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Ben Vrrrrrackie

Ben Vrrrrrackie


Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:12 pm

Route description: Ben Vrackie, near Pitlochry

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Vrackie

Date walked: 28/01/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 9.4 km

Ascent: 772m

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Desperate to feed my mountain-addiction, I was waiting impatiently for the weekend, hoping to have at least one day of decent weather. Fortunately, mother nature had good news for us :D
Ben Vrackie was another hill which we saved for a winter trip - easy and quick enough. Though it's a long drive down from Inverness, we both concluded that we'd rather spend money on petrol than sit at home and watch repeats of Eastenders or whatever rubbish on TV. It turned out to be a good investment :lol: :lol:
During the week weather was relatively sunny so I took on to jogging instead of exercise machine - my knee wasn't happy about it, the old injury is not 100% recovered yet, though I've recently climbed a few hills without any pain. I didn't want to make it worse so a relatively short climb to Ben Vrackie seemed a good choice.

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We started at the usual point, car park west of Moulin, walked a short distance up tarmac road:
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A nice path goes through the woodland, it was quite busy with walkers - Ben Vrackie must be a popular hill. After a short climb we emerged into open hillside...
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...and saw our target mountain in the distance. It seemed so far away to me, I thought - it was supposed to be an easy walk, will I manage it?
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Ben Vrackie looking rather gloomy:
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The well-maintained path climbed the hillside and as soon as we were above the line of trees, lovely views opened up to Strath Tay:
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Not much snow on the surrounding lower hills, but the day was cold. We kept our fingers crossed for the high clouds to move away and make the sky a bit brighter...
Looking back to Meall Uaine:
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Snow on the path:
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A short break by the kissing gate :D
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Ben Vrackie now even closer... I was surprised how quickly we reached the dip by Loch a' Choire. Guess the mountain actually looked much farther than it really was. The cloud was beginning to break - a few blue patches here and there...
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By Loch a' Choire:
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Past the loch, the ground became much steeper and I slowed down just to make sure my knee wasn't put under too much pressure. Only after gaining a few meters, I took a glimpse back... What a lovely perspective!
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Walkers on the steep path to the summit:
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Strath Tay still in misty mood:
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Posing with Loch a' Choire:
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The final ascent seemed easy at first, walking on stone steps...
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...but soon we entered "the danger zone" where the path was covered in ice and compacted snow. Still walkable and not too bad when climbing but I imagined that on the way down it'd be a wee bit tricky...
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One more look don to the half-frozen loch:
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After about two hours of walking we reached the summit:
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Weather was getting better, with even more brightness and some blue sky. As I peeked out from behind the ridge, I was welcome by the grand pano of Ben a'Ghlo group:
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Meow! Another Corbett ticked and a lovely day to be on the top!
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We were lucky it was a quiet day, not much wind, just a breeze. We could stay on the summit for a while, have a cup of tea and a snack, watch the views, take pics and videos... What else does one need for a perfect day?
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The viewpoint indicator for all those unfamiliar with surrounding mountains:
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Summit panorama:
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Do you know who I am? It's me, Schiehallion!
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The eastern summit of Ben Vrackie:
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The trig point is situated just below the indicator:
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Eventually, we left the summit area. The hill was very busy by that time, we passed dozens of other hillwalkers heading up :D Great to see the nation enjoying the outdoors! On the other hand, descending the icy path was a bit of a dance-balance experience :lol: :lol:
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We took a quick detour to the eastern summit...
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... and couldn't resist clicking more photies, especially of the northern side :D Here's Ben Vurlich:
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Looking east:
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Walkers on the main summit of Ben Vrackie:
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As always, one picture for the infamous "me on the rock" album:
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Such a shame we couldn't have stayed any longer... Life's cruel sometimes...
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We descended to Loch a' Choire, avoiding the most dangerous fragments of icy path by walking straight down the heathery slopes. Instead of heading directly back the way we came, we took another detour around the frozen loch. It is worth adding this part to Ben Vrackie adventure, as it offers some more good views, especially towards south-west. Not to mention that the loch itself is an interesting feature:
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A glimpse back to Ben Vrackie, the day was getting even better:
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We explored the steep sides of Meall na h-Aodainn Moire:
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Adding a few more meters of ascent to our trip proved to be worthy of the effort:
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Mighty Schiehallion still in the centre of attention. Another hill on my to-do list:
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Looking down to Killiecrankie:
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We continued walking around Meall na h-Aodainn Moire and soon we joined the main path down. In about 4 hours we were back in the car, with over an hour of daylight left, wondering what to do with spare time?
Kevin suggested we could visit Ruthven barracks on the way back to Inverness. Good idea - I thought, I like this ruin and it's a good viewpoint as well. The site is cared for by Historic Scotland and is free to visit.
When we reached Kingussie, the sun was about to set, but we still caught the last minutes of sunshine on the barracks walls:
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As I said, a good viewpoint it is, barracks having been built on a motte (there was a castle here, it was badly damaged during the Jacobite uprising in 1689 and consequently replaced by the barrack buildings in 1721):
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Only the shell of the structure remains, but these big blocks are really impressive:
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The well and soldiers latrines:
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One of the main buildings is now closed and scaffolding placed inside - it's being consolidated and hopefully it'll soon be open to the public again.
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Inside the bakery:
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The stables, situated just behind the main barracks:
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Ruthven Barracks from the east:
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Just as we were leaving the site, the sun set and all the lovely light was gone. So were the batteries in our camera :lol: :lol:
Again, we had a fantastic day out. I was hoping for another good one on Sunday though forecast suggested much windier conditions. Eventually, we visited one of our favourite lochs - report to follow soon. Meow!
Last edited by BlackPanther on Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Ben Vrrrrrackie

Postby kevsbald » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:21 pm

Really like that photo of the loch. Looks a busy wee hill.
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kevsbald
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Re: Ben Vrrrrrackie

Postby SMRussell » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:53 pm

Wonderful stuff BP and some lovely photos :D Very different from my experience which was all deep snow and crazy winds, although I'm glad we weren't subjected to as much ice! Great to see this hill without the full on winter coat.
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Re: Ben Vrrrrrackie

Postby pigeon » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:24 pm

Great report this,good wee hill as well,microspikes would have been just the thing on that icy path :lol:
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Re: Ben Vrrrrrackie

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:16 am

Thats a heavy ongoing Addiction you have BP - i may have to counsel you!!

Cracking little hill this and with the Moulin Inn at the bottom you cant go wrong :)
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Location: Isle of Skye from Feb 2019 (Originally Glasgow)

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