Hills: Sgurr na Lapaich, Mullach Cadha Rainich, Mam Sodhail and Creag Coire nan Each
Date: Monday 15th June 2015
Company: Myself and John
Distance: 23.5km, Ascent: 1535m
Time: 7Hrs 30Mins


On checking out the MWIS forecast on Sunday afternoon, I noticed that the forecast for Monday looked far too good to be stuck in the office. I therefore swapped my day off this week to be Monday instead of Friday. On Sunday evening, I messaged my friend John to see if he was intending heading out. A discussion ensued and we agreed to go to Glen Affric and to make up a route as we went along.

I picked up John on Monday morning and we arrived at Glen Affric around 09:30. For the final few miles of the journey, we were accompanied by a nice girl from Slovakia to whom I had offered a lift along the road.

On arriving at the road end we got suited and booted and commenced our way along the track towards Loch Affric.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

We stopped several times during the walk alongside the loch to take photos. The water was flat-calm resulting in some wonderful reflections.

Reflections on Loch Affric:


Reflections on Loch Affric:


Approaching Affric Lodge:


After walking circa 1.5km, we left the main track to take the track heading North towards the start of the South-East ridge of Sgurr Na Lapaich.

Looking back towards Loch Affric:


We had no fixed route in mind but an ascent of Sgurr Na Lapaich was high on my wish list.

Sgurr Na Lapaich was one of the original Munros listed by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. Since then it has been demoted to the status of Munro Top. If any Munro Top deserves full Munro status it is this one: it is several kilometres distant from the nearest Munro, it has a drop of over 100m between it and other Munros and it definitely looks a distinct mountain. How can this not be a Munro when various small bumps elsewhere make the list?

32 of the Munros listed in the 1891 list are no longer on the current list. Arguably the current Munro list is no longer, 'the Munros'. If you complete the current list, I would recommend doing the 32 deleted Munros from the original list.

John in front of Sgurr na Lapaich:


The ascent of Sgurr Na Lapaich was easier than I had expected albeit we ascended at a fairly strong pace as John was, 'feeling good'.

Sgurr na Lapaich:


I enjoyed the views down to Loch Affric. I have visited Glen Affric several times in recent years to ascend Corbetts and Grahams. It was however 11 years since I last ascended a Munro in Glen Affric. I definitely need to visit Glen Affric more often and get up high more often.

Looking back towards Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin and Loch Affric:


Ascending Sgurr na Lapaich:


Loch Affric and Glen Shiel hills:


Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin and Loch Affric:


We eventually reached the large cairn at the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich.

At the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich:


We soaked in the views at the summit. We could clearly make out Ben Nevis and countless other hills to the South.

Ben Nevis (zoom):


Glen Shiel hills:


From Sgurr Na Lapaich we made our way along the fine ridge towards Mam Sodhail taking in another Munro Top en-route.

Heading for Mullach Cadha Rainich:


Looking back to Sgurr na Lapaich:


Looking towards Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe from the summit of Mullach Cadha Rainich:


During the walk along the ridge John spotted an adult Ptarmigan still in Winter garb. It was doing the broken wing act so I strongly suspected its chicks were nearby. We looked around for chicks but couldn't see any, that is until four chicks popped-up simultaneously. We kept our distance from them as we didn't want to drive them towards the cliff-edge.

Ptarmigan chick (zoom):


We then made our way up the first and only Munro of the day, Mam Sodhail.

Ascending Mam Sodhail:


Looking back along the ridge to Sgurr na Lapaich:


During the ascent we checked out potential descent routes and also noticed the remains of a rockfall on Carn Eighe, likely triggered by a collapsing cornice. We passed numerous cornices during the walk some of which looked ready to drop.

Carn Eighe:


View from just below the summit of Mam Sodhail:


At the summit area of Mam Sodhail, we initially visited the large stone shelter where we took numerous photographs before returning to visit the small summit cairn.

Looking towards the large stone shelter from the summit of Mam Sodhail:


At the summit of Mam Sodhail we could see across much of Scotland. The Cuillin on Skye were clearly visible. We could even make out Clisham on the Isle of Harris. To the North we could make out the Torridon hills and beyond towards Coigach.

The Cuillin (zoom):

Looking towards the Achnashellach and Torridon hills:


Myself atop the large stone shelter:


From Mam Sodhail we decided to return to the car via one of two ridges; the An Tudair ridge or the Creag Coire nan Each ridge. We opted for the furthest off ridge to make the most of the day. When I return to ascend Carn Eighe and Beinn Fhionnlaidh I will ascend/descend via the An Tudair ridge.

During the initial descent we passed another large stone shelter.

Shelter circa 50m below Mam Sodhail summit:


We then made our way round the rim of the coire and then over lots of quartzite stones towards the 1108m top and 1068m tops.

Heading for the 1108m and 1068m tops:


Looking towards Creag Coire nan Each from the 1068m top:


Heading out to Creag Coire nan Each:


As we approached Creag Coire nan Each, we got great views across to Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan (not Crysanthemum). In comparison to shapely Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan, neighbouring An Socach and Mullach na Dheiragainn are just minor bumps.

Looking across to Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan:


We had our lunch at the summit of Creag Coire nan Each before descending its excellent South-East ridge back towards Loch Affric.

At the summit of Creag Coire nan Each:


Looking down to Loch Affric:


Glen Shiel hills during descent:


Descent ridge:


John descending the ridge:


During the descent we had to cross the Allt Coulavie. After crossing the Allt, we picked up a faint path skirting below An Tudair Beag. We soon decided to leave the faint path to also cross the Allt Coire Leachavie to pick up the main track normally used to ascend Mam Sodhail.

A few hundred metres beyond this track we picked up the main Glen Affric track leading back towards the car. We now had a mere 6km to walk along the main track to get back to the car.

Looking back to Sgurr na Lapaich from Glen Affric:


The highlight of the walk back for me was getting fairly close to a Stonechat.

Stonechat:


This was an excellent day out with great hills, great views and great weather. I am already looking forward to revisiting Glen Affric in the near future.