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Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....


Postby jstalker66621 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:05 pm

Route description: Schiehallion

Munros included on this walk: Schiehallion

Date walked: 30/01/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 731m

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I knew last week that I had the day off today for going hill walking, but until Sunday did not know for sure where that walk would take me. I had been in conversation with fellow walkhighland member Pollyh33 during the week, as we tried to get together for a walk that neither of us had done previously. When this did not work out as intended we agreed to settle on Schiehallion, as Polly had not done it and neither had Jelly McBaby, with a view to doing our next Munro together one that Polly has done and I have not (most probably Beinn Ime).

I have previously climbed Schiehallion on three occasions...once with Asima in 2006 (my first time) then with Baino and Barnett in July 2007 after the Lawers group the previous day (poor Bob never made it out of the car, claiming that we had burst him doing five the previous day) and lastly with Mhairi in 2008 on one of the hottest days of that year...but this would be my first time in the snow (and without a view unfortunately).

Schiehallion is one of my favourite mountains, ranking at 59th in the Munro table at 1083m, and is visible from many other Munro's around the country due to it's isolated location and conical appearance from the west.
Schiehallion's isolated position and regular shape led it to be selected by Charles Mason for a ground-breaking experiment to estimate the mass of the Earth in 1774. The deflection of a pendulum by the mass of the mountain provided an estimate of the mean density of the Earth, from which its mass and a value for Newton's Gravitational constant G could be deduced. Mason turned down a commission to carry out the work and it was instead coordinated by Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. He was assisted in the task by mathematician Charles Hutton, who devised a graphical system to represent large volumes of surveyed heights, later known as contour lines.
Part of the mountain was also purchased by the John Muir Trust in 1999 and a renovated path was built, due to previous erosion of the old path, which now leads to the base of the east ridge.
It is also claimed that Schiehallion is the centre of Scotland. The justification is that the line of latitude midway between the most northerly and southerly points on the Scottish mainland, and the line of longitude midway between the most easterly and westerly points, intersect very near the summit of Schiehallion.

Phew, enough of the science geek bit and on with the walk!!!

We met up at the Braes of Foss car park (agreed for ten, but I will forgive the tardiness on this occasion) following a strange journey down (BLOODY SAT NAV WOMAN!!!!) and were ready to go by half past ten.
The mist was swirling thick around the flanks of the mountain and visibility was going to be little or nothing at all further up (it ended up being nothing at all).
The new path is as good as I remembered it to be and we made good time along it as we chatted away about a variety of subjects (hills, equipment, food) and before we knew it we were already climbing up the frozen steps almost a third of the way in.
Just ahead of us were an older couple that had passed me in the car park whilst I was waiting patiently...They stopped for a brief blether then headed off again across the first patch of snow on the way up. They stopped again to let us pass as they had decided to only go as far as the ridge then return.
We pressed on into the worsening conditions, wind whipping up the loose snow around us, mist getting thicker with each step. The path was mostly obscured by snow, those parts that poked through were frozen solid and slippy.
Each turn seemed to take us face on into the wind, the temperature felt like it had really dropped as our rucksacks, jackets, hats and gloves all started to freeze up.
I recognised a small cairn on the route, encased in rime ice, from previous visits. Slightly further on from there a small stone shelter sits on the path, usually a good protection from the wind, but was full of snow and ice. Around this point I decided enough was enough and I needed the extra protection of my hardshell to keep out the worst of the chilling wind. Cheers to Polly for holding my sleeve for me or I would have struggled against that wind for ages before getting my arm through...
The wind seemed to kick up another notch as we battled into it, heads down and hoods pulled tight, the snow thickened beneath our feet as we stepped out of rocky areas on the flanks of the east ridge, then thinned out again as we again stepped through large boulders beneath us. I was having trouble seeing anything in front of me...including my GPS screen (which all looked blank against the brightness of the snow) so decided to put on my new goggles (which I had reluctantly bought after slagging Spot (Andy) off on a previous trip in November)...what a godsend they proved to be!! From everything looking/feeling blurry around me as the snow made everything look white and shapeless I suddenly had clarity of vision. Now I could make out shapes of rocks and see the edges of the corrie to my left. They also help keep the worst of the wind off my face...but I do look a balm in them, of that there is no doubt!!
We picked our way along the remainder of the ridge, up through the boulders and were soon on the summit ridge itself...which we picked our way along carefully as there is a massive drop off to the left and the cairn sits right on the edge of it.
Once at the summit I got Jelly McBaby out of my frozen rucksack and positioned on the icy cairn.
A few pics taken it was time for a bite to eat...custard and ginger cake from my flask...then a slice of Mum's cake for energy (shared with Polly) and then off as quick as possible before my fingers froze solid!!
Poor Polly already had frozen hair sticking out of her hat...

The return plan was to follow our footsteps back, though this proved harder than envisaged as the wind had already eradicated most of them!! On the way off the summit we met another couple coming up, looking every bit as frozen as us.
The mist seemed even thicker on the way back down and visibility was poor.
The wind was at least at our backs now and I think it helped to blow us down a bit quicker, though I was stopping constantly to check our position for fear of wandering too far to either side in the whiteout.
Eventually the path returned beneath our feet and as we made our way off the hill the weather cleared enough to let us take a few pics.
Care was taken on the return path, more so lower down than higher up, as the steps were like a skating rink!! We returned safely to the car just in time for a brief flurry of snow to descend on us. Polly got the tangfastics out (horrible fizzy sweets) and we said our farewells until the next time...

I thoroughly enjoyed my fourth trip up the fairy hill of the caledonian's...even without the views of previous trips...and will happily return again and again no doubt before I'm done.

SatNav lady tried to catch me out again on the journey home but I was having none of it this time...I can see her getting replaced!!!
Until next time folks...if you consume pink cocktails on a Saturday night do not be surprised when your pee is still pink on the Monday!!!





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jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Crackin' report John,

Can't understand why you didn't post it sooner :lol: :lol:

Thanks for a fab day out with you and the organ-grinder, you guys were amazing!

Looking forward to Ben Ime aka payback time :D :D

PS thanks for not posting any photos of my knackered face :shock:
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pollyh33
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2575
Munros:282   Corbetts:15
Grahams:5   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Location: Rutherglen

Re: Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Postby SusieThePensioner » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:49 pm

I think there is a feeling of deja vu here :lol: I read it and thought, now is that different to the blog......don't think so!!

Still a great report and photos :thumbup:

pollyh33 wrote:Can't understand why you didn't post it sooner
Just trying to confuse some of us :?


pollyh33 wrote:PS thanks for not posting any photos of my knackered face

Yes, big thanks, John :lol: :lol: Only joking Polly x
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SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1543
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:108
Wainwrights:156   
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

Re: Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Postby jstalker66621 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:31 pm

pollyh33 wrote:
Can't understand why you didn't post it sooner :lol: :lol:



Posted under duress as you well know!!! Not helped by everything failing to save when I tried to post it last Friday!!! No wonder I prefer to blog instead...
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Postby jstalker66621 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:35 pm

SusieThePensioner wrote:I think there is a feeling of deja vu here :lol: I read it and thought, now is that different to the blog......don't think so!!

pollyh33 wrote:PS thanks for not posting any photos of my knackered face

Yes, big thanks, John :lol: :lol: Only joking Polly x



Got grief off Polly for not uploading it on here...after all the bother I go to in having a blog...she just doesn't understand!!

There were no pics of her knackered face...I tried but I think gremlins got to them... :wtf: :wtf:
jstalker66621
Walker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:257   Corbetts:6
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Double cherry pop on Schiehallion.....

Postby SusieThePensioner » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:24 pm

jstalker66621 wrote:No wonder I prefer to blog instead...
Well I certainly enjoy the blog :D

jstalker66621 wrote:There were no pics of her knackered face...I tried but I think gremlins got to them...


Perhaps the gremlins censored them :lol: :lol:
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SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1543
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:108
Wainwrights:156   
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

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