans. Roads to Warddykes & Bearfauld then green dotted route to Whiting Ness & finish.

I have not yet measured the days or counted the contour lines; but it feels as though these days should all be perfectly manageable. The laundry and resupply points are better distributed than this year, so I should be able to get away with carrying less gear - which will make for a welcome reduction in pack weight. The first couple of days are nice and short to break me in gently - as I am only too aware that I have tended to plan very big days at the beginning of my crossings, only to find that I have to stop short - so this time I'm planning on stopping short. And although I have not yet planned the FWAs in detail, it does look as though they shouldn't be too hard to find (except for the day out of Braemar - the FWA from there may have to send me to a whole different place to finish!!) So, all in all I am feeling that this is a good route which will suit me well - and maybe, finally, give me my first "high level" crossing. But, as I say, if anyone has any observations, comments or suggestions on my planned route, I am all ears!

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