Hills: Toll Creagach and Tom a' Choinich
Date: Sunday 21st March 2016
Company: Kevin, Graham, Malcolm, Drummond, Brent, Ray, Ray, Andy and myself
Distance: 18.3km, Ascent: 1275m
Time: 6Hrs 5Mins

I attended the Moray Mountaineering Club Bus Meet yesterday, with 32 other members and guests. After picking up members in Elgin, Forres, Nairn and Inverness we made our way to Cannich and then along to Glen Affric.

Following discussion on the bus, the three main objectives of the day were, i) a low-level circuit of Loch Affric, ii) an ascent of Toll Creagach or iii) an ascent of Toll Creagach and Tom a' Choinich. I opted for iii) an ascent of Toll Creagach and Tom a' Choinich.

The high-level walkers, including myself, disembarked from the bus at the Coille Ruigh na Cuileige car park before following the track leading to Doire Mhor and beyond towards the 892m top.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

The MWIS weather forecast for the day was for low cloud down to 500 - 650m and for less than 10% cloud-free Munros. The weather was better than forecast with low cloud down to 900m and occasionally clearing the summits.

The initial views looking back towards Glen Affric were pretty-good.

Looking back to Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin:

Looking back to Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin:

The initial track leading towards Doire Mhor is fairly good but as height is gained the track becomes indistinct.

Initial ascent on track leading to Doire Mhor:

Last year, I ascended Sgurr na Lapaich. It is a great hill that most definitely should still be a Munro.

Looking towards Sgurr na Lapaich:

View during ascent:

On reaching a height of circa 700m, I decided to skirt round the 892m top. This saved a good ten to fifteen minutes as I overtook everyone who was ahead of me by doing so.

Skirting round the upper section of the 892m top was worthwhile as I passed two stags on doing so.

Stags on 892m top of Toll Creagach:

On reaching the West ridge of the 892m top, I descended to the col before making my way up Toll Creagach.

During the ascent, I was overtaken by Kevin who I met up with at the summit.

Kevin ascending Toll Creagach:

Trig point near the summit of Toll Creagach:

As it was really cold up top, there was no hanging around to allow others to catch-up. It was a case of keep moving to keep warm.

En-route to Tom a' Choinich, I visited Toll Creagach's West Top, a Munro Top I have ascended previously.

Heading towards Toll Creagach West Top:

From the Munro Top, I next made my way towards Tom a' Choinich.

Evidence of cornice collapse on Tom a' Choinich (zoom):

The steep ENE ridge of Tom a' Choinich was mostly clear of snow.

ENE ridge of Tom a' Choinich:

During the ascent, I stopped to photograph a Ptarmigan.

Ptarmigan on Tom a' Choinich:

Ascending the ENE ridge of Tom a' Choinich:

Cornices on the SE ridge of Tom a' Choinich:

Circa 20m below the summit, there was a short 3m section where it would have been prudent to get out the ice axe as there was a significant steep drop below. Instead I just put hands to rock and made my way up by kicking in steps. The summit was a short easy walk beyond.

At the summit of Tom a' Choinich:

During the descent, I got my axe out for the short 3m section but ended up not using it, instead scrambling down the rock. I then stuck the ice axe back on my back and continued down to the col.

On reaching the col, myself and Kevin descended a short distance before stopping briefly for some lunch.

The descent to Gleann nam Fiadh was mostly down soft snow. The walk thereafter out to Glen Affric was somewhat wet underfoot.

Heading back towards Glen Affric:

I arrived back at the bus around 15:30 with two hours to spare as the bus was not due to depart until 17:30. It was however nice to sit and chat with friends.

Once everyone was back to the bus, we travelled out to Cannich where we visited the Slater's Arms for circa one hour before heading back to Inverness, Nairn, Forres then Elgin.

During the journey home, Ken kindly handed everyone on the bus a whisky miniature. Ken was celebrating exactly 50 years since joining the Moray Mountaineering Club. Ken is an honorary life member.

A really enjoyable day out taking in two second round Munros.