Fisherfield which way around. Most videos I've watched and descriptions I've read show people doing the round in a clockwise direction. So was wondering as I will be giving it a go in a few weeks is there a good reason people do it in a clockwise direction as opposed to anticlockwise.
Think I've got a slight pref for anti clockwise, nicer to get two rivers crossed early, great stalking tracks to make the first miles easier, straight into the remote ones. Only downside is makes it easy to avoid Beinn a' Chlaidheimh at the end if keen on that one.
Clockwise, the lack of a path makes the first climb seem like a bit more of a morning thrash, but no other preference than that.
IRRC one of them ( A'Mhaighdean, I think) has a steepish path at it's southern end. Easier to take this in ascent than descent.
BTW, I camped at the southern end; might be a good option for you since the bothies are shut at the moment. No problem finding a pitch as the peat hags where bone dry; likely the same at the moment.
Here's a link for some advice I was given before we did it.
There is pros and cons either way.
Main pro for anticlockwise being that A'Mhaighdean is a great camp spot with amazing views an good pitching ground. (If you're doing it over 2 days)
We did it clcokwise on the basis that it got a lot of the tougher ascent dealt with on day 1 with fresh legs, leaving us with easier walking and loads of accessible water on day 2.
We were glad we did it clockwise for those reasons.
The one issue we had was finding a camp spot though, too much rock.
Also, if you do it clockwise, on day 1 don't pass a water source without refilling.
Did it clockwise over 3 days last year (Walked in, camped, 6 hills in a day, camped then walked out in the morning. Could have walked out in the evening but glad I didn't as I got the finest cloud inversion I've ever seen walking out from the bothy)
Agree with posters that say the first one (Going clockwise) is a total slog but on the flipside I came face to face with the most majestic stag I've ever seen, and shat myself as it was September.
One thing I couldn't get my head around was 3 other parties I saw skipping the first one because it's "Not a Munro"
Each to their own obviously but at the same time.....What the fck???
> Agree with posters that say the first one (Going clockwise) is a total slog.
The last time I did them, we were most of the way up when my partner realised she had left her waterproof by the river where we had camped, so we had to go down and start again. We did them over two days and dropped into the nice Coire on Beinn Tarsuinn to camp.
I actually think that, if you are only going to do these hills once, then this circuit is a poor choice because it misses most of what is good about A'Mhaighdean, just taking non-descript slopes; it is far finer done up the superb turreted ridge from Carnmore - approach from Poolewe (or ideally by kayak across Loch Maree) and do Beinn Lair and Beinn Airigh Chart (sp?) as well.
> I actually think that, if you are only going to do these hills once, then this circuit is a poor choice because it misses most of what is good about A'Mhaighdean, just taking non-descript slopes; it is far finer done up the superb turreted ridge from Carnmore - approach from Poolewe (or ideally by kayak across Loch Maree) and do Beinn Lair and Beinn Airigh Chart (sp?) as well.
Yep. It's an unaesthetic route in many ways.
A'Mhaighdean suffers worst - the slope from Beinn Tarsuinn is the bland side of the hill. Approaching from Carnmore and using the NW ridge is a far better way of visiting the hill.
AM and RSM combine nicely with local Corbetts like Beinn a Chaisgein Mor and Beinn Lair. The fantastic wee ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn Chaol is also a great addition on that side.
We missed out Beinn a Chlaidheimh (sp) as the last hill coming down to the Glen just because we were too shattered to do the reascent, so descended by the (memorable) slabs of Sgurr Ban. Then we slept in the outhouse of the house up from Shenavall, I forget the name. . This was in the 80s. Its still on my list though
That's it. We were heading for Shenavall but it was just too far, that day
Thanks. Lucky shaft of sunlight as I was passing, and a long lens to make BDM look massive. 21/04/80.
Aye fair enough, the reason I camped a second night rather than just walking out was because I'd decided to do it carrying everything rather than setting up a base camp and was pretty shattered.
But honestly exact words were "It's not a Munro so we're not going to bother as there's no point"
Anyway, I'll shut up or I'll end up on a rant about "Munro Bagging"
It was a munro when I avoided it!
It was the end of day 3 of a walk through from Poolewe and would have been on our natural route anyway but for that darned reascent.
Cheers for all the replys. Think I may well opt for a clockwise round, will not get to Corrie Hallie until about 3pm on first day so was thinking of striking out and forking left at the path junction instead of right for Shenevall and camping in the small wooded area next to the river and just before you cross the river below the ascent to Beinn a Chlaidheimh. This would give me a good start to the next day where I would hope to make it to A Mhaighdean and wildcamp somewhere near the Summit to make the most of the superb views. The next day would then just leave the walk out. I'm up in Scotland for a week so have a bit of scope to wait for a descent weather window if the weather looks dodgy when I arrive. Thinking of this way as first camp next to river so plenty of water that night plus can fill up for day 2 then it seems like you can replenish between Beinn Tarsuinn and A Mhaighdean which takes care of the second night and that just leaves the walk out where there doesn't seem to be a water problem as there are plenty of streams and lochans to use on the way. Cheers again for all replys.
Those slabs are so amazing and unique that it is possibly worth missing out Beinn a'Chlaidheimh in either direction for them. Also the camping up from Achneigie is far nicer than around Shenavall and the track out to Dundonnell from there nicer than the boggy trough from Shenavall. And now that Shenavall seems to have become a sort of TripAdvisor/Instagram/selfie hell hole......
Been thinking that the way to get the best out of these hills is to go up the fine pinnacled SE (?) ridge of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair (ideally starting from Kinlochewe) then out to Beinn Tarsuinn, then to Sgurr Ruadh via the little path bypassing MVMF, then down the slabs and out to Achneigie. Do A'MhIghdean via the superb NW ridge and Ruadh Stac Mor separately from Carnmore.
Anyway, when did "doing the six" become a bagging "thing"?
Actually, maybe the bypass below MCMF only bypasses a subsidiary top. SE ridge still best route up though.
The paradox is that the finest hill in the group, both per se and as a viewpoint, is Beinn Dearg Mhor.
> Anyway, when did "doing the six" become a bagging "thing"?
Long time ago - one of my regular sidekicks has done two Munro rounds, the first ending in 1990, and I'm pretty sure he did the Fisherfield Six as a circuit sometime during that, with it already being an established thing. Didn't it feature in a Richard Gilbert Big/Classic Walks book, which was itself quite a while ago?
(I had my 30th five-or-more Munro day yesterday, incidentally - although it came in the easier country of Glenshee.)
Agree, Shenavall, like so many other lovely Scottish spots, is now off limits for me. In fact even Scotland is losing its attractions for me such is the hell hole it is becoming.
Well, bit harsh on reflection, but better off exploring the bogs of Rannoch Moor in a wet November than anywhere tick worthy.
Been in about 3 times via various different routes and the pinnacled ridge to the left of the slabs going up that is, looks a great way up to Choire Mhic.
> Agree, Shenavall, like so many other lovely Scottish spots, is now off limits for me. In fact even Scotland is losing its attractions for me such is the hell hole it is becoming.
> Well, bit harsh on reflection, but better off exploring the bogs of Rannoch Moor in a wet November than anywhere tick worthy.
Very harsh. If you feel like that about Scotland, England must seem like an utterly hopeless shit hole - maybe it does!
It is certainly a big shame about places like Shenavall, let alone the excesses of the NC500 and the horrors of the Skye instagram circuit (Fairy pools wtf?!), but it still easily possible to avoid get away from it all, even roadside camping with a little knowledge and imagination.
> Long time ago - one of my regular sidekicks has done two Munro rounds, the first ending in 1990, and I'm pretty sure he did the Fisherfield Six as a circuit sometime during that, with it already being an established thing. Didn't it feature in a Richard Gilbert Big/Classic Walks book, which was itself quite a while ago?
Just checked my copy; it is a route from Dundonnell to Poolewe, just taking in Ruadh Stac Mor and a'Mhaighdean.
The big change since my first Munro round as a teenager in the late '70s and early '80s is the proliferation of guidebooks with prescribed routes - ticking by numbers. Back then one just consulted the SMC district guides which gave broad descriptions of the hills and then got out the map and planned one's own route. This does seem a shame. I still avoid such things and try to just go by the map and do hills by routes I've not done before. I have a real aversion to the emergence of bagging terms as "The Fisherfield Six" and "The Ring of Steall"!
Of course you are correct - it’s easy enough to find quiet places in England, and must be even more so in the Highlands.
I suppose that what galls folk is that the low hanging fruit has been noticed and is being gobbled up - we must just raise our sights.
> Been in about 3 times via various different routes and the pinnacled ridge to the left of the slabs going up that is, looks a great way up to Choire Mhic.
It is (assuming you mean sgurr dubh) and you can link up various other small buttresses on the way up. Think there might be some recorded climbs here too.
> The paradox is that the finest hill in the group, both per se and as a viewpoint, is Beinn Dearg Mhor.
Yes Beinn Dearg is a brilliant hill. The little known SW ridge is great. It didn't used to be marked on the map at all. I did it completely "onsight" as part of a school trip aged about 16. The first day we went from Dundonnell to Carnmore via the four Munros of the MCMF group and the remarkable Beinn Tarsuinn-Chaol (somehow the group got separated thereabouts, but we all made it to Carnmore eventually!). The next day we went to Shenavall via A'Mhaughdean and Ruadh Stac Mor and some of us went up Beinn Dearg Mor via the SW Ridge "because it was there". On the last day we traversed An Teallach. They don't make school trips like that any more!
More recently I've regularly had D of E groups camping in the Carnmore and Achnegie/Loch an Nid areas so have had the opportunity to make up all sorts of inventive ways of reaching them over the hills from Gruinard, Poolewe and Kinlochewe.
> Of course you are correct - it’s easy enough to find quiet places in England, and must be even more so in the Highlands.
Yes. I've just been walking in South Lakeland near Newby Bridge and saw only 3 other groups of people (a young family and two couples). At one point we were looking down on the busy dual carriageway but we had the paths pretty much to ourselves. It was hot though and some of the paths were a bit vegetated, a result of escaping the honeypots, but worth it.
You mean the SE ridge, Robert? It is good fun - I remember doing it from a camp at the confluence of the 2 Gleann na Muice burns, and having to sprint up the summit slope to catch a rainbow down below.
> Just checked my copy; it is a route from Dundonnell to Poolewe, just taking in Ruadh Stac Mor and a'Mhaighdean.
Ta. False Fisherfield Memory Syndrome on my part.
> I have a real aversion to the emergence of bagging terms as "The Fisherfield Six" and "The Ring of Steall"!
The latter in particular seems to have become commonplace these past few years, with the walking forums full of folk who assume that's the standard way to tackle the middle chunk of the Mamores. The similar modern Munro-ish thing that always disheartens me is the trend for timid baggers to hire a guide for the Skye ones and clear them out in a week with the guide on hand even for things such as Banachdich and Bruach na Frithe where they wouldn't dream of hiring help were they mainland hills. I'm rather admiring of the cottage industry that has built up around Cuillin guiding over the past couple of decades - it's come a long way from when it was basically just Gerry Akroyd - as there's clearly a market, so fair play to the guides themselves. But as one of the timid-bagger types myself, I'm glad in retrospect that I tackled the Cuillin Munros the oldfashioned way: alone on good mood/weather days, or with friends who might or might not have had a rope. I picked off the dozen hills in ones and twos over the course of 20 years, and it felt like a good pushing-my-limits adventure. So to see people who are more competent than me rattle through the lot in five days with hired help and no real sense of exploration leaves me feeling that they've missed out on one of the main parts of the Munro fun.
(There's also been a corollary to this in that the In Pinn used to be the fourth most popular last Munro. Last time I checked it was fifth, and was just about to be nudged out of the top five by Ben Hope. The days when there would be a dozen or more In Pinn completions per year have gone, and it's almost certainly connected to people now often doing it mid-round with one of the guides.)
I've always felt that one shouldn't really tick the Inaccessible Pinnacle unless one has either led it or soloed it. That would sort a few people out (baggers and guides!). But maybe I am just seeing it from a climber's point of view.
Yeah I know it's depressing isn't it?
More than one friend of mine seem obsessed with ticking the whole list rather than just enjoying the days out and adventures for what they are, ie, aside from the few obvious exceptions, just a walk.
Still, at least it leaves the amazing hills not on the "Munwo" list reasonably crowd free.
> More than one friend of mine seem obsessed with ticking the whole list rather than just enjoying the days out and adventures for what they are, ie, aside from the few obvious exceptions, just a walk.
> Still, at least it leaves the amazing hills not on the "Munwo" list reasonably crowd free.
Having obsessively bagged the Munros in my teens (and now well on through my fourth round), I'm in two minds about this. Doing the Munros does take you to areas and hills you might not otherwise visit, and it was great, afterwards, to have so many great smaller hills still to climb and areas to visit. Going out in all weathers and all seasons, often alone, at a young age gave me a mountaineering grounding which really set me up for life. I'm now steadily ticking off the Corbetts in my fifties having previously neglected them, and once again I'm visiting places and hills I probably wouldn't have otherwise. But these days my main hill motivator is photography which leads to visiting some really obscure spots!
So I think it is possible to argue the bagging thing both ways.
> I've always felt that one shouldn't really tick the Inaccessible Pinnacle unless one has either led it or soloed it. That would sort a few people out (baggers and guides!). But maybe I am just seeing it from a climber's point of view.
That would rule out me, though! I was entirely happy to be led up it by a Skye MRT friend, who was rewarded and thanked for his efforts with a bottle of malt in the traditional way. It's not really the In Pinn that bothers me with the Cuillin guiding thing, it's the formulaic clustering of the other Munros into little set-piece days and the lumping-in of the middling-hard and easier ones into the same commercial basket.
The idea that one should lead or solo the Pinn for it to count has been around for quite a while - eg Finlay Swinton, semi tongue-in-cheek, was taking that line a couple of decades ago. I've heard the same argument made by one or two people in the esoteric Marilynbagging community about the harder St Kilda islands and stacks.
Aye you're probably right, it's not so different to me chasing that first E1 tick in my teens, though I guess that takes a bit more work, especially as a pretty mediocre climber.
I'm just being a miserable bugger, there's been some rather tedious conversations lately about how many Munros everyone has done ;p
Back to the OP...
Having done it in both directions (most recently anticlockwise: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/the_big_routes_fisherfield_six-13567) I don't think there's a better way round, each has some minor pros and cons:
Clockwise: Achneigie track approach is better than the mucked-up Shenavall path (though you may then end up doing that bit on the way home when tired, so I'm not actually sure it's an advantage or disadvantage); Gets that grind of an ascent over with early on Beinn a' Chlaidheimh; You'd be going with the flow of the majority of other walkers and that might mean meeting fewer people (assuming folk ahead and behind are walking at roughly the same pace as you)
Anti: Two of the three river crossings done straight away; The Gleann na Muice path is a lovely way to approach the hills, and there's a real sense of entering the wilds if you're walking in on it rather than home; If you're planning a high camp roughly mid way then the western half of the circuit has the best spots (lochans on high col north of Ruadh Stac Mor, RSM-A' Mhaighdean col; A' Mhaighdean summit... further east, Beinn Tarsuinn summit would be good too, though you'd need to have carried water a long way); You do bump into all the clockwise walkers this way, which slightly detracts form the illusion of wilderness if it's a busy weekend; Descent off Beinn a' Chlaidheimh needs careful route finding (it'd be more obvious in ascent)
But really there's not much in it, either way is good.
Here's a clockwise description: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=1329
Apologies for the slight detour from the OP, but I’d be interested in people’s opinions on the “easiest” way to do these hills. I’m asking for someone who has just 17 Munros left but whose health and stamina aren’t so good at the moment. Picking them off a couple at a time looks doable, especially with a mountain bike, over several days. Alternatively, if we did them in a multi-day round I could, to some extent, help by carrying way more than my fair share of camping weight and being clever about where we set up base camp. Any suggestions?
Edit - kayaking across Loch Maree looks a nice adventure but I’m not sure whether this would help!
There's only five Munros on the round, so while it'd be a shame to miss out Beinn a' Chlaidheimh, that'd make sense in the circumstances. Probably easiest to break the remaining five down into two groups, both of which could be done from advance base camps.
A' Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor from Poolewe with a night camping at Carnmore (forget the nasty barn). That's the superior way to do these two, if you're not indulging in a bigger round.
Tarsuinn, MCMF and Sgurr Ban from the east via Loch a' Bhraoin is probably the easiest way to do the remaining three. Consider using a bike to start, and you could camp at the bottom of the hills if it seemed a tall order to do it all in one day.
Alternatively, lots of folk seem to go in from Kinlochewe and camp at Lochan Fada - it looks less neat on the map, but I'd be keen to try that some time. From a base camp there you could do both groups of hills as relatively manageable days.
> Alternatively, lots of folk seem to go in from Kinlochewe and camp at Lochan Fada - it looks less neat on the map, but I'd be keen to try that some time. From a base camp there you could do both groups of hills as relatively manageable days.
An advantage of this is that you can cycle and then push a bike almost to Lochan Fada, making the return almost effortless.
Some people cycle all the way to Carnmore from Poolewe, but I think you would have to be one of those perverted types who actually enjoys difficult cycling to do this! I usually leave my bike at the edge of the forest past Kernsary, which saves a lot of effort.
> Apologies for the slight detour from the OP, but I’d be interested in people’s opinions on the “easiest” way to do these hills. I’m asking for someone who has just 17 Munros left but whose health and stamina aren’t so good at the moment.
It's a while since I've been on any of them, and I've generally done fours and twos, but in your friend's situation I'd be inclined to treat them as 2:2:1. A'Mhaighdean and RSM are a long way from Poolewe but it's very good going if done by the standard path and steady progress can be made. Sgurr Ban and MCMF from Loch a' Bhraoin perhaps - it's rougher going than the other pair but doable. And while I've not done this, a friend recently had a Beinn Tarsuinn day from Kinlochewe via Lochan Fada and seems to have found it pretty straightforward. He's aged 76 but is going pretty much as well as he was in his 50s and did the Tarsuinn thing during a ten-day Highland raid that netted him 15 Munros, mostly big/awkward ones.
Had a long weekend there last October. Only saw 2 packrafters.
Honeymooned at Shenaval. Oh, the Golden Age.
For approach reasons and weather, I took several trips to get these hills: Ruadh Stac Mor and a'Mhaighdean in a November having failed on Beinn a' Chlaidheimh. Sgùrr Bàn and MCMFh from Loch a' Bhraoin during the wondrous Edgbaston test of 1982. Got caught on Tharsuinn after walking from Chlaidheimh by a thunderstorm. Also there for our honeymoon and tent destroyed at Carnmore a few years later after a good day on Beinn Dearg.
I too share the dislike of the silly named set pieces and bagging by numbers. Planning the route of a map is a big bit of the fun as is getting to new places on the map.
> Some people cycle all the way to Carnmore from Poolewe, but I think you would have to be one of those perverted types who actually enjoys difficult cycling to do this! I usually leave my bike at the edge of the forest past Kernsary, which saves a lot of effort.
Thanks. I remember cycling through that forest in about 2014 and there was a horribly boggy forestry track diversion which required quite a bit of carrying. I remember the track towards Carnmore as being quite good, at least for the first few kilometres (we didn’t go all the way to Carnmore). Maybe I’m misremembering?
> I too share the dislike of the silly named set pieces and bagging by numbers. Planning the route of a map is a big bit of the fun as is getting to new places on the map.
I think the "Walkhighlands effect" doesn't help. As brilliant, wonderful a resource it is for the walking community(I refuse to use the term "Bagging" ;p), especially if you're unsure of where to start in an unfamiliar area, it does kind of encourage people to do set routes rather than plan anything for themselves.