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A wee cycle in to Carn Ban
by JOHNGG » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:44 pm
Route description: Carn Ban via Strath Vaich
Corbetts included on this walk: Carn Ban
Date walked: 03/06/2011
Distance: 40 km
Ascent: 650m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The forecast for Friday was too good to let it pass by however, and as I was in the area, a trip up Carn Ban was picked for Corbett number 200. After all, it's mostly a big cycle with a wee hill at the end, so I wasn't really walking
I parked at Black Bridge and got the bike out. The weather was glorious with just a bit of wind.
As I looked out my gear I realised that the map and guidance notes were sitting at home on my bed. Fortunately the weather was fair, and I had (I thought) a pretty good idea of where I was going, so I decided I'd give it a go, map or no map so off I cycled. The first bit of the track in is great - tarmac and fairly flat, and with the breeze behind I made good progress passing various wildlife including some big horned Heiland Coos , which luckily were on the other side of the river.
The road winds its way towards the dam at the south end of Loch Vaich, but before you get as far as that there's a rough landrover track to the right which passes through a small wood, and takes you to the hill to the east of the dam and gives you your first view down the loch Vaich towards Carn Mor. It looks bloomin miles away at this point !
The track alongside Loch Vaich is a pleasure to cycle along - especially with the breeze was helping. I didn't even mind the fact I had a puncture half way along and had to stop to fix it. As I was doing this I met a couple who had done Carn Ban the previous day and gave me some advice ("follow the cairns") and I also had a quick look at their map to confirm I was on the right track.
The track goes right past the end of Loch Vaich and towards and then round Meall a Chaorrain (a Donald) as it rises and then descends into Gleann Beag.
There are a few rough patches on the track but nothing a decent bike can't handle and the use of a mountain bike certainly makes a very long walk in a much quicker experience. Once round Meall a Chaorrain the track descends into the glen and fairly speeds up your progress.
As it was I was at the bridge over the river and preparing to start walking a little under 2 hours after leaving the car. Now some guides suggest cycling west along the track for another couple of kilometres until you get to a stalkers path, but I bumped into a couple of other walkers who planned a descent straight north from this crossing , and , as they had a map and I didn't, I invited myself to walk along with them.
The ascent isn't too tricky and I found a path of sort along the burn flowing down from Lochan na leach. Unfortunately half way up I stopped to take this picture of the ascent to Carn Ban ridge, had a sandwich and rather stupidly left my camera on a rock when packing up.
The route up to the summit is not terribly exciting, but you do get a great sense of being in a real wilderness miles from anywhere. As I ascended I noticed the small cairns on the hillside so followed them until coming to a fairly wide open hillside, but at that point you can see the penultimate top of the hill which is defined by a group of white quartz rocks on its south side. No photo as it was at this point I realised I had lost my camera
Once on the penultimate top you can see the true summit which has a large summit cairn, but the views - the views are just amazing. To the west are the Beinn Dearg hills and in particular Seana Bhraigh group which are amazing from this angle. Some very interesting ridges there ! Picture from the iPhone so not as good, but just had to take one.
To the north the eye is caught by a panorama of the Assynt hills and I spend a good 10 minutes trying to identify them all. Truly a hill to be done on a good day (bit of a miserable plod in the wet I'd imagine though)
The walk back was fairly straightforward, although I was surprised how many frogs were hopping about the hill side. It never ceases to amaze me how you can find frogs so high up in the hills . Maybe there's a frog equivalent of hill bagging.
I got back to my bike after a detour to track down my camera which was safely retrieved - hurrah ! Total walking time was just under 3 hours bike to summit to bike, at a fairly relaxed pace. The cycle back was hampered by the wind which was now a fairly stiff breeze in my face, but the downhill sections helped and I was back at the main road in about an hour 40 minutes.
This hill represents a long day if you are walking in but with a half decent bike it's a lovely day in a cracking part of Scotland and definitely one best saved for a good day.
by malky_c » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:44 am
JOHNGG wrote:Truly a hill to be done on a good day (bit of a miserable plod in the wet I'd imagine though)
I'd agree with that - I did the same route on a miserable day (although there were some promise of sunshine on the cycle in and out) and got thoroughly drowned . Didn't see a thing on the hill itself, so I am a bit envious of your report and Kinley's recent report, as it should be a great summit.
by JOHNGG » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:39 pm
I'd read your report and didn't envy you the weather you had. It would be a great place to walk in and camp over I reckon as it is a bit of a trek in and out in the same day. As the Corbetts I have left now are all in remote but beautiful spots I have decided not to rush to finish them but rather to wait for good weather to do them and (hopefully) enjoy the views when I get there. Mind you, with our changeable Scottish weather, I may be waiting some time ......
by edweirdo » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:27 pm
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