Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mullach Nan Coirean - Day 5 Invercoe

This was one of those walks where it was one of Ruth's 'grand ideas'. I am a bit renowned for route planning walks that are a bit too ambitious, or ones which lead over particularly bad terrain..

The idea of the walk was to head up a hill called Mullach Nan Coirean which looks directly over at Ben Nevis - we thought it would be a good viewing point for it, and the surrounding hills. We'd decided to start the walk from the end of a road which stops at Lochan Lunn Da Bhra which is a stunning Loch with stepping stones out onto a small island which we promised Emma we'd visit at the end of the walk. We'd opted for a low Munro as the winds were supposed to pick up during mid afternoon and we didn't want to get caught out.

Our route began along the nice gentle path of the West Highland way luring us into a false sense of security, with views soon opening up to Ben Nevis.

Our plan was to start heading up onto a hill called Glas Chreag as we reached the 2nd patch of woodland. We started to head up sooner that this as we spotted a way onto the hillside, it started off well but gradually deteriorated into pretty horrible ground, having to weave through small shrubs on quite steep ground. It was a relief when we got onto the slopes of our first hill, and even better when we reached the top and stopped for a bite to eat.

My first wildflower of the trip, think this is Purple Mountain Saxifrage 

It was quite breezy on the top, but not bad enough that we needed to go back down, so we continued up the rocky rib onto the Munro itself, Mullach Nan Coirean. It certainly wins prizes for the best views of the week - the pointy tops of the dark Mamores was a view we couldn't take our eyes off.

Zoomed in summit of Ben Nevis

Still a bit paranoid about the potential increase in wind we didn't stop for too long and continued on to a hill top called Meall a' Chaorainn, in my ridiculously drop a phobic ways I took a convoluted route to the top to avoid the tiny amount of exposure sticking to the very top of the route on - Steve stayed high and chuckled at me.

We had various options to descend the hill - all of them steep. Our aim was to pick up the West Highland Way again close to a point marked as 'Lairigmor' on the map. Rather than following the steep stream bed down which had been our initial thought we decided to stick to the higher ground and followed the rocky nose of Sgurr na h Uilinn down - it had quite a bit of scree/loose rock higher up so care had to be taken. It looked like deer had been there before as they'd made a nice little narrow path down. We could spy the ant like shapes of walkers below of the West Highland Way - they must have thought we were crazy on our steep way down!

We were all really pleased when we got to the WHW which we followed back to our start point. After dumping our kit we made our way to the Loch shore, Annoyingly the prediction in wind increase took effect and the Loch started to get quite choppy. Emma was still keen to get onto the island as we had been promising it all day, so off came her boots and mine.. After the heavy rain from the previous week/choppy water the loch was quite deep- Emma stayed on the stones, whilst I was in the water taking her hand. She had a bit of a slip halfway across and ended up slipping in and soaking her trousers, so we abandoned out attempt to get to the island and headed back to the shore to dry off. Luckily we had waterproof trousers so Emma could put those on instead of her wet ones. It was a bit disappointing, but we placated ourselves with the thought of Fish and Chips in Fort William for Tea...

Sadly decent fish and chips couldn't be found so we filled up on stodge in Weatherspoons & headed back to the cottage for yet another amazing sunset & stone skimming on the Loch shore.

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