Maoile Lunndaidh

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Maoile Lunndaidh
Ross-shire
Maoile Lunndaidh from Moruisg.jpg
Maoile Lunndaidh from Mòruisg, with Fuar Tholl Mòr corrie
Range: Torridon Hills
Summit: 3,304 feet NH135458
57°27’50"N, 5°6’40"W

Maoile Lunndaidh is a mountain amongst the Torridon Hills of Ross-shire, which reaches a height of 3,304 feet at its summit, and so it qualifies as a Munro. It stands in the high country between Loch Monar and Gleann Fhiodhaig.

Overview

Maoile Lunndaidh is a large and remote mountain, covering an area in excess of 10 square miles. Its location is almost equidistant from the valleys of Strathconon, Strathfarrar and Glen Carron, the nearest public road being over seven miles away. The mountain is listed in the current edition of Munro's Tables as 3,304 feet, a height dating from the introduction of the 1:50k OS map series in the 1970s, though the trigonometric height of 3,293.8 feet as the currently marked spot height states is possible, pending better measurement.

Maoile Lunndaidh has been described as "the flattest of bulks".[1] Its extensive level summit plateau is reminiscent of the Cairngorm and seems out of place amongst the west coast peaks.

The name Maoile Lunndaidh is the Gaelic for "Bare hill of the wet place"; the mountain is especially boggy on its lower slopes. It lies near the headwaters of both the Strathfarrar and Strathconon glens and has several high lochans within its corries.[2]

Geography

Maoile Lunndaidh's curving summit plateau is a mile and half long, never dropping below the 3,215-foot contour. Its flatness has led to confusion as to the highest point, and the location of the summit has changed three times in Munro's Tables. The present highest point was originally named by Hugh Munro as the summit in 1891, in accordance with the 1881 6" map which shows a trig height of 3293.8 feet here and a spot height of 3,293 ft at Creag Toll a' Choin 700 yards to the south-west. Between 1921 and 1981 Creag Toll a' Choin was declared the Munro[3] after its height changed to 3,295 feet on the 6-inch map. In 1981 the summit reverted to the original location when the 1007m spot appeared on the new Landranger map, a decision not without some controversy as Creag Toll a' Choin is the better viewpoint for Loch Monar. The latest 1:25000 map gives both points a spot height of 1005 metres.

Carn nan Fiaclan, NH123455, is a subsidiary top at the western end of the summit ridge. It reaches 3,258 feet and is listed as a Munro Top. (The name Càrn nan Fiaclan means "Cairn of the Teeth".

The summit ridge follows the rim of two massive corries which are its most impressive geographical features; the Fuar Tholl Mòr ("Big cold hollow") and the Toll a' Choin ("Boggy hollow"), which cut into the mountain from the northwest and southeast respectively.

To the west the mountain is connected to the adjoining Munro, Sgurr a' Chaorachain by a col of height 1,985 feet, while to the east a col of 1,610 feet connects with the hill of An Sidhean.

Fuar Tholl Mòr has several small lochans nestling within it. On the eastern flanks of the mountain are the larger bodies of water of Loch a' Chlaidheimh and Loch nam Breac Dearga. The southern slopes of the mountain descend to the former site of Strathmore Lodge on Loch Monar, made famous by Iain Thomson in his book "Isolation Shepherd". The lodge and over 60 other dwellings were flooded when the level of the loch was raised as part of the Hydroelectricity scheme in the late 1950s.[4]

All drainage from Maoile Lunndaidh is to the east coast by way of the long glens of Strathfarrar and Strathconon, reaching the Beauly Firth and the Cromarty Firth.

Ascents and summit

The ascent of Maoile Lunndaidh requires a long day in the hills, though the terrain is straightforward. Most guide books recommend the route from Craig in Glen Carron because it is slightly shorter, and it is possible to use a bicycle as far as Glenuaig Lodge. Other mountain writers (Ralph Storer and Robin Howie) recommend the approach from Glen Strathfarrar because of the beautiful scenery. The approach from Craig starts on the A890 road at grid reference NH039493. A fine forestry track leads six miles to the remote Glenuaig Lodge at the foot of Maoile Lunndaidh. From there the mountain can be climbed by following the west edge of the Fuar Tholl Mòr corrie.[5]

The approach from Strathglass is a 14-mile round trip which starts at the Loch Monar dam (NH203394), a 17-mile drive along a private road from the locked gate at Struy. Car access is permitted at certain times, but there is a quota on the number of vehicles entering the glen.[6] This walk follows the north shore of the loch for four miles before climbing the mountain by the southeast ridge. The summit of the mountain is marked by a large cairn of grey boulders. The mossy, stony summit plateau can be a confusing place to navigate in mist.[7]

Outside links

References

  1. "Hamish's Mountain Walk" Page 274 Gives quote: "Flattest of bulks".
  2. "The Magic of the Munros" Page 153 Gives details of translation and meaning.
  3. The Munros and Tops 1891-1997. Spreadsheet giving changes to successive editions of Munro's Tables.
  4. "The Hydro Boys" Gives details of raising of Loch Monar level.
  5. "The Munros" Page 187 Gives details of ascent from Craig in Glen Carron.
  6. Strathfarrar Access Arrangements
  7. "100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains" Page 124 Gives details of ascent from Strathfarrar.