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The Fara: In search of the ‘real’ summit

Written by Fiona

September 09 2019

This weekend, I returned The Fara, a Corbett that I had ticked off earlier this year, only to be told I had (probably) not reached the real summit. I wanted to see if I had made a mistake.

A dot marks the summit cairn on the OS map – and the arrow is where I think the real summit is.

The Fara: The first time

It was in February, on a wet and cloudy day that I walked with hubby G and our friend Rob to the The Fara. The mountain is part of a list of Corbetts in Scotland and located near Dalwhinnie.

That day we chose the shortest ascent and descent route and congratulated ourselves on bothering to go for a hike on what was a dreich day.

With Rob pursuing the full list of Corbetts (having completed a round of Munros) he was happy to have another “tick”.

But then, we were informed that we may not have reached the real summit.

Read the story of The Fara and the new summit.

I had pretty much decided I would take the Corbett tick since we had done everything at the time to ensure we were on the summit as indicated by our maps and GPS devices.

Yet, of course, it still niggled.

So, when another friend, Ben, suggested The Fara again this weekend I couldn’t resist. I wanted to see if we really had missed the true summit last time.

Views on the ascent, looking out across the Cainrgorms.

The Fara: Second time around

The weather could not have been more different for my second ascent of The Fara. It was calm, sunny and warm.

Ben and I enjoyed catching up on our chat as we made the steep ascent to the 911m summit from the northern shore of Loch Ericht. The ascent route is almost a straight line NW and we stopped at regular intervals to enjoy the ever-expanding views over the Cairngorms.

Note to self: If you walk a mountain in rain and cloud make sure you return another day to truly enjoy the views.

As we approached the summit, I was keen to see if the huge cairn that we had previously thought was the summit was indeed the summit.

It turns out it wasn’t!

The large summit cairn.
Looking across from the cairn t the south of the summit where there is a rocky outcrop.
A small cairn on top of the rocky outcrop.
Ben enjoys a view from the top.

It was fairly obvious that an outcrop of rock further south along the summit top was higher than the ground beneath the cairn. However, the top of the cairn was in fact higher than the rocky outcrop.

What seems odd to me is that the cairn has been created on the summit but not quite at the highest point. I guess this does happen on some mountains but usually the “false” cairn is a lot further away from the true summit.

On the previous occasion we had not seen the “true” summit because of cloud. Indeed, we had not thought to search for another summit marker because the cairn appeared to be located at exactly the right point to match with our OS map and various on-line descriptions.

On Saturday, however, the view was clear on the summit and Ben and I could be sure that the “other” summit, a small cairn on top of a rocky outcrop, was more likely to be at the highest point.

Ideal spot for lunch.
A grassy path along the ridge.

A stunning ridge walk

Last time, the poor weather had sent us scurrying back down the same route we had ascended and as quickly a possible. This weekend, Ben and I enjoyed a relaxing hike along the undulating ridge to the southwest.

The views over Loch Ericht and to the Ben Alder estate were stunning. After about 5km or so we descended back to the northern side of the loch for a flat walk along the shore.

Shadow Man Legs!
Looking back north along the ridge.
A view of Loch Ericht to the south and towards ben Alder. Credit: Ben Herbert
A hole in the fence above a river allowed us to get through a long, high deer fence.

I have rarely been disappointed by a second outing on a mountain and this time it meant I could officially tick off this Corbett.

Written by Fiona September 09 2019 Please support this website Buy me a glass of wine

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