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Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 03, 2021 11:03 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Beinn a' Chaorainn (Glen Spean), Beinn Teallach, Càrn Dearg (Monadhliath), Càrn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Càrn Sgulain, Chno Dearg, Creag Meagaidh, Stob Coire Sgriodain, Stob Poite Coire Àrdair

Date walked: 03/05/2021

Distance: 87 km

Ascent: 4631m

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A long weekend - oh the possibilities were legion...or rather; the weather wasn't great and we had no idea whether Allison could manage a larger pack to enable any overnight trips. I had them all going through my head - Lurg Mhor...Glen Dessarry...but in the end I plumped for four single day trips around the Monadliath/Creag Meagaidh. To economise on having to find places to camp I left travelling up til Friday morning, which meant an early rise at 6am. Serves me right for not going the night before :wink: Roads were reasonably quiet anyhow and we go up to Newtonmore at about 10.30.

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We've done these hills twice before, both times in poor visibility and winter conditions and we have seen very little of them as a result. So I was hoping for a bit more of a view today. There were a couple of cars in the car park, and we did meet a few folk on the hills, coming the other way from us. One advantage of our prior conditions was that the bogs were largely frozen...a bit more squidgy today... Nice walk top by the Allt a'Chaorainn and easy crossing, then up an easy track to the first summit of A'Chailleach. Similar ease was experienced heading over to Carn Sgulain. And we could see! I'd originally planned to break this circuit up over two days and add some Sims in - but we would have finished ridiculously early today had we done just that. I asked Allison what she fancied - it was only about 1.30 so we agreed to head over to Carn Dearg.

ImageB2961FE1-A440-490C-91C8-85E743F45CB1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A'Chailleach (and I'm not talking about the mountain summit :wink: )
Image0CD1CFBC-A663-45CA-AF98-97F4605F46F9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA9F52935-88F2-4795-86AC-4C2997E9FD8F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

I'll tell you it's much quicker to go between Carn Sgulain and Carn Dearg when you can see where you'd headed and you don't need to wear snowshoes! A pleasant walk, occasionally boggy, but no snow to concern us. Up to the top of Carn Dearg, then along to the southern Munro Top, which we both needed for round two. We continued down the ridge and up the steep slopes of Carn Macoul (a Sim) then contoured around it to meet the track that's shown on the map. One of those paths that's slightly more imagination than reality, at least initially. Nice views up to Loch Dubh from here. The track follows the Allt an Lochain Diubh, past an old, abandoned farmstead, which looked very atmospheric against the backdrop of the hills. Then along Glen Banchor, where new tree planting is going on, with some new deer fences. Back at the car before 6pm and a nice quiet camp on the wee hill at the campsite.

The way ahead
ImageDBBA8B83-E8E9-4088-97C4-A8FBDF329FA8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Carn Dearg
Image3BDE919B-C6FE-408E-A2A4-5320B3737A97_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image98634279-F165-4AD8-A2BB-FEC17F2CC1AB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Loch Dubh
Image51874166-DA18-44E8-ABCA-AD84E3A40B34_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4774AE89-1AE9-46ED-AA91-23EF5224E345_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

Saturday morning looked alright - we were up early and off to Roughburn for Beinn Teallach and Beinn a'Chaorainn. Several cars there already, so we had to park in the lay-by 500m to the east. Decided to to the circuit clockwise for a change. Quite a lot of the forestry has been harvested on the walk in - I was used to this being a rather gloomy dark approach, but that's changed. Managed to step in the river when crossing over. One wet foot. We followed the ATV track onto the lower slopes of Beinn Teallach then climbed more steeply on the open hillside. Snow started to fall as we got to about 700m and the visibility diminished accordingly. It had been (briefly) warm as we were coming up the hillside, now we were glad for extra layers. We paused for lunch on the north side of the summit and looked across at the ascent up Beinn a'Chaorainn we'd have to do. There was also one snowy section that we could see little figures heading across...would that be a problem?

View from the tent
Image3C7C3D73-5177-4688-A4EF-25B7A5CE7FC7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Cloud over Beinn a'Chaorainn
Image2E6279F9-8F01-4AF2-8D86-6D261AA91E18_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Teallach
Image8DF32D40-5105-4DD0-B0D3-56176D44E5CE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0A47C061-32D8-440D-A8B5-298FB8FA486C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Teallach
ImageB9BD5E6B-13E8-4FC5-87B8-DEE22A081B6D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We met several groups of folk coming off Teallach and heading up a'Chaorainn. It did feel like quite a long way - but then it's a fairly tough descent on the knees if you do it the other way round. Snow started to fall again as we got up to the 1000m mark - our walk along the summit plateau was under snow visibility but the conditions underfoot were fine. Big cornices, starting to separate.

ImageA86319F9-E39F-46CE-AF6E-876B8C902280_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beinn a'Chaorainn
Image6CD45549-C9C3-4097-81FA-735FB2EA327C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Having reached the 1049m peak we began to pick a way down the southern ridge, as I wanted to visit the bump on the end of the ridge, Meall Bhaidenach, another Sim. We had to cut further west than was ideal due to the roughness of the boulderfield, especially with lying snow, but we made it eventually, dropping down thereafter to a forestry track (via a nice hole in the deer fence) and thence back on the main track towards the car. Was speaking to a group of lads on the walk out - one was asking about writing trip reports on here, saying he never had the time - I said he needed to just do it immediately he got home, otherwise it all evaporates...

Image1A0D6045-2C22-4602-A6F0-D879E41AC5B2_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

Back at the car we had the decision of where to camp. No-where immediately near by - I'd spotted some nice grassy spots by the river on the approach to today's hill. So even though it meant walking back a couple of kilometres up the track we'd just come down, this seemed preferable to some noisy roadside spot. Allison was able to manage a light load in the bigger rucksack and we pitched, expecting a quiet night. However. We'd not been there long when 4 off-road vehicles come along the forest track and start up Beinn a'Chaorainn, amid much roaring of engines. A Landy, two Range Rovers and a G-Wagon. Sad to say, the Lady did terribly, and kept getting stuck: the G-Wagon got an impressive distance up the hill. Then they came down, revved around a bit then started off on the track on the other side of the river from where we were pitched, up the track along the side of Beinn Teallach. All young lads, they waved as the drove by the tent. After the Landy got stuck again, necessitating ropes and planks being brought out, they disappeared off into the distance. We expected to hear them come roaring back at some point later int eh evening but they never did - God knows where they ended up!

New snow on the Easains
Image7C829095-547F-4F41-8F07-B2A08F21E49B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image78030EE4-FA56-4957-802B-383024CEF94B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our peace thereafter was undisturbed, although it did rain several times, and we saw new snow dumped on the Easains across the valley. What would we do today? I'd thought we might do the Easains today and Chon Dearg tomorrow, but there seemed a little too much snow in the gap between the Easains to be comfortable - we've done that pair twice in dodgy snow conditions. So what about Creag Meagaidh? And some of the Tops around there. We headed along to the car park, which has become a sort of unofficial mobile home aire. Some nice improvements to the lower part of the site since we were last there. Took the precaution of strapping on ice axes today...you never know.

I was feeling knackered as we laboured up the slopes of Carn Liath. Quite humbling to realise just how unfit one can become after time out from the hills. Surprised to see quite so much snow lying as we neared to summit of Carn Liath. From here it was out to the Top of Stob Coire Dubh, which adds 6km and 260m ascent onto the day. Follow the fence post line, all easy going. It was surprisingly cold - I ended up pulling on my Dachsteins over my ordinary gloves - can't think the last time I had them on either. Anyway, we made it back to Carn Liath and pondered the long, high level walk out to Stob Poite Coire Adair.

Image24FB1ADD-208D-4370-80C5-017A20A44BBD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2701A98E-699D-4DE7-A5A8-0FF6D40C0879_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB33642BA-B526-4C71-8030-37913A4945E3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Approaching Carn Liath
Image326C36A0-6C8B-4C53-A892-AD0D2FAD970E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Stob Coire Dubh
Image7A79812F-CF39-4A01-A0FF-D17D8B76F31D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Plenty of footprints to follow, only one slightly dodgy bit going up to Meal an t-Snaim where there was a snow bank to negotiate. Glad we had the axes with us. We started to meet folk coming round the other way, who said The Window was ok, steep snow but alright. Allison has a nervous thing about The Window, whether there's snow in it or not, but particularly if it is snow filled. But we had Creag Meagaidh to do before that. We could see Mad Meg's cairn against the skyline, with a big black snow cloud coming in behind. We recalled the first time we'd been up here, in "the white room", totally dependent on a GPS I hadn't mastered and sure we were going to plunge over cliffs at any moment. Much nicer when you can see things. Up to the cairn, a brief discussion about whether to continue Puist Coire Ardair but no, we'd go through The Window. Which was alright, although the irregular appearance of big rocks through the snow makes the idea of bumslides somewhat hazardous. We picked our way down carefully and headed back along the lovely glen, the last folk on the hills. I always enjoy the massive cliffs around Coire Ardair, especially when there's snow on them. And I see someone has put a bench up at the east end of Lochan a'Choire to enjoy them from. As we walked along, listening to the song of thrushes and dotterel, I felt full of beans, despite being out for almost 10 hours.

Image8493D988-5EFC-4734-8134-B2BC7AD2300B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image1DA0DD5B-2F4A-41F4-B761-3981FD1FE59E_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC04492 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Coire Poite Ardair
Image9D4ABC10-477E-4426-B225-9126158E5E38_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image14E8B384-9C17-40E5-8F9A-802CEE8F1D95_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5C849262-86C3-401A-9847-53DF82A66646_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image25ED99BC-E48D-4CEA-B84F-D6DD4E932CC5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The Window
ImageA39DE306-393C-484D-A72C-2C4EF00A64ED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8C5D69F9-A98B-48B6-A6DD-A6A7C82D35EA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Not a bad viewpoint
Image084FE7A6-6BAC-4CFF-A713-39D45CFCCC93_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image880DD8BE-2AC3-4001-A4D3-B74FCAB39230_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

We returned to the car park. I did wonder whether one might pop a tent down in a quiet corner, given the number of mobile homes stations there, but the road is noisy and I would have felt uncomfortable. So we headed instead down to a wee spot we'd used before on the wy to Fersit, where we had a fine night, full of birdsong. We heard our first cuckoo of the year (just six weeks later than usual) followed by an owl, then as night fell, the eerie whooping of a snipe. And the birds were giving it laldy first thing in the morning as well - we were pitched beneath some trees and it was beautiful to waken enfolded in avian melody.

Today's target was the pairing of Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg - a nice easy end to a weekend that had been bigger than any we'd had for many months. Only one other vehicle at the parking place - we wandered through Fersit, deciding to do Sgriodain first. Initially the weather was reasonable, but we could see snow clouds massing and the tops of the surrounding mountains succumbing to clag. Still feeling far from fit, we troughled up the slopes of Sgriodain against an increasingly cold wind. By the time we were at the summit, the clag was down and the blizzard had begun. It felt -10; and to think we were roasting in shorts in temperatures over 20 degrees last weekend...

Image36679FAE-4083-473E-B7B4-686902BAF247_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageDF0C2820-2DBE-4DE3-9796-0C7B2C147662_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

Image6463D946-4831-4500-9517-DA6E13E87496_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The walk over to Chno Dearg wasn't very pleasant, the path being easily lost in poor visibility, especially when it crossed over scree. The Dachsteins were called into service again and we hid behind a large boulder for lunch. It is not possible to eat a packet of crisps wearing Dachstein mitts - I ended up pouring them into my mouth from the packet. Several lodged in my beard. For having done these hills before, neither of us had any recollection of this part of the terrain - we could have been on an entirely new hill... We found a good ATV track heading towards the summit of Chno Dearg, then had to leave it as it seemed to be contouring - the final 100m to the summit took an inordinately long time, battling strong wind and snow. Having reached the top I then had to struggle to get my camera out of an inner pocket, again no easy feat in Dachsteins. Which may explain my appearance in the summit photo.

Chno Dearg summit
ImageA6CAC9B9-865B-4AB7-B4DB-E018CFBAB899_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image33A0D2B1-3026-4C2A-9628-819ED3F81F44_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5E2AE3F0-143D-4C92-B18A-8C82C6CCE585_1_100_o by Al, on Flickr

Descent was fun - there was a band of 150m firm snow heading from the top into whiteness - just right for the first bumslide of who knows how long. Then an interminable march over boggy ground to reach the road again - we'd never done this bit as the first time up here we continued off around Loch Trieg to do the Easains, and the second time we did the Sims over to the east of Chno Dearg. And not a part I would really want to do again, is all I'll say. Back at the car, with a rainy drive back down the road in cold conditions, between 2.5 and 4 degrees all the way. And this is May, almost summer :shock:
Got home to find notification that we'd won runner-up "report of the month" for out exploits a fortnight ago around the Cobbler - always a nice surprise, even for a "veteran Walkhighlander" - 'mon the Weasels!!
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Re: Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Postby jmarkb » Tue May 04, 2021 10:44 am

That was a pretty full-on weekend for "rehab"!

We were at the Creag Meagaidh visitor centre a the same time as you, but I only realised afterwards where I recognised you from, and then we didn't see you again. Glad you had a good day too - the wintriness was an unexpected bonus!
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Re: Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Postby weaselmaster » Tue May 04, 2021 12:22 pm

jmarkb wrote:That was a pretty full-on weekend for "rehab"!

We were at the Creag Meagaidh visitor centre a the same time as you, but I only realised afterwards where I recognised you from, and then we didn't see you again. Glad you had a good day too - the wintriness was an unexpected bonus!

Ah, the other group of people that were prepared for the conditions 😁. Good to have almost met you 😉
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Location: Greenock

Re: Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Postby jimbell21 » Tue May 04, 2021 9:43 pm

Excellent gentle couple of days to get back into the swing of things :lol: :clap: . Likely heading to Beinn Teallach before the end of the week, so was interested to read your wee blurb about that day of your trip. Will be expecting full winter up there since I can see the Ochils are white! Looked a great trip you had there, nice one.
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Re: Week Three of Rehab - 10 Munros (and Winter's Return)

Postby Collaciotach » Tue May 04, 2021 10:41 pm

Aye was an interesting weekend weather wise. I was in the North West Corbetts and found the boulder field on Cran Stackie a pain in the neck under a wee shimmering of snow. Never can quite avoid the rockers and subsequent rise in heart beat :)
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