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Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)


Postby Mountainlove » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:33 pm

Route description: Ben More Assynt and Conival

Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 28/05/2012

Time taken: 8.15 hours

Distance: 17.6 km

Ascent: 1350m

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It had been 2 days since my last Munro...but 26C and a cloudless sky had called for some well earned rest sunbathing at the stunning beaches in Durness. After sunbathing for a couple of hours and watching other sun worshippers trying to go for a swim, I decided to show them what a real woman is made of…
Walking into the north Atlantic felt as if I just walked into a pool of freshly defrosted ice cubes. Within 10 seconds I started to lose feeling in my feet and I was convinced 20 seconds later that I must have developed frostbite in my left big toe. Some not so nice swear words crossed my lips and for the time being I decided that it was enough…
But being annoyed with myself about half an hour later I decided to try it again…maybe the water had warmed up since…????
Not such luck…I waded in to my knees, after having said good bye to my toes (how long does it take to treat frostbite?)
By the time I was half into the water I felt like screaming and my breath went rapidly…maybe I would die of a heart attack – which would save the ambulance time amputating my toes…?
After which felt like hours I was in and ready for a swim. Well I was glad no one was watching as it went like…breaststroke…scream….leg kick, swear word, breaststroke…scream…I managed about two minutes hoping that this madness would do me good in some kind of way. Afterwards I had clearly enough and escaped the water…enough bravery for this summer that’s for sure.
The day after while being on another beach while watching Puffins, I watched another older couple going through the same procedure and I think the scream , swim, kick was something people just did while swimming in water which clearly should have an ice sheet on top!
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Beach in Durness (one of many)

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Puffin

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Brave people in the water

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Loooovely

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Inchnadampf



The day after it had cooled down enough to make me consider a hill walk again and I opted for Conival and Ben More Assynt.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Equipped with the walk description, map, compass and GPS I was convinced nothing could go wrong…but the cold water must have done something to my ability to read. I walked along the path and headed left and the wee cairn…walking and walking I looked up the mountains on the right hand site, which were covered in a thick layer of clouds, wondering which way I would have to head up to. But the clear path continued quite nicely along the hillside. After a while I stopped as clearly there wasn’t a hill big enough for being a Munro and didn’t the map description talked about a muddy path? The path I was on was stone dry!

Stopping I took a GPS reading, looked at the map and realized I took a wrong turn…????
Blaming the walk description (I turned left when I was told to turn left!) I read it again and realized that I completely missed the turn right before turn left…Ah!
Ok but I could not be bothered walking back and looking up the hill to my right and the map I decided to give that way a chance.

Turning to my right I saw a wide gully ad decided to walk up it. Walking down the hill was easy but thick heather and some boggy patches made me bless the dry week we had…otherwise it would have been rather wet and boggy. At the bottom I crossed the burn and started walking up the hill. Following no path but hundreds of deer hoof prints I entered the low level clouds.
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Heading up to no man's land

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Navigating in the clouds


It must have been one of the eeriest experiences I ever had. Around me were rocks and patches of grass and the strong winds moved the clouds down the hill. The visibility was between 20-30m and after I reached the top of the hill I had lost all orientation. With the help of the GPS I navigated the hillside but not being able to see where I was going was strange, dreamlike.
Suddenly through the mist I saw some deer looking at me but apart from that I did not see a single soul.

For what felt like ages I walked through the clouds and I was getting rather cold. Stupidly I had worn shorts thinking it would be warmer, but I was glad that I had taken my windbreaker. When I reached a large boulder field I was bored, cold and not knowing how long the day would go on for I decided to build a cairn.

Not something I have ever done before but in some strange way it felt the right thing to do. Gathering large rocks I started piling them up and soon I got warm …even though it is hard work! But I enjoyed the workout and soon was done and took some photos, making a mental note to return at some point in a few years to see if it is still there.
So if anyone will ever see my cairn, or cairns in places which make no real sense…it maybe was just someone like me who was bored and cold :lol:
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Area before the cairn

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My cairn


Afterwards I continued along Creag Bheag Fuaran nan Each and soon reached the loch I aimed for. Walking around the loch I still had no clue where I was and using my GPS for direction aimed straight up Conival. When I started climbing I soon saw a path and realized that I managed to find the original path up Conival. Being very happy I climbed up and met the first walker of the day who was on his return. Having a wee chat I set off and soon reached Conival. The clouds at that time had started to break and I saw glimpses of the countryside below me.
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First glimpses


Not stopping I walk on to Ben More and suddenly the clouds parted and the stunning countryside showed itself to me…stopping hundreds of times to take photos and small video footage I carried on being happy with the change of weather.

The walk up Ben More was really pleasant and I enjoyed the scrambling along the ridge…a great walk so far indeed.
When I reached the top of Ben More the clouds were back on and I also nearly missed the top because of it. Again thanks to the GPS I realized that the last bit drops down quite a bit followed by the last climb to reach the top…in thick cloud a mistake which is easy made!

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Ben More Assynt

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me


Having some food, hoping for the clouds to disappear I was not lucky and decided after 15min to head back down. About 20 min later the clouds cleared again this time for good, leaving incredible views down the valley. I had a look at the map trying to find an alternative route down, but decided due to the scree that it would be best to return the normal way down.

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Beinn an Fhurain

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Looking back


Looking back I wished I would have returned the way I came as the climb downhill is really steep and quite sore on the knees. But equally really pretty, as I enjoyed the walk back along the burn.
When I reached the car 8.15h after I set off I was happy and cracked open a bottle of lovely warmed up beer which had been boiling nicely in my black car (incredible what you get used to drink while camping) and was on my merry way find a campsite for the night.
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Mountainlove
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:43 pm

Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiliant!!!! ML :D

Keep them coming!!! :clap:
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Tomsie » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:30 pm

Well done on your navigation and nice cairn.

Could be a new route, normal route is very steep
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby simon-b » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:34 pm

A great couple of hills, those two. That's where I was the day before I saw you doing the Beinn Dearg 4, ML.

That's a novel idea, building a cairn when you don't know where you are! I guess it could act as a guide to others who don't know where they are?

An entertaining report as ever, and another interesting variation on a WH route :)
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:12 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiliant!!!! ML :D
Keep them coming!!! :clap:


Thank you :-) The other ones will follow soon :-)

Tomsie wrote:Well done on your navigation and nice cairn.
Could be a new route, normal route is very steep


Have to say the route is much better...a lot more gentle on the knees thats for sure :-)

simon-b wrote:A great couple of hills, those two. That's where I was the day before I saw you doing the Beinn Dearg 4, ML.
That's a novel idea, building a cairn when you don't know where you are! I guess it could act as a guide to others who don't know where they are?
An entertaining report as ever, and another interesting variation on a WH route :)

Thats true regarding the cairn...would love to hear if anyone ever finds it again :-)
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby jonny616 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:34 pm

I'd never get of the beech with clear water like that.

Great photos 8)
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby weebookil » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:11 pm

nice pictures especially the beach ones. you should consider putting an exact route into your GPS incase you need to get you off the hills ??
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby dooterbang » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:19 pm

Not like you getting lost and off the beaten track :wink:

Love the beach photo at Durness.

Glad you got some views....i got none when doing these 2.

Nice views from Klibreck the day before but i found this a slog through the bog.

Appears you've had a bust week up North.
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:21 pm

jonny616 wrote:I'd never get of the beech with clear water like that.
Great photos 8)

Thank you and regarding the beaches...they are amazing and sooo clean as well!!

weebookil wrote:nice pictures especially the beach ones. you should consider putting an exact route into your GPS incase you need to get you off the hills ??

Ohhh that would be too much like walking blindfolded...one needs to have a wee bit of fun!

dooterbang wrote:Not like you getting lost and off the beaten track :wink:
Love the beach photo at Durness.
Glad you got some views....i got none when doing these 2.
Nice views from Klibreck the day before but i found this a slog through the bog.
Appears you've had a bust week up North.


Lol was actually happy to have gotten lost again...it has been a while!
Looks like you will have completed your first round soon...for the second one you could do all in sunny weather...makes a huge change specially up there!! The countryside is just stunning!
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Clach Liath » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:24 pm

I suspect the problem was that you went equipped with a map :wink:
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:59 am

Clach Liath wrote:I suspect the problem was that you went equipped with a map :wink:


Very true...I had far too many :D :D
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Lenore » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:28 pm

Love this report Mountainlove! Walked way before I even heard of Munros, but am looking into the hills I'll hopefully be walking this April / May and come across your report. Love the puffin and the beaches!!
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby tomyboy73 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:55 pm

brilliant, can`t believe i missed this report first time round, a beautiful area i hope to venture into soon
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:15 am

Lenore wrote:Love this report Mountainlove! Walked way before I even heard of Munros, but am looking into the hills I'll hopefully be walking this April / May and come across your report. Love the puffin and the beaches!!


Thank you :D That was a really good week ...hopefully I will be doing sometthing similar this year as well...just waiting for the perfect week!

tomyboy73 wrote:brilliant, can`t believe i missed this report first time round, a beautiful area i hope to venture into soon

You have to get up there...it is an amazing place!!
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Re: Lost&building a cairn–Conival and Ben More Assynt (2/6)

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:04 am

I missed this first time round, had not joined then, what a fantastic part of Scotland, one of my favourite places! those hills, beaches and the clear waters, like you I would have had to go for a dip, did the same thing when I visited the Outer Hebribes two years ago, wonderful, but very cold. Some beautiful pictures and a cracking report :clap: :D
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