The forecast was changing at every hour, though there was one unchanging feature: no rain predicted. I decided to take a gamble hoping for a cloudless day. As the forecast had given grounds for this before lunchtime I left home very early in the morning in order to be quite high up on the hills at sunrise.
I started my hike pretty much in darkness, going along a farm track towards the east end of Loch a’Bhraoin. A seemingly newly made bridge and path to the left pass by the remains of a fishing lodge. About ten minutes later I crossed Abhain Cuileig, the stream flowing out of the loch. Behind the bridge I followed a path going to Lochluichart, but had to leave it a few hundred metres further on, and to take much fainter path up the gradually steeper slope of Sron na Leitir Fhearna. The path was winding and zigzagging, sometimes vanishing in the boggy ground, but eventually led me to the Druim Ridhe ridge. There the path ran parallel to it, but a bit lower across the west slope. At one point I noticed that I was getting closer to Toman Coinnich – my crossroads – but only horizontally, not vertically. So I decided to abandon the path and climb to the top of the ridge. Soon after I got there I was forced to navigate in the clouds, with visibility varying between 10 to 50 metres, and with quite strong wind blowing from east.
The summit of Toman Coinnich was shrouded in clouds, making navigation near impossible. I had to descend eastwards to the gap below Sgurr Breac, but I knew there was a cliff. So I decided to go down a bit further away to avoid a fall. Thankfully I had done my homework, and – nonetheless cautiously – I followed the route on my GPS. From the gap I was climbing quite a steep slope, following the path running all the way to a small cairn on the top. I believe there’s a great view from the top over Loch Fannich; but I could hardly see anything further than 20 metres away. After really short stay on the top I went back the same route to Toman Coinnich, and from there along the edge of the cliffs towards A’ Chailleach. At times the clouds opened up uncovering quite impressive views. But the 10 seconds I needed to have my camera ready was quite often 8 seconds too long.
After reaching the top of A’ Chailleach the story repeated itself: no views, only grey featureless mist around me. So again I left the summit a couple of minutes later, returning a bit and then descending along the ridge northwards, with its ups and downs, but generally getting lower and lower. The wind there was a savage merciless monster, biting, pushing, pulling and throwing bits at me, like a sort of revenge for conquering the two Munros.
Eventually near the northern end of the ridge I had to turn right and descend towards the bottom of the glen and a burn flowing out of Loch Toll an Lochain. There was no path, so I had to find my own way down; it wasn’t difficult as the ground was pretty forgiving. Down there I crossed the burn and followed it down, but not in near proximity; I was gradually moving away from it towards a grassy gap between the waterfall and a massive rock formation, the only safe passage down the slope. It was muddy and wet, but it brought me to a sort of farm track, which then run down to the bank of Loch a’Bhraoin. From there I walked along the loch towards the same bridge I crossed a few hours earlier.