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He'd Be A Diamond

He'd Be A Diamond


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 11, 2023 2:37 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Aden (Beinn an Aodainn), Buidhe Bheinn

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn na Gucaig

Date walked: 11/09/2023

Distance: 52 km

Ascent: 2650m

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https://youtu.be/zHV0U0xLhn8?si=ce5VPBTWfy_aPy3x

Two weeks off from the hills - one weekend at Krankenhaus music festival in Cumbria (hello Avocetboy!) and one at my son's wedding on Loch Lomondside had left me feeling very unfit. Allison was in a similar state, having spent last weekend hoe-decorating. So something not too taxing this weekend was required. I know - how about that easy-to-reach Corbett we both need...Ben Aden? Just a straightforward walk in. Might be an idea to combine it with Sgurr na Ciche, though as I've wanted to do that for a while and one Corbett on its own doesn't really seem worth the long walk in and back...

We headed up on Thursday night, as is our wont. The nights are fading, the long light when you could drive for hour and still have light to pitch your tent on arrival anywhere are now gone. We also drove through a thunderstorm in Glencoe, with a spectacular bolt of lightning illuminating Beinn a'Bheithir. Allison missed that as she was doing something on her phone. By the time we were driving along the narrow Loch Cuiach road darkness had fallen and we were halted by not one, not two but three separate groups of cattle doing some night foraging along the verges. And none too keen on moving out the way either. With big horns like these fellas had, one doesn't want to brush past too closely in cape they decide to poke through the windows. Once we'd safely navigated past them there was a small herd of deer also enjoying the night time road, but they were more easily chased away. The white blur of an owl scooted by as we arrived at our destination, thankfully free of other campers. Tent up, midges abounding, darkness.

Image079AB676-0FC8-4A05-BD75-F3FDE287BB6E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr


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



When we've done Ben Aden previously we've combined it with Sgurr a'Coire Bheithe, which makes for an exciting outing. Having already done the latter Corbett thrice, there was no need to extend our route. I had drawn what I thought looked a reasonable detour up Sgurr na Ciche, although I was aware that we might encounter more crags / slabs than the map can show. We parked at the parking area, which had a small camper van plus toilet tent in situ, loaded up our rucksacks and set off. We hadn't used this start point before, taking one at the end of the loch (at least the end where it's marked on the map) - it was somewhat disconcerting following the WH route to be walking out into clear blue water on the map! There is a track though, and as we knew we'd have to walk across the river fairly soon, we just put our water shoes on when we left the car. The crossing - despite yesterday's heavy rain - was weakly achieved and we continued walking in our flats for the next few kilometres, which definitely made foot placement more mindful. We've both been using barefoot shoes for general walking I the last few months and the sensation was replicated in the water shoes.

Sgurr Mor and the track through the blue map water
Image18403A90-DE47-4128-80CD-24FE0F7B1C36_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

There once was a bridge
Image6E67651F-DFFA-4D16-BD2A-90231AF4FFC4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Ciche just coming into view
Image2F2D4E49-0EE9-47B9-90FD-6AE230541310_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2AED5865-1EE7-4B43-9787-E6E9D40E4254_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

As the morning wore on the heat increased. Sky was already cloudless and hot-blue and we paused for lunch in the shade of a large boulder. Progress had been quite slow - although it was to become even slower as the heat increased later in the day. In the past, we've camped at the head of Lochan nam Breac, which is a nice spot - but on this occasion it didn't fit with our plans. Instead, we scoped out a spot between the two dams which looked flat and hopefully dry. As we walked over the first dam we were struck by the number of spiderwebs that spanned the whole 8-foot width of the walkway, as if the resident Orb-weavers were intent on catching human prey, not just flies. Felt rather bad about breaking their lines, but there was no other way through. I ended up with one tenacious creature, the size of a small mouse, almost going down my collar. We pitched the tent, chucked the non-essential stuff inside and continued on our way with lighter packs.

ImageCF2383D0-D371-44B9-B2E9-B0F24E1C0682_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Aden, on the right
Image92807479-AF98-4EEA-9440-8756131AF04F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF9599053-6D06-46B9-A36D-83340387A63F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Luinne Bheinn
Image461359DB-4B96-4F95-B38A-49343E2B778D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr


We walked along the track/path which is fairly wet for most of its length then turned up by the side of a stream as on the WH route. There's quite a deep gully in places and we stuck to the east side of the stream for a bit. Progress became glacial - I felt as though my brain was being boiled inside my skull. We kept stopping to drink from the stream, to soak our hats and splash our faces. The heat was so intense that we dried off almost instantaneously. In these conditions there was no way we were going to be able to add on Sgurr na Ciche, which felt a pity, but a necessity. I decided to abandon the WH route, which follows the line of the stream, for the ridge to the west, partly as we'd gone up the way before, partly as I was hoping for. some breeze up there. There wasn't much more air, but I think it's a more interesting route, TBH. Eventually we reached the summit block, which is still some way from the actual top of the mountain. When we did arrive, we had the best views yet from this lofty and sovereign peak. If mountains were jewels then yes, Ben Aden would be a diamond... Our stay at the top was cut short by a plague of keds which seemed especially drawn to Allison. I had a few scrabbling about in my beard, which wasn't much fun.

Aden
Image7D2A16EC-6FB9-4AAE-8E4E-7059BFB5DF4C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image25839BED-D0E9-49A5-8CA6-0E25DD3D3C25_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9945A4BC-93D6-468A-B9D2-EA9465474986_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9F4194CE-0BC3-49F3-BC78-5F2F73D8B442_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA30DF66F-23F3-4359-84F2-0902E59B1865_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image64130442-34BE-40B0-ACBB-B5B02721E3D0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr



We chose to descend using the WH route, a long, slow affair that we prolonged by stopping to have our Huel meal on the way down, hoping this would fortify us against the still enervating heat. The evening was so still and quiet, no-one and nothing nearby. Heat continues - we had the tent door open to try and lt some air circulate. Sometime after midnight there was a familiar patter on the fabric - the rain had come, earlier than forecast. Door zipped up, the remainder of the night spent seeking sleep.

Image11490573-8409-4701-8056-AB77766BEB91_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image39421AAE-8E1A-4296-950B-70A45E08C39E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Morning had brought a change in the weather. Where yesterday's vistas had been turbocharged blue, today's were drizzle and low-lying mist. We upped sticks and set off for the plod back to the car. Almost all the dam spiders had had their webs swept away by the wind and rain- only a couple of solitary spinners remained in more sheltered spots. This alleviated the slight guilt I'd felt about breaking the webs the day before. Back at the car we considered what to do. Bhuidhe Bheinn was the other Corbett we needed in this area, and on a better day I would have chosen to combine it with Sgurr nan Eugallt onto Meall nan Eun, maybe adding in Slat Bheinn and walking round the shore of Loch Hourn to reach Bhuidhe Bheinn. Today - nah... We also needed to be back in Glasgow for a gig on Sunday evening, so another reason to shorten our visit. We decided just to do Bhuidhe Bheinn on its own from the "camping field" at Kinloch Hourn.

We arrived in the early afternoon. Last time we'd been here there was a sign barring vehicles from accessing the small camping area beside the river - some years before that it had been permissible. No sign now. No "pay for your camping at the Stalker's Cottage" sign either - to be charged the princely sum of £1. So we just drove over the bridge and set up the tent, left the car adjacent to it and set off towards the estate buildings and the steep track up through the trees to the open hillside. Last time we'd been here was walking the CWT back in May 22. Happy days... On the way up, Allison spotted some chanterelles. Neither of us are confident fungi-spotters but these looked fairly distinctive. We'd check a photo/description when we had signal higher up and collect them on our return if they were.

Image7581BD27-BF8C-411F-A45D-09C086A29741_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

I'd chosen the WH route for this hill, and we ended up doing that anticlockwise. I don't think we've come up this way before - there's a stalkers path, which like all the stalkers paths in this area is beautifully engineered. It does stop a bit short of the shoulder and we cuddled about in the mist for a bit before reaching the clear edge of the southern shoulder. The 879m top reached, we set off along the narrow ridge section towards the summit. I always forget that this section's a little tricky - today because the rain had made the rocks greasy and slippy, last time because we had to deal with unexpectedly deep snow. Summit reached without too much difficulty, it was time to track back and head off on the NW shoulder. I was using an old route on my GPS which didn't concord with the WH route (which I guess is quite new) and we ended up going too far the the NW, having to cut back over slabs terrain to reach the very welcome stalker's path. As we dropped height, the mist cleared and the long profile of Loch Hourn came into view.

ImageF9CA4FA9-1D7A-4487-B7FB-C40D7563148F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7C4E20D9-ACEE-424A-AFB1-50E986E119F1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA6D1B998-9AB3-4C8F-9D9D-77344D3D4C03_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr


We continued down the track, a little more lively now that the climbing was all over. Allison stopped to pick the dozen or so chanterelles she'd spotted, our online check having identified them sufficiently to proceed. Sadly had no means of cooking them (other than boiling, which would have been sacrilege) so she took them home to enjoy. There were a couple other tents beside ours when we returned, Wrathers. I spoke to one guy who had really suffered going through Glen Dessarry in Friday's heat, before the midges became too bad for conversation to continue.

Another rainy and craggy night, still very hot. With our commitments in Glasgow this evening, other hills in the area were out - we might have gone for Druim Fada, which is quite exciting/challenging to do from Kinloch Hourn. And again - it wasn't really weather for it either. I'd checked my options for Grahams en route home and decided upon Beinn na Gucaig, just south of Fort William as an undemanding short day out. Virtually no traffic along Loch Cuaich as we departed, although some of the cattle were still in situ and just as reluctant to move out of the way. Roads were fairly busy nearing Ft William and there was some kind of bike thing on too. Parked up at Inchree, which I see has now got a "pay by mobile" sign in the car park - a change from a year ago.

We set off, still tired and rather listless, through the woods, taking the obvious route up. We passed by the start of the track - Allison had in mind there was a clear cairn marked route up, so we walked on a bit, foraging for brambles and ended up tramping through tussocks to regain the path we should have taken at the outset. Another really slow day - need to improve fitness level PDQ! We paused for an early lunch on the windless slopes, hoping the midges wouldn't feast upon us during our stop. Then up, up and up but oh so gradually. As we neared the 575m top the clag actually lifted allowing us to see over to the summit. Our last visit had been in clag/wind/rain, so this was a bonus, even if only a temporary one. There's a small dip and a boggy, fenced area to croak before the final 70m ascent to the summit.

Image22AF9207-0821-4B0B-8062-67214915F6DB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image59F32622-402E-414A-A3D6-4D3FC2E9D7ED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0D7819E1-25C2-4C84-9FA7-DA691C86E29A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image01D0A715-A878-465D-A185-9415566417C2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We descended by the same route, rather more quickly than we'd struggled up. It was gone 3 by this time so we headed off towards Glasgow, some small hold ups on the road down but nothing too serious. Our gig was just round the corner from Central Station but with the new LEZ rules I had to find somewhere to park my evil polluting machine outside the central zone. A brief spell of torrential rain before we left the car then dry and so warm once again as we walked along Sauchiehall St. The gig was pretty successful - The Bevis Frond in an upstairs room of The Old Hairdresers, a new venue to us both. Home for midnight with ears ringing and a car jammed full of wet gear which would just have to wait til the morning.
weaselmaster
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Re: He'd Be A Diamond

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 12, 2023 11:29 pm

Jings, if you two are feeling unfit after only two weeks off, what chance is there for the rest of us mere mortals ? :wink:
Enjoyed that - stunning area especially in the great conditions you had early on - cheers :)
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rockhopper
 
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Re: He'd Be A Diamond

Postby Anne C » Wed Sep 13, 2023 9:19 am

Smashing! :clap: Heck, I feel such a lazy bandit reading about your mega weekends with big (to me) mileages. :lol:

Love that first evening photo…very atmospheric.
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Anne C
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