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Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett


Postby Anne C » Mon Apr 15, 2024 7:44 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Chrùlaiste, from Altnafeidh

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chrùlaiste

Date walked: 25/02/2024

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 6.5 km

Ascent: 652m

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ImageCloud clearing on Buachaille Etive Mor by Anne C, on Flickr

This fairly short hill walk at the edge of Glencoe has become a favourite for a quick day out in the mountains being less than
two hours drive away from home. The forecast for Sunday was great – light winds and plenty of sunshine – though as we travelled north, Ben Lomond and many of the other hills were still wrapped in cloud. My heart sank; was it going to be another forecast that was completely wrong?

Thankfully, the further north we got, the clearer everything became though some fog was suggested as hanging around during the morning.Knowing our luck, that meant it might hang around all day.That had been the case on a pre Xmas outing to nearby Meall a Bhuiridh where we saw absolutely nothing at the top, despite a promise of good clarity.
Parked just before Altnafeidh (which we could see was already chokka) got the boots on and rucksacks sorted and set off eastwards along the West Highland Way, just behind a chap of about our own age and his son.Through the second gate then turned left up an obvious, eroded and boggy path that climbed alongside the fence line.

No snow at this point, great views already across to Buachaille Etive Mor but I knew these would just get better as we ascended.Although it’s a relatively undistinguished in itself, Beinn a Chrulaiste gives my favourite view of the glen.There was a lot of ice on the path because there is such heavy water run off here and the overnight temperatures had been very low.Wicked stuff , quite extensive in places but easily avoided with various little detours.
At a tall fence post we knew to turn right and begin making our way up the now steeper slopes, the terrain soon covered in thick snow.

ImageUnconsolidated deep snow...thankfully there were tracks of others by Anne C, on Flickr

We’d passed the pair who had started with us, the lad waiting for his Dad who was further back.Ahead, there now seemed to be quite a large walking group so hopefully they would break trail as the snow was knee deep and unconsolidated, very slow, tiring stuff to trail blaze through.

ImageAn icy world by Anne C, on Flickr



This second section was a bit more of a slog and as we ascended further I spied the small rockier bit (not an issue in summer and if desired, easily avoided) which today was clearly plastered in ice(mostly) and snow.

ImageHeading up to a slightly awkward wee rocky bit by Anne C, on Flickr

By now, it was obvious that venturing off where others’ footsteps had usefully formed a trail, would have us plunging into pristine, deep banks of the white stuff.Better just to keep to the route already trodden.

I’d put on my micro spikes though Chris, as ever, didn’t bother.But I just like the added grip they give.Reaching the wee rocky bit, it was slightly awkward finding a secure footing with the ice but it was fine.Chris seemed to glide up while I ended up on my knees at several points, clambering up in an ungainly way.

Not sure I was looking forward to that wee bit going down but best to forget that just now and head ever upwards🫢

The views to the Buachaille were absolutely wonderful as were the vistas down Glencoe.We had been on the hill in snow before but not quite in these conditions.Previously, the snow had been hard packed and really nice to walk on without the need of crampons or spikes.Today was very different and much harder going! But so beautiful...

ImageLoved these snow banks and little lochans by Anne C, on Flickr

Even following the obvious , well broken trail, each footstep sank quite a bi.It was like climbing up deep, soft sand.

ImagePlenty snow! by Anne C, on Flickr

ImageUnconsolidated deep snow...thankfully there were tracks of others by Anne C, on Flickr

ImageAn icy world by Anne C, on Flickr

A young woman with a dog caught us up.I’d seen her below at one point just before the rocky step and we chatted for a bit.She was from Poland and had been enjoying many Munros and Grahams, this being her first time up Chrulaiste.She’d been unsure of the rocky bit too but had decided to just keep following us as we seemed to know where we were going 🤔We let her pass ahead of us as she was going at a good pace, certainly faster than we were managing today.In no time she was catching up with the big group that was well ahead.Young and fit!

Mist and odd bits of cloud were coming and going…

ImageCloud clearing on Buachaille Etive Mor by Anne C, on Flickr

The views however were fabulous all around with Ben Nevis clear too though it was difficult not to just keep staring at the face of the Great Herdsman, in some ways not unlike the North Face of Ben Nevis.Mightily impressive.
Barely a breath of wind too so it was hot work.Somewhat unusually, Chris suggested a brief stop at one point and got out a big bag of toffees. However I soon found out that his ulterior motive was to check on the cricket score as India was playing England! But I was glad to stop as I was feeling quite exhausted by the conditions.As it turned out, once more I was recovering from a sickness bug which had hit me on Thursday night and left me recovering, mostly in bed, on the Friday.Very odd as this was the second such bug I’d had since a similar Norovirus thing in November.🤢Prior to that, it had been decades since I’d had a virus of that kind.Maybe that’s what comes of having a year old grandson…they seem to harbour all sorts of wee viruses and infections which thankfully don’t cause THEM too much bother but hit the adults a lot harder!
After demolishing a few sweets, I decided to plough on and leave Chris listening to the commentary on the game.He was walking faster than me on this soft, deep snow too, even without spikes, so he would soon catch up.

Of course the spikes also meant that great balls of compacted snow soon formed under my boots and needed a good whack or two to remove. But I still preferred having them on.

It was all looking like a winter wonderland, incredibly beautiful, with snow like thick icing around tiny lochans. After what has seemed to be months of constantly windy days, the conditions were almost unnaturally calm.
Small banks of fog were sweeping around Meall a Bhuiridh and the Buachaille, creating lovely effects with a fog bow at one point.
It’s one of those hills where you think, right, the next rise is the top but it isn’t. Two or three rises before the summit came into view ahead and – it was mobbed.😧
I suppose because the hill is really quite benign , it’s a popular day out in these conditions.Two big walking groups were wandering around the top, we said hello again to the Polish girl again and were also greeted by one female walking group member with a loud ‘ Well done, you made it!’
Did we really look so worn and ancient ? Cheers!😲
Spent about half an hour at the top, very cold but absolutely glorious.Those views!
It looked like the Arctic especially towards the Blackwater Reservoir with those lovely rounded hills lining its banks.Gorgeous.

ImageBlackwater Reservoir by Anne C, on Flickr

Ben Nevis was so clear...

ImageBen Nevis, summit cairn visible by Anne C, on Flickr

Carn Mor Dearg too...

ImageBen Nevis and The Mamores.Carn Mor Dearg on right by Anne C, on Flickr

Beinn Achaladair to the south...

ImageBeinn Achaladair above Rannoch Moor by Anne C, on Flickr

Myself...

ImageGlad to be at the top! by Anne C, on Flickr

Chris enjoying the great conditions…

ImageLooking down the glen... by Anne C, on Flickr

View down the glen itself...

ImageTo The Three Sisters and Bidean nam Bian by Anne C, on Flickr

Meall a Bhuiridh clear today...

ImageMeall a Buiridh and Clach Glas by Anne C, on Flickr

ImageBen Starav appearing? by Anne C, on Flickr

I didn’t have much appetite except for sweet things so gave the sandwiches a miss and scoffed more toffees and a KitKat.Healthy eating it was not.

As ever, it was a difficult place to leave but after half an hour or so taking photos and sitting about, it got chilly in the light, if Baltic breeze.

ImageStill hard going by Anne C, on Flickr

ImageBut those views... by Anne C, on Flickr

Followed our same route down until we came to just above the rocky step.Decided to avoid it by heading right where I remembered there was a more benign grassy rake in summer.Today, it was over knee deep in soft snow but made for a lovely short descent, part slide, part walk.I noticed behind us, that the chap and his son we’d seen earlier made the same decision to follow our route.

ImageWell down now by Anne C, on Flickr

ImageAnticipating the rocky bit coming up by Anne C, on Flickr

And that was us almost back to snow free moorland again, the ice of earlier all melted and the path back to its usual, soggier condition.

Definitely a place for a wild camp when the days get longer and a bit warmer.I often watch the superb YouTube videos posted by Murray Wilkie on ‘Scotland’s Mountains’ and was interested to note that given all his forays into amazing wild country and mountains all over Scotland and further afield, he rates Beinn a Chrulaiste as the finest viewpoint of the glen as well as offering some of the best views of any mountain.Praise indeed.

We had booked into the Kingshouse Hotel ( a cancellation from another date which we were allowed to use this Sunday night at the latest) and watching the sun going down over the glen and the mountains was just superb.

ImageEvening light from The Kingshouse Hotel by Anne C, on Flickr

A great wee mountain (not that wee as it’s over 800 metres but a fairly short ascent) and a good one to do in snow as overall, it poses no serious difficulties and rewards with stunning views all around.
User avatar
Anne C
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Graeme D » Mon Apr 15, 2024 9:06 pm

Very nice! This Corbett definitely won big in the lottery to get views like this, especially on a day like that! :clap:
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Graeme D
 
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Apr 16, 2024 8:18 pm

Err.

Wow!

Hooked from the first image with the Shepherd with its "jet stream cloud", even though it clearly wasn't with the lack of winds. The perfect day for that hill, I reckon. As always, a nice description and some truly special photos with great compositions.

A snowy hill on a good day is pretty much the ultimate day out.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby kevsbald » Wed Apr 17, 2024 11:42 am

:clap: stunning day out.
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kevsbald
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Anne C » Thu Apr 18, 2024 6:49 pm

Graeme D wrote:Very nice! This Corbett definitely won big in the lottery to get views like this, especially on a day like that! :clap:


Yes it’s a cracker of a hill for views…weather was just perfect.

Mal Grey wrote:Err.

Wow!

Hooked from the first image with the Shepherd with its "jet stream cloud", even though it clearly wasn't with the lack of winds. The perfect day for that hill, I reckon. As always, a nice description and some truly special photos with great compositions.

A snowy hill on a good day is pretty much the ultimate day out.


Many thanks Mal for kind words and great to hear you enjoyed the report and photos! The conditions were perfect for constant photo taking, especially with the little bits of mist and cloud floating around.
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Anne C
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Anne C » Thu Apr 18, 2024 6:51 pm

kevsbald wrote::clap: stunning day out.


Thanks Kev, it was really magical! It’s a brilliant vantage point for the glen, the mountains and surrounds.
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Anne C
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby dogplodder » Thu Apr 18, 2024 8:16 pm

One of the best viewpoints and sensational in the snow! :clap:
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Anne C » Fri Apr 19, 2024 7:53 pm

Thanks dogplodder…I’m beginning to know every step of the way up that one now :D but it never fails to impress.
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Anne C
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby litljortindan » Wed Apr 24, 2024 12:15 am

Some great photos there. Much more sensible to climb hills with views on fine/atmospheric days than to mechanically work through a list. At least it's good to be reminded that there's such an approach to hillwalking.
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litljortindan
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Re: Spectacular snow on a favourite Glencoe Corbett

Postby Anne C » Thu Apr 25, 2024 6:53 pm

litljortindan wrote:Some great photos there. Much more sensible to climb hills with views on fine/atmospheric days than to mechanically work through a list. At least it's good to be reminded that there's such an approach to hillwalking.



Thanks litljortindan…glad you enjoyed the photos.I must admit, a big objective for me is the views when we choose a walk.Chose the right one that day and a fairly short one too.
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Anne C
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