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Drumochter Munros up the wrong glen!

Drumochter Munros up the wrong glen!


Postby BlackPanther » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:41 pm

Route description: Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mhor

Date walked: 18/03/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 19.1 km

Ascent: 933m

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With the weather uncertain for the weekend we had to give up our plans for a long trek in the Cairngorms. Luckily, Sunday looked nice enough to tackle an easier route, so we drove down to Drumochter Pass to finish a Munro chapter. Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor were the last two Munros in this area we haven't ticked off yet and they looked simple enough for a spring jaunt.
Because forecast suggested cloud coming from the west in the afternoon, we got out of bed at painfully early hour and I was nodding off on the passenger seat all the way down :lol: As we reached the Pass, I woke up... or so I thought, noticed a layby and a pointy hill that looked like The Sow of Atholl, told Kevin to park there as I was convinced we reached the summit of Drumochter Pass...
We got out of car, prepared for the walk, crossed the railway... A few more steps and I was fully awake now, looked around... Something didn't fit...
Kevin consulted the map and started laughing like crazy.
"Ha ha ha we parked at the WRONG LAYBY!"
"Does that mean we are in the WRONG GLEN?"
"Yep, this is the glen of Allt an Tuirc, and this hill to the left is NOT The Sow of Atholl, darling, it's The Boar of Badenoch!"
Agrrrrrrrr... Next time I will pinch myself or have an extra cup of coffee before choosing a layby :lol: :lol:
All in all, the silly mistake from the very beginning worked in our favour. We could have gone back to the car and driven to the right layby, but we decided to do some wild exploring instead and walked up the wrong glen.

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The wrong glen!
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Balsporran cottages and the A9:
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At the beginning, the track up Coire an Tuirc was quite good and weather looked nice as well :D
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A' Mharconaich:
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Higher up the ground became more boggy but luckily the previous night was frosty so most of the bog was frozen. The track was not so good now but still visible:
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Apart from the bog, I have to say, it's a good route up the Drumochter Munros. One could turn sharp right at the right moment and head straight for the summit of A' Mharconaich, but we had already done this one and wanted to concentrate on Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor. We could see the latter now, with some snow still lying in Coire Creagach:
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We passed a small area of peat hags and found a path going along the side of A' Mharconaich, slowly gaining height. Conditions were still good, nice blue sky, some breeze and good light for taking pictures :lol:
The southern slopes of A' Mharconaich and more distant Beinn Udlamain (the very summit still hidden from view). The path which we took can be clearly seen in the middle of the photo:
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Higher up walking was even easier as the ground wasn't so wet any more - and Beinn Udlamain looked sooo yummy for a hill bagger!
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We spotted another group of walkers along the ridge of A' Mharconaich and picked up the pace to catch up with them. All the steep climbing behind us now, we could simply enjoy the ridge walk:
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The final climb to our first Munro of the day was on easy, grassy ground. The prize - just have a look at this:
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Ben Alder group from the summit of Beinn Udlamain:
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The summit cairn:
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View east:
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The unmistakable shape of Schiehallion:
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Loch Ericht:
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The flying pose :lol: :lol: :
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Simply stunning... Why do people say Drumochter Munros are boring? With views like these???
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Cloud was thickening on the western sky so we only had a short snack break on the summit of Beinn Udlamain and carried on to the second Munro. The route goes first along an old fence (not much left of it) and the slope is a bit rocky:
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The col between the two peaks is full of peat hags but one can successfully manoeuvre among them to pick a faint path up the opposite slope:
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From across the dip, one more look at Ben Alder group:
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We pushed uphill quickly, worried by the darkening sky:
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The final walk along the ridge to the Munro top was a formality:
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The summit of Sgairneach Mhor has a trig point:
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The eastern sky was still bright and blue:
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And Schiehallion dominated the southern view:
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Ben Lawers group:
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Kevin looking for more grub in his rucksack :lol: :lol: Sorry, mate, no more almond muffins for you, you've eaten enough today!
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Bad weather coming:
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With the shower chasing us, we had to leave the summit and the lovely views behind, to return down to Coire Dhomhain and then face the walk along A9 to the WRONG LAYBY ha ha ha. First, we walked along the ridge of Coire Creagach:
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A glimpse back to the steep side of Coire Creagach:
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It was time to say good bye to Schiehallion:
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The bad cloud was now very, very close... In this picture you can actually see it coming from the left hand side:
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OK, so the snow shower eventually hit us and it was so thick we couldn't see a thing. We stayed on the path circling the slope of the 758m top between Sgairneach Mhor and The Sow of Atholl for as long as we could then cut straight down the heathery slope. The cloud passed over us as quickly as it arrived and we were in clear weather again. It turned out we were in a straight line above the so-called "wrong bridge" over Allt Coire Dhomhain (the wrong one again? ha ha ha):
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It was only a matter of minutes before we reached the bridge:
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Allt Coire Dhomhain from the bridge:
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Once on the wide track in Coire Dhomhain, the return to the car didn't take much time. We got caught by a second shower (rain not snow this time) as we walked along A9, but even the worst rain couldn't wash the Cheshire Cat smile of my face. Another adventure added to my walk diary - certainly not the last one. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Drumochter Munros up the wrong glen!

Postby Del246 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:14 pm

Nice report and great pics. I was actually across the road from you doing the other 2 Munros !!!
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Del246
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Re: Drumochter Munros up the wrong glen!

Postby ChrisW » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:16 pm

Like your style BP, stop in the wrong place and turn it into a positive thing by setting out to explore new ground, great idea that really paid off with a wonderful walk in beautiful scenery :D
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ChrisW
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Re: Drumochter Munros up the wrong glen!

Postby soapy27 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:01 pm

Excellennt pictures and the best report i've seen on these munros :D I did these last november in terrible weather horizontal rain so didn't have a view the whole route so its good to see what i missed out on :thumbup:
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soapy27
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Location: Perth

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