walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Sow or never

Sow or never


Postby joenorris » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:40 pm

Munros included on this walk: Geal Charn (Monadhliath)

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall na h-Aisre, The Sow of Atholl

Date walked: 22/08/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 21.2 km

Ascent: 1294m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


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



Please excuse the shameful pun (does it even count as a pun?!) in the title, I brainstormed for the entire return journey, but unfortunately that was all I came up with...

With six weeks of my summer holiday left before I head back down South to Uni, I have made some grand plans with which to maximise my time in Scotland. So the purpose of today was really to test, and begin to build up, my fitness. With just the one Monadhliath Munro, Geal Charn, left to complete up there, I thought I could make more of a day of it by tying it in with Meall na h-Aisre, and potentially Gairbeinn to the West.

Setting off from Garva Bridge at 9am, the ascent of Geal Charn was fairly straightforward (although I did initially take the wrong track!). I followed the path along the E side of Feith Talagain before it headed up the edge of Allt Coire nan Dearcag.

Image
Feith Talagain

Image
SW from Geal Charn ridge

The path eventually faded away, so I headed North, up onto the summit ridge, on which there was a decent path. I reached the summit at 10.30 and, despite the decent views, I couldn't take my eyes off the enormous temple (or 'cairn'?) on the summit. I'm not quite sure what the story behind the cairn is...

Image
Geal Charn summit

Image
Towards the Alder Forest from Geal Charn

Image
Into the Monadhliath from Geal Charn

After a quick sarnie, I cut down a heathery and boulder-strewn slope on the NW side of the summit, heading across heather and peat hags towards the second summit. There was a fair amount of wildlife to be seen - a golden eagle gliding overhead, mountain hares, a load of ptarmigan - but the most surprising site of the day I saw near the Meall na h-Aisre summit. I noticed what looked like an oversized golf buggy trundling near the Coire Gorm crags but, as it turned out, it was only a deer stalker's vehicle (when I spoke to the driver, he expressed his joy at getting paid to drive a £3000 'space buggy' up and down mountains). So the peacefulness of the relatively nondescript Corbett summit was perhaps compromised by the presence of this space machine. As it turned out, the stalkers were shooting between Meall na h-Aisre and Gairbeinn, so there was no chance of continuing with my original plan to do all three. Bearing in mind that only three hours had passed so far, I thought a good alternative would be to drive part of the way home, and pop up another hill in the Drumochter pass.

Image
Geal Charn and Coire Gorm from Meall na h-Aisre summit

Image
Towards Gairbeinn from Meall na h-Aisre

From the summit, I cut down into Coire Iain Oig, and followed this all the way back to Garva Bridge.

Image
S down Coire Iain Oig

Image
Wee caterpillar

Half an hour down the road I found myself putting my boots and gaiters back on in a layby on the A9 - the plan being to bomb up the Sow of Atholl.


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



Image
The Sow from the A9

Having negotiated various fences, the railway line, and the Allt Dubhaig, I (perhaps foolishly) opted to climb straight up the steep E face which, particularly near the top, was a tad too steep for comfort.

Image
The Boar of Badenoch from the Sow's E face

Image
SW from the Sow's E face

However, I got to the summit within 45 minutes, from where there were some decent views around the Drumochter hills, down to Schiehallion and the Loch Tay hills, and across to Beinn a Ghlo.

Image
Sgairneach Mhor from the Sow

Image
Towards Schiehallion from the Sow

On the descent, I opted for a slightly more reasonable route, cutting off the SW ridge about half way back down.

So, despite the significant alteration to my original plan, it was a great day's walking. The first walk was a fairly substantial trip, while the Sow's E face was something of a leg-burner.

Now, for round two... something a bit more ambitious...?
User avatar
joenorris
 
Posts: 92
Munros:203   Corbetts:63
Grahams:8   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Apr 20, 2011

Re: Sow or never

Postby Graeme D » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:52 pm

joenorris wrote:From the summit, I cut down into Coire Iain Oig


I think I know him! :lol:

Seriously though, this was a nice wee read. You are spot on about that haul up the Sow from the A9. Steep as hell! I did wonder when I saw the title and the hills climbed and guessed that there was vehicular assistance involved. Either that or you had lied about it taking 6 hours! :lol: Good stuff - I look forward to "Round 2". 8)
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3446
Munros:215   Corbetts:102
Grahams:64   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Sow or never

Postby malky_c » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:44 am

I was up on Meall na h-Aisre and Gairbeinn a couple of weeks ago, and I had noticed faint offroad tracks here and there. How was the route between Geal Charn and Meall na h-Aisre? I was contemplating this combination from the north at one point, but ended up adding Gairbeinn for the extra bag instead.
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5817
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:250   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   Islands:33
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: Sow or never

Postby joenorris » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:43 am

Cheers Graeme!

Malky - the route between the two wasn't perhaps as difficult as I expected. There were sections through deep heather with the occasional bit of bog and peat hag. It is certainly manageable though. As far as I'm aware there is also a line of fenceposts that goes between the summits via Carn Fraoich, so there may be some sort of path following this. (But where would be the fun in following a path?!)
User avatar
joenorris
 
Posts: 92
Munros:203   Corbetts:63
Grahams:8   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Apr 20, 2011

Re: Sow or never

Postby Freewheelin » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:33 am

malky_c wrote:How was the route between Geal Charn and Meall na h-Aisre?



Take the corrie rim route as joenorris did. The whole area around Loch na Lairige is best avoided - it's all bog and peat hags (crossed it on Sunday).


...boots dried out yet bruv? :angel:
Freewheelin
 
Posts: 307
Munros:184   Corbetts:32
Grahams:7   Donalds:21
Joined: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Motherwell

Re: Sow or never

Postby joenorris » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:39 pm

Freewheelin wrote:
...boots dried out yet bruv? :angel:


My boots have become accustomed to permanent dampness now it seems, due to my ability to submerge them in bog at least twice per walk! (Perhaps that says something about my route finding ability...)

I'd agree though - further out onto the plateau looked like a whole lotta bog.
User avatar
joenorris
 
Posts: 92
Munros:203   Corbetts:63
Grahams:8   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Apr 20, 2011

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crooksy, Scott69 and 20 guests