Friday, 26 July 2013

Day 82 - Coulin

22 July

My original plan had been to finish off Monar and thus finish all my Munros south of Loch Carron. Yesterday, I was up Moruisg and I decided quite definitely that with the heat and weather coming in, I would delay Monar and do something that could be done in a day.

I spent last night in Gerry's Hostel in Achnashellach. I always remember thinking how far I would have come to have made it here. And I've made it! (Though to be fair I still have Monar to do.) I meant to rise early to beat the sun, but when it came to it, I just slept in until I woke naturally. Probably no bad thing. I spent an easy morning chatting to a woman about mountains (didn't get your name, sorry) then headed down Glen Carron to Coulags.

The three Munros of Coulin Forest are arranged in a slightly unhelpful way in that it's not obvious how to do a (reasonable) round trip that takes them all in. But when I met up with Lorraine McCall for dinner a few nights ago, she showed me her maps, which helpfully had a round-trip of Coulin marked on them. Despite countless times looking at the map of Coulin, I'd never thought to do her route: do Maol Chean-dearg from Coulags, go around the back of Sgorr Ruadh to Beinn Liath Mhor on a stalker's track, then cut back to Coulags over Sgorr Ruadh. Very simple and strangely not obvious. Perfect.

The morning had started out cool as I walked up the glen to the bothy below Maol Chean-dearg. Beyond that, the heat built up and I was sweating buckets all the way to the summit. The clegs were out and I think I killed a record amount of them - about 20 or 30 over the course of the day.

With the burden of tiredness, I slogged around the back of Sgorr Ruadh to Beinn Liath Mhor and cut a route up it's west buttress. The route finding here is quite deceptive, and sometimes I just had to stop, sit and take down some water. From this summit; more great views of Torridon and beyond. But I was so damn tired.

Sgorr Ruadh was now one of the few Munros I'd never done. I paced myself to its summit and sat in the shaded corners of the cairn, getting out the sun as best as I could. With this one done, I'm down to 14 Munros that I've never climbed. (in my normal round of the Munros, outside the continuous one).

The theme of the day was tiredness. Enjoyment factor was low, and although I wasn't in any doubt I'd get the summits, I never actually found it much fun, which is a shame. I'll come back to them another time, perhaps feeling fresher. They are amazing mountains.

I came off the south flank of Sgorr Ruadh to arrive back at the approach path near the bothy, then back down to the road at Coulags. I drove round to Shieldaig, where I met mum, dad and Uncle Jim for dinner. It was a day that could have been a whole lot better than it was; but hell, you can't win them all.

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