Walk: Poolewe to Kinlochewe (via Meall Mheinnidh & Beinn Lair)
Date: Overnighter 20/21 June 2009
Company: Myself, Colin, Derek, Viktor
Distance: 32km
Ascent: 1390m
Time: c.10.5 hours walking, plus camp/bivvy

Yesterday morning, twelve Club members set off by minibus from Aberdeen with a view to undertaking an overnight traverse through Fisherfield/Letterewe. Various routes were planned with drop-offs taking place at Loch a’Bhraoin, Corrie Hallie and Poolewe, all destined for pick-up at Kinlochewe by lunchtime today. Myself, Colin, Derek and Viktor were dropped-off half-way between Poolewe and Inveran at 16:45. The going was quite tough from the outset as we were all carrying heavy packs. Myself and Colin both carried-in a two-man tent while Derek and Viktor, went for the lighter option of bivvy bags.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken
Myself, Derek, Colin and Viktor:

We followed the track as far as Kernsary and on into Kernsary forest.

View from bridge over Inveran river:

Looking across Loch an Doire Ghairbh to Creag Mhor Thollaidh:

Approaching Kernsary:

The track through Kernsary forest was quite muddy in places, It wasn’t long however before we cleared the forest and took to the path alongside the Allt na Creige and Beinn Airigh Charr.

Beinn Airigh Charr from Kernsary forest:

LtoR: Beinn Lair, Meall Mheinnidh and Beinn Airigh Charr:

The views to distant Beinn a’Chasgein Mor, Ruadh Stac Mor, A’Mhaighdean, Beinn Lair, etc. were pretty good despite the significant number of clouds over most of them.

View towards Carnmore and Fisherfield hills:

Loch an Doire Crionaich:

The roughness and rockiness of Beinn Airigh Charr is possibly seen at its best from this approach.

Beinn Airigh Charr rockfall:

At 19:10 we started the ascent of the Graham Meall Mheinnidh. During the ascent this hill was described as “superb” and “a wee b*****d”. It was certainly steep and hard-going with heavy packs.

Meall Mheinnidh:

As we gained height the views got better and better.

Looking back towards Poolewe:

As well as seeing a number of deer on the hill, we also saw two mountain goats.

Deer silhouettes on skyline:

Fionn loch:

View towards Carnmore and causeway between Fionn Loch and Dubh Loch:

Looking across to Beinn Airigh Charr from Meall Mheinnidh:

Causeway at Carnmore:

We reached the summit of Meall Mheinnidh at 20:20.

Colin at summit of Meall Mheinnidh:

Beinn Lair (zoomed):

Loch Maree:

After a short break, Derek passed round a bag of jelly beans which tasted fantastic. The jelly beans must have given us some extra energy as we reached Bealach Mheinnidh within half-an-hour of leaving the summit.

Looking back to Meall Mheinnidh from Bealach Mheinnidh:

The ascent of Beinn Lair was much simpler and gentler than the ascent of Meall Mheinnidh. We gained the ridge at a height of circa 700m and followed the line of cliffs towards the summit.

Carnmore from Beinn Lair:

Fionn Loch from Beinn Lair:

Distant summit cairn of Beinn Lair:

We reached the very large summit cairn by 21:45 where we spent around 10 minutes taking photos and enjoying the views.

Summit cairn of Beinn Lair:

Slioch from summit of Beinn Lair:

Viktor approaching summit of Beinn Lair:

My original plan was to camp at (or close to) the summit of Beinn Lair. However, given the fact that we had made good progress, we decided to continue on while it was still light to descend to less stony ground with a nearby water source. We dropped to the bealach between Beinn Lair and the 808m top and then descended to a height of 600m where we set up camp as it was beginning to get dark. By the time my tent was pitched it was dark. After a bit of banter we agreed that we would set alarms for a 04:30 start!

Overnight camp:

By 04:30 there was no chance of sleeping-in as Derek was already out of his bivvy and making more noise than a dozen cockerels. By 05:00 we were packed and off descending towards Loch Garbhaig. The forecasted drizzle hadn’t arrived and it was quite a pleasant morning.

Slioch across Loch Garbhaig:

Waterfall at Loch Garbhaig:

Hut at Loch Garbhaig:

Slioch across Loch Garbhaig:

The bridge over the Abhainn na Fuirneis was a bit wobbly.

Bridge over Abhainn na Fuirneis:

Slioch across Loch Garbhaig:

Beinn Tarsuinn across Loch Garbhaig:

The ascent from Loch Garbhaig onto the shoulder of Slioch was quite energy-sapping but the descent from the shoulder was nice and straight-forward.

Slioch from shoulder:

A distant Kinlochewe:

After a few kilometres we reached the Kinlochewe/Letterewe path which we followed back out to Incheril/Kinlochewe. The bridge at Gleann Bianasdale looks very new.

Derek on Gleann Bianasdale bridge:

Waterfall at Gleann Bianasdale bridge:

View across to Beinn Eighe:

Approaching Incheril:

Full group:

This was a thoroughly enjoyable walk. Great route, great company, no rain, no midges.