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The sun shines on Arkle

The sun shines on Arkle


Postby Pastychomper » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:24 pm

Route description: Arkle

Corbetts included on this walk: Arkle

Date walked: 22/10/2020

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1217m

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This walk mostly followed the WH route, taking the road over the swollen burn near Achfary and past the occasional bird on the loch. The weather was dry and calm - easily the best day of the week for a walk - but the land was wet from a week or more of rain, and there were a few clouds drifting around the hilltops.
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On the way

I've been on a minor Tolkien binge lately so when I saw a skull in the edge of Loch Stack I immediately thought of the Dead Marshes. (I'd already been pondering whether "Durness" could be considered a contraction of "Durin's Ness", since it was close to several caves and an impressive north-south mountain range, so I'm afraid there's little hope for me.)
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On the Dead Marshes
Worry not, dear reader: it was a deer skull, and I wouldn't describe any of this area as dead - "verdant", "beautiful", "awesome" and, let's face it, "soggy" would be more to the point.

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Obligatory Arkle Gate shot
I reached the "gate" to Arkle in just under 45 minutes, giving Naismith a run for his money (for once).
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Ornamental shroom growing under the north Gate rock

There is a little cairn near the start of the track up Arkle, but thanks to the recent rain I mistook the track for a small burn and carried on for a few minutes before heading up across the heather.
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Rainbow on the way up
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Across to Meall Aonghais

The clouds were getting closer but they kept moving off to reveal bits of sky or mountain.
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Still some cloud on top
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First big cairn

From the map and reports I had a vague idea that the top of Arkle was all ridges and scree, but the first top was surprisingly wide and flat - though definitely stony. The mist was coming and going, but mostly going, giving a nice view of what was to come: a load of ridges and scree.
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The route ahead cleared while I was having lunch, then this rolled in from the west

The clouds reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother on Conival, about whether a narrow ridge feels more scary when the ground is visible or when it's hidden by clouds. I thought the clouds made it worse since the ridge then appears to fall off into the abyss, but now I got to try it both ways and concluded it doesn't make much difference, except that the mist encouraged me to focus on the bit I was walking on, which is generally good practice when the going feels hairy.
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This bit reminded me of crazy paving, further down the rocks and cracks were much bigger.

The final top was wide, flat, sunny and even more rocky than the first one, and the views to the northwest were crystal clear. I've tended to think of Arkle as Foinaven's smaller companion, but in reality it's a fine mountain in its own right with a cracking landscape to boot.
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Top cairn
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Back along the ridge
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Foinaven
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End of Foinavan, a bit of Cape Wrath under cloud
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Loch Inchard among many others - looks like a lochsmith's parts box
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Eddrachillis Bay, Handa Island, Loch Laxford

After a few minutes the last clouds lifted from the south, giving a clear view across that stark terrain.
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Looking southeast
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Back along the ridge, now clear

It stayed clear for the rest of the day. I went back to the first peak, toasted Arkle with ginger beer and headed down.
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Looking towards the car park
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South end of Foinaven

On the way I noticed my 'phone was giving me a notification in black letters on a black background: "Buy a new battery, this one can't even last one hill any more."

It was plain sailing back to the car park. There were a few sets of ripples spreading out on Loch Stack, so either the fish were jumping or the ducks were ducking. Or maybe the dead were having trouble lighting their candles...


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Pastychomper
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Re: The sun shines on Arkle

Postby Coop » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:57 pm

Its a fantastic "wee mountain" .
I was on this and some other Corbetts the week before you.
Arkle topped them all
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Re: The sun shines on Arkle

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:55 pm

The spooky skull is a perfect photo for Halloween!

It's been a while since we climbed Arkle. Such a fantastic mountain, need to re-visit soon!
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Re: The sun shines on Arkle

Postby Pastychomper » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:54 pm

Coop wrote:Its a fantastic "wee mountain" .
I was on this and some other Corbetts the week before you.
Arkle topped them all
Yes, and a great area, I'll be heading back that way when time and weather allow.

BlackPanther wrote:The spooky skull is a perfect photo for Halloween!
Quite seasonal, wasn't it? I'm on the look out for a snowy pine tree next. :D
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Re: The sun shines on Arkle

Postby litljortindan » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:37 pm

Good hill & report. I was there in 2001 during the foot and mouth outbreak so the hill brings back memories of another strange time but also of a fine ridge and views.
Always interesting when the cloud is undecided about what it's doing and where it's going, even better when it decides to clear a bit. I'm definitely in the mist amplifies impression of exposure camp so always happier when I know what's there.
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