The Fannaichs (Central & final)

I had my first glimpse of the Fannaichs while climbing Am Faochagach in 2013; they looked majestic and big. A few months later I climbed my first three of the range, starting at Meall a’ Chrasgaidh. One year and two weeks later this was my last Munro of the range.

Unlike my previous hike in this area, I began this one at dawn, expecting good weather for most of the day. The first ‘reward’ waited for me on the bank of Loch a’Bhraoin, with its crystal clear and unusually calm waters. After taking a couple of photos I followed a narrow path running along Allt Breabaig towards the far end of the glen. At one point I had to cross the stream, thankfully it wasn’t swollen. All the way I heard rutting deer, though I could hardly spot any of them. Eventually I reached a watershed between two valleys; from the top of it I left the path and climbed towards the ridge between Sgurr nan Each and Sgurr nan Clach Geala; there wasn’t any path, but the ground was mostly solid with low vegetation, mostly grass and moss. The higher I was, the greater views opened westward. When I reached the ridge I stopped amazed: I had a massive pyramid of  Sgurr nan Clach Geala towering above me on my left, and a bit similar view in the opposite direction. I continued southward along a clear path, climbing Sgurr nan Each, the first of my Munros of the day. The views from the top were beyond any description. Additionally it was exceptionally calm and warm, with the tranquillity only slightly interrupted by noisy deer in the glens around me.

From there I had to return to the gap between the two tops, and started tackling quite steep and long slope of Sgurr nan Clach Geala. In the meantime clouds started gathering in the south, eventually obscuring the sun. All of a sudden it was much colder, and views of most of the hills near and far became rather bleak and featureless. After a couple of minutes spent on the top I headed down, sticking to a winding path. My initial plan was to give a miss to Meall a’ Chrasgaidh, going directly back to the glen. But I had an idea to finish off the Fannaichs by climbing the top that was my first in the range. It was relatively short climb from the plateau, and I felt quite strong at that moment. On the top, like a year before, I was looking for shelter against unpleasant wind to have my last meal. Another slight challenge was finding a route downwards – it hadn’t been included in my GPS. A good old-school map and compass did the trick, and soon I was going down the west slope; though pathless it was an easy ride due to solid ground and short vegetation. It changed for worse in the lower parts; it became more bumpy and wetter. One unexpected advantage of that was that I was hidden from the full view of the deer, and a couple of times I accidentally came across a few of them in much shorter distance than usually. Eventually I returned to the same path I used in the morning. The last surprise of the day await me near the car park; the Beinn Dearg range, lit by the sunshine contrasted with massively with the hills in front of it (the last picture).