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Limping in the winter wonderland

Limping in the winter wonderland


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:22 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bidein Clann Raonaild

Date walked: 28/12/2020

Time taken: 4.75 hours

Distance: 16.6 km

Ascent: 408m

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For the first time in years, winter wonderland came to northern Scotland just after Christmas. Even with the current restrictions, we are still allowed to travel in the Highlands, so we decided to take a short trip to Torridon to end a sad year on a brighter note. Sadly, my knee was still in a poor state, therefore no proper mountaineering despite decent conditions.
So many bad things happened in 2020 that we really want it to go away, bring on 2021 and fingers crossed it will be better! And a few hours spent walking in the winter wonderland felt like the best way to start a new chapter.

There is an old Polish expression about remote places, some are so obscure that even a dog with a limp leg wouldn't pay them a visit. Today, we didn't plan anything remote but because of my sore knee, I felt a bit like the proverbial limping dog (or a limping cat :wink: ). Kevin didn't mind walking at lower pace, he was so stuffed with mince pies, cheesecake, apfelstrudel and other sweet treats, that he could barely move :lol: :lol: :lol:

The morning in Torridon was cloudy, snow still falling when we drove down towards Kinlochewe:
2020-12-28 torridon 043.JPG
Driving in the winter wonderland...

We wanted to climb Bidein Clann Raonaild, but because it was still in cloud, we decided to drive a bit further north and walk around Loch Coulin first, hoping for better weather later in the day. We had done this walk may times but it is always a nice experience, even in so-so weather.

Track_LOCH COULIN 9.8KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Kevin ready for winter adventures. Let's burn some festive calories!
2020-12-28 torridon 045.JPG

At the beginning, I struggled to move, but later, I noticed that despite the stiffness, the exercise didn't make my knee feel worse. At some point, the ache became less annoying, maybe I just got used to it, or maybe it was improving (hope never dies :wink: ).
Shame the more distant views were not on display today, especially Liathach and Beinn Eighe, but it was still a nice landscape to admire:
2020-12-28 torridon 048.JPG

Meall an Leathaid Mhoir reflected in Loch Coulin:
2020-12-28 torridon 053.JPG

Close encounter of the coo kind :D
2020-12-28 torridon 065.JPG

Weather improving after a couple of hours of limping in the winter wonderland:
2020-12-28 torridon 068.JPG

The temperature was slightly above zero and the snow was beginning to melt, but there was no wind, so not bad a day after all:
2020-12-28 torridon 074.JPG

Having returned to the car, I decided, that if I was giving my knee a proper bashing, we might just as well climb Bidein Clann Raonaild too, perhaps we'll see some nice wintry views?
The word "climbing" in case of Bidein Clann Raonaild does not really seem appropriate, as this Sub'2000 Marylin is hardly two hours walk and it has a TV mast built on the summit, so a wide track can be followed all the way. We had done it before but always wanted to re-visit in snowy conditions.

Track_BIDEIN CLAEN RAONAILD 6.8KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


There is limited parking by the entrance gate:
2020-12-28 torridon 077.JPG

We were lucky today to meet a small herd of deer, enjoying their afternoon hay snack from the nearby feeder:
2020-12-28 torridon 081.JPG

Some had already finished their meal and just sat on the slope, watching us curiously. They were all stags, all looking strong and healthy. Some might say, they were looking good for a pot :lol: :lol: :lol:
2020-12-28 torridon 002.JPG

2020-12-28 torridon 004.JPG

We geared up and started up the track, the first section is through some nice pine woods:
2020-12-28 torridon 084.JPG

We were the only walkers here today, it was nice to march on the pristine snow:
2020-12-28 torridon 089.JPG

The gate leading to the open hillside is padlocked, but just to the left side there is a hole in the fence big enough for a person to squeeze through. Or you could just quickly climb over the gate - suit yourself :lol:
2020-12-28 torridon 092.JPG

The track, as mentioned above, goes all the way to the summit so even a dog with a limp could navigate here, let alone Kevin :lol: :lol: :lol:
2020-12-28 torridon 098.JPG

Two hinds watching us from the distance:
2020-12-28 torridon 015.JPG

The summit was still in clag and we have already given up hope for unobscured summit views...
2020-12-28 torridon 016.JPG

We took our time (still had over two hours till the sunset) and just enjoyed walking in the fresh, crunchy snow. Who knows how long it will stay. In recent years, we had few opportunities for proper winter walking. Early spring 2020 would have been a good one for crampons & axe fun, but let's not cry over spilled milk...
2020-12-28 torridon 100.JPG

The virgin snow:
2020-12-28 torridon 102.JPG

Icicles:
2020-12-28 torridon 104.JPG

Kevin marching towards the summit:
2020-12-28 torridon 110.JPG

The top of Bidein Clann Raonaild:
2020-12-28 torridon 022.JPG

Annoyingly, the clag still lingered around the summit and all we could see was a glimpse of Beinn Eighe through the mist:
2020-12-28 torridon 021.JPG

We returned the way we came and again I noticed, to my great content, that my leg wasn't hurting as much as I expected it to hurt, is it a positive sign? I still felt the ache in my knee when moving downhill, but it was bearable. On our previous visit to the hills last month, I had to take painkillers to walk down the mountain, so there is improvement, just frustrating it takes so long!
On the way down we were pleasantly surprised by the afternoon light, perfect for atmospheric winter photos:
2020-12-28 torridon 035.JPG

Fuar Tholl in sunset mode:
2020-12-28 torridon 032.JPG

Wider pano of Fuar Tholl and Beinn Liath Mhor:
2020-12-28 torridon 125.JPG

Looking back up the track:
2020-12-28 torridon 129.JPG

Kevin heading back to the gate:
2020-12-28 torridon 130.JPG

I'm so glad to wave 2020 goodbye, it was a year like no year before, a year everybody wants to forget. All I can say to sum it up... Happy to have survived it in one piece! Hopefully, the next one brings us joy and happiness rather than Covid and frustration!
2020-12-28 torridon 132.JPG
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Limping in the winter wonderland

Postby litljortindan » Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:43 pm

Happy new year! Well, let's hope so. A good vicarious walk and lovely photos of Fuar Tholl and the deer. I can emphasise a bit via past experiences over the sore knee but that sounds like it is going away.
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litljortindan
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