Ruadh Stac Mor, A' Mhaighdean, Beinn Tarsuinn
Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair & Sgurr Ban

Monday 29th July 2013

Weather/Conditions: Good conditions, a clear morning, with cloud slowly building through the afternoon. Missed the weather front though.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 31.3km / 2130m / 10h 03m
Accompanying: Alone

Trying to get up at 4am wasn't as easy as hoped, and I slept in until quarter past five. Thankfully, the morning outside looked clear and sunny and I was away by 6am (Note June 2019 - times are dodgy - not until 6.10am camera time!).

The Fisherfield Munros are as remote as they come. Knock these ones off, and I'd have scored a big win. They've long been known as the 'Fisherfield 6', but Beinn a' Chlaidheimh got taken off the list last year (it was lower than 3,000 feet.) and now there are only five. 'Fisherfield 5' doesn't seem to have the same ring, but it would make my day easier!

Before the Munro Round, I'd been prepared to do the 'Six' out of tradition's sake, until I realised that I might be better off leaving the high tops at Sgurr Ban (#5) and going east towards the road at Loch a' Bhraoin. This would allow me to do a through-route instead of a loop, too, and I'd get to see some new ground.

The morning was amazing. Despite being slightly under-hydrated and under-fed, I held a solid pace to Ruadh Stac Mor, which takes so much effort to get to, no matter how you look at it. This hill was the scene of a wee epic when I did them with Mick Coffield. We'd been on the go for 17 hours when we essentially ran out of steam between A' Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor. We slept out in the open at 2,000 feet on the shores of Fuar Loch Mor, and woke up at 4am, shaking with the cold. We then knocked off Ruadh Stac Mor and spent the whole day just getting back to the road. Crazy times.

On this Round, I've noticed that the whole place (naturally) doesn't seem as wild as it had when I first visited at 17. I got across to A' Mhaighdean in good time and thus stood on the most remote Munro. It took a long time to get here, and it would be a long way back to the road. I was quietly thrilled to be alone in such an 'exposed' place as this but logically, I was quite happy with the idea. I was on A' Mhaighdean before 10am whereas when Mick and I did it, we didn't get there until well after 10pm!

The last three Munros were more like hard work than pure pleasure. They have the Fisherfield magic, but none as much as A' Mhaigdean had. These were a bit of a come-down. Each ascent was hard work, and ultimately I was glad to be on the last one, Sgurr Ban. The good weather was holding and I had plenty of time to get off.

I headed eastward down the huge quartzite slabs and boulderfields, down to the glen and out by a rough track to Lochivraon bothy - which isn't a bothy anymore. I sat at the locked front door, under overcast skies and spitting rain. I could smell the fresh paint. Someone must have turned it into a second home or something.

By the time I'd reached Lochivraon bothy, the magic of Fisherfield had gone. Sometimes in very special areas, you get a sense you're looking at something greater than another Scottish scene. You might feel this in places like the Cairngorms, Ben Nevis, or on Skye. I'd walked into one of these places in Fisherfield and finally had walked back out of it. Loch a' Bhraoin seemed just another slightly drab Scottish glen.

A very long walk eventually brought me back to the road. Mum and dad had walked up the track towards me and I met them 15 minutes from the end. Judging by the relentless nature of the walk-out, I could just as well have walked out to Corriehallie, with An Teallach in view to ease the miles.

I was back by 4pm, a shade less than 24 hours since I left the road. It was an outstanding time to get out of Fisherfield. I was back in the Ullapool digs soon after, with A' Mhaighdean feeling like a long time ago - longer than a few hours anyway.

An Teallach and Fisherfield gave me a crossing of the greatest quality. My fitness and Munro Round momentum has allowed me to get over these ranges with the minimum of sweat. My hope would be that this continues for the remaining remote northwest mountains that still have to be crossed.

360° Panoramas

Ruadh-stac Mor

A' Mhaighdean

Beinn Tarsuinn

Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Sgurr Ban
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 6.10am Shenaval
(2.40) 8.40pm Ruadh-stac Mor
(3.10) 9.20pm A' Mhaighdean
(5.03) 11.13pm Beinn Tarsuinn
(5.45) 11.55pm Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair
(6.30) 12.40pm Sgurr Ban
(8.35) 2.45pm Lochivraon (building)
(10.03) 4.13pm Road, by Loch a' Bhraoin

Uploaded: 2019-06-04