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Carn a'Chlamain - with the help of a bike

Carn a'Chlamain - with the help of a bike

Postby howzat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:16 pm

Route description: Carn a'Chlamain

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Chlamain

Date walked: 07/04/2012

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 26 km

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With the 'Chief' of Clan Thompson blowing up the engine of the 'family' car while 'racing' resulting in the cancellation of an Easter visit to chez Howzat in Edinburgh the opportunity to notch up the third Munro of the year was tempting. I'd had my eye on Carn a'Chlamain for some time mainly because the long approach would give me an opportunity to see if I could remember how to actually ride a bike! The weather forecast was iffy for the entire weekend but Saturday looked the best bet so after persuading the wife (Gill), sister-in law (Hazel) plus her hubby (Andrew) to join me at least for the cycling bit we all set off from the in-laws basecamp in Blairgowrie . Now I don't actually own a bike but fortunately the in-laws had a spare but this would still necessitate hiring one for the wife, which we did from the extremely friendly Basecamp Bikes in Blair Atholl.
Unloading the bikes in Blair Atholl
The first snag was just after collecting the bike at 9.00am when it became apparent the wife couldn't actually ride a bike, well not for more than a couple of pedals before becoming unbalanced! Anyway with the valid excuse that the weather was due for a turn for the worse in the afternoon I set off without the wife and sister in law, starting up the estate road at 9.45am with Andrew for the 8 mile bike ride to up Glen Tilt to Forest Lodge.

Already looking knackered after 2kms!
Andrew cycling up the excellent Glen Tilt estate road
Gaws Bridge
I suspect in the grand order of things the estate road would be categorised as an easy cycle ride as it was a very good track. However after only just a few miles my backside was killing me, my quads were aching, I had a headache (rucksack hitting the back of my head), and blisters were developing somewhere in my nether regions. I’m not saying that it would have been quicker walking but I was a bit disappointed that it took us about an hour and a half to go the 8 miles to Forest Lodge but I did make it without falling off! (I’m blaming Andrew for the slow pace anyway).

Forest Lodge
After locking the bike to a tree and leaving Andrew to continue his bike ride I set off up the pretty easy going path past the lodge that zigzagged up the steep hillside.

Secured bike
Leaving the estate road
Path upwards
It took about 55 minutes to reach the cairn (c700m) on Creag Loisgte, and although I was met with a bit of sleet and snow there were fantastic views down Glen Tilt, and across to the impressive Beinn a’Ghlo.

View down Glen Tilt from Cairn on Creag Loisgte
Views up Glen Tilt
I now also had a clear view of the path across the plateau and up to the top of Carn a’Chlamain.

Across the plateau to Carn a'Chlamain
Mountain Bikers near the summit
It took about another 30 minutes to reach the cairn at its top (1hr 30m from Forest Lodge, 3hrs 15m from the start of the estate road at Old Bridge of Tilt), arriving at the same time as quite a few walkers and two mountain bikers!

At the summit cairn
Time for a cheese and pickle sarnie sat on the cairn
Mountain bikers at the summit
After a quick cheese and pickle sandwich I set off to retrace my steps, making quick progress back to my bike in about 1hr 10mins. It had now started to rain so I decided that it was going to have to be a flat out ride back to Old Bridge of Tilt. Having confidence to hold off on the brakes I realised with the amount of freewheeling I could manage how deceptively uphill the outward journey had been. Anyway with some relief I made it back in an hour dead, 5hrs 45mins after setting off, completely knackered but finally acknowledging how useful the bike had been. The aches started to subside over a nice pint of Braveheart at the Atholl Arms Hotel!
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Re: Carn a'Chlamain - with the help of a bike

Postby SMRussell » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:16 pm

Its always worth utilising a bike for some of those long approaches. We're planning on cycling up the occasional whole munro this year... not too sure how well that's going to work out but hey its always worth taking on the challenge :D :-? :lol:

Good report and some decent snaps
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Re: Carn a'Chlamain - with the help of a bike

Postby KMHills » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:29 pm

Watch Mr Howzat, nice report and photos (who is that dodgy bloke on the bike? - last seen on a 1977 red Chopper complete with 3 speed gear shift in souf London!). My records show I did this in June 2003 whilst walking from Braemar to Blair Atholl - camped in Glen Tilt after the hill. Bikes are great for long approaches but some times the decent can be painful on the back, and the sharper the saddle looks the more comfortable. The highest I've seen bikes is on Lochnagar (and it wasn't HRH). I wonder about the merit of locking bikes (but always do). Has anybody hidden their bike in the heather and then struggled to find it? KMHills
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