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The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby jimandandrea » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:39 pm

Route description: Càrn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Càrn Mairg & Creag Mhòr

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Gorm, Càrn Mairg, Creag Mhòr (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Càrn Mairg)

Date walked: 20/03/2011

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1525m

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Our second week in Scotland this year and the drive up Glen Lyon in the early morning was superb. OK I accept the sky looked a tad overcast but at least the tops were clear (ish) so there was room for optimism. We parked in the car park just below the telephone at Inverar - place to ourselves. Up through the old forest was pleasant walking before emerging back into the open and realising that that cloud was getting lower.... and lower.... and lower. Following the path by the river we crossed the bridge over Inverar Burn before heading round the head of the forest and up the ridge in the direction of Carn Gorm.
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0013.jpg
Bridge over Inverar Burn: Meall Greigh behind

As we headed up to Carn Gorm we thought we should take a picture below the cloud line - that was the last thing view we saw for the next 6 hours.
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0018.jpg
Looking to Creag Mhor from Carn Gorm

Now we did look through the reports that others had done of this horseshoe and we were fair looking forward to it but as it turned out it was more of a navigational exercise and testing our abilities in not getting lost!
We made the top of Carn Gorm in good time all things conidered but that was simple stuff really as we just had to follow the ridge till it got to the pointy bit at the top. We like to make ourselves at home when we get to a summit, can see nothing and are not likely to be disturbed by anyone else...
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0021.jpg
Carn Gorm - with views of the Lawers range and beyond.

Tidy campers?
OK. Compass out, map, bearing, walk out, stop, catch up - repeat.
Write an essay on the inside of a pinpong ball: its white above and if you look to the sides you'll see white and oh yes if you look down you'll enjoy more white. No that's not actually true - did I mention fence posts. Well yes we saw fence posts. This is Andrea with a fence post:
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0029.jpg
Andrea + Fence post (and white)

The fence posts indicated that we would soon be at the top of Meall Garbh - they are a feature of the summit:
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0032.jpg
Meall Garbh summit + happy bunny

OK, Compass, map, bearing, walk out, stop, catch-up - repeat. Yes, but this was different - we had fence posts for company that would, if we were able to follow them, would take us to where we wanted to go - Carn Mairg. Now the map does show that a direct line would take you over a top, whilst contouring, although a navigational challenge would be perhaps easier. We noted the footsteps that appeared to be heading in what we took to be the direction of travel. They must have had the benefit of visability or were perhaps wise and skilled in mountain craft - either way we were pleased. Not for long however as it soon became apparent that the direction of travel was not as we desired but was in fact the route taken by those who had opted to only do two out of the four Munro's on the Horseshoe. OK, I admit I made a mistake and I deserve to be punished - walk back to where we started this mess and when we knew where we were and now do as you had originally planned.... OK, compass, map, bearing..... repeat.
Eventually we made it but the mood in camp was not good and I think this picture really manages to capture what can only be described as euphoria:
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0034.jpg
Andrea being euphoric

Oh one other thing that I am not ashamed to admit using - GPS. Here we see our designated group leader (there was just the two of us but leadership delegation was felt crucial- she also had the car keys) looking very impressive in locating our current position as we progressed on to Creag Mhor - I just waited till the GPS fixed our position. The reason was because we had managed to skirt the top of Meall a' Bharr on route to Carn Mairg and planned to do the same for the route to Meall na Aighean by skirting Meall Liath. Bingo - goal achieved.
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0040.jpg
Creag Mhor summit

So that was 4 Munro's and no views from any of them. It was cold, visability was still poor so to say we were not happy bunnies would not have been a million miles from the truth - but we were heading back to the car and who knows. Maybe as we descented down tbelow the cloud at say, 300m, we might see something.
All day I had said - I think its clearing you know and all day I was not only proved wrong but I believe I could actually see her fists clench as I said it - however it turned out this time to be true. Initially the clouds just seemed to be less dense.
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0052_edited-1.jpg

Then a bit more
Carn Gorm Pana 2 March 11.jpg

Is that the sun I see?
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0086.jpg

Now your talking..
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0092_edited-2.jpg
Looking onto the Lawers range

Now it really doesn't take much to forget the 4 we had done seeing nothing when, in the end you get a right good view.
Carn Gorm 4 Munro's March 11_0135.jpg
Meall Garbh and An Stuc

So it was back to the car and pleased with a great first day: good navigation and great views over Lawers.
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Re: The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby ChrisW » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:46 pm

Great report and some well earned quality pics, beautiful. though the one titled 'Andrea being euphoric' made me laugh :lol:
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Re: The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby rockhopper » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:53 pm

Pity about the weather - you have my sympathies. 8) Did this route anti clockwise last October - and had almost identical weather conditions with the exception of the snow. The fence posts can be very useful though. At least you managed some views at the end - nice report and interesting read. :D
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Re: The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby Alastair S » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:27 am

At least you finished with some sun - the last few photos are great. And well done on the navigation. Only been up Glen Lyon the once but I thought it was fabulous so I hope to do this circuit come the summer.
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Re: The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby Border Reiver » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:55 am

This reminds me of the day I was doing this circuit (clockwise) on a lovely clear summer day and I was having a rest and a drink on top of Carn Mairg. Another party travelling in the same direction as me approached and when they reached the 1001m point, were having an argument as to where the summit was. 3 of them wanted to come to where I was (the Munro), but one bloke, who seemed to be in charge insisted that the summit was Meall Liath and they all passed within 100 yds of me to go to where he wanted to be, then they set off towards the final Munro. I bet there was an argument when they got back and did a check on their own maps and found they had missed the Munro by so little.
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Re: The Glen Lyon Horseshoe: Day and White

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:07 am

Like the euphoric pic :lol:

I always think there's something satisfying about arriving exactly at the cairn after that sort of navigation... though these days I've got lazy and tend to use the phone :(
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