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Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest


Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:24 pm

Route description: Ciste Dhubh and Am Bathach, Cluanie

Munros included on this walk: Ciste Dhubh

Corbetts included on this walk: Am Bathach

Date walked: 01/10/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

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I completed this climb on 1st October but that was after two previous attempts that were thwarted by a reluctant husband, cloud inversion and gale force winds. On Saturday I finally got to the top of the black chest in thick clag.

On 11th October 2010 MWIS was boasting 90% cloud free tops for north west so I persuaded my better half to come and climb Ciste Dubh. He doesn't enjoy climbing hills but he doesn't like me going off on my own so this was a big concession and I was hoping the long muddy walk in wouldn't scunner him.

As we started up An Caorunn Beag we couldn't see a thing and it didn't improve as we reached the bealach. A thick lower inversion blocked out everything but the bellowing of rival stags on the slopes of Sgurr an Fhuarail and there was a real feeling of sensory deprivation which had me regularly checking the compass for direction. :o Pete wasn't comfortable and suggested we turn back so I suggested we sit down and eat.... and then if things didn't improve we would turn back. :( Ten minutes later there was a break in the clag to the north west so we moved towards it like moths to the light and were drawn down into a world of warmth and sunshine in the glen to the west of Ciste Dubh (Allt Cam-ben). Even though it wasn't our original objective the relief to get into sunshine after two hours of clag was immense!

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After a pleasant wander along the meandering river and a wee climb up the slopes on the other side we could see Ciste Dubh was now clear. So we climbed back up to Bealach a Choinich. But by this time Pete did not feel like any more climbing and suggested I go on and do the hill while he waited for me in the bealach. I was tempted.... 8) but if the mist returned it could have been an uncomfortable wait for him so in the interests of our marriage I declined!

Am Bathach above cloud inversion in Bealach Choinich
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View south from Bealach Coinich
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The full length of Am Bathach from Bealach Coinich
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Once out of the mist still lingering in the glen we got a lovely view of Loch Cluanie in the sunshine.

Loch Cluanie in autumn sunshine
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As we tucked into food by the window in the Cluanie Inn it was frustrating to see Ciste Dubh so clearly now without any hint of the cloud that caused us problems earlier!

I came back to finish the job on 14th May 2011 - this time to include Am Bathach. It was gizmogirl's first hill since breaking her ankle and we thought Am Bathach would be a nice easy one to ease her back in :? but on the day it proved quite challenging!

Chris, Janice and Moira on lower slopes of Am Bathach
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Battling strong winds and rain
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Ups and downs on Am Bathach
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Path was wet and it was bitterly cold
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Looking south on Am Bathach
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Chris and Janice returned with Moira from the bealach while Canadian friend Penny and I continued up Ciste Dubh. We met a couple coming down the muddy part to the right of the craggy bit and they said to be careful at the top as the winds were something awful and to be sure and turn back if it got too bad. :shock:

Looking back at Am Bathach from foot of Ciste Dubh
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Am Bathach again
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Penny on Ciste Dubh
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East face of Ciste Dubh with top in cloud
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At this point the wind gusts were so ferocious we could hardly stand never mind walk. :shock: We sat down to wait for the wind to drop... People had spoken of a narrow arrete and in the cloud the path ahead looked worse than it was so when the wind didn't ease I reckoned the sensible thing to do was turn back. I felt bad for Penny who lives in Oxford and doesn't get many chances to bag Munros and afterwards she told me she was gutted and had it been up to her she would have carried on. :? So now I feel extra bad.

Sitting on path waiting for wind to drop
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On the descent Penny with An Cnapach ahead
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The walk back to the Cluanie was uneventful apart from a sudden slip coming down a muddy bit which had me falling to the side and hitting my right knee painfully :shock: as I landed. I looked for a rock but there was none... then noticed my pole was very bent. At the time I thought my knee (which was already sore from the cold wet conditions on the descent) had come off worst but my knee recovered whereas the pole is permanantly kinked! :thumbdown: I limped on down to join the others in the Cluanie who were very relieved to see us safely off the hill.

So on 1st October I was back again with Dutch friend Bregtje to finally conquer Ciste Dubh. Once again MWIS was excellent predicting 80% cloud free summits in north west.

The point of An Cnapach just visible at top of glen
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It was looking like we were going to be in the 20% in cloud :o
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The point I reached with Penny before turning back
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The last part of climb was easier than I expected
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Dutch friend Bregtje on her 3rd Munro - but no views! :(
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The dogs not bothered about lack of views as long as they got their carrots 8)
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Start of the descent
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We passed a party of 18 on the single file path on An Cnapach who were full of good cheer celebrating Gordon's final Munro which included all the tops. :D Gordon looked a fine chap and was carrying what looked like copious amounts of champagne for all his buddies to share in the celebration. As we continued down I explained to Bregtje what happens when folk complete all the Munros and have a bit of a shindig with their pals. I think she was a bit concerned about these folks slithering down this muddy hill cum quagmire without all their senses fully engaged! :lol:

On the way up I'd chosen a line over to the right avoiding the bogs in the bealach but on the return we followed the path through them. We were still in the clag and together with the anguished bellowing from stags it felt like a good setting for a horror movie. :shock:

Bealach in cloud
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Bregtje is studying Scottish archaeology and was intrigued by a ruin of a circular wall lower down the glen. Does anyone know when it dates from? I had the feeling it wasn't that old.

Ah, I must be up to my quota of pics so will add the one of the circular wall later. I've noticed some reports manage to include more than 25 pics. How do they do this? 8)
Last edited by dogplodder on Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby Alan S » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:01 pm

Great report and pics dogplodder, always like a wee inversion 8)
dogplodder wrote:I've noticed some reports manage to include more than 25 pics. How do they do this?

I think this can be done if the user uploads the pics outwith walkhighlands eg photobucket,flikr etc.
I just post a reply myself adding more pics in the reply :D
Hope that helps
Last edited by Alan S on Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Well done! Just a shame you missed the views from the summit... well, that's just Scottish weather.
I walked exactly the same route last Wednesday and absolutely loved it :D I'll be posting my report soon. Cheers.
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby ChrisW » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:21 pm

Great report dogplodder and some really beautiful pics in difficult circumstances.
I think she was a bit concerned about these folks slithering down this muddy hill cum quagmire without all their senses fully engaged

Some people may suggest we don't have all of our senses engaged to do it in the first place :lol: :lol:
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:56 pm

Here's the pic of the circular wall. Bregtje's over from the Netherlands doing Scottish Studies including some Archaeology and wondered if this went back to the circular dwellings of the Iron Age but to my untrained eye it looked more recent than that - maybe an animal enclosure?

DSC02378-large.jpg
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:03 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Well done! Just a shame you missed the views from the summit... well, that's just Scottish weather.
I walked exactly the same route last Wednesday and absolutely loved it :D I'll be posting my report soon. Cheers.


I'll look forward to seeing it. :D

Having been up before I was sorry for Bregtje not seeing anything. I had a print out of the Walkhighands guide so took it out to show her what she should be seeing from the top!
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:12 pm

alan s wrote:Great report and pics dogplodder, always like a wee inversion 8)
dogplodder wrote:I've noticed some reports manage to include more than 25 pics. How do they do this?

I think this can be done if the user uploads the pics outwith walkhighlands eg photobucket,flikr etc.
I just post a reply myself adding more pics in the reply :D
Hope that helps


Thanks for the tip!

Here's another couple of dog pics just cos I'm daft about dogs :roll:

A' Chralaig above inversion from foot of Ciste Dubh
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Jack and Tess in their element :thumbup:
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby Bod » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:41 pm

Great stories and great efforts.... :D
Like the look of this walk very much, maybe get there soon? Lovely to see the dogs so happy....
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag round the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:30 pm

ChrisW wrote:Great report dogplodder and some really beautiful pics in difficult circumstances.
I think she was a bit concerned about these folks slithering down this muddy hill cum quagmire without all their senses fully engaged

Some people may suggest we don't have all of our senses engaged to do it in the first place :lol: :lol:


Some of my friends share this sentiment exactly. :lol:

But does anyone out there have any idea about the circular wall? 8)

I told Bregtje someone on this site would be bound to know something! :D
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby MarilynMunro » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:16 am

Your first photo looked like it promised so much for the day, in the end I think you had a bit of everything :lol:
Really liked your photos, a very interesting looking walk. Sorry your friend didn't complete the walk, you shouldn't feel so bad, a safe call is best.
Still no update on the ruins, :?
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Re: Lower inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:44 am

MarilynMunro wrote:Sorry your friend didn't complete the walk, you shouldn't feel so bad, a safe call is best.


Thanks MM. At the time it felt the right thing to do but when I went up on Saturday and it was so easy I wondered if I'd been over cautious. But it was a ferocious wind which isn't what you want on a narrow exposed ridge!

MarilynMunro wrote:Still no update on the ruins, :?


Maybe there are no archaeology buffs on here :?.
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Re: Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby kath098 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:43 pm

I think the structure you mention is a fank - a place for coralling sheep for closure inspection. The word itself seems to be limited to the West of Scotland. I heard it first on Islay where they still called the process of dipping 'fanking'.
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Re: Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:30 pm

kath098 wrote:I think the structure you mention is a fank - a place for coralling sheep for closure inspection. The word itself seems to be limited to the West of Scotland. I heard it first on Islay where they still called the process of dipping 'fanking'.


Thanks Kath :D thought it was something like that!

Not looking good for us getting out on Saturday! :thumbdown:
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Re: Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby goth_angel » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:07 am

Some nice pics there. How exposed is the bit at the top? Path looks better than I would have expected.
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Re: Cloud inversion, gales and clag around the black chest

Postby dogplodder » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:09 am

goth_angel wrote: How exposed is the bit at the top? Path looks better than I would have expected.


Path is pretty good and less exposed than a lot of other places I've been. :D Still wouldn't fancy doing it in gale force winds though!
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