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The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!


Postby iainwatson » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:45 pm

Route description: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Sgulain

Date walked: 03/12/2011

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 24 km

Ascent: 1023m

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Arriving at the car parking area i was un-amused by the weather,it was a blizzard and sitting in the van felt like being on an aeroplane during turbulence and i didnt fancy this walk at all,cue a 30 minute nap to see if conditions would improve.I awoke just after 8am and the weather had improved dramatically,the snow had stopped and the sky looked like it was going to clear,added to that another 'nutter' had turned up and after a chat we decided it would be better to walk the route together.
Kenny and i set off heading for A'Chailleach and,as you do,spent ages talking about our experiences on the hills and it turned out Kenny had walked the Carn Mairg group with my good pal Thomas a while back,its such a small world! With so much chat going on we managed to miss the 'shoogily' bridge that crosses the Allt-a-Chaorainn by a good 500mtrs,no matter as the water was fairly low which was a suprise but we managed to cross without getting wet feet-bonus!
After crossing we took a bearing for A'Chailleach as the snow had started again and the wind had picked up and it slowed the progress but we eventually reached the summit and we were both really happy due to getting the summit clear,taking in the lovely winter setting which was surrounding us.From here we had a great view of the next target,Carn Sgulian and pretty much headed in a straight line toward it,dropping off the slope of A'Chailleach then back up to the first of two cairns that sit up here,a quick photo then onto the second cairn for another pic before setting off on the 7km trek to Carn Dearg.
Now,from reading many,many reports on this route its a long trek and can be very boggy in places but it never prepared me for what was to come.We had maybe covered 2km when i started to tire and my legs were aching,the blizzards had arrived with strong winds and it was pretty much a whiteout.i stopped to check if heading back to the van was worthwhile but with a descent from Sgulian and then the ascent of A'Chailleach then a fair trek back out i decided to 'man up' and get on with it.The walk up to this point had drained me physically and i was now having to challenge myself mentally to keep going,something i've only ever done once before on a massive walk in the Cairngorms,i suppose at least i knew what was ahead of me in terms of the challenge.Two steps on iced snow,third right through and knee deep in snow,another three steps on iced snow then right through up to my waist and it continued like this all the way to Carn Ban where i had to take a break to have a bite to eat and get some hot coffee on board aswell as giving my legs a well needed rest before the final push to Carn Dearg.
Just as we left Carn Ban the snow stopped and we could see the final summit which raised my spirits and energy levels and we promptly made it up to the summit,with myself breathing a huge sigh of relief.We stopped here for a wee while,dicussing the route options we had to get back to the cars and decided to head over the south top and try and find a way down to Glen Balloch which we duly did then headed for the river hoping to pick up a path that would lead us most of the way back.This part of the journey was good even though it was boggy and the track we were following was a bit hit and miss and we only stopped once to sort our head torches out for the last 3km walk out in the dark which was really pleasant with the snow that was falling.
All in the route took us 9hrs and i have to say i'm glad that i had met Kenny and we shared the walk as i found it especially tough going and it was good to have someone else there to keep my spirits up,although i'm not sure i would take on a walk of this length again during the winter months,

never say never mind you :lol:

rather than add in my pics i've add a video of the day instead
[youtube]http://youtu.be/pIXfwbQgp2Q[/youtube]

if its not embedded properly you can view it here

and i'll try and embed it properly later :D
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iainwatson
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby pollyh33 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:51 pm

Well done Iain, a great winter trek indeed!!!!!

That was fantastic that the 'other nutter' turned up :lol: Do you think you would have carried on after the first one if he hadn't????

One part of your story isn't ringing true though.... you managed a river crossing and didn't get wet :wink:

Loved this ! X
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby iainwatson » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:58 pm

thanks polly,

i would have certainly went on to Sgulian as it was close but i may have turned back at that,mind you i am so stubborn in regards to turning back i would probably carried on but finished an hour or so later

i did however under-estimate the walk,24km in the summer is fine but add in deep snow and it becomes very tough
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby pigeon » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:42 pm

Flippin' 'eck Iain looks like sheer determination got you through,good that you met up with Kenny,no sure i'd fancy that on my lonesome,great effort :clap:
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby rocket-ron » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:50 pm

Well done Iain did these in sumnmer thumbs down for these hills. I though they where so boring. Thought they would make a good winter walk
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:55 pm

I must admit I've been waiting for your report... I was doing Xmas shopping in Inverness on Saturday and weather was nasty enough in the town (heavy rain, wind, cold :? :? ) so I wondered how much nastier it could be up on this vast Monadhliath plateau. Hats off to you for determination!
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:26 pm

Great effort in that weather Ian.
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby Bod » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:11 pm

Nice video Iain.....very well done to yourself and Kenny! :)
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby jmarkb » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:19 pm

That's a tough day in those conditions! Really enjoyed the video.... :D
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:36 pm

As I said on FB - BRILL :D .
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby Fudgie » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:44 pm

Thats a great achievement in those conditions, well done.
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby Tomsie » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:52 pm

Good video and nice sounds, but cant name it
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby dooterbang » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:18 am

Thanks for posting and showing me what these hills look like.

12 hours in whiteout conditions last year for us.

I had trouble embedding my youtube vids....how you do it?
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby PhilTurner » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:50 am

dooterbang wrote:I had trouble embedding my youtube vids....how you do it?


See here.
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Re: The Monadhliath Munros,a great winter trek!

Postby kevsbald » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:37 am

Well done Iain - it took us 9 hours in similar conditions - I remember that walk between the 2nd and 3rd Munros - seems never-ending. I love the summit position of the 3rd M-point.
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