Clag Gorm, Meall GarClag, Clag Mairg and Clag Some Mhor
by ScottishLeaf » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:30 pm
Route description: Carn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Carn Mairg and Creag Mhor
Munros included on this walk: Carn Gorm, Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)
Date walked: 01/07/2012
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1400m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I left Super Stenny at just after 8am. I was in the wee car park in Invervar just before 10, the roadworks between Lochearnhead and Lix Toll barely held me up at all. So, I was booted up and ready to go about 10am, with my new Meindl Burmas on my feet. Time to put them to the test! They initally felt a bit heavier than my old boots, but that was to be expected. Meall nan Tarmachan had finally killed off the mickey mouse Hi-Gear ones I had brutalised in only 15 munros and about 10 smaller hills, since February. Despite leaving a Sunny Stenny, I opted to wear my waterproofs, it was to be a great choice!
These boots were made for walkin'!
The rather large metal gate, right next to a dark building, guarding a dark "tunnel" path with several warning notices plastered everywhere, certainly lets you know the North Chesthill Gang claim dominance in this area and it's deer.
Soon after another couple of big metal gates is reached, but just before the third one, a wee path juts off to the side, with nice wee views of a waterfall. Given all the rain recently, the fall was pretty much at maximum power and looking rather fine.
Just after the third gate a rather dodgy looking wooden bridge is crossed, the more famous rickety bridge is yet to come, but I recon this wooden thing is on it's last legs!
From the rotten, wooden bridge the path becomes a rockier and had turned into a mini burn in lots of places, with muddy sections and not long after I came to the famous rickety bridge, which leans to one side and bounces as you cross it, great fun!
From here I made the seemingly traditional mistake of following the path up the Invervar Burn, instead of crossing straight over the bridge and up to the trees. However, I enjoyed my trek alongside the water.
I followed the burn to where a smaller burn joins in, then followed this up the side of the of the ridge and passing a pole. (used for securing hay in winter?)
Soon after the I was plodding my way up Carn Gorm proper, with nice views over to An Sgorr, at this point I decided I'd take in the peak in on my way over to Meall Garbh. My second thought was, that cloud could be nasty.... it was. But for now the views were fine all around. Meall Garbh, sticking up behind An Sgorr.
Back behind Creag Mhor seemed to be beconning me to hurry up round the ring and the views east into Glen Lyon were fairly dramatic.
Over to the south the Lawers Range and the Tarmachan Ridge looked fine.
However, the Lawerseses soon began losing their heads into the cloud.
But I was gaining height quickly now and soon reached the fairly large plateau bit, just before the final climb up to the summit. Here, the cloud finally came down on Carn Gorm to rob me of any serious summit view. However, it was only a light mist so far and so I soon found myself standing over the toppled Trig Point and protective cairn at the top of Carn Gorm.
I stopped for a quick bite to eat and for the first time a cup of flask coffee!
Just as I was leaving the summit a group of 4 walkers arrived, I waved and said hello. It was the last I'd see them, even although they probably followed me round the ridge, or maybe they overtook when I went up An Sgorr. The wee peak is a worthy diverson... on a good day, you'd have great views back over the glen you've just climbed up through to get to Carn Gorm. However, I saw none of it! As I climbed the wee peak the rain came lashing on, my left side drenched in minutes. I reached the summit of An Sgorr, took a quick cairn pick and immediately set off back down it again... into the teeth of the wind and rain.
At the bottom, a path across my path from the left, heading to the right. In the complete white out I wasn't sure which way to turn, thankfully though a brisk gust of wind blew across to give me a view of Meall Garbh and I could see straight on was the answer.
I quickly picked up the fence posts and in no time at all I was standing a the monsterous "cairn" at the top of the mountain.
Still, my left hand side was being lashed by the wind and rain. I was having serious thoughts about turning back. At least I would know the path back. I headed eastward all the same and I found a big rock and sheltered down behind it, with the Meall Garbh itself providing some restbite from the worst of the rain. Calming myself while I chomped on a some chicken sandwiches I got out the map and compass, located myself and worked out where to head. Which was pointless, as I had no points of reference, only white to look at. Torn, I decided to sit for 10 minutes longer and give the weather a chance, it wasn't even 1pm yet. Time was one thing I thought I did have some of to spare.
It was partly good time spent, I spotted two small birds chirping good style. They were too active and fast to get a photograph off. But they looked a little like robins and their chirp was almost like a high pitched frog's "rrrribbbittt." The wee things settled my mind and the wind died away, leaving the rain to fall straight from the sky. I don't know if that's the correct terminology since I was walking through the cloud!!!
Thankfully the next part was easy walking, my new Burma coping admirably with the terrain and I started to come across cairns everywhere. I assume one of them was the summit cairn of Meall a Bharr, it was too claggy to see if I was at the top as the ground seemed to be a large plateau here. I only wanted to plough onwards, the rain was irritating and I knew from here I should be able to see the magificent and iconic site of Schiehallion off to my left.... no chance of that then. This was the first time I'd had to rely on my map skills, as opposed to them being a nice-to-have to confirm what I could see with my eyes. I was hoping as much as anything that I was on the right course as it was the toughest hill of the day that was looming ahead. Calming myself I decided to put on some music, from the fabulous multi-tool that is an iPhone..... only it had a mind of it's own... Pendulum began drumming into my ears. Australian drum and bass in the middle of the Glen Lyon 4. Suddenly you're walking a 100mph, in time to the fast paced music. Wonderful. I barely even noticed the rocks passing beneath my feet and after I don't know how many cairns I reached the big one at the top of the Carn Mairg. I pulled the iPhone out of my pocket, went to snap a pic. Guess what?? No memory. On my own, in the pouring rain, fog and wind and becoming frustrated to hell. I wasn't for stopping to sift through and delete, no longer wanted photos.
I sheltered behind the cairn and once again got the map out. This was the bit I was scared of. I knew there were crags and some steep ground out there. Obviously they needed to be avoided. Here, I made a mistake. Instead of heading east, I somehow ended up going back west. However, a cairn I thought I had passed earlier... don't what about it pricked my memory, but something did, made me stop. Then I thought, why is the rain in my face now?? I checked again... and sure enough. D'oh!!!!
Sooo, time for take two, from Carn Mairg. I realised my silly error was caused by my sillyness of being too frustrated and angry and not calm enough to concentrate on what I was doing. THANKFULLY no harm came of it. Still in no more than 10 yards visibility I headed carefully east, then south east the route on WH tells you to and I safely made it down Carn Mairg, without a summit pic, but happy I had made it. **PHEW**
Three down, one to go.
Even in the clag this was fairly easy and I began to calm down again. ***Deep breaths***
I made it to the top and for the second munro in succession no cairn picture and for the fourth in a row...no view Four munros bagged... just. Time to get home and see the fitba'!
Then the Gods Of Munro, Corbett and Graham played the cruelest of tricks... as I lost height I could visibly see the cloud base getting higher, the rain stopped and sun came out. At first I thought it was just because I was getting lower, I was emerging from the clouds. First one peak, then another, and another, and another became clear, by my last look back only the highest ones were still clagged up. GGGRRRRRRR!!!
The bulk of Glen Lyon Range now robbing me of the craved view of Schiehallion. The Magnificent Fairy Hill of the Caledonians, is one of my favourite hills so far and the views over to it were one of the reasons for me picking the Glen Lyon 4 to do. I have serverely fallen out with the Hill Walking Gods!!
One the good news front, my waterproofs were now drying off good style now and I found a rock and sat down to finish off the last of my food and coffee that I hadn't drank up top. I also took the time to free up some iPhone memory space and grabbed a couple of pictures.
Food gobbled, from here it was rapidly back to the car and a quick change into properly dry clothes.
But the frustrations were not done yet... I had no phone signal and needed to call home. "I'll use the phone box," I thought. .... The phone was broken!!!! If anyone mentions going back to Glen Lyon again, I'm gonna beat them up!
One last thing, on the way I home I passed a little village that's been on the news a fair wee bit lately and it's name certainly didn't describe my day!
Oh as for the boots, they are a bit firm underfoot, but I'm guess they'll ease off as they break in, otherwise they held up well, unlike their owner!
by jonny616 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:36 pm
by Bod » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:16 am
by davgil » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:51 am
by basscadet » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:20 am
When I was up there last year I saw quite a few stoats.. Lovely peaceful place, I ended up camping up near the wee rickety bridge for 2 nights overkill or what?
by Fudgie » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:15 am
by ScottishLeaf » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:20 pm
I think what made me worse, is I usually walk with my brother and being on my own in the bad weather meant I was 100% reliant on myself with nobody to check with regarding the route etc.
Davgil, yours must've been the silver motor I saw a dog peeing against in the car park then joking just jealous you got all the views!!!
Monty it was one of those days, that if it had been happening to anyone else you would've laughed! I can look back and smile and with a little more confidence now I've done that.
Basscadet, I can understand why you would camp there. Superb place, the only decent views I got all day were from that area.
Bod, Johnny and Fudge. Looking back I still enjoyed myself at some level and I'll be back out this week again. Just need to look at the weather forecasts for something better!! Hopefully.