Well finally a little bit of summer has arrived. Up until a few weeks ago I was wondering if the tees were ever going to bud and show some greenery!! Finally this weekend we have enjoyed some lovely summer weather and for once I have taken full advantage of it. Heading high into the hills above Lochleven was great on such a nice day - made even better by the snow, which had fallen the day before - still being on the high tops and visibility being fantastic. I then headed to Traprain Hill for a little bit of cragging and once again the sun was shining here - at the other side of the country. Long may this weather continue!!
Report and video below but my pictures can be seen here - some great shots over to Glencoe (if I do say so myself!)
Two Corbetts by Kinlochleven
I decided on Glas Bheinn near Kinlochleven as a bike and hike day. Having previously headed along the track from the road leading to the Mamore lodge I knew that it was ok for a bike and that this would dramatically reduce the walk in and walk out time!!
The forecast was an improving one with blues skies dominating as the day progressed and as such I also had in mind perhaps going up a second hill if the weather was looking good.
I left the car at the gate, not far off the road and a sign stated that no unauthorised vehicles were allowed past this point. The fact that it also said that the gate could be locked t any time made my mind up to leave the car here and not up at the lodge (turns out I was the only one to do this as the lodge car park was full on my return). It does mean a rather steep pull up to the Lodge but also meant a rapid descent route on the bike!!
A steep cycle got me up and past Loch Eilde Mor in around an hour. I had decided to head to the causeway at the east shore of the loch and take a direct route up the hill. This would save time (and also the boggy path!!) to perhaps enable me to fit another hill into the day. A tight schedule was required as my other half was needing me home for 19.00 hrs!! The weather was ok at this point, a bit windy and the tops of the Mamores were in clag but this soon changed. By the time I reached the summit of Glas Bheinn (after a steep pull on pathless ground) the clouds were starting to lift. There had been a late snow fall the day before and the remnants of this snow was seen on the Munros , a few days from June now so hope that it starts to warm up soon!!
It was now 11.00 and I took some pictures and video before setting off for the car. This is where the bike came into its own, and after the highpoint was reached it was a relatively quick cycle down to the car (the path is a little rough in places but ok for a mountain bike).
Back at the car I decided to head for the Corbett of Mam na Gualainn – just along the road. I had planned on heading down into Glen Etive to go up Stob Ban but the timing wasn’t right so headed for Mam na Gualainn instead. To my annoyance I saw that I could have actually headed up this hill from the Mamore Lodge on the bike and save a bit a descent and re ascent – however I only realised this on returning to the car – no point crying over spilt milk etc etc!! haha.
By the time I reached the parking spot near Callert House – the weather was glorious. Really felt like summer and the warm jacket was left in car and the t –shirt left on as I headed up the hill. Sun cream was required too – could this be the start of summer (or Spring!!) at long last?!?!?!. A slow plod got me to the summit around 15.00, however every 2 minutes I was turning to take in the views across Loch Leven to Glence and Ballachulish hills. Bidean and Beinn a ‘ Bheithir stole the show and with clear visibility the landscape looked amazing!
A long pause on the summit and then headed back to the car – reaching it about 16.30.
Got home for 18.15. A great days walking in glorious weather.
P.S. Does anybody know if the Mamore Lodge car park can be used without upsetting anyone as both times I have visited recently I have left the car before the gate which equals a long pull up and a few extra metres of ascent? Would be interesting to get others thoughts on this?
A high level traverse – Three Munro’s and Corbett in the Glenuig Forest….
Pictures here -
A long weekend was planned with us both taking the Monday off. A number of plans were made with route choice number one being the Fisherfield six, however as the weather was not perfect we resorted to plan B – a Munro and Corbett bagging expedition to the Achnashellach and Glenuig Forest.
We decided on this with a wild camp being used to enable us to bag all these hills. Of course when this was decided the weather was glorious!! The truth on the hill was slightly different…..
The original plan was to head up the 10km to Glenuiag Lodge and head to the Bealach at Drochaid Mhulich where we would leave the bags, summit Maoile Lunndaidh, head back, get the bags and see how far over the other two Munro’s we could get. We would then wild camp, head to the Bealach Bhearnais and once again lighten the bags. We would then head out over Tharsuinn to Lurg Mhor and back to bags with the final Corbett of Sgurr na Feartaig being bagged on the way home. It all seemed so easy when we discussed it - The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley…..etc etc!!
So we left the Central belt full of optimism and although the weather was not perfect (rain forecast but no wind until later in the second day) we were hopefully of achieving our route. We parked up at 15.20 at the Achnashellach Forest car par park and literally as soon as we opened the car door – the rain started. This was not forecast until tomorrow!!! It was to rain until 2hrs before we finished – 21 hours later!!
However the wind was low so we set off towards Glenuig Lodge in the rain, up the range rover track (we saw the range rover twice!). It was about 9km to the Lodge which we did in roughly just over two hours then we looked for a route up to the Drochaird Mhuilich. It was raining hard now and time was marching on. There was a stalkers path marked on the map but we failed to find it and the first change of plan occurred – we decided to head up Maoile Lunndaidh’s north shoulder and directly to the summit with our heavy packs on. I must admit the weight of the pack was giving my shoulder and back a little bit of pain!! We reached the summit in heavy rain around 20.00. It was bloomin cold and I was getting a little concerned about finding a good spot to camp before sunset (21.12 hrs). Descending the west flank we found a nice mossy/grassy spot at around 750m only a short distance where we thought we may have camped. Although still raining , there was still no wind which was a good sign so we set up camp on the shoulder and were glad to be in the tent just before dark!! After some hot food, which raised the moral, we settled down knowing tomorrow would be a long day if we were to bag the remaining four Munro’s and two Corbett’s.
What we did not expect was a long night – however that’s exactly what we got – one long cold, wet and extremely windy night. Not long after finishing our food we noticed the wind starting to pick up. By around midnight I was outside trying to fix the pegs which had been ripped out and retighten the guy lines. This was not good – for the next five hours we were both kept awake but the strength of the wind. It was so strong that the tent was literally on top of us at points with the sides regularly caving in on us!! My thought were continually towards escape to the Glenuaig shelter (basically a shed with beds(see video!) – however I knew a descent in the pitch black and storm would not be wise so we stuck fast hoping that the tent would not be ripped from underneath us!!
Finally morning arrived - and with it lighter winds. The tent was still upright although looking rather sorry for itself !! On closer inspection, two of the three poles had snapped (luckily the cord had kept them semi upright!! Additionally the top cover had been ripped off at some point during the night – explaining when my sleeping bag seemed to be getting wetter and wetter during the night!! I have never been so glad to see the morning in- that was one wild, cold and sleepless night and also an experience I’d rather not repeat!!
I must admit that during the night my plans had changed – to retreat off the hill ASAP and go home !!! However the morning brought more settled conditions and a large coffee and some hot food raised my mood and we set off to complete the ridge to the west but to head home after this. Lurg Mhor and its neighbours would have to wait for another day!!!
The winds had dropped but there were still a few showers blowing through and the cloud base was around 850m. The pull up to Sgurr a’ Chaorachain was punishing with the heavy packs (made heavier now by a soaked three man tent (really wanted to dump this as it was now ruined – but luckily my conscience stopped me!!) and lack of sleep. We had struck camp around 08.30 and we standing on the misty summit by 10.00. We quickly headed off the Munro number three and less than an hour later were stood on top of Sgurr Choinnich. The drop and re-ascent here was not too bad.
The skies were now starting to clear and the tops were showing themselves. This made the final pull up to the Corbett of Sgurr na Feartaig slightly more enjoyable J The views were great looking back over the ridge we had crossed. We the followed the stalkers path down to the interesting bridge near Archach!!
From here it was an easy descent to the car and we got back about 14.30……..
Our plans for two further days in the mountains were gone as we were shattered by our lack of sleep and exertion. We decided to head home and get back to our own beds. Tis was indeed an adventure I’ll not forget soon!!!!!
Carn Liath (862m) and Culardoch (900m)
A change of plans on Saturday evening led to a quick decision to try these two Corbetts in Deeside. I had not been out to the hills with my mountain bike for ages so was looking forward to the descent!!
Up early and maps printed (and OS map looked out) and bike and kit thrown into the back of car. Reached Keiloch about 09.45 and was off around 10 ish. Forecast was indicating strong winds and cloud around 900m so I was pleasantly surprised to find mainly blue skies in Deeside.
I cycled up through Invercauld forest until reaching the open moorland. The track was good and progress was steady. The views back toward Lochnagar and Glenshee were fantastic.
I dropped the bike before Bealach Dearg and headed up Carn Liath first. The wind was strong on top however the lack of cloud and views made up for being blown about. I decided to make a trip to all three tops , just in case (map and descriptions suggest two or three summits around the 862m mark!!). Great views to Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird which still had snow covering them.
The hill was relatively busy given the nature of these hills – must have been due to the bank holiday weekend.
After a bite to eat on the Eastern top I made my may leisurely (had wind at my back now!) to the bike and then towards Culardoch.
I pushed the bike as far up Culradoch as possible (trying to make an easier descent) but eventually the track ran out and I hiked up the final few hundred metres. The top was windy and cloud was now starting to fill the sky – time to go home. A great descent off the hill saw me back at the car about 40 mins after leaving the top (with a few stops to chat!).
Photos Here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/scotlandsmountains/sets/72157633432279094/
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...