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The Drumochter Two - Take 2

The Drumochter Two - Take 2

Postby PeteR » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:05 pm

Route description: Beinn Udlamain and Sgàirneach Mhòr

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Udlamain, Sgàirneach Mhòr

Date walked: 05/02/2012

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Finally I’m getting my final walk report done and dusted (well, hopefully not final, final report, but unfortunately events have conspired this weekend to prevent me getting out as planned :( ). Hopefully normal hill walking duties will return soon enough :D

My last walk, which now seems a dim and distant memory, was back on 5 February when I returned to Drumochter to finish off Beinn Udlaman and Sgaineach Mhor, having done the two neighbours before Christmas. I had been tempted on this walk to tack on the Sow of Atholl as well, but in the end contented myself with just the two Munros.

Arrived at lay-by 79 nice and early, so decided I deserved a short kip before setting off :D It was short too, as I must have been disturbed as a car pulled up behind me. They were soon followed by another car, so I thought it best to show some willing and get myself moving.

First to arrive, but third to set off :lol:
Early view of the day

My approach to walking so far in 2012 has been a bit different from the year just gone. I’m not yet into making epic, long days of things; trying to tick off as many hills as I can in one go and seeing how far I can push myself. No doubt that desire will return, but for now (when I can get out!!) I’m just enjoying taking my time (not that I don’t enjoy the long walks.........I love ‘em :D :D).

But for now I was happy to let the other walkers strike out ahead of me and for the rest of the day they were pretty much just out of reach.

The initial land rover track into Coire Dhomhain was excellent. The ground was frozen and the track a bit slippy in places, but soon enough I was at the bridge to cross the Allt Coire Dhomhain and head off into the hills and the first hill of the day, Sgaineach Mhor.
The bridge over the Allt Coire Dhomhain

View of the Sow from the bridge

Once over the bridge the route took a pretty much direct route over easy ground toward ridge to the summit up by Coire Creagach. It was probably easy because of the firm snow to walk on. Not sure traipsing over the heather would be so much fun otherwise.
Looking back toward the route I'd taken in so far

As with my walk on Derry Cairngorm the weekend before the cloud was doing its best to spoil the views. Not that a little bit of cloud was going to be allowed to spoil my day :D :D Although I wasn’t in the cloud (yet) I knew it was going to engulf me higher up and that could well be the end of any hope of views from the top. But never mind. I was out in the fresh air :D :D
Can you see the two groups ahead of me? The mist was starting to come down as I was heading up the ridge

These two are nice, easy hills and despite my fairly slow pace I seemed to be making reasonably good time. It didn’t seem to take that long to get on the ridge and start the steady climb to the summit. Gave me a good view of the Sow (it’s deceptive though, as the drop off the end before the climb up this Corbett is more than you might think from this angle)

Despite the cloud the views up and down the A9 weren’t bad either :D :D
View north up the A9

View south down the A9

As I headed up toward the summit the weather did what I expected :shock: :lol: Got engulfed by cloud and with the wind was picking up spinning snow into my eyes. Despite their less than favourable reputations I was quite taken by the views of the edge into Coire Creagach and the cornices it held, even in the cloud. Sadly, the mix of snow and cloud didn’t help with the photo :?
The view of the cornice looked much better than this picture might suggest

There was then a short pull up to the summit, which was a bit blind, given the wind whipping up the snow. A quick text to MrsR and the necessary summit shot – not my best photo either, but then I couldn’t see the cairn in the camera screen :lol: :lol:
The summit shot

Then it was off to Munro number two. The initial drop off Sgaineach Mhor was so gradual as to make me think I wasn’t even losing height at all. I knew that locating a good place to drop down on to the saddle between the two hills could be difficult in mist........and I was in mist :lol: As height started to be lost a little more quickly I got a stroke of luck as the clag cleared enough for a brief glimpse of my destination. The route looked pretty decent, so I decided to drop off the side of the hill there and then and make my way across the saddle. Lo-and-behold, I came across the footprints from the chaps ahead of me heading down at the same point :D A stroke of luck.
Looking back on the way across the saddle between the two hills

I can imagine that normally this section would be rotten – almost certainly boggy I’m sure. But in the winter, with frozen ground and firm snow it was a breeze. I was soon at the bottom of the drop and making my way up onto the south ridge of Beinn Udlamain. I went for a look to see what views, if any, there might be to the Alder hills, but no luck :( Still, I have Alder down for sometime in 2012 – just need to buy myself a good tent (so any recommendations gladly received).
Down into Coire Dhomhain from the saddle

There some signs of improvement in the weather as I looked south :D
South toward Glas Mheall a'Chumhainn (I think)

'Moody' looking cloud

All that was left was the slow plod up onto the summit. The good thing was that there is a line of fence post all the way to the top. The bad news though was that the mixture of snow and clag and rime on the posts meant they weren’t always easy to see :lol: It was a pretty easy push to the top though. The large shelter cairn was well covered in snow, so no real shelter.
Another blinding summit shot

Apparently there are great views from this summit :lol: :lol: Not when I was there :lol: I could see the end of my nose, so that was something I suppose.

As I was taking my usual summit shots a shadow appeared from the other direction. The first person I’d had the chance to speak to since the start of the walk. We had a brief chat before I set off on the route back home. A few moments later and another shadow appeared ahead of me. Suddenly the hills were becoming busy :D This chap was doing all four and seemed to be setting a fair old pace for himself. Met him again on the bottom as I was just about to arrive back at the car.

From the summit I continued to follow the fence posts over the minor bump and then more steeply down. Made a slight error here – well, I started to, but then realised before I’d gone too far that something wasn’t quite right. In the mist I had thought I was over the point 902 and so started to head steeply down to the valley floor. It just seemed a lot steeper than I was expecting and I wasn’t particularly happy with what I was looking at ahead of myself. A quick review of the map and I realised I was dropping off too soon and needed to traverse round the hill a way to get me onto easier ground to come down off.

The initial descent though was still a bit steep and a quick check of the slab suggested about a foot or snow of fairly soft snow on top of earlier iced up snow. So I opted for a controlled bum slide down the first section to where the slope became a bit more gradual :D :D
Bum slide track

About this time the law of sod took over and breaks in the cloud started to appear :lol: :lol: Why is it that this happens so often when you are heading down off a hill :?: :?: Views toward Sgaineach Mhor opened up, as well as into Coire Dhomhain and back out toward the A9.
Cloud starting to break

View toward Sgaineach Mhor as the cloud started to break

Fraoch Coire

Coire Dhomhain

View of the route home

Heading down off the hill the extent of the thaw was really noticeable. Snow that earlier had been crisp and firm was now softening up and lower down was getting a bit slippy to walk on as it gave way. So much so I ended up on my backside with quite a thump one time. I’d probably have scored me a 10 for both technical ability as well as artistic impression :lol:
The 'other' bridge over the Allt Coire Dhomhain

Back on the landrover track and it was then a straightforward walk back to the car, enjoying the views along the way.
Coire Creagach on Sgaineach Mhor from near the A9

Not sure what this hill is called, but it caught my eye on the way back

View from the railway track. I always feel like a naughty boy when I cross a rail track.

I half expected to hear my mother's voice booming out telling me I'm not to old to be put over her knee hahaha

View back of the days adventure - with the clealry noticeable thaw

Another great day on the hills. Little did I know then that it would be so long until I was able to get back onto them again :( :shock:
Last edited by PeteR on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dromochter Two - Take 2

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Good report Pete ,did these a few weeks ago and suprisingly good in the snow but no Summer mountains i'd say :)

On the railway track as well as a train passed opposite track well out the way...driver shook his fist at us ...oooooops :lol:
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Re: The Dromochter Two - Take 2

Postby ChrisW » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:24 am

Great report Pete, all that clag is what you get for getting out of bed early.....you should have a lie in and go up in the afternoon :lol: You still got some lovely snowy pics mate, hope you find your way back to the hills soon :D
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Re: The Dromochter Two - Take 2

Postby kevsbald » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:39 am

Nice - know what you mean about taking it at a relaxed pace on the walking front. I'm quite happy ticking off a Munro here and there at the moment. Know it will be done in good time.
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Re: The Dromochter Two - Take 2

Postby quoman » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:08 am

Nice report peter

Its always the same clag on the top then clears after 20mins on the way down :lol: had that on Beinn Mhanach 3 weeks ago :?
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