With my knee still waiting to be fixed and being determined to get back into the mountains (OCD keeping the other OCD at bay - see below posts for explanation) I turned to my mountain bike as a means of getting away. The poor summer weather was fine as it meant I wasn't missing too much but this glorious Autumn weather has seen me getting frustrated looking at all the social media pictures from the TGO!! Having successfully cycled up Glen Almond and the knee surviving I had my plans set on another Glen I hadn't been to for some years (embarrassing as its only 30 minutes away!!!). Glen Tilt. 10 years previously (17th April 2005) I had cycled almost to the summit of Carn a' Chlamain reaching the summit before 9am according to my notes. It had taken me only 2 hours so I thought this was a good objective for this outing. A nice easy munro. I have written a little below about my rushing, but I was well behind schedule when I left the car at 1630, should have ben leaving at least 1-2 hrs before this time. I wanted to camp near the summit but as you can see from the film I got to about 700m and not a bad spot for a camp. The weather wasn't too great for sunset shots but I got a nice treat in the morning! It was also pitch black! the moon was in its earliest phase and it was rather cloudy. Amazing how much light the stars and moon provide and how much darker it is when they are not present!!! The stags roared all night too, another memorable thing about this trip:) Anyway pre dawn till I got back to the car were amazing (will let you watch the film as opposed to me writing more drivel here ;) Film below:
Section of walk report from WH report
Rushing : Sneeking in a Wild Camp and Bike n (small) hike
Rushing – too get to Blair Atholl (due to family commitments J)– eventually left car about 16.40….
Rushing – to get to pitch site before dark (failed pitched at dusk on shoulder- no too shabby though….)
Rushing – to get summit sunrise …(failed due to gammy knee and claggy summit;)
Rushing - to get camera set up (batteries needed changing due to cold drain) some passable shots…
Rushing – to get drone up over summit clag (limited success as I phone battery died- lesson learnt)
Rushing - to strike camp (failed – views were too good to take eyes off!)
Rushing – to get home for family commitments (passed – just…..)
Okay- so above text is (meant to be ) very tongue in cheek… Had a great tip, away from the dead batteries, broken drone propellers (and bruised cut hand- another story ;), I phone draining, gammy knees and back breaking push of heavy bike – there was also, spectacular sunrises, temperature inversions, standing above the cloud, blue skies, blazing sun, clearing mists, superb visibility, roaring stags, great Mountain bike free wheel almost all the way back, wild life aplenty, beautiful scenery, roaring river, autumnal forests……….. Highland Perthshire. Cracking wee peak Carn a’ Chlamain- hopefully not leave it ten years before another visit J Some pictures below
Ben A’an……… not a Munro, not a Corbett and not a Graham or Donald but a very fine “small pointed peak” ;) Not been for a while but had kids up here a few times from early on and a grand family day out when three generations reached the top for a some fine photo opportunities…. I have fond memories of Ben A’an as I’m sure many of you do as well…… Time was right to head back.
My last wild camp was a memorable trip to Glencoe at the end of 2014, and what a trip it was. I headed out on various excursions until my knee let me down in April…. Surgery is scheduled for November but I’ve been busy at physio in last 6 months trying to strengthen it. A few weeks ago I ventured into Glen Almond on the bike and this gave me confidence to try a wild camp.
Ben A’an was chosen, a fine peak and not too strenuous so as to overdo it for the knee…… The weather has been glorious and so it proved to be in Trossachs for this trip.
Another positive from not being in the hills for most of the year is that’s it’s given me time to pursue some other interests. One of these has been my fascination with drones, these would add a new dimension to the Steaming Boots library, so I finally purchased one a few months ago and have been practising in muddy fields!!! This was going to be my first wild camp with my new toy- fun indeed!
So having done some research, I realised the normal route was closed due to the forest clearance, so I headed for the Ben Venue car park when I left nervously at around 16.30. Slowly I headed up through the new path, I rather liked it, in act I preferred it, and the forest seemed less commercial? I was taking it really slowly but there was no rush and the blue skies and warm weather was making it enjoyable, however these same factors were also making me worried for one reason – would the midge descend on me!! (thankfully I had packed my Smidge which came in useful!!)
The first people I met was at the confluence of the diversion back onto the old path and near the “rest stone “ before the final pull. Brightening my mood they said I’d have the summit to myself and that only two others were behind them. I said my hellos and slowly headed on. I soon met the last couple to leave the summit, we said our hellos and I took the opportunity to chat for a while to rest the knee. It was getting stiff and sore but I didn’t have too far to go. The skies were blue and the views extensive as I reached the summit of the “small pointed peak”.
I scrambled to the top and soaked in the views – amazing !!!
Next I set up camp, and what a site I found! An amazing place to camp and the peak certainly feels like it should be worthy of a higher status – a Munro a least a Corbett ;)
The only other chore was to find water – always a chore on summit camps as you have to drop a little to find any… My prior map research proved worthy while and a little excursion found me some water, my knee was not liking this excursion so I was glad that I was now settled for the night – time to play with the cameras……
As always I took so many videos and photos, I didn’t get tea till dusk had passed and even after that I was out playing with apertures, shutters, F stops and ISOs to see what setting would give me some astro star shots !! Much fun!!!!
I eventually hit the hay about 22.00hrs.
As always I was up early – 05.00hrs or there about…. I peeked outside and the moon light revealed what I had hoped for – an inversion. The cloud covered both Loch Achray and Katrine and joined in the middle giving one large loch of fog!! I was soon up and snapping away again.
Sunrise was about 7.20am so I brewed up some required caffeine and had breaky about 06.30am. Some how meals always taste better on a wild camp? The first sign of dawn were showing and I waited patiently for the sunrise….
It was amazing – with the inversion and being above the cloud, watching the sunrise was one of those moments I live for. Most people are still tucked up in bed and those who are not are looking out of the window thinking the weathers poor ;) – not up here………. I hope the video does it justice. Some sunrise shots below
I headed back and was back at the car for 08.15 with rather stiff and sore knee. The descent as expected was testing but am I glad I did this? I hope the answer is obvious…..
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...