To Bidean and BEYOOOOOOOOONND!
by GillC » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:21 pm
Munros included on this walk: Bidean nam Bian
Date walked: 07/07/2012
Time taken: 10.5 hours
Distance: 13.5 km
Ascent: 1599m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
As part of a weekend in Glencoe, we were booked up with a guide company to take on the Aonach Eagach ridge, but, with the Gods of the hills consipiring against us, we were let down and that just wasn't meant to be.
We were camping in the Red Squirrel campsite, up the road from the wonderful Clachaig, and a big part of our weekend was a hooly in the bar with live music and a few pints,,,,read on.
As the Aonach Eagach was no more, we chose to take on the WH route for Bidean nam Bian. Lunches made up on the campsite,,tuna and midgie is a great combination. Left the campsite and drove up to the carpark before Alt na Reigh to start walking around 9:15am
We chose the ascent up Coire nan Lochan, between Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh. There were signs at the bottom saying the Lost Valley bridge was closed,,which was initially a bit misleading,,would have been handy to make it clear,,that this wasnt the bridge at this particular point but may refer to your return route. Strange sensation walking across the bridge as it also climbed at an angle.
The path up through Coire nan Lochain was easily followed, lush green grass and trees all over, fantastic to see, and considering the apparent low water levels, was quite surprising. Even the River Coe running through the campsite was very low. (we had come from a very drenched Glasgow and expected the worst) Some stunning wee waterfalls rolling down the gully and clear, rock filled pools with amazing colours. You get a good feeling of gaining height quickly as the road and car parks remain in view but get smaller and smaller. We climbed to the point below the lochans where you cross over the burn to the West, underneath the Pinnacle Buttress. So far,,the weather and visibility were great,,but the swirling clouds ominously hid and then revealed the tops,,only to hide them again just as quickly in the gusty wind.
The ground here loses any sign of a path and becomes quite boggy, but just keep heading up and heading off to the left . Before climbing further up on to the ridge, we could see over to the cairn on Aonach Dubh, shame not to pop over, so off we scrambled. Very bouldery but all of a sudden I turned my head to the left and was in absolute awe at the view. Out over a sunny Ballachulish and beyond. The wind picked up here and we decided to come down off the cairn to a more sheltered ledge and have a fuel stop, with those views. Fantastic, then returning to the end of the cliffs and venturing up on to the ridge proper and on to reach the top of the cliffs. Again, the cloud swirling up between the gaps in the jagged rocks.
Reaching the top of Stob Coire nan Lochan at 1115mtrs, after a rocky scramble,,certainly felt deserving of Munro status but, not to be,,,too close to Bidean. Leaving the bealach and on up to Bidean was very rocky again but we reach there,,in pretty poor visibility, Munro 23 at 1150mtrs.
We settled here for another fuel stop, no views at all, just swirling mist. We spotted several patches of snow around the more sheltered corries.
We then headed off West, keeping to the South of Church Buttress and on to another 'non Munro' Stob Coire nam Beith, although paths were visible, when it got particularly rocky, it was just a case of clambering over large boulders etc for what looked like the highest point or until we picked the path up again. Nam Beith comes in at 1107, so our 4th top and 3rd of over 1100 mtrs today. (Cant we make these honorory Munros? I mean, come on, we worked hard enough to get them)
The visibility was really pretty poor but just as we were debating which side of the hill to go down on, we appeared out of the clouds and wonderful views opened out again. We got a real sense now of how high we were, looking down into the valley floors and distant roads below. Im not going to give too much away here but we went off in the direction of the descent, down into the Bealach An t-sron, saw the cairn of An t-sron and again decided it would be rude not to pay a visit. Very quick scramble up and deposited the last stone of the day
Now,,when I describe our route above,,,I have so far not hinted at the fact that this was not our planned route, or indeed the route we thought we were on 'ahem'. We took quite some time clambering down the Chasm of An t-Sron,,forever now known only as the Chasm of Doom. We even met a young man on his way up,,he must have wondered at my descriptions of where we had been. Im going to do the decent thing here and own up,,,, we were lost and didnt even know it.
Every step down the Chasm, we thought we were in the Lost Valley,,we even thought we'd climbed Stob Coire Sgreamhach ha. How the HELL did we manage a complete about turn, landmarks and buttresses all matched up, descriptions on the WH route guide all made sense. Im telling you,,someone shuffled those hills when we were having lunch.
I was a lot slower on the descent due to the gammy ankle slowing me up. The first point we realised we were a bit off the mark, was when we could see the Clachaig at the foot of the gully. WHAT??? the car is 2 miles up the road to the East,,and we should have been coming down the Lost Valley, even FURTHER to the East. Much debating about where we went wrong, etc etc,,,realised we had taken the wrong path off Bidean and with no visibility there,,,we just kept following it. I know, I know,,compass, navigation skills..blah blah
Not meaning to be cocky, honest,,Im aware of the perils and if we had known we were off track,,would have been more worried,,but as we didnt know,,we soldiered on, blissful in our ignorance.
Anyway,,we reach the bottom of the gully,,it was raining by this time but was too tired to put on my waterproofs. We had only checked our time on 2-3 occasions through the day so actually had no idea what time it was. I'd suggested to Margaret that she head into the pub and I'd wander up for the car. Good job she refused,,the car key was in her rucksack!
So,,back to the car, knackered,,bedraggled, into a car park full of tourists. 8pm, almost 11 hrs since we started out.
Very challenging day but worth the effort.
Now for the partying hard at the Clachaig! We went in to the bar,straight from the hills, plans of haggis and spuds at the tent went right out the window, only to discover they had stopped serving food in all but the lounge bar,,which had no tables empty. We ended up eating our dinner at a wee table in the reception area, didnt care, Nachos then Clachaig chicken,,wonderful,,a wee pint of West then back to the campsite. Must be an age thing,,,at this point,,gave up any idea of partying in the pub,,,jammies on, wee beer and a whisky and off to bed. Shattered, midgie bitten with rain pattering on the tent. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Apologies to the Ballachulish Hellhounds,,,you missed us lol. As we speak, Internet being scoured for local navigation courses,,,safety aside,,this was just silly silly silly. Wont happen again. Now,,,where can we go next?
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by pollyh33 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:42 pm
Bidean is very much on my radar and this has been a joy to read
I was in the same situation as you when I arrived at the pub after a long walk just to be told they had stopped serving food, and I would happily have eaten anything standing on my head
by GillC » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:49 pm
by Alan S » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:33 pm
Glad yous got off safely
by lomondwalkers » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:54 am
by GillC » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:32 pm
by gammy leg walker » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:10 pm
PS.....have also been lost,2 years back on The Carn Mairg Circut.
by Alan S » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:13 pm
gammy leg walker wrote:PS.....have also been lost,2 years back on The Carn Mairg Circut.
I wasnt lost I just didnt know where we were going
by gammy leg walker » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:21 pm
Alan S wrote:gammy leg walker wrote:PS.....have also been lost,2 years back on The Carn Mairg Circut.
I wasnt lost I just didnt know where we were going
Just as well we met "the trumpet"
by Tomsie » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:51 pm
If you have smartphone you could try viewranger, I use it to check position and that I'm at right tops along with a map, took a bit of time to get used to it, but find it great, especially in the cloud/mist.
by rockhopper » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:59 pm
by GillC » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am
by MarilynMunro » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:44 am
Ive read a few posts about that sign misleading people!
I would have been gutted if there was no food at the Inn, that would have p****d me off sooooo much.