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Taking the beast from behind

Taking the beast from behind


Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:37 pm

Route description: Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain

Date walked: 16/10/2011

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 1450m

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On my last trip to Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean I was beaten by a combination of wind,rain,cloud and my own stupidity. :( I wasn`t to be deterred this time and was up for anything the mountain would throw at me. I was armed with all the necesarry equipment i would need and brushed up on my navigation skills for whatever lay ahead.thumbup: The mighty, two horned beast had tricked me last time aided by all his natural weapons. I realised a surprise attack was what i needed to beat him. Even in the days leading up to the hike, I had planned two different munros, and had never returned to a hill that had defeated me so soon after. :twisted:
I even got up late in the morning, checked the weather and to avoid the rain arrived at the layby at midday. I would normally be halfway up a hill by this time. There was no way he was expecting me :shh: There was a brisk breeze and patchy cloud above but all the time the surrounding hills were clear.
I made my way under the railway track and onto the path by the river dochart. His sight of me was blocked by the rangy bulk of Meall Dhamh and so then I decided stealth would be my best option. I jumped down to the river bank and looked for a safe place to cross without getting wet and after flaffing about a bit, undid my boots, stuffed my socks in them and slung them around my neck. I hopped barefoot across some rocks to the other side and was now hidden behind the forest. I made my way along the bogfest untill I found a break in the trees and scrammbled over the deer fence, commando style (no not that commando style :roll: ). I walked through the small clearing, clambered over old tree stumps and rotting logs until i found a road and walked along this around the forest at the bottom of Grey Height so i was now between it and Stob Coire Bhuidhe. The ridge from here up to Stob Garbh looked more interesting than going up Grey Height again.
This would be my angle of attack, i would flank him from behind. I just had to find my way through the trees to get onto the hill. I checked the map, the point i was at was the narrowest strip of trees on it and i crashed through them snapping dead branches as my shoulders charged through and down towards a fast flowing rock strewn stream. The rocks on each side were quite slimy and i picked a narrow gap to leap across. Again on the other side of here were rotting hunks of tree covered in slimy fungi and stumps scattered all over as i made my way up to the tree line towards the 732m hump at the bottom of the ridge. He was in sight now, as his head hung in the air above the pines, still he didn`t see me.
DSC00949.JPG
cruach ardrain

Once up here I looked behind me to see rain clouds coming towards me and could see various showers raining down on the valleys. I donned my jacket and carried on up onto the 857m summit of Stob Coire Bhuidhe. The wind was getting stronger and brought along the rain with it. Had he seen through my sneeky plan ? I cowered down behind the peak and feasted my eyes on past, defeated opponents Ben More and Stob Binnian who looked down on me with apathy.
DSC00950.JPG
Ben More & Stob Binnian

I changed into full waterproofs, drank my tea and ate my rations. I got back on my way fully aware that in taking this route i had probably added an hour onto my time. The wind and rain continued to batter me and even if he hadn`t seen me his defences were now up.
On my way up Stob Garbh i met my first walkers of the day, a nice bunch, well 3/4`s of them were, who regretted to inform me that I had a steep climb ahead of me up Ardrain`s east face, or his rear end, as I preffered it. Half way up I thought bugger me, this is steep enough never mind the main event ! Once I got on top of his back bumper there was no hiding place as both Cruach Ardrain and his wee brother Beinn Tulaichean came into view, I was going to have to take them both on.
DSC00954.JPG
beinn tulaichean & cruach ardrain

I considered rounding Ardrain and using Tulaichean as a warm up but thought that unfair on the little guy. Getting from Stob Garbh proved harder than I thought as it`s paths led me to cliff edges with sheer drops of around twenty feet or more and I had to work my way down and around the rocky and boggy landscape until I stood 100 metres or so from the summit. I zig zagged my way up and eventually found a path halfway up. I was now sheltered from the wind, the rain had stopped and the sky above turned blue again. I was there, I was going to do it. Scrambling up the steep hillside I turned and saw that he had one more challenge for me................ a huge dragon had morphed from the rising clouds and flew towards me.....................


















dragon cloud 2.jpg
dragon cloud



With a couple of swift jabs froms my stick I slayed this guard dog easily enough and now laughed as I realised he had thrown everything at me and I was now chapping on his back door. I poked my head above the last jagged ridge to see the summit cairn that once eluded me. I skipped round it , dancing with joy and felt the biting wind on my back again. As I rounded the cairn, a last desperate attempt to beat me had me slipping on some loose rocks and I almost plummeted off the cairn. The close up shot of cairn stones could have been my last ever, but I`d come too far, I held on.
DSC00955.JPG
near miss

DSC00956.JPG
yeeha

I quickly realised that I had to get off this mountain quickly as he obviously did`t like the taste of defeat and I headed off to find the cairn I once thought was the top.
I didn`t stop and proceded to head down , but a lingering growl behind me had me looking in the direction of Tulaichean. He looked so innocent, just sitting there, but I knew he wanted a piece of me. I checked the sky, it was getting cloudy again, dark grey, but with no rainfall and they looked to be rising. I was mindfull of the time , it was now half past four, 90 minutes behind schedule, and it would be getting dark soon. I thought, I`m not coming up here a third time, so headed for it, estimating a half hour hike to the summit, adding another hour to my time, it would be dark soon, but I had my davy lamp. So off I went , carefully noting the cairn on the way down which would lead me around ardrain on my return. Getting up Tulaichaen was easy enough, like most wee brothers, making a lot of noise but easily silenced.
Once up here I had a good look around and there were plenty of targets in sight for future adventures and turned to head back. I could hear the roar of great stags over towards An Caisteal but even with my magic spyglass I couldn`t spot them.
DSC00963.JPG
ardrain from tulaichean

Ardrain had one last go at beating me as I climbed back up, and he nearly beat me, this was another steep climb. I kept hoping to see that cairn but it was higher up than I thought. Eventually I found it and rounded the hill and down towards Meall Dhamh. My legs were now were weary, I only had a mars bar left and my lucozade sport was running out. It was now nearing half past six and I still had to climb up Meall Dhamh and descend through Grey Height. It would be dark in twenty minutes. I rested on the bealach, ate my mars bar and decided i needed some musical company. The first song to come on was the Dead Weather, New Pony, with the lyrics booming out " how much, how much, how much.............. longer?"...How apt. the next song, from the same band, the song " I`m Mad ", even my phone was f***ing with me ! Up and over the summit which i knew to be my last climb of the day and it was all downhill from here. A little bit of ACDC perked my spirits up and i headed down. I soon realised I wasn`t the maddest man in Scotland when I saw four guys heading UP the hill ! :shock: I stopped for a natter and they were full of high jinks as they walked into the darkness. It wasn`t quite dark enough for the light to be switched on and i headed for the ladder over the deer fence at the top of the tree line. When i got to the fence it was now pitch black and i was glad i had walked this way before. I knew I had to follow the slightly worn path down the side of the path and my light just picked it out. I was wary of the cows that I had avoided on my way up the first time but they didn`t seem to be around, "The farmer`s penned them in for the night" I told myself as the rain lit up in the glow. The ground below me was becoming soggyer and I slipped on my ass a few times with the sound of Pink Floyd`s Animals adding to the eery atmosphere. With just one earplug in I could now hear the rush of the River Dochart, oh how I longed for it to be the foaming white rapids that I had saw the last time but there wasn`t enough rain today to make it happen, so it was a near invisible torrent I now found before me. Where was the bridge ? :problem: I shifted along the bank, back and forth untill I found it. I was so happy now, I was safely off the mountain ....or so I thought. I marched up the path thinking about my sunday dinner and texted my wife to let her know i was safely down. i turned on the track towards the car park, to be met by the scariest sight i`d ever seen in my life !













demon cows 1.jpg
demon cows


A half dozen or so pairs of yellow eyes stared at me from the dark. Holy cow Batman, I thought, he`s sent his minions after me. Although I quickly realised they were mere cows and not murderous orcs, the shadowy horns and yellow eyes scared me sh#tless and I did my best to avoid them , clambering up the side of the path in case I scared them into a stampede . All along the path the piercing dots followed me and I dreaded crossing the bridge in case one of them stood on it blocking my path. It was clear and I rushed across, under the railway and around into my car, only stopping to change my footwear, before driving off home. :D
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tomyboy73
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:24 pm

Hope you all enjoy this tongue in cheek take on my walk :D
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby davetherave » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:08 pm

What a super report. Scared the sh#t out of me that did.
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:44 pm

davetherave wrote:What a super report. Scared the sh#t out of me that did.


cheers dave :lol:
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby MarilynMunro » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:17 am

That was something else, really interesting slant on a TR, was hoping to do these two with my son in the next few days when I get home, but won't be doing much in the way of a report as it would take some doing to beat yours.
Thanks for sharing, nice photos as well.
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:33 am

Jings TB, that's a report and a half!!!

How long did it take you to write it????

Fantastic account of your unique approached to getting up them hills. You don't make it easy for yourself!!! :shock:

More than a wee bit scared by the glowing bovine eyes. I think I would have struggling to hold off double incontinence if I had been faced with that :lol: :lol:

Loved it all XX
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby dogplodder » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:15 am

Did one of those cows have only one eye? :lol:
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby Del246 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:46 am

Great report. There is nothing like getting revenge on a hill that has previously beaten you.
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby Fudgie » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:56 am

No one told me when I started hill walking that I would need to fight dragons. I'll need to give The Hobbit another read then :D
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby tomyboy73 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:36 pm

MarilynMunro wrote:That was something else, really interesting slant on a TR, was hoping to do these two with my son in the next few days when I get home, but won't be doing much in the way of a report as it would take some doing to beat yours.
Thanks for sharing, nice photos as well.


good luck Marilyn, and please do report on your walk , i want to see how he`s coping after that, lol, cheers mate
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby tomyboy73 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:37 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Jings TB, that's a report and a half!!!

How long did it take you to write it????

Fantastic account of your unique approached to getting up them hills. You don't make it easy for yourself!!! :shock:

More than a wee bit scared by the glowing bovine eyes. I think I would have struggling to hold off double incontinence if I had been faced with that :lol: :lol:

Loved it all XX


hi, thanks Polly, it took me nearly as long to write it as it did to walk it :lol: the cows were really scary
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby tomyboy73 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:39 pm

dogplodder wrote:Did one of those cows have only one eye? :lol:



p.s i stole that pic off the internet, do you really think i was brave enough to stop and take a picture ?
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby Mountainlove » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:02 am

hahaha had a laugh at your report and the picture of the cows eyes is just mad!!! Lol
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby jogilv16 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:57 pm

tommy fantastic report and great imagination in your report.well done.thought for a moment reading that it was going to beat you back down the hill for a moment.
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Re: Taking the beast from behind

Postby Malckyb » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:39 pm

We did this walk yesterday in perfect conditions but misscalculated the amount of daylight and got caught in the dark which made it erm..interesting!..we ended up walking through a quagmire for what seemed like miles before we found the land rover track...got back to the layby in complete darkness..those cows are spooky!!..lol...great hill though.
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