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Arwen-ageddon in Perthshire

Arwen-ageddon in Perthshire

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Nov 28, 2021 10:09 pm

Munros included on this walk: Meall a' Choire Lèith, Meall Corranaich

Grahams included on this walk: Creag Each, Creag Ruadh, Meall Buidhe

Date walked: 28/11/2021

Distance: 54.2 km

Ascent: 2754m

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Why do they have to give pretty names to storms? I mean - Arwen...that's Lord of the Rings beauty. Storms should be named after evil characters, no?

I met my old secretary, who's now a lollipop woman at our local school on Thursday morning. We got to talking about the weather and I told her I was going camping for the weekend. "Haven't you seen the weather forecast? it's Armageddon" says Rosemary. "You're mental". But then she has known that for a long time...

I did decide to go to a campsite, given the weather - we'd head back to Comrie Croft and hit some Grahams - maybe a couple of Munros on the Sunday if the storm has passed. Seems a plan. I pack the big tent, with the smaller one in reserve, just in case... A chilly drive up to Comrie, but the big storm has to come on Friday afternoon onwards, so everything's alright so far. We pitch the tent in the High Meadow, in what shelter we can find and try to guess the direction the wind will be coming from over the weekend. A good night's sleep, with no other campers anywhere in evidence to keep us awake.

2021-11-26_0923 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

For Friday we'll go along the road to St Fillans and do Creag Each and Creag Ruadh. Last time we did these two in deep snow and it was quite a struggle. Should be easier today. I tag on three Simms just to keep it interesting. We park at the beginning of the route in a parking lay-by. A pleasant walk up through oak woods into Glen Tarken. Good track - we meet a farmer in a Landy coming the other way. Bit of a struggle to ford the river without wet feet. We stick to the track, past the mysterious looking tunnel (one of the Mouths of Hell perhaps?) and then leave it to make for our first Simm, Meall nam Fiadh. Tussocks and boggy ground, the stuff Allison loves. There are two Simms quite close together, but the third one is a kilometre and a bit further away.

Image89F32AB3-008B-45A3-BAE6-45225FD5F7A0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Creag Each
Image603F92DB-1D51-4E01-A498-C37E12D526FD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6AA512F0-D21F-4995-9553-A32EA4AF89B3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Creag Ruadh
ImageF32558FE-999F-4237-A413-2D5EBC964952_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We return over the middle Simm making for Creag Ruadh, which seems a very long way from where we are considering the terrain. We make for a central grassy strip that leads up to the summit. It's windy up there. But not as bad as the predictions, so far at any rate. From here we head down towards the track and follow it round the head of the glen, which saves us having to cross the river again and also means a slightly easier gradient up Creag Each. We find an ATV track which goes most of the way towards the summit. A stunning, if rather scary sky looking west - the fiery ball of the sun is being steadily swallowed by ominous clouds, but still a golden radiance envelops the mountains. We descend off Meall Reamhar, quite craggy in places then dead bracken to contend with before we regain the track. Fortunately manage to get down before the light dies. We find a tree has blown into the road on our way back to Comrie, but only blocking one side. A taste of things to come...Back at the campsite, Allison heads for a shower while I get the tea on.

Summit Ruadh
Image007F8C49-96D1-44D1-A605-B32D6AED2B44_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image251BA411-A1A0-428A-A97E-F4A107A82BB9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFA4918A9-F4FE-46BE-BCB5-4B43ACCF1A9A by Al, on Flickr

Image4104662D-76B8-4780-A550-1B0BADB1D923_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image74292C87-6B1E-4485-AB8E-BDE034104E0A by Al, on Flickr

Tonight is meant to be the height of the storm. When I get back to the tent it's intact, but being buffeted quite a lot by the wind, which is hitting us more side on than I'd like. But the rain has come on heavily and I don't feel like trying to un-pitch and move the position of it. We'll ride it out, hopefully. We have our tea then lie in bed just listening to the roar of the wind. I don't think I've ever heard such a loud roaring, nor for so long a period. The tent is getting battered. About 10pm the side nearest to me flaps into my face with a crack. That doesn't sound good. The rain is still lashing down. Inside the tent it feels like we're in the middle of a thundercloud with roaring elemental energy all around. Before midnight the rain goes off but the wind hasn't lessened. I pull on a fleece and go outside to see the lie of the land. Several of the guys have been ripped out of the ground and two of the three poles are mis-shapen, forced into a new look by the wind and the lack of the guys. I find the pegs and replace the guys and find some bricks nearby to weigh the pegs down with. That seems to stabilise the tent and we drift in and out of uneasy sleep til the morning.

We survey the damage in the light of day. The poles are definitely bent. I remove one and insert it the other way, which gives the tent a bizarre lopsided look. We know the wind is meant to continue all day from the north, so we reposition the tent facing into the wind and hope it will be alright in our absence. The campsite owner comes up with her wee girl to find out if we've survived.
Something not quite right here...
ImageD90EC7C4-3668-434A-BB97-5FA777376613 by Al, on Flickr

2021-11-27_1021 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Today's plan is to head to Meall Buidhe which has a forest track most of the way up to it, then go over 5 Simms and head back round on the Rob Roy Way. Driving along the few miles between Comrie and St Fillans there are at least 15 separate tree-falls on the road, plus several road signs on poles that have been toppled over. I'm amazed that the obstructions have all been cleared already - not yet 10am. Brilliant work, lads. We park at the Glen Ogle parking area. It is windy but we're sheltered whilst walking up through the trees. It's a bit of a trek from the transmitter mast to the summit, really tussocky. The wind chill is icy, much colder than yesterday. At the top I realise that if we're to do the Simms, we'll be walking into the wind and will have 6-7km of terrible terrain to negotiate. Not the best for Allison's back. And it won't be much fun either. Sadly I decide that the Simms will have to be left for another day. Instead, why don't we drive down to Strathyre and climb Sgiath a'Chaise? I've done a nice looking circular route through the forest, rather than head up from Ardchuillerie as we did last time. Longer, but mostly on track. What could go wrong?

Meall Buidhe
Image17C57042-1CFD-4CF4-A5D0-371D32E9AB34_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3639F02E-1ADC-4877-B2C2-8A66D8017EB9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2DD67A62-D2B9-42EC-9139-DD78D465C218_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBA799D01-924E-4792-972B-4B85E90463DE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image59C4B724-BFA3-4679-914F-1D0F38D8889E by Al, on Flickr

This was my planned route

chaisecirc.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

This what we ended up with...

2021-11-27_1313 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It's a nice day in Strathyre - we park in the village car park and take the Rob Roy Way, which passes through pretty pine woods initially, then joins a big metalled track. This will be easy, I say to Allison. All the tracks on the map are given as the same - double dotted lines, so I'm expecting this quality of surface right to the top. After a bit I notice that I've missed a turning - funny - didn't see any junction...we track back and find a tiny grassy path leading uphill. Oh no! Things get worse as what has presumably been a track when the forest was planted is now completely overgrown with self-planted trees and scrub. We press on for a bit, hoping that we'll reach a better track but of course there's nothing to say that it won't all be like this to the summit. And it would be hellish trying to descend through this maze in the dark. After another few hundred metres, face and hands torn by pine needles I announce enough to be enough and we return to the good track. It would just be possible to get back to the car and head up the hill from Ardchuillerie with the remaining daylight, or possibly not. But I don't fancy it. I see there's a transmitter mast along the track, so surely there must be a proper way up to it? We walk further along the Rob Roy Way til we reach a quarry, which has a track heading up marked on the map. But once again, after a short while this becomes impassable due to trees. Act well. Back to the car and to the campsite. We drive through Comrie without seeing a single light on - possibly they haven't got power? The campsite was cut off this morning. There's a big wedding on at the campsite and we see they have got power restored...fortunately for teh wedding party, less fortunately for us as we get to hear the "music" from 8 til midnight. But at least there's no wind :lol:

Image9903111E-6091-49D1-AB36-028C19A11AB4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

This is the sort of track I was expecting..
ImageEBFB7368-93CA-450B-A7D9-1B2AE741B2FE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Not this...
ImageBCAAB090-8923-4E86-8A85-24A4D03616F4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

or this...
Image7AEAFD53-0715-4D79-AFD0-EC8B85CFDD98_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

No summit = hard cheese in Strathyre
Image3E394539-B2FA-49AF-90AA-E0BF9769C86E by Al, on Flickr

Sunday was forecast as a calmer day. Checking the forecast on Sunday morning, the wind is actually worse than it was meant to be, although nowhere like Friday/Saturday. We could do Meall Corranaich and Meall a'Coire Léith...they seem to have been on the radar for ages without ever getting climbed. I'm gutted to find I have taken our winter boots out from the car. Everything else is there - crampons, axes etc...but not our boots. I've been using my lightweight Scarpa Mavericks - comfy but far too cold for proper snow. Allison might get away with her boots which are a bit more rigid. I have a new pair of boots I've never worn in the car - bought them months ago but wasn't sure about them - they looked far too clumpy for what I'm used to...and they're a bit roomy. Well they'll have to do...

2021-11-28_1031 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We head up to Ben Lawers, passing more trees that have fallen across the road including a very substantial one just north of Killin. There are several large trees in the Falls of Dochart, which is all Christmassy with snow. The road up to the Lawers car park is snow covered and I take it easy. There is no way I'm driving the Bridge of Balgie road today - that road gives me the heebies at the best of times when it isn't wintery. So we park a bit after the Lawers car park and prepare to walk a couple of miles along the Lochan na Lairige. We decide to do the circuit clockwise so that we can come off the west side of Meall Corranaich and reach the road, saving some kilometres on the way back.

We reach the "track" that heads off from the road. I have memories of the heather tussocks and bogs from the last twice we've come down this way. I manage to find an ice-covered bog and disappear in up to my knees, floundering about to get back onto solid terrain. Remarkably my feet are only damp, an I didn't put my gaiters on...We make for the intake and pick up the path into Coire Gorm, pausing for lunch before starting the climb up Léith. The snow isn't bad - not more than a few inches thick anywhere, but there's often ice under the snow on the paths. Axes out for the climb up. We have - for the first time here - views from the summit. Glorious ones of white hills. It's Allison's 200th Munro...and I now need 30 to go. I was saying to her that I was surprised not to have seen anyone else out today when we notice some figures on the summit of Meall Corranaich. We can see the path that joins the hills and make for this - much better than the usual fuddling about in the mist up here.

Image5806E210-D627-498A-9A56-2B1DF53C41EB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB4ED8E32-F08C-402B-BDA1-22152A8480F0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFCDC4667-D109-4982-9F6B-C0A7B89F169F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0E3CB4AA-0B59-4CEC-BF72-A251B8EFCB84_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0706A79D-F6AC-468D-802A-6EC6E4012FDF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA903D9BA-E573-4165-B332-A086C17D5908_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

#200 for Sick Kid
ImageB6A2B067-7658-4ACA-9FAD-FAFEEDC95DEA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beard's not frozen yet...
Image2C4CB01E-BB76-4B03-93AE-EA30AE29B36C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Looking back on Léith from Corranaich
Image13E36029-F4A5-4B04-A70F-B7F4DE8F5FA4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The summit of Meall Corranaich is much more exposed to the wind than Léith was - but then it is 125m higher. We briefly consider returning via the bealach with Beinn Ghlas but I can't remember how craggy it is coming off Corranaich so we stick to our original plan. As we walk along the ridge the snow is all sculpted by the wind. We follow the path/fenceline down until I guess we're past the crags then scuttle down the side of the hill back to the road. The sun has melted all the snow on the Bridge of Balgie road, although we not when we get to the car that there's a Road Closed sign up just after where we've parked. The sun has also been busy melting the sun on the road from Lawers back to the main road, but it has frozen over and is a skating rink all the way down...once again I take it slow. Looks like quite a few cars have tried to come up and had to turn back. Fortunately no snow or ice on the main roads home.

Image76670FED-7456-472C-89BF-C3B3BB6C4E18_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image636440F9-EB1E-45A5-B18A-DB643124816A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image37E484BA-A7DE-4F38-93FE-1560D907182F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Veggie Trekker Mk5. Not a bad boot is my early verdict.
Image5B63F145-172C-4D53-BD35-64052798EB6E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image706FDECF-AB73-414A-912E-766E6B36419F by Al, on Flickr
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Re: Arwen-ageddon in Perthshire

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:02 am

I had to take a butcher's at this, scarcely able to believe that, with the forecast for the weekend, anyone had dared venture into the hills. I think I concur with Rosemary's verdict!

But it does look like you had some good walks, and the tent wasn't that bent really....
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