Thursday, 16 October 2014


On the NW ridge of A' Mhaighdean
It's been over 10 years since I lasted ventured into that most beautiful and remote part of the northwest Highlands - The Fisherfield Forest. The area is sandwhiched between two of my favourite areas in the whole world, Torridon and An Teallach. It boasts five Munros (once six) and some of the most rugged and majestic mountains with unbeatable loch views and a feeling of wildness. I guess a lot of folk want to traverse and 'bag' all of them in one go from Shenevall Bothy but I think the best way to savour and appreciate these hills is to pick them off and walk into the area by other routes. So I headed into Carnmore from Poolewe for a few days of wild camping.

The walk-in from Poolewe, spectacular in itself
It's around a 3-4 hour walk on tracks and then a great stalkers path that used to be a right bog trot but now sheer delight and the views just become more and more spectacular as you pass under the mountains of the Letterewe Forest, Beinn Airigh Charr, Meall Mheinnidh and Beinn Lair. None of these are Munros but they are every inch as spectacular and that's another expedition. In front of you draw the delights of Carn Mor and its rock towers with A' Mhaighdean getting closer.
You want a beech as well as mountains?  Here you go then

 Arriving just before dusk at Carnmore and setting up camp. All round stags roaring and bellowing in the crags, what a wonderful noise. The objective for me was the NW ridge of A' Mhaighdean which is clearly seen from Carnmore and the most compelling route to the summit of this, the remotest Munro. Tomorrow's forecast was to be excellent. Clearing skies and a wonderful moon as the stags bellowed into the night added even more atmosphere to the place.

The following morning was overcast with light cloud cover that was above the tops. It looked like it may clear so I set off for the ridge. The ridge has scrambling in places of grade 1 or 2 standard but much of this can be avoided (if you want)! Most of the long ridge is walking. The views behind you are just amazing. With the Lochs of Fionn and Dubh stretching out to the coast.

 The best sections of the scrambling are two big pinnacles before reching the easy angled slopes onto the summit plateau. These look formidable but are easily bypassed, if taken direct they are definitely rock climbing! There are wonderful views over toward An Teallach and Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beag. With the lonely loch of Fuar Loch Mor in the foreground. A place to linger a while.

The views from the summit are amazing with mountain, loch and sea vistas to the Hebrides. There isn't a single road in sight. One of the few places still left in the UK that is the nearest to true wildness.
Well that was the first ascent of this wee trip. The sun never did come out on that first day, despite nice views and all tops clear the light was very flat. I will admit that I am greedy and I was hoping for more than this. Autumn being one of the best times of year for glorious rich colours and wonderful low angled light. I didn't get it. So being the photographer that I am I went up again the following day. My patience was rewarded. After a clear night with another wonderful moon and stags still  bellowing as ever I got out of the tent and was treated to a stunning day. I retraced my steps up the NW ridge and savoured it all again. As you will see the photos above are all from this second trip up. After tearing myself away I headed down to the tent and packed up for the wonderful walk out again. The camera by now over heating! I've been up A' Mhaighdean at least 8 times now, the fist was a mid summer bivvy on the summit. In a glorious two days of weather and very, very special. I've guided groups along the rest of the Fisherfield hills including this one and there have been nice days and gloomy days. I think this one ranks high with that magical first time up some 16 years ago. Next time I think it as to be a winter trip, but only when we are forecasted stunning weather! Some more pics

1 comment:

Rosa Lichtenstein said...

Brilliant photos! Thanks for posting!!