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The tale from Galmadale

The tale from Galmadale

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jul 01, 2021 4:44 pm

Route description: Creach Bheinn & Fuar Bheinn: Galmadale round

Corbetts included on this walk: Creach Bheinn (Morvern), Fuar Bheinn

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn na Cille

Date walked: 30/05/2021

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1506m

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The Galmadale round has been on our wish-list for time immemorial. It is one of those routes that will haunt you until you go there and leave you speechless when you actually get to the summit. A superb horseshoe including two Corbetts and a Graham is a big tempter for any hill bagger. For us, there was the additional lure of the McDonnell F-101C Voodoo crash site on the slopes of Maol Odhar. In April this year we climbed into Coire nam Frithallt to look for the wreckage. We spent a couple of hours locating and photographing the remains of the jet fighter, but the day was very windy and we decided against continuing to the summit of Creach Bheinn. We intended to do the whole circular route anyway so there was no need to push it too far.

Several weeks passed and in the last days of May weather turned from sour to sweet so we could no longer postpone the Galmadale round, neither did we want to! We hoped to find more Voodoo wreckage on the summit ridge of Maol Odhar but we were also very excited to tick off three new mountains in one day! These days, mainly due to COVID restrictions, new hills are few and far between so three new ones was a rarity!

Track_GLEN GALMADALE 18KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It's a long drive from Beauly to Kingairloch but weather looked so fantastic today that we knew it would be worth it!
Started from the small parking area near Glengalmadale farm. The WH route goes clockwise (up Beinn na Cillie first) but we decided to reverse it. This way we could skip the Graham if necessary (which we didn't in the end :roll: ).
I was concerned we might struggle to find room to park, but there was only one car when we arrived, surprisingly quiet as for the May bank holiday weekend!
Glengalmadale farm and the car park:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 001 (2).JPG

Looking into Glen Galmadale:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 014 (2).JPG

Views are stunning from the very beginning. This panorama of Beinn na Cillie from the slopes of Creag an Fhithich is one of my favourite snaps of the day:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 016 (2).JPG

After the initial 100m or so of steep ascent, we followed the long grassy ridge towards the first top of the round, Meall nan Each. Kevin kept swearing at "£$%&* ticks" marching up his trousers. Indeed, the grassy ridge was badly infested and we had to stop to spray our trousers with midge repellent, hoping that it may stop the wee black army from digging into our flesh.
"Ticky ridge":
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 025 (2).JPG

There must be deer about of course, but I think this particular black army came from the feral goats. We met them about half way along the ridge, happily chewing their late breakfast:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 028 (2).JPG

OK, forget the little b*ggers (I mean ticks, not goats :lol: :lol: ), we have just started our traverse and were already left speechless by the fantastic landscape around us. Ardgour/Kingairloch area is so beautiful, so wild...
View back to the lower Glen Galmadale and the Camas na Croise:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 037 (2).JPG

Ships in the entrance to Loch a'Choire:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 038 (2).JPG

Across Loch Linnhe to the mainland:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 047 (2).JPG

The rugged coastline of Ardgour:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 050 (2).JPG

Checking for ticks again on the top of Meall nan Each:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 067 (2).JPG

From the first top it was still 2km and about 300m of ascent to the next one, Maol Odhar and even this one wasn't the first Corbett yet! It is indeed a long trudge to Creach Bheinn if taking the circular anticlockwise, but at least the angle is very gentle.
Posing with Meall Odhar and Creach Bheinn:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 071 (2).JPG

Looking back down the ridge from the final climb to the next top:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 087 (2).JPG

The cliffs of Maol Odhar are really impressive. Having seen them before from the corrie below, we now had a chance to explore the edge of the cliffs and look across Glen Tarbert to the biggest mountains of Ardgour...
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 102 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Garbh Bheinn is unmistakable, but Sgùrr Dhomhnuill is also visible to the left hand side:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 129 (2).JPG

The eastern side of Coire nam Frithallt and Loch Linnhe beyond:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 125 (2).JPG

Just below the summit cairn we found the first piece of the Voodoo jet, a small part of undercarriage assembly:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 091 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Close nearby, we discovered a pile of debris (probably collected together by visitors to the hill):
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 097 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
The largest part is again from the undercarriage:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 111 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Smaller debris is mostly aluminum fragments of the fuselage:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 117 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 112 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Five minutes alter we reached the summit cairn. More plane wreckage has been dumped here:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 135 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Undercarriage components again:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 138 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
The wreckage on the ridge landed here after the Voodoo jet collided with the cliffs. The force of the impact simply "overshot" them to the flat ground above. Today it is impossible to establish the original spots where these pieces landed as they have all been shifted around by weather and people.
Outer rings from one of the jet engines found on the descent to Bealach Coire an Dubh-alltan:
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 151 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Image2021-05-30 glen galmadale 157 (2) by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Having found and photographed all the wreckage we felt, like we had eventually closed the Voodoo chapter. Now, it was time to enjoy the mountains themselves, the rugged beauty of these peaks. I was eager to claim a new Corbett!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 158 (2).JPG

The reascent to the summit of Creach Bheinn is not much (definitely less than 150m) and soon we were basking in sunshine on the summit. The top has a large stone shelter:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 148.JPG

Looking back to the "ticky ridge" and Loch Linnhe with Lismore island to the right:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 167 (2).JPG

Ben Resipol, still on to-do list!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 176 (2).JPG

The rugged tops of Ardgour to the north:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 181 (2).JPG

Last remnants of snow on Ben Nevis:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 184.JPG

Me and Lucy (her 123rd Corbett):
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 191.JPG

The mountain lamb was in the mood to charge up more hills today!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 173 (2).JPG
Veni vidi vici baaaa!

Only half an hour ago I was just as enthusiastic, but now sitting on the summit of Creach Bheinn I realized that my feet were feeling a bit uncomfortable, especially the left one. I never had problems before with the pair of boots I was wearing that day, maybe it was just a matter of fatigue - it was our 8th day in a row of hillwalking and mostly tough stuff!
As they say, no pain no gain. If i wanted to add two more listed hills, I had to ignore my sore feet and keep going!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 192.JPG

The push to Fuar Bheinn proved less steep than it seemed from below, but at some point, I had to sit down on a rock to adjust my boots. I discovered a large blister under my left toe. The other one wasn't much better, but could do nothing about it. It was just a matter of endurance...
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 203.JPG

Of course, the mountain lamb was first on the summit, claiming her 124th Corbett!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 155.JPG

I think that from the two Corbetts, Creach Bheinn has the better views as it is closer to Garbh Bheinn, but Fuar Bheinn has its highlights, too. Isles of Rum and Eigg are visible from the summit:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 161.JPG

There's also a good perspective to another potential tough round, the circuit of Beinn Mheadhoin:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 011.JPG
I can smell a new trip to Kingairloch coming soon!

East to the mainland:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 018.JPG

We took a longer break here, eating lunch and resting our legs (trying not to think about blistered foot soles in my case :lol: :lol: ). We had been doing reasonably well so far and had more than enough time to add Beinn na Cillie so decided to continue over the Graham.
You just don't know how beautiful it is... till you see it with your very eyes!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 039.JPG
Mountains in my bloodstream

We dropped the easy, mostly grassy slopes to Bealach Coire Mhic Gugain. A small cairn here marks a faint path down into the glen - the escape route if you don't fancy climbing the Graham, but we were by now determined to complete the circuit, so ignored it and pushed up the final hill!
It was a tough 150m. Steep and hot. We were in the lee of the slope, no wind and the sun was killing us. I managed to suffer through the final ascent and run to the summit cairn with a loud hoooray!!! Loved the thought that now we had done all the ascent and the rest of the walk will be downhill. At the moment, we didn't realize how steep and overgrown the downhill part would be :lol: :lol:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 053.JPG

A lamb with attitude poses with Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn. She just climbed her 99th Graham!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 177.JPG
The next is the ton!!!

Beinn na Cillie is a lovely viewpoint and Kevin took full advantage of the good light today:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 168.JPG

Panoramic snaps of the two Corbetts and the eastern ridge of Galmadale round from Beinn na Cillie:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 045.JPG

2021-05-30 glen galmadale 046.JPG

The mainland pano:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 062.JPG

The final descent deserves a special warning: be aware, it is steep and on lower slopes, horribly overgrown by bracken. We were lucky that at the time we did it, the bracken was only half the usual size. The steep slope was a killing experience to my blistered feet, but the views, even on the way down, were so superb that I was ready to suffer just to experience a bit more of the Ardgour magic:
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 082.JPG

Just a bit overgrown... Beware hillwalkers, you are now entering the tick haven!
2021-05-30 glen galmadale 087.JPG

We fought our way back to the road, trampling over the green bracken; reaching the tarmac was a big relief! Once on hard ground, it was only a short walk back to the car park, followed by nearly 3 hours drive home. But if anyone asks me, was it worth it, I'd say, definitely yes! My blistered feet took a few days to recover but we ended our May holidays on a high!

We had since returned to Ardgour and done more hills, but I'd like to keep my TRs in chronological order, so my next story will concern a fairly remote mainland Graham. Most folks do it as a part of multiday trip, but we wanted to be original and decided to reach in a single day walk. Report in progress.
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Re: The tale from Galmadale

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:19 pm

Ticktastic! Ticking the hills off your list, I mean! :lol:

They look like great hills with fantastic views.
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Re: The tale from Galmadale

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:22 pm

This is a great circuit, as they all are in that neck of the woods. You certainly had stellar weather for it too.
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Re: The tale from Galmadale

Postby gld73 » Sat Jul 03, 2021 3:42 pm

Looks a great route, I struggle to get up early enough to go that far for a day trip though so it might be a while before I get round to making my way down there! Did you take the Corran ferry over, or go round by the road all the way?
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Re: The tale from Galmadale

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jul 05, 2021 11:29 am

Thanks for the comments, folks :D A superb circuit, deserves to be done in good weather! Ticks might have been annoying but these days you can't avoid them. I pick them sometimes just jogging in my local woodland (and I stay on well trodden paths!).

We didn't take the ferry, indeed I don't think Kevin has ever taken the Corran ferry, for some strange reason he hates it and prefers to drive around every time we go to Ardgour! I don't ask why, he is the pro driver :wink:
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