Weather patterns appear to be normalising after Covid. A mixed weekend saw perfect inversion High Pressure establish itself overnight into Monday morning. Wistful looks at webcams from work in the Central Belt were rather irksome.
Parked up at Loch Droma at about 0730 – a nice morning with a few mist patches. Midges at a tolerable level as we got booted.
We’ve used the path that runs from Lochdrum Farm to the foot of Beinn Enaiglair before – it’s quiet and easy walking. Crossed the gate east of the farm and then upslope through a gated fence to head away north up the path.
Above Lochdrum Farm:
The path from Lochdrum:
Once up at the bealach between Meall Feith Dhiongaig and Meallan Mhurchaidh we had a view of Beinn Dearg.
A few years ago, when we were heading up Beinn Enaiglair, we spotted a zigzag path up the NW side of Allt Beinn Dearg. This was the target today. It’s about 100m drop to cross the coire. Allt Mhurcarnaich was quite low and easy to ford.
Picked up the path at NH 2537 7942. It’s well constructed, zigzagging up the steeper part of the slope. This isn’t on the map, I wonder if it was built to access the upper part of the Destitution Wall during the construction, rather than being a stalkers path.
The Allt Beinn Dearg path:
Stopped at the Allt Coire Dearg to have a drink and a break. It was already rather warm in the still conditions.
Coire Beinn Dearg:
From Allt Beinn Dearg we headed west up the southern edge of the ridge. We began to get a view of the inversion over towards the Fannaichs and Fisherfield. The Beinn Deargs have fond memories of an inversion summit camp.
Beinn Dearg Mor and Beag:
The Graham Meall Doire Faid was more or less surrounded by the inversion.
Fisherfield over Meall Doire Faid:
We headed up the slope towards the summit Creag a Choire Ghranda, behind us the Fannaichs were sitting up above the cloud – a group we’ve rarely had a good day on.
Creag a Choire Ghranda is quite bouldery on top, bypassable on grass about 60m below the summit. I nipped up anyway for the view across Choire Ghranda to Cona Mheall.
Loch a Choire Ghranda and Cona Mheall:
The east ridge of Beinn Dearg is a fairly simple ascent, just a steady pull of 260m.
East ridge of Beinn Dearg:
Progress slowed – it was very hot and very still. Too many fallow weekends since our last camp meant we were a bit short on bounce.
Still, always good to have distractions. Creag an Duine no longer annoys me quite so much since I went up it last year.
Seana Bhraigh and Creag an Duine:
Superb views down into Choire Ghranda.
Loch a Choire Ghranda:
Our route of ascent from above is shown to be fairly simple.
Creag a Choire Ghranda:
Once on the summit of Beinn Dearg we had a decent break for lunch. No hurry given the reasonably short distance planned.
Seana Bhraigh above an inversion is much as we left it last year.
With milky skies and white inversion it was a little hard to get a feel for which was which. An Teallach marked the boundary rather starkly.
Set off down the Destitution Wall, a sober thought for those that laboured for starvation rations to build it.
The Destitution Wall:
The inversion was lapping up against the hills we were planning to cross – Iorguill and Beinn Enaiglair.
Iorguill and Beinn Enaiglair:
Glen Squaib was also full of gently lapping inversion. Quite a sight.
NW ridge of Beinn Dearg:
Dropped down the wall, across a few sections of loose stone, then cut south across Cadha Mhic Iall Donaich towards Iorguill.
Heading to Iorguill:
There is a path from Cadha Mhic Iall Donaich, unmarked on the map, to the marked stalkers path between Creag Bac na Faire and Iorguill. I suspect this was for the workers on the wall.
Up on top of Iorguill the heat was feeling oppressive, so we had a 30 minute break and another snack. The inversion was encroaching and receding as we watched. A little concerned about the lack of wiggle room for our planned camp at 889m.
Beinn Enaiglair from Iorguill:
Follwed the path off Iorguill and down into a rather welcome cool airflow in the inversion. Picked up the marked path at NH 233 809 then followed it round to the Allt Bac na Faire which we followed uphill to about 740m. At this point there’s another unmarked zigzag up onto Beinn Enaiglair. Collected water for the evening and then headed up the superb zigzag to the summit ridge.
Emerged from the cloud into the heat again at about 800m.
Emerging from the cool mist on the stalkers path:
Looked around the summit first. Last time we visited we’d actually planned on dropping NW to the 856m top for a clearer view out NW. No point this time with the low level land all obscured.
Took in the views on offer.
Beinn Dearg from Beinn Enaiglair:
Inversion flow over Meall Doire Faid:
Got the tent up quite near the summit. Fairly stony ground, but just about took pegs.
A cracking viewpoint, the inversion did however mean no sea view and no view of the Assynt hills which were buried.
Still, An Teallach was rather attractive.
DR and An Teallach:
The other hills are not half bad.
DR and Beinn Dearg:
DR and Fannaichs:
Got our soup and meals done. There was just enough of a breeze to keep the midge at bay. The keds, which had been troubling us all day were still active.
We’ve had worse dinner tables though.
856m top and An Teallach:
Inversions act a bit like water, flowing over things and also seem to have gentle waves – the level rose and fell by about 50m increments. Disturbingly it was creeping up however.
Inversion rising to Iorguill:
It was fairly hot so we just wandered around, adding a layer or so as evening wore on and it cooled slightly.
DR and An Teallach again:
H and Beinn Dearg:
DR and Beinn Dearg again:
856m top and inversion:
About 45minutes to sunset the inversion swalled first the 856m top and not long after flowed up over us.
About to be in the cloud:
Drat, missed sunset by a bit of height. The wind then picked up in the flowing inversion and we closed everything up against driving damp.
Got our heads down and slept, my alarm for 0100 to look at the stars went off, but the fine noise of damp on the tent confirmed that we were clagged.
At times the moisture sounded like it was coming down more heavily in a brisk breeze.
At about 0800 we could see the sun suddenly emerge through the clouds and our tent walls.
The clouds had risen from their slumber and were back in the sky, made breakfast and got ourselves sorted.
A view under the cloud:
Beinn Enaiglair has a great view along Loch Broom to Ullapool – I had envisaged seeing more of this.
Got ourselves decanted and the tent packed up over a leisurely breakfast. I think a summit camp of Beinn Dearg would have got the sunset, but it hadn’t cleared into late morning.
Beinn Dearg with a hat:
Set off SE along Beinn Enaiglair towards the Lochdrum path.
Creag Bac na Faire and Iorguill:
A quick yomp back to the car and then down the road. A nice route – always good to get one of these plans done on the ground. On a cooler day with lighter packs probably a decent day walk.
I think we’ll be back to Beinn Enaiglair to camp for those sea views and Assynt Hills though.
Logged: Munros: 187 (4th round) Corbetts: 53 (2nd round) Grahams: 20 Donalds: 18 New Donalds: 19 Sub 2000s: 18
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2021 1:06 pm Post subject:
Looks superb and fairly relaxing.
Did a similar route nearly 30 years ago, started in same location but walked along Loch nan Eilean to bag Cona Mheall first before returning over Beinn Dearg and Beinn Enaiglair. Was quite a big day but just seemed normal at that stage of my bagging career! _________________
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