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A Rannoch Ramble
by PeteR » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:00 am
Route description: Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg from Corrour
Munros included on this walk: Carn Dearg (Corrour), Sgor Gaibhre
Date walked: 15/01/20129 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Then last weekend I had headed up to the Loch Lochy Munros planning to bag Sron a Choire Gairbh and put right a bad day from New Year’s Day a year earlier. The tail end of 2010 and the start of 2011 had been pretty rough for me. Circumstances had meant that I was having to drive from my home in Ayrshire all the way down to East Sussex on the south coast, often at short notice and often overnight with little, or no, sleep. It wasn’t until I started that particular walk on New Year’s Day 2011 that I discovered just how run down I was and I’d struggled to reach the saddle of Cam Bhealach, let alone the top of Meall na Teanga that day
This time round a combination of less than appealing weather on the day, worries about my car and a general defeatist attitude before I’d even got out the car when I parked up at Kilfinnan meant I didn’t even mange the easy Munro of Sron a Choire Gairbh, bailing before I hit the summit – seems this is one easy Munro that is reluctant to yield to me for now
So by now I was feeling pretty wound up with my faltering start to the year and I think MrsR was sensing my frustration (but then 2011 had had a faltering start too, although by the end of the year I’d touched the summit cairn of 73 new Munros and a couple of new Corbetts to boot – so perhaps I shouldn’t lose hope for 2012 just yet ).
So the therapy.
A nice early rise and 160 mile road trip ending parked up opposite Loch Eigheach just at the sun was beginning to rise.
I spent a little while wandering around here first, before getting sorted and heading off on my walk. The route was an old Road to the Isles and the remote Munros of Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. If time allowed I was also hoping to include the Corbett of Meall na Meoig on the return, as the map suggested this should be reasonably easy. But for once I was really keen to just enjoy the walk and take my time if I wanted, rather than rush about in a desire to tick hills off lists just for the sake of it
It didn’t all quite go to plan, but all in all this was an excellent day out on some (in my opinion) unjustifiably unfashionable hills. Didn’t see a single soul all day, so was able to enjoy the hills entirely to myself, except for the herd of deer I managed to scare off early on
Arriving at the start it was promising to be a nice crisp, clear winter’s day, although the forecast had suggested the risk of low level cloud in patches. I was just hoping my luck would be in and I’d avoid any of these low level patches.
The initial walk along the right of way to Corrour and Fort William was excellent, easy going and the ridge to my first destination was soon in view – the two Munros themselves like to keep themselves well hidden from prying eyes
The track fords the Allt Eigheach, but luckily there’s a footbridge to prevent the need to get wet feet so early on.
As with the ground the bridge was well and truly frosted, giving me a slight cause for concern that I might end up A over T and in the water, but I managed to skilfully make my way across without incident
From here the route is an easy walk up past a small plantation, where the route turned left, again still easy, and headed round the base of Carn Dearg’s southern(?) ridge. I probably should have headed up onto the ridge a little earlier than I did, but instead I decided to follow the Road to the Isles a bit further until it levelled out, at which point I made a direct ascent up on to the ridge (well, direct-ish, as although the grass was good to walk on there were plenty of patches of icy ground to manoeuvre through. By now the views toward Glen Coe, the Mamores and the Grey Corries were starting to open up.
The ridge was nice and frosty, with a dusting of snow and some bigger patches of snow dotted around the place.
I soon discovered the path to the summit, but to be fair it didn’t really matter whether I stuck to the path on such a good day, as the route along was pretty easy. I was ambling along, enjoying the increasingly expansive views across Loch Laidon and the Blackwater Reservoir, as well the Grey Corries, Mamores and the hills of Glencoe and off to the Bridge or Orchy hills as I went Strange, but I hadn’t appreciated just what a great position this was to see so many great hills, and from a different perspective
Even got treated to a nice view of the Ben and Aonach Beag as well
It was around this point that the one downside of my walk started to manifest itself Both my heels were starting to rub, but I was not deserving of any sympathy. Rather than stop and effect repairs before things got any worse I simply carried on, getting increasingly more sore as the day went on It turned out, on my return home, that the material had worn away and I was rubbing up against the hard plastic at the back of the boot. Some urgent repairs are in order
Approaching the summit of Carn Dearg and the summit cairn came into view just as the mist started to roll in What are the chances of such a thing happening
But the good news was that the mist was only intermittent and there were plenty of chances to soak in the views and get a few pics as well. I had to be quick though as when the mist came, it arrived pretty damn quick, before clearing again a few minutes later.
The only disappointment was that the Alder hills seemed to be holding more cloud, so the views in that direction weren’t quite what I’d hoped for. But it wasn’t raining, or blowing a gale, so I’m not going to be too harsh on the weather.
A quick text to MrsR to let her know all was well and after a short stay on the top I was on my way. From the summit the walk down off of the hill to the Mam Bam and Sgor Gaibhre was something of a contrast. From grassy slopes to scree and rocks – all of which had a nice coating of slippery ice on them Initial progress was slow, but eventually I was on some easy patches of iced snow which made progress much quicker.
And the suggestion from the weather was that I might be lucky and end up with two cloud free Munro summits!!!
As I started to head up Sgor Gaibhre I made the mistake of believing everything was as hard as ice, as I stepped onto a patch of peat hag which looked pretty frozen to me. I’m certainly no heavy weight, but the ground gave way and as I sank in I could be heard saying something like “oh dear, what a pickle” (ok, there was a sweary word or two in there too )
Having extricated myself from the bog it was then a bit of a plod up to the summit. Mist came, and mist went, and at the summit it was a bit of a repeat of my earlier experience on the top of Carn Dearg. The views were there, but initially I had to be quick with the camera, as the mist was rolling in and out. all the time.
Eventually though it all settled down and I spent a little while on the top taking it all in. Good views to Beinn a Chaorainn and Beinn Teallach, but still the Alder hills were hiding. Loch Ericht looked good too, although again the hills of Drumochter weren’t for showing themselves to me either.
No reception though, so couldn’t check in with MrsR Always a worry for me that, as I know she panics if the radio silence lasts too long, and this time I knew I’d have no reception until well on my way back to the A9
The view to the Corbett of Meall na Meoig looked good and off I set. I had a plan for how long the descent might take me, but as I mentioned earlier I wasn’t for rushing. I was keen though to avoid a Redrock moment and find myself on the top of a hill as the sun started to fade. The final descent onto the Bealach Leathann at the base of Meall na Meoig took a little longer than planned, as it was quite steep in places and all a bit messy. One of those undulating sections with no obvious (to me anyway) route down.
By now it was 2.45 and I had a decision. Commit to tackle the Corbett or be satisfied with the two Munros and head off the hills and back to the car. My heels decided things for me They were sore and I didn’t much fancy any more climbing up So it was only to be the two Munros today.
If there was a path to follow off this saddle, then I didn’t find it. So it was a fairly slow progress to eventually find the landrover track (man that was a rough, rubbish track) d and the route back to the Road to the Isles. At the time I was thinking it might actually have been quicker to tackle Meall na Meoig and find my way down off Beinn Pharlagain instead. But then hindsight is a wonderful thing. There was nothing I could do about it now, so no point in stewing over it. I’ll just have to come back one day and pick off that bit of the ridge then
As I was walking (hobbling by now) back I could see the sun reddening the sky and was lucky enough to get something of the sunset over the west toward Glencoe
Although the light was pretty much gone when I arrived back at the car there was never a need for the head torch. All that was left was to get myself sorted and enjoy the long drive home, stopping when I could to put MrsR’s mind at rest that I was ok and nothing tragic had happened on the walk.
Overall a great day out These two might not win any beauty contests or appear in many people’s top 10 hills, but nevertheless I really enjoyed the walk and the views along the way. Here’s to plenty more days like this in the weeks to come
by ChrisW » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:57 am
by MarilynMunro » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:10 am
by iainwatson » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:46 am
a very different day from when i walked these two last year,
that road out to there from the a9 is a nightmare!
by jonny616 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:42 pm
by Collaciotach » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:43 pm
by pollyh33 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:53 pm
Narrative is gorgeous and touching as ever and your photographs never disappoint
Wishing you a fabulous 2012 and even better one for Mrs R!
by tamw51 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:16 pm
by 2dalmatians » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:07 pm
by 2dalmatians » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:08 pm
by kevsbald » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:10 pm
by PeteR » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:04 pm
by pigeon » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:03 pm