Fisherfield 6

Walk submitted by Fraser Smith of Dundee
Beinn a'Chlaidheimh, Sgurr Ban, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Beinn Tarsuinn, A'Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mor

Start Point: See Scalable map and grid reference.
Grid Reference: NH065810
Time: 12 - 18 hours - not for the faint hearted....
View Location: Click for scalable multimap
Buy OS Map: OS Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 19

Grading: This is a long and remote, munro route walk suitable for fit adults and older children.

 
Fisherfield Panorama
 

Introduction

This is a big days walk - 28km and 2420m climbing. The walk described here starts from Shenavall Bothy and will take most of a good summer's day to complete. Added to that must be the walk in and out from Corrie Hallie and that can take two hours plus each way so making two overnight stops almost essential.

It is quite possible for very fit walkers to get in, around and out in a day (we took 17.5 hours on a previous trip) but that also requires a very early start. The start of this part is as described in Jackie Carson's description of An Teallach on this site continuing on to the bothy where she turned off to ascend Sail Liath.

Also important is to recognise the seriousness of the river crossings at Shenavall and Larachantivore. These are big rivers and come up very quickly in times of heavy rain making them totally impassable. If in any doubt at all don't try and cross.

 

Route

  • The start from Shenavall is immediately punctuated by the need to cross the Abhainn Strath na Sealga. If the river is low a crossing can be made almost straight down from the bothy but if it's up a bit there is a diagonal riffle about 100m downstream where the water depth is less.
  • From here plough due south across the boggy flats to reach the first acsent of the day. It's a brutal pull up to the summit ridge of Beinn a'Chlaidheimh but the views of An Teallach and Beinn Dearg Mor will keep you distracted.
  • Follow the ridge south then southeast to the col at 650m where there is a small lochan. From here the ascent to Sgurr Ban is a long slog up a boulder (small ones) field of quartzite. The summit cairn sits in the centre of a fairly level area of these boulders.
 
  • The main ridge is followed SSW to a col at 820m with the ascent route up MCMF clearly visible in front of you. This is not the best ascent in Scotland but again it is steep and over reasonably quickly.
  • Leaving the summit first in a SW direction then S leads you to a col at 750m and if you have been looking you will see a contour path that runs across the face of Meal Garbh to save its ascent and that deposits you at the Bealach Odhar.A WNW route up the grassy and rocky broad ridge will land you on the top of Beinn Tarsuinn.
  • From here the route goes SW, W then NW along a narrow ridge that gives plenty of opportunity to test your scrambling skills and resistance to vertigo. There is an avoiding path on the S side for those of a nervous or tired disposition. Once the ridge stops becoming so much fun turn W and go down the steep slopes to the Pollan na Muice. This is a very wet col so plan your route across it while you can still see down on it.
   
  • From the col there are a series of outcrops that can be skirted around before the start of the main pull up the much more gentle grassy slopes of A'Mhaighdean. Keep to the left of the slope for great views to the SW to Beinn Lair and Lochan Fada. What greets you on the summit of A'Mhaighdean is possibly the best view in Scotland. A look at the map will show the ridges, lochans and sea that form the view to the W. Twice I've been there and twice it's rained but at least the second time we weren't in the clouds and could see something.
  • From A'Mhaighdean take a route NE to the col below Ruadh Stac Mor. There is a howff here beneath a big boulder that can provide shelter for probably four people. This is useful if you want to do this trip over just two days and walk in this far on one day, bivvy the night and walk out the next.

  • Now you have a choice.
    • The summit of Ruadh is only 15mins away and you can leave you rucksac and nip up and back then follow the stalkers path down by Fuar Loach Mor to where it joins the path from Carnmore where you turn right and follow the path all the way to Larachantivore.
    • The alternative is to ascend Ruadh Stac Mor and then go NNW then NE to Lochan a'Bhraghad then NNW to pick up the path. One way is shorter, the other is easier on tired legs. Whichever way you choose you will probably imagine the other way is quicker but I've done the Fuar Loch Mor path twice now and don't regret the choice.
  • The good path ends a bit above Larachantivore where there used to be a bridge but a reasonable path takes you down to the buildings where the river is passable in reasonable conditions. Note that this building is locked so if the river is up you might just have to sit it out under the trees or else walk back a long way to find a suitable crossing.
  • Once across the river take a line NE across the boggy flats watching out for the areas of deeper water covered by sphagnum moss put there to trap the weary walker. The final river crossing should land you safely back on the north bank of the river with a short walk to the bothy for food, a drink and a well earned rest.

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