Where exactly is Aultguish? Well it’s just a pub and bunkhouse, and not much else on the road in between Inverness and Ullapool about seven miles west of Garve. It is conveniently situated to give access to the Fannichs though – a group of nine munros in a chain to the south of the main road and also the hills that rise above Ullapool and Loch Broom.
The Aultguish Inn has served travellers on the main Ullapool road for probably quite a long time now. Its pretty much the only building you’ll encounter in miles of driving. I’ve stopped at the pub myself for the inevitable scampi and chips in the past, but never stayed the night.
Attached to the pub is a bunkhouse which we had booked for a couple of nights in early October in the hope of some decent weather and to climb some of the hills in the vicinity.
The weather that weekend was surprisingly settled, with light winds forecast, but also cloud with the chance of showers. Most of the group elected to walk into the Beinn Dearg group of hills, which rise above Loch Broom (inconveniently at sea level), with two members deciding to head instead for the eastern most Fannichs of Meall Gorm and An Coileachan.
The walk into Beinn Dearg initially follows a forestry track before a good stalker’s path is followed to a complex three-way col between the summits of Beinn Dearg, Cona Mheall and Meall nan Ceapraichean. October is rutting season and we were treated to the sound of roaring stags all around us on the walk in.
Beinn Dearg is reached by a steep path with loosely follows a dry stone wall (a rare construction in the highlands) to the summit cairn. The cloud lifted a bit when we reached the top so we did manage to get glimpses of a view. On retracing our steps back to the col, the group split up with most of us heading for the near top of Cona Mheall for the second Munro of the day, while three brave persons headed over the munros of Meall nan Ceapraichan and Eididh nan Clach Geala for some extra distance and two extra tops. The party re-rejoined at the forestry road and arrived back at the cars as dusk fell.
So back to the inn for a well earned stiff drink and a great three bean stew cooked by John. The next day some of us went up the nearby Munro of Am Faochagach – necessitating a pretty chilly river crossing in bare feet (we didn’t bother removing boots on the return leg). Others headed for the lovely Ben Wyvis or for a low level walk in the Aviemore area.
The next meet on the Adventure Out calendar is to Aviemore, where we will head up onto the Cairngorm plateaux. There maybe snow.....