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Drumochter 4 makes 50....

Drumochter 4 makes 50....

Postby JonetCol » Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:10 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain, Geal-chàrn (Alder), Sgàirneach Mhòr

Date walked: 22/08/2011

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 27 km

Ascent: 1143m

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I set off from Balsporran in fairly promising weather. I'd especially been looking forward to these four, as they'd take me up to a landmark 50 Munros in my quest to do 65 in the 5 years before my 65th (2years to go). To date my biggest problems have been finding the time and living so far away.

After a hundred metres or so, I reached a path heading uphill to the right. On this path was a sign advising how to access Geal Charn. It is misleading as it should be on the main path. I met a few people who'd wrongly assumed this right turn was the path to take, only to have a steep descent and re-ascent to do when they least needed it. Not far along the main path I found the 'correct' right branch which I followed WSW over steep, stony - and boggy at times - ground to the summit ridge. From there I headed SW to the cairn. Despite it now being a fairly dull day, the pretty featureless ascent was rewarded by some fine views, particularly SW along Loch Ericht.
N from Geal Charn summit
looking E from GC
S from GC to A'Mh
SW from GC along L Ericht
W from GC across L Pattack

From the summit I headed S down a rocky path for about 2km- still enjoying the view down Loch Ericht -
along L Ericht on descent from GC
to the head of Coire Fhar where I descended SE, then ascended NE, to the long, gentle ridge of A' Mharconaich. I love long ridges - not simply because of the fine views but also the respite they allow you to enjoy them. A' M was no disappointment.
on top of A'Mh
N from summit A'Mh
E fro A'Mh
S from A'Mh
SW from A'Mh
W from A'Mh
NW from A'Mh

After a brief pause to enjoy the summit, I returned SW, where, after 700m, I met up with a line of fence posts, which I pretty much followed a further 3km SW, over easy ground, to the summmit of Beinn Udlamain.
atop Beinn Udl before the rain

I paused at the cairn/shelter for a snack but it began to rain so I set off quickly for my final Munro of the day. I stayed with the fence posts for about 1300m, to Carn 'Ic Loumhaidh. From here I descended ESE for about 1km along a path which is easily lost in the rocky, then boggy, terrain. I then ascended cross-country NE to pick up a spur leading to the summit of Sgairneach Mhor. There is probably a path but I missed it. It wasn't a problem as the going was fine .

At the summit the weather had cleared quite a bit and I was able to enjoy not only the views, but reaching the last Munro of the day - and the 50th in my quest.
N from summit Sg Mh
E from Sg Mh
S from Sg Mh
W from Sg Mh
NW(?) from Sg Mh
atop Sg Mh
My elation lasted for a mere minute or two - in other words until I took in the scale of the return to the start point. The first part of this was a very steep descent from the NE ridge of (aptly abreviated) SM.

I found the relentlessly steep descent to the Allt Beul an Sporain really hard going. After the long slog to reach that point my knees were a tad tender. The old pole was a big help, but it was still hard work. To make things worse there's a new bridge across the stream - which is good - but I landed about a km W of it so I had to struggle along the tortuous S bank until I was able to cross and join the path on the N bank. Its agood path - but stony - and my feet were getting sore. I must have been more tired than I thought as I was beginning to think my problems were over - until I realised I had to walk another 4km up the A9 from the end of the path. The hard surface of the cycle track was uncomfortable on the old plates of meat. I was generally pretty weary.

The mind is a funny thing however, as I all my aches and pains seemed to disappear as the whitewashed walls of Balsporran Cottages and the finish line came into view. Not only that, but some guys had resurfaced the last few metres of cyle track and the new asphalt surface was as comfy as a lawn.

After a hot shower, a meal, an ibuprofen and a drink or two, all discomfort was forgotten.

I guess it is now back to the drawing board to plan the next 15, but I might search the internet for a cheap plastic hip first.

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Re: Drumochter 4 makes 50....

Postby iainwatson » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:24 pm

fairly un-inspiring hills these but a good gentle round to take you to '50' well done!
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