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A summer solstice up Creach Bheinn

A summer solstice up Creach Bheinn

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:53 pm

Route description: Creach Bheinn, from Druimavuic

Corbetts included on this walk: Creach Bheinn (Loch Creran)

Date walked: 18/06/2021

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1037m

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For a long time I had wanted to spend the longest day of the year camping on top of a mountain, but somehow I had never managed. As the longest day of 2021 would fall on a Monday, I decided that the weekend before just had to do . Based on google the different in day light between Friday and Monday was a minute, so that would work just fine for me. Picking the hill was easy, as I eyed up Creach Bheinn back in March and thought the location would make it an ideal place to watch the sunset and rise.

Loch Creran

Friday seemed to have the most glorious weather and best chance for a lovely sunset, so I set off straight after work and arrived at the small car park at 7pm. No problem getting parked at that time of the day!
The last time I was here was in 2016 when I climbed Beinn Sgulaird (Munro 250)
Reminiscing about the past walk and the 3 women I had met still made me chuckle. They had carried funny glasses and feather boas in their back pack and during a group picture had us all dress up. Certainly an encounter I will never forget. :lol:

The start of the walk

The land rover track was still as steep (or even steeper) than I had rememberd it and even at 7pm I was sweating buckets. Carrying a 13 kilo backpack did not make it any easier and the first 45 min were torture, until my body got used to the weight and walking became a pleasure (always the best part of a walk)
The track was long and windy and was covered in a lot of loose stones. The plus point of the track was that it would lead me to the bealach at 560 meters- a far gentler approach than the straight up the hill idea, I had eyed up first.

Behind me Loch Creran was glistering in the sun, but even though I had blue sky and just a few puffy clouds above me, I did not like the wall of clouds which had started to form above the sea. :(
Fingers crossed I would have the sunset I was hoping for.

The land rover track up to the bealach

Looking back with some unwanted clouds forming

At the top of the bealach, the views towards Glen Coe were lovely and I stayed for a while to take it all in. From the bealach I climbed up a steep slope and noticed a faint path which disappeared and appeared while I was walking.

The path looking back

View towards Glen Coe

Higher up looking back towards Beinn Sgulaird

An unnamed lump was my first target and the walk over grassy ground was a pleasure. From the first lump, Creag na Cathaig was my next target. The easy walk so far, had made me think that this hill was a doddle, until Meall Garbh came into view and I realized I wasn't at the top just yet.

Walk ahead

Ground covered so far, looking back

Me just before climbing Meall Garbh

The climb up to the summit of Meall Garbh left me drenched in sweat, as I was now also racing to see the sunset. The sky above me had filled with clouds, but I hoped that the views towards the sea might have cleared.
From the 804 high point of Meall Garbh, the summit of Creach Bheinn was another kilometer away.
For the first time I was able to see the sea, but a sunset looked less and less likely...too much cloud coverage!
However the views towards Glencoe and Glen Nevis were lovely and a large number of deer in the distance made the walk interesting

Deer in front of the outline of the isle of Mull

View towards Loch Etive

View towards the sea

By 21:45 pm I finally reached the summit cairn. A slight red tinge in the distance was all there was to see . :( Pointless hanging around, as it was also getting darker. Scanning the area it wasn't an easy task to find a suitable spot for my tent. Walking back a bit I finally came across an area which wasn't too bad and started to set up camp. With the fading daylight the moon became more visible and the calmness of the empty summit was lovely.

From my camp spot I was able to see the Lynn of Lourn, Lismore, Mull and the Atlantic in the distance and with only a breath of wind the evening was lovely. I had been lucky as not one midge has bothered me from when I set off , I was however getting rather cold.

The summit

Not the expected sunset photos, but still lovely evening views

Happy in my tent

Time for bed

Remembering the can of beer I had brought along, I sat inside my tent now close to 23:00 pm and enjoyed the feeling of solitude. Crawling inside my sleeping bag 20 min later I set my alarm for 03:15 am. At this time I wasn't sure if I would be rewarded with a lovely sunrise, but simply had to check...after all I could crawl back into my tent straight afterwards.
The much needed sleep after a very long day did not came. I was tossing and turning, feeling cold and soon wrapped in additional layers and my hat. I really hate when I can't sleep. Not sure how long I was laying awake, but when my alarm went off I was still awake. :roll:
Crawling out of my tent thick clouds covered the sky and turned the countryside in a mid grey...considering the sun was due to raise in 15 min, the chance to see it was like zero. At that time I was too tired to care and crawled back in my sleeping bag. Maybe knowing that I did not had to worry about getting up at any time soon, I finally drifted off to sleep and woke just after 8am.

During the next morning

A quick look outside revealed grey skies and low clouds. No point of getting up! I stayed in my sleeping bag for another hour, listing to the wind and occasional rain shower dripping on my tent.
Feeling warm and protected from the elements I flicked through Facebook and came across a posting which read: If you could wish yourself anywhere in the world at this very moment, where would that be? Thinking about it, I realized that in this moment and time, I was exactly where I wanted to be. It was a quite humble realization that a mountain top covered in low clouds and drizzle was my preferred place in the world just now.

Misty morning looking back

It was 9am when I realized the rain was picking up. Not wanting the tent get totally soaked I started packing my gear. Luckily it was just a brief shower and by the time I was packed, the rain had stopped. I took my time getting back to the car, after all there was no rush.

During the next morning on the walk back

Near the end of the track

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I was back home during the afternoon, exhausted from only getting 3.5 h sleep, but the experience has been amazing even without the hoped for sunrise or sunset.
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Re: A summer solstice up Creach Bheinn

Postby Graeme D » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:09 pm

Not had a summit camp yet this year but this has put me in the mood for the coming summer holidays! Just thinking about that track up to the bealach between Creach Bheinn and Beinn Sgulaird still makes my legs go weak! :shock:
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Re: A summer solstice up Creach Bheinn

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:16 pm

@ Graeme... I read your report before I went and when I got to the Bealach and looked up Beinn Sgulaird and the distance to the summit I thought no way would I fancy that after the Corbett :lol: Great on you doing that round! :clap:
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