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Ciste Dooby Dubh, where are you? Soaked again in Glen Shiel

Ciste Dooby Dubh, where are you? Soaked again in Glen Shiel

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:53 pm

Route description: Ciste Dhubh and Am Bathach, Cluanie

Munros included on this walk: Ciste Dhubh

Corbetts included on this walk: Am Bathach

Date walked: 25/07/2020

Time taken: 7.25 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 1040m

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Well, I suppose this outing was the price to be paid for having enjoyed glorious sunshine the previous day on Sgurr a' Mhaoraich :lol: ... I'd taken an Annual Leave day on a Friday and booked a hotel room for the Friday night so that I could get two consecutive days' walking in. I lucked out with the weather for the Friday, but "less than 10 per cent chance" of cloud-free Munros for the Saturday, according to the www.mwis.org.uk forecast ... which of course turned out to be right.
To be honest I'd half expected this, having come to the conclusion by now that it almost always rains in Glen Shiel :roll: - apart from one anomalous day of walking the Brothers Ridge on a scorcher of a day, I've never managed to experience it in anything other than p***ing rain!
Today was to be no exception. Loch Cluanie was certainly looking right dreich from the car park at the starting point just east of the Cluanie Inn:
WR1 - dreich looking Loch Cluanie from the road.jpg

Lovely weather - for midgies :( . To be fair, the little darlings must have been fair starved during May and June, what with no walkers to feed on during all those weeks of lockdown and 5-mile restrictions :lol: . Well, they were certainly intending to make up for it now, and the air was black with them. The low cloud base wasn't looking terribly tempting, but all the same I hared off uphill on the rough path up Am Bathach's south ridge, hoping that I might be able to outwalk even a few of the dreaded Culicoides impunctatus.
WR2 - car park with the midgies out and cloud base right down.jpg

Although I didn't dare to stop for too long to appreciate it, I did at least get a somewhat more impressive view over Loch Cluanie on the ascent:
WR3 - better view of Loch Cluanie on ascent.jpg

A wee bit higher up now, and it was good to get a glimpse of that fine old establishment, the Cluanie Inn, just about visible through the Clag:
WR4 - a bit higher with Cluanie Inn visible through the Clag.jpg

My main target hill today was Ciste Dhubh, an intriguingly steep-sided whaleback of a Munro that sits well back from the road, as a sort of eastern appendage to the Brothers Ridge. It can be done along with the three Brothers Ridge Munros, but that makes for a long day with a lot of ascent, and most people seem to tackle it as a combo with the easy Corbett Am Bathach, as described in the website's Route Description, since the Corbett sits immediately in front of the Munro and is arguably easier to go over than to go round.
Am Bathach turned out to be a surprisingly scenic, though grassy, wee hill and it gave me all the views that I managed to get today :roll: . Like Alice the Camel, it has two humps, and the cloud base lifted temporarily to show them off as I got near the top:
WR5 - cloud base temporarily up a bit to show Am Bathach two humps.jpg

D'Oh - I'd forgotten to pack a phone charger when I set off for my overnight jaunt, and by now my phone was about to run out of charge :( . I was clearly going to have to restrain myself a bit with the photography if I was to have any chance of getting a summit photo on the Munro. No great loss I suppose, since there is limited interest in pictures of the inside of a cloud anyway.
I did get a few semi-decent photos on the Corbett, though. Looking back down Am Bathach's south ridge towards a hazy Loch Cluanie:
WR6 - looking back down Am Bathach ridge to a hazy Loch Cluanie.jpg

"Alice the Camel" wasn't the only song going through my head by now ... Am Bathach's summit, on Alice's second (northern) hump was clearly visible on the final approach ... but, Ciste Dooby Dhubh, Where Are You?
WR7 - Am Bathach summit clearly visible now but Ciste Dooby Dubh where are you.jpg

At Am Bathach's summit cairn ... and with the eye of faith, is that maybe a hazy view of Loch Cluanie through the Clag? Can I count this as a summit view :? ?
WR8 - Am Bathach summit cairn with maybe a very hazy view of the loch.jpg

Another view from the summit of the Corbett, this time across the boggy glen of An Caorann Beag towards Aonach Meadhoin of the Brothers Ridge. Well, so my map assured me anyway, although it just had to be taken on faith today.
WR9 - hazy view across An Caorann Beag from Am Bathach cairn.jpg

Well, no time like the present - I headed off manfully into the Clag, with just about enough charge left in my phone for a couple of photos at the Munro summit if I was lucky. This was something of a shame to be honest, because Ciste Dhubh turned out to be a fine hill even on a dreich day, and I missed out on any photos of features such as An Cnapach, a prominent shark's-fin of stone that sits threateningly on the Munro's southern ridge.
Firstly, however, I had to make my way down from the Corbett and across the complex, boggy and confusing Bealach Choinnich, which is a sort of three-way col shared by Am Bathach, Aonach Meadhoin and Ciste Dhubh. Thankfully there was a reasonably clear path all the way down from the Corbett, across the bealach and all the way up the Munro, although it did inevitably become indistinct as it crossed the boggiest sections. Now, why oh why do the words "boggy" and "bealach" go together like, well, a horse and carriage :roll: ?
As you'll have gathered by now, I had various random scraps of song constantly running through my head by this stage of the day. Maybe it was midgie-bite toxicity or something :lol: . Actually, though, this is something that regularly seems to happen to me while out walking: I get a song lodged in my head, not necessarily something that I even LIKE, and it then plays on repeat for ten minutes or so until the next one comes along .... Does this ever happen to anyone else, or is it just me?
Ciste Dhubh is of course a rich seam of bad song puns, and my subconscious was certainly quick to oblige. First up was that dreaded Black Lace summer party number. All together now... "Agadoo, Dhubh, Dhubh, push pineapple shake the tree..."
Next was The Police's rather more distinguished existentialist-reggae number, "A Dhubh Dhubh Dhubh, Da Da Da Da" which is at least a song I like, I suppose...
Anyway, by now I had found my way to the very impressive (but unphotographed) An Cnapach, and on up Ciste Dhubh's impressively steep-sided ridge to its airy summit environs. I was heartily glad of the very clear path all the way up, since this wouldn't have been terrain that I'd have liked to lose my way in, on a day like this!
I did manage to revive my phone briefly for a couple of photos of the rather bijou summit cairn:
WR10 - the current very bijou Ciste Dubh summit cairn.jpg

A rather pained Summit Selfie:
WR11 - a slightly pained looking Summit Selfie.jpg

Despite all the waterproof clothing that I'd been able to muster, I was fairly sodden by now, and I can't say that the walk back out was a delight. It was okay as far down as the Bealach Choinnich, with Ciste Dhubh's south ridge proving almost as enjoyable on the way down as it had been on the way up, despite the steady drizzle. At the bealach, however, the route degenerated into a complete bogfest, setting off down the wide ribbon of mud that is rather over-optimistically considered to be a "path" leading southwards down An Caorann Beag. I was sweltering and soaked in my waterproofs; the midgies were biting again; the "path" was more of a five thousand metres freestyle .... and to crown it all, "Agadoo" had now morphed into that suspiciously similar Spitting Images novelty hit, "Hold a Chicken In the Air" :lol: ...
Ah well, not much option but to roll with it. And so, practising my Arapaho and dutifully pretending my name was Keith, I made my slow and squelchy way down An Caorann Beag back to the car park.
Well, I suppose Ciste Dhubh is yet another of Scotland's finest mountains that I have to promise myself to try to go back and do in finer weather one day, inshallah :lol: .
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Re: Ciste Dooby Dubh, where are you? Soaked again in Glen Sh

Postby Jaxter » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:09 am

Enjoyed this, as I had a similar view of "it always rains in Kintail" after getting a soaking on the South Ridge. I've revisited parts of it in better weather and can confirm it's worth the effort!! We avoided the path along the glen at the end by going up over Aonach Mheadhoin as well - an extra 400 ascent but I'd say it was worth the misery of a midge-infested bog trot :shock: I'm feeling itchy just thinking about it :lol:
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Re: Ciste Dooby Dubh, where are you? Soaked again in Glen Sh

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:47 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

This had me pondering the merits of walking the hills when you are still young enough (and in comparison with me you are) or waiting until you retire and then doing the hills in decent weather :o :o . You get a reasonable chance to finish, I get the good views :lol: :lol: :lol:

As for the music - who needs electronic music, I play fiddle so my walks are accompanied by my brain playing suitable tunes, slow airs or even laments on steep uphills and pipe marches on the walk out (but not through bog :roll: no music through bog I'm too busy trying not to drown). The tune that could have accompanied this walk - Chi mi mor-bheanna, better known in english as The Mist Covered Mountains :lol: :lol: :lol:
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