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Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh - Garve - Lochluic

Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh - Garve - Lochluic


Postby Norman_Grieve » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:13 am

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Càrn Faire nan Con, Sgùrr Marcasaidh

Date walked: 16/02/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16 km

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Scaled Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh en-route fae Garve tae Lochluichart stations yesterday.
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Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posts: 378
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Herebe the photos.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:52 pm

Herebe the photos.

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Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rte map:Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh - Garve - Loch

Postby Norman_Grieve » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:35 pm

As the more observant o' youse may hiv already noted, ah've noo added yon route map. :?
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TR pt.1e

Postby Norman_Grieve » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:17 pm

Made ma leisurely way doon the longest, steepest hill in Airberdin, sans brakes in the pre-dawn darkness tae stash ma steed in it's city centre hideyhole, thence proceeded doon the pathless dual underpass and past the still closed ticket office at 6am. There followed a very brief sojourn on the platform, where I noticed the same jeans & trainer clad, aging, straggly bearded, stringy chap who'd been a fellow traveller the last time I'd caught the first HC bound train, some months earlier.

The train already standing at the northbound platform saw fit tae unlock it's doors very soon after my arrival and I alighted, piling up ma jeckets atop moi rucksack tae form a rudimentary pillow, intent on grabbing a wee bit o' shut-eye at the godforsaken early hour. Another blast fae an even more distant past then sat doon just across the way, that being my sole fellow passenger on several o' ma very early starts last spring catching the discontinued 5.05am bus, a youngish, tallish, slimish Indian lady.

Approaching Dyce there was a good deal o' merriment as auld beardie & a few of his cohorts made for the front door for a rapid escape before the ticket collector called. Not long after the east european chap approached & asked for my ticket, to which I responded by producing a Sainsbury's voucher. He teld moi that he couldnae tak it and I should've used it at the ticket office before I alighted.

I patiently explained that yon ticket office was still shut, his colleagues clearly fancying a long lie in this fine morning. I teld him I wanted a return tae Garve, which he got me to spell, then made to operate his wee machine tae produce a ticket. He then thought better of it and asked me if mebbe I wasnae eligible for an over 55 Club ticket. Honest to a fault I reacted with horror that he could possibly think I might be so ancient.

He then retreated, saying he'd come back to ma later, which after some time he indeed did. The fine fellow then said he'd decided tae give me an over 55 club ticket anyway, seeing as I'd apparently sold him some goggles. Coincidentally the price of this silver haired ticket was £19, the exact same as it'd hae bin with ma Sainsbury's voucher, which remained firmly in ma pocket for another day.

Things thence went smoothly for the next couple o' hours, as we sped effortlessly all the way tae the HC, dawn arriving around Elgin. I read a few pages of Elmore Leonard's latest offering Djibouti and grabbed a wee bit o' shut eye. Once off the train I strolled onto the shiny concourse, busy with morning rush hour commuters, staring up at the huge electronic timetable. My face fell, as I noted with dismay that the 9am train, which I'd felt sure was scheduled tae gang to Kyle o' Lochalsh, was given as terminating at Dingwall.


I resigned myesen tae a 2hr 20 min. wait 'til the 11am train tae Kyle and headed for Auld McD's for some late breakie, thinking that the delay might be no bad thing, as rain was forecast to clear up in the afternoon. After a rather greasy bacon & egg bagel and large cuppa, I headed for the bus station, intent on working on ma previous Arranian TR, in the adjacent public library. This was a rather frustrating exercise, as each time I'd logged on to their visitors' PCs and opened up my EMail & the Scottishhills site, I found I had precious little o' ma 15 mins session left.

A librarian lady, perhaps noting my frustration, eventually teld moi that next time I should ask wan o' them if they could extend ma time, shortly before the 15 mins was up, which I then did. Thence having used up all my time I headed back tae the station, where after a brief sojourn in the large waiting room, I noted that the Wick train had arrived and made my way oot tae the platform. As I waited beside the locked door a train mannie appeared fae the stone station building tae ma left and teld ma I'd have tae go round to the other side o' the train or I'd miss it, as the doors would only be open on the far side...

I plonked mesen doon half way along the near empty carriage at a table opposite a male couple, who looked vaguely familiar, most of the other seats having reserved tickets on them, perhaps due to the lack of a 9am train. It was raining as we set off, soon leaving the HC behind and hugging the shore o' the Beauly Firth.

A young family got on at Muir of Ord, sans father and following a lengthy halt at Dingwall, we then turned inland up Strath Peffer, where we got good views of Knock Farril & Cnoc Mor, scene of a wee bimble with Wee Norm, Norma & Wee Norma a year earlier. Bearing right through the forest we then passed close to Raven Rock on the left, perhaps the most lichenous crags I've ever climbed on, the other contender being Dunlichty Crags, passed on the last day o' November last year.

We soon passed out of the forest, over the Black Water, along the foot of Loch Garve and along it's SW shore, beyond which I alighted nae lang before noon, at Garve station into the sunshine, the rain having cleared off right on queue. I walked back alongside the line, along the busy A835 past Killin farm, just over the rails to my left, then turned off right to follow a rather wet, grassy track up under one set of powerlines, parallel to another on the right.

I passed to the right of Lochview, a large house between the road & the corner of the forest above, the track weaving this way & that close to the NW edge of the plantation, gaining height steadily. This made the approach to the col between my 1st objective Carn Faire nan Con, up to my left & Cnoc na h-lolaire to the right, fairly effortless. From here I had a good view across long narrow Loch Luichart to my 2nd objective Sgurr Marcasaidh, with it's very steep, craggy east nose looking particularly impressive.

Looking up beyond the head of the loch the Fannichs were prominent, their snows glistening brightly in the sunshine, whilst closer at hand to the right the huge whaleback of Ben Wyvis rose above the Corbett Little Wyvis. I cut off obliquely leftwards above the col, following a faint grassy track well to the right of the top corner of the forest, closer to a line of wooden telegraph poles to my right again. I then quit this turning more to the left again, labouring up rougher, heathery slopes, soon crossing over a rocky forepeak, with a slight drop down to a higher col, over the far side of which was a short, sharp climb through the heather.

The angle soon lay back and I joined the ill defined short NW ridge soon leading to the rocky summit slopes of Carn Faire nan Con, the sizeable summit cairn of large rocks of which I reached before 1pm, an hour after getting off the train at Garve.
A wee sharp topped outcrop, reached just before the cairn seemed slightly higher, balancing on the edge of it's thin topmost flake proving a fair challenge in the stiff cool breeze.

I headed off SE and hadn't gone far down the easy heathery slopes before progress came to an abrupt halt at the top of a long barrier of precipitous slabs cutting across the hillside. I traversed along to the right before noting the top of a narrow wet ramp cutting down further to the right. I cautiously scrambled slowly down this, fully expecting to be repelled by an overhanging abyss but was pleasantly surprised to breach the barrier without undue difficulty.

Looking along the foot of the crags in either direction fae below, I could see that I'd happened upon the only obvious breach, more by luck than judgement. Below I threaded my way through the heather round the l.h. edge of twa further, shorter barriers, to arrive close above the north shore o' wee Loch an Dubh-chairn. I followed the outflow fae the lochan down into the trees, soon crossing the northern branch of the curiously bifurcating burn. I followed the tongue of open woodland between the branches easily enough, through dead bracken, to reach a wide clearing, where the parallel strings of huge pylons which I'd left at the col, crossed the slope.

Here I crossed the southern branch of the wee stream, slanting across to the left to reach the shore of Loch Luichart, where a high fence jutted out over the deep waters. I took a snap looking back up to Carn Faire nan Con, rising up steep & craggily above the shore, Asda later failing to include this or an earlier fine vista up the loch on the CD. I swung round the end of the fence, making judicious use of the disintegrating wooden boards, mindful of the fair, rocky drop into the water below.

Fae here I could see that it wasnae very far along the loch tae the Luichart Dam at the end of the loch, although I had to steer a course between a dense stand of conifers and the steep, high loose bank above the lochside. Still I soon arrived at a section of rougher going, negotiating a field of boulders approaching a waterworks tower dropping straight into the loch. I climbed up alongside a high fence from here, surmounting it just beyond the dam & dropping down a steep bank to join the wee road, just below it's east end.

I took a 3rd fine pic from half way across the dam, looking back up along the loch whence I'd come & up to Carn Faire nan Con - also sadly omitted fae the Asda CD. Over the other side I was surprised to see a new track had been bulldozed fae the end o' the road, where I'd oft parked a succession of auld bangers over the years tae go climbing on the very fine Glenmarksie Crag, not far up the hillside. I recalled that on my last such visit, in the spring some 6 years earlier with LF, I'd later discovered that I'd accumulated a large collection of ticks.

Although the new track lacked the charm of the wee path through the trees & bracken, up past the ruins of Soulmarksie cottage, it did speed progress, evidently heading for Glenmarksie farm. I soon snapped a pic o' the crag [last wan missing fae CD], at first thinking someone was making the best of the sunshine oot o' the wind to bag a route or twa, before realising it was a projection of rock, rather smaller than the Dog's Nose clearly sticking out at the top of the cliff.

I left the track on the right not far short of a T-junction, just short of the farm, following one of several steepish parallel large muddy sheep tracks. After a couple o' hunnerd feet of climbing the angle lay back, as I reached a shoulder, well to the left of the base of the furthest back, shorter routes on the upper section of the lower tier of Glenmarksie Crag.

There followed a fairly gentle stroll, still largely on animal tracks, climbing easily over slightly boggy ground, dotted with wee outcrops, the views opening up to the left over Gleann Marcasaidh beyond the neighbouring sub2k Marilyn Creag Loch nan Dearcag. The sharp snowy pyramids of the Corbetts Sgurr a' Mhuilinn, it's NW top Sgurr a' Ghlas Leathaid & Meallan nan Uan looked most impressive, rising above the light brown dead grass of the glen in the foreground.

There was a huge white board up on stilts up to my right on the crest of the gentle ridge, a few hundred yards below where it steepened up dramatically into the rocky headwall below the east top of Sgurr Marcasaidh. This is even clearly visible in the pic I'd taken fae across the loch back on Carn Faire nan Con, presumably a warning that 'None shall pass - death to all who do by high velocity rifle'?

Crossing the grassy track leading up to it, marked here with a large white pole, I spied what looked like yet another well worn animal track rounding the l.h. edge of the steepest, craggiest central end of the steep nose SE of pt. 506m. Beyond a boundary wall I headed across to join this, which slanted up the steep, rocky hillside, climbing up above steep scree slopes & heather down to the left. It made for a remarkably simple, swift ascent of what had looked like quite an obstacle fae below & across the valley.

Looking back I snapped a bird's eye view of the lower reaches of Strathconon, with the wee, tree cloaked cone of the neglected sub2k Marilyn of Torr Achilty prominent, rising steeply above the blue waters of wee Loch Achonachie, sparkling in the winter sunshine. As the sheep track bypassed the 506m top on the left, I cut back right high up, through deep heather, making for much more arduous going, despite the much lower angle.

The top was crowned with a couple of sizeable cairns of fair sized rocks, from which I could see the winding, undulating ridge leading a mile or so to the reigning peak a mile or so to the west. This also proved to be much more laborious than the steep ascent of the nose, despite gentle rises and falls, as it was into a stiff, cool breeze, mostly through fairly deep heather. There was little in the way of further assistance fae animal tracks and it was also a wee tad boggy in places.

Beyond the 520m next top, I briefly joined an unexpected ATV track but this soon headed off doon the Loch Luichart side. The weather seemed to be closing in to the north & south, with showers scudding past over Strath Vaich, where the distant snowy cone of the Corbett Beinn a' Chaisteil was prominent. A rather longer, steeper climb took me up to the last, higher forepeak before the summit area of Sgurr Marcasaidh, with fair sized snow patches appearing scattered to either hand.

Following a wee bit o' peat hag dodging over a last flat col around pt. 543m, I began the final wee ascent, the summit trig point coming into view just a few hundred yards to the left of the first slightly lower eastern top. Here I finished the film with a final shot past the summit towards the Strathconon Corbetts.

Shortly thereafter I was mounting the trig point 4hrs after the off, at approaching 4pm, a fine view having opened up westwards over Strath Bran to Fionn Bheinn above Achnasheen, start & finish point o' ma prizewinning TR fae last June. By now I was beginning tae have slight concerns over catching the last train back to Inverness, given that this was due in at Loch Luichart station in little over 2 1/2hr and with still a fair way tae go, over what I anticipated to be largely trackless rough going.

I still had the best part of a mile tae traverse along the ridge, doon tae the col with Sgurrachd Ire, the only slightly lower most westerly top on the ridge. Making a bee-line for this next summit, I soon found I'd dropped too far doon off the ridge towards Loch a' Bhealaich and turned right, traversing steeper, rougher slopes. I then made a gradual rising ascent back towards the ridge above the loch, disturbing a few Red Deer in the process.

Passing to the left side of the col I then crossed a wee shoulder and laboured up the last 100ft or so to my final summit of the day. The odd Raven cawed it's greeting, as I didn't linger by the substantial cairn, although I did backtrack, seconds after starting my descent, thinking that I'd better pay a visit to a slight rise just S. o' the cairn, for peace of mind, in case it was mebbe slightly higher. Turning back towards the cairn I then noticed that some grub was lying doon at it's foot, which had evidently fallen oot o' ma sack...

I once more into the breech, restarted ma descent, soon dropping off the NW side of the west ridge, rounding the foot o' some broken crags, then traversing back along their foot to the left. This soon brought me back onto the broader, gentler lower section of the west ridge, which then narrowed again, as it levelled out. There were a few spots of rain as the skies above darkened as I again dropped off the end of the ridge to the right where it steepened up again.

As the grassy slopes started to level out & get boggier, I hit a grassy wet track coming down fae the direction of the sizeable Loch Bhad Ghaineamhaich. After crossing the headwaters of the Allt nam Feadan the track wandered around the worst of the bog, keeping well to the right of the woods running alongside the Allt Loch an Alltain-bheithe. It then turned right of the wee hillock of pt. 177, changing to a much firmer gravel surface, where another grassier track track headed off up right.

The track continued to improve as it dropped down into the trees after passing through a high deer fence., giving me false hope that I would have an easy last lap to the station. After crossing a stream the going got sandy, with a line of footprints & tractor tracks increasing the feeling that it was all over bar the shouting. Given that dusk was now creeping in I was glad to see up ahead an estate vehicle and even a person standing close to the water's edge.

However, my heart sank as I approached and saw that rather than perhaps taking the dog for a wee gentle stroll, the figure got into a canoe & headed out into the loch. I then realised that the track was a cul-de-sac, leading only to a boat house... Thus retracing my footsteps in the gathering gloom, I reached the end of the wee inlet in Loch Luichart, thence soon thereafter quit the track on the right, soon crossing a slow moving stream. I then headed for a boat drawn up on the shore above another wee branch of the inlet.

Here I crossed another much smaller stream, then realising with some relief that I must've already crossed the Allt Loch an Alltain-bheithe, which I'd thought might have been problematical after the swollen spates of the previous trip tae Arran. There was a faint wee path at first running not far back in the woods fae the shore but this soon died out or was lost and I climbed up steeper ground below a high deer fence. The going got rougher & boggier as I left the trees behind and cut across behind a headland jutting out into the loch, beyond which it narrowed greatly.

I left the steeper slopes behind, veering right to cross tussocky ground, in increasingly dim light, to reach another high fence at the edge of a plantation. Again here traces of a wet path appeared, as I followed the fence down steepening ground to reach a wooden stile, close to the shore. The faint, wet, rough grassy path led between the trees close above and the loch just below, easing progress somewhat until I spied the railway embankment not far across a bay.

I gave the head of the loch a wide girth, given the encroaching darkness, to minimise the chance of disappearing into hidden depths lurking betwixt the tussocks. Thus I slanted left for a fair way before climbing up onto the railway embankment beyond a rock cutting. Turning right I soon passed over the viaduct above where the River Bran entered the loch and a few more minutes doon the track, along a dripping cutting through the trees took me to the station by 6pm.

Here I had a 40 min. wait for the last train, having a mild heart attack when I noticed a large notice inside the wee waiting room, detailing some timetable alterations. I quickly scanned it hoping that I didn't have another nasty surprise awaiting moi ie. nae last train but instead the answer to the mystery of the 9am terminating at Dingwall was revealed. It transpired that due to a massive landslip at Stromeferry a few weeks earlier the onward journey was by bus, thus I could have started walking a couple of hours earlier after all... :roll:
Last edited by Norman_Grieve on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Norman_Grieve
 
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That's nearly all folks!

Postby Norman_Grieve » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:50 pm

Das ist alles mein volk.
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Re: Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh - Garve - Lochluic

Postby mrssanta » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:18 pm

I need to take a holiday tae read that!!
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Holiday in the sun.

Postby Norman_Grieve » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:52 am

mrssanta wrote:I need to take a holiday tae read that!!


OK, just tell me where we're goin' and I'll awa & get the tickets. :D
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Re: Carn Faire nan Con & Sgurr Marcasaidh - Garve - Lochluic

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:20 pm

Chord ruim an sgriobhadh agadsa ......... i enjoyed thon tale :D .....your use of Scots and sense of humour makes smile

Moran Taing :D
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