Another damp day – [# 254]

Seana Bhraigh (927m)

  • Pronunciation:             Shenner Vrye
  • Translation:                  Old Upland
  • Total distance:             20.5km (approx. 14km was cycled)
  • Total time:                    4hrs 20mins
  • Total ascent:                 780m
  • Weather:                        Dull. Heavy rain shower near the summit. Surrounding summits generally covered in cloud.
  • Start / end location:    A hill-walkers’ car park 500m NE of Corriemulzie Lodge. [OS Map Sheet 20 – Grid Ref: NH 328 953]
  • Map:                               A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

The view from Strath Mulzie to Creag an Duine (L) and the summit of Seana Bhraigh hidden in the clouds (R)

We had a bit of an adventurous start to today’s walk in that we had to drive from Oykel Bridge Hotel (on the A837) via a very rough forestry track to reach Corriemulzie Lodge and the beginning of our route. Despite the “road” being a gravel pot-holed affair it did provide public vehicle access, which shortened the amount of cycling and walking required by over 24km.

We drove to within a few hundred metres of the lodge where a sign directed us to a walkers’ car park. This gave us some confidence that we had actually taken the right track given the various tracks that we could have chosen along the way.

The north ridge of Creag an Duine

As we parked up and got on our boots it started to rain and so we retreated to the car to see if it would “blow-over”. After a few minutes waiting in the car we realised that the rain would be on for some time to come, so we pulled on our waterproof over-trousers and jackets and jumped on our bikes to begin the very rough cycle passed the lodge heading towards Strath Mulzie. We followed a land-rover track along the course of the Corriemulzie River for 4km until we reached a split in the track: we took the left fork and continued to follow the river as it arced south and then SE towards Loch a’ Choire Mhor.

Along this section of track the rain stopped and the cloud and mist began to lift off many of the surrounding hilltops. From the track we were presented with an excellent view of Seana Bhraigh, although the most striking feature was the mini Matterhorn-like profile of Creag an Duine just to the east of the main summit – the former always had some cloud bumping along its top.

Cameron at the summit of Seana Bhraigh in the rain

Around 2km from the NW tip of the loch the track crossed onto the NE side of the river at a fast flowing ford. Although Seana Bhraigh sits on the SW of the river and loch, the usual approach is to cross the river at this ford and continue along the land-rover track until the loch is reached. The river is then once again crossed at the outflow from the loch and a small burn is then followed up into the corrie between the hill’s summit and Creag an Duine. However, as the river was running in spate we chose not to use the ford and instead left our bikes nearby and began to climb towards the west side of the NE ridge of Seana Bhraigh.

We climbed alongside the base of the ridge until we were directly below (north of) a col containing a tiny lochan. At this point we climbed directly but easily to the col (in the mist) where we turned SW and continued to climb the last 175m to reach the summit of Seana Bhraigh at 927m or 3,041ft. As we reached the summit, complete with a half-circle of rocks for a shelter, the rain came on much heavier and so we hurriedly ate a snack and then retraced our steps back to the bikes. It was disappointing that the weather had closed-in as we couldn’t see the cliffs around the rim of the corrie between the summit and Creag an Duine, which looked stunning when we’d glimpsed them earlier during our cycle along Strath Mulzie. Hopefully we’ll get better views next time.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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